Wyoming unemployment more than doubled to 9.2% in April

CASPER (AP) — Wyoming’s unemployment rate more than doubled to 9.2% in April amid an energy-market downturn and measures to control the coronavirus.

Wyoming’s unemployment was 3.8% in March. State officials first ordered the shutdown of businesses and schools and restricted public gatherings to limit the spread of the coronavirus in mid-March.

A sharp drop in oil prices due to the coronavirus and an international price war also took a toll on Wyoming's economy. Non-farm payroll employment in Wyoming in April fell by 26,000 to 263,000.

Still, Wyoming had the fifth-lowest rate in the nation, according to numbers released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nevada had the highest unemployment rate in April, at 28.2%. Connecticut had the lowest, at 7.9%, the Casper Star-Tribune reports.

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.

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.”

Cody School District decides against textbooks that include intelligent design

CODY (WNE) — The Cody School District’s committee evaluating textbooks recently dismissed a proposal to add textbooks comparing intelligent design and evolution to the middle school curriculum.

The committee, composed of school teachers, administration and parents, unanimously moved to dismiss the complaint by Cody resident Amy Law, who has taught classical education for the past five years and holds a pre-med degree.

The committee then recommended the purchase of high school and middle school books that had been delayed by the complaint.

The Cody School Board reviewed the decision at Tuesday’s board meeting and unanimously approved the recommendation of the committee to purchase the two textbooks.

Teachers said the issue with adding textbooks on intelligent design was it wasn’t in the curriculum.  However, they do make an effort to have students think critically about what they’re being taught, and teachers don’t discount the possibility of alternate ideas.

Cody High School science teacher Dean Olenik said science teachers lean on state science standards when deciding what to teach and which books to use. When they approach evolution, they teach it as a theory not fact. 

In science studies, a theory is determined by using the scientific process and thus includes a large degree of evidence.

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