Wyoming news briefs for September 1


Jackson man warned for taking bighorn lamb

JACKSON— A Jackson Hole man lost his job and housing after taking home a young bighorn sheep that was acting out of sorts.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department warden Kyle Lash received a report last week of the potentially illegal animal possession, which he investigated.

“To be consistent with past cases, a warning was issued on this since I couldn’t prove the malicious act,” Lash told the News&Guide.

The man, a short-term resident from Florida, told Lash his plan was to bring the animal into the Wyoming Game and Fish Department office. But the office was closed on the weekend, and friends told him that he should put the months-old ungulate back where he found it — and he did.

Lash reviewed cell phone videos that showed the man found the “funky”-behaving lamb down Flat Creek Road around 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21. His dog was licking the sheep, which was lying on the ground. Lash also reviewed a video of the sheep running off in the same area; the video was date-stamped at 8:49 p.m. the same night.

“He showed me a video of him releasing it, saying, ‘Go find your mother!’” Lash said.

In that time, however, the wild bighorn did spend some time in the man’s former quarters.

The News&Guide was able to reach the person Lash warned, who said he lost his job and housing in the aftermath of taking the baby bighorn sheep home. The man otherwise declined to comment and asked that his name not be used in this story. The request was granted because he was not charged with a crime.

When people encounter baby wildlife, wildlife managers recommend leaving them be.

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Slate Refining partners with Starwood Energy to remodel Antelope Refinery

DOUGLAS — It looks like work may finally start on the old Antelope Refinery on WYO59, turning it into a facility which will produce over 100 million gallons annually of renewable fuels, including renewable diesel, sustainable aviation fuel and arctic diesel, according to a press release from State Refining, LLC released last week. 

Slate owns the refinery. In June 2020, Converse County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve $10 million in industrial development revenue bonds in an agreement with Slate who would reconfigure the refinery. 

The Midland, Texas, company said last year that it would use bond money to renovate the old Antelope Refinery and restart production. 

Slate purchased the refinery last year from Genesis Energy with the intent of getting it up and running as quickly as possible; however, the project has not moved forward for more than a year, despite Slate officials stating it would be up and running by October 2020.

Several county commissioners spoke in favor of the partnership between the county and Slate last summer, saying it would bring in more jobs and would be a boost to the county’s economy, especially in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The bonds, while approved by the county last year, do not actually use any county nor state money. The money for the bonds actually comes from private investors through the bonds, Commissioner Jim Willox explained. 

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Campbell County Hospital CEO gets bonus on top of $450,000 pay

GILLETTE —  The hospital board of trustees awarded a bonus to Campbell County Health CEO Colleen Heeter, who recently completed her first year at the top of the organization.

At the hospital board meeting Thursday, trustees awarded her a bonus of $62,635 for her first year as CEO. Heeter’s base salary is $450,000, with the potential to earn up to $80,000 in bonuses each year, at the board’s discretion.

Chairman Adrian Gerrits said that the bonuses are mostly data driven, with set benchmarks based on the organization’s annual strategic plan. Gerrits was part of the committee that determined her bonus, along with trustees Randy Hite and Alan Stuber.

Gerrits said the board will reassess its bonus structure next year and work with UCHealth to “sort of mimic” the Colorado-based affiliate’s CEO bonus formula.

“This is always a contentious number because the amount we pay our CEO is a lot for our community,” Gerrits said.

He added that the number of people CCH employs and the budget it oversees makes it a unique organization and an important job in the community.

“This is always kind of a tough pill for our community to swallow but I think it’s important that they know that we do our due diligence and we keep it in market and we have to attract CEOs that are good at running hospitals,” Gerrits said. “It’s a tough one for all of us to swallow, too.”

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