Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

Wyoming News Briefs AUGUST 16

Cheyenne man who excessively spanked children sentenced to probation

CHEYENNE (WNE) – A man who excessively spanked his two stepdaughters and isolated them from friends and family was sentenced Thursday in Laramie County District Court.

Joshua D. Bliesner, 31, pleaded guilty without a plea agreement to two charges of physical child abuse and two charges of mental child abuse.

District Judge Peter H. Froelicher sentenced him to a total of 10 years probation, with no contact permitted with the two victims. He has an underlying sentence of five to seven years in prison for each count of physical child abuse and three to five years for each count of mental child abuse. The latter also was suspended in lieu of probation.

The two victims, an 11-year-old and a 13-year-old, read their victim impact statements to the court at the sentencing hearing.

The 13-year-old said Bliesner used spanking as a punishment, but in her mind, the punishment didn’t fit the crime. She detailed how Bliesner threw out all her belongings and made her sleep on the cold, downstairs living room floor.

Shortly after, her 11-year-old sister joined her in this punishment. The two detailed how Bliesner knew how to make spankings hurt the most, and they would have bruises and welts all over their bodies.

At sentencing, Bliesner said he hopes for reunification with the two girls and to apologize for what he did to them. But the girls expressed that they don’t want anything to do with him.

The 13-year-old victim said, “I hate him. I fear him. I’ve dreamed of me getting my revenge and nightmares of what he did to me.”

Rawlins Police Department now offers text 911 service

RAWLINS (WNE) – Carbon County residents needing emergency services are now able to text their situation to dispatchers at the Rawlins Police Department, according to a RPD press release.

The RPD announced that it is now offering Text-to-911 services for Carbon County through the newest technology. Implementation for Verizon Wireless, Union Wireless and Sprint was completed on Friday. T-Mobile and AT&T customers should expect implementation in the near future.

Text-to-911 is intended primarily for use in specific emergency scenarios:

• For an individual who is speech, or hearing, impaired.

• For a person who is unable to call 911 due to a medical emergency that renders them unable to speak.

• In the event of a crime such as a home invasion where speaking might give away the location of a person hiding, or in an abduction situation; or,

• In domestic violence situations where it’s not safe to make a voice call.

When determining whether to make voice call or send a text keep the following in mind:

• Callers should text 911 only when calling is not an option.

• Texting is not always instantaneous, which means it may take slightly longer to dispatch emergency services in a text-to-911 situation.

• Providing location information and nature of the emergency in the first text message is imperative, since the Rawlins Police Department Communications Center may not receive location information and will not be able to speak with the person sending the text.

• Text abbreviations or slang should never be used so that the message is as clear as possible.

Albany County GOP chairman suspended from practicing law

LARAMIE (WNE) — Laramie attorney Michael Pearce, the chairman of the Albany County Republican Party, has been suspended from practicing law for one year.

The Wyoming Supreme Court ordered the suspension Wednesday after Pearce was found to have, among other things, misled one of his clients.

“I regret these circumstances and I’m making every effort to make this right,” Pearce told the Laramie Boomerang on Thursday.

The suspension came after Pearce, in two separate court cases, failed to meet court deadlines and failed to comply with court rules and orders in both cases.

Alongside his suspension, Pearce has also been ordered to pay $1,600 in fees by Jan. 1.

The Wyoming State Bar’s Board of Professional Responsibility recommended the suspension July 30 after finding “clear and convincing evidence of a pattern of neglect with respect to client matters.”

Pearce was able to escape disbarment, which is the “presumptive sanction” for making misleading statements, the board’s report states.

According to a report from that board, an unnamed district court judge in one case submitted a complaint, as did one client in another case.

Pearce’s “failure to exercise competence and diligence in representing a client in a personal injury matter resulted in the client’s case being dismissed with prejudice,” the Board of Professional Responsibility found.

In another case, a judge issued a written reprimand for “numerous violations” of the state’s rules regarding “standards of professional behavior.”

Pearce’s one-year suspension goes into effect Aug. 22.

The Board of Professional Responsibility’s report states “the sole mitigating factor” for Pearce’s misconduct was “certain personal or emotional problems” that are not detailed in the report.

Teton County trash soars, smashing decade-old record

JACKSON (WNE) — In July, after years of gradually building back to pre-recession trash levels, Teton County broke the 2008 record for the most waste generated in a single month.

Jackson Hole citizens outdid themselves, disposing of nearly 3,760 tons, a whopping 15% increase over 2018 and a few thousand pounds above the previous high-garbage mark.

“When I got my numbers for the month of July, I sort of saw that and went, ‘Wow, that’s a big number,’” said Caroline Sheahan, financial accountant with Teton County Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling. “It just popped out at me.”

She dug through data from the past few years and found nothing even close to last month’s trash load.

Next in line was August 2017, the month of the solar eclipse that drew even larger hordes of tourists than usual, at 3,360 tons. To understand the significance of that extra 400 tons, imagine a herd of 400 well-fed bison.

And the month of July altogether? It’s enough to bury Town Square 16 feet deep in refuse. (All the trash of 2018 would tower 134 feet over the square, putting to shame even the fairgrounds snow mound of this past winter.)

One major culprit of the sudden influx of garbage is construction and demolition waste. That category — the floors, walls, carpets and other debris from scrapped homes and buildings — rose nearly 60%, or about 330 tons, this year.

Pinedale assault case sent back to Circuit Court on lesser charge

PINEDALE (WNE) – The second-degree sexual assault charge against a man accused of causing a woman’s allergies to have intercourse with her was dismissed at his Ninth District Court arraignment on Thursday.

Sublette County Attorney Mike Crosson filed a motion to dismiss that charge against Leonard R. Handy, of Pinedale, and also to reduce the felony charge of aggravated assault and battery to the misdemeanor of reckless endangerment.

Crosson requested the charges’ dismissal and reduction after “information was brought to (his) attention by law enforcement.”

A woman had reported that on June 8 and June 9, Handy had allegedly exposed her to a substance that caused very serious respiratory distress and then allegedly took advantage of her illness.

Crosson’s motion did not describe the newly received information that brought about the reduction and dismissal of the felony charges.

Handy could have faced up to 30 years in prison and fines of $20,000.

District Judge Marv Tyler reduced Handy’s cash-only bond from $50,000 to $2,000 with the order that Handy have no contact with the victim.

He remanded the case with the alleged single misdemeanor charge back to continue in Sublette County Circuit Court, effective Thursday.