Jackson Hole, WY News

Couple builds ice castle

GLENDO — Frozen droplets of precipitation from a cloud inversion inundating the community of Glendo the morning of Dec. 7 caused a mystical atmosphere as the rising sun attempted to burst through above a frozen ice castle.

Glendo resident Travis Gruwell’s metal crampons scraped across his backyard sidewalk as he approached his creation that kept growing by the day. He transitioned from hard concrete to 3 to 4 feet of ice in just a few short steps, walking up an icy slope that supported a sculpture rising more than 20 feet tall.

Four days earlier his modest backyard fit right in with the quiet neighborhood homes in the vicinity along Lincoln Avenue, but he and his fiance, Kodi Noyce, have been busy and folks around town had started to notice something rising from behind Gruwell’s tall wooden fence.

“We’ve had a lot of people drive by and look at it,” Noyce said. “People are curious.”

As a carpenter, Gruwell knows a thing or two about how to build, but this structure is unlike anything he’s attempted with just one helper. Starting just four days earlier the couple began building an ice castle, adequately named “Frozen in Time.”

The two braved bitter morning temperatures to work on the sculpture before work and returned to make additions in the evening.

In just four days the sculpture had grown to 23 feet tall. Their goal was to set a new world record for tallest handmade ice sculpture, which would have to surpass 53 feet.

Legal hemp may miss Wyoming

WORLAND — An $867 billion farm bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 369-47 on Wednesday (the bill passed the Senate on Tuesday by a vote of 87-13) effectively legalized industrial hemp production in the United States, pending President Donald Trump’s signature, although a lack of budget for research in Wyoming may keep the crop from growing in the Cowboy State.

“Right now Wyoming is in a hold pattern,” Wyoming Department of Agriculture Public Information Officer Derek Grant said. “We are waiting to see what will happen when President Trump signs the bill, but we still have no funding from the state to buy equipment.”

Shutdown could mean furloughs

CHEYENNE — Hundreds of federal employees in Wyoming could face furloughs next week.

Unless Congress and President Donald Trump can break their deadlock over funding for a southern border wall, money for departments like Agriculture, Interior, Treasury and Commerce is set to run out at midnight Friday, leaving scores of locals in limbo.

Lawmakers approved money for other parts of the government, including the Department of Defense, earlier this year, so airmen at F.E. Warren Air Force Base and the Wyoming Air National Guard should be spared.

But Bureau of Land Management and Internal Revenue Service offices aren’t so lucky.

Contingency plans for both agencies call for all nonessential personnel to be furloughed in the event of a shutdown, including 87.5 percent of IRS workforce across the country.

Death penalty not sought

POWELL — As expected, prosecutors will not seek the death penalty for a Wapiti man who allegedly killed his wife last summer.

Park County Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Skoric formally announced the decision last week in the pending case against Dennis Klingbeil. The court filing was not a surprise, as Skoric had reportedly told Klingbeil’s defense attorney months ago that he would not pursue the death penalty.

Klingbeil, 76, is alleged to have shot and killed 75-year-old Donna Klingbeil at their Wapiti home in early August.

Prosecutors have charged Dennis Klingbeil with first-degree — or premeditated — murder of his wife. A Park County Sheriff’s Office investigation found that the couple had been arguing over how they would divide their substantial assets, which include properties in the Cody area and Florida. Hours before the killing Klingbeil allegedly told his stepson that he was “going to put an end to this tonight,” and afterwards, Klingbeil allegedly confessed to killing Donna Klingbeil in a phone call to his own son, charging documents allege.

Some ‘skill games’ illegal

CHEYENNE — Attorney General Peter Michael declared some video “skill games” illegal under Wyoming gambling laws Tuesday.

In a formal opinion letter addressed to Natrona County District Attorney Michael Blonigen, Michael said electronic slot-type games manufactured primarily by Banilla Games Inc. and used in various Wyoming establishments should be considered gambling.

“Because gambling in Wyoming is a crime, not a civil violation, local law enforcement officials and prosecutors will need to determine the timing of the appropriate next steps if their communities have these machines,” Michael said.

This will likely result in law enforcement officials asking business owners to remove any games that fit the description.

— From Wyoming News

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