Wyoming news briefs for September 29
Goodwin featured in new exhibit
CASPER — The Nicolaysen Art Museum will commemorate Sissy Goodwin, a Casper resident known for his penchant for dresses, skirts and blouses, in a new exhibit opening Friday.
The retired educator, who described himself as a cross-dresser, died in 2020 after battling brain cancer. He was 73.
Titled “The Fabric of His Life, Larry Sissy Goodwin,” the exhibit aims to capture his life’s commitment to authentic self-expression and peace building.
“I am so pleased that the Nicolaysen has chosen to honor Sissy and his life’s work,” Vickie Goodwin, Sissy’s wife, said in the release. “I hope everyone will walk away with a sense of joy knowing that each of us can be our true selves.”
Goodwin was born in Douglas in 1946. After serving in the Vietnam War, he spent much of his life as an instructor at Casper College. He began publicly dressing in women’s clothing in the ‘70s.
“Sissy” is a slur used against people who defy traditional male gender roles, especially gay and bi men, and transgender women. Goodwin decided to reclaim the term by adopting it as his nickname.
Goodwin faced verbal harassment, vandalism and physical assault for the way he dressed — even enduring arrests in Salt Lake City and Casper. He’s remembered as an ally to Wyoming’s LGBT community, spurring discussions about acceptance both within the state and across the country.
Goodwin dedicated himself to public service, building schools and water systems across the globe. He was an active member in the Wyoming Democratic Party, Veterans for Peace and served on the board of ACLU of Wyoming.
The exhibit will open with a public reception at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 1, and will run until March 26.
High-speed chase leads to local school lockdown
ROCK SPRINGS — A high-speed chase in the Farson-Eden area forced the local school into lockdown on Thursday, according to school officials.
Law enforcement secured the perimeter. Staff and students at the school were advised to remain in the building.
At the time of the lockdown, the school was hosting a football and a volleyball game. Those were immediately stopped and everyone involved entered the building until the incident was over.
The chase eventually turned into a foot pursuit in close proximity to the school.
Wyoming Highway Patrol confirmed that 37-year-old Michael James Keele of Riverton, Wyoming, was arrested for fleeing or attempting to elude police officers.
In addition, Keele was charged with reckless driving, exceeding 70 mph on a primary/secondary highway, reckless endangering — death or serious bodily injury — and several other charges.
During the lockdown, no one at the school was harmed or injured.
Record tourism keeps Jackson Hole Fire/EMS running at full throttle
JACKSON — Record visitor numbers drove Jackson Hole Fire/EMS to its limits this summer as the department saw its busiest summer on record.
Chief Brady Hansen said he’ll be requesting more staff to help Fire/EMS crews handle the tide.
“We got by just barely,” Hansen told the News&Guide, reflecting on the summer. “I think the most accurate way for me is to say we ran the summer with RPMs well in the red.”
In July, Hansen said, his department received 35% more calls than it handled in July 2020, which until the summer of 2021 had been the department’s busiest month ever. June and August tracked similarly, with roughly 30-percent increases in call volumes compared to the same months in 2020. While September hasn’t finished, Hansen said early data points to a roughly 20-percent increase over September 2020.
“Normally in our industry, a 5% increase is a lot,” Hansen said. “A 10-percent increase is unheard of. To hear a 35-percent increase is huge.”
The Fire/EMS chief attributed some of the spike in call volume to the COVID-19 pandemic. But Hansen also underscored that, while the virus is stressing the healthcare system, it’s not what’s pushing service calls to new heights.
That, Hansen said, is the summer’s record-breaking tourism.
“It wasn’t that we had our normal call volume plus COVID,” he said. “It was an increase in visitation.”