Albany County

Catlin Mary Ann Miller via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license


The pandemic has caused nationwide economic struggles, including here in Wyoming. You might be surprised to learn that it's also created a new wave of entrepreneurs.

Rail Tie Wind Project project location based on the ConnectGen website
ConnectGen

The state board of land commissioners has voted against leasing land to a renewable energy company planning to build a wind farm in Albany County. Local opponents raised concerns during the public meeting about the project's various impacts.

https://www.nursetogether.com

Albany County will join Laramie County in requiring face coverings to be worn when people are in a public place and if they are lined up outside. 

Wyoming Department of Health

Albany County has nearly 600 active, confirmed cases of the coronavirus, leading the state in total cases that have occurred since March.

Ivinson Memorial Hospital

Albany County is currently experiencing a surge in confirmed, active coronavirus cases. And one measure of the virus' spread - available intensive care unit beds - is in flux.

Feeding

When the pandemic hit the Laramie community, food banks saw an increase in visitors. To continue to support those facing economic hardships this fall, Feeding Laramie Valley implemented the Kids Home For Dinner program to provide kids with two homemade meals for the weekend. 

Pilot Hill Project

A small portion of the Pilot Hill parcel is now open to the public. The parcel, located on the eastern edge of Laramie, is part of a collaborative effort to protect nearly 4,344 acres for nonmotorized recreation and wildlife habitat.

Pilot Hill Project

The Wyoming Board of Land Commissioners closed a land exchange on Friday that secures 4,343 acres of land for the Pilot Hill Project. The exchange has been in the works for more than two years and traded 11,668 acres of isolated state trust land for the area now in Pilot Hill.

Ivy Engel

The Pilot Hill Project started in 2017 when rancher Doug Samuelson approached Albany County with a proposition. They could have first dibs on his almost 5,500 acres of land just East of Laramie - it was already land where people liked to recreate in the past - but they had to raise the ten million dollars to purchase it within a year. Since then, it's blossomed into a community-wide project.

This story includes descriptions of sexual assault.

This week the Casper Star-Tribune broke a story about a lawsuit against the Albany County Sheriff's Office, over the alleged mishandling of a sexual assault investigation. Wyoming Public Radio has an interview with the plaintiff, as well as audio of the law enforcement interview at the heart of the complaint.


Erin Jones

As people follow recommendations to stay home in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, some folks are left totally alone. That can be disruptive to mental health—especially in a state with one of the leading suicide rates.

Ivy Engel

A lot of the water that Wyomingites drink comes from the same source: the Casper Aquifer. In many areas, the aquifer is deep underground. Though in some areas where the water source surfaces, it can be a source of major controversy.

Bern Hinckley

On Tuesday, Dec. 7, Albany County Commissioners voted 2 - 1 to change the zoning on a piece of land near the Casper Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone (APOZ) from residential to commercial.

Wikipedia via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license

Albany County Commissioners voted on Thursday, Jan. 2, to extend the temporary moratorium that prevents building on the Casper Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone (APOZ) by 90 days.

Elected officials haven't had much to say in response to an officer-involved shooting in Albany County. County Attorney Peggy Trent and Undersheriff Josh DeBree held a press conference shortly after the November 4, 2018, incident where Cpl. Derek Colling shot and killed unarmed Laramie-resident Robbie Ramirez. Trent also hosted a press conference in January after a grand jury decided not to indict Colling. She suggested then the county should examine why this happened and how to avoid it in the future.

Screenshot from the Local Government Liability Pool's rules and regulations.

March 10-16, 2019 was Sunshine Week. The annual event recognizes the importance of access to public information, and the journalists who defend a culture of transparency. Wyoming Public Radio News Director Bob Beck sat down with reporter Tennessee Watson to talk about what's behind the struggle to get elected officials in Albany County to talk about a recent officer-involved shooting. 

Volunteers of America

Earlier this summer, the Governor's Advisory Council on Juvenile Justice gave Albany County the Neal D. Madson Award for its groundbreaking work with juvenile offenders. Since 2014, Albany County says it's reduced the number of young people who end up in secure detention by 34 percent. That's when the county formed a Community Juvenile Service Board and started a diversion program, which advocates say has been good for kids and the state's bottom-line.

Albany County community leaders took a sigh of relief Tuesday night when a sixth penny tax, also known as a special purpose excise tax, passed by a wide margin there. 

City of Laramie

Community leaders in Albany County have fingers crossed that voters will agree to renew a sixth penny tax. What's also referred to as a special purpose excise tax would pay for a host of infrastructure needs. Numerous counties also use such a tax in the state. 

Map of the wildfire's current spread as of 6/12 at 4:40 pm.
Incident Information System; U.S. Forest Service; Medicine Bow National Forest

The Badger Creek Fire in southern Wyoming’s Medicine Bow National Forest just north of the Colorado border has spread to over 2300 acres since Sunday. The wildfire has two heads and is moving both north and east causing several communities to evacuate and Highway 230 to close. Also, Highway 10 is closed from Woods Landing to the Colorado state line. It has grown primarily due to wind.

WyoTecg logo
WyoTech

The future of WyoTech, the automotive school in Laramie, has been in limbo for five months, following the Zenith Education Group’s announcement it would be downsizing. But lawmakers have earmarked $5 million in the budget bill to help WyoTech stay open under new management.

 

Alanna Elder

High winds in West Laramie exacerbated a fire that started around 11 Monday morning and quickly spread to multiple buildings in a mobile home park. Local officials asked residents to evacuate as they worked to extinguish the fire which destroyed nine homes. No one was injured.

Creative Commons Zero - CC0 via maxpixel

It's almost Halloween. Plastic tombstones and dancing skeletons are everywhere you look. But how does Wyoming handle actual death? Wyoming Public Radio's Annie Osburn spoke with someone whose job it was to be in presence of the dead.  

Wikipedia Commons Tony Webster

Albany County Commissioners will soon decide whether to purchase over 5,000 acres of land just east of Laramie in order to create more public land for recreation while simultaneously protecting the city’s water supply. 

The proposed land purchase from the four private landowners would cost $14 million dollars, and would essentially create a corridor where residents and visitors could bike or hike from Laramie city limits all the way up to Happy Jack Recreational area.

Albany County Sheriffs Office

The Wyoming Supreme Court has reversed four felony convictions against former Albany County Attorney Richard Bohling.

Bohling had been convicted of obtaining property under false pretenses for purchasing cameras and electronic equipment using county money and a county credit card. He was found guilty by a jury and had been sentenced to serve two to four years in prison. 

Pixabay

A new economic study could help the State Board of Land Commissioners decide on a proposed exchange that could affect as many as 8,000 acres of public lands in Albany County.

Under the Bonander Ranches Exchange, the state would swap 1,000 acres of state trust land in the Laramie Range to a private landowner for less than 300 acres in Crook County. These areas are valued at the same amount, and the smaller parcel could bring revenue to the state in the form of leases and timber sales. 

Wikipedia

The Wyoming Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday in the criminal appeals case of former Albany County prosecutor, Richard Bohling.  

In February, Bohling was found guilty of five charges related to improperly using government money to purchase cameras, photography equipment and other electronics. He was sentenced to two to four years in prison, along with an order to pay $45,000 in fines and more than $3,000 in restitution to Albany County. Bohling’s counsel then filed an appeals case with the Wyoming Supreme Court to overturn all five convictions. 

Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

After hearing more than five hours of public testimony, the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee rejected a bill Thursday that would have increased the tax on wind energy production.

Wyoming currently taxes production at $1 per megawatt hour, the only such tax in the nation. The state is facing a major budget shortfall because of the downturn in coal, oil and gas production. Raising the wind tax came up as a possible way to generate revenue for school construction. Rep. Mike Madden, R-Buffalo, introduced the failed proposal to raise the tax to $3 per megawatt hour.

Aaron Schrank/WPR

On Tuesday morning Wyoming county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples for the first time in the state’s history. Wyoming Public Radio’s Miles Bryan was at the Albany County Courthouse for that historic event, while Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank was in Cheyenne, at the Laramie County Courthouse. Together, they have this report.

Caroline Ballard

This past Sunday the White House released an ad campaign to address sexual assault on college campuses. It uses celebrities to promote speaking up if you suspect a sexual assault is in the works. But even with renewed awareness efforts, Sexual Assault remains the most underreported crime in the United States. Wyoming is no exception.

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