Wyoming News Briefs May 19, 2023


May 18, 2023

Cheyenne population estimates show shift of residents from city to county

CHEYENNE (WNE) - Although Wyoming's largest city lost population between 2021 and 2022, rural Laramie County gained nearly as many residents as Cheyenne lost.

Cheyenne's population dropped by 456 people between July 1, 2021, and July 1, 2022, according to recent population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

However, Laramie County as a whole gained residents, Wenlin Liu, chief economist with the State of Wyoming Economic Analysis Division, said in an interview with the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on Thursday.

"People left and moved just outside of the city. The balance of Laramie County actually increased by 405 people," he explained. "That is consistent with trends. Many people moved away from metro centers, but many of them moved into suburbs of that metro city."

The migration pattern in Wyoming is consistent with nationwide trends following the COVID-19 pandemic, Liu said, where people shifted to less-populated and lower-cost areas.

Both Casper and Cheyenne, the largest cities in Wyoming, lost population from 2021 to 2022.

However, two-thirds of the 30 "large" cities and towns in Wyoming of more than 2,000 people added residents.

For cities and towns with a population of over 2,000, Mills demonstrated the fastest annual growth at 4.4%, followed by Star Valley Ranch at 3.3%. Gillette grew by 277 residents, and Sheridan grew by 195 residents during the one-year period.

The state's most populous city, Cheyenne, lost the most residents, at 456. Casper lost 220 residents, and Rock Springs lost 135. Jackson lost 171 residents, and Rawlins declined by 101.

Wyoming's total population grew by 1,898, or 0.3%, from 2021 to 2022.

This story was published on May 19, 2023.


Hate crime ordinance passes second reading; final reading scheduled in June

GILLETTE (WNE) - A proposed hate crime ordinance passed its second reading Tuesday night on a 4-3 vote by the Gillette City Council.

It will now move on to a third and final reading, which will take place at the city council's next meeting on June 6.

The votes remained unchanged from the first reading.

Mayor Shay Lundvall said the city will stand against hate, regardless of whether the ordinance is passed.

"There's not a single one of us up here that doesn't want a good healthy community," he said. "What I struggle with a lot is layering the law that's already existing."

Councilman Jim West, who supports the ordinance, said he's heard from residents that it is doing nothing more than dividing the community.

"Our community's already divided," he said. "This is just making us have a conversation about it, making people talk to each other and ask tough questions."

Dozens of people took advantage of the public comment period at the end of the meeting, following the vote on the ordinance.

Karin Ebertz said a community's strength is in its diversity, and over the last 40 years, Gillette has shown that it values diversity.

Sen. Troy McKeown, on the other hand, said "diversity and division are the same thing," and Mike Morgan, who's lived in Wyoming for more than 20 years after spending his first three decades in California, said more diversity leads to more hate.

Kim Mather, a local business owner, said he moved to Gillette from California two years ago to get away from liberal policies, and that it's "disturbing to see we're in fact contemplating some of the same stuff" as California.

This story was published on May 17, 2023.


Black Hills Energy seeks increase in residential natural gas rates

CHEYENNE (WNE) - Black Hills Wyoming Gas, doing business as Black Hills Energy, has filed a rate review application with the Wyoming Public Service Commission seeking an increase in base rates of $19.3 million to recover the necessary capital infrastructure and operational costs required to enable safe, reliable natural gas service for customers in Wyoming.

If approved as proposed, new rates would be implemented during the first quarter of 2024, with residential customers with an average usage seeing an increase of approximately $6.74 per month and small general customers with an average usage seeing an increase of approximately $13.70 per month.

Black Hills Energy spends millions of dollars each year to safely operate, maintain and update more than 6,400 miles of natural gas system infrastructure, which provides critical and reliable energy to over 133,000 households and businesses in 56 communities across the state, the utility said in a news release.

Since its last rate review in 2019, the company has completed more than $140 million in system safety, integrity and reliability projects for its natural gas utility system in Wyoming.

Learn more at blackhillsenergy.com/reliableWY.

This story was published on May 19, 2023.


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