A family-owned daily newspaper serving Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming since 1949


Jan 29, 2013 - The Associated Press

Two killed in avalanches

BONDURANT -- Two backcountry skiers were killed in separate avalanches in western Wyoming on Sunday, the first two people to die in slides this winter.

Elizabeth "Liza" Gray Benson, 28, of Jackson, died after being caught in a small slide west of Bondurant and hitting a tree, the Sublette County Sheriff's office said. Longtime Grand Teton National Park seasonal employee Nick Gillespie, 30, of Jackson, was also caught in an avalanche around 5 p.m. Sunday on the southeast face of Survey Peak and died of injuries from the slide, park officials said Monday.

Crews were working Monday to recover their bodies.

Benson was skiing with four other people, including a doctor, in the area near Cliff and Cabin creeks, according to the sheriff's office. The skiers called for help but during the call the doctor pronounced Benson dead.

Gillespie, who had worked on Grand Teton National Park's trail crew the past six seasons, was with three other people who tried to resuscitate him, park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs said. When they were unable to, they carried his body to a backcountry patrol cabin, where they spent the night.

Campbell County has most flu cases

GILLETTE -- Wyoming health officials say Campbell County leads the state in reported flu cases this year.

According to a report by the Wyoming Health Department, the county had 402 confirmed cases of flu through the week of Jan. 6-12. Laramie County had 319, followed by Natrona County with 303, Sweetwater County with 264 and Fremont County with 200.

Wyoming has nearly 2,500 confirmed cases of flu and is on track to break the state record in the past decade of 3,109 set during a pandemic year in 2009-10.

Reggie McClinton, state's flu surveillance epidemiologist in Cheyenne, says he expects Wyoming to surpass 2,700 flu cases within the next week.

Pneumonia poses risk to herd

JACKSON -- Biologists think there's a risk of another pneumonia outbreak developing among Jackson Hole's bighorn sheep herd.

Ten of 14 sheep darted earlier this month tested positive for a bacteria linked to bighorn die-offs in the West.

Biologists took samples from the animals because of a high death rate among radio-collared sheep. Six of the 20 tracked sheep have died since the summer.

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