Congressional staff visits area


Mary Freeman

News Editor

Staff from US Senators Mike Enzi’s and John Barrasso, and US House of Representatives member Cynthia Lummis’ offices came to Newcastle on Wednesday.

Field Representative for Enzi, DeAnna Kay, as well as Enzi’s Press Secretary, Max D’Onofrio, and from Barrasso’s office, Riata Little, were set up in the conference room at the library to hear concerns from, and provide information to, interested citizens.

A few local, concerned citizens were on hand to listen to the field reps about local issues in the community, although they all declined to go on record.

The discussion turned to the energy industry and how devastating it is to towns such as Newcastle.

Special meeting to discuss trash tax

Alexis Barker 

NLJ Reporter

The Weston County Commissioners will hold a special meeting this week to address concerns raised by other county officials over the prospect of putting a proposed mil levy for a (mostly) countywide solid waste district on the ballot in November.

Work continues for the both Weston County Clerk Jill Sellers and Weston County Assessor Tina Conklin as they prepare to get the levy to fund the Weston County Solid Waste District on the ballot in November, but Sellers raised a number of issues and concerns with the commissioners at their September 9 meeting, and asked them to provide guidance moving forward.

“I’ve been working with clerks across the state to determine where we are at about putting the mil levy on the ballot. I have some concerns with the background I am finding,” she said.

Blakeman Confronts Commission

Alexis Barker

NLJ Reporter

Questions over engineering costs and delays in undertaking projects first identified several years ago spurred County Administrator Dan Blakeman to scold the Weston County Commissioners at their last meeting, and urge them to move forward to get long-standing county construction issues addressed.

For a number of years, roof repairs have been needed on a number of buildings owned by Weston County, most specifically the Law Enforcement Center and the Youth Exhibit Hall at the Weston County Fairgrounds, and delays in undertaking these projects prompted Blakeman to express frustration at the September 6 commissioners meeting over how long it takes the county to complete tasks.

“You guys are very comfortable taking two years to do a project… Now I’m gonna tell you that I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated because I have worked with this type of situation, and I don’t think we have done any good today. I think we’ve gone backwards. I think you pay me for my personal opinion, so I’m giving it to you and it bothers me really bad because what happens is we’re sitting on projects. That doesn’t do us any good,” he began.

Training for the new economy

Community Ed opens the door to new job skills

Alexis Barker

NLJ Reporter

The economy of northeast Wyoming is in transition, and Weston County School District #1’s community outreach education program offers opportunities to train people to seek new careers in the 21st century. Newcastle’s Outreach Director Kim Conzelman informed the News Letter Journal that those wishing to broaden their horizons have multiple opportunities through Eastern Wyoming College to fit an array of lifestyles.

“People can just give us a call. We have some great Associate Degrees people can work towards, and lots of financial aid funding for people who are unemployed, giving people the opportunity to get an education and a pathway for a future career,” announced Conzelman. She noted that a number of options exist for receiving this type of education, from online classes to scheduled courses that provide certificates of completion or just valuable knowledge to aid in future jobs, in addition to degrees that are available in some pursuits.

New engineer off to a good start

Alexis Barker

NLJ Reporter

For just over a month, Mike Moore has been working with City Engineer Bob Hartley to prepare to take over Hartley’s position in January.

He has been working hard to acclimate himself to the community and immediately contribute to its welfare, and during his report to the Newcastle City Council on September 6, he shared with the group that he has already prepared two agreements between the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) and the City of Newcastle.

The agreements, which he submitted for the council’s approval, both address future construction that will be performed at the intersection of Highway 85 and Highway 16.

“The first is an agreement for the city to take the extra pavement and material and haul it off— a city stockpile agreement for the material. They are going to pay us $2,000 to take the material, and this is a fairly typical thing for the city to take the material,” explained Moore, who noted that the material will be stored at the old landfill until the city can repurpose it at a later date.

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