Articles written by Kathleen Stinson For The Saratoga Sun


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  • Get the lead out

    Kathleen Stinson for the Saratoga Sun|Feb 22, 2024

    About three weeks ago, the Town of Saratoga Public Works Department started collecting data to inventory all water service lines in order to meet a requirement by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is requiring all communities to inventory their water service lines for lead content by October 2024. “In 1986 Congress Amended the Safe Drinking Water Act, prohibiting the use of pipes, solder or flux that were not “lead free” in public water systems or plumbing in facilities providing water for human consumption,” as stated on...

  • The challenge of rural EMS

    Kathleen Stinson for the Saratoga Sun|Feb 15, 2024

    In recent years, some emergency medical services in Wyoming have struggled to stay in business. According to Dirk J. Dijkstal, Health Readiness and Response Section Chief for Wyoming Department of Health, at least 11 agencies have been replaced by another, consolidated or closed their doors since 2015. The State of Wyoming does not mandate county government to provide emergency medical services. As a result, these operations have to find other ways to fund their businesses. Emergency medical service is a high-cost industry and healthcare...

  • Council moves forward on projects

    Kathleen Stinson for the Saratoga Sun|Feb 15, 2024

    The Saratoga Town Council voted to move forward on two public works projects at its February 6 meeting. One of the projects is the River Street Project, which will “roughly start at Elm Street and head south just across the Hugus Ditch,” said Public Works Director and Zoning Administrator Emery Penner in a later interview. “It will also include a section that will loop Walnut and Maple streets to the east of River Street as well as a new piece of pipe to the swimming pool.” In his report to the council, Penner said the River Street...

  • Davis: Consider Consequence of Property Tax Relief

    Kathleen Stinson for the Saratoga Sun|Feb 8, 2024

    With the 2024 Budget Session convening February 12, a number of bills are aimed at providing property tax relief to Wyoming residents. House District 47 Representative Bob Davis (R - Baggs) said the ramifications of some of the residential property tax relief bills being proposed for the upcoming legislative session need to be weighed against a loss in funding for essential government-funded services. For example, counties get 17.23 percent of property tax revenues, which they use to provide essential services. Some legislators are talking...

  • Cost saving and time saving?

    Kathleen Stinson for the Saratoga Sun|Feb 8, 2024

    The Town of Saratoga may be considering switching contracting with the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office for dispatch services following the January 16 meeting of the Saratoga Town Council. Currently, the Town operates its own dispatch services and contracts for the Town of Encampment. The City of Rawlins and the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office also have their own dispatch. All other municipalities such as Hanna, Medicine Bow and Baggs contract with the sheriff’s office. Some other parts of Wyoming have made the change to a joint dispatch...

  • Short term rentals, long term issues?

    Kathleen Stinson for the Saratoga Sun|Jan 25, 2024

    Short-term rentals in the Town of Saratoga have increased by approximately 100 percent from January to December 2023, according to airdna.co/vacation-rental-data. Saratoga does not currently have an ordinance that regulates short-term rentals, according to Emery Penner, director of public works and the town’s planning and zoning administrator. The Town of Saratoga, which has a population of 1,727 at the 2021 census count, currently has 145 available short-term rental listings, according to the airdna website. Sixty-six percent of these are...

  • 'You have to grow yourself out'

    Kathleen Stinson for the Saratoga Sun|Jan 18, 2024

    Buying entry-level housing in Saratoga is challenging. Teachers take a job in Saratoga for a year and then move on to a town with more affordable housing. Bryan Drake builds homes in Saratoga. He said he would like to see people take a job in Saratoga and stay. Bryan and Kathy Drake, co-owners of Triple D Construction, are looking for ways to make constructing housing in Saratoga affordable to the entry-level buyer. The Drakes have been building in Saratoga since they came to town in 2013, Bryan said. About a year and a half ago, the Drakes...

  • Mr. Davis comes to Saratoga

    Kathleen Stinson for the Saratoga Sun|Jan 11, 2024

    House District 47 Representative Bob Davis (R - Baggs) updated the Saratoga Town Council on some key legislative issues at its meeting January 2. The representative said a Bureau of Land Management Resource Management Plan is underway in Medicine Bow. “We need to keep our eye on what’s happening in Rock Springs,” Davis said. He said the Rock Springs Resource Management Plan controls 3.8 million acres of public land and the federal government is trying to conserve an additional 1.8 million acres it contends is of “critical environmental...

  • Studying transportation in Saratoga

    Kathleen Stinson for the Saratoga Sun|Jan 11, 2024

    The Town of Saratoga was awarded a state grant to pay for a study to determine what transportation improvements residents want. “The Transportation Alternatives Master Plan study is an opportunity for staff, residents and the planning consultants to investigate opportunities to alter, increase and/or improve pedestrian connectivity and accessibility through the community,” said Public Works Director Emery Penner. “This is just a study.” Last summer, the town hired Denver-based OV Consulting to do the study, Penner said. The grant money...

  • Supply and Demand

    Kathleen Stinson for the Saratoga Sun|Jan 4, 2024

    The Town of Saratoga’s lack of a sufficient supply of affordable housing is affecting the ability of local businesses to hire employees. In this series, the Saratoga Sun will examine the lack of affordable housing in Saratoga and its effect on the town’s ability to grow its economy. Wendy Barkhurst, owner of White Stone Realty based in Saratoga and Rawlins, is a broker and property manager. “I have not had a rental vacancy that I have had to advertise for more than two years,” Barkhurst said. “I have people calling about rentals even...

  • A Body of Work

    Kathleen Stinson for the Saratoga Sun|Dec 28, 2023

    While it is known unlicensed and unregulated tattooing is going on in Carbon County, neither the county nor the City of Rawlins regulates the activity at this time. Megan Cragun, Communicable Disease Unit Outreach Coordinator for the Carbon County Public Health Department, said the county does not have any regulations or policies on opening a tattoo shop or on tattooing. “Anybody can tattoo a person in their garage or wherever,” Cragun said in an interview. “Some counties have funding to...

  • Police Department still working on staffing

    Kathleen Stinson for the Saratoga Sun|Dec 28, 2023

    Police Chief Mike Morris made a presentation on staffing issues in dispatch services under reports from his department at the December 19 Saratoga Town Council meeting. Morris said his new full time dispatcher, Joshua Mathieu, has been hired and is in training. “So far he is doing very well,” Morris said. He said he got the two dispatch call takers, Tiffany Moore and Tana Davi, hired as well and they have worked “a couple of shifts.” “Lieutenant (John) Moore and I have worked in dispatch a bit from time-to-time,” he said....

  • County clerk to comment on drop box rules

    Kathleen Stinson for the Saratoga Sun|Dec 28, 2023

    County Clerk Gwynn Bartlett told the Carbon County Commissioners at their December 19 meeting she is going to submit a comment on Secretary of State Chuck Gray’s proposed new rules on drop boxes. The county drop box, located at the courthouse, is a way after hours to submit to the clerk’s office such items as child support payments and vehicle registration, for example, Bartlett said. She said the Secretary of State is proposing absentee ballots be submitted to the clerk inside the office. He wants the box to be placed inside the clerk’s...

  • Nationwide swatting email included Carbon County

    Kathleen Stinson for the Saratoga Sun|Dec 21, 2023

    On December 13, Carbon County School District No. 1 (CCSD1) received an email which school officials believe was a “swatting” email several school districts across the state and country also received. Swatting is the act of prank calling emergency services in attempt to get them to arrive at a particular address. The threat was believed not to be credible. CCSD1 Superintendent Mike Hamel confirmed in an interview the next day that the threat is still not believed to be credible. Hamel was out of town on business that day and other members...

  • Town of Saratoga considers new website… again

    Kathleen Stinson for the Saratoga Sun|Dec 14, 2023

    The Town of Saratoga discussed a plan to make its website more user friendly by hiring a local web designer at its recent council meeting. Councilwoman Kathy Beck said she has received some feedback from residents, who say the “website is not user friendly.” The current website went live approximately one year ago, in December 2022. Beck asked if there is a way the town could look at not renewing the website license, which is $3,400 a year, and instead hiring a local web designer. The designer would set up the website and the town staff...

  • Road Closures and Zone Changes

    Kathleen Stinson for the Saratoga Sun|Dec 14, 2023

    The Board of Carbon County Commissioners received a variety of updates during their December 5 meeting, including county roads and the status of COVID in the county. Road conditions and closures Kandis Fritz, coordinator of the Carbon County Road and Bridge Department, said, at the Commission meeting Dec. 5, she has prioritized the following for any grant opportunities the county may secure: The South Road, County Road 401 (Sage Creek Road) for double chip seal, the Seminoe Road, County Road 351 for double chip seal and 12 bridges around the...

  • New commissioner: no agenda, just what the people want

    Kathleen Stinson for the Saratoga Sun|Dec 7, 2023

    The Carbon County Commissioners at its recent meeting appointed Elk Mountain resident Garrett Irene to fill a vacant seat on the Board. The position became available when Byron Barkhurst resigned with one year remaining in his term. Irene said in an interview he has lived in Wyoming his entire life. His family has lived in Carbon County since the late 1800s. Making the motion to appoint Irene, Commissioner John Johnson said Irene fills a demographic that has been missing on the Board. Irene...

  • Appointments, electric and closures

    Kathleen Stinson for the Saratoga Sun|Dec 7, 2023

    The Carbon County Board of Commissioners appointed Garrett Irene to fill the seat vacated by former Commissioner Byron Barkhurst, who resigned. Irene’s term will expire in January 2025. Irene will be sworn in December 5. Prior to making their selection, the Board interviewed three candidates during their November 21 meeting. The other two candidates were Emilee Berger and Joey Correnti. Commissioner John Johnson made the motion to appoint Irene saying a “demographic has been missing” on the Board that Irene will fill. The Board approved t...

  • Saratoga PD hires more staff, discusses raises

    Kathleen Stinson for the Saratoga Sun|Nov 30, 2023

    The Saratoga Police Department was a top subject for the Saratoga Town Council during their November 21 meeting. The governing body approved hiring three new employees and discussed raises for current dispatchers. Other matters discussed by the council included the fate of the wading pool at the municipal swimming pool and brownfield studies for the old police department. PD Staffing Issues Police Chief Mike Morris made a presentation on staffing issues at dispatch services under reports from his department. Chief Morris said he has two...