DAILY NEWS photo by Susan Lockhart
Ismael Rodriguez practices using a power drill during industrial technology class at Worland Middle School Thursday. Teacher Dean Barent said the students are in the “tool ID” phase of learning how to use the tools properly and safely.


Former Ten Sleep mayor
defends town clerk

DAILY NEWS staff

TEN SLEEP – Former Ten Sleep mayor Fred Firnekas is disputing recent allegations of wrong-doing by town clerk Lori Hughes by Sandi Juetten, who resigned as Ten Sleep mayor last week.
Juetten told the Daily News Tuesday that her resignation was in regard to a dispute she had with Hughes. She claimed the town clerk refused her access to office files. Juetten attempted to terminate Hughes but says she was told by the town’s attorney she could not do that. She then resigned.
Juetten also claimed that a sequence of checks was missing.
Firnekas told the Daily News that the information is incorrect.
“As far as there being checks missing, anybody that wants to go up there to the office can go through the checks, they’re open to the public. There are not any checks missing. There’s just no truth to it.”
Firnekas lost the mayor race to Juetten last May. The town council appointed councilman Jack Haggerty as mayor Tuesday.
Haggerty said that he was unaware of any missing checks.
Hughes has been the town clerk for 11 years and served under Firnekas for his 10 years as mayor.
Firnekas said that other town employees had resigned due in part to the treatment they received from Juetten. The former mayor claims that Juetten had targeted Hughes from the time she took office.
“She had it in her head that she wanted to get Lori fired and that’s what she worked for from the time she got in there,” he said.
As far as the claim that Hughes denied Juetten access to information, Firnekas said that was never a problem for him when he was mayor.
“I had access to anything, all I had to do was ask,” he said.


Director positive about facility changes

By Jeanette Johnson
Staff Writer

WORLAND – People are waiting to hear the outcome of the recommendations that will go to the state Legislature regarding the future of three of Wyoming’s five state-run safety net medical facilities.
The Wyoming Retirement Center in Basin would be privatized or closed. The Wyoming State Hospital in Evanston and the Wyoming Life Resource Center in Lander would have their roles better defined under recommendation made by a task force, according an article from the Associated Press.
“They have compiled their report and they are giving it to the Health and Labor Committee for review, so the process is just getting started,” said Rich Dunkley.
Dunkley is the superintendent over the three Division of Aging buildings, which includes the Basin facility as well as the two other state-operated facilities: the Pioneer Home in Thermopolis and the Veterans’ Home of Wyoming in Buffalo.
Home-based in Buffalo, he’s the administrator at the Veterans’ Home and works with the administrators of the other two facilities.
Dunkley believes the outcome will be a positive one and the right decisions will be made.
The task force has been working on the issue for the majority of 2014. During that time, he has been kept in the loop.
“Of course, it causes some animosity with the employees because they’re wondering if it’s going to affect their jobs and how is it going to affect them once the decision is made,” Dunkley said.
Their response is a natural one, he said, but he hopes people will have faith in those making the recommendations as they consider the roles each of the facilities play in providing care for residents of Wyoming.
The task force is comprised of Senators James Anderson and Dan Dockstader, Representatives Lloyd Larsen and Matthias Green and four appointed by Gov. Matt Mead. They include Joseph Gallagher/CEO/Wyoming Behavioral Health Institute; Director Thomas Forslund, Wyoming Department of Health; Shirley Pratt/CEO, Ark Regional Services; and Bryan Merrell, Executive Director, Life Care Center of Cheyenne.
Dunkley has confidence the eight people have taken their roles seriously and done a lot of homework on the facilities.
“From what I understand, they have asked some very good questions of the facilities and they have taken the information and we’ll just have to wait and see,” he said.
Talking about the Wyoming Retirement Center, he recalls when it was developed as a sanitarium to treat patients with tuberculosis. As the disease was eradicated, the “San” was turned into a nursing home.
“Then it’s a question of, ‘Should the state be running a nursing home versus the private sector?’ That’s one of the questions this task force is asking themselves is what is the role of government in providing services.”
The result could have a big impact on not only Basin but surrounding communities who provide work force. Dunkley thinks the committee is concerned with all those factors.
“I think it will turn out alright,” he said.
To read responses on the issue, go to www.health.wyo.gov, click on the blue area next to the red checkmark, click on feedback and responses.


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Wyoming Trivia

State Nickname: Equality State, Cowboy State

State Flower: Indian Paintbrush

State Bird: Western Meadowlark

State Tree: Cottonwood

State Gemstone: Jade

State Mammal: Bison

State Fish: Cutthroat Trout

State Reptile: Horned Toad

State Dinosaur: Triceratops

State Sport: Rodeo

State Coin: Sacajawea Golden Dollar Coin

State Grass: Western Wheatgrass

Area: 97,914 Square Miles

Date of Statehood: July 10, 1890

State #: 44

State name is from a Delaware Indian word meaning "mountains and valleys alternating"

First National Park: Yellowstone 1872

First National Monument: Devil's Tower 1906

First state to give women the right to vote

First National Forest: Shoshone National Forest

First state to have a country public library system

First state to have a woman governor Nellie Tayloe Ross 1925

First artificially lit evening football game in Midwest 1925

First town in nation to be governed entirely by women: Jackson 1920 to 1921

First business west of the Missouri River: Trading post at Fort William

 

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