RENEW looks at downtown

Alexis Barker

NLJ Reporter

A number of different factors have prompted RENEW to begin searching for alternative sites in Newcastle, but the move should not cause any change in local services or for local participants other than the location change, according to a company official.

“On the contrary, we feel a downtown location will enhance our ability to provide employment opportunities for our participants, as well as anyone from the general public who needs assistance with job placement and integration into the workforce,” RENEW President and CEO Chris Ahlstrom told the News Letter Journal.

City Auditors want more $

abcitycouncil_pdbw

Alexis Barker

NLJ Reporter

The accounting firm that the city chose to handle its annual audit and the preparation of financial statements has asked to charge the city approximately 20 percent more than they estimated last spring after beginning work on the project in October.

On March 21, the Newcastle City Council accepted a professional estimate from Ketel Thorstenson, LLP for audit services for the 2015-2016 fiscal year and agreed to engage the company’s services for three years. It was indicated at the time that the expressed engagement would result in the audit services costing the city $18,000, which included preparation of financial statements.

Waiting on the plague

Prairie dogs boom during the drought

Alexis Barker

NLJ Reporter

It was a banner year for prairie dogs on the Thunder Basin National Grassland, and that’s not good news for local ranchers.

“I am not going to argue, it looks like crap out there this year. There are areas that need some work. We had drought,” Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest Supervisor Dennis Jaeger admitted when individuals from multiple counties and varying agencies filled the Weston County Event Center for a coordination meeting to discuss prairie dog control on November 22.

The meeting was hosted by the Weston County Commissioners, who asked for the meeting after 4W Ranch operator Bob Harshbarger requested last month that County Attorney William Curley seek an injunction against the Douglas District Ranger and the U.S. Forest Service as a result of ongoing disputes over control of the pest in central Weston County.

Festival funds needed more than ever

Alexis Barker

NLJ Reporter

The annual Pinnacle Bank Festival of Trees was introduced 14 years ago with the purpose of bringing awareness to local non-profits, and help ease the burden of fundraising that some of those organizations face. With budget cuts taking place across the state this year as a result of a bust in the energy industry, these funds could be more important than ever and three local organizations will reap the benefit of the program this year.

According to Pinnacle Bank Loan Officer Amy Hoffman, requests are submitted and gathered for who should receive those funds, and then employees of the bank sit down as a group and look at each of the organizations that expressed interest. From there, three entities are chosen to receive funds from the annual auction.

“This year’s beneficiaries are Weston County Children’s Center, The Museum District Friend’s Foundation and American Legion Post 3,” Hoffman told the News Letter Journal, noting that all organizations are given serious consideration and the decision is often difficult.

City cops make a heroin bust

Alexis Barker

NLJ Reporter

A drug interdiction effort between the Weston County Sheriff’s Office and Wyoming Highway Patrol last month netted a couple of felony arrests for those agencies, and Newcastle Police Chief Jim Owens told the Newcastle City Council last week that his department had made a notable felony drug arrest as well.

It occurred on November 9, when officers with the Newcastle Police Department arrested 23-year old Steven Turbiville of Spearfish on two misdemeanor drug and one felony drug charge.

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