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Mountain goat herd studies continue outside Alpine »


The Wyoming Game and Fish Department continues  to study the Palisades Goat Herd, collaring an additional eight animals in a late March project.
The herd, covered with heavy white winter coats, has drawn the attention of Star Valley/Jackson commuters and travelers along U.S. Highway 26/89 just east of Alpine this winter.

“In the years I have been in the area, this is the first year that many goats have frequented the highway, this intensively since December,” WGF Biologist Gary Fralick said in an interview with the Star Valley Independent. “We think it is the saline solution put on the roads, [in the winter].”

He continued, “We are working with motorists to slow down and make them aware of the mountain goats licking the solution.”

Fralick expects the herd to move to higher ground as the snow recedes and grass is available at higher elevations in the Snake River Canyon.
The collars, three that will automatically drop off in 2015 and four that will fall in 2016, are expected to provide valuable information on the herd’s movement in the western Wyoming and southeastern Idaho area. Read the rest

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I-80 pileup affects at least 47 vehicles »

Troopers & first responders extricate two from a crushed vehicle pinned between two semi tractor trailers. (Photo provided by the WHP)

Wyoming Highway Patrol Troopers and WYDOT personnel have reopened westbound Interstate 80 after a pileup crash involving at least 47 vehicles forced the closure of the westbound lanes of the Interstate for approximately 18 hours.

The crash was reported just before 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon approximately 7 miles east of Elk Mountain and speeds on the Interstate had been reduced to 45 MPH at the time of the crash due to winter conditions.

Troopers are still attempting to identify exactly how many vehicles were actually involved in the pileup which occurred during snowy, windy, icy conditions that limited visibility.  The actual vehicle count may go up as the investigation progresses.

Five crash victims were transported to Memorial Hospital of Carbon County in Rawlins and two were transported to Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie.  One of the victims transported to Laramie suffering serious injuries has since been transferred to a hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Two of the crash victims in a Subaru vehicle were trapped for approximately 2 hours as Troopers and first responders attempted to extricate them from their vehicle which was crushed between two tractor trailer vehicles.

Troopers investigating this crash say speed too fast for the existing conditions by motorists is a contributing factor that led up to so many vehicles being involved.

Dress Drive planned for Alpine »


Jorgensen Construction, Inc. is teaming up with NICU Helping Hands to hold a dress drive in Alpine. The event will take place on Friday, May 30 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Alpine Market.

“Our company decided to join forces with NICU Helping Hands, it’s a not-for-profit [group] based out of Texas that takes donated wedding dresses or light colored gowns and then their seamstresses sew little outfits for babies who do not come home from the NICU,” said Audrey Jorgensen. “They also provide support for family members, during bereavement. Our company will collect dresses or monetary donations, we will package and ship directly to Helping Hands. They ship these outfits to any hospital in the U.S.”

In addition, the Helping Hands organization is also looking for tissue paper to wrap the tiny dresses in for shipping.

Anyone interested in sewing baby dresses for Helping Hands can download the pattern directly from the organization’s website, Read the rest

Wyoming Business Alliance to present in Afton »

Business Class

The Wyoming Business Alliance will host a presentation in Star Valley on Tuesday, April 29 as part of its Spring 2014 Economic Outlook Series.

Scott Anderson, Chief Economist, Bank of the West, San Francisco will present “National and Wyoming Economic Trends.”

The discussion will take place on April 29 at the Afton Civic Center from 4-5:30 p.m. There is no charge to attend.

Since 1996 the Wyoming Business Alliance has organized 52 Economic Outlook forums.

The 2014 sessions include economic trends from national leaders: Ambassador Marc Wall, Visiting Professor at the University of Wyoming; Scott Anderson, Bank of the West Chief Economist from San Francisco; and Herb Meyer, retired Vice Chair of the Central Intelligence Agency and author of The Siege of Western Civilization; state perspectives by Wyoming forecaster and University of Wyoming economics professor Anne Alexander; and county/regional performance comparisons by Bill Schilling, President of the Wyoming Business Alliance.

The schedule includes visits to eleven cities between April 9 and May 6.
For more information go to

Schwab hopes Treasure Classic experience becomes the norm »

Junior Shay Schwab, seen here against Cody's Kiara Skinner, had 20 points and 11 rebounds in Lander (Photos provided by Aaron Jenkins)

Shay Schwab was well known on her team and by her opponents over her varsity career. She was a key component in the 2013 state championship run as a junior and led the 2014 Lady Braves in scoring and rebounding as a senior.

Just before the end of this past season, Cody High School’s Kim Niemann contacted Schwab about being part of something new for Wyoming players. She wanted to form a team to play in the Treasure Classic in Billings each year.

Schwab said yes and just like that, she was combined with several players that were just recently her opponents and made them into teammates.

“This is the first year that  a Wyoming team went,” she said. “I knew some of the players from the season; the Lyman and Cody players. I had played against them before. We all got along pretty well. We’d talk about times we played each other but it wasn’t negative.”

There were players from Cody, Rawlins, Torrington, Lyman, Lander, Pinedale and Powell who joined Schwab. She played against all of them at some point in her varsity career. She feels the concept of taking Wyoming standouts (she was named 3A All-State this past season) will only grow from here.
“It was cool playing all of the teams; they were all really good,” she said. It was a really good tournament.  It was nice to get to know the girls that you’ve been battling all season and get a chance to play with them instead of going after them the entire time.” Read the rest

Freshmen hat tricks power Lady Braves in 11-0 romp »


The Lady Braves soccer team, despite being young in many regards, were simply too much for the Rawlins Lady Outlaws over the weekend as they demolished the Carbon County squad 11-0.

The match was played on a neutral field in Evanston, the same site where the Lady Braves set a program record for goals in a game in a 12-0 drubbing of Rawlins last season. Despite the one-sided nature of the afternoon, head coach Sandy Buckstaff took the opportunity to work on execution with his young squad.

“We’re beginning to round into shape,” he said. “We’ll see how we stand next Friday and Saturday when we participate in an in-season tournament in Worland. We’ll play four, full-length games in two days. It should be a good test and provide a good gauge of where we are.” Read the rest

Linda Taylor named finalist for international quilting competition »

Greg's Song Quilt

Linda Taylor, of Etna, has been named as a semi-finalist in the 2014 American Quilter’s Society Quilt Week International Quilting Competition. The competition takes place April 23-26 in Padacah, Ky.

According to AQS, quilts were entered from 41 states and 10 countries. Three quilting authorities will judge the entries, awarding first, second and third place prizes in 16 categories, along with nine overall awards.

Winners will be announced at the 30th AQS Anniversary Celebration on Tuesday, April 22. Cash awards totaling $125,000 will be presented.

Taylor will display a quilt titled “Greg’s Song.” It will be one of 405 quilts showcased in the annual contest.

“For 30 years, quilters from across the U.S. and around the world have shared their quilts in the AQS Quilt Contest to make Paducah, Kentucky, the home of the finest exhibit of quilts as fiber art,” said AQS Founder and President Meredith Schroeder. “Today’s quilters continue to push the boundaries through techniques used, exploration of materials, and letting their creativity soar.”

For more information, visit

This Week in Star Valley: March 26-April 1 »


The Star Valley Independent has been covering the multiple and rural communities of Star Valley for 113 years without missing a weekly edition.

The Independent is there for local government meetings, outdoor events, community discussions, tragic circumstances and celebrations.

In that time the news which has made the pages of the newspaper has been both shocking and typical.  Take a look at what made the news 25, 50 and 75 years ago during this calendar week in Star Valley.

This week’s inset picture is one of friendly conflict as the spring brings about little league wrestling like this shot from the Independent during this week in 2009.

The main picture below also says that it’s time for soccer season as Kelsey Diedrich battles a Rock Springs opponent during this calendar week in 2009. Read the rest

Medical center moving forward with first phase of expansion »


Tuesday, March 25 the Star Valley Medical Center hosted a groundbreaking celebration on its expansion project.

“The project will be done in three phases with the building of the new ER coming first, and the OR expansion and remodel will come in two subsequent phases,” said Mike Hunsaker, vice president of support services at Star Valley Medical Center. “It is anticipated that the construction will be completed before Oct. 1, 2015.”

According to Hunsaker, the project includes constructing a new Emergency Department, and a new and remodeled Surgery Department. When completed, the hospital expansion will feature an additional 18,000 square feet of “new and remodeled space,” he said. Read the rest

Area entrepreneurs reach finals at UW competition »

photo courtesy University of Wyoming

Five University of Wyoming student teams will present a wide range of business plans Friday, April 4, during the John P. Ellbogen $30K Entrepreneurship Competition at the College of Business Building.

The competition begins at 9 a.m. in Room 123. Awards will be presented at 1:45 p.m.

One of the finalists includes three students with Star Valley ties as they promote their idea referred to as BusMark. According to a release from UW, “BusMark is a student management system that provides bus transportation information in real time for parents. The market for school bus fleet and student management systems is new, and parents will be able to determine where the school bus and their child is when traveling, say team members. With GPS information becoming more appealing to parents as technology advances and safety issues loom, BusMark provides a student management system that will fulfill a market need and solve current and future problems faced by school administrators, they say.”

Team members are Conner Chas Hunsaker, a UW accounting junior from Afton; Brad Kovach, a UW computer science senior from Auburn; and Zane Erickson, a UW business administration junior, also from Auburn.

“Conner and Zane approched me with the idea because I’m a computer programmer,” Kovach said.  Conner and Zane are both bus drivers with the Albany County School District and they saw and identified some issues with institutional transportation with students and we thought this would be a good way to use mobile technology to keep track of students.”

The group has been working on the concept since early November with the payoff coming this weekend. If they are successful, there will be an award of $12,500 to help develop and implement BusMark as well as a year’s worth of free rent at the UW Business Center. Read the rest