Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

Wyoming News Briefs NOVEMBER 14

Woman charged with attempted murder in husband’s shooting

GILLETTE (WNE) — The woman accused of shooting her husband Monday morning had allegedly pointed the same gun at him four days earlier after he told her that he was ending their relationship.

Paulette Iliff, 54, is charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated assault and battery. She made her initial appearance in Circuit Court on Wednesday morning, where Circuit Judge Paul S. Phillips set her bond at $500,000 cash only.

Iliff reportedly pointed a .45-caliber Ruger handgun at him about 7 a.m. Monday and said, “’till death do us part,” before firing the gun, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case.

The bullet entered Robert Iliff’s chest and exited near his left armpit. He drove himself to Campbell County Memorial Hospital, where he was treated.

Robert Iliff, 62, reportedly told her Nov. 6 that he was ending their 30-plus year relationship because he was tired of the continual problems and that he was interested in another woman, according to the affidavit. After arguing, they separated for the evening.

The next morning, he was awakened by Paulette, who was standing in his bedroom pointing a .45-caliber Ruger at him. She said she was going to kill him and then herself, according to the affidavit.

He convinced her not to fire the handgun, but was unable to convince her to hand over the gun to him. She went into the garage and he went to work.


Nebraska man fined $21,000 in poaching case

BUFFALO (WNE) — A Nebraska man will pay $21,000 in fines and forfeit his hunting and fishing privileges for two years in 48 states after pleading guilty to poaching.

Mark Miller of Broomfield, Nebraska pleaded guilty to accessory to taking a big game animal without a license and two counts of accessory to transfer of a big game license for illegally harvesting three bull elk south of Buffalo.

On Oct. 7 4th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Shelley Cundiff approved the conditions of a plea agreement reached between the Johnson County Attorney’s Office and Miller. Miller agreed to pay $21,000 in fines and lost his hunting and fishing privileges in Wyoming, Nebraska and 46 other Wildlife Violator Compact states for two years.

The case began in January 2019 when Buffalo Game Warden Jim Seeman received information from another Game and Fish employee about discrepancies in records that indicated a possible hunting violation had occurred in September 2018. Seeman learned that a bull elk had been brought to a taxidermist and tagged with a license that belonged to an individual who did not have an archery license. In addition to an elk license, an archery license is required for hunting during the September special archery season.

Seeman ran additional checks and found that the license came back as a “party” application of a family, Mark Miller and three of his children. Records indicated that not only Miller, but the other three license holders had all harvested bull elk, supposedly on the same weekend in September, though the animals were delivered for taxidermy work on different dates.


NE Wyo judges try to secure another judge

SUNDANCE (WNE) — Crook County’s three District Court judges are doing the work of four people, according to the latest workload assessment from the Wyoming Supreme Court. One of those three, Honorable Michael N. Deegan, updated the county commissioners last week on “an effort we’re undertaking to secure a fourth district court judge”.

According to the workload assessment, Judges Deegan, John R. Perry and Thomas W. Rumpke have undertaken the workload of 4.16 people over the last year. The majority of this, said Deegan, was in Campbell County, which is causing longer wait times in Crook and Weston, the other two counties included in the district.

The workload assessment shows that the three judges dealt with a total of 1864 filings in 2019 from Campbell County but just 165 from Crook County and 205 from Weston County. Of a total workload of 328,821 minutes, 276.879 were dedicated to Campbell County.

In summary, an estimated 83 percent of the district’s workload is centered in Campbell County, Judge Deegan said. Each of the three judges tries to visit Crook and Weston Counties once per month.

“Having a fourth judge, even with the smaller amount of work we do in Crook and Weston Counties, I think would alleviate the wait,” he said.

Deegan asked for support from the commission, explaining that the proposal is in its early stages and will ultimately be the decision of the Wyoming Legislature.

The Crook County Commissioners agreed to send a letter to the state legislature in support of the proposal for a fourth judge.


Cody’s meth house case nearing close

CODY (WNE) — More than two years after Cody police raided a home filled with filth and children living in the presence of meth and squalor, that case is approaching an end in the court system.

The most recently sentenced was Travis Tunget, who in October avoided jail time when he was sentenced to five years supervised probation and $3,200 in fines and other court fees.

Since he was arrested in September 2017, Tunget has not failed a drug test, besides a self-reported instance of drinking alcohol.

Furthermore,Tunget has already been on supervised probation in Colorado due to a confidential case involving his ex-wife, so that he can maintain custody of his children.

“I want to do everything I can for my kids,” he said.

Despite being charged for permitting children in the presence of meth, Tunget said it was not his and he has been almost completely sober for seven years. He pleaded no contest to the charge.

That meth belonged to Jacqueline Wilcott, the mother of one of his children, who was sentenced to 3-5 years in prison last December. She appealed that decision with the Wyoming Supreme Court immediately after, but withdrew her case in March.

Mark Moore, Nikisha Grandpre, Kyle Catanzarite and Ed Hume Sr. have all been sentenced to varying terms of supervised probation in the past year for their connection to the house.


Business trailblazers inducted into Hall of Fame

CHEYENNE (WNE) — As three business leaders were inducted into the Wyoming Business Hall of Fame for their lasting contributions to the state, humility was the common theme. Each recipient of the award has humbly helped make Wyoming a thriving place to do business, get an education and build a meaningful life.

“This award has been going since 2013, and recognizes business and industry leaders that are really exceptional in their fields,” said David Sprott, dean of the University of Wyoming’s College of Business.

Howard Woody, Neil “Mick” McMurry and Kelly Lockhart were inducted to the hall of fame during the Governor’s Business Forum banquet Wednesday night for exemplifying traits like courageous thinking and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Woody transformed a local telephone company into a multi-million-dollar regional landline network. McMurry helped develop two of the largest domestic natural gas fields and used his successes to develop the McMurry Foundation, which has made significant contributions to UW through the years. And Lockhart created the first investment management office in Jackson and has been recognized multiple times as the top financial advisor in the state.

Howard Woody and McMurry were both recognized in the Legacy category for “making historic and significant long-term contributions to the business community.”


West seeks permit for 70,000-square-foot meditation space

POWELL (WNE) — Assuming he can secure the blessing of the Park County government, Kanye West plans to build a more than 70,000-square-foot “meditation space” on his ranch south of Cody.

Last month, West’s representatives submitted an application to build a doughnut-shaped structure out of compacted earth and a concrete shell. Entering the space will involve passing through an entrance tube into a saucer-shaped area that’s mostly open to the sky.

The roughly 43-foot high by 287-foot wide space “is to be used for meditation,” owner’s representative John Skolnick wrote on West’s behalf. Point Architects of Cody, which is also assisting with the project, told county officials it will be a private area for personal use.

“We consider that [personal use] to be available for family and friends, but not commercial [use], not for the public,” said Park County planner Kim Dillivan. “It’s going to be a structure for meditation.”

Because the project is larger than 10,000 square feet, West needs a special use permit from the county before moving forward with construction of the actual structure.

To get the permit, county regulations say West’s representatives will ultimately need to show that the project is “in harmony and compatible with surrounding land uses and with the neighborhood” while not creating a “substantial adverse impact on adjacent properties.”


‘Longmire’ author to host Longmire Days

BUFFALO (WNE) — For seven years, the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce organized and hosted Longmire Days.

That will all change in 2020. Longmire author Craig Johnson and his wife, Judy, will organize and execute the four-day event privately.

Jennifer McCormick is the former director of marketing and programs for the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce. She helped organize and execute Longmire Days for five years and will assist the Johnsons in planning for the 2020 event.

“It has gotten so big; it really needs its own staff,” McCormick said. “The chamber is just so busy with all the other things that they do. They do a lot in the community, and they do a lot for local businesses. It (Longmire Days) just needs its own foundation and its own staff, and I’ll be helping Craig and Judy with that.”

According to McCormick, she has become acquainted with many people over the years who are willing to volunteer their time and skills to keep the event running smoothly. The event will be operated by a local and out-of-state volunteer staff of approximately 200 to 250 people, McCormick said.

Longmire Days brings approximately 10,000 fans to Buffalo and Johnson County and they spend about $2 million each year. That provides Buffalo businesses with a major financial boost, with some reporting up to 300% increases in business, according to McCormick.