Husband of Cheyenne mayor arrested on suspicion of domestic violence
CHEYENNE (WNE) — Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr’s husband was arrested Friday night on suspicion of domestic violence against her.
Christopher Jimmy Orr, 54, was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic battery in the 3400 block of Warren Avenue, and is currently being held at the Laramie County jail.
It’s unknown at this time who made the phone call to the Cheyenne Police Department to report the incident. Marian Orr wasn’t taken to the hospital for treatment of any injuries suffered during the incident.
The probable cause affidavit was completed by Cheyenne Police at the time of his arrest, but hasn’t been filed in Laramie County Circuit Court at this time.
City Public Information Officer Michael Skinner said the city of Cheyenne won’t issue any communications regarding the matter because it’s a personal issue.
Marian Orr issued the following statement Sunday evening:
"Domestic violence cuts across all parts of our society. Apparently, no one is immune. I am having to come to grips with being victimized this way. This is a very traumatic time for me, my children and my parents. I appreciate our community respecting my privacy as I deal with this very personal situation."
Cheyenne police again involved in sex abuse case
CASPER (WNE) — The Cheyenne Police Department is again involved in the months-long sexual abuse investigation connected to the Catholic Church, a spokesman said Friday.
“There were things that needed to be followed up on, so it’s still an active investigation,” said CPD spokesman Kevin Malatesta.
In August, Cheyenne police announced that they were recommending sexual abuse charges against two men with ties to the Catholic clergy. The investigation was then handed to Laramie County District Attorney Leigh Anne Manlove, who in turn passed the case to Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen because of a conflict of interest.
Last month, Manlove confirmed in a response to a Star-Tribune public records request that one of the subjects of the investigation was retired bishop Joseph Hart, who led the Diocese of Cheyenne from 1976 to 2001. Hart has been accused of sexual abuse by at least 16 men, both from his time in Wyoming and in his previous posting in Kansas City, Missouri.
Hart has denied the accusations consistently for the nearly 30 years since the first man came forward alleging he was abused by Hart.
Cheyenne police have declined to name either suspect in the case, citing state statute. In response to a public records request for documents mentioning Hart, the department declined to release the records because they “pertain to an open investigation.”
Malatesta, the police spokesman, said it was typical — especially in high-profile cases — for prosecutors to have police follow up on something from the original investigation.
Laramie downtown chosen for year-long case study
LARAMIE (WNE) — Laramie’s downtown will be in the spotlight throughout 2020 as part of a year-long case study by the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Instution's Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking and the National Main Street Center.
The study will assess “the impact of local entrepreneurship programs on economic, physical, social and civic outcomes,” according to a Tuesday news release.
Laramie was one of three cities chosen; the study will also follow efforts in Wheeling, West Virginia, and Emporia, Kansas.
Laramie Main Street Alliance will participate with the researchers in “on-the-ground research” to assess the impact of its different projects and strategies.
LMSA executive director Trey Sherwood told the Boomerang Wednesday it’s a great chance for the group to reinforce that “what we’re doing that has a high impact.”
“It’s very rare to have an opportunity to stop and pause and reflect,” she said. “Even though it sounds intimidating to have your work judged, the realization of what’s not working and why will then allow us to make improvements.”
Main Street has documented over $11.5 million in renovation projects downtown, 38 new public improvements valued at $4.5 million and 104 net new businesses and 509 net new jobs in the last ten years, and the study is an opportunity to further scientifically measure and document the various successes and strategies implemented by the nonprofit.
Committee approves fee for communications system
CHEYENNE (WNE) — People could be seeing a slight upcharge on their phone bills if legislation passed by the Joint Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Interim Committee on Thursday gains approval from the full Legislature during its upcoming budget session.
The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. John Eklund, R-Cheyenne, would charge 50 cents on people’s monthly phone bills, similar to fees for 911 emergency services, to help fund the state’s WyoLink communications system. The public safety system is used by local, state and federal agencies to coordinate their responses during emergencies.
“It sounds like I’m in favor of higher taxes, and I’m not really,” said Eklund, who co-chairs the committee. “I’m just trying to solve some problems that we have.”
Taxes on the mineral industry have funded the communications system for a long time, but as that funding dries up, Eklund said the bill would provide a way to fill that gap. Wyoming has invested roughly $120 million in the system to date, and upkeep of the system costs $5.5 million annually.
“When we had plenty of revenue, we could just pick up this tab, and it wasn’t a big deal,” Eklund said.
Under the bill, the system would be funded through a hybrid model in which the Wyoming Department of Transportation, the general fund and fees from phone bills each cover a portion of the upkeep.
Fire victims identified as father, daughter
RIVERTON (WNE) — Community members have identified the pair found deceased north of Riverton on Thursday as Todd and Cambrie Pepper - a father and daughter.
The Peppers were found in a residence on Darnall Road, following a fire that was reported at about 4:45 a.m. Thursday. Investigators believe the fire began much earlier, due to its heavy involvement with the structure when discovered by responders.
The home was blackened by the fire, and had collapsed in the middle by 11 a.m., when officials located the Peppers.
Fremont County Coroner Mark Stratmoen did not name the Peppers officially, but he said the man found in the home on Darnall Road was 49, and the child was 11.
Stratmoen has not announced the cause of the fatalities officially, but unofficially, he said the fire appears to have caused them.
The Fremont County Sheriff's Office and the Wyoming State Fire Marshal are investigating the incident.
The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation was also on scene Thursday, but are no longer a key part of the investigation, said Fremont County Undersheriff Mike Hutchison on Friday.
"DCI only assists up to the point when you can rule out suspicion of criminal activity or foul play," Hutchison said. "They assisted with the investigation, but their portion of it is finished, as foul play is not suspected.”