State Briefs

‘North of 1700’ freshmen head to UW campus

LARAMIE (WNE) — University of Wyoming spokesman Chad Baldwin said Friday the school is expecting “north of 1700” freshmen to attend classes this fall.

In July, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Kyle Moore predicted the number would be 1750, a 3 percent increase over fall 2017.

Getting a firm number on a freshman class size is difficult until classes are in full swing. Some students who enroll never show up.

In August 2017, UW estimated the class starting that fall could include 1750 students. But when the official numbers came in on the 15th day of classes, the freshman class was only 1696.

However, with back-to-back years of strong enrollment numbers, the university is facing capacity issues in its dormitories.

Eric Webb, director of residence life and dining, said at a Thursday legislative meeting resident advisors will now need to be given roommates.

The university is also converting some large common rooms into dorm rooms housing four students each. The space issue is somewhat self-inflicted after UW opted to take Crane Hall and Hill Hall “offline” in 2017.

Those buildings are no longer being used and are expected to be demolished once the Wyoming Legislature forms a plan to construct new dorms.

Some new students have been trickling in throughout the course of this week, but the official move-in day started at 7 a.m. Saturday, when the dorms were opened to all students.

AG’s Office sues over consumer protection violations

CHEYENNE (WNE) — The Wyoming Attorney General’s Office is suing an out-of-state limited liability company for consumer protection violations in connection with an alleged home improvement scam.

The lawsuit comes after a Nevada-based LLC called Pinnacle Powerful Solutions mass-delivered postcards to homes in Cheyenne advertising a “free steak dinner” at Wyoming’s Rib and Chop House for the first 70 people who attended a free consultation about saving money on utility bills.

The card stated salespeople would “show you how you can save up to 40 percent each month on your utility bills. This technology was developed by NASA and is now being introduced to the general public. The savings discovered at this meeting will benefit you ALL year long,” according to the lawsuit.

Through information gathered by an investigation, those meetings were set to take place Aug. 19-21.

The lawsuit states that such conduct is associated with a “common” home improvement scam in which salespeople schedule post-meeting, in-home consultations. The salespeople then convince homeowners to buy equipment such as heat barriers, solar fans and insulation, with the promise that their utility bills will decrease by 40 percent.

But “the price of the merchandise is heavily marked up and ultimately has little to no impact on consumers’ utility bills,” the lawsuit states. And by the time the buyer realizes that the equipment hasn’t helped reduce their utility bills, the salesperson has left town.

The Attorney General’s Office alleges that the company violated the Consumer Protection Act by misrepresenting that the products it sells will help reduce utility bills; it also misrepresents that it is affiliated with Wyoming’s Rib and Chop House and that its merchandise is affiliated with NASA.

Family of man shot while carrying sword says better police training needed

CASPER (WNE) — Police officers who shot and killed a man in February in east Casper did so because of flawed training, a lawyer for the dead man’s family says.

Attorney Todd Hambrick makes the allegation in a notice sent this week to the city of Casper, the Casper Police Department and the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy.

The notice, which claims the family deserves compensation from the three entities, is required under Wyoming law before Hambrick can file a civil lawsuit in the matter. Hambrick has a year from the date of the notice to file the suit.

Hambrick represents the family of Douglas Oneyear, who was shot and killed by Officer Johnathan Schlager.

Both Schlager and Officer Cody Meyers fired at Oneyear after they encountered the man Feb. 25 on 15th Street near Wyoming Boulevard.

Oneyear was carrying a sword, and officers said they shot at him when he ignored their commands to stop moving toward them. Schlager fired two shots that struck Oneyear in the spine.

The notice states that training pertaining to the “so-called ‘21-foot rule’” is negligently flawed. The rule of thumb states a person with a bladed weapon who is 21 feet or closer to a police officer could stab the officer before he or she has time to draw a gun, aim and fire.

The complaint does not offer details about why the training is flawed.

“If you’re gonna train guys, especially young cops, that that is their only option,” Hambrick said in a Friday afternoon phone interview with the Star-Tribune. “That’s just crazy.”

Schlager has worked for the department since 2015 and Meyers since 2016.

Riverton man runs for U.S. House as Libertarian

RIVERTON (WNE) — A Riverton man is running as a Libertarian to represent Wyoming in the United States House of Representatives.

Richard Brubaker filed Aug. 20 for the seat.

He joins Casper resident Daniel Clyde Cummings of the Constitution Party, who filed July 5, in challenging candidates from the more mainstream Republican and Democratic parties – incumbent Liz Cheney and Greg Hunter, respectively.

Cheney won the Republican primary last week with 70,102 votes. Rod Miller earned 19,927 ballots, and Blake E. Stanely got 12,574.

Voyeurism charges against man accused of first-degree assault

GILLETTE (WNE) — More charges have been filed against a man already accused of first-degree sexual assault.

Terry E. Neidlinger, 48, has been bound over to District Court on two counts of voyeurism.

When Neidlinger was arrested earlier this summer on sexual assault and aggravated assault charges, police collected a flip-style phone as evidence. On it, deputies found nude photos of a woman. He said they were taken with consent, but she said they weren’t.

One was a video taken in January that was 26 seconds long of a woman in a shower and the two are talking. But the video seemed to be shot from an inconspicuous angle so as not to let her know she was being recorded, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case.

The other was 48 seconds long and taken in March, again of a nude woman in the shower who warned him to get out of there “with your stupid pictures.”

Neidlinger is accused of forcing a woman to have sex with him May 28 when he allegedly took the woman to his home, turned off the lights and told her to hide in the bedroom. He took out a knife, which he called his “pig sticker” and which he rubbed threateningly on his thigh as he told her not to make a sound.

He then held her down and told her, “You need to give yourself to me” before sexually assaulting her, court documents said. As she struggled to get away, he held a knife to her throat, bit her several times on the face and choked her.