Northern Wyoming Daily News

DAILY NEWS photo by Susan Lockhart
ANIMALS EVERYWHERE: Worland Middle School seventh graders Sean Mortimer (left) and Ben Thurston work on animal head sculptures in Kerri Barent’s art class. Barent said the students first drew the animal they wanted to sculpt on a grid to get size and proportion right before beginning sculpting.

US Supreme Court denies appeal in Wyo. eagle case

CHEYENNE (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied an appeal from a Northern Arapaho man who faces a criminal charge for killing a bald eagle without a permit.

Winslow Friday has acknowledged that he shot and killed a bald eagle on the Wind River Reservation in central Wyoming for use in his tribe’s 2005 Sun Dance.

The court ruling means that Friday will face a misdemeanor charge in federal court in Wyoming. He could face up to a year in jail and a $100,000 fine if convicted.

The court’s ruling is the latest turn in a long-running legal dispute over the rights of American Indians to kill eagles for religious purposes.

John Carlson, a federal public defender in Denver, represented Friday in the Supreme Court appeal. He said that both he and Friday are disappointed by the court’s decision.

“A single bald eagle is taken for the Northern Arapaho Sun Dance, which has been held since time immemorial, and it results in criminal sanctions,” Carlson said. “But bald eagles get electrocuted on electric utility lines in Wyoming and elsewhere, and little or nothing happens.”

The bald eagle was removed from the list of threatened species in 2007, following its reclassification in 1995 from endangered to threatened. However, the species is still protected under the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

U.S. District Judge William F. Downes in 2006 threw out the charge against Friday. The judge ruled it would have been pointless for Friday to apply for a permit to kill the eagle because of the federal government’s “callous indifference” to the religious concerns of American Indians.

The federal government appealed Downes’s ruling to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. A three-judge panel of that court reinstated the charge against Friday last year.

The U.S. Solicitor General’s Office argued against Friday’s request to have the Supreme Court review his case. Attempts to reach lawyers and others there for comment on Monday were unsuccessful.

Carlson said he had warned Friday that the Supreme Court wouldn’t take his case, but said that didn’t make the decision any less disappointing.

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Identity change bill dies in Wyo. Senate

CHEYENNE (AP) — Samantha Johnson hasn’t always been Samantha Johnson.

Johnson said she changed her identity eight years ago to protect herself and her son after decades of abuse and stalking by her stepfather and mother. It was a radical choice — she abandoned every public facet of who she is, including her teaching career — but Johnson said she hasn’t regretted the decision.

“I don’t live in fear anymore. I actually trust people,” said Johnson, who changed her name in Colorado.

Johnson was lobbying hard for a bill that would have put Wyoming among a handful of states that offer the strictest protections for domestic violence victims who change their identities to purge abusers from their lives. After passing the House, the measure died Monday in the Senate, 20-9.

Opponents included Sen. Tony Ross, R-Cheyenne, who said he was worried that a parent getting divorced could abuse the measure to block the rights of the other parent.

“I’m just a little concerned that there would be unintended consequences by the bill in which people change their name, potentially, and it could deprive somebody of their parental rights,” Ross said.

Changing one’s identity normally requires publishing the new name along with the old name in a newspaper. Also, court records from the name change typically are open to the public.

The bill would have forgone the publication requirement and sealed court records when domestic violence victims change their identities.

Only a few states — including California, Colorado, Michigan and New York — have gone to such lengths to help domestic violence victims shed their identities and start over, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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- Cottonwood adopted as state tree (Feb. 1, 1947)

- First stage left Cheyenne for Black Hills (Feb. 3, 1876)

- Washakie Hotel in Thermopolis burned to ground (Feb. 4, 1932)

- Construction begins on Pathfinder dam (Feb. 4, 1905)

- Meadowlark designated state bird (Feb. 5, 1927)

- Platte, Goshen, Hot Springs and Washakie counties created (Feb. 9, 1911)

- Water case of Wyoming v. Colorado heard by US Supreme Court (Feb. 9, 1918)

- Coldest day ever recorded in Wyoming
-63°, Moran (Feb. 9, 1933)

- Meeteetse surveyed (Feb. 12, 1896)

- Stinkingwater River name changed to Shoshone River (Feb. 13, 1901)

- Campbell County created (Feb. 13, 1911)

- Niobrara County created (Feb. 14, 1911)

- Park County created (Feb. 15, 1909)

- 12 buildings destroyed by fire in Shoshoni (Feb. 15, 1925)

- First school opened in Laramie (Feb. 15, 1869)

- Arena-auditorium dedicated at University of Wyoming (Feb. 19, 1982)

- Lincoln County created (Feb. 20, 1911)

- First football game played by UW Team (Feb. 22, 1894)

- Plans announced for Lovell sugar factory (Feb. 22, 1916)

- State accepts lands for Hot Springs State Park (Feb. 24, 1897)

- Mine accident kills 26 miners, Diamondville (Feb. 26, 1901)

- Grand Teton National Park established (Feb. 26, 1929)

- William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill ) born in Iowa (Feb. 26, 1846)

- Joseph M. Carey introduced bill in US House admitting Wyoming as a state (Feb. 27, 1888)

Northern Wyoming Daily News