NEWS BRIEFS for Friday, May 22, 2020

New factory in Riverton could bring 200 jobs

RIVERTON (WNE) -– A new manufacturing company is making plans to come to Riverton - bringing along 200 well-paying jobs.

Inductance Energy Corp. of Cheyenne wants to manufacture wiring harnesses, flywheel components and other electrical generating equipment in Riverton, using a $10 million industrial revenue bond issued through the city.

The Riverton City Council will consider the bonding agreement at a later date. On Tuesday, however, the council approved an agreement with Inductance Energy that "sets forth the understanding of the parties related to the issuance of revenue bonds."

City administrator Tony Tolstedt said the memorandum of understanding was crafted "to provide some structure and understanding" as Riverton and Inductance Energy move forward with the bonding process.

"(It) is not meant to suggest approval or an affirmative action toward the issuance of any bonds," he noted in his memo to the council.

"The approval process for any such funding is more significant and requires both specific noticing as well as a specific approval process."

Inductance Energy government liaison Richard Hawley said his company, which already has working facilities in Arizona and Nevada, plans to begin the application process for the industrial revenue bond in Riverton immediately.

"We're ready to go, and we're excited to be in your community," he said.

Once the bonds are issued, the MOU states, the company will begin construction within 120 days, hire employees and put the proceeds to use, with repayment beginning upon issuance with a 45-day grace period.

The business would hire 20 people initially, he said, but staffing could increase to 200 "by the time we're done."

"And we pay decently," he said.


Sheridan students compete in egg dropping competition 

SHERIDAN (WNE) — Big Horn Elementary hosted its fourth annual egg drop Tuesday afternoon, utilizing Facebook Live to broadcast the event.

Every BHE student was eligible to design a device that allowed an egg to survive a drop from the roof above the front entrance at BHE.

Devices could not measure more than 12 inches in width, depth or height and materials binding the eggshell together as duct tape or super glue are not allowed on the egg. Parachutes were not allowed, either, and students supplied their own raw egg. Teachers inspect eggs after a successful drop to make sure they were not hard-boiled.

A variety of materials were used this year, and each year becomes more creative, said BHE Principal Kathy Powers. One surviving egg was placed inside a jar of peanut butter, wrapped in bubble wrap and placed inside a box.

Another egg was suspended in a bowl of jello that exploded once it hit the ground. The egg almost survived but there was a small crack that broke the membrane of the egg.

Powers said the goal was to have students think like scientists, creating a hypothesis about what will allow the egg to survive or observing materials that could possibly protect the egg, she said.

Before each device was dropped, Powers read an explanation on why students chose their materials for the device, and scientific thinking was evident in the descriptions.

Multiple eggs survived the fall, and weight was used to determine to break the tie, with the lightest device winning. 


Evanston man arrested in Wednesday shooting

EVANSTON (WNE) —An Evanston man was arrested on Wednesday, May 20, following an incident in which a fellow Evanston man was shot in the abdomen. George C. Andrews has been charged with felony aggravated assault and battery after allegedly shooting Byron Pinegar at a home on Sage Street.

According to an affidavit filed in the case, Evanston police responded after Pinegar himself called 911 to report he had been shot. Officers reportedly entered the residence, heard movement in the basement and issued orders to come upstairs while showing hands to officers. Upon coming up the stairs, Andrews reportedly admitted he shot Pinegar and said he had taken matters into his own hands because he was “tired of getting his ass beat” by the victim. 

Andrews also told officers that the gun, a .410-gauge shotgun with the stock sawed off, was on his bed, where it was later retrieved.

When arrested, Andrews himself reportedly told officers on more than one occasion that he had shot Pinegar because he “was tired of it” and said, “You guys did nothing about it, so I did.” 

Andrews was booked into the Uinta County Detention Center. Court documents indicate he was previously convicted of felony possession of methamphetamine in 2013. He now faces up to 10 years of imprisonment, a $10,000 fine or both for the aggravated assault and battery charge.

Pinegar was transported to Evanston Regional Hospital for treatment of his injuries. A press release from the EPD said he was later transported to a Utah hospital for further treatment. As of press time, his status was unknown.


Former Gillette business owner accused of 9 counts of theft

GILLETTE (WNE) — A former Gillette businessman is accused of stealing more than $20,000 from nine customers while his business was going under, continuing to take money from them for work he allegedly never intended to do.

William Dohse, 42, has been charged with four felony counts and five misdemeanors counts of theft. The felonies each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

He owned Soundworks, which closed in December 2018. But between August 2017 and that time, he still was promising to do work for people and taking money from them allegedly to order supplies without intending to do the work, according to an affidavit of probable cause prepared by Gillette Police Detective Christine Winterholler.

The largest of the thefts that were charged was for $14,822 for two Bluetooth wireless headsets ordered and paid for in November 2018. After numerous interactions between the man and Dohse, the headsets were never received.

In another case, Dohse allegedly agreed to install a new stereo system and alarm system in a classic car that a man was restoring. The man made $900 in payments toward the $5,000-$6,000 project and bought equipment to be installed in the car, sending it to Dohse after the man moved to Nevada as part of his job.

The man told police he was “shocked” that the store closed because Dohse never told him the store was going out of business and couldn’t complete his installation. He also never returned his cash to him or offered a refund, according to court documents.


Uncertainty caused by pandemic leads to reduced applications to Eastern Wyoming College

TORRINGTON (WNE) — As high schools around the country grapple with finishing the school year online and prepping for alternative graduation ceremonies, Eastern Wyoming College isn’t seeing as many of those who would usually be first-time students next year expressing interest. 

That was the word Tuesday from Roger Humphrey, vice president for student services during his report to the EWC Board of Trustees.

“For (fall 2020), the numbers are considerably lower than we’ve had in the past,” Humphrey said. “Many institutions in the state are in the same boat. The impact of COVID-19, in the short term hopefully, has impacted our applications.” 

The 2018 fall semester had the greatest number of applications filed at 580. As of April 15, EWC had received 484 applications for next fall, roughly a quarter of normal, he said. 

“Normally we get 70 to 90 new applications per month” at this time of year, Humphrey said. “From March 15 to April 15, we received 21. We’re hoping we’re going to get a bump, once things settle down, in July and August.” 

Overall, enrollment numbers – incorporating both new and returning students – are on pace with previous years. Most of the students returning to EWC next year are from across the college’s multi-county service area.

There are still about 90 students out there from the current year who are eligible to return to EWC in the fall but haven’t completed their registration yet, Humphrey said.

“We’re visiting with high school students,” he said. “They’re not really sure what they’re going to do, where they’re going to go. They’re really uncertain, trying to finish their high school career, and about what college campuses are going to look like in the fall.”