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Wyoming News Briefs - Friday, Sept. 11

Eleven LCCC students have tested positive for COVID-19

CHEYENNE (WNE) – Eleven Laramie County Community College students have tested positive for COVID-19, and two of those students are exhibiting symptoms, according to college officials.

By direction of the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department, the college has placed 32 students in quarantine both on and off campus. There are no reported active cases among employees, but two employees are quarantining based on health department recommendations, according to a news release sent out Thursday.

“It was kind of inevitable, though we didn’t think it would come this quickly,” President Joe Schaffer told the LCCC Board of Trustees at a meeting Wednesday night. “As we are testing broadly and frequently, we are going to continue to pick these cases up.”

LCCC reopened for limited in-person instruction a couple of weeks ago, though most classes are being taught online. Everyone who comes on campus, however, must wear masks and adhere to social distancing protocols outlined by the college.

“We tested a handful of people who were most likely to be impacted (last) Thursday, and then made the decision to test everybody (last) Friday,” Schaffer said. Last Friday, the college reported two positive cases, but has since tested more than 200 students living in the residence halls.

Schaffer said the college will continue to test “broadly and frequently” to identify additional cases and intends to retest all students living on campus again late next week.

“From there, hopefully we’ll just go into surveillance testing, where we just test a portion of students to try to catch these asymptomatic individuals.”


Fremont County Treasurer announces resignation

RIVERTON (WNE) – Fremont County Treasurer Tom Majdic intends to resign from his post.

Majdic became treasurer after winning the Republican nomination in the 2018 primary election, defeating Jim Anderson. The vote split was 3,969 to 3,483 in Majdic’s favor. Anderson now is Majdic’s deputy county treasurer.

County officials said Majdic’s decision to resign emerged via an e-mail Tuesday evening, but the exact reason for the move was unknown.

“I have no idea,” said Fremont County Commission Chairman Travis Becker when asked Wednesday why Majdic was resigning.

Majdic did not respond to requests for comment by press time Wednesday afternoon.

The commission has not yet acted on the resignation, which Majdic intends to be effective Sept. 30. After that, the Fremont County Republican Party would conduct a caucus to nominate three new contenders for the spot. The Fremont County Commission then would appoint the new treasurer out of the three.

Fremont County Republican Party chairwoman Pepper Ottman said the process is new to her, as it’s the first resignation in her four-year tenure as the party’s leader.


Evanston outfitter arrested for head-butting game warden

EVANSTON (WNE) — An Evanston outfitter was arrested last week after he allegedly assaulted a peace officer over a years-long trespassing dispute.

Dustin Lym, 41, who owns and operates Big Rack Outfitters, was arrested by the Uinta County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, Sept. 3.

According to the arrest report, Lym leases land from the Martin Ranch north of Evanston. Lym told deputy Cameron Winberg that someone had shot a deer about 150 yards into the private property, so he called Nick Roberts, Evanston’s game warden for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD), to investigate.

Lym told Winberg, according to the report, that he “had been fighting with Warden Roberts for several years over this same issue and it is now starting to mess with his livelihood.”

Shortly after Roberts dealt with the trespassers, a fiery exchange occurred between him and Lym.

“Dustin and Warden Roberts began arguing; it got really heated and they were in each other’s face,” Winberg wrote. “At some point, Dustin’s and Warden Roberts’ heads collided with one another.”

Lym had been drinking, he told Winberg, and his blood-alcohol content was .048, according to the report.

“I advised Dustin I believed he lost his temper and, combined with drinking, that I did believe he used his head to hit Warden Roberts and that he (Roberts) is an officer in uniform; therefore, he is under arrest for assaulting a peace officer,” Winberg wrote.

Lym was taken to the Uinta County Detention Center without further incident.

He is charged with one count of interference with a peace officer causing bodily injury — a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.


COVID-19 cluster linked to Douglas bar

DOUGLAS (WNE) — Converse County Emergency Management (CCEM) released public information regarding a cluster of five positive coronavirus cases in Douglas on Sept. 9. The cluster of positive cases has been attributed to the Waterhole Bar, according to county officials.

“Converse County Public Health in conjunction with Converse County Emergency Management received notification of five lab-confirmed coronavirus cases Sept. 9,” the report states.

In addition to the five confirmed positive COVID-19 cases, one probable case and 18 additional individuals were quarantined in Converse County.

A situation of this nature is considered to be a cluster.

An outbreak is deemed a cluster when a contact investigation is completed and a single source for multiple cases is determined, according to the CCEM press release.

CCEM officials stated anyone at the Waterhole Bar since Sept. 1 and has symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, sore throat, chills, body aches, headaches, diarrhea or any changes to their sense of taste or smell should be tested.


Eastern Wyoming College enrollment down for fall semester

TORRINGTON (WNE) — Uncertainty surrounding the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic is one probable factor that drove an overall decrease in enrollment for the fall 2020 semester at Eastern Wyoming College.

Heidi Edmunds, Ed.D., vice president for academic services, reported overall declines in enrollment hovering around the 9% range on both day-one and day-10 numbers to the Board of Trustees on Tuesday.

The greatest declines came in EWC outreach programs, providing college courses at remote sites and through high schools throughout its six-county coverage area in eastern Wyoming.

On the first day of classes, there were 33 fewer students this year than the same time a year ago enrolled in outreach classes through EWC, an almost 57% decline.

By the 10th day of classes, that number had increased to 39 fewer students in 2020, compared to 2019, or almost 62%, Edmunds reported.

The decrease in outreach students was probably made worse by a couple of factors directly related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, she said.

The outreach student count includes individuals enrolled in the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy, which is currently not holding classes, Edmunds said.

“Another contributing factor would be all the outreach sites were closed to the public” in the spring and summer, when the bulk of students consider signing up for classes, said Margaret Farley, Ed.D., Douglas campus vice president.

“Individuals we normally would have enrolled, access wasn’t granted” Farley said.

On the other side of the coin, the EWC campus in Douglas saw a bump in enrollment numbers, in part due to expansion of the gunsmithing program started last year, Edmunds and Farley said.