NEWS BRIEFS for Wednesday, April 1, 2020


Census timeline slowed in reaction to COVID-19 spread

LARAMIE (WNE) -– The 2020 census will still be taking place despite the spread of COVID-19, though the timeline has again been pushed back as states continue to announce extended periods of shutdowns. Field operations in general have been suspended until April 15, with numerous other dates postponed as well.

“These dates for all field operations are still subject to change as we continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation,” Census Bureau spokeswoman Jennifer Hillman said.

Traditionally, April 1 is the date for which the Census Bureau estimates the total number of people living in Laramie or Albany County. 

But because of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and the shift to online course delivery for the remainder of the semester by institutions across the U.S., the Census Bureau has directed that students enrolled in colleges and universities temporarily depopulated physically due to the COVID-19 virus will still be counted in those college communities.

Although virus-related reactions and precautions have restricted much of the nation’s day-to-day business, this year’s census is already well-equipped to accommodate these disruptions.

“It has never been easier to respond on your own, whether online, over the phone or by mail – all without the need of a census taker coming to your door,” Hillmann said. Census invitations with personalized ID numbers began mailing out to every US household on Thursday, March 12 – within the first week, 11 million households had responded. Online and phone response options can be found at the Census Bureau’s website (www.2020census.gov).

For those interested in calling in by phone to take care of their census, call 1-844-330-2020, but the Census Bureau advises that there may be long wait times.

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More hunting applications open April 1

ROCK SPRINGS (WNE) — Beginning at 8 a.m. on April 1, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department will accept applications for limited quota fall turkey, sandhill crane and beaver as well as applications to the Glendo and Springer special pheasant hunts.

Applications must be submitted online at https://wgfd.wyo.gov/apply-or-buy.

“This is a new opening date for applications for the Springer and Glendo hunts as well as for sandhill crane,” said Jennifer Doering, Game and Fish license section manager.

The deadline to submit applications is June 1. That is also the deadline for resident elk and resident and nonresident deer and antelope. Detailed information on seasons, maps and regulations are available on the Game and Fish website.

To apply for limited quota drawings or preference points, visit the Game and Fish Apply or Buy page. For questions call (307) 777-4600 between 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

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Jackson cops gently enforcing health orders

JACKSON (WNE) — If law enforcement officers see people congregating closely in groups in Teton County or in town they’ll likely ask them nicely to stop doing that.

The Jackson Police Department and the Teton County Sheriff’s Office have been handling complaint calls about people not physically distancing — mainly at Snow King, Grand Targhee and Teton Pass — but they haven’t cited anyone yet.

As new health orders are passed by local government restricting certain gatherings, the cops are seeing it as an opportunity to educate the public rather than punish people.

“They aren’t looking for heavy-handed enforcement,” Jackson Chief of Police Todd Smith said of elected officials. “It’s a mechanism to send a strong message.” 

Smith said that mostly it’s about people simply remembering to stand at least 6 feet apart.

“The majority are doing the right thing, orders or no orders,” Smith said. “But whether it is innocent or intentional some people forget. They are out with a friend or loved one and are forgetting to keep the 6-foot distance because it is not natural.”

Smith said his patrol officers are trying to keep their own distance from people, but if they need to remind folks to spread apart they will.

“They’ll drive up and maybe roll down a window, and they try to keep it as lighthearted and positive as possible,” Smith said. “That has worked out really well.”

Aside from having to break up a house party of 20-somethings last week, Smith said for the most part people are taking the recommendations and orders seriously.

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Multiple thefts occur at Gillette Walmart

GILLETTE (WNE) — There were four separate shoplifting incidents at Walmart over the weekend.

On Saturday afternoon, a 47-year-old woman and 49-year-old man were ticketed for shoplifting and were issued trespass notices after attempting to leave the store with $440.95 worth of items, Police Lt. Brent Wasson said. 

In the evening, employees stopped a 40-year-old woman who was trying to leave the store with $325.62 worth of merchandise. She was ticketed for shoplifting then arrested on a warrant for failing to appear on an original charge of driving under suspension.

On Sunday, there were two more reported incidents.

A 21-year-old woman was ticketed for shoplifting after trying to take $40.55 in household items and groceries in the afternoon and at about 8:30 p.m. a 35-year-old woman left with $137.01 worth of items that included a PlayStation 4 Charging Station and USB cord. The merchandise was later found in her vehicle, he said.

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