NEWS BRIEFS for Tuesday, July 9, 2019


Two die in accident near Cody

CODY (WNE) — Two Cody residents died Saturday when they crashed their Harley Davidson motorcycle head-on into an SUV about 20 miles north of Cody on the Belfry Highway.

Tim Zeller, 57, and Stacey Zeller, 54, died in the accident. Funeral services are pending.

The incident occurred in the Chapman Bench area. According to a Wyoming Highway Patrol report from the weekend, just after noon the motorcycle driver moved into oncoming traffic to pass a Toyota Tundra while heading north.

“The motorcycle did not have enough space to pass the Tundra,” the report reads. “The motorcycle collided into the front passenger side of the Highlander in an offset head-on collision.”

The Zellers, both of whom were wearing helmets, were pronounced dead at the scene. Driver inattention is being investigated on the part of Tim Zeller as being the possible contributing factor.

Vaughn Gdula, 70, was the driver of the Highlander and received medical attention at the scene. Passenger Charlotte Gdula, 67, was hospitalized. Both are Cody residents and were wearing seat belts.

To date 82 people in the state have been killed in vehicle crashes, the highest total at this point of the year in at least the last six years. 

Last year there were 49 fatalities as of July 8.

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Black bear killed after raiding picnic sites, trash cans

JACKSON (WNE) — One Jackson Hole bear is dead and another two have been hauled to more remote locales after raiding visitors’ picnics and residents’ trash cans.

The subadult female black bear that lost her life regularly trolled developed parts of Jenny and String lakes, an area that has seen regular summertime conflict in recent years despite efforts to educate visitors not to feed the bears.

“We did intend to relocate it,” Grand Teton National Park spokeswoman Denise Germann said. “But we were unable to trap it.”

In the meantime, the behavior persisted, she said. The habituated animal received human “food rewards” on at least four occasions since June, and that’s just what was reported and confirmed.

By the time park rangers had the food-motivated bruin in a live trap Friday, the sow was considered too far gone to have a shot at changing the human food-habituated behavior.

“It was approaching people,” Germann said, “and it went onto the top of a picnic table with people around it.”

In the meantime, a similar situation was playing out around Moose-Wilson Road.

Another sow, this time an animal that had been previously tagged and radio-collared, had exhibited several instances of habituated behavior, including putting its paws on an occupied vehicle, and also of having been fed.

Biologists deemed this bear to have a better chance at breaking the habit, and after being captured the black bear sow was relocated to John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway.

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Wyoming gas prices decline, bucking national trend

GILLETTE (WNE) — Wyoming is bucking a national trend of higher gas prices by having prices that actually fell over the past week.

The average price per gallon in Wyoming is $2.71, falling 2.8 cents per gallon in the past week, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 494 stations. The highest price is in Park County with $2.85 and the lowest is in Natrona County with $2.58 a gallon.

Campbell County remains among the lowest at $2.63, topped only by Natrona and Albany County ($2.62.)

Gas prices in Wyoming are 11.9 cents per gallon lower than a month ago, yet stand 22.0 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Wyoming is priced at $2.42 a gallon Monday while the most expensive is $3.19 a gallon.

The national average price of gasoline has risen 2.3 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $2.75.

“For the second straight week, the national average price of gasoline has moved higher, following energy market moves from the last few weeks as Iran remains a concern pushing oil higher as well as OPEC extending producing cuts and recent drawdowns in U.S. oil inventories,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

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New college assistance program takes effect

SHERIDAN (WNE) — A new program that officially began earlier this month could serve as a catalyst for Wyoming towns and community colleges. Wyoming Works was approved by the Wyoming Legislature this spring and went into effect July 1. The program is designed to allow more citizens to receive certifications in industries in short supply, particularly in technical fields.

The Legislature approved $5 million in funding for the next two years to help two-year colleges attract students, expand existing programs and begin new offerings. Of that total, $3 million will go toward individual student grants — essentially scholarships — and $2 million will be used by colleges to buy equipment and hire instructors.

The money is distributed among the state’s seven community colleges, meaning Sheridan College will have about $300,000 in student grants to award per year.

Wyoming Works allows for a maximum grant of $1,680 per student per semester for up to six semesters. The new program will most likely impact adults returning to college or adults several years past high school who have not yet attended college.

Eligibility requirements include being a Wyoming resident, U.S. citizen and meeting certain GPA and class time thresholds. Students attending school through Wyoming Works must also not be eligible for the Hathaway Scholarship, meaning they need to be at least four years out of high school.

Sheridan College currently has 34 programs that qualify for Wyoming Works funding. The potential also exists for new, potentially non-credit programs that can originate at Sheridan College as early as October. New programs must end with industry certifications but do not need to lead toward a degree, a unique aspect of Wyoming Works.

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Wyoming this Weekend, July 12-14

By The Wyoming News Exchange

A pageant commemorating the life of pioneers who crossed the plains while heading for new homes in the West tops this weekend’s list of events around Wyoming.

Lusk’s annual “Legend of Rawhide” will be held Friday and Saturday at the Niobrara County Fairgrounds.

The pageant, first staged in 1946, uses actors and narrators to tell the story of a young man traveling with a wagon train in the 1840s who shot and killed an American Indian princess. The man faced punishment for his crime while the wagon train was allowed to leave the area.

In addition to the pageant, the weekend features a car show, dances, contests and a showing of the “Moving Wall,” a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Other events scheduled for the weekend include:

The 4-Ever West Tattoo Festival and Arm Wrestling Championship in Cheyenne Friday through Sunday;

The International Climbers Festival in Lander through Sunday;

The Winchester Arms Collectors Association annual show in Cody Friday through Sunday;

The Sheridan Wyo Rodeo through Sunday;

Green River Rendezvous Days in Pinedale through Sunday;

The Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo in Casper through Sunday;

The Sneakers and Spurs Rodeo 5K run/1.5-mile walk in Sheridan on Friday;

Butch Cassidy Day at the Wyoming Territorial Prison in Laramie on Friday;

The Dubois Friday Night Rodeo;

The Silver Spur-Spur Outfitters Rifle Shoot in Encampment on Saturday;

Rendezvous Day in the Park in Riverton on Saturday, and

The opening of the 2019 National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs on Sunday.

For information on these and other events, please visit the Wyoming Tourism Division’s website at TravelWyoming.com.

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