Wyoming News Exchange newspapers 

NEWS BRIEFS for Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023


February 16, 2023

Average gasoline prices down 3.5 cents per gallon in Wyoming

CHEYENNE (WNE) — Average gasoline prices in Wyoming have fallen 3.5 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.37 per gallon on Monday, according to GasBuddy.com’s survey of 494 stations in Wyoming.

Prices in Wyoming are 25.9 cents per gallon higher than a month ago, and stand 2.8 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has fallen 7.3 cents in the last week and stands at $4.53 per gallon, the lowest level since March 5, 2022.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the lowest price in the state on Sunday was $2.58 per gallon, while the highest was $3.99, a difference of $1.41 per gallon.

The national average price of gasoline has fallen 7.3 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.37 on Monday. The national average is up 10.9 cents per gallon from a month ago, and stands 10.2 cents per gallon lower than a year ago, according to GasBuddy data.

The data is compiled from more than 11 million weekly price reports covering over 150,000 U.S. gas stations.

This story was published on Feb. 15, 2023.

Sheridan City Council to determine tobacco possession enforcement for minors

SHERIDAN (WNE) — Sheridan City Council will decide whether to adopt an ordinance that would punish the possession of tobacco and electronic cigarettes by minors.

City attorney Brendon Kerns presented a potential ordinance that, if adopted by the city, could rectify a reported significant increase in vaping at Sheridan County School District 2 schools. This ordinance would replace one that was repealed in 2015, according to Kerns.

“2015, the city did have one tiny possession of tobacco ordinance that was repealed,” he said. “At that point in time, the maximum fine was $750 and six months probation.”

Wyoming Statute 14-3-205 currently makes tobacco possession by minors illegal. According to a memo submitted by Kerns, the statute does not require the defendant to appear in court. There is a $25 fine associated with the law and it does not allow heightened punishment for repeat offenders.

Kerns didn’t mention what consequences minors currently receive in Sheridan and was unavailable for further comment.

The proposed ordinance laid out definitions for tobacco products and electronic cigarettes and provided tiered fine and sentencing structures for subsequent offenses.

First-time offenders could face a fine of up to $100. A second offense could be punished by a fine of up to $200 and six months probation. Third offenses could be fined up to $300 and face six months of probation.

Councilor Shawn Day said he supports the tiered system.

“I do think this ordinance needs some attention,” he said. “I think (the tiers are) a good step in the right direction.”

Councilors are expected to revisit the topics discussed at the regular Feb. 20 Sheridan City Council meeting.

This story was published on Feb. 13, 2023.

Wyoming 511 travel website sees more than 2 billion hits in 2022

CHEYENNE (WNE) — The Wyoming Department of Transportation’s 511 travel website, wyoroad.info, registered about 2.2 billion site visits in 2022.

“This is by far the most hits in a calendar year since the department started tracking them,” Vince Garcia, program manager for the Global Information Systems/Intelligent Transportation System program at WYDOT, said in a news release.

The website shows both forecasted and realtime weather-related road impacts, as well as data directly from WYDOT weather sensors, plow operators and Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers, all combined into one convenient tool for travelers.

The top visited pages within the site in 2022 were the Closures and Advisories page, followed closely by the Interstate 80 web cameras.

This story was published on Feb. 15, 2023.


Missing romance novelist no longer in Jackson, police say

JACKSON (WNE) —After “Cocker Brothers” author Faleena Hopkins, 52, was arrested by park rangers in January, family, friends and fellow authors are stumped about what prompted the uncharacteristic behavior and where the romance novelist is now.

Hopkins, noted by park officials and jail records as a Washington resident, was arrested Jan. 27 after a 24-mile high-speed chase that began when National Park Service rangers saw her parked in the road at Jackson Lake Junction in Grand Teton National Park. A short while earlier she had been cited by a Yellowstone ranger for driving in a closed area beyond Flagg Ranch.

Friends and family registered Hopkins as a missing person through the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, saying that after she was released from Teton County Jail at noon on Jan. 30, she hadn’t been seen or heard from.

According to Lt. Russ Ruschill of the Jackson Police Department, Hopkins boarded a flight to Salt Lake City the afternoon she was released from jail. Ruschill said officers contacted the Salt Lake City airport, where staff confirmed that Hopkins exited the aircraft in Utah that evening.

Ruschill said Hopkins left her vehicle, a red 2020 Kia Soul, and her dog here in Jackson. He and friends of Hopkins said she doesn’t have a history of substance or alcohol abuse or chronic mental health problems.

In court records no questions regarding Hopkins’ mental fitness or competency have been raised, nor DUI charges pressed to suggest that she was under the influence of substances at the time of the incident.

“We have no leads as to her current whereabouts after Salt Lake City,” Ruschill said Tuesday, adding that the police do not suspect foul play.

As of press time, family and friends are still looking for Hopkins. She is due to appear via Zoom in federal court at 10 a.m. Feb. 28 for an arraignment.

This story was published on Feb. 15, 2023.



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