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Newspaper Archive of
News Letter Journal
Newcastle, Wyoming
October 20, 2016     News Letter Journal
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October 20, 2016
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.... i . .............. 54 02 06 17 46P 6T ;: ...... SMALL TOWN PAPERS, INC 217 W COTA ST ~iiii ..... ~Ve S~(')]] ~':OUIlty SHELTON wa_ 9.8 .'58.4 .226),,,ll,],,,lll]l,,,,llll,,,,[,l,[,i-,[,.l,hll,ll[llll,lllhlll,'" October 20, 2016 Newcastle, Wyoming Year 130 Week 42 i ?::: iiii i-!iiiiiiiL The Weston Manor was host to plenty of attendees during the Four Seasons Festival last Saturday. Guests enjoyed a raffle, door prizes and hand-crafted goodies, and all proceeds benefit the Residents Activity Fund. (Pam Penfield/NLJ) Alexis Barker NLJ Reporter Weston County Sheriff's Sergeant Pat Watsabaugh had already finished his shift when he overheard dispatch sending two other deputies to a property south of Newcastle in response to a report of a male who had suffered an apparent gunshot wound to the head on June 24, 2015-- the day 60-year old Richard Campbell died. At a Coroner's Inquest held last month to deter- mine the cause and manner of Campbell's death, Watsabaugh testified that, although he was off work, he responded to the scene, a property with multiple resi- dences that share a common entrance and an overgrown driveway 11 miles south of town on Old Highway 85. The property, which included both a circular structure and a single-wide trailer, is owned by Caroline ScouR. Campbell lived in the trailer, and the circular building is Scoutt's home. As he drove down the driveway, Watsabaugh came upon the circular structure that Scoutt lives in, and observed fellow Deputy Dan Fields leaving the resi- dence. Fields informed the other officers at the scene that the call had been made in reference to the other home on the property, and the officers made their way to the single wide trailer occupied by Campbell. Watsabaugh had also observed Scoutt leaving the scene in a blue four-door pickup, and he instructed one of the other deputies to hold that vehicle at the entrance to the driveway while the scene was inves- tigated. Shortly after, he and Fields arrived at the trailer in which Campbell lived, and Watsabaugh was the first to enter Campbell's home. He told the three individ- uals who made up the coro- ner's jury that he walked up a short series of stairs, and found an unlocked door that took no force to open. At that point, officers entered the residence and as a safety measure "cleared" the struc- ture to make sure there was no existing threat or other -- See Campbell, Page lO Alexis Barker NLJ Reporter "This vote affects everyone in Weston County. It hits all of us. This is the most important vote in Weston County next to the hospital tax. They both affect everyone," City measure ;hat will result in a three mil property tax levy to fund a landfill in Weston County if voters approve it. The Weston County Solid Waste District board was created just over a year ago by the Weston County Commissioners with the task of finding a solution to the growing cost of solid waste disposal across the state. Their purpose was to research various options and determine the course that will best serve residents within Weston County. According to Hartley, voters in Weston County are faced with the choice of paying an additional $30 a month for solid waste disposal in the future, or approving the tax measure, which will Cost property owners only simple choice. If the levy passes, it will provide the funds for WCSWD to operate a local landfill, and if it doesn't pass, residents will have to pay more to have their solid waste transported to facilities outside the county. "The City of Newcastle is not closing our landfill by choice. We have no choice. The Department of Environmental Quality has us in this position. We have to do it, and the city has no means to generate enough money to build a state of the art landfill, declared Hartley, noting that a "state of the art landfill" will cost upwards of $3.5 million. "The only way to come up with that money is a mil levy, and the city can not do that. If this mil levy passes, that will allow the district (WCSWD) to generate enough money to pay off debt to build the landfill and to build it state of the art, so it will run for a long -- See Trash, Page 9 Alexis Barker NLJ Reporter On September 20, represen- tatives of the Weston County Predator Board approached the Weston County Commissioners to discuss the removal of one of the board's members, Nicky Groenwold, due to her not meeting the appropriate quali- fications for the position, but the discussion came to a head on October 10 at the Predator Board meeting in Upton when Terry Groenwold-- himself a former member of the board-- confronted the members present and voiced a number of issues he has with the board and the manner in which they operate. Groenwold indicated that he believed his wife had been "attacked" by other members of the board, and called it a cowardly act. He also asserted that crimes had been committed by the board and called for action to be taken. He indi- cated that the Weston County Commissioners, County Attorney William Curley, the State Auditor, and the State Attorney General's Office should all be informed of the actions of the board. Groenwold told the group that he felt it was inappropriate for board member Mike Davis and former board member Alan Todd-- who is also a former county commissioner-- to appear at the county commis- sion meeting in September and state that they had evidence that Nicky Groenwold owned and sold cattle. ("Predator Board," News Letter Journal, October 6, 2016, page one) The duo asserted that the proof disqualified her from being able to sit on the Predator Board as a "sports- men's representative," but Groenwold argued that his wife had informed county commis- sioners that she owned cattle when she offered to fill a vacant position on the Predator Board earlier this year. 'q do not need Sherlock Holmes to tell me I own cattle. She stated in her letter to the commissioners that she did" declared Groenwold. Nicky Groenwold emailed a copy of the letter sent to the county commissioners seeking the appointment on January 26, 2016 to the News Letter Journal, and she did, in fact, disclose that she was a livestock producer. At the time, she also suggested that state law allows a waiver from the prohibition against producers sitting on the Predator Board as sportsmen's representatives. "I am engaged in the busi- ness of raising cattle but won- dered if that proscription might be set aside as, with reference to the board members themselves, W.S. 11-6-202 (iii) states that 'if no qualified applicant seeks election to the board of direc- tors, then the director position may be filled by an otherwise qualified elector, provided no more than four directors may represent any one species of livestock.' I am aware that this subsection of the statutes applies to the elected board members, but I have not located, within the statutes, any similar waiver of the qualifica- tions for the sportsmen appoin- tees. Since the positions have not been filled, I assume that perhaps such a waiver could be considered. At any rate, I am a sportsperson and a business person and feel fully qualified in either of those roles to serve on the board. I would appreciate -- See Board, Page 3 Supporters tout benefits of lodging tax Andrew McKay NLJ Reporter Despite what online ads and spam claim, the mantra 'nothing is ever flee' remains the rule rather than the excep- tion, but this is essentially how the lodging tax works for Weston County businesses and community according to sup- porters who say, unlike other taxes, the lodging tax is paid for by the county's visitors rather than its citizens. "This is not a tax that Weston County residents are paying. It is money meant to bring tourists in, and the beautiful thing is, they're the ones who pay for it," said Norma Shelton, who has been on the Weston County Travel Commission since 2003. "Visitors to our hotels pay a tax for their room, what it amounts to is a little less than four dollars a night here in Weston County. It's a great deal. We receive the benefits, but don't have to pay the expenses. I think this works for everyone," explained Upton Chamber of Commerce President Debbie Douglas. The two are persistently vocal of these advantages for good reason-- the lodging tax is not decided on by county officials, but the voters them- selves. While tapping into the wealth of money traveling through the county may seem a no2brainer, however, many voters are instinctively cau- tious of the word 'tax.' -- See Lodging, Page 3 Bob Bonnar NLJ Associate Publisher In an email sent to city officials on October 4, Newcastle Mayor Greg James announced that he was resigning his position as mayor to accept the position of City Clerk/Treasurer vacated late in the summer by Charita Brunner. He began work in his new position on Monday. "Thank you for your offer of position as Clerk/Treasurer for the City of Newcastle. I gratefully accept the position, effective start date Monday, October 17, 2016," he wrote to the members of the Newcastle City Council. In the email, James also resigned immedi- ately from the mayor's position, and withdrew his name as a candidate for the Newcastle City Council. James had already decided to step down as the city's mayor at the end of the term that would have concluded at the end of this year, but had filed for election to a city council position and appeared on the primary election ballot. He told city officials he would be contacting County Clerk Jill Sellers to inform her that he was withdrawing from the city council race, but she indicated to the News Letter Journal that his name would still be appearing on the general election ballot. Sellers told the News Letter Journal that the city's personnel changes occurred after the ballots for the general election had already been printed, and that James' decision to withdraw from the race came too late. She said, however, that it has been posted at the courthouse and on the polling booths that votes for James in the city council election will not be counted, and that such notices will be posted at the polls on election day as well. This will be the second time James has served as City Clerk/Treasurer. He resigned from the mayor's seat to take the position in 1998 as well, and served in that capacity through 2004. Thursday Sunny Hi 57, Lo37 luul Friday Sunny Hi 63, Lo 40 Saturday Sunny Hi 65, Lo 40 Sunday Sunny Hi 64, Lo 42 Hi 67, Lo 45 Hi 63, Lo 40 Wednesday Sunny Hi 57, ko 38 INSIDE Falling for the Ranch, Page 8 Reading Counts, Page 10 County Payroll, Page 11 Dogies Roll, Page 13 "="=='~ ,o ,,,=,,,,,== ,,, ~u~lR*t