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Wyoming News Briefs Aug. 19

Company seeks permits for new soda ash plant

GREEN RIVER (WNE) — A new soda ash plant might be in the cards for Green River’s future, bringing with it jobs and other benefits at a time when economic uncertainty is prevalent throughout the state.

Jim Zimmerman, the code enforcement specialist for the county’s land use department, said a company called Pacific Soda and American Soda has started the permitting process with the county.

“They contacted us, they want to start (the process,)” Zimmerman said.

Little information is available about the proposed plant and online searches for the company’s name did not yield a web page or company information. Zimmerman said the company is looking at land south of Green River and intend to build a rail spur at the proposed facility. Zimmerman also said the company intends to use a solution mining process.

He said the proposal will have to go through both the Bureau of Land Management’s permitting process and the Industrial Siting Council with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.

Industrial projects with a projected cost of at least $222 million must go through the Industrial Siting Council before being approved. It would also mean the city and other local governmental entities could apply for impact funding to accommodate for additional needs during construction.

“This would be a real coup for Green River if it goes through,” Zimmerman said.


Skunks in Campbell County test positive for rabies

GILLETTE (WNE) — Two skunks in Campbell County have tested positive for rabies in the month of August, bringing the county’s total to nine positive rabies cases since January, said William Laegreid, veterinarian and director of the Wyoming State Veterinary Lab in Laramie.

All of the positive cases this year have been found in skunks. “They’re the sentinel animal, meaning they are the ones running around showing us, ‘Hey, rabies is in our area,’” said veterinarian Darren Lynde, senior partner at the Animal Medical Center of Wyoming.

Bats are the other main source of positive rabies cases in the state, Laegreid said.

“In over 30 years here, this is probably one of the highest levels we’ve seen it in skunks here in decades,” Lynde said. “That is a reminder to us that these are the guys running around biting horses and people have no idea that their horse got bit by a skunk.”

Lynde also said that skunks coming into contact with dogs and cats is worrisome since a rabid skunk exhibits strange behaviors like being active during the daytime. Since skunks are nocturnal, seeing one active during the day is a sign to steer clear of it. Laegreid mentioned skunks being active during the daytime as a warning sign as well.

Laegreid said that there have been roughly 40 tests for rabies conducted by his lab, and that so far for the year, there have been around 450 tests. In a typical year, Laegreid said the lab conducts between 600-700 rabies tests, so this is “pretty much an average year.”


Saratoga mayor resigns

RAWLINS (WNE) — John Zeiger, mayor of Saratoga, resigned suddenly for personal reasons, according to a statement he made on Facebook recently.

Zeiger has been Saratoga’s Mayor since 2004 except for one term.

“The first 10 years that I served as Mayor I was guilty of putting the town before family,” he stated online. “It is time to redeem myself. (I) get a second chance by focusing on the upcoming arrival… of our first grandson in October… It is time to refocus my priorities not only for my family but for myself as well.”

Zeiger was elected to his most recent term as mayor under a campaign promise to find where the town’s large financial reserves had gone under the single term of the Eddie Glode administration.

This two-year search for the missing funds has turned into accusations of mismanagement, theft and malfeasance aimed at Mayor Zeiger and his administration.

No mention of these problems was included in the resignation posting.


Gillette man killed in motorcycle accident

GILLETTE (WNE) — Jeffrey LeGrand, a 58-year-old Gillette man, died in a motorcycle accident Monday night near Cam-plex, Police Lt. Brent Wasson said.

LeGrand was riding alongside a 34-year-old man, who was found to be under the influence of alcohol and was arrested for drunken driving and driving under suspension, Wasson said.

The police department, Campbell County Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department all responded to the scene near the intersection of South Garner Lake Road and Boxelder Road where the 58-year-old man was found hurt.

LeGrand sustained head trauma, which was fatal, as well as other injuries, said Campbell County Coroner Paul Wallem.

His blood is being sent in for toxicology testing, Wallem said.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, Wasson said Tuesday morning.