Wyoming News Briefs SEPTEMBER 5
September 5, 2019
Supreme Court: Facility not responsible for shooting
CHEYENNE (WNE) — The Wyoming Supreme Court has affirmed a decision by Laramie County District Court Judge Steven K. Sharpe that a senior living community wasn’t responsible for a fatal shooting that occurred at the complex.
The shooting at Heritage Court Apartments, owned by parent company Accessible Space Inc., occurred Sept. 14, 2016. Shooter Larry Rosenberg, 77, was a disgruntled resident who shot three people, killing employee Matthew Wilson, before shooting himself, according to previous Wyoming Tribune Eagle reporting.
Surviving victims Gregory Gilbert and Larry Warwick filed the original lawsuit in district court May 30, 2017.
Sharpe ruled that the complex had “no duty to protect the plaintiffs from Mr. Rosenberg’s unforeseeable criminal action.”
The Supreme Court examined two issues with the case: whether the complex owed a common law duty to protect the residents from Rosenberg’s criminal action and if the complex failed to comply with its lease requirements, resident handbook and personnel policies – thus causing the residents’ injuries.
In the decision released Tuesday, the Supreme Court found that a “legal duty may arise from a contract, a statute or the common law.” However, the plaintiffs “do not claim any statute imposed a duty upon (the complex) to protect them from Mr. Rosenberg’s action. They assert, instead, such duty arose from the common law and by contract through their leases, the resident handbook and the (complex’s) personnel policies.”
Agencies work to find insurance for Blackjewel workers
GILLETTE (WNE) — Two agencies have partnered to try to help Campbell County residents affected by the closure of two coal mines in Campbell County, particularly now that former Blackjewel employees have lost their health insurance.
Health insurance coverage for Blackjewel employees at the idled Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr coal mines ended Saturday.
In Campbell County, the Gillette Workforce Center and Enroll Wyoming are available to help workers impacted by the loss of coverage and their jobs, according to a press release from Gov. Mark Gordon.
A joint informational session between the department and Enroll Wyoming also is planned from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Gillette Workforce Center, 551 Running W Drive, Suite 100.
Gillette Workforce Center Manager Rick Mansheim estimated the department has helped more than 400 out-of-work Blackjewel workers since July 1 when it filed for bankruptcy.
“We’re still here, and we can still help,” Mansheim said. “We’re not seeing as many people as we did. But we’re still here and we are still available to help.”
Enroll Wyoming helps people in accessing the health insurance marketplace if they do not have coverage through their employer.
The Department of Workforce Services offers a range of services for displaced workers. Although the levels of assistance vary, the department can help those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own file for unemployment insurance benefits, find new employment and explore training opportunities.
Horse disease delays Powell rodeo
POWELL (WNE) — A Powell outbreak of vesicular stomatitis — a highly contagious disease that can afflict horses, livestock, wildlife and even humans — has led to the postponement of the Trapper Stampede Rodeo at Cody Stampede Park.
The Sept. 6-7 rodeo was set to kick off the 2019 Northwest College rodeo season and is a popular event in the Big Sky Region.
However, over the past week, there have been two confirmed cases of vesicular stomatitis (VS) in the Powell area. Test results are pending on a third reported case, Dr. Jim Logan, the Wyoming state veterinarian, said Wednesday.
Dr. Ray Acker with Bighorn Animal Care Center said in a Facebook post that there are several suspected cases in the area.
In consultation with local veterinarians, Northwest College rodeo coach Del Nose decided it was in the best interest of the Big Sky Region to reschedule the rodeo for Oct. 4-5.
“The virus is so contagious, and I couldn’t bring in 238 head of horses from Montana down here, knowing that they might get sick,” Nose said. “Once a horse is quarantined, it lasts for 14 days if they’ve been exposed.”
The disease is generally spread from nose-to-nose contact, shared water buckets and, primarily, biting black flies and midges after horses develop open sores, said Dr. Tony Scheiber, a member of and veterinarian for the Cody Stampede Board.
Fire in Shoshone National Forest tops 4,500 acres
CODY — A North Fork forest fire discovered Monday afternoon is continuing to burn with 4,581 acres covered with flames as of Wednesday morning.
What has been called the Fishhawk Fire – after the Fishhawk Trailhead near where it originated, 4 miles south of US 14-16-20 and about 40 miles west of Cody – is moving northeast.
After burning about 500 acres when initially discovered, that number increased to 2,000 acres by late Monday evening, and then doubled again by Tuesday afternoon, due to dry and windy conditions.
Currently, there are no direct fire suppression tactics being applied, but staff will continue to monitor the fire over the coming days. There are no structures at risk of being burned at this time.
“Appropriate actions will be taken when it is needed and where it is safe to do so with the highest probability of success,” said Giacoletto. “The amount of standing dead timber and the hazardous terrain in the vicinity of the fire makes it unsafe to put firefighters near the current location of the fire.”
Shoshone National Forest staff held a public meeting Tuesday at the Yellowstone Valley Inn west of Cody in front of more than 60 attendees, explaining current details of the fire mitigation.
Giacoletto said many signs point to the fire being started by lighting strike about six miles south of U.S. 14-16-20 West, but could not officially confirm this has the cause of spark. He said there are numerous “spot fires” that are combining to create the current blaze.
Wheatland schools first to offer maternity leave
WHEATLAND – Platte County School District No. 1 has just catapulted to a very desirable district to be employed by for incoming and resident educators. At the last school board meeting the board voted in a new policy – paid maternity leave.
As of now, Platte County is the only district in the state to offer paid leave for teachers to recover and bond with their newborns. Only a handful of states or cities currently offer it including Washington state, New Jersey and Delaware, as well as the District of Columbia and New York City.
“Six years ago, a lot of teachers in our district retired and there were lots of new teachers entering the district. Many of them have children and not much in the way of leave. Only nine days of paid leave,” explained longtime Wheatland High School teacher Susan Schomburg. “It’s 2019, women dominate the education field, why not be on the cutting edge of offering desirable benefits?”
Proponents to the policy met with the school attorney near the beginning of last year to start working on the details and negotiating with the district. Eligible employees must have been full-time employees for at least 90 days. Maternity/paternity leave may also be used for an adoption of a child under 18 years old. Employees may take up to twelve weeks of leave. Three weeks will be compensated at 100 percent of their regular, daily pay and an additional nine weeks of unpaid leave is available.