UW assistant coach charged with DUI, suspended
CASPER (WNE)— Wyoming assistant coach Willie Mack Garza has been suspended indefinitely from the football team after being charged with driving under the influence, head coach Craig Bohl announced Friday.
Garza was booked into the Albany County Detention Center on Thursday night on DUI alcohol and speeding charges, according to the jail log. In a statement, UW said the athletic department would have no further comment.
Garza has pleaded not guilty to both misdemeanor charges, according to court documents. A circuit court clerk said Garza’s next court date is scheduled for Nov. 14.
Garza is in his first season as the Cowboys’ safeties coach after being hired as the final on-field assistant in May. It’s his first job back at the Football Bowl Subdivision level since 2011, when he resigned as Southern California’s secondary coach amid his involvement in an NCAA investigation into recruiting violations when he was an assistant at Tennessee.
The NCAA issued him a two-year show-cause penalty. Garza, who also coached under Bohl at North Dakota State from 2005- 09, spent the previous two seasons as an assistant at Dixie State.
“We have a reputation of holding ourselves to high ethical standards here at the University of Wyoming, and I expect Coach Garza to follow those high standards,” Bohl said in a statement when Garza was hired.
Wind project’s future in question
LARAMIE (WNE) — The future of a planned wind project between Albany and Carbon counties is now in question.
The result of that could mean the loss of $5 million “impact assistance” funding that governments in Carbon and Albany counties were set to receive from the state.
That funding is provided from the state to local governments to offset the impact on social services of big industrial projects like wind farms.
“At this point, it’s my understanding the project has ceased or stopped pertaining to some issues of the transmission of power,” Albany County Attorney Peggy Trent said during a Tuesday meeting of the county commissioners.
Originally, Albany County governments were set to receive $8.4 million from the state, with Rock River and Albany County receiving the lion’s share.
Payments were stopped this year when work on the wind farm was suspended amid a contract dispute between Rocky Mountain Power and Boswell Wind, LLC.
The wind project is located about 10 miles northeast of Rock River and originally called for 170 wind turbines to be erected on 21,569 acres. However, even before work stopped, the project was reduced to 80 turbines with higher capacities.
As a result, governments in Albany and Carbon counties have tentatively agreed to receive fewer impact assistance funds as a result of the down-sized project. However, the payments will only continue once — or if — the project resumes.
Gillette College enrollment up by almost 25 percent
GILLETTE (WNE) — Enrollment in the fall semester at Gillette College has grown by 385 students compared to the previous year.
That was the headcount for students as of Tuesday, college Vice President Janell Oberlander told the Advisory Board at its meeting Wednesday afternoon.
There were 1,942 students on campus overall during the fall 2019 semester, 385 more than the 1,557 taking classes in the same semester in 2018.
That’s an increase of 24.7 percent.
The college also experienced growth in its full-time equivalent student numbers and the number of dual and concurrent enrollment for junior and senior high school students, she said.
“So our numbers are doing very, very well,” Oberlander said after introducing new college staff at the meeting.
Overall, the full-time equivalent numbers for students this fall is 1,241, she said. That’s up by 234 students compared to a year earlier, or about 23.2 percent.
The number of high school students taking dual or concurrent courses for college credit — much of that paid by the Board of Cooperative Higher Education — also rose from 578 a year ago to 653 this fall, close to a record number and a growth of about 13 percent.
Oberlander said she’s not sure how the growth at Gillette College this fall compares to the numbers at Sheridan College, which also is part of the Northern Wyoming Community College District.
“I know the headcount districtwide is up 7.7 percent,” she said.
CWC trustees approve 4-year degree program
RIVERTON (WNE) — More progress was made last week in the process to offer a four-year degree at Central Wyoming College.
The CWC Board of Trustees approved the Bachelor of Applied Science program in organizational management and leadership during its regular meeting Oct. 15.
CWC will being offering the BAS in fall 2020 – pending further approvals from the Wyoming Community College Commission and the national Higher Learning Commission accrediting agency.
CWC academic affairs vice president Kathy Wells talked about the work that has gone into developing the BAS degree, which is designed to help students in the local workforce advance in their careers without having to travel to go to college.
“Existing but not being able to thrive is a huge challenge for a large share of our population,” Wells said during Tuesday’s meeting. “Our community needs this type of education.”
That need has motivated college staff throughout the “rigorous” and “complex” process of creating the degree, she added.
“We have to be responsive,” she said. “That’s why we’re here. We’re here to serve these students.”
The work involved the majority of the staff, Wells said, including a sub-group of faculty members who selected two emphasis areas for the BAS degree: one in one in tribal leadership, and another in business and entrepreneurship.
Commander discusses Minuteman replacement
CHEYENNE (WNE) — Maj. Gen. Ferdinand “Fred” Stoss discussed the United States nuclear program and plans to upgrade the missiles at F.E. Warren Air Force Base while speaking Friday to members of the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee during its monthly luncheon.
Stoss, who became commander of the 20th Air Force last year, oversees more than 12,000 people working with the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missile force, which is organized into operational wings in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming.
As part of the nation’s nuclear triad, Cheyenne’s 90th Missile Wing operates 150 Minuteman III ICBMs, which became operational in the mid-1960s.
In the coming decade, the missiles at F.E. Warren Air Force Base will be replaced as part of the U.S. Air Force’s Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent program. The aging missiles are part of a problem described by Stoss: much of the Air Force’s infrastructure is timing out at the same time.
Though the project is estimated to cost more than $90 billion, Stoss said other avenues would be even more costly.
The company selected to complete the project will be announced in the fall of 2020. Because of the status of the bidding process, Stoss could not comment on the acquisition.
“Until the last GBSD (missile) goes in the hole, the Minuteman has gotta keep on going,” Stoss said. “We see that to be in about 2036, so times are going to be good for this community.”