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Wyoming News Briefs AUGUST 14

Plea agreement proposed in poaching case

SHERIDAN (WNE) — A plea agreement could result in heavy fines, one year probation and nine months incarceration for Gregg Lambdin, who was charged with 11 counts of wanton destruction of a big game animal Feb. 4.

The agreement requires Lambdin also pay fines of $110,000 and $144,000 in restitution.

Lambdin is accused of unlawfully shooting deer between July 2016 and Nov. 26, 2018.

The first two counts are misdemeanors, which carry potential punishments of one year incarceration and up to a $10,000 fine.

The other nine wanton destruction charges are felonies, which each carry potential punishment of two years incarceration and a $5,000-$10,000 fine.

Local Wyoming Game and Fish Department wardens responded to reports from Lambdin’s neighbors accusing Lambdin of beating deer and dragging deer carcasses across his property in November 2018.

During the investigation, a hunter also reported several deer carcasses on land adjacent to Lambdin’s property from 2017.

During the course of the investigation into Lambdin, a WGFD investigator recorded a video that allegedly shows Lambdin killing a deer on his property.

Lambdin is suspected of shooting 113 deer and one antelope on or near his property.

Lambdin purchased a license to take one deer in November 2017 but was not authorized to shoot any other deer in Wyoming.

Lambdin said he regretted ending the lives of so many deer, but would not have stopped if he hadn’t been caught, according to court documents.


Campers use app to summon help for injured hiker

JACKSON (WNE) — After falling 100 feet down snowy and rocky terrain Friday night in Grand Teton National Park, Nergui Enkhchineg limped into a campsite and pleaded for help.

One of the seven people at the backcountry campsite in the South Fork of Garnet Canyon had downloaded Backcountry SOS before visiting Jackson from Minnesota and had just enough cell service to get a 911 text to dispatch using the application.

Racing against waning daylight, park rangers were able to respond by Teton Interagency Helicopter to Enkhchineg’s exact location.

They completed the mission and rushed the 28-year-old to St. John’s Medical Center just before dark.

Enkhchineg sustained significant injuries, park spokeswoman Denise Germann said.

Backcountry SOS, a free smartphone application launched in Teton County (Wyoming and Idaho) last year, gives dispatchers exact coordinates.

It also gives users options to let emergency responders know what’s going on via three buttons — lost or trapped, injured or life threatening.

“He found it online a few months ago when he was planning a trip in case it would be helpful,” Teton County Search and Rescue Foundation Executive Director Stephanie Thomas said.

Thomas said that since the app’s launch Search and Rescue has been conducting surveys at trailheads and boat ramps to see how many people have it. About 30% of those surveyed have downloaded it.

“We’d like to increase the number,” Thomas said. “Every reaction I get is if it’s a life saving tool then it’s worth downloading.”


Horse racing returns to Rock Springs, but improvements needed

ROCK SPRINGS (WNE) — Three weekends of live horse racing are coming to Sweetwater County, but local facilities are becoming dilapidated and racing organizers are searching for a revenue source to address the problem.

Wyoming Horse Racing returns to the Sweetwater Events Complex starting Aug. 23.

President Eugene Joyce told the Rocket-Miner in May that while Wyoming Horse Racing is pleased to have racing this year, events for 2020 and beyond are in jeopardy if the Events Complex’s facilities cannot be upgraded.

Joyce and Events Complex Executive Director Larry Lloyd came before the Sweetwater County Commission at the Aug. 6 meeting. Joyce said capital improvements must be done in order to move forward.

The Rocket-Miner reported in May that horse racing has brought $1.355 million directly to the city of Rock Springs and more than $1.355 million directly to Sweetwater County. Money comes from historic horse

racing in Rock Springs and now Green River as well as live horse racing.

An option brought up at the commission meeting was diverting some of that revenue in order to upgrade and maintain facilities used for horse racing.

Lloyd noted at the commission meeting that the facility used for horse racing is “becoming dilapidated.” Problems include no race office and no rooms for jockeys. Currently, jockeys have to go to an old dilapidated trailer with no restroom facilities, Joyce said. Although there are many barns at the Events Complex, they are not appropriate for race horses. Joyce said the facility needs to be brought up to industry norms.


Estimated 2,500 sparklers ignited in Gillette

GILLETTE (WNE) — More than 1,700 people showed up to downtown Gillette Saturday night to attempt to break the world record for most sparklers lit at one time.

Christen Burdette, event and sales coordinator for the Campbell County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said 1,730 people came out to the event. A total of 2,500 sparklers were lit.

For about 30 seconds, downtown Gillette glowed like one giant sparkler.

The current record is 1,713, and Burdette said she thinks it will be a few months before she hears back from Guinness World Records on whether Gillette officially broke the record for simultaneously lit sparklers. It will review photos and video and make a determination.

Burdette said the community amazed her, whether it was showing up and staying despite the rain or volunteering to make it all possible.

“It was kind of a rush project. I didn’t think of it until July 7,” she said. “But everyone pitched in.”

From the city and Gillette College to the Visitors Center and Gillette Main Street organization, Burdette said she had a lot of help to bring the idea to reality.

Watching thousands of lit sparklers illuminate downtown Gillette was breathtaking, Burdette said.

“It took my breath away, just watching the torches light up,” she said. “And the glow just spread.”

The event was planned in honor of the Pyrotechnics Guild International, which is in Gillette this week celebrating its 50th anniversary.


SkyWest service to Riverton to begin in January

RIVERTON (WNE) — The Riverton City Council signed an agreement this week to work with SkyWest Airlines as part of Wyoming’s new commercial air service improvement program.

The new airline will start work Jan. 12 at Riverton Regional Airport – one day after current carrier Denver Air Connection stops service.

“So there will be a seamless transition,” public works director Kyle Butterfield said during last week’s council meeting.

As part of the air service agreement, the Wyoming Department of Transportation will coordinate with the city to set prices and schedules for SkyWest at Riverton Regional Airport. Butterfield said that work already has commenced, resulting in the decision to “run a reduced schedule” in January and February when fewer passengers fly in and out of Riverton.

“There are certain times of the year and days of the week we don’t see a lot of volume as of yet,” Butterfield said. “We’re dropping the flights that had low load factors, so we’re not paying for seats that won’t be filled.”

Mayor Richard Gard noted that the airline will be flying a 50-seat Bombardier CRJ200 jet between Riverton and Denver, allowing space for 20 additional passengers per flight compared to current capacity levels.

The city will continue to contribute 40 percent of the minimum revenue guarantee required for commercial air service through the new agreement, Butterfield said, with the state covering the rest of the bill.

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