NEWS BRIEFS for Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020

From Wyoming News Exchange newspapers

Murder-suicide reported in Gillette

GILLETTE (WNE) — Two Gillette residents were found dead on Friday morning.

At about 11 a.m., the Gillette Police Department received a call from a family member of one of the victims who reported finding the bodies of 36-year-old woman Felicity Sjostrom and 46-year-old man Richard Massman in the 1100 block of Bighorn Circle.

The investigation revealed that Massman had shot Sjostrom in the head before shooting himself in the head. It was believed to have occurred sometime early Friday morning, Police Lt. Brent Wasson said.

The deaths were instantaneous, said Campbell County Coroner Paul Wallem.

The investigation is “substantially” complete and there is no indication of why the shootings took place, Wasson said.


PSC to hold hearing on coal-fired plants

AFTON (WNE) — The Wyoming Public Service Commission is holding a special meeting to get feedback from the public on coal-fired power plants and that will be held at the Kemmerer Event Center January 28 from 4 PM to as late as 7 PM.

“The Public Service commission is looking for official public feedback that can go on the record,” Kemmerer City Administrator Brian Muir said. “To help our consumers and are economy really.”

Rocky Mountain Power says it will be closing Naughton Units 1 and 2 in 2025. Unit 3 will be converted to natural gas and then will be shut down in 2029. Muir says the Public Service Commission is trying to set up some rules to help sell those power plants. This is to help make it go well for the buyer and the consumer.

“I am excited to give my input,” Muir said. “I’d encourage everyone, this is an opportunity to make your voice heard and it’s an opportunity to talk about the benefits to our coal-fired power plants.

Muir says he has done a lot of studying on energy and he has some real concerns with Rocky Mountain Power’s plan moving forward to introduce windmills and such. He believes it will be very costly to the community in terms of higher rates. He says the technology of the battery power storage is still in its infant stages.


Realtors unhappy with document costs

GREEN RIVER (WNE) — Recent charges for use of the county’s iDoc records system has created escalating tensions between realtors and Sweetwater County, with one realtor having retained an attorney to represent her.

According to a press release on the Sweetwater County Clerk’s Office website, the system was upgraded to allow people to view and print county records form their home or office. The record include mortgages, land records, liens, warranty deeds, as well as other land records.

“There are no public records fees associated with this convenience,” the release states. “The fee is for data-based access to iDoc Market from your home or business office for the viewing and printing of documents at your convenience.”

Following the upgrade, several realtors and attorneys have complained about usage that was initially free now being placed behind a pay wall.

Users have an option of paying $10 for single-day use, $50 for weekly use, $150 for a month or $1,500 for a yearly access. 

During the Sweetwater County commissioners’ meeting Jan. 7, Jannel Fossen attempted to ask the commissioners about the charges but Sweetwater County Attorney Daniel Erramouspe warned the commissioners about answering her questions, telling them an attorney had been hired and any response from the county would be best if it came from his office.

Fossen said the new charge for using iDoc means residents living outside of Green River or Rock Springs face a several-hour trip to Green River to inspect the records in person. Fossen said she was originally able to have free access to land documents to answer questions from prospective buyers.


Former Laramie librarian to lead state archives

LARAMIE (WNE) — A former Laramie librarian was recently named the Wyoming state archivist.

Kathy Marquis has spent her career working in archives, except for a 13-year period when she was the public services librarian at Albany County Public Library.

She left Laramie for Cheyenne in 2015 to become the deputy state archivist, and she was named the state archivist earlier this month after filling the role on an interim basis since last spring.

The Wyoming State Archives collect, manage and preserve Wyoming’s public records of long-term value. These records include the activities of the government as well as non-governmental historical records.

“We function as the state’s institutional memory,” Marquis said. “We preserve the records that keep the state accountable and that ensure transparency. You can’t do that if you don’t have the records that show what decisions have been made, what steps have been taken, what people have worked on which projects.”

Marquis was first exposed to the world of archival work as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan.

“My professor took me up to the historical library to get a little introduction, and I just thought it was the coolest thing ever,” she said.

She later got a job as a page at the university’s Bentley Historical Library, which included an opportunity to sit at the reference desk on occasion. She discovered that she loved working with historical materials and helping others with their research questions.

“I knew that what I wanted to do was become a reference archivist,” she said.