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Wyoming News Briefs

Man arrested for drugged driving, meth possession tried to destroy evidence

 GILLETTE (WNE) — A 42-year-old man was arrested on a number of charges, including felony possession of meth and drugged driving, Saturday night.

He was driving a white 2022 Ram and was stopped at 12th Street and Gurley Avenue after running through two stop signs. Officers could smell burnt marijuana in the truck. The man was extremely nervous and had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes, said Police Sgt. Dean Welch.

The man, identified as Steven Everts, stepped out and was asked to empty his pockets. Officers watched him try to hide an unknown object, Welch said. As they reached for this object, which turned out to be a plastic bag, Everts held it over his head and tore it open.

He tried to pull away when officers grabbed him, and he was taken to the ground and continued to resist. 

The bag contained 3.7 grams of meth. In the truck, officers found 1.75 grams of marijuana, another 2 grams of meth, glass pipes for meth and weed, a digital scale and an open bottle of Fireball whiskey, Welch said.

Everts was arrested for driving under the influence of a controlled substance, interference, felony possession of meth, possession of marijuana, open container and a stop sign violation. 

 Northwest lags behind rest of state in precipitation

 POWELL (WNE) — The state’s snow/water equivalent average is 111% of median with a high of 146% — a dramatic improvement over one and year year-to-date readings, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s survey. 

However, the northwest part of the state is lagging behind with current sub-100% of median readings. 

“Last year the state was at 91%, and at 91% in 2021,” said Jeff Goats, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

The Yellowstone Basin is at 93%, which is up slightly from last year, but lower than most areas reporting in the state. The Shoshone Basin is currently at 91%. 

Again, the measurement is up from this time last year, but is currently the second lowest percentage in the state, with the South Platte Basin being the only lower at 75%. 

Even at 75%, the South Platte Basin’s percentage is currently significantly higher than this time last year. 

The Big Horn Basin is below the current average, but at 103%. 

At this time last year, the basin was at 87%. 

The weighted state average is figured using the area of basins in square miles. The reference period for computing medians is the 30-year period 1991 through 2020. 

March is traditionally one of the heaviest snowfall months in northwest Wyoming.

Former News Record editor’s new novel hits shelves

GILLETTE (WNE) — Former News Record editor Ron Franscell’s latest novel will be available for sale next week.

“Deaf Row,” a crime mystery and psychological thriller forged from the early, isolated dates of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be released Feb. 14.

The novel, published by Colorado’s WildBlue Press, follows a retired big-city homicide detective, Woodrow “Mountain” Bell, who finds himself in a small Colorado mountain town and wrapped up in an unsolved child murder.

“He’s drawn into the macabre mystery when he realizes the killer might still be near,” according to a WildBlue Press release. “Without help from ambivalent local cops, Bell must overcome the obstacles of time, age, a lack of police resources and his own personal flaws by calling upon the unique skills of the end-of-the-road codgers he meets for coffee every morning — a club of old guys who call themselves Deaf Row. Soon, this motley crew finds itself on a collision course with a serial butcher.”

Beyond its suspenseful crime tale, the novel also tells the story of pain and regret — of men pushing back against time and death to avoid their own disappearances.

Franscell was the editor and publisher of the News Record from 1989 through 2000 and currently resides in Placitas, New Mexico. He has authored 19 books, including international true-crime stories “The Darkest night” and “Shadow Man: An Elusive Killer and the Birth of FBI Profiling.”

His debut novel, “Angel Fire,” was a USA Today bestselling literary novel and was listed by the San Francisco Chronicle among the 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century West.

WHP safely locates female involved in a multi-state domestic disturbance

ROCK SPRINGS (WNE) — On February 4, 2023, at approximately 12:46 p.m., Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers were dispatched to a possible domestic disturbance in the area of Bitter Creek Rest Area within Sweetwater County. 

The reporting party believed the driver of a grey Volvo semi-tractor trailer was dealing with a domestic disturbance with her ex-boyfriend.

WHP Troopers located the vehicle parked within the eastbound Bitter Creek Rest Area on Interstate 80. As the occupants were interviewed, it was learned that the male was not supposed to be in the commercial truck.

The female driver told troopers that her ex-boyfriend had entered her vehicle without her knowledge in California. She said he had physically and sexually abused her in the truck over the past several days while she was transporting the commercial cargo. 

She also stated he stabbed her in the leg.

The man initially gave false information about his name to conceal his identity. Identified as Alejandro Delgado, a resident of California, he had an active warrant for his arrest out of California.

Delgado was arrested and booked into the Sweetwater County Detention Center on charges including parole violation and felony interference with a peace officer.

An investigation is ongoing. 

Police: dead, starving animals lead to Riverton arrest

LANDER (WNE) — When officers arrived, they saw ten to 20 dead animals, with scores more thin and emaciated without food or water, and a horse that needed immediate medical attention. 

Water tubs were frozen over, and when Lt. Sarah Trehearne and Veterinarian Gunda Gamble provided clean tubs and fresh water, the animals immediately began drinking.

Trehearne also discovered the animals had no food. 

According to the affidavit filed against Riverton resident Kathy Wright over the animal cruelty case, law enforcement had received many calls reporting animal abuse and neglect at the David’s Way property, and in the past, with continued police monitoring, the animals’ care had improved. 

But this time, when Fremont County Deputy Sara Lowe and later Fremont County Lieutenant Trehearne attempted to contact Wright there on December 7, 2022, they found dead goats in pens, the sick horse, extremely thin sheep and goats housed in “deplorable conditions” and horses whose ribs were visible from starvation. 

When law enforcement officials first arrived on December 7, they were able to contact Wright via phone, who said she had been planning on picking up more hay for the animals. 

The next morning, Trehearne made arrangements to house the animals, and a plan was made to seize them and get them needed medical care. 

On December 12, charges of animal cruelty were filed against Wright, and she was arrested the following day. 

She originally faced two counts, later amended to ten. Animal cruelty is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of six months of imprisonment and a $750 fine per charge. Wright pleaded not guilty to the allegations at an earlier court appearance, and a March 1 scheduling conference was set to schedule a trial in the case. 

Romance novelist involved in Park chase now a missing person

JACKSON (WNE) — A romance novelist who was arrested after fleeing from officers in Grand Teton National Park has been reported missing by friends and family since Jan. 30.

Faleena Hopkins, 52, was arrested Jan. 27 after National Park Service officers saw her parked in the road at Jackson Lake Junction. She led them on a 24-mile high-speed chase that forced officers to deploy spike strips to deflate her tires.

A friend of Hopkins reached out to the Jackson Hole Daily by email Friday, saying Hopkins had been missing for ten days.

Hopkins, a well-known author of a series of self-published “Cocker Brother” romance novels, is listed on the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation’s Missing Persons page.

Among Hopkins’ federal charges from Jan. 27 include stopping or parking on the roadway, operating in excess of the posted speed limit and fleeing or attempting to elude police.

In the court documents, Hopkins listed “Jackson, 83001” as her address, despite the jail roster and park officials identifying her as a resident of Seattle, Washington.

The DCI’s missing person profile said Hopkins was last seen in Jackson on Jan. 30, the same day Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Kelly Rankin released Hopkins from Teton County jail.

“She is a white female, approximately 5’7”, 135 pounds, with green eyes and blond hair,” the webpage said. “Faleena has an infinity symbol on her left wrist, ‘Follow All Instincts’ on her right wrist, a lion face on her left shoulder and a hummingbird on her right ankle.”

Anyone with information or contact with Hopkins has been asked to contact the Jackson Police Department at (307) 733-1430 or the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation at (307) 777-7181.

Webinar to offer tips on attracting workforce older than 50

 SHERIDAN (WNE) — With current unemployment rates hovering at historic lows, finding skilled, reliable workers can be challenging for companies looking to grow and thrive. AARP Wyoming is offering a webinar on attracting and retaining the age 50 and older worker.

The webinar will take place at 9 a.m. March 22 and is free, but registration is required. The webinar is a joint effort between AARP Wyoming, the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services and the Wyoming Business Alliance to help unlock a segment of the Wyoming workforce that returns to jobs at lower rates than other demographics.

“Employers across Wyoming need experienced and reliable employees,” Wyoming Department of Workforce Services Robin Sessions Cooley said. “Learning how to tap into this growing demographic will benefit both new and existing businesses around the state.”

Beyond the value of experience, older workers bring professionalism, interdisciplinary skills and a steadiness that can complement the attributes of younger team members, a press release stated.

Webinar attendees will gain insight on:

• How to leverage work experience to solve staffing challenges, mentor the next generation of leaders and build an age-inclusive, multigenerational workforce that positively impacts your bottom line.

• How to attract workers 50 and older as the skilled labor shortage continues.

• How to make your company welcoming to 50+ employees and more diverse and inclusive.

• Evidence-based research on what 50+ workers want and need from their job to feel valued.

• Benefits to your company of hiring 50+ workers

You must be signed in to your account or create an account to register. AARP membership is not required. Do not opt out of event-related emails, as you will be emailed a link to join the class via Zoom before the event.

Contact AARP Wyoming at [email protected] for more information.

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