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Powell, WY

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People convicted of driving drunk four or more times per year could face more time in prison if House Bill 88 passes the Wyoming Senate in the next week.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Sam Krone of Cody, would make a fourth or subsequent DUI conviction within 10 years a felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison and/or a fine of as much as $10,000.

During the Powell City Council meeting last week, a city employee made a comment that was especially refreshing in light of some legislators’ recent attempts to restrict public access to information.

“If you have any questions, contact us, absolutely. That’s why we’re public employees. We work for you,” Gary Butts, city public services manager, told residents who gathered last Tuesday night to hear about an upcoming street renovation project.

The Wyoming Legislature could take an example from Park County School District No. 1.

On Friday, the deadline for bills to be introduced into the Wyoming House of Representatives or the Wyoming Senate, representatives and senators pushed hard to assure that each bill got its chance for introduction.

EDITORIAL: Funding Wyoming’s highways

Unless Wyoming lawmakers pave the way for adequate funding, more roads and bridges in the state will deteriorate.

One-fifth of Wyoming’s roads are in poor shape, and a report released last week warned that number could nearly double by 2022 if state lawmakers don’t provide enough funding for roadwork. The report, released last week by the Washington, D.C.-based group TRIP, also warned Wyoming may see an increase in deteriorating bridges.

With last week’s denial by the Park County Commission of a special use permit for the city of Powell’s planned site for a garbage transfer station, both governing entities now need to work together to find another solution.

From the outside looking in, it appears both could have done a better job of working toward a cooperative outcome of last week’s hearing.

EDITORIAL: A tragic end to a bad situation

It’s not the way you expect a day to begin in our quiet community.

Early Thursday morning, Powell police received a 911 call that someone was firing shots at a local motel. The man later told police he was holding hostages. Law enforcement officers surrounded the motel, and a standoff ensued.

Early this week, Gov. Matt Mead met with residents in the Pavillion area in an effort to resolve complaints some have raised about groundwater tainted by pollution.

Specifically, some residents of the rural area in northern Fremont County believe their wells have been contaminated by the chemicals used in the process of hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking. Fracking involves pumping water, sand and various chemicals under pressure into a well to release oil or gas by fracturing tight rock formations.

Give health care program time to grow

Working Wyomingites unable to afford health insurance have a unique opportunity for medical coverage through Healthy Frontiers. Still in its infancy, the pilot program aids low-income residents in coverage for preventive care, medications and treatment.

Healthy Frontiers isn’t a free ride. Participants must be working at least 20 hours per week to qualify, and they also make payments to their health savings accounts.

EDITORIAL: Seeking equal treatment

Last week, Northwest College received a request that was bound to come up sooner or later.

As we reported in our Tuesday issue, a new faculty member at the college has asked NWC to consider offering the same health insurance benefits to domestic partners and same-sex couples that the college offers to married couples and their families.

Park County has more homeless pets than willing adopters. Many of the cats and dogs filling local animal shelters would make good companions, but often times, they must wait weeks, months — or years, in rare cases — before going to a new home.

Both Powell and Cody have no-kill animal shelters, so cats and dogs wait as long as it takes until they’re adopted. While we’re glad animals’ lives are spared, it’s a costly commitment.

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