NEWS BRIEFS for Thursday, April 4, 2019


Sentencing for former chamber CEO canceled

BUFFALO (WNE) — The sentencing hearing for former Buffalo Chamber of Commerce CEO Angela Fox has been canceled until a judge rules on motions filed by Fox's defense team. 

A jury found Fox guilty on Jan. 15 of three counts of felony theft. Fox's trial lasted for three days. During that time, Johnson County prosecuting attorney Tucker Ruby presented receipts and a financial forensics report to show that Fox used Chamber credit cards on multiple occasions, spending more than $8,000 on personal charges.

Since her conviction, Fox's defense team has filed multiple motions, documents requesting action or rulings from the court, including a request to acquit Fox on all charges. 

The sentencing hearing was originally scheduled for March 25, but Fox's defense team failed to receive a pre-sentencing report within 10 days of the original hearing date and subsequently filed a continuance (change in date of hearing).

Motions filed by Fox's defense team include a motion to acquit Fox on all charges due to lack of evidence of theft.

Another motion from the defense team requests a new trial for Fox. That motion was filed on Feb. 4, and states that Buffalo Chamber members were in the room during the jury selection process and part of the jury selection panel. 

Within an omnibus order, filed Feb. 19, Judge William Edelman denied the motion for acquittal and the motion requesting a new trial stating Fox has not met the burden to show that she is entitled to either.

Each of the three felony theft counts carries a penalty of not more than 10 years in prison, a fine of not more than $10,000 or both.

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Cheyenne nursing home settles negligence lawsuit

CHEYENNE (WNE) — The operators of Cheyenne Healthcare Center this week settled a 2018 lawsuit against the facility for alleged negligence in their care of a patient.

Daryl Farrington filed the lawsuit in February 2018, claiming he suffered multiple injuries during a three-month stretch in 2015 due to an inadequate level of care and planning by the staff. Cheyenne Healthcare Center is run by SavaSeniorCare LLC, which operates about 200 facilities across 20 states and is one of the largest assisted-living providers in the country.

Management at Cheyenne Healthcare Center and SavaSeniorCare didn’t return requests for comment on the settlement. Farrington’s legal representation declined to comment, as well. Details of the settlement were not available as of press time.

According to the lawsuit, Farrington suffered multiple falls that resulted from a lack of trained staff, and the facility not developing a comprehensive care plan that met his medical and physical needs. The lawsuit also claimed the facility failed multiple times to notify Farrington’s family of his falls that resulted in injuries and other medical issues that developed during his stay.

The lawsuit alleged staff at Cheyenne Healthcare Center had Farrington sign his own psychiatric medication consent forms with an “X,” despite him not being competent to make those decisions. Farrington also allegedly refused care for several issues, including a persistent rash on his body and a toe injury.

In its rebuttal of the claims, a lawyer for SavaSeniorCare said a care plan had been developed and implemented for Farrington. It also said staff treated Farrington’s skin conditions as much as possible, given his combativeness and refusal to allow treatment.

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Woman accidentally sends drug proposition to police

POWELL — A Powell woman thought she had texted a meth dealer last September, but a couple of mistyped digits instead put her in touch with a local cop. 

As a result, Audrey Biggica’s attempt to buy methamphetamine — which reportedly included offering to pay for the drug with sex — resulted in her serving nearly three weeks in jail. 

“Nothing worse than a wrong number dialed,” mused Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters at Biggica’s sentencing hearing last month. “There are lessons to be learned there; I’m just not sure where to start.” 

At a March 15 hearing in Cody, Biggica pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of attempting to possess a controlled substance; the 23-yearold explained she didn’t realize she was conversing with a Powell police officer. 

For the count of possession, Biggica was ordered to serve 20 days in jail, with another 160 days suspended in favor of six months of unsupervised probation. She also must pay $555 in court fines and fees and $400 to repay her court-appointed attorney. As part of a plea deal, the Park County Attorney’s Office agreed to dismiss a second misdemeanor count, of prostitution.

At the hearing, Judge Waters said it was one of the more interesting sets of facts he’s heard in court. 

“It was an interesting one; that’s for sure,” 

Biggica agreed, with a laugh. 

“I was surprised.” She added that, “Everything happens for a reason, though, I guess.”

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Gillette to host curling championships

GILLETTE (WNE) — Gillette will host the 2020 USA Curling Arena National Championships next spring at Cam-plex’s Spirit Hall, and the historic piles of rocks on West Second Street has something to do with it.

The championships will be staged April 26-May 2, 2020. It will be the first time a major curling championship will be held in Wyoming, according to a press release.

Rick Mansur, director of Campbell County Parks and Recreation, said it was a joint effort between his department, Cam-plex staff and the Campbell County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Last year, a company from Minnesota came to Gillette to help set up the sheets of ice for curling.

“They were really impressed with Spirit Hall,” Mansur said, and they suggested that Gillette try to host the curling arena national championships.

The Arena Nationals, which began in 2013, features teams that compete in league play in arena settings versus a traditional curling-only facility. USA Curling’s greatest growth is in arena settings.

The 2019 national event is taking place May 5-11 in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and will feature 38 teams.

“It is simply fantastic to be taking our first national event to Wyoming, and it is fitting that the Arena Championships — representing one of the fastest-growing segments of curling in the country — will be the landmark event,” said Rick Patzke, USA Curling’s Chief Executive Officer.

“With Gillette’s historic association with piles of rocks already well-established, we are excited about the possibilities as we bring a slightly different twist to town,” he added. “Our thanks go out to the Cam-plex and local curlers and the community overall for making this happen.”

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