NEWS BRIEFS for Thursday, April 11


Cody man charged with stabbing wife

CODY (WNE) — A Cody man is facing charges for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, accused of stabbing his wife in her back with a knife March 20.

Police officers arrested Ryan Quinn, 34, after the incident.

After Quinn slammed Kymberli Quinn’s head against a bathtub by her hair and punched her in the face, the victim said she was able to get out of the bathroom. During the physical altercation, Quinn allegedly made a comment about “needing to kill” her, according to Cody police officer Rick Tillery.

As his wife was engaged in a 911 call placed from her cellphone while standing in the trailer home kitchen, Quinn grabbed a 13.25-inch knife with a serrated blade and stabbed her, the affidavit said.

The victim fell to her back, staring back up at Quinn as he “hovered” over her and appeared to consider stabbing her again, she told officers.

But as Quinn hesitated, she was able to grab the blade of the knife, ensuing in a short struggle for control of the weapon, “ending in the knife blade being broken off at the handle,” the affidavit said.

She was then able to get away from Quinn’s grip and escape the residence.

Quinn has pleaded not guilty to the felony, which carries up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 fine.

He has also pleaded not guilty for two separate counts of domestic battery, interference with an emergency call and driving under the influence of alcohol, misdemeanor charges carrying a total of up to two years in prison and $3,000.

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Newcastle to test biochar at compost site

NEWCASTLE (WNE) — The city is testing a new program that turns wooded waste collected at the city compost site into biochar instead of grinding the waste into a wood chip product. 

On April 1, Travis Peterson, city arborist, told the Newcastle City Council that he had recently tested a process for turning the waste into biochar and that it was cheaper. According to Peterson, the city realized an annual net gain of $30,101.70.

Biochar is a charcoal used as a valuable soil additive, according to biochar-international.org

Peterson said he has been kicking around the idea of turning collected waste at the compost site into biochar but had not acted on the idea until now.

He said that he burned down the waste in two different “pit kilns” to provide a safe and clean controlled batch burn. 

The biochar conversion limits the volume of product the city has to deal with and saves the city money, Peterson said. 

According to Peterson, the wooded waste collected in 2017 was ground by contracting a company from Montana and total cost to the city was $13,591. The volume of the chips created was 675 cubic yards, enough to fill 18 school buses. 

Turning the 2018 collected waste into biochar, according to Peterson, cost the city a total of $1,378.30 and created 67 cubic yards of volume, enough to fill nearly two school buses. 

“The value of the biochar from the 2019 pilot project is $17,889 at $267 a cubic yard,” Peterson said. “The annual net gain for the City of Newcastle is $30,101.70.” 

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Colorado men arrested for cocaine delivery

SUNDANCE — Two Colorado men face a lengthy list of felony charges after being caught with a sizeable amount of cocaine in the vehicle they claimed to be driving to visit a friend in North Dakota.

On March 30, a Crook County Sheriff’s Office deputy was patrolling I-90 when he observed a red SUV with Colorado plates traveling at 97 mph, above the posted 80 mph speed limit. The deputy initiated a traffic stop near the Wyoming border.

The deputy made contact with two males in the front seats. He notes in his affidavit that, while speaking to the driver, later identified as Paul Williams, passenger Aaron Gonzales began speaking for him and speaking quickly when talking about the SUV.

Williams gave consent for the vehicle to be searched. In the driver door storage area, the deputy allegedly observed a plastic container consistent with marijuana from a dispensary; inside, he observed a green leafy bud.

In the rear compartment, the deputy located a paper sack with a receipt for 14.05 g of Colins OG marijuana. He also found a gift sack, inside of which was a vacuum-sealed package containing a white substance and a plastic bag.

The seized items were weighed at the Sheriff’s Office. The white substance in the vacuum-sealed package weighed more than 19 ounces.

Testing of the white substance later revealed it to be cocaine.

Gonzales and Williams face felony charges of possession of cocaine; possession of cocaine with intent to deliver; conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to deliver; conspiracy to possess cocaine.

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Disputed Johnson County tax funds to be distributed

BUFFALO (WNE) — More than $130,000 in long-escrowed tax dollars will be distributed to Johnson County special districts after the settlement of the Concord Energy tax protest case.

The biggest benefactor of the funds will be local schools, which will receive $86,997. Of this amount, $60,605 will go directly to the Johnson County School District, $1,955 will go to the Johnson County Recreation District and $978 will go to the Board of Cooperative Education Services or BOCES. The state school foundation will receive $23,460, which will be used to fund school construction throughout the state, according to County Treasurer Carla Bishop.

Johnson County will receive $18,291 for general operations of the county. 

The Johnson County Board of Equalization – composed of the county commissioners – voted unanimously to settle the Concord Energy tax appeal on March 19.

Concord first came before the county BOE in late September to appeal former County Assessor Cindy Barlow's assessment of its

property for the 2018 tax year. 

The county board ultimately agreed with Eggers and voted unanimously to remand the assessment to Barlow for reconsideration.

While Barlow had appealed the county's ruling to the Wyoming Board of Equalization, Eggers and Deputy County Attorney Barry Crago negotiated a settlement that would prevent the case from going to the state board. Eggers and Crago eventually agreed on an assessment of $17 million for Concord’s property in fiscal 2018.

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Board of Medicine suspends physician’s license

GREYBULL (WNE) — The Wyoming Board of Medicine has suspended the license of a Casper physician who spent nearly two decades of his career at South Big Horn County Hospital before his resignation in March of 2017.

The order of summary suspension against Demar “Dusty” Hill alleges that he failed to comply with the terms of a monitoring agreement with the Wyoming Professional Assistance Program (WPAP) by returning to his job at Cedars Health in Casper before he was discharged from a treatment program for an opioid addiction at the Professional Renewal Center in Lawrence, Kansas.

The suspension order, dated March 27, 2019, also sheds light on an investigation that began while Hill was employed by South Big Horn County Hospital, where he’d worked since the summer of 1998.

His resignation in March of 2017 sent shock waves through the community and hospital district. 

The suspension order's findings of fact states that the Board of Medicine received a written complaint against Hill from the executive director of the Wyoming Board of Pharmacy in August of 2016, advising that possible diversion of oxycodone was occurring in the Basin-Greybull area.

The order states, “It was alleged that Dr. Hill would prescribe oxycodone 15 mg or 30 mg to patients who were opiate naive, then when the patient called to report that the medication was making them sick, he would tell the patient to bring the remainder of the prescription back and he would ‘trade’ it for another prescription that the patient could tolerate.” 

The document also alleges that Hill “would go into the patient’s home, give the lower dose of pills or a prescription for them, and retrieve the higher dose of pills.”

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