Wyoming news briefs for November 2

After DUI arrest, man out as county Homeland Security director

POWELL — Less than a week after being arrested on allegations that he drove his work truck while drunk, Jack Tatum is out as Park County’s director of Homeland Security. 

Tatum’s last day on the job was Friday, said Park County Sheriff Scott Steward, who oversees the county’s Homeland Security office. 

Tatum had served as director since June 2019 and had previously received praise from the sheriff and others for his work in the role. However, on the night of Oct. 24, a citizen reported that a Park County Homeland Security truck was swerving all over U.S. Highway 20/26 west of Casper. 

Trooper Eric Sandstead of the Wyoming Highway Patrol found Tatum at the wheel and an open bottle of Smirnoff vodka near the driver’s seat. Tatum reportedly failed sobriety tests and two breath tests administered about an hour after the traffic stop pegged the 33-year-old’s blood alcohol content at 0.272 percent and 0.267 percent. That’s more than three times the 0.08-percent legal limit for driving. 

Tatum pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol in Natrona County Circuit Court on Oct. 25 and was released on bond pending further proceedings. 

He was subsequently suspended from his job. 

“Once we found out [about the arrest], he was immediately put on administrative leave and then we had to deal with it,” Steward said Monday. 


Arch reports show strong market for PRB coal

GILLETTE — Nine months into the year, the third quarter reports for Peabody Energy Corp. and Arch Resources Inc. suggest a strong market for thermal coal in the Powder River Basin as the rest of the year rounds out.

A significant increase in revenues in third quarter 2021 performance for Arch Resources Inc. over the same three-month window last year in part spurred a $89.1 million net income for the quarter. Last year, the company ended its third quarter 2020 with a net loss of $191.5 million, according to its third quarter earnings report released last week.

Arch continued with the acceleration of its Powder River Basin reclamation plan while continuing to “harvest cash” from its existing thermal assets in the area. The $58 million grossed from its third quarter thermal operations is a greater than 40-percent increase from the second quarter, according to the report.

“We continue to maintain tight capital discipline in our legacy thermal segment and to work to reduce our long-term closure obligations in a systematic and measured way,” said Paul Lang, Arch’s chief executive officer and president. “While we do that, we are simultaneously continuing to move aggressively to capture the still-significant value of these high-quality assets in an increasingly tight market environment.”

The 19 million tons of thermal coal Arch sold from July through September is about a 25-percent increase from its second quarter haul, as well as a 25-percent increase from its third quarter results in 2020.

Peabody saw a similarly strong quarter of production in its Powder River Basin operations.


State library makes teen e-books available

CHEYENNE — The Wyoming State Library has made it possible for educators, parents and public librarians to access two new online resources in GoWYLD.net to promote the love of reading and learning – TumbleBooks and TeenBookCloud.

TumblebookLibrary contains curated collections of e-books and e-audiobooks in multiple formats, including animated, talking picture books, read-along chapter books, National Geographic videos, nonfiction books, playlists, graphic novels and more. This content is available for streaming only and is not downloadable.

TeenBookCloud is an online database of e-books and educator resources for middle school and high school students. They offer a robust selection of graphic novels, enhanced novels, e-books, classic literature, National Geographic videos, educator resources and e-audiobooks.

“We’re excited to provide these always-available e-books for K-12 students,” said Jamie Markus, Wyoming State Librarian, in a news release. “They’re a fantastic resource, and just like the other GoWYLD.net resources, they’re available statewide to anyone with a Wyoming library card.”

Those interested in using TumbleBooks and TeenBookCloud can go to GoWYLD.net and search databases by title or find both in the Digital Library link.

The Wyoming State Library purchased Tumblebooks and TeenBookCloud with American Rescue Plan Act funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. These two resources will be made available to Wyoming residents through Sept. 30, 2022.