Wyoming News Update

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CHURCH ABUSE-WYOMING

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Roman Catholic officials in Wyoming have published a list of 11 former clergy they say have had substantiated claims of sexual abuse against them.

The Wyoming Catholic Register newsletter mailed Wednesday publicly names for the first time 10 accused clergy, including priests and a member of a religious order, who served in Wyoming.

Diocese of Cheyenne officials say the abuse of male and female children and one vulnerable adult occurred between the 1950s and late 1990s.

The diocese says no clergy with substantiated abuse claims have served in Wyoming since at least 2004. They say church officials have reported all abuse claims to police.

The list includes former Bishop Joseph Hart, whom church officials said in 2018 faces substantiated allegations he abused boys in the 1970s.

Hart denies the allegations.

WYOMING-CHARTER SCHOOLS

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming legislators are considering changes to prevent double payments for maintenance and utility costs at charter schools.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that the Legislature's Select Committee on School Facilities discussed possible corrections to a funding statute in Casper Wednesday.

The change would affect two schools in Laramie County and one in Albany County.

Officials say charter schools that lease buildings are reimbursed to market rate for utilities and routine maintenance through contracts with the state based on a square footage rate.

The state construction department previously has also reimbursed the schools for utilities and maintenance, creating duplicate payments.

Officials say amending the statute could save hundreds of thousands of dollars, either by eliminating the average cost per square foot reimbursement or removing maintenance from the funding model.

PENCE-YELLOWSTONE-THE LATEST

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence is using a visit to Yellowstone National Park to promote a plan to whittle away the more than $12 billion repair-and-maintenance backlog in parks across the U.S.

Pence spoke Thursday at Old Faithful, the first national park's most famous geyser, in an appearance with Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

The Billings Gazette reports Pence helped haul and nail lumber with a work crew repairing a boardwalk near the geyser. He spoke about the Trump administration's proposal to commit half of all leasing royalties on federal land to the backlog of needed repairs for roads, trails and buildings.

The measure to use money from energy leases is in the Interior Department's budget request after failing to pass Congress last year. Pence calls it an idea whose time has come.

FATHER ASSAULT

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming judge has imposed a one-year jail sentence on a 39-year-old man for punching and using a gun to threaten a 16-year-old boy the man found in a bedroom with his daughter.

The Gillette News Record reports District Judge John R. Perry on Wednesday gave Adam Keuck a suspended six- to 10-year sentence for aggravated assault and jail for reckless endangerment. He also fined him $10,750 and ordered eight years of intensive supervised probation.

Perry noted that three months before the April 2018 incident he had restored Keuck's rights to have a gun in expunging a prior conviction.

In the incident, police say the girl's mother, Sara Cage, also beat the same boy.

Cage was convicted last month of battery and another charge. She has yet to be sentenced.

ELECTION 2020-SENATE-WYOMING

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Democrat Yana Ludwig of Laramie is the first person to publicly declare intent to run for the Wyoming U.S. Senate seat that is being vacated with the retirement of Sen. Mike Enzi.

The 49-year-old Ludwig will be announcing her candidacy for the party's nomination on Friday in Laramie, where she has lived since moving to the state in 2016.

In an interview Wednesday with the Casper Star-Tribune, Ludwig said her campaign will be focused on elevating issues like economic insecurity and climate change that can only be addressed at the national level.

A newcomer to politics, Ludwig has been a vocal presence in the Laramie community and considers herself a socialist on economic issues.

Enzi announced in May that he would retire from the Senate when his current term expires.

CODY LABS

CODY, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming's only drug-manufacturing business is closing its operations in Cody, resulting in about 80 employees losing their jobs.

The Cody Enterprise reports that Cody Laboratories has been producing generic prescription pain medications for nearly two decades.

On Tuesday, the Philadelphia-based Lannett Co. informed its employees that attempts to find a potential buyer for its Cody subsidiary have failed in part because of concerns over lawsuits against opioid manufacturers.

Cody employees will be laid off in three phases through late September.

Company spokesman Robert Jaffe says in a media release that all employees are being offered a severance package and services to assist them with the transition.

Forward Cody CEO James Klessens expressed concern about the people losing jobs and says the organization has begun identifying ways to help them.

SheridanWyoming.com

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