NEWS BRIEFS for Friday, Feb. 21, 2020

Colleges win approval to offer 4-year degrees

GILLETTE (WNE) — The state’s community college commission has approved Gillette College moving forward in the process of eventually offering four-year degree programs.

The OK last week from the Wyoming Community College Commission also includes Sheridan College and the Northern Wyoming Community College District. It was an essential step in continuing the process to offer management and leadership applied science baccalaureate degrees at both campuses with an emphasis on business and another in industrial technology.

Now the colleges and district will develop the specific curricula for the degrees and ensure services are in place to support a four-year program. Those include services for students and libraries.

That requires a “substantive change” approval from the state Higher Learning Commission, something four other Wyoming community colleges are going through after the 2019 Legislature and governor approved a measure allowing community colleges to offer two four-year degrees.

The Higher Learning process can take six months to a year to complete, estimated Gillette College Vice President Janell Oberlander.

“It just depends on how quickly we can go through it and how thorough they are when they come for a site visit,” she said Wednesday. “It’s just a process that we have to get through. But (we) know that process has been approved and we can move forward. It’s real exciting news.

“It’s great for the district and great for the community. It’s a milestone process, but there are many more ahead.”


Girl killed in accident near Mountain View

CHEYENNE — A 10-year-old child died in a single-vehicle crash near Mountain View, according to a Wyoming Highway Patrol report. 

According to the report, the Chevrolet Suburban was traveling southbound on WY-414, south of Lonetree, when it approached a right curve and downhill grade. 

The Feb. 16 accident involved a 1995 Chevrolet Suburban. The vehicle “failed to maintain its lane and exited the roadway to the right,” according to a release by the Wyoming Highway Patrol. 

The driver overcorrected to the left, re-entered the roadway and overcorrected to the right, causing the Chevrolet to tip and then roll several times on the roadway. 

The vehicle then left the roadway and rolled down an embankment, coming to a rest upside down on the right-of-way fence. 

The child, identified as 10-year-old Arriahna Ball of Utah, had been secured in the front right seat with just the lap belt but not the shoulder belt, according to the report. 

The 10-year-old female was partially ejected during the crash and was trapped under the vehicle. 

She was stabilized at the scene and transferred by air ambulance to Ashley Valley Medical Center, where she later succumbed to her injuries. 

Driver inattention is being investigated as a possible contributing factor.

This is the seventh fatality on Wyoming’s roadways in 2020 compared to 18 in 2019, 9 in 2018, and 10 in 2017 to date. 


Sublette commissioners back plan for hospital district

PINEDALE (WNE) — A partnership between the Sublette Center and Sublette County Rural Health Care District (SCRHCD) to form a new hospital district and build a critical access hospital and long-term care facility received support from the Board of County Commissioners at its Feb. 18 meeting. 

Two motions passed unanimously by the four members present – Chairman David Burnett, Tom Noble, Mack Rawhouser and Doug Vickrey. Joel Bousman was attending meetings in Cheyenne. 

The first motion approved “up to $20 million for construction of a new long-term care facility” and deeded the Marbleton/Big Piney and Pinedale clinics to a “new hospital district.”

The first motion is conditional on voter approval for a hospital district on a November 2020 ballot and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Sublette Center and SCRHCD to form this district. 

A “reversion clause” was included to return the clinics to the county in case the clinics do not meet certain goals set by the commissioners at a later date, Burnett explained. 

“Our support in the form of a motion is what we need to do to help the MOU progress in a positive manner and continue the momentum,” said Noble. 

“This is our opportunity to do what we wanted to do for a long time – to put (a hospital district) up to the electorate and let them decide,” said Burnett.