NEWS BRIEFS for Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019 From Wyoming News Exchange newspapers

UW settles retaliation lawsuit

LARAMIE (WNE) — Attorneys for the University of Wyoming and a former employee who sued the institution have finalized a settlement agreement that ends a retaliation lawsuit that’s been ongoing since March 2017.

UW spokesman Chad Baldwin declined to comment on the terms of the settlement between Mandy Davis, former HR manager for the UW Foundation, and her former employer.

Because the dispute was settled out of court, the agreement is not publicly available and the Laramie Boomerang has not acquired it.

A trial in the matter had been scheduled for February, and attorneys for both sides filed a motion to dismiss Dec. 28.

“I am glad we resolved the case and relieved to put it behind me,” Davis said in a statement issued by her attorneys, Megan Hayes and Bruce Moats.

The Davis lawsuit stems from a June 2015 incident, when Davis hired an employee — the most qualified candidate — who had an apparent physical disability. Foundation CEO Ben Blalock apparently took issue with the hiring.

Davis filed a discrimination complaint, and six months later, Davis was laid off as part of a Foundation reorganization, which followed a university-wide hiring freeze initiated by former UW President Dick McGinity amid Wyoming’s economic downturn.

Davis claimed the reorganization was an illegal subterfuge for her firing.

The lawsuit included UW, the Foundation and Blalock as defendants.

Teton County approves metal music festival

JACKSON (WNE) — Metal music festival Fire in the Mountains is officially cleared to rock Buffalo Valley in July after the county approved its special-event permit Thursday.

Teton County Administrator Alyssa Watkins OK’d the weekend concert at Heart Six Ranch after a review by departments like the Teton County Sheriff’s Office and Jackson Hole Fire/EMS.

The county imposed several conditions, including prohibiting on-site camping, limits on amplified noise and a required consultation with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to protect wildlife from concert impacts.

It’s the second summer in a row the festival will happen in Moran. Organizer Jeremy Walker said he plans to bring in bigger, better bands this year for ticket holders to enjoy against the backdrop of the Tetons.

“We’re trying to grow it and gain its popularity,” Walker said. “We’re trying to turn it into a world-renowned festival.”

Already on the lineup are astral death-metal band Blood Incantation, funeral-doom group Un and ritualistic neofolk group Osi and the Jupiter. While in 2018 the concert was capped at 400 attendees, this year organizers are planning for a maximum of 950. The festival also emphasizes local food and drink vendors and invites guests to camp on the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

For two years, neighbors in the rural area of Moran have worried about the concert disrupting wildlife habitat and residential neighborhoods.

“To grant a permit like that for a heavy-metal concert in this area that’s supposed to be kept pristine for wildlife just seems really strange to us,” resident Andrea Riniker said.

Wyoming this Weekend, Jan. 4-6, 2019

By The Wyoming News Exchange

The New Year begins with some athletic action this weekend as Green River High School hosts a wrestling tournament.

The Thoman Wrestling Invitational will feature 26 high school teams in competition on Friday and Saturday, including 14 varsity and 12 junior varsity teams.

Other activities scheduled for the weekend include:

An exhibit of the work of Wyoming artist Patrick Kikut at Sheridan’s Edward A. Whitney Gallery through the weekend;

English high tea at Cheyenne’s Nagel-Warren Mansion on Friday and Saturday, and

Tours of the Wind River Horse Sanctuary in Lander through the weekend.

For more information on these and other events, visit the Wyoming Tourism Division’s website at