November 19, 2020
Wyoming Republicans pick legislative leadership
CASPER (WNE) – Rep. Eric Barlow, R-Gillette, and Sen Dan Dockstader, R-Afton, will likely be the Wyoming Legislature for the next two years after a remote vote of the Republican caucus Saturday morning.
Barlow, who now serves as house majority floor leader, is on track to replace Rep. Steve Harshman, R-Casper, as speaker at the conclusion of the Casper lawmaker’s unusual second term this year.
The final tally in Barlow’s favor, 32-18, came against Sheridan Republican Rep. Mark Jennings, a state GOP activist who has never held a leadership position or a committee chairmanship.
Jennings said his impromptu run was an effort to give lawmakers who support all the tenets of the Republican Party platform a greater voice in the Legislature.
Several other members of the Legislature — Rep. Albert Sommers, R-Pinedale, and Rep. Mike Greear, R-Worland, staved off challenges of their own from more conservative opponents and appear headed to become majority floor leader and speaker pro tempore, respectively.
Cheyenne Republican Rep. Jared Olsen was ultimately elected as whip for the House Republicans.
In the Senate, Dockstader will likely serve alongside new Senate Majority Floor Leader Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, and Baggs Sen. Larry Hicks, who is on track to replace Driskill as vice president of the Senate.
The appointments are not final, however. The leadership still needs to be approved by the full Legislature, including Democrats, Libertarians and Independents, to become final.
Man killed in shootout with Gillette police identified
GILLETTE (WNE) — Cody William Amman, 31, has been identified as the man killed in an officer-involved shooting Friday night in Gillette.
Amman allegedly fired at a Gillette police officer early Friday evening and in turn, the officer returned fire.
Amman was taken to Campbell County Memorial Hospital, but died of gunshot wounds at 10:41 p.m. Friday, Campbell County Coroner Paul Wallem said Monday morning.
It is unclear where Amman was wounded or how many times he was shot.
The number of shots fired in the exchange also was not disclosed by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, which is investigating the incident.
An autopsy is scheduled to be performed Monday afternoon, Wallem said.
The exchange of gunfire followed a 911 report to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office at 4:21 p.m. of gunshots at a mobile home park near the 1500 block of East Second Street. When deputies arrived, Amman, who was said to be armed, had fled the area in a black and purple Nissan Acura, Undersheriff Quentin Reynolds said.
A Gillette Police officer later spotted the suspect’s car and began tailing it down Boxelder Road near the Chara Hills subdivision.
While being followed, Amman abruptly stopped, got out his car and began shooting at the officer, who has not been identified. The officer returned fire, hitting Amman. The officer was not hurt, but neither police nor DCI would release more details of what happened.
Teton officials seek to limit gatherings to less than ten
JACKSON (WNE) — Teton County residents may soon face COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings.
It wouldn’t be a return to the stay-at-home order the county had in the spring, but it is a step toward tighter measures.
The state’s current coronavirus health orders prohibit gatherings of more than 50 people. During his press conference Friday morning, Gov. Mark Gordon indicated that new, possibly more restrictive health orders are likely coming, but state guidance is so far unchanged.
Teton District Health Officer Dr. Travis Riddell said he felt it was time to take more drastic action, submitting a request to limit gatherings to fewer than ten people.
“I’m not willing to wait,” he said at Friday’s community update. “It’s time to make a move.”
The request will need approval from State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist, who has granted other variances, though often following wrangling over their wording. Riddell did not give an expected timeline for a decision from Harrist.
Riddell said he was worried about the community’s ability to manage the growing pandemic.
“These cases have totally overwhelmed the capacity of our state and local health departments,” he said. “They’ve overwhelmed the capacity of our schools to safely teach our children.”
As of Friday afternoon, Teton County had 41 new cases, bringing its active total to 175, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.
Commissioners to meet virtually after chair gets COVID
CODY (WNE) — With Park County Commissioner Chairman Joe Tilden testing positive for COVID-19, the commissioners will be meeting virtually at their meeting this week.
Tilden received the test and results Thursday, but believes he was exposed to the virus on Halloween, Oct. 31. He did not start feeling symptoms until Wednesday, but as of Thursday felt “just achy.”
“I was surprised it took that long,” he said.
Although it is rare, it can take up to 14 days for COVID-19 symptoms to appear.
Tilden said the rest of the commissioners and select officials who came close to him will be taking a 14-day quarantine, per recommendation from Park County Health Officer Dr. Aaron Billin. Since Tilden has tested positive, he must stay in isolation for ten days.
Tilden said no other commissioners are experiencing symptoms at this time.
Those in attendance at the commissioner’s meeting Tuesday are advised to monitor themselves for symptoms.
The distance from the commissioners to the speaking table is six feet, which means a viral disease could be contracted by anyone who spoke at the meeting.
Although there was about 20 members of the public who attended and spoke on Tuesday, only three county employees spoke from the table: Sheriff Scott Steward, Park County Planning and Zoning Director Joy Hill, and Planning and Zoning staff member Kim Dillivan.
Park County Clerk Colleen Renner also sits in close proximity to the commissioners and sits closest to Tilden.