Wyoming news briefs for October 18


Vaccination numbers plateau

CASPER — The number of Wyoming residents seeking COVID-19 vaccines has again plateaued. In the last two weeks, just under 4,600 people sought a first dose, and 576 sought the one-dose Janssen shot. 

Those numbers are roughly the same as they were in the previous two-week period. 

The shift is a turn from August, when nearly double that number of people were seeking initial vaccine doses in Wyoming.
The plateau persists despite a new advertisement campaign from the Wyoming Department of Health, and pleadings from local health officials including Natrona County Health Officer Dr. Mark Dowell, who has stressed the strain the illness among the unvaccinated has put on Wyoming hospitals.
The Wyoming Department of Health earlier this month launched a new public information campaign with a focus on real stories from residents who regretted not getting their shots earlier. 

“We almost lost a really strong guy, he’s retired law enforcement. He was on a ventilator with a feeding tube,” a man in physician’s attire and a mask tells the camera in one of the advertisements. “He now believes and wishes he could tell everyone ‘take the vaccine.’” 

The advertisements feature the tagline, “Catch COVID-19, and the virus may decide for you.” They focus on “real Wyoming stories,” a slogan imprinted at the bottom of each video. 

In addition to the videos, the new campaign uses radio, news- paper, television and social media to spread the word.

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Medicaid fraud, sexual assault results in prison term

CHEYENNE – A former Cheyenne counselor convicted of sexually assaulting a patient and defrauding Medicaid received prison time during a hearing Friday morning in Laramie County District Court.

Laramie County District Judge Catherine Rogers sentenced William Dale Robinson to three to five years of incarceration for the sexual assault charge. A 12- to 16-month sentence for a felony charge associated with incorrectly billing Medicaid will run concurrently with this sentence. Robinson had one day of credit for time served.

Robinson pleaded guilty in July to two felony charges as part of a stipulated plea agreement: second-degree sexual assault by a health care provider and obtaining property by false pretenses in an amount greater than $1,000.

Robinson brought with him to the courtroom a cashier’s check for $6,397.36 – the amount he’d falsely claimed from Medicaid – which he’d agreed to pay in restitution to the Wyoming Department of Health’s Division of Healthcare Financing.

While working as a licensed professional counselor and part-owner of Capitol Counseling, 1918 Thomes Ave., Robinson had an ongoing sexual relationship with a patient, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in the case. In the plea agreement, he said he’d approached the woman during a June 2018 therapy session about beginning the sexual relationship.

Robinson said he and the woman had sexual contact during a regularly scheduled therapy session in July 2018, and that he billed Medicaid and received reimbursement for both the June and July visits.

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Man pleads guilty in shooting over song

RIVERTON — An Arapahoe man accused of shooting his friend after a fight about a song has pleaded guilty. 

Ronald Blaise Jenkins, 25, changed his plea after originally denying the charge in August. 

Sentencing for the crime, which occurred on the Wind River Indian Reservation Jan. 5, has been slated for Dec. 20 under U.S. Chief District Judge Scott Skavdahl. 

According to court documents penned by Bureau of Indian Affairs special agent Michael Shockley, at around 4:33 p.m. on Jan. 5, Fremont County 

Dispatch called the Wind River Police Department, saying a man had been shot in the stomach and was being driven to Riverton SageWest Health Care emergency room. 

WRPD officer Dalton Ward responded and iden- tified the 20-year-old injured male, who is named in court documents as W.S. 

Emergency room staff said a silver GMC truck with a temporary tag, containing three or four males, had dropped the wounded man off at the emergency room. Witnesses added that two males had brought the man into the emergency room, saying they would get family and come back. But they did not. 

According to a witness, Jenkins, others, and the victim had been parked in the vehicle pullout known as “Checkpoint Charlie,” on Rendezvous Road on the reservation. Jenkins and the victim had argued about a song on the radio, the witness said, and the later-victim tried to fight Jenkins. 

Jenkins then drew a pistol, reportedly, and shot the man in the stomach. 

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