Wyoming News Briefs APRIL 29
April 23, 2020
Rawlins gas prices highest in state
RAWLINS (WNE) – Carbon County has some of the highest gas prices in Wyoming, according to price indexing websites, and some residents are starting to question why.
“The price of oil is down so far, and yet the price of gas in Rawlins does not reflect that,” Alice Garvin, 78, said. “Gas has been steadily going down since the pandemic started, and I don’t understand why we pay so much here.”
A Wyoming native, Garvin has resided in Rawlins all her life and said she can’t remember a time when the disparity in gas prices was so great.
“A friend of mine went to Laramie a few days ago,” Garvin recalled. “And, they said gas is cheaper there by $0.70 (a gallon).”
The gas price index listed on http://www.aaa.com indicates Wyoming’s average gas price as of Tuesday was about $1.91 a gallon; gas in Carbon County averaged about $2.13 a gallon — the highest in the state, with Uinta County coming in a close second at $2.11 a gallon. The national average was about $1.77 a gallon.
Albany County was tied with Natrona County for the lowest prices with an average of $1.64 a gallon, AAA reported.
Perkins Oil Company President Steve Perkins said there is no simple answer as to why Carbon County’s prices are higher. The company is one of six gasoline suppliers licensed to operate in the county, he said.
“A lot goes into to price philosophy, and it changes daily,” he said.
One major factor in pricing is the distance between a gas station and the midwestern United States, where gas supply is highest and prices are lowest. Another factor is gas taxes.
Wyoming Business Council to hold webinars this week on addressing new orders
AFTON (WNE) — To ensure clarity and answer questions regarding Gov. Gordon’s phased approach to easing restrictions and reopening businesses, the Wyoming Business Council will host six standalone webinar meetings at 8 a.m. and noon on Wednesday, April 29; Thursday, April 30; and Friday, May 1.
These webinars are designed to support business owners in industries such as restaurants, gyms, fitness centers, tattoo shops, cosmetology, barber shops, massage therapy and other personal-care services, but any business owner with questions or concerns is encouraged to participate.
Visit wyomingbusiness.org/transition for links to upcoming meetings and recordings of past sessions.
Gillette business owners help clean red off sidewalks
GILLETTE (WNE) – Everywhere people look around Gillette as the calendar prepares to flip into the month of May, they see red. Whether it’s a sidewalk, streets or piled up inches deep along curb, scoria used to treat winter roads is still a common scene around town.
With COVID-19 impacting almost all facets of life these days, scoria is no exception. The city of Gillette’s street sweeping service is on hold because of social distancing requirements associated with the virus.
Some people in Gillette are starting to do their part in cleaning up the unsightly mess as best they can, especially with spring in the air and no snow in sight.
The Railyard general manager Trey McConnell sent out a group text Saturday to every downtown Gillette business owner he had a number for, asking if they’d join him in a group effort to clean up the scoria around their businesses.
He said it didn’t take much convincing.
Surrounding businesses stood out on the sidewalks in front of their local establishments Monday morning with brooms in hand ready to join McConnell.
“We’re trying to get downtown cleaned up,” McConnell said. “We always talk about community, so we want to keep ours clean. We just want it to look nice.”
Some Grand Teton lodges will be closed for 2020
JACKSON (WNE) — Historic lodges in view of the Tetons and lakes nestled beneath the jagged range are among Grand Teton National Park offerings that will not open for the 2020 summer season.
Grand Teton Lodge Company announced Tuesday that Jenny Lake Lodge and Jackson Lake Lodge are not expected to open this year. Some of the concessionaires’ services in the park will start to boot up the second half of May, but many facilities’ opening dates have been pushed back or put off altogether.
“Unfortunately this summer will look very different than in years past, and we share the disappointment of our guests and employees, but prioritizing their health and safety remains our top priority,” Grand Teton Lodge Company Vice President Alex Klein wrote the News&Guide in an email. “For those who are not able to join us this year we hope to welcome you to the Tetons next summer.”
Teton park itself remains off-limits for now, joining most national parks that have closed entry gates temporarily to discourage travel and tourism amid the global pandemic. So far, park officials aren’t giving any hints about when the Moran, Moose and Granite Canyon gates might open.
But Grand Teton Lodge Company’s targeted dates may provide some insight into when the park will welcome tourists. The first place slated to open is the convenience store and gas station at Colter Bay Village, where the targeted opening is May 22, the Friday leading into Memorial Day weekend. The Gros Ventre Campground comes next, expected to open May 29.
Bill Store to close
DOUGLAS (WNE) — Mark Horning has been running the Bill Store for 17 years, struggling through the ups and downs of several energy busts and booms. He’s always been a survivor in his WYO 59 store located in one of the smallest towns in the state.
Over the years, Bill, Wyoming has been a thriving and growing community, an energy worker respite, a struggling unincorporated community with lots of vacant trailer spaces, and a daily stop for visitors and workers traveling from oil and gas fields and coal mines either south to Douglas or north to Wright and Gillette. The Bill Store has always been there to greet them.
Not for much longer. Horning’s store is going out of business, and his final sale began Monday – just days after the latest blow hit the area as two major coal companies announced 300 layoffs at three mines.
“I had to make the decision to close the doors,” Horning said. “We don’t have the customers and are liquidating everything.”
He said this round of layoffs comes when he was already struggling with keeping employees, retaining customers and watching those friends and customers who he’d see often stop driving WYO 59 to and from work.
Peabody’s North Antelope Rochelle Mine and the Navajo Transitional Energy Co.’s Antelope Mine north of Douglas were two of the hardest hit in the layoff announcement. The Powder River Basin’s coal workforce dramatically shrunk by about 6% last week with the layoffs.
Game and Fish Department adjusts rules on antler hunting
AFTON (WNE) — New regulations on shed antler and horn collection are now in effect. The updated regulation expands the seasonal closure area to include expanded critical wintering habitat and enact a new opening time of 12 noon on public lands. The annual closure is to protect wintering big game. The new regulation and map of the boundaries is available online. The 2020 shed season opens May 1 at 12 noon.
Since 2009, Wyoming has prohibited the collection of shed antlers and horns on public land, such as U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands and Wyoming Game and Fish Commission owned or administered lands west of the Continental Divide, excluding the Great Divide Basin, from Jan. 1 through April 30 of each year.
“In the winter, big game animals such as mule deer and elk use most of their energy just to survive,” said Rick King, chief game warden. “Limiting disturbance during this critical time of the year may help them hold on to more of their valuable reserves.”
In 2019, new legislation granted the Game and Fish Commission the authority to regulate shed gathering in expanded areas across the state.
“Extending the closed areas in southeast Wyoming will benefit mule deer on critical winter ranges in the Sheep Mountain and Platte Valley herds,” King said.