NEWS BRIEFS for Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019 From Wyoming News Exchange newspapers

State Fair officials eye eliminating concert

DOUGLAS (WNE) — With budget issues still ongoing, the Wyoming State Fair could remove a big-ticket event from its schedule in order to save money. 

“We’re not sure about a concert,” Wyoming State Fair Board Chairman Joe Rankin told the Converse County Commission Dec. 18. 

The concert has been a financial albatross for the fair, and removing it could save thousands of dollars, members of the new state fair board and staff said at a previous meeting. 

“Even during the 100th, with a complete sellout, we lost money,” Rankin explained to the commissioners. 

The Wyoming State Fair has gone through massive shakeups over the past few years. 

Last year’s truncated schedule received mixed reviews at best, and at the first ever Wyoming State Fair board meeting, the new board members voted to tack a day back onto the fair. 

Last year’s switch to a four-day schedule was made in an effort to save money, but it failed to reduce costs significantly. Additionally, the condensed week caused headaches for many participants and made it difficult for kids who wanted to show more than one species of animal, opponents have said. 

Rankin also presented a tentative fair schedule to the commissioners, emphasizing that it could still change with eight months to go. 

“I don’t think it’s going to be a problem budget-wise,” Rankin said of the additional day. “I think the kids are going to like it a bit better.”

Woman faces up to 15 years in drug case

TORRINGTON (WNE) — The arrest of Melody Boalch, a Torrington woman facing up to 15 total years in prison after being charged with felony count of possession of a controlled substance and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, had been in the works since Aug. 15, according to charging documents fi led in Eighth Judicial District Court. 

Boalch was arrested on Dec. 19 at her home in Torrington in an operation that involved the Torrington Police Department, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the United States Post Office after she took control of a package that allegedly contained a large amount of Tapentadol, a Schedule II Controlled Substance. 

Boalch was released from the Goshen County Detention Center on Dec. 21 after posting a $6,500 cash bond. The preliminary hearing in her case is set for Jan. 9 at 1:30 p.m. at the Goshen County Courthouse. 

On Dec. 10, according to an affidavit of probable cause, a package from India addressed to Boalch was intercepted by CBP. The package contained “approximately 720 pills in blister packs labeled ‘Tapentadol 100 MG’ and ‘Aspadol Tab.’ 

The package was delivered by the local postmaster, and Boalch took possession of the package. Five minutes later, TPD officers and federal agents served the warrant. 

During the search, law enforcement officers located more than 2,000 Tapentadol tablets inside the residence with a street value of $2,500, according to Torrington Police Chief Tim Hurd.

Group ranks Piiparinen most conservative legislator

EVANSTON (WNE) — Rep. Garry Piiparinen (R-Evanston) has been recognized by the American Conservative Union Foundation (ACU) with the organization’s Award for Conservative Excellence for his voting record in the 2018 budget session of the Wyoming Legislature. Piiparinen was the only member of the Wyoming House of Representatives to earn the recognition, which requires a legislator to vote in accordance with ACU recommendations on select bills greater than 90 percent of the time. 

During the 2018 legislative session the ACU selected 17 House bills to follow to measure “adherence to conservative principles.” The focus of selected bills fell into one of three categories: Fiscal and economic, social and cultural or government integrity. 

Piiparinen was absent for two of the 17 votes but voted with ACU policy positions on 14 of the 15 votes for which he was present, earning him a 93 percent in the 2018 session. Piiparinen has an 86 percent lifetime rating from the ACU. 

The bills the ACU focused on in the House included those prohibiting sanctuary cities, promoting the transfer of federal land to the states, allowing concealed weapons in places of worship, strengthening Wyoming’s “stand your ground” law, and providing subsidies to such things as air service promotion, broadband service, agricultural marketing, job training programs and start-up companies, among others. The ACU opposed the subsidy bills.

The one bill on which Rep. Piiparinen’s vote differed from ACU recommendations was HB 25, which would have streamlined regulations on small mines and limited mining operations.