LVFD: Apartment fire cause electrical, most damage limited to attic, no injuries

A Friday afternoon apartment fire in Lander has been tentatively ruled as electrically caused, Lander Volunteer Fire Department Administrator Nick Hudson said Saturday. Hudson said the fire apparently started at the rear of the apartment building at 408 South Second street where the electrical panel is located. the fire spread up the back wall of the building and into the attic.Hudson said most of the damage from the fire occurred in the attic, with extensive damage to the roof trusses, and some smoke and water damage in one of the building’s upstairs units. There are four apartments in the building. Hudson said firefighters had to poke some holes in the second floor apartment ceilings to determine the extent of the fire spread.The Lander Fire Administrator said firefighters gained access to the attic from a portal on the front of the building and used a technique called “fog spray” to introduce water into the space. With the heat inside the attic, the fog quickly turned to steam and extinguished the blaze.Hudson also said firefighters used fans to create positive pressure in the building to keep the smoke in the attic as much as possible, and reducing damage to the apartment units. He did not have a damage estimate prepared on Saturday. The building is owned by Lander attorney Sky Phifer. No one was at home at the time of the fire, excepting one renter’s cat, and temporary accomodations have been found for the residents living there. The cat was rescued unharmed.The LVFD responded to the scene with two full engine companies, one ladder company and one rescue unit, a total of about 20 firefighters. The Lander Rural Fire Department was called in for back up and to assist if necessary and it responded with two pumpers and 10 firefighters.


Reduced night time speed limit now in place in GTNP

Fremont County winter sports enthusiasts who travel over Togowotee Pass will find a new night time speed limit through Grand Teton National Park on U.S. Highway 26/89/191. The night time speed limit has been lowered from 55 mph to 45 mph from the park’s south boundary (Jackson) to the boundary east of Moran Junction. Night time begins 30 minutes after sunset and lasts until 30 minutes before sunrise. Areas around Gros Ventre Junction and Moran Junction will remain 45 mph at all times.

The number of animals killed due to vehicle collisions in GTNP continues to rise. In 2010 more than 150 animals were killed on park roads. During the past three years, 64 percent of wildlife fatalities occurred on this section of highway. Throughout the park, 55 percent of fatalities occurred at night. In order to protect the public and to preserve wildlife populations, park officials reduced night time speed limits to give drivers and animals more reaction time. The reduced speed only adds six minutes to your trip along this section of highway, according to GTNP officials.

Candy sales funding Voc-Rehab start-up business help for disabled

Candy machines are sprouting up in State of Wyoming owned public buildings in Fremont County and Northwest Wyoming. While installing candy machines may be counter-productive to the State Health Department’s efforts to reduce obesiety, income from machines is being directed into another state program to help people with disabilities be more independent.Lynne Iverson, the Vending Program Manager at the Division of Workforce Service’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, said a contract to provide vending services goes out to bid every two years. A Jackson firm, Airport Vending, recently won the bid for Northwest Wyoming and began delivering the candy dispensers in December. Other counties served under the bid include: Teton, Sublette, Park, Big Horn, Washakie, and Hot Springs.

“The revenues from this program go into the Business Enterprise Program which is used for people with disabilities to assist them start their own businesses,” Iverson said. “The money is used to match other loans and resources. It’s a way to help people with start-up costs.”

Firefighters working Lander apartment fire Friday afternoon

Lander Volunteer and Lander Rural Volunteer firefighters are working a live fire at 480 South Second Street in Lander in a four-plex apartment building at 3:40 p.m. Smoke is seen pouring from attic vents and firefighters wearing breathing packs entered the second story of the building. One firefighter was seen bringing a cat in a carrying case out of the smoke. Second Street has been closed to through traffic. video and photos by Ernie Over

Yellowstone transitioning to fully oversnow travel Saturday

With significant snowfall throughout the park over the past 48 hours,
Yellowstone National Park will ring in the New Year by transitioning fully
to oversnow travel beginning at 7:00 a.m. Saturday, December 31.

Rubber- and steel-tracked guided snowcoaches and snowmobiles will be
allowed to travel on all interior park roads, with the exception of the
road between Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris Junction, which is restricted
to rubber-tracked guided snowcoaches only until snow conditions improve.

Six Feathers Youth Conference promotes safe & healthy New Year’s

The Wind River UNITY Six Feathers Circle Youth Conference in Lander this New Year’s weekend has attracted between 55 and 60 young people from the Wind River Indian Resevation.“They keep signing in,” said WR UNITY’s Layha Spoonhunter Friday morning. “We got a few more last night after the Fremont County Shootout ended at Ethete.”

Staged at Lander’s Holiday Inn Express, the youth have gathered for a “safe and healthy” New Year’s event and have heard various speakers on leadership, positive living and team building so far. The conference addresses issued faced by teens including peer pressure, pregnancy, bullying, suicide prevention and drug and alchol abuse.  Co-facilitating with Eastern Shoshone Tribal Liaison Edward Wadda is Native American and Canadian pop-recording star Inez Songsoulgirl from British Columbia. She’ll perform a public concert tonight at 6 p.m. at the Fort Washakie LDS church along with several Native American entertainers, Tito Ybarra and Arnold Thomas.

Dubois: Artist Greg Beecham “sculpts” his paintings for depth

On a windswept snowy winter day, Dubois resident and award winning artist Greg Beecham is hard at work in his studio, where he quietly spends each day with Diesel, his daughter’s Great Dane, doing what he loves most-painting.Greg has been painting full time for 32 years, specializing in wildlife art. He describes his technique of oil painting as  “sculpting with paint” in such a way there is not only the illusion of dimension but actual depth to the paint itself. Greg feels that he can speak with paint more so than with detail, with the result being a life expressing realism.

Apparently, he is not alone in that opinion. Greg Beecham has won the following prestigious awards since 2008 and numerous equally prestigious awards prior to then: Prix de West, The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum: Major General and Mrs. Donald D. Pittman Wildlife Art Award and the Nona Jean Hulsey Rumsey Buyer’s Choice Award-2010, Western Visions Miniature Show: People Choice Award-National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, Wyoming-September 2009, Prix de West: Major General and Mrs. John D. Pittman  Wildlife Award and Jackson Hole Arts Festival: Featured Artist-2008.

Man burned, house totaled in Riverton fire Thursday evening; blaze began in kitchen

A Riverton man suffered second and third degree burns and his home was called a total loss after a 6 p.m. grease-caused fire Thursday night near Riverton.
Riverton Fire District Captain David Woolery said the call to the Middleton residence at 6733 Riverview Road came in, “apparently well after the fire had started,” due to the extent of the fire, heat and smoke damage found when firefighters arrived. According to the Fremont County Sheriff’s Department, a neighbor saw flames visible through a window at  the home at 6:02 p.m. and called in the alarm.
“The house was closed up and the fire had smoldered, creating lots of thick smoke. There was a big layer of smoke surrounding the house when I arrived,” said RFD Assistant Chief Ralph Esell.

The identity of the man who was burned was not released by RFD, although they said he was the lone resident of the three-bedroom, ranch style home, two people were inside at the time of the fire. The second individual was not identified. Woolery said the man was burned attempting to save his animals and some belongings. Both were transported to Riverton Memorial Hospital for treatment of his burns and smoke inhalation.

High winds raked Fremont County Thursday; Avalanche danger high

From the National Weather Service Riverton Forecast Office:
The Eastern slope of the Wind River Range received snowfall Wednesday night and Thursday in the Pacific storm that blew through the area. High winds were also reported in association with the storm:

Snowfall totals Dec. 28-29 (in inches)
Burroughs Creek Snotel 10
Deer Park Snotel 5
Castle Creek Snotel 5
Brooks Lake Lodge 5
Little Warm Snotel 4
Cold Springs Snotel 4
Townsend Creek Snotel 2
Hobbs Park Snotel 2

Cowgirls fall to Bowling Green 60-53

The Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team resumed play following the holiday break and suffered a 60-53 loss against the Bowling Green Falcons on Thursday night. Wyoming drops to 4-8 overall while Bowling Green stands at 9-3 on the season.

“We talked to the team in practice that this is going to be as close to a conference game that they will play in,” said head coach Joe Legerski. “Bowling Green is very talented, they’re used to winning and it becomes a possession by possession game. You have to take advantage of every opportunity you have. I liked the way we competed tonight. We were knocking down shots early and had great movement. The game became physical and I liked the way we responded. On the flip side when it becomes physical you play on edge both defensively and offensively.