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Wyoming News Briefs OCTOBER 18

Black bear euthanized in Story

SHERIDAN (WNE) — An adult male black bear was euthanized by Game and Fish personnel in Story after it broke into a secured shed near a residence.

Game and Fish received a report from a Story resident on Oct. 11 that his shed had been broken into and damaged the previous night, with the carcass of his harvested deer drug away. Suspecting a black bear, Game and Fish personnel set a trap for the bear that evening.

When personnel later checked the trap, they discovered the bear had an ear tag, identifying it as a bear that was previously caught for nuisance behavior on June 12, 2018.

The bear was trapped and relocated to the head of Columbus Creek in the Sawmill Flats area of the northern Bighorns, more than 30 linear miles from Big Horn.

Because the bear had previous history of accessing food rewards near humans and because in this second situation it escalated its behavior and became more aggressive in its attempt to get food, the decision was made to euthanize it.

“We really need the public’s help to secure human-provided food rewards and prevent bear conflicts in the first place,” said Sheridan Wildlife Biologist Tim Thomas. “Once a bear receives food while near humans or residences, the chances are low that the bear will have no further conflicts with humans.”

Bears will be active for several more weeks before going into dens for the winter. During this time, they are seeking out food resources to increase their body weight in preparation for hibernation.


Riverton attorney claims allergic reaction caused defendant to be a danger

RIVERTON (WNE) — Sheldon Buckingham is still incarcerated on a $250,000 bond, a fact which his defense counsel argued against Wednesday during Buckingham’s arraignment under Fremont County District Court Judge Marvin Tyler.

Buckingham is charged with eight separate counts related to an Aug. 9 incident in which he is alleged to have kicked open the door of Chemo Carrillo’s residence in Riverton and pointed an AR-15 at Shai Becker – Buckingham's ex-wife, who was also there. Buckingham allegedly pointed the rifle at Carrillo as well and, upon exiting the residence, fired at least 13 rounds into Becker’s Dodge Charger.

Buckingham was out on bond at the time for a reported July 23 attack on Carrillo.

Buckingham has pleaded “not guilty” to all counts.

Since Buckingham was under the influence of the select serotonin reuptake inhibitor Paxil at the time of both incidents, his attorney, H. Michael Bennett, argued that Buckingham had an allergic reaction to the drug which caused him to be a danger at that time, though he is not dangerous by nature.

Bennett referred to a report by George Glass, a doctor in Texas, suggesting that Buckingham was among a small percentage of people who are allergic to Paxil and similar drugs and develop adverse psychological reactions to them.

He added that, absent the influence of Paxil, Buckingham would not be harmful to his ex-wife, or Carrillo, or the general public.

“There is a disconnect between someone who never broke the law and the charges you have before you today,” Bennett said.

Before his July altercation with Carrillo, Buckingham’s only priors were speeding tickets. If convicted on all counts and sentenced to maximum penalties, Buckingham could spend up to 76 years in prison.


Gillette man admits taking $230,000 from man's trust

GILLETTE (WNE) — Sentencing has been set for Nov. 26 for a former Campbell County man who pleaded guilty to stealing about $230,000 from an elderly man who entrusted him to take care of his ranch.

Harvey Bethea, 52, pleaded guilty to five counts of exploitation of a vulnerable adult as part of a plea agreement in which five other counts of exploitation were dismissed. He agreed to pay $231,255 in restitution to the estate of his victim.

Exploitation of a vulnerable adult carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

He was accused of stealing the money from Donny York, 84, between April 2016 and April 2017.

In April 2016, York was declared incompetent at the request of Bethea who, at the time, was York’s ranch manager. Bethea then assumed control over York’s finances, overseeing his bank accounts and trust, according to court documents.

York was in a nursing home in Sundance when Bethea was managing his finances and appeared unaware of the alleged theft.

Bethea admitted at his change of plea hearing that what he had done was wrong.

He admitted spending money in various ways to help his girlfriend and her family to pay for livestock that was never bought, for a down payment on a motorized roping machine, a laptop and medical bills.

According to the agreement, some of that money will be repaid as monies due to him under a martial settlement with his ex-wife.

Earlier court documents said that Bethea boasted to his girlfriend that he had “millions of dollars” and bought her several items using York’s money in an attempt to “buy her affection,” according to court documents.


Pinedale approves two ordinances addressing vaping

PINEDALE (WNE) – Despite concerns from three Pinedale Town Council members, two ordinances addressing the vaping “epidemic” moved through second reading during the Oct. 14 regular meeting.

Janna Lee, nurse manager for Sublette County Public Health, thanked the council for being proactive and taking the lead in banning the sale of flavored tobacco and nicotine. However, when the ordinance came up, several council members put on the brakes. John Paravicini said he didn’t support the ordinance banning flavors because it did nothing to stop the problem while restricting the rights of Pinedale residents and the profitability of Pinedale businesses.

The products will remain available outside the town’s limits, he said.

Mayor Matt Murdock defended the ordinance.

“If I have to lose my privilege here and protect over there, I will,” he said.

“I don’t think this is going to slow it down,” Paravicini said.

“Do we have the right to limit people’s rights?” councilwoman Judi Boyce said. “We’re putting more government in our lives in a really bad way.”

She added the ban was putting businesses in Pinedale at a competitive disadvantage

when others in the county continue to sell without paying a licensing fee.

“Businesses in Boulder will get a piece of that and Jackson and others,” Boyce said. Town Attorney Ed Wood recommended tabling the ordinance on second reading until the full council could give it consideration.

Instead, they passed the ordinance on second reading after Boyce added wording to include tobacco and nicotine.

Paravicini supported the licensing fee to sell nicotine and said that is similar to a liquor license. That ordinance passed second reading unanimously.


Freak hammock accident in Grand Teton injures Florida man

JACKSON (WNE) — A man and his girlfriend were enjoying a relaxing hang in their hammock Wednesday afternoon when the tree they were dangling from snapped.

Hanging above a rock field at Surprise Lake, when the tree broke they fell onto the rocks. The tree knocked Preston Reidy, 24, of Florida, unconscious.

There’s no cellphone signal in that area of Grand Teton National Park, but a separate party came upon the accident and ran about 100 yards to where they were able to call for help.

As Reidy regained consciousness, he began having seizures, witnesses said. He has no history of seizures, first responders said, so they think it was related to the head injury.

Search and Rescue personnel and Grand Teton National Park rangers responded at 3:45 p.m.

This is normally a gap month for search and rescue’s contract helicopter, but because of a successful fundraising season the nonprofit was able to get the helicopter in service a month early.

Reidy was short-hauled to the Jenny Lake Ranger cache, then taken by park ambulance to St. John’s Medical Center. He was disoriented, Lockhart said, and didn’t know where he was or what had happened. He also lost hearing in one ear but eventually regained it.

Reidy’s hiking partner walked out with a search and rescue member.

The mission concluded around 8 p.m.

Reidy was treated at St. John’s emergency room and released Wednesday night, the hospital’s chief communications officer, Karen Connelly, said.

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