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Wyoming News Briefs OCTOBER 8

Wyoming violent crime down 17 percent

GILLETTE (WNE) — Violent crime in Wyoming dropped about 17 percent between 2016 and 2018.

The reduction in Wyoming is consistent with a nationwide decrease in violent crime that has been occurring since 2017, said U.S. Attorney Mark A. Klaassen. Nationwide, there was a 3.9 percent drop in violent crime in 2018.

The Uniform Crime Reporting Index for Wyoming is compiled by the FBI.

Violent crimes include homicide, rape, aggravated assault and robbery.

“This decrease in violent crimes is a direct result of the hard work and dedication of our local, state, federal and tribal law enforcement across the State of Wyoming," Klaassen said.

Law enforcement agencies throughout Wyoming submit reports on offenses, arrests, clearances, and other supplemental information to the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation. Those reports are processed and a yearly report is sent to the FBI for compilation and analysis.

During the two-year period, homicides in Wyoming dropped from 19 in 2016 to 14 in 2018. During the same time aggravated assaults dropped from 952 to 722 and robbery went down from 57 to 43.


Bear River man killed in accident

EVANSTON (WNE) — A 31-year-old Bear River man was killed Friday afternoon when the car he was driving was T-boned by a pickup truck on Wyoming Highway 89 in Bear River. Skylar Kauffman was pronounced dead at the scene after firefighters, EMTs and members of the Wyoming Highway Patrol and Uinta County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call around 3:20 p.m. on Oct. 4.

WHP Lt. Matt Arnell told the Herald Kaufmann was driving west on Appaloosa Drive when he slowed down but didn’t stop at the stop sign while driving a Pontiac Grand Prix and turned left onto Highway 89.

The pickup, a 2018 Chevrolet Silverado, was traveling northbound and crashed into Kaufmann’s driver’s side door. Both vehicles came to rest several feet off the highway across the street from the Bear River Town Hall.

Arnell said Kauffman was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision.

According to a WHP press release issued Monday, the driver of the pickup was 74-year-old Salt Lake City resident Robert J. Davis. Davis was wearing his seatbelt and sustained minor injuries. He was treated at the scene Friday.

Driver inattention on the part of Kauffman is being investigated as a possible contributing factor.


Grad school enrollment steady

LARAMIE (WNE) — Enrollment of graduate and professional students at the University of Wyoming stayed steady this fall after the school experienced a significant drop in 2018.

From the start of school in 2017 to the start of 2018’s academic year, enrollment of professional and graduate students on UW’s campus dropped 6%.

In the last year, however, the total number of those students has only dropped by 10 students, bringing the current total to 2,442 graduate and professional students, as of the 15th day of classes.

A strategic plan for the Office of Academic Affairs has set a goal of increasing UW’s graduate school attendance to 2,835 by 2022.

Last year, Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Education James Ahern told the Laramie Boomerang there are several factors that have led to a decline in graduate enrollment.

The prime draw for prospective graduate students is faculty conducting high-quality and well-known research, Ahern said. Some of that high-profile research has been lost in the last few years.

With budget cuts on the horizon in 2015, UW implemented early retirement programs that led to the departure of many full professors.

The recent graduate student numbers stand in contrast with the university’s undergraduate trends.

Both of UW ’s largest freshmen classes ever have come in the last two years. However, record numbers of graduates also means UW currently stands more than 1,000 students short of its overall enrollment goal of 13,500, which its five-year plan calls for UW to hit by 2022.


Three charged in meth case

RIVERTON (WNE) — An alleged trio of Billings, Montana, meth dealers were arrested in August, amid evidence that suggested that they were planning to sell large quantities of methamphetamine in Riverton.

Twenty-year-old Gabriel Brown and his 17-year-old girlfriend traveled to Riverton from Billings with 45- year-old Laura Castro and several grams of methamphetamine.

The trio fled Walmart in a white Chevy pickup truck before police arrived, but an RPD sergeant intercepted them just south of the big store, on North Federal Boulevard.

Castro, the girl, and Brown were sitting in the three front seats of the cab, with Castro driving.

An RPD officer at the scene discovered beer bottles, and because Brown and the girl were both under 21 years of age, the officer asked the occupants to exit the vehicle. He also searched it and discovered meth and marijuana – plus two pipes – in Brown’s bag, and several grams of meth in a purse belonging to Castro.

Brown told law enforcement that the trio came from Billings to Riverton to sell the meth because they could get twice as much money for it in Riverton.

Text records in Brown’s cell phone indicate that he was in contact with a friend through whom he’d hoped to “dump” large quantities of meth.

There also were texts between Brown and his girlfriend discussing how to divide and sell the drug.

Brown could face up to 47 years in prison and $65,000 in fines. Castro faces the same potential consequences, and both have been transferred to the felony-level Fremont County District Court for prosecution.


Wyoming Democrats set 2020 convention in Powell

POWELL (WNE) — The Wyoming Democratic Party selected Powell as the location for its 2020 convention, slated for June 6.

“We will be expecting anywhere from 200-400 people depending on which candidates are still in the running and how many delegates each have after the caucuses on April 4, 2020,” said Kelly Tamblyn, Park County Democratic Party chairwoman.

The convention will be held at Northwest College.

Tamblyn said the party chose Powell as the location for its bid “with hopes of highlighting the diversity of people, places, and daily living within just one corner of our vast state.”

“I am thrilled to share more of what Park County offers to people from all over Wyoming,” she said.

The Democratic State Central Committee voted on the location for the convention during an August meeting in Lander.

“Park County Democrats have done a remarkable job of building their party over the last several election cycles,” said Joe M. Barbuto, chairman of the Wyoming Democratic Party. “The unanimous decision of our central committee to hold our convention there in 2020 is certainly reflective of their hard work.”

He added that the party is “excited to be coming to the Big Horn Basin.”


Wyoming this Weekend, Oct. 11-13

By The Wyoming News Exchange

An opportunity to sample beers from Wyoming and Colorado leads this weekend’s list of activities in Wyoming.

The sixth annual Snowy Mountain Brewery Beerfest will be held Saturday at the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort.

Activities will begin with a golf tournament open to the public, followed at noon by the opening of the beerfest in the resort’s courtyard. More than a dozen vendors from Wyoming and Colorado are expected to attend to offer their beers and spirits.

Other events scheduled for the weekend include:

A 3-on-3 hockey tournament in Pinedale Friday through Sunday;

An “Artist-in-Residence” show at Sheridan’s Brinton Museum through the weekend;

The “Midnight West Fest” film festival in Cheyenne on Friday and Saturday;

A display of drawings and sketches by Wyoming artist Zachary Pullen at Sheridan’s Brinton Museum through the weekend, and

“Art for Art — An Art Immersion Experience and Auction” in Cheyenne on Saturday.

For more information about these and other events, please visit the Wyoming Tourism Division’s website at

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