NEWS BRIEFS for Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020

State leaders ask for presidential debate to be held in Wyoming next month

CHEYENNE (WNE)Wyoming leaders want the state to host a presidential debate next month.

That was the crux of a letter sent last Friday to the Commission on Presidential Debates by Gov. Mark Gordon, Secretary of State Ed Buchanan and State Treasurer Curt Meier.

"In order to continue preserving fairness and transparency in this year's presidential election, I am writing today to request that an additional, earlier debate be held in my home state of Wyoming this September,” the letter reads.

The letter's submission last week came just a few days after the Trump campaign asked the same commission to hold a debate in the first week in September. However, the commission quickly turned down the proposal in response, according to Politico.

In their letter, Gordon and his colleagues noted the option to vote will be available to Wyoming voters 11 days before the first presidential debate, which will be held Sept. 29 in Cleveland, Ohio.

"Wyomingites who vote early deserve the same opportunity afforded to other states to hear the two competing visions for our country and make a well-informed decision when casting their vote at the ballot box – especially when one candidate has spent the duration of the campaign avoiding voters and questions from the press,” the letter states.

Despite the commission's rejection of the initial request to move any dates, leaders in Wyoming and several other states have still seized the moment to make their pitches – and they all seem to have used the same template.

Letters submitted to the commission by state leaders in Alabama and North Carolina were identical to the one submitted by Gordon, Buchanan and Meier.

Request to change name of buttes unsuccessful

CODY (WNE) — A Powell man has made an official request to change the name of two obscure mountain buttes southeast of Meeteetse.

In June, Powell resident Tyler Kerr submitted a request to change the name of the Squaw Teats, consisting of East Squaw Teat and West Squaw Teat. The request was sent to the United States Board on Geographic Names, a subsidiary of the United States Geological Survey. Kerr would like the names changed to the Crow Woman Buttes.

“I have never seen squaw used as a positive,” said Kerr in a phone interview last week. “I think these changes should be taken seriously where there is potential for making a large change in the meaning for a small amount of logistical changes.”

Kerr said the use of the word “squaw” bothers him much more than “teat,” which only appears to be used unofficially.

Squaw is considered a derogatory term for Native American women and has become “a misogynist and racist term to disparage indigenous women” over time, said Vanessa Esquivido, a professor of American Indian Studies at California State University, Chico, in a recent Reno Gazette Journal article. The world famous Squaw Valley Ski Resort in California is now considering changing its name as well, and Merriam-Webster dictionary considers it an offensive term.

Still, the Park County commissioners unanimously voted to reject supporting the name change at their Aug. 4 meeting.

“The BOCC (Board of County Commissioners) feel the history and heritage of Park County is important and must remain the same today and tomorrow,” Joe Tilden, commissioner chairman, said in a formal statement to the Board on Geographic Names.

Evanston man sent to prison for child porn

EVANSTON (WNE) — A 51-year-old Evanston man has been sentenced to five to eight years in prison for sexual exploitation of a minor. 

Jesse E. Bott was sentenced in Third District Court on Friday, Aug. 7, following a plea agreement reached with the Uinta County Attorney’s office. 

Bott was initially arrested and charged in February after Facebook messenger provided a cybertip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children regarding potential child pornography sent to his account. 

Bott, who had known the victim since her preteen years, reportedly began making comments about her appearance as she matured and admitted in court that he had repeatedly asked for and pressured her to send sexually explicit photos and videos via Facebook and SnapChat when she was 16 years old. 

Uinta County Attorney Loretta Howieson-Kallas said in court that Bott had exploited the trust of a young girl he had mentored for years and that the victim looked up to, trusted and cared about him. 

Bott apologized to the victim, her family and his own family. He also said he would like to get therapy while in prison to attempt to figure out why he had behaved as he did. 

He ultimately pleaded guilty to three counts of enticing a child to make pornography and four counts of possessing child pornography, receiving a sentence of five to eight years for each count, with those sentences to run concurrently. 

He was also ordered to pay more than $2,000 in victim restitution. Bott was remanded into the custody of the Uinta County Sheriff’s Office to await transfer to the Wyoming State Penitentiary.

Sheridan dedicates park to former U.S. Sen. Malcolm Wallop

SHERIDAN (WNE) — Canyon Ranch sits nestled at the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains just south of Sheridan.

It’s run by Paul and Sandra Wallop and gives guests the opportunity to have a true Wyoming ranch experience.

It’s not exactly a spot you’d expect to entice British royalty to visit, but in 1984, Queen Elizabeth II visited the ranch on her trip to America with Lady Carnarvon — Jean, the sister of former U.S. Senator for Wyoming Malcolm Wallop.

Formerly known as North Park, the park has been renamed Malcolm Wallop Park.  Its dedication ceremony Aug. 7 in Sheridan drew current and former Wyoming legislators, including U.S. Sens John Barasso and Mike Enzi, former U.S. Sen. Al Simpson and a slew of state and local legislators.

The park was renamed when two Sheridan residents, Kim Love and Kendall Hartman, asked Sheridan City Council last year to consider a resolution honoring Wallop, which they did thereafter.

Enzi and Barasso spoke about Wallop’s impact on them both professionally and personally.

“One of his greatest achievements is something called Congressional Awards,” Enzi said. “Any young person in America can earn a Congressional Award, sometime between the ages of 13 and 23, by doing primarily a lot of community service … and because he founded it along with Kendall Hartman, Wyoming is the leader in gold medal winners for the nation.”

“People here still believe the future is ours to shape and that’s what everyone here in this community is doing today with this park and this action — shaping the future,” Barasso said.