3 impaired drivers arrested during Border War operation

In Laramie and Albany counties, law enforcement agencies made 224 traffic stops, arrested three impaired drivers, and made two arrests for controlled substances during the Border War Impaired Driving Enforcement Operation on Nov. 6.

Since 2015, law enforcement in Wyoming and Colorado have teamed up as part of a multi-state impaired driving enforcement operation. For the 113th Border War college football game, traffic enforcement was concentrated on U.S. Highway 287, Interstate 25 and Interstate 80 to and from the game that was played in Laramie this year.

Wyoming law enforcement in Laramie and Albany counties also issued 59 speeding citations, four seat belt citations, 38 other citations, 167 warnings and arrested 19 people for other violations.

The weather was not a factor in southeast Wyoming during the operation. There were no fatal crashes reported during the 14-hour operation.

Agencies involved include the Wyoming Highway Patrol, Laramie Police Department, Albany County Sheriff’s Office, University of Wyoming Police Department, Laramie County Sheriff’s Office and the Cheyenne Police Department.

Agencies involved in Colorado include the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Weld County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Collins Police Department, Loveland Police Department, CSU Police Department, Estes Park Police Department and the Colorado State Patrol.

Governor’s call for ideas brings in big proposals

Earlier this year, after Wyoming received the first installment of funds from the American Rescue Plan, Gov. Mark Gordon asked a Strike Team to work on big ideas that would help Wyoming drive toward a future where its citizens will thrive.

Now, there are more than $3 billion in proposals that the Strike Team is evaluating.

Many of these proposals will not qualify for the $1 billion of American Rescue Plan funds, but could qualify for other one-time funds or be funded through the new infrastructure funding package. A list of the draft proposals can be found on a dedicated section of the governor’s website.

The governor released his strategy for Wyoming’s future in June, which has 11 goals, now down to 10. Since that time, the Governor’s Office has continued to make public presentations on this planning effort and take input from elected officials from across the state, as well as members of his cabinet, who have worked with stakeholders on these ideas.

“In some cases these proposals benefit from years of public input to develop strategic plans and emerging ideas. Others have come from more recent experience,” Governor Gordon said. “I appreciate the many bold and forward-looking proposals that have emerged. Nevertheless, I know we can only fund a portion of them. So a lot of work has to be done to refine this list of ideas. Wyoming must continue to support our core industries, support our social needs, and enhance economic opportunity into the future.”

Gordon emphasized that he hopes the public will stay involved in the process. “We will continue to provide the opportunity for feedback in this endeavor right up until the legislative session in February,” he added.

The governor’s website has information on the projects and a page where the public can provide input. In December, the governor will present his proposal for how to spend the American Rescue Plan Act funds Wyoming received. Distribution after that point will be decided by the Legislature. The American Rescue Plan has a timeline that dollars must be spent by the end of 2026, which provides additional time for strategic evaluation.

Some of the big ideas include:

  • Investing in housing, spurring more supply for workforce, working families, veterans and the homeless.
  • Carbon capture and storage facilities to support the drive toward commercialization.
  • Small business support programs.
  • Expansion of broadband connectivity.
  • Funding the Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust to improve habitat.
  • A grant program for new outdoor recreation facilities and trails.
  • A grant program for health care and human service facilities.
  • Workforce development grants for students to get new skills and jobs while meeting industry needs.
  • Telehealth investments.
  • Suicide prevention funding.
  • Support for emergency medical services.
  • Water infrastructure improvements.
  • Two new state parks.
  • Wildlife and highway crossings.

To view all of the proposals, visit http://drivethrive.wyo.gov/.

LCCC board announces December meetings

The Laramie County Community College Board of Trustees will hold its regular business meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1, in the College Community Center, room 128.

The meeting will include discussion and approval of the college’s annual audit and the lease revenue bonds for the renovation and expansion of the Recreation & Athletics Complex.

Members of the public are welcome to attend in person. Attendees are strongly recommended to wear a face covering and practice social distancing. The meeting will be broadcast virtually via the board’s YouTube channel. The meeting agenda and broadcast link can be found at lccc.wy.edu/BoardMeeting.

Anyone who would like to provide public comment during the meeting may attend in person or submit a request to make a comment via Zoom by emailing president@lccc.wy.edu, before 5 p.m. Dec. 1.

The Facilities and Finance Committee will meet at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, in the LCCC Administration Building’s Petersen Board Room. For information about how to attend this committee meeting, call 307-778-1287.

Norovirus among likely causes of recent illnesses

Norovirus is likely among the reasons behind increased reports of recent illnesses in Wyoming, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.

People who are sick with norovirus may experience nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, fatigue and dehydration. Other viruses and illnesses caused by bacteria contamination such as from E. coli can cause similar symptoms, but norovirus is the most common culprit.

Commonly described as “stomach flu” or “food poisoning,” norovirus is spread when people eat or drink contaminated food and beverages, touch contaminated surfaces or through close contact with someone already sick.

Matt Peterson, WDH surveillance epidemiologist, said contamination is almost always not obvious. “We’re often talking about extremely tiny amounts of poop or vomit. We can’t see it, but it can make us very sick,” he said

“When people get ill this way, they most often blame the last thing they ate, but norovirus and bacterial illness can spread through many routes other than just eating food,” Peterson said.

Illness can hit quickly between 12 to 48 hours after a person has been exposed. Symptoms usually last from one to three days and go away without causing long-term problems.

Recommended steps to help prevent illness include:

  • Frequently wash hands, especially after using the restroom or changing diapers, and before eating or preparing food.
  • If ill, stay home from work and school, especially if employed in food-handling, health care or child care.
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces immediately after an episode of vomiting or diarrhea with a solution of 1 cup household bleach per 1 gallon of water and letting the solution sit for one minute. Always follow manufacturers’ safety precautions.
  • Immediately remove and wash contaminated clothing or linens after an episode of illness (use hot water and soap).
  • Flush or discard any vomit and/or poop in the toilet and keep the surrounding area clean.
  • Ill persons should take extra care to avoid spreading the virus by minimizing contact with other persons while ill and practicing good hygiene.

Wyoming holds more than $100M belonging to residents

Despite record amounts of payments over the past few years, Wyoming’s Unclaimed Property Division of the State Treasurer’s Office is holding on to more money than ever, as the amount of money now being held exceeds $100 million.

Wyoming law stipulates properties that have reached the required dormancy period get reported no later than Nov. 1 each year. Because of this requirement, October and November are traditionally the months when the most money, securities and other properties are remitted.

Those wanting to see if they are owed any of the properties held by the state are encouraged to watch the two-minute instructional video at www.mycash.wyo.gov before searching the online database.

“We have stepped up our efforts to reunite owners with their unclaimed properties, but the amount turned into the State continues to outpace the amount we are able to return,” Wyoming State Treasurer Curt Meier said. “We returned $7.4 million over the past fiscal year that ended June 30, and then in the month of July we returned securities valued at more than $6.7 million.”

Thanks to the $3.54 million deposited in October and another $3.91 million deposited so far in November, the amount of money held by the state has swelled to over $100.6 million.

Meier said staff members work to locate and contact owners of larger properties, but there are more than 900,000 individual properties in the state’s database, meaning the vast majority of owners will only get paid if they initiate a claim on their own at www.mycash.wyo.gov.

“Even if you got a check from us a year ago, it’s worth the time to search to see if any of these new properties turned over to the state belong to you,” Meier said. “We have received almost $10 million in new funds since the start of this fiscal year.”

Unclaimed property is turned over when a business, agency or governmental entity owes money, securities and/or the contents of a safe deposit box, among other items, to someone and for whatever reason cannot locate the owner for a specified duration of time. The property is turned over to the state of last known address, if an address was ever known. If there was no last known address, it is turned over to the state in which the business was incorporated.

With this in mind, those who ever lived in another state may want to visit www.unclaimed.org and click on the state (or states) on the map to get redirected directly to other official unclaimed property sites.

To make a valid claim at www.mycash.wyo.gov or any other state’s site, owners will need to provide information about themselves and may need to submit official documents. This could be as simple as a copy of a driver’s license, but additional documents may be required for those claiming as an heir or a business.

Wyoming law requires the state to hold unclaimed property in perpetuity until it is claimed by the rightful owner.

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