Wyoming News Briefs NOVEMBER 8
November 7, 2019
Man accused of assaulting person with machete deemed competent
CHEYENNE – A man accused of attacking a person with a machete has been deemed competent to stand trial, it was announced Thursday morning in Laramie County District Court.
Lamont Dion Walker has been charged with aggravated assault and battery with bodily injury with a deadly weapon. At his arraignment on June 20, he entered a plea of not guilty by way of mental illness.
Walker’s defense attorney raised no objections to the competency ruling at his status hearing.
According to court documents:
Walker said he struck the victim with the machete because of “reports of dead bodies being dumped at Walmart,” and he was protecting himself.
On the night of the incident, Walker allegedly got out of his semitruck, struck the victim — whom he called the devil — on the arm. The incident occurred Feb. 5 on North Industrial Road.
The victim was able to run away and call police. Witnesses at the scene were able to verify the victim’s claims. When officers arrived on scene, the victim had a long red mark on the arm from being hit with the machete.
Western Wyoming Community College ranked No. 1 most affordable college for associate degree
ROCK SPRINGS — Western Wyoming Community College was ranked the No. 1 most affordable school in Wyoming and most affordable college for an associate degree by Affordable Schools. It considers multiple factors in its methodology for determining ranking.
Student faculty ratio is considered. WWCC has small class sizes with a 13:1 ratio. Western’s faculty are known for its dedication to students.
Graduation rates are key in determining ranking. Although not always true, most students who are satisfied with their studies are likely to remain enrolled and graduate with a degree. High graduation rates often indicate a solid academic experience, according to a press release. Western’s graduation rate is 37% which is considerably higher than the national average.
Affordable Schools also looks at the cost of attendance. While cost is a major decision making factor for any student, it is important to consider the quality of education received for the price. Western is an award-winning institution, consistently ranked in the top three – even at national levels.
“With national debt in the trillions, Western is a high-quality and affordable solution. Whether students are looking to transfer, graduate with an associate’s degree, or certificate, students are accomplishing their goals without breaking the bank,” WWCC Director of Student Marketing and Communications Kimberly Emerson said in a press release.
For more information on applying to Western and financial aid, contact Mustang Central at 307-382-1677.
Woman arrested after speedy chase through Shoshoni
RIVERTON — A Casper woman was arrested Monday evening in Fremont County after a high-speed chase through the town of Shoshoni.
No one was injured in the incident, but Mary Brewer, 31, of Casper, was arrested for fleeing or attempting to elude, reckless driving, driving while under the influence, and speeding.
Fremont County undersheriff Mike Hutchison said Brewer had been the subject of a drunken driving report Monday evening.
“Someone had called in and complained (about) a black passenger car traveling at an estimated 120 mph … on Wyoming Highway 789 just north of Riverton,” Hutchison said Tuesday.
Later, he said, Brewer pulled her Hyundai into the parking lot of the B & K Shoreline Stop west of Shoshoni.
A deputy arrived there soon afterward looking for her, but witnesses at the scene said she had just left the area headed toward Shoshoni. They also said she had driven through a highway right-of-way fence.
The deputy “caught up to her fairly quickly,” Hutchison said, and “she took off and accelerated” to almost 115 mph. Her speeds were varying, Hutchison said, but he wasn’t sure how fast she was going when she entered the town of Shoshoni.
The chase continued outside of Shoshoni for about four more miles before Brewer finally stopped, Hutchison said.
“Luckily it didn’t end in a crash,” he added.
EMIT Technologies in Sheridan cuts 24 employees
SHERIDAN — EMIT Technologies cut 24 people from its staff Thursday, citing market pressures as the primary reason for the layoffs.
“This decision was not easy, nor taken lightly. We appreciate the work our employees have done, and we wish them well in their future endeavors,” EMIT Director of Public Relations Michelle Butler said in an emailed statement Thursday afternoon.
Butler said over the last four months, several of EMIT’s customers have had more than a 40 percent decline in production.
“Unfortunately, these challenging industry conditions beyond our control have forced us to make some tough decisions,” Butler said. “We believe these steps, while difficult, are necessary to better align our operations moving forward.
“We are currently supporting and continuing to explore other opportunities to leverage our manufacturing capabilities outside of these industry cycles,” she continued. “We are optimistic that expanding our business into other markets will support future growth and stability.”
Before the cuts occurred, EMIT Technologies had 130 employees.
Lyman middle school presents program on hazards of vaping
LYMAN — The Uinta County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition partnered with RN Matt Horton to prepare an assembly for Mountain View Middle School on the hazards of vaping on Wednesday, Oct. 30.
Using an online system called Kahoot!, Horton prepared an interactive presentation to share information with the students and allowed them to remain engaged with the discussion by using their cell phones or other devices to answer questions about vaping.
The students responded and stayed present throughout the presentation by choosing their own responses to multiple choice questions on subjects like what they believed vape juice contained or if breathing in expelled smoke could be considered second hand smoke. Horton then shared the answers with the group after they provided their thoughts.
“Overall, it went better than I had expected,” Horton told the Bridger Valley Pioneer. “The kids were interactive, energetic, and had some great responses to all my questions.”
The coalition and Horton provided take home literature on vaping for the students as well which shared statistics on Uinta County.
An average of 20 percent of students in eighth, tenth and twelfth grade reported to have vaped within the last 30 days. In a poll done within the high schools, it was determined that 21 percent of high school students believe that there is no risk from vaping daily or nearly every day.
Man faces felony for Jackson Town Hall death threat
JACKSON — A Jackson contractor who threatened a town employee Tuesday faces a felony charge of terroristic threatening and a misdemeanor charge of disruptive conduct within governmental facilities.
Paul Rivers, 67, a longtime resident and contractor, walked into the Jackson Police Department just after 10 a.m. Tuesday and said, “You better get a cop up to the planning department because someone is about to die,” according to Lt. Roger Schultz. The planning department is just upstairs from the police department in Town Hall.
Officers detained Rivers almost immediately, after which he admitted to making the threat and was arrested.
Rivers, who is in custody in the Teton County Jail, appeared via Skype for his arraignment Wednesday. Circuit Court Judge James Radda scheduled his preliminary hearing for 10:15 a.m. on Dec. 12 and set bail at $5,000.
“Paul Rivers is a longtime resident of the valley, over 40 years,” said his attorney, Bill Fix. “He owns a home and runs a business. ... I don’t believe him to be a flight risk in the slightest.”
Among the other conditions of his bail, Rivers must not enter Town Hall or contact the town employee he allegedly threatened.
Fix said the incident “arises out of a dispute over an ongoing construction project,” which means Rivers’ company will need to continue working with town officials. But Fix said Rivers will be absent at inspections and that his employees can attend any necessary meetings at Town Hall on his behalf.
The maximum penalty for the felony charge is three years in jail and a fine of $10,000, and for the misdemeanor charge 60 days in jail and a fine of $750.