Wyoming news briefs for June 28


Man sentenced to probation in child abuse case

CHEYENNE — A man accused of beating his son while drunk received probation Monday in Laramie County District Court. 

Michael Joseph White pleaded guilty in March to felony child abuse with physical injury as part of a stipulated plea agreement. 

Laramie County District Judge Steven Sharpe followed the sentencing recommendation laid out in the agreement, giving White three years of supervised probation, with a suspended prison sentence of three to five years. 

White was originally charged with three counts of felony child abuse with physical injury, two of which were dismissed by the state. 

The agreement took into consideration inpatient alcohol treatment and aftercare sought out and completed by White after the incident. His attorney, Robert Moxley, said White had been sober for a year. 

On June 19, 2020, a Cheyenne police officer responded to a domestic disturbance related to an intoxicated father assaulting his son. 

The boy had several abrasions on his chest, neck, shoulders, face and back consistent with a physical altercation, according to court documents. 

During an interview with a police detective, the boy said he had been strangled, thrown into a metal bed frame and repeatedly hit and kicked by his father. Two younger siblings witnessed the attack, one of whom called 911, according to court documents.

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Gillette fireworks canceled because of dry conditions

GILLETTE — This year’s Fourth of July fireworks display at Cam-plex has been canceled.

For the last few weeks, the status of the event had been up in the air because of the hot, dry and windy conditions.

The Campbell County Fire Department and Campbell County Parks and Recreation came to a joint decision Friday morning to cancel the event “after carefully evaluating every possible scenario for safety reasons due to the hot, dry weather,” according to a press release.

Parks and Recreation Executive Director Dwayne Dillinger said the decision came down to the Fire Department not being able to guarantee it could have enough firefighters to man a crew at Cam-plex during the fireworks display.

Even though Gillette has received some moisture the last couple of days, the forecast has temperatures going back into the mid-90s next week through the Fourth, Dillinger said.

All other community events to celebrate the holiday, including the pancake feed, parade and activities at Bicentennial Park, will go on as planned.

307 Patriots had planned activities at Morningside Park leading up to the fireworks display. Recreation Superintendent Adam Gibson said the group still plans on having those activities from 6-9 p.m. on the Fourth of July. It includes Fun on the Go and Gillette Main Street, as well as food vendors, face painting and other activities.

It is the first time since 2016 that the fireworks display was canceled.

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Man asks why he hasn’t been arrested — gets arrested

GILLETTE — A Gillette man got what he asked for Thursday night when he was arrested by Campbell County Sheriff's Office deputies.

The man, 62, called the Sheriff's Office at about 9:30 p.m. to ask why deputies hadn’t arrested him yet, said Undersheriff Quentin Reynolds. He said deputies had raided his house Wednesday, and he had been waiting all day Thursday for them to return and arrest him.

When asked what he should be arrested for, he said he should be arrested for meth use.

Reynolds said that deputies in fact had not raided the man’s house and were not planning on arresting him for any crime. While speaking with a dispatcher, the man also said 10 young guys were following him.

The man left from his house in a white GMC truck and drove south on Highway 14-16. A deputy passed him about 1 mile south of the Buckskin coal mine, Reynolds said.

When the deputy passed him, the man turned off into a power unit substation, which led the deputy to turn around and initiate a traffic stop.

The man told the deputy he’d used meth a day and a half before and was still high. He performed poorly on sobriety tests and was arrested for driving under the influence of a controlled substance.

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Rock Springs airport gets grant for modernization

ROCK SPRINGS — The Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport has been awarded more than $8.4 million in funding for its Commercial Terminal Modernization Project, and construction is set to begin in July. 

The $8,406,667 in funding will come from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Wyoming Business Council (WBC) and Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT). The three grants were recently approved by the airport’s governing body, the Rock Springs-Sweetwater County Airport Board, and represent the first installment of grant funds towards the $19.51 million project.

Construction is slated to begin in July 2021 and continue through the end of 2022, according to Devon Brubaker, airport director. The airport will remain open throughout construction with the airport and its construction team, T-O Engineers, Mead & Hunt, and Sletten Construction, working on detailed phasing planes to ensure minimal impacts to the travelling public. 

The Commercial Terminal Modernization Project will include the expansion and renovation of the existing commercial airline terminal. Ultimately, the terminal will double in size from its current 17,000-square-foot footprint. 

The look and feel of the terminal will be drastically altered to improve passenger comfort, amenities, and processing, Brubaker said. Enhancements will include: increased checkpoint and hold room space; a modern baggage claim area; public airfield observation area; hold room concessions; passenger boarding bridge; and modernized security equipment. This first round of grant funding includes $4,906,667 in FAA Airport Improvement Program funding, $3,000,000 in WBC Business Ready Communities funding, and $500,000 in WYDOT Aeronautics funding.

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