From Wyoming News Exchange newspapers

Wyo. wolf-hunting season comes to close

PINEDALE (WNE) — The 2020 wolf-hunting season in Wyoming’s trophy game management area closed as the New Year began last week, with only 31 gray wolves taken from a limit of 51.

Last year, Wyoming Game and Fish sold 1,987 licenses to resident hunters and 234 to nonresidents for a total of 2,221.

All but one of 10 Wyoming Game and Fish hunt areas closed on Dec. 31; Hunt Area 13, Whiskey Mountain, remains open through March 31 with one wolf reported taken from a quota of three.

Only Hunt Area 10, Rim, with a limit of six wolves, closed with a full harvest on Oct. 26.

Game and Fish manages gray wolves, which are delisted from the Endangered Species Act, in the trophy-game management area outside Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. In the state’s predator area, where Game and Fish does not manage wolves, 24 were reported taken in 2020.

Pinedale Game and Fish biologist Ken Mills is currently working on the 2020 Wyoming Gray Wolf Report, expected out in early April. New 2021 wolf-hunting limits will be reformulated after more data are gathered, Mills said.

The wolves not taken by Dec. 31 will be part of that calculation.

In 2019, Game and Fish set a total harvest of 34 wolves with 26 taken — one illegally — that season.

Victim in Cody prostitution solicitation case agrees to bench trial

CODY (WNE) – With both state and defense attorneys already pushing for a bench trial, the victim in the case against Kenneth “Val” Geissler is also now asking to avoid a jury trial.

At a Thursday hearing via teleconference, victim advocate Darlene Reed told District Court Judge Bill Simpson that she had spoken with the victim Dec. 30 and the victim said she preferred a bench trial, which would spare her from having to testify in court.

“She wants to have the case resolved without having to testify,” said Reed.

The previous trial date had been vacated due to COVID-19 concerns.

In a bench trial, the presiding judge, rather than a jury, determines whether or not the defendant is guilty.

Geissler is facing charges for soliciting prostitution and unlawful contact without bodily injury to a female minor. The felony charges he is facing carry up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Geissler is also pleading not guilty to accusations of forcibly kissing the female minor, a misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail and $750.

The 80-year-old Cody man is accused of attempting to coerce a minor into prostitution in exchange for payments on a vehicle. The minor said she started receiving letters after she was loaned a $4,000 car from Geissler in July 2018, with $200 monthly payments. She says he attempted to negotiate sex with her in exchange for payments on the vehicle. The affidavit went on to say Geissler hand-delivered the letters to the minor and promised her millions of dollars in his will if she became a prostitute.

Wyoming Health Dept. says state is getting good share of vaccine

JACKSON (WNE) — The Wyoming Department of Health disagrees with St. John’s Health CEO Dr. Paul Beaupre’s assessment that the state isn’t receiving its rightful share of COVID-19 vaccines.

“At this time, we do not feel it is an accurate assessment to say Wyoming is not getting its fair share,” Health Department spokeswoman Kim Deti wrote in an email.

Beaupre raised the concern during Friday’s community update livestreamed from Town Hall. He based his concern on Wyoming being slated for 45,000 doses while the federal government has purchased 200 million doses.

Deti said those two numbers don’t capture the full picture.

For example, the 45,000 doses likely only include what the state has received and expects to receive for first doses through January while the 200 million may be what the federal government has purchased through June.

“We will continue to receive new allocations for first doses and subsequent second doses past January,” she said.

What’s more, there are vaccines designated for Wyoming that have not been included in the numbers posted so far. Those include doses for a federal pharmacy program to vaccinate people at long-term care facilities and shipments headed directly to tribes, veterans and the F.E. Warren Air Force Base, she said.

Also, the vaccines have not been authorized for children so population-based calculations need to factor in how many people are old enough to receive it.

Gillette woman dies in crash in Sundance

GILLETTE (WNE) — A Gillette woman was killed in a one-car rollover off Interstate 90 by the Port of Entry exit in Sundance at about 11 p.m. Friday.

Keelie Garvin, 27, was driving a 2008 Ford F-250 west on I-90 when she lost control of the truck in the right-hand lane then skidded before rotating counter-clockwise as the truck left the roadway and entered the median. The truck then flipped over onto its top, said WHP Lt. Tim Boumeester.

Garvin was wearing a seat belt during the crash and died at the scene.

A 23-year-old passenger, Corban Vassar, was taken to Crook County Hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening.

Driving too fast for conditions is being investigated as a possible factor. The Highway Patrol noted that the interstate was covered with ice after an overnight snowstorm.

The weekend death was the fourth Wyoming highway fatality in 2021, compared to one as of Jan. 8 a year ago, three in 2019 and one in 2018.

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