Wyo. unemployment rate higher than a year ago
CHEYENNE (WNE) — The Research & Planning section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reported Monday that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate slid from 3.8% in February to 3.7% in March.
Wyoming’s unemployment rate was higher than its March 2022 level of 3.3% and slightly higher than the current U.S. unemployment rate of 3.5%.
From February to March, the seasonally adjusted employment of Wyoming residents rose by 1,467 individuals (0.5%) as people returned to work.
Additionally, the state’s labor force, which is comprised of employed and unemployed individuals, rose by 7,027 people, or 2.4% from March 2022 to March 2023.
During that same time period, unemployment rates rose in 20 counties and fell in three counties.
In March,Teton County had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.6%. It was followed by Weston County at 2.7% and Converse County at 3.2%.The highest unemployment rates were reported in Washakie County at 5.8%, Sweetwater County at 5.1% and Fremont County at 4.9%.
Authorities investigate more phone scams
BUFFALO (WNE) — Local law enforcement agencies continue to receive bogus phone calls, and they don’t know why.
Police Chief Sean Bissett last week told Buffalo City Council members that Johnson County dispatchers received three phone calls between April 16 and of April 17 connecting the Johnson County Dispatch Center to other dispatch centers throughout the country.
Bissett said the calls are being treated as part of the same incident as the false report of an active shooter at Buffalo High School received late last month.
The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation is currently investigating the incident, along with the FBI.
“There was no report of a threat,” Bissett said of the calls, adding that they were still being treated as swatting. According to the FBI, swatting involves someone calling 911 and reporting an unsubstantiated emergency with the intention of drawing a law enforcement response.
Misusing or interfering with emergency communications is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail, $750 in fines or both.
The suspicious calls began with the phone ringing at the dispatch center in Buffalo. The dispatcher who answered the phone was connected to another dispatch center elsewhere in the country.
“We don’t understand why or what it’s about,” Bissett said. “It’s more than just a prank phone call from a kid. It’s above what a normal prank would be.”
Bissett said investigators are uncertain if the recent calls are an attempt to get law enforcement called out to a scene or if it’s to create confusion between two agencies. It could also be the caller’s way of figuring out law enforcement’s emergency response protocols.
Regardless, Bissett said the calls take dispatchers away from their jobs directing the county’s first responders to actual emergencies.
Shed hunting seasons delayed after harsh winter
POWELL (WNE) — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department announced Tuesday an emergency extended closure of the shed antler and horn hunting regulation to protect big game on winter ranges.
The emergency regulation extends the current closure until 6 a.m. May 15 on designated lands, excluding Teton County.
“Big game animals have experienced a tough winter and are highly vulnerable to human-caused disturbances, such as being moved around by people on the landscape gathering antlers,” said Rick King, Game and Fish chief of wildlife. “The unnecessary use of energy and undue stress can increase mortality. Postponing the shed antler collection in some areas of the state will help minimize stress, protect big game and increase their chance of survival.”
The Big Horn Basin and areas outside of Yellowstone National Park legal to collect sheds do not have shed seasons.
There are area habitats closed to human visitation intended to protect wildlife in their winter ranges, but Cody Regional Wildlife Supervisor Dan Smith said “it’s important to be respectful of wildlife, giving them a chance to rest and consume much needed calories while trying to rear fawns and calves.”
That is especially true this season due to the harsh and extended winter.
A map of the affected land is available on the department’s website and the boundaries are detailed within the emergency regulation, as well as a complete list of open and closure dates for wildlife habitat management and public access areas across the state.
Anyone found violating the closures or illegally gathering antlers may be cited.
Teton County is not included in the closure extension. The primary species affected by the harsh winter in western Wyoming are pronghorn and mule deer, and there are relatively few pronghorn and mule deer that winter in Teton County.
WYDOT and NWS: Avoid burning in state rights of way this spring
CHEYENNE (WNE) — As temperatures begin to warm and the winter snows melt, many ranchers and farmers head outside to begin their annual agricultural burns.
Each year, as the spring burning season gets into full swing, at least a few of these burns get out of control.
This year, the National Weather Service and the Wyoming Department of Transportation are encouraging people to stay safe and “Learn Before You Burn!”
“Frequently, our calm mornings turn windy during the afternoon,” said Lance Vanden-Boogart of the Riverton NWS office. “Having an up-to-date wind speed and direction forecast can help you know where any fire is likely to move, and assess any nearby risks.”
VandenBoogart said federal and state land management agencies routinely obtain weather forecasts from the NWS, and citizens should do the same. The Riverton NWS office can be contacted 24 hours a day by phone at 1-800211-1448.
Area-specific forecasts are also available online at weather.gov/forecastpoints or at mobile.weather.gov Highway conditions and remote weather information are available at wyoroad.info.
Citizens conducting a field burn are not only responsible for what happens on their own property, they may also be held criminally and civilly liable from damages to federal and state property.
This includes, but is not limited to, right-of-way fencing.
Landowners, conservation districts and others who plan to conduct prescribed burning activities are strongly encouraged to check the latest weather forecast by calling the NWS toll free at 1-800-211-1448. They should inform local government officials of burn plans, as well.