Wyoming Briefs for August 3 2023


August 3, 2023

Alleged drunk driver causes two-hour power outage Sunday

CODY (WNE) — An allegedly intoxicated driver caused the city of Cody to lose power for about two hours on Sunday, July 30, after he crashed into a city utility pole on Stampede Avenue at approximately 10 p.m., according to a Cody Police Department press release.

Cody police officers initially responded to a report of a red Ford F-150 pickup truck that struck a fire hydrant before crashing into the utility pole.

Damage to the utility pole was “significant” and caused a “large portion” of the city to lose power for about two hours.

“An apparent trail of vehicle fluids leading away from the scene indicated the truck continued west down Stampede Avenue after leaving the scene of the crash,” the press release said.

About half an hour after the crash, a Park County Sheriff’s Deputy located the suspect and the vehicle near 8th Street and Skyline Drive.

“A subsequent investigation by Cody police officers indicated the driver was impaired, and he was placed under arrest for driving while under the influence of alcohol,” the press release said.

City of Cody electric workers were able to restore power a few hours after the crash, and they worked throughout the night to replace the damaged pole, according to the press release.

Steven Herbert Shobert, 48, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, leaving the scene of an accident, careless driving, destroying city property worth more than $1,000 and driving while under suspension.

This story was published on August 2, 2023.


Rare Element Resources gets demo plant permit

SUNDANCE (WNE) — Rare Element Resources has been granted a source materials license from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a “critical step” in moving ahead with the company’s planned demonstration plant in Upton, Weston County.

The processing and separation demonstration plant itself represents the next step of RER’s journey toward operating a rare earth mine and processing plant in northeast Wyoming, with the mine itself to be located in the Bear Lodge Mountains just outside Sundance.

The source materials license allows RER to make use of previously stockpiled material from the Bear Lodge Project in the operation of the demo plant. The plant will make use of an estimated 1000 tons of ore from the site, which will be transported to the plant’s location in Upton.

Extracting the rare earth elements from this ore will produce waste streams including thorium and uranium, which is why a source material license is required from the NRC. Under this license, RER will treat and stabilize the process wastes before sending them to a licensed low-level waste facility.

The NRC granted the license after performing a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) assessment and finding that the project will have “no significant impact.”

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will now perform its next stage approval process, which involves a mineral and environmental review.

“While the DOE undertakes its next steps, we are finalizing our work plan for the demonstration plant construction and operation as well as construction contractor selection. Construction of the demonstration plant could begin as early as November 2023,” said Brent Berg, President and CEO, in a press release.

This story was published on August 3, 2023.


Former Jackson woman pleads guilty after embezzlement

JACKSON (WNE) — A woman pleaded guilty to felony theft Tuesday in Teton County District Court after embezzling nearly $15,000 from a business last summer. She stated her reason for doing so was that she struggled to support multiple family members.

An agreement reached between the parties will give Shannon Hernandez, 51, three years of supervised probation. Hernandez has agreed to pay more than $14,400 in restitution to Teton Land Development after the company found payments she made to herself for two months in 2022.

The felony theft charge was filed April 20 in Teton County Circuit Court. The real estate developer had contacted the Teton County Sheriff’s Office and said that in October an employee tasked with overseeing the finances for the company realized that $14,401.60 was unaccounted for.

This person found that a former employee who served as financial controller from January to July 2022 had been writing herself checks and cashing them.

Court documents state that Hernandez left the company in a “very odd” way — without giving notice and leaving the same day, citing a family health emergency. She currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

When contacted by Deputy Chad Sachse in early January, Hernandez told him she felt her life was “out of control” because she was caring for an ailing father, as well as her mother and daughter.

Thomas Garlock, owner of Teton Land Development, told sheriff’s deputies that some time during Hernandez’s employment, she wrote herself a check and told her supervisor about it the following day, stating that she was having a financial issue at home and needed an “advance.” She was told to pay back the $5,000 in increments, as if it were a loan. That has not been paid back, according to court documents.

This story was published on August 2, 2023.


Corrections Department issues alert on inmate-related scam calls

CHEYENNE (WNE) — The Wyoming Department of Corrections has been made aware of a potential telephonic scam related to its inmates, offenders, correctional facilities and other associated agencies.

The department is aware of at least three families of WDOC offenders who have been approached, according to a news release.

In essence, a caller is contacting known associates of incarcerated/supervised individuals and requests money for an early release program.

This is not part of a legitimate WDOC program, and the department would never ask anyone for money.

The caller tends to relay information that seems legitimate, but it is not.“Please be cautious of calls of this nature and any disclosures you make,” the department said in the release.

If you receive a call of this nature, please report it to your local law enforcement agency.

This story was published on August 2, 2023.


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