NEWS BRIEFS for Friday, March 20, 2020

National gas price drop yet to show up in Wyoming

CHEYENNE (WNE)  — With the oil market in turmoil, many Americans have seen a substantial drop in prices at the gas pump over the last few weeks. But those price drops have yet to materialize at most gas stations in Cheyenne.

Over the past week, nationwide gas prices have hit a new low for the year, sitting at $2.20 per gallon as of Thursday, according to AAA data. Meanwhile, in a majority of gas stations around Cheyenne, per-gallon prices were about 20 cents higher the same day.

In recent years, Wyoming's gas prices have consistently lagged behind national market trends. But this month, the gap also can be explained by dropping demand for gas as Americans temporarily recede into their homes due to the coronavirus.

Mark Larson, executive vice president of the Wyoming-Colorado Petroleum Marketers Association, predicted some gasoline vendors, including those in Wyoming, are stuck with higher-priced inventory from before the price drop while demand for gasoline wanes as people stay home due to COVID-19.

Underpinning all of those price-driving factors is location. Major cities typically see their prices come down faster, as oil companies focus distribution on more highly populated areas. While Wyoming's pump prices were roughly 20 cents cheaper than in neighboring states like Colorado and Nebraska, state chief economist Wenlin Liu said Cheyenne residents should expect gas prices to reach similar levels in the coming weeks.


Details released on Pinedale plane crash

PINEDALE (WNE) – A young pilot in training and his experienced instructor were both injured but survived a single-engine plane crash just south of the Pinedale Airport on Monday evening, March 17.

Riley Wilson, 18, and his instructor Fred Holden, 79, both from Pinedale, were flying in the vintage 1961 single-engine Piper with Wilson at the controls as they approached the Pinedale Airport runway from the north for a landing, according to Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. Klief Guenther. 

Something happened with the aircraft’s mechanics while Wilson was flying and Holden took over control but the mechanical failure made it so Holden could not control the plane, he said. At that point the plane was about 150 feet above the ground and going about 85 miles an hour, they told him. The plane’s wheel and right wing landed on the ground, tipping the propeller forward into the ground about 50 feet south of the airport’s boundary. 

Guenther said neighbors saw the plane’s crash landing and called 911 and went to the scene. 

The two men were taken by ambulance to the Pinedale Medical Clinic, where Wilson was treated for head and facial wounds and released. Holden was transported by medical helicopter to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center for “substantial injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening,” according to Guenther. 

He noted that Holden is an “extremely experienced pilot.”


Jackson Girl Scout cookie deliveries delayed

JACKSON (WNE) — Attention Girl Scout cookie fans: Your Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Samoas and Do-si-do orders are safe, but they will unfortunately be delayed.

The troop leaders of the Girl Scout's Jackson Service Unit have decided to suspend cookie delivery for the time being.

"While we know Girl Scout cookies will bring a little sunshine into everyone's home bound life, we feel the risk is still too high to transmit the COVID-19 virus," wrote Margaret Gordon in a community notice. "Some might argue cookies could be considered a necessity, but a responsible Girl Scout knows they are not."

Gordon said that the Girl Scouts wanted to be leaders in modeling how to care for their communities.

"I have been in discussions with troop leaders all morning about this, and while cashless transactions would help, there's still a chance that an asymptomatic parent or girl could unknowingly pass along the virus to a customer," she said. "There's just not enough yet known about this virus, and we need to do our part to keep our community healthy and our health care resources unburdened."

"We are acting out of an abundance of caution," Gordon said, "and we hope you understand."

The Girl Scouts will be monitoring the situation and will keep the community posted as to when they feel it's safe to deliver and sell. For now, cookies will be safely stored.