Wyoming news briefs for November 18

Sheridan County school districts no longer requiring masks

SHERIDAN — All three school districts in Sheridan County will not require masks after two district boards voted to lift mask requirements Tuesday.

Sheridan County School District 2 Board of Trustees approved lifting the mask requirement, 7-1, during a special meeting Tuesday at noon. 

Sheridan County School District 1 Board of Trustees also lifted the district’s mask requirement Tuesday evening at its regularly scheduled board meeting after discussing the possibility during a study session Nov. 9.

The decision comes after a Zoom meeting with Sheridan County Health Official Dr. Ian Hunter, who noted drastically dropping COVID-19 numbers.

A strong recommendation for masks replaces the requirement for anyone entering district buildings for districts 1 and 2, joining Sheridan County School District 3, which has not required masks all school year.

Sheridan County remains in red on the COVID-19 matrix, but the low percentage of positive cases in relation to all COVID-19 tests administered, low numbers of children contracting the virus and availability of the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 and older all contributed to the decision.

SCSD2 trustees voted in a special meeting Aug. 30 to initially enact the mask requirement for Aug. 31, which was the first day of school for the district.

Sheridan County School District 2 Superintendent Scott Stults said in the Nov. 16 meeting the timing for instituting the mask requirement the day before school started was "far from ideal," but COVID-19 numbers increased drastically, resulting in trustees voting in mask requirements for school districts 1 and 2. According to Stults, Hunter said masking in school districts helped keep COVID-19 cases down in the community.


Washington man charged with possessing meth, marijuana

BUFFALO — Johnson County prosecutors charged Joey Schoo-Garcia, of East Wenatchee, Washington, with two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one a felony punishable by a maximum of seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine and the other a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Schoo-Garcia waived his preliminary hearing on Nov. 1 and was bound over to the Fourth Judicial District Court.

According to court documents, Schoo-Garcia crashed his vehicle into the rear of another vehicle on Interstate 90 on Oct. 18. A Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper arrived at the scene and interviewed Schoo-Garcia. 

Dispatch informed the trooper that there was an active arrest warrant for Schoo-Garcia out of Washington. The trooper arrested him without incident, and Schoo-Garcia told the trooper that there was marijuana and methamphetamine in the vehicle.

The trooper found multiple containers of both marijuana and methamphetamine and determined that the methamphetamine weighed more than the 3 ounces required to charge Schoo-Garcia with a felony.

Schoo-Garcia is being held at the Johnson County Detention Center on a $15,000 cash bond.


First agreement reached in separation of Gillette, Sheridan colleges

SHERIDAN — Northern Wyoming Community College District Board of Trustees approved two significant action steps toward its separation from Gillette College during its regular meeting Tuesday night.

Trustees voted to approve a universal memorandum of understanding between NWCCD and Gillette Community College District as well as an agreement to transfer funds and debt to GCCD.

The documents were created by a joint transition team comprised of three trustees from each district and their respective college presidents. The MOU provides a framework to aid in the process of separation and outlines how agreements on topics such as indebtedness, insurance and employees, among other items, will be documented during the transition period.

As new agreements are reached, they will be added to the MOU and ratified by NWCCD and GCCD. The Wyoming Community College Commission will then review the agreements.

“This milestone is significant because we’re creating the structures that will help us move forward expeditiously but with proper consideration given to each item,” NWCCD President Walt Tribley said.

Trustees approved the first agreement Tuesday, which transfers the balance of funds given to NWCCD in support of Gillette College by the city of Gillette and Campbell County 1% funding ($271,818.02), the Campbell County Board of Cooperative Higher Education Services ($335,535.19), a bookstore fund balance ($65,070.99) and a state matching fund ($207,143) totaling $879,567.20.

“This money was earmarked to be used for Gillette College and gives GCCD the operating budget it needs to move forward with other necessary action steps in the process of becoming its own independent district, such as hiring employees,” Tribley said.

The approved agreement also transfers the debt on Inspiration Hall, the newest residence hall on the Gillette College campus.


Jackson finds new ways to go pink

JACKSON — Every time the new Snow King gondola makes its circuit this season, a pink cabin will crest the top of Town Hill.

The singular rose lift is a nod to breast cancer awareness and the work St. John’s Health does to detect, treat and support those who are impacted by the disease.

While this year’s breast cancer awareness month lacked some of the in-person ceremonies of previous “Light the Town Pink” events, St. John’s still ran an educational campaign and invited folks to selfie in from the pink light-wrapped antler arch on Town Square.

Beyond the fanfare, support from St. John’s Health Foundation and community donors allowed the Jackson hospital to purchase a second Hologic 3D mammography system to expand capacity for breast health screening.

“Doubling our capacity will help patients get scheduled sooner,” Tiffany Logan, the hospital’s diagnostic imaging director, said in a release. “Early detection means early treatment, and providing quick, easy access to appointments is part of our focus on caring for the community.”

This summer, the Jackson hospital added a mobile imaging unit to save cancer patients the commute to Salt Lake City or other out-of-state facilities.

St. John’s installed its first 3D mammography unit in 2016 and was able to perform 3,000 mammograms in its first year, according to an update by Dr. Haling.