County residents should complete censusMore than 50 million households, representing more than one-third of the Nation, have responded to the 2020 census. The census happens once every decade, and your response affects allocation of Congressional seats and federal funds to your community for things like schools, hospitals, and emergency services.

Please respond to the Census today. It takes less than 10 minutes to complete the form online at 2020census.gov, over the phone, or on paper through mail.

As of April 2, only 41 percent of Albany County households have responded. We ask your help in making sure Wyoming gets a complete and accurate count of all people residing in the State as of Census Day, April 1.

Your data are encrypted and protected from the instant we receive your response. Your responses are not shared with anyone else, including law enforcement.

Almost all households in Wyoming have received invitations to respond by phone and by mail. If you have not received a paper questionnaire yet and have not responded, it will be delivered starting April 8. Your state and nation thank you for taking action and responding to the 2020 Census.

Wilbur L. Ross

Secretary, Department of Commerce

Wyoming should embrace a free market energy futureFollowing the 2020 legislative session, we have seen yet another year of Wyoming clawing to keep coal in the game. In the era of Wyoming’s attempts to maintain a market for their coal, we’ve tried it all: We are suing the state of Washington for denying access to coal ports. We spend millions of dollars a year to encourage the development of coal technology. This year, legislators even passed a bill requiring all utilities to use carbon capture storage with false hope to extend the life of coal-fired power plants. Now, our Public Service Commission, the regulatory agency tasked with keeping electricity rates low as possible, is investigating Rocky Mountain Power’s plan to retire coal fired units and replace them with lower cost, renewable energy projects. It’s time we leave the past behind.

Laramie is lucky to live in Rocky Mountain Power’s service territory of Wyoming and have a utility provider that sees the economic and cost benefits of retiring outdated facilities and upgrading to the lowest price energy option. We also appreciate projects Rocky Mountain Power sponsors like the Blue Sky Grant Program that keeps renewable and energy efficiency projects flowing to our community. None of the actions the Legislature and Public Service Commission are taking show the same amount of desire to invest in the future of Wyoming and our communities. Legislation and new requirements for keeping coal on the grid will only raise our electricity rates, as we, ratepayers pay for the infrastructure that supplies energy. In other words, as coal technology becomes more outdated and expensive, Wyomingites are going to have to pay the price for the decisions short-sighted lawmakers are making today.

It is clear that the legislative and executive branches are feeling a lot of pressure from the coal industry and people impacted by its downturn. However, the Public Service Commission should not be a body which acts based on political motive. They need to serve their function as an agency that looks out for the Wyoming people by providing the lowest cost power.

Joseph Schroer

Laramie

Donations are appreciatedI would like to thank the Wyoming Technology COVID Coalition for their Medical PPE donations to Ivinson Hospital, the UW Health Service and the Albany County Emergency Operations Center. They donated $6400 of desperately needed N95 Masks, nitrile gloves and other medical supplies needed to support Albany County. This group is also sending donations to other communities in Wyoming.

Jon Essley, Liaison Officer

Albany County Emergency Operations Center

District should let kids keep earned moneyI question that the Albany County school board, in their infinite wisdom, has decided the money my granddaughter earned while working concessions at the University of Wyoming basketball and football games, for a Spring Break choir trip to Austria that was unfortunately canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak will be paid to Laramie High School. The board decided because the kids had volunteered; the money she had earned should go to the school.

She did not volunteer, she was told by working concessions she could earn money to be paid toward the cost of her trip. Not only did she work the concessions, but her dad, grandmother and friends work some of those games to assist her in earning enough money for this spring break trip.

They certainly did not volunteer.

The money the University paid for these concession wages, should be going to the kids that took their free time and worked those hours, approximately $1900 worth, not to Laramie High School.

As far as I’m concerned this school board has stolen the money these kids have earned for this canceled trip. They should be ashamed.

Ric M. Shute

Wellington, Colorado

More aid needed for first respondersAcross the country, in large urban areas as well as small rural communities, EMTs and paramedics are serving on the frontlines of our nation’s war against the COVID-19 pandemic, oftentimes without the necessary supplies and equipment to ensure the safety of their patients and themselves. Emergency medical services (EMS) are responding to increasing calls from patients with suspected or positively diagnosed coronavirus, in addition to 911 calls for patients with severe injuries and illness, including cardiac arrests and strokes. All EMS systems, whether they are public, private or a combination of both, are struggling. The additional burdens placed upon our EMS systems and personnel are challenging even for the strongest systems.

Lack of medical supplies, particularly Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including face masks, gloves, goggles and gowns; ventilators, and other essential medical supplies and medications, is endangering our EMTs and paramedics, their families and colleagues, and their patients. EMS personnel are having to utilize improvised or recycled PPE. A growing number of EMTs and paramedics are being infected with the COVID-19 virus, removing their ability to answer 911 calls. Some are fighting for their lives on respirators. According to an on-line tracking system developed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs, as of March 26th, there have been 6,229 EMS and fire personnel exposed to the coronavirus, 1,835 have been quarantined and 113 have become infected with the illness. While some states have implemented priority testing for their EMS personnel, many have yet to enact this testing. The U.S. Public Health Service has given EMS personnel testing its lowest priority.

We appreciate the efforts of Congress and the Administration to support states as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and thank them for passing crucial relief and stimulus bills in the last couple of weeks. However, these legislative packages do not provide direct funding relief or protection to our nation’s EMTs and paramedics. Funds to support the pandemic response are being provided to state government and/or hospitals, which do not trickle down to EMS. EMS agencies receive little to no funding from programs such as the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund and the Assistance to Firefighter Grants. EMS agencies are not receiving funds or supplies for their EMS personnel. In some communities, EMS is on the brink of collapse.

For EMS to sustain its services and protect its personnel, the following actions need to be taken immediately by federal leaders:

— Give priority to testing for EMS Personnel and their families.

— Give priority access to PPE for EMS personnel.

— Give priority access to EMS agencies for vital prehospital medications.

— Reimburse all EMS agencies for overtime wages paid to employees and additional costs necessary to provide emergency medical services during the public health pandemic.

— Reimburse EMTs and paramedics for the cost of daycare for EMS personnel with children.

— Provide direct funding to all EMS agencies for ventilators and other needed medical equipment.

— Provide direct funding to EMS to purchase ambulances.

— Allow use of the A0998 HCPCS code for EMS to respond and transport patients to the appropriate healthcare facility, not necessarily the hospital, freeing up hospital beds.

— Ensure all EMS personnel are covered in all applicable COVID-19 provisions by specifically including Emergency Medical Services Providers and Personnel.

Kraig Schlueter

Rock River

City shouldn’t back wind projectMr. Mayor and members of the City Council,

I am writing to you today as a resident of Albany County. As a resident I have information that at the City Council meeting, April 7th, item #9.G the City Council plans a motion to approve the letter of support for the Proposed Rail Tie Wind Project.

As a resident, I feel with the pandemic crisis, this item on the agenda is inappropriate. This should not be a priority of the City Council. Per your own statement the council meetings are open to the public. What public to you expect to see with the “social distancing requirements”? I doubt anyone. Per your own statement temporary public health measures, “City Council agenda will be limited to include items essential to continue City operations.”

What does the Rail Tie Wind Project have to do with essential City operations at this time? Nothing.

I feel it is a sneaky political way to pass something that residents cannot come to object to.

The people of this community need to be able to trust the City Council to do what is right for them, to know that the local government is more concerned with their health, safety and well being not other business. Your priority should not be pushing through a wind project but the care of your residents.

The Rail Tie Project has nothing to do with the pandemic crisis. ConnectGen is using this as an opportunity to push their project forward, they do not care about the people of this community, they only care about their bottom line, but you should. Is this how you want to be remembered at election time?

A committee that is more concerned with pushing projects through that the people could not speak out about or give their pros and cons about. That just means that you do not represent the people and that is a sorry way to be remembered.

Virginia Von Lunen

Laramie

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