NEWS BRIEFS for Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019

From Wyoming News Exchange newspapers

Single-use plastic bags targeted in Cheyenne

CHEYENNE (WNE) — Communities across the country are implementing restrictions on plastic bags, and the Wyoming chapter of the Inland Ocean Coalition wants Cheyenne to be next.

Focused on protecting the water that flows into oceans, the coalition is working on getting a city ordinance passed that would impose a fee for single-use plastic bags in stores.

Wyoming Chapter Lead Kelly Wright has been communicating with elected officials, local interest groups and community stakeholders to try and get the ordinance brought before the City Council.

Instead of an all-out ban, the coalition is proposing a “sustainable shopping initiative” that would charge consumers some cents for each bag used in the hope of reducing damage to the environment.

Wright said plastic bags need fossil fuels to be made, which increases the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and contributes to climate change. After they’ve been used, plastic bags are hard to recycle because they can’t go in your normal curbside pickup. And when they finally go into landfills with regular trash, the wind can easily carry them elsewhere.

Similar initiatives have gained traction throughout the state, with Jackson leading the way, banning free distribution of plastic bags altogether. If a shopper wants a paper bag from the store at the register, they’re charged a 20-cent “waste reduction fee” for each bag. The Laramie Youth Council, which is comprised of high school students, has proposed a less-strict ordinance that would charge shoppers 15 cents per plastic bag.


Man faces up to 22 years in assault

CODY (WNE) — A Rock Springs man is facing up to 22 years in prison for beating his Cody girlfriend while she was nine weeks pregnant.

Anthony Maestas, 36, is being held on $120,000 cash bond at the Park County Detention Center.

When arrested Dec. 17, Maestas also had an outstanding warrant for an event that occurred Nov. 25, in which he is also accused of domestic battery against Joann Berryman, 30, and had a restraining order in place forbidding him from visiting her residence. 

From the most recent incident, Berryman told Eubanks, Maestas had sneaked into her Baker Drive apartment shortly after arriving home. Soon after making contact, he became “irate,” accusing her of cheating on him. Despite requesting him to leave multiple times, Berryman said Maestas refused.

She said he then began to hit her as he stood over her, which is when she told him of the pregnancy.

Berryman started to feel nauseous and went to the bathroom to vomit. This is when Maestas came up behind her and kicked her in the side of the ribs and kidney area, causing her to vomit, she told Eubanks.

When he stepped back from the bathroom momentarily Berryman was able to dial a friend for help.


NWC takes request for new student center to legislators

POWELL (WNE) — Northwest College President Stefani Hicswa went before the Joint Appropriations Committee on Dec. 20 to ask state lawmakers to provide half the funding for a new student center. 

The current DeWitt Student Center was built in 1966 and was expected to last 50 years, Hicswa told committee members. The facility is beyond its life, she said, and is in dire need of replacement. Its foundation is “crumbling,” and the roof is leaking, Hicswa said, adding that the building has a “groundwater issue,” sewer seepage and HVAC problems. 

“I’m just one disaster away from not having anywhere to feed my students,” Hicswa said. “It’s a health and safety issue, and if something happens, it will shut down the facility.” 

The Joint Appropriations Committee did not take immediate action on the funding request for NWC; the panel is set to make its budget recommendations in mid-January. 

In his budget proposal released in November, Gov. Mark Gordon recommended about $10.2 million in state funding for a roughly $20.4 million new student center at NWC. If the Legislature approves the governor’s recommended appropriation in its 2020 Budget Session, the other half of the funding for the project would need to come from local sources. 

According to Carey Miller, communications and marketing director for NWC, the local efforts will include a fundraising campaign through the Northwest College Foundation. Hicswa has also indicated that the college will likely seek a 1 percent specific purpose sales tax in Park County in order to raise the full $10 million needed to complete the project. 


Wyoming this Weekend, Jan. 3-5

By The Wyoming News Exchange

Those with New Year’s resolutions to get in shape in 2020 may want to get a jump on the year ahead with a weekend visit to the Evanston Recreation Center.

The center is hosting a “Super Saturday Health Rally” to give visitors a chance to try out its exercise equipment, take part in some free fitness classes, swim in the center’s pool and play family games. Visit

For those more interested in outdoor recreation to start the new year, a visit to Laramie’s Lake Hattie might be in order. There, the Laramie Plains Lions Club will host the 27th annual Ice Fishing Derby on Saturday and Sunday. Cash prizes will be awarded for the largest fish. For more information, see

Also in Laramie this weekend will be Cowboy Turf Wars XI, a 5-on-5 soccer tournament for players ages 7 to 18. Up to 200 teams will participate in the tournament that runs Friday through Sunday.

Other sporting events on tap for the weekend include the fourth annual Jackson Hole Nordic Alliance Free Nordic Ski, Fat Bike and Snowshoe on Sunday at Turpin Meadow Ranch. The free event is designed to give attendees a chance to try nordic skiing, fat biking or snowshoeing.

At the Sweetwater Events Complex in Rock Springs, the action will take place on a track Friday through Sunday at the Southwest Wyoming BMX Indoor Series. 

People wearing bathrobes and raising money for charity will be the order of the day at the “Bathrobe Brunch” at Cheyenne’s Paramount Ballroom, where attendees will enjoy adult beverages Saturday morning while wearing their bathrobes. The $25 admission will raise money for The Children’s Tumor Foundation.

Aspiring performers who might like to lend their talents to film should visit Cheyenne’s Civic Center on Saturday for a sing-along with the movie “The Greatest Showman.” Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children.

A different kind of musical will be performed at Casper’s “The Lyric” on Friday and Sunday with a showing of the opera “Die Fledermaus!” Presented by Opera Wyoming.!/1212/