The Defining Stories of 2015

The stories that most defined 2015 included a shooting at the Center of Hope in Riverton that killed one and injured another and set in motion a continuing discussion of race relations in the county, especially in Riverton. Other defining stories were losses; the passing of a local icon, the death of a child who was struck in a crosswalk that resulted in calls for a change in the way state drivers licenses are issued, and the tragic murder and suicide of a mother and son in Lander. Nature also roared in the past year cutting off Fremont County from the Big Horn Basin with a series of mudslides in the wind River Canyon. Here are the top defining stories of the year: *Center of Hope Shooting* [image: Inline image 7]e- Stallone Tropser was killed and Sonny Goggles was injured when a Riverton Parks Department Employee went to the Center of Hope Social Alcohol Detoxification Center and opened fire on two clients who were sleeping. Roy Clyde pleaded guilty to First Degree Murder and will be sentenced early this year. The shooting resulted in a community dialogue about the role of race relations in the county and establishment of a new position in the Riverton Police Department to investigate claims of bias and discrimination. *Death of a Local Icon* [image: Inline image 1] *(Photo and trademark image h/t Phillip Morris USA / Pitchengine Communities)* A Riverton rancher who became the iconic image of the rugged American Cowboy died at the age of 85. Darrell Winfield was the authentic, non-actor Marlboro Man and his image was used in marketing campaigns around the world. Winfield's face and local locales brought worldwide attention to Wyoming and West. *Death of a child in a crosswalk* [image: Inline image 12] Calling his decision one of the most “gut wrenching and difficult” of his time on the bench, Ninth District Circuit Judge Wesley A. Roberts gave themaximum sentence to 78-year-old Sandra Jean Pennock on her conviction of Vehicular Homicide in the crosswalk death of 7-year-old Sophia Archer on the next to the last day of school. Sophia's death raised calls for a change in how drivers licenses are issued in the state and resulted in a number of new more highly visible crosswalk warning signs erected in the city. *Now that's a big elk* [image: Inline image 2] The Wind River Country and Wyoming is well known for its outdoor activities, including hunting and fishing. When Burlington hunter Albert Henderson went hunting near Dubois this past fall he had no idea that his annual hunt during the archery season would be one for the record book. By the end of the hunt, Henderson’s efforts were rewarded with what would later be verified as the largest elk ever taken with a crossbow. The big trophy gained national attention and added to the area's reputation for hunting success. *Landslides halt rail and vehicle traffic* [image: Inline image 4] *This photo from WYDOT showed the major mudslide that closed the Wind River Canyon. Slides also damaged the BNSF railroad route through the Canyon.* A heavy rain storm that stalled over the Owl Creek Mountains resulted in dozens of landslides in the canyon and closure of the north-south route into Fremont County for several days. Nature played a big role in the county during the past year, with the easing of a three-year long drought, a wet spring that helped the county's agricultural sector get off to a fast start and the absence of wildfire, which was feared after the wet spring resulted in accelerated plant growth. *Injured Bullfighter* [image: Inline image 6] *Brandon Lincoln, a nationally acclaimed bullfighter from the Wind River Reservation was injured by a horse that rolled on him causing brain trauma. Lincoln's photo also graced the cover of the 2015 10 Guide. Rodeo, the state sport of Wyoming, is a regular weekly feature all across the county from bull riding only events, junior and high school rodeos and major productions such as those held in Dubois, Lander and Riverton. * *Naked Survivor* [image: Inline image 8] The rugged individualism of county residents was best exemplified by Dubois resident, outdoor enthusiast and Boy Scout leader Joe Brandl after he was chosen this past year to participate in the Discovery Channel’s tough survival series ‘Naked and Afraid.’ Left in the wilds of Africa, nude, with a female partner he’d never met before, and only a camera crew to follow the couple around, Brandl had to survive for three weeks without help from the outside world. *History emerged from the forest: * [image: Inline image 10] A year of intensive research has now provided a clear picture of the daily lives of 150 German and Austrian prisoners of war who lived in the mountains above Dubois 70 years ago, during World War II. A program sponsored by the Dubois Museum brought this long forgotten site into the public awareness. This past year saw a renaissance of the county's museum system with new customer service representatives, programs, exhibits, and leadership at the three county-owned facilities in Lander, Riverton and Dubois. The museums gained new branding and respect after a nearly three-year-long saga came to an end after a former museum director in Lander was convicted and sentenced for stealing from the county's collection. *Murder and suicide shocked Lander* [image: Inline image 13] The shocking murder of a five-year-old boy and the suicide of his mother in Lander this fall stunned the community over the brutality of the act. Death by suicide continues to plague Fremont County with one of the highest rates in the state and country. Numerous initiatives are underway in the county to deal with prevention and recovery for survivors of sucide. *Dubois Fire Aftermath* [image: Inline image 16] The top story of 2014, the devastating fire that hit downtown Dubois the night of December 30th, continued to make news in 2015 and the cause of the fire was determined and rebuilding plans were announced. The artists conception of the rebuild is featured above, which would preserve the "Old West" and "boardwalk" look of the Upper Country outpost. *The Bikini Bandit* [image: Inline image 17] The "Bikini Bandit" was later identified as a 16-year-old boy who held up the South Federal Pit Stop Travel Center early one morning with a firearm and got away with $300. Baby's name: [image: Inline image 5] *Wyoming Violence Underwood *came into the world with a creative name. Stephanie Bell and Aaron Underwood's name for their newborn struck a chord with C10 readers. Baby names in Wyoming continued a trend with Liam and Olivia leading the lists when the most popular baby names were released this past spring. #county10 #news