State briefs

Hiker attacked by bear in Beartooths

CODY (WNE) — An out-of-state recreational hiker was attacked after encountering two bears in the Beartooth Mountains near the Wyoming-Montana boundary Sunday afternoon.

The Park County Sheriff’s Office alerted Game and Fish of the incident and it was determined that while the man was traveling in a group with three other people, he had walked ahead alone.

Although the man was carrying bear spray, when he came upon the bears, the attack occurred too swiftly for him to use it.

Due to injuries received, the man was taken by helicopter from the area to receive medical treatment.

As of midday Monday, G&F was still investigating, but had not determined whether the incident involved black bears or grizzlies.

“We wish the individual a full and speedy recovery and are appreciative of his willingness to provide detailed information about the incident,” Cody regional supervisor Dan Smith said.

Councilman’s sex abuse trial to remain in Sweetwater Co.

GREEN RIVER (WNE) — A Green River City councilman charged with multiple felony counts of sexual abuse of a minor withdrew a motion for change of venue shortly before a hearing about the issue Monday.

Allan Dean Wilson had previously filed the motion for change of venue, claiming he could not get a fair trial due to his high profile in the community and the substantial media coverage of the case.

Wilson, 56, is charged with first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and third-degree sexual abuse of a minor, all alleged to have taken place in Lincoln County. Another count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor is alleged to have happened in Sweetwater County. The cases were combined into one Sweetwater County case because both cases involved the same victim.

Sweetwater County Third District Court Judge Nena James expressed her belief that Wilson could still be given a fair trial in Sweetwater County despite excessive media coverage. She noted they have fairly tried other well-known community figures who attracted considerable media coverage.

According to the redacted affidavit filed in the Rock Springs Circuit Court, Sweetwater County Detective Michelle Hall interviewed a child after his parents reported “concerning photos” on his Snapchat account.

The boy alleged Wilson inappropriately touched him in 2011 while staying in a camper at a cabin property located near Commissary Ridge close to Kemmerer. He also accused Wilson of inappropriately touching him in 2013 while driving through Green River, according to court documents.

Wilson has lived in Green River for 39 years, retiring in 2014 as the director of the Green River Parks and Recreation Department. He was elected to the Green River City Council in November 2014.

Rozet school locked down after bar incident

ROZET (WNE) — A 76-year-old man drunkenly waved a loaded gun around Ruff’s Bar in Rozet just as the nearby school was scheduled to let out for the day, prompting a brief lockdown Thursday afternoon, Sheriff Scott Matheny said.

The man had been drinking at Ruff’s Bar when he pulled out a loaded gun and started pointing it in all directions, including at the bartender.

Because the bar is next to Rozet Elementary School and the incident happened near the end of the school day, the Sheriff’s Office decided to place students and staff on lockdown, Matheny said.

About 10 minutes after waving the gun, the man left the bar and drove home. At that point, sheriff’s officers, including the special response team, helped load students onto buses.

The man was arrested on suspicion of reckless endangering, a misdemeanor.

Trustee: UW needs more distance learning options

LARAMIE (WNE) — Rock Springs resident Laura Schmid-Pizzato, who was appointed to the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees on Tuesday, told the Laramie Boomerang she’s largely interested in increasing access to UW education for citizens throughout the state.

A part-time lecturer at Western Wyoming Community College, Schmid-Pizzato said she thinks the university should be able to increase course offering to residents around Wyoming who aren’t able to relocate to Laramie.

“I want to make sure they have the opportunity for higher education,” she said. “I taught online classes and there’s lots of different ways to provide the education.”

Schmid-Pizzato fills a vacancy left by former board president John MacPherson, who resigned in July.

Schmid-Pizzato earned a bachelor’s of arts degree in Spanish from UW and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Utah. She is a licensed clinical social worker and is currently the recovery services manager for Southwest Counseling Service in Rock Springs.

She received a phone call a few weeks ago from Gov. Matt Mead’s policy director, Mary Kay Hill, who told her she was a candidate for UW’s governing board.

Schmid-Pizzato said she was surprised when Hill expressed interest in her. Considering how active she’s been in the statewide discussions concerning substance abuse and mental health, she initially assumed Hill was calling in regard to that work.

“I actually thought when they were calling, they were wanting me to be on the opioid task force,” she said.

She then went to Cheyenne for a face-to-face interview with Mead and Hill last week before she was selected.