Thursday, May 13, 2010

Freight train derails at Wind River Canyon

Thermopolis – A Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper patrolling US 20/WYO 789 in the Wind River Canyon was witness to a Burlington Northern freight train derailment into the Big Horn River shortly after noon Wednesday, according to a press release from the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

After the derailment the two engineers aboard the locomotive climbed out the side window of the lead locomotive as the cab filled with water. The engineers made their way to the safety of the
hillside. The Trooper and the engineers yelled back and forth to each other across the river and the engineers advised they had no serious injuries.

The incident began when the Trooper noticed a huge rock resting on the rail line in the canyon approximately 6 miles south of Thermopolis. The Trooper notified the Wyoming Highway Patrol Dispatch Center in Cheyenne who in turn was on the phone notifying Burlington Northern of the
blocked rail. The Trooper estimated the rock to be about 8 feet across and 6 feet high.

Before Burlington Northern could make notification to their personnel a southbound train struck the rock. Both lead locomotives and the first three cars derailed with the lead locomotive going into the Big Horn River.

The Big Horn River separates highway US 20/WYO 789 and the railroad line and the Trooper was unable to cross the river. It has been determined that the locomotives are spilling diesel fuel from their fuel tanks into the river. In addition, the first rail car behind the locomotives was loaded with bentonite which is also spilling into the river.

Wyoming Highway Patrol Troopers remain on scene to assist the Hot Springs County Sheriff’s Department and the Hot Springs County Search and Rescue. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has also been notified of the hazardous material spill into the Big Horn River.

At this time it is unknown how much damage has been done to Burlington Northerns rail line or the quality of the river. US 20/WYO 789 through the Wind River Canyon remains open to vehicular traffic.

Troopers report snowfall and snow mixed with rain has been falling in the area since last evening.

The Big Horn County Sheriff's Department will possibly be used as municipal aide for the agencies dealing with the accident, according to Sheriff Ken Blackburn.

Photo courtesy Wyoming Highway Patrol

Thursday, May 6, 2010

RMHS to stage ‘Man of La Mancha’ tonight and Saturday

The Rocky Mountain High School music department will stage the musical “Man of La Mancha” this week at the RMHS Auditorium in Byron. The curtain will rise at 7 p.m. tonight (Thursday) and Saturday.

Written by Dale Wasserman with music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion, this elaborate musical takes place in a prison in Seville, Spain, at the end of the 16th century. Miguel De Cervantes is a full-time actor and part-time tax collector who is thrown into prison, along with his loyal friend, after serving a collection notice and lien on a monastery.

The prisoners threaten to take and destroy all of their belongings, including Cervantes' lone manuscript of his masterpiece play. They are put on trial by the prisoners themselves and have to act out their play in order to save themselves and their remaining possessions. What follows is a fantastic ride through Cervantes' imagination where the prisoners have to play as characters in this "play within a play."

“It's been a great ride through the whole production, and we are so thrilled to be working with such a wonderful group of young people,” Director Spencer Clark said.

Lead characters include:

Miguel De Cervantes (Don Quixote and Alonso Quijana) -- Russell Roberts; Manservant (Sancho Panza) -- Kyle Peterson; Aldonza (Dulcinea) -- Melissa Iverson.

Supporting cast:

Captain of the Inquisition -- Tyrell Humphreys; Governor -- John Bernhisel; Duke - KJ Blackburn; Muleteers --Thomas Troutman, Jesse Hernandez, Bryce Ward, Shane Wocicki, Adam Larson, Kirby Winland, Casey Banks, Cannon Simmons and Bill Despain; Innkeeper -- Michael Bernhisel; Maria (Innkeeper's wife) -- Lauren Peterson; Fermina (A Serving Girl) -- Ashley Bridges; Antonia (Alonso's niece) -- Hilary Woodis; Housekeeper (for Alonso) -- Mandee Leonhardt; Padre -- Austin Brost; Dr. Sanson Carrasco (Antonia's Fiancee and Knight of the Mirrors) -- Dalton Banks; Barber -- Sam Woodis; Moorish Dancers/Gypsies -- Kenia Rivera, Kallee Hernandez, Camaron Wambeke, Rachael Allred, Brady Winland, Ashley Bridges and Lauren Peterson; Horses -- Ricky Rivera and Jessica Allred; Prisoners -- Melissa Bernhisel.

Director Clark said he would like to thank:

Accompanists -- Lorrie Brost and Mirriam Roberts; Costumes -- Evelyn Carter; Choreography -- Shannon Baker, Lacie Bassett and Maggie Asay; Scenery -- Berta Newton, Richard Mayes, Charles Pollart, Geranne Rasmussen, Sienna Rausch and others; Make-up -- Karyn Clark; Behind-the-stage hands -- Mary Schwope, Brianna Hocker, Joe Parker and Bianca Ballinger; Posters and programs -- Russell Roberts.

“Also, an extra special thanks to all the moms who have helped keep us going by supplying us with delicious food during our rehearsals,” Clark said. “Rocky Mountain staff: thanks for all of your patience and support through this. Sorry if we have missed anyone; that doesn't mean that we aren't grateful.”

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Wyoming oral history podcasts available

A series of oral history podcasts of former Wyoming Secretary of State Thyra Thomson are now available on the Wyoming State Archives,

Originally interviewed by Mark Junge in 1993 for his book, “The Wind is My Witness,” Thomson speaks about her strong advocacy for women’s rights and her life in public office.

“I quickly saw around me in State Government how it was a man’s world, women’s place,” Thomson said. “There were so many things going on in which there was not a justice, and it was natural for me to pursue it not only in Wyoming, but nationwide because Wyoming was the Equality State.” 

She first ran for office after the untimely death of her husband, Republican congressman and senator-elect Keith Thomson. 

Click here to be taken to listen to the podcasts of Thomson or to read the transcript.