Wyoming news briefs for June 1

Gillette man charged with stalking in addition to kidnapping, battery

GILLETTE – A man who used different aliases on social media and asked people to contact his ex-girlfriend on his behalf has pleaded not guilty to felony stalking charges.

Jonathan R. Fishbeck, 29, remains in Campbell County jail.

The two had a falling out March 20, and when his former girlfriend tried to leave through the garage, Fishbeck allegedly forcibly restrained her and prevented her from leaving the house by grabbing her hair and pulling her back inside before throwing her into a nearby bathroom. That led to charges of kidnapping (confinement with the intent of inflicting injury or to terrorize) and domestic battery, a felony because he had two prior convictions for domestic battery in 2011.

He also pleaded not guilty to those charges at his May 25 arraignment.

Two days after the alleged domestic violence, the woman was granted a temporary protection order against him and he was served that order while in jail.

When he was released April 6, his bond conditions included a stipulation that he have no contact with the woman.

But the following day, he called her from an unknown number and talked to her for 10 minutes, according to an affidavit of probable cause. She recorded the call.

On April 13, a man identified as “Roy C” contacted her on her OnlyFans account, sending dozens of messages, including some encouraging her to contact Fishbeck and talk to him about what happened. He also sent pictures of the two of them together. Based on the way he was talking, she believed it was Fishbeck.

Police called the phone number "Roy C" provided to her and Fishbeck answered, according to the affidavit. 


Rain doesn't change drought status, concern about busy fire season remains

JACKSON – The end of May was rainy in Teton County, but that isn’t expected to change the federal drought forecast for the area and a potentially busy fire season.

“I’m still doing my rain dance,” said Jackson Hole Fire/EMS Chief Brady Hansen on Thursday. He said the rain the valley has received likely won’t move the needle on the drought forecast — and the associated fire risk.

MountainWeather meteorologist and Jackson Hole News&Guide columnist Jim Woodmencey told the Jackson Hole Daily that the valley has received 6.49 inches of precipitation in 2021, compared to the historic average total of 6.81 inches by the end of May.

Of that precipitation, 3.35 inches fell in May, which Woodmencey said made up for a dry March and April. The county is only .32 inches behind its “normal” precipitation amount.

However, the snow water equivalent for this time of year in the Snake River Basin is low: 63% of the median from 1981 to 2010.

The U.S. Drought Monitor’s map of Teton County, which used data through May 25, shows that Jackson Hole and the surrounding mountains are facing moderate and severe drought, categorized as D1 and D2 drought conditions, respectively.

About 78.68% of the valley is facing severe drought, or D2 conditions. 

Hansen said past years of D1 conditions have been fire-prone. That, he said, was setting him up for “a lot of concern.”

“The last time Teton County saw any D1- or D2-level drought declarations was in 2016. And that was the year of the Cliff Creek Fire, the Berry Fire and Lava Mountain Fire,” Hansen said. “Historically, when we do see those drought declarations, we’ll see fires that accompany those.”


Cheyenne Regional Medical Center’s $115 million renovation to begin

CHEYENNE — Renovations expected to cost about $115 million are slated to begin at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center this summer, with hospital officials looking to first improve their spaces for pregnant women seeking care. 

The construction project, which is set to be done in phases over the next 10 years, will begin with a remodel of the hospital’s fourth floor to establish a new mother-baby unit, along with a neonatal intensive care unit, according to Robin Roling, CRMC’s chief operating officer. 

“Once we transition the mother-baby unit onto the fourth floor, then we’re going to be taking the fifth floor, where our unit currently is, and repurposing all of that space, updating it, and that will become our ICU floor,” Roling said in an interview. This initial phase of the long-term plan is expected to cost about $10 million in CRMC’s construction budget, Roling said.

While construction was initially scheduled to begin last year, the COVID-19 pandemic paused those plans, and the remodeling of the two floors is now expected to begin in early July. 

The long-term plan will also include renovations to CRMC’s East Campus. 

“Health care is transitioning to more of an outpatient focus, so we really wanted to make sure that we were providing excellent spaces for both outpatient and inpatient services,” Roling said. 

After the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused hundreds of patients to seek care from CRMC, hospital officials have added plans to include additional isolation rooms, as well as additional capacity for negative pressure rooms that improve ventilation.