Jul 17, 2015

Cody woman killed in wreck southeast of Powell

A 38-year-old Cody woman was killed in a one-vehicle wreck on Thursday night between Powell and Emblem.

Pilar R. Snelling of Cody was a passenger in the truck and died at the scene, according to a news release from the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

The crash occurred around 11:50 p.m. at the intersection of Wyoming Highway 295 and Wyoming Highway 32, about 12 miles southeast of Powell.

Personnel with the Powell Volunteer Fire Department and local law enforcement, including the Wyoming Highway Patrol, survey the scene of the crash. Cody News Co. photo by Tessa Schweigert
The 2007 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup truck, driven by 28-year-old Daniel W. Cook of Emblem, had been traveling east on Wyoming Highway 295 and approaching the intersection with Wyoming Highway 32.

The intersection has a stop sign for east-bound traffic on Wyoming 295. However, the Dodge continued east through the intersection without slowing, crossed Wyoming 32, left the road and struck a sign post and the right-of-way fence, according to Highway Patrol. After striking the fence, the truck vaulted and overturned.

Neither Snelling nor Cook were wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash, the patrol said.

Snelling was ejected from the truck and sustained fatal injuries at the scene.

Cook, who was not ejected, was taken by ambulance to Powell Valley Hospital. He was treated and later released, the patrol said.

Alcohol is being investigated as the contributing factor in the crash, according to the Highway Patrol. Charges are pending as the investigation continues.

The death marked the 70th highway fatality in Wyoming for 2015. There were 74 fatalities during this same time period in 2014.

Man serves seven months in jail for stabbing girlfriend

Stabbing his girlfriend in the leg resulted in seven months in jail and now five years of supervised probation for a Cody man.

Andrew Manginelli, 24, received the sentence from District Court Judge Steven Cranfill last month after pleading guilty to a felony count of aggravated assault and battery.

Park County Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Skoric unsuccessfully argued for Manginelli to serve a four- to six-year prison sentence.

Judge Cranfill sided with Manginelli’s public defender, Brigita Krisjansons of Cody, and instead suspended the prison time in favor of the probation.

Andrew Manginelli
In letters submitted to the court, members of Manginelli’s family in Oregon said he’d be better off receiving counseling and needed medication under their watch than being imprisoned in Wyoming.

Manginelli stabbed his girlfriend in late October at their A Street apartment in Cody, according to court records.

She reported the attack to Cody police in mid-November, after a separate incident where Manginelli battered her.

His girlfriend said the October incident began when she saw Manginelli receive a “a ‘sexted’ picture from a girl” on his phone, wrote Cody Police Sgt. Juston Wead in an affidavit used to support the aggravated assault charge.

The woman said Manginelli denied getting any sexual texts and, during the ensuing fight, pushed her head into the wall, Wead wrote.

Manginelli later followed her into a bathroom with a knife in hand, the affidavit says. He initially acted as though he was going to stab the woman in the head or upper body, but then stabbed her in the thigh, the woman reportedly told Wead.

When she screamed, Manginelli told her to shut up, that it didn’t hurt and “it just poked you,” the woman told police.

When she screamed, Manginelli told her to shut up, that it didn’t hurt and “it just poked you,” the woman told police. Manginelli later felt bad and tried cleaning the bleeding, one-inch long wound with toilet paper and bought some bandages, Wead wrote of the woman’s account.

Manginelli initially told Wead the only thing he’d ever stabbed was an air mattress, but later admitted he’d cut his girlfriend’s leg, the affidavit says. Manginelli recalled swinging around his roughly 14-inch blade after becoming angry that she’d wrongly accused him of sexting, Wead wrote.

The sentence was issued June 17. Manginelli received credit for the 210 days he’d served in jail from his Nov. 19 arrest to the sentencing.

He must also pay $245 in court fees and assessments.

County fairgrounds to get campground host

Park County is looking for a volunteer to help campers and horse-stall renters at the county fairgrounds this summer.

Commissioners created the new campground host position at the request of Park County Events Coordinator Echo Renner.

She said there’s a need for someone to greet campers after regular fair office hours and generally keep an eye on things — like making sure all campers have paid and directing the multitudes of RVs that arrive for the fair.

A volunteer will help campers like these at the Park County Fairgrounds. Cody News Co. photo by CJ Baker
When Renner proposed the idea last month, Commissioner Tim French wanted to be sure the host won’t bother campers.

“This is a pretty serious thing, because people don’t like being run roughshod over,” French said.

Renner said she’ll be looking for someone who works well with the public and isn’t adversarial.

“I don’t want someone who’s going to irritate our campers, just someone to make sure things are going OK,” she said.

“If we don’t find the right person, I’m not going to hire just anyone” and “we may or may not have someone for the fair,” Renner told commissioners last week.

When chosen, the host will check campers and horse-stall renters in and out, take their payments by credit card, help them find their spots and answer any questions. The host also will be asked to help clean up the camping areas, horse stalls and restrooms.

“I don’t want someone who’s going to irritate our campers, just someone to make sure things are going OK,” Park County Events Coordinator Echo Renner said.

While they’re expected to watch for problems, “this is primarily a customer service position to assist campers and horse stall renters, and to make sure these areas run smoothly during, and outside of, the Park County Fair,” says the job description approved last week. “This is not a security or law enforcement position.”

The host must live on the grounds.

In exchange for the service, they’ll get a free RV camping site with a full hook-up. Also, they and any immediate family members living with them on the grounds will get an all-access pass to the Park County Fair.

Renner expects the host will work somewhere between five and 20 hours per week, with a heavier workload around fair time.

The seasonal position will run through Sept. 10.

The Park County Fair Manager used to live on the grounds, but the county did away with the residence in 2011.

Park County dollars won’t be sent to Niobrara County

The Park County government has decided not to aid Niobrara County as it recovers from recent heavy flooding.

Commission Chairman Joe Tilden had suggested donating to the Niobrara Recovery Committee, a private group that’s helping flood-impacted individuals and businesses in the eastern county.

Some infrastructure in Lusk was severely damaged last month. Photo courtesy Wyoming Highway Patrol
“If we were sitting here in Park County with the same problems that they have, I would look for someone to help us out,” Tilden said last month, describing Lusk and Manville as having been “almost wiped off the map.”

Fourteen homes were destroyed in neighboring Niobrara and Johnson counties with more than 100 homes and some roads and bridges damaged between late May and early June.

Commissioner Bucky Hall proposed a $500 donation at last week’s July 7 meeting.

However, Commissioners Loren Grosskopf, Lee Livingston and Tim French disagreed.

“I would rather that, instead of us allocating Park County’s money, that Park County individuals that felt strongly would donate themselves,” Grosskopf said.

“There’s a lot of good causes; where do you stop?” asked French.

Commissioners said they hoped the state and federal governments will give money to Niobrara County. Acting on a request from Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, President Barack Obama last week approved a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Niobrara and Johnson counties, which clears the way for additional federal assistance for homeowners and small business.

“We’ll write them a nice get well card or something,” Tilden said facetiously.

The Wyoming County Commissioners Association, of which Park County is a member, gave $1,000.

First Deputy Park County Clerk Hans Odde suggested last month that county officials make private donations instead of giving tax dollars; clerk’s staff sent some boxes of necessities and VISA gift cards.

Donations to the Niobrara Recovery Committee can be sent to P.O. Box 53, Lusk, WY, 82225.

Jul 16, 2015

Thermal activity closes drive near Mammoth Hot Springs

A drive outside of Yellowstone National Park's Mammoth Hot Springs has proven to be a hot attraction this summer — too hot, in fact.

Park officials announced Thursday that they have temporarily closed the Upper Terrace Drive to vehicles because of new thermal activity next to and underneath the pavement.

Thermal activity has temporarily closed Upper Terrace Drive to vehicles. Photo courtesy Yellowstone National Park
The thermal feature became visibly active in May near the drive's parking lot, creating some small, new terraces next to the pavement. Geologists and rangers monitoring the area found temperatures up to 152 degrees Fahrenheit.

“We have known this area had heat near the surface based on the fact that it does not hold snow in the winter,” Yellowstone geologist Hank Heasler said in a Thursday news release from the park.

The situation changed this week, however, when rangers noticed more activity around the pavement.

Heasler said personnel drilled two, 20-inch deep holes and both holes “now have hot water bubbling at the surface or very near the surface.”

Maintenance staff are preparing bumper logs to protect the thermal feature and keep the outflow of hot water off the pavement.  Once those are in place, the drive will reopen to vehicles.

In the meantime, visitors can still walk along the Upper Terrace Drive.

“As in all of the thermal areas, visitors need to stay on the boardwalks or paved areas and avoid touching thermal features,” Heasler said in the release.

Long-time county maintenance and custodial staffers retire

Park County recently said goodbye to a couple employees with nearly 50 years of combined experience in keeping up the county’s buildings.

Building manager Dennis Spargur, who’d been with the county for nearly 18 years, and Louise Kelly, a custodian with 31 years of county service, each retired at the end of April.

Dennis Spargur's and Louise Kelly's service to the county was honored, in part, with a cake. Cody News Co. photos by CJ Baker
“They were a wonderful 31 years,” Kelly said at a retirement ceremony that month.

“I enjoyed working with everybody I’ve worked with. Some of them were hard to work with, but it didn’t matter — you still learned something,” she said, adding, “I’ve learned a lot being here and I would hope everybody that works here learned like I did.”

Louise Kelly
Spargur, who also spent a couple years as the head of the overall buildings and grounds department, expressed similar appreciation for his co-workers and the county commissioners.

“We’ve got some of the best county employees around,” he said, adding, “I’ve had the privilege to work with almost all of them, and I will miss their smiling faces every morning.”

In an interview, Spargur recalled how his maintenance duties changed during his nearly two decades of service:

the maintenance division expanded from two to seven employees; their responsibilities grew from the care of just a few county buildings to effectively caring for all of them; modern heating and cooling systems now allow staffers to remotely check the temperature of individual rooms, using just their computers.

The job wasn’t without it’s crises.

Late one winter night, a sprinkler head in the old Cody library building froze and began spewing water. Fortunately, the system was being monitored by the security company Kenco and they noticed the malfunction. More fortunately, when Spargur rushed down to the library, “the sprinkler head broke away from the books and was just spraying the windows ... which was miraculous,” he recalled.

Inmates at the county jail caused some maintenance trouble, too.

At the old jail, located near the courthouse, some inmate intent on smoking forced Spargur to repeatedly reset the facility’s electrical breakers. Inmates weren’t allowed to have cigarettes, but could buy chewing tobacco and gum. So “they would take the chewing tobacco, dry it out, roll it up in a piece of paper, take the tin foil off of the gum wrapper, stick it in an outlet and when it arced, they would light their cigarette,” Spargur recalled.

“This practice didn’t happen for very long until the sheriff’s office took away all tobacco products,” he said with a laugh.

The problems didn’t end with the construction of the current Park County Detention Center. Shortly after it opened, an inmate climbed up on his bunk and intentionally broke a sprinkler head.

Dennis Spargur
“The jailers hadn’t (yet) been trained where the shut-off valve was, so before I arrived, the water was about a foot-and-a-half deep in the cell — and giving the prisoner a nice shower,” Spargur laughed.

He and another maintenance staffer, Larry Kite, ultimately came up with a way to make the sprinkler heads less accessible while still in compliance with fire regulations.

County commissioners and other county staffers wished Spargur and Kelly well at the April reception.

“It’s going to be a little bit rough for us,” Buildings and Grounds Superintendent Mike Garza said of losing the experience.

Spargur knows more courthouse nooks and crannies than perhaps anyone, Garza said.

“He has a wealth of knowledge in that head of his, but he has assured us he will still answer phone calls if we ever catch him in cell service,” Garza said.

Spargur could be a little hard to reach this summer: he’s currently working on a maintenance crew at the Old Faithful area in Yellowstone National Park.

Third suspect’s case moves forward in Badger Basin murder

As direct evidence that John Marquez shot and dismembered another man last year, investigators have the statements of an alleged co-conspirator and what might be Marquez’s DNA on a pair of gloves found near the man’s body.

“That’s it?” Marquez’s court-appointed defense attorney, Mitchell Damsky of Gillette, asked during a July 8 preliminary hearing in Park County’s Circuit Court.

John Marquez at an earlier appearance. Cody News Co. photo by CJ Baker
Despite the questioning — in which he pointed out the evidence that authorities do not have — Damsky effectively conceded that prosecutors had met the low threshold needed to move the case forward to District Court and toward a trial.

Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters agreed.

The judge’s ruling means the charges against all three defendants in the January 2014 murder of Juan Antonio Guerra-Torres — Marquez, 51, Pedro Garcia, 28, and Sandra Garcia, 27 — are now at the the District Court level.

Sandra Garcia, who was Guerra-Torres’ long-time girlfriend, is alleged to have called for his killing; her brother, Pedro Garcia, then allegedly hired Marquez to kill Guerra-Torres.

The allegations are largely based on statements from Pedro Garcia.

His account, as described by Park County Sheriff’s Investigator Joe Torczon last week, goes like this:
Sandra Garcia asked Pedro Garcia in late 2013 and early 2014 to help “take out” the 30-year-old Guerra-Torres. She allegedly told her brother that Guerra-Torres had become deeply indebted to “dangerous” Mexican drug dealers who “were going to come after the whole family and kill them,” Torczon said.

Pedro Garcia
“He (Pedro Garcia) didn’t know if his family was also going to be involved” and he ultimately agreed to ask Marquez to kill Guerra-Torres, the investigator testified.

With the Garcia siblings standing by, Marquez fatally shot Guerra-Torres in a pullout along Wyo. Highway 120 between Powell and Clark, Torczon said of Pedro Garcia’s account.

Pedro Garcia had once told authorities that Sandra Garcia — who’d driven Guerra-Torres to the pullout — immediately left the scene after the killing. However, Torczon said Pedro Garcia has since described walking over to his sister’s car and telling her, “Everything’s better now.”

Pedro Garcia and Marquez took Guerra-Torres’ body up a nearby BLM road, where Marquez mutilated the body with what looked like an ax, Pedro Garcia reportedly told Torczon.

When the body was found on Jan. 9, 2014, it was missing its head, left arm and right hand.

“Everything’s better now,” Pedro Garcia reportedly told Sandra Garcia after the murder.

A pair of mechanic’s gloves were found near the corpse. Guerra-Torres’ blood was found on the items, as well as someone else’s DNA, Torczon said. Preliminary testing has shown the DNA is not Pedro Garcia’s, but “at this time we cannot exclude” it as belonging to Marquez, Torczon said.

Authorities hope more advanced testing will show whether it is actually Marquez’s biological material.

Torczon said statements from Marquez’s family and his then-employer indicate he was in Powell and with Pedro Garcia — a long-time family friend — around the time of the murder.

“He (Marquez) was actually supposed to pick up one of his grandchildren on Jan. 6 (2014) and he didn’t do it,” Torczon said, saying Marquez explained to a family member that he “had to help Pedro (Garcia) put a heater in his truck” that day.

Sandra Garcia
Authorities believe the murder occurred Jan. 5, 2014.

Marquez declined to speak with authorities when arrested in March. In a May court appearance, however, he said it was “ludicrous” and “crazy” that he’d been arrested on the allegations from Pedro Garcia, whom he called a “meth-head.”

Sandra Garcia, meanwhile, told authorities she last saw Guerra-Torres on Jan. 5, when she dropped him off near the Cody Shooting Complex, Torczon said.

Sandra Garcia said Guerra-Torres planned to meet a man known as “Crocodile,” a representative of a drug dealer named “Don Cheto,” who Guerra-Torres owed $30,000 to $40,000, Torczon said.

“The family had been receiving threats and Juan Antonio Guerra-Torres told her that he needed to go and take care of this,” Torczon said of Sandra Garcia’s account.

Torczon said authorities believe Guerra-Torres was trafficking a significant amount of methamphetamine from California, but their efforts have found no sign of a “Crocodile” or a “Don Cheto.”

Authorities know of a “Crocodile” in the Los Angeles area, “but we couldn’t say that he was ever in Park County, Wyoming,” Torczon said. As for the supposed leader, Don Cheto, “the only Don Cheto that anybody knows about has been a funny guy on Mexican television,” Torczon said.

Sandra Garcia told authorities that Juan Antonio Guerra-Torres had become indebted to someone named Don Cheto, but “the only Don Cheto that anybody knows about has been a funny guy on Mexican television,” investigator Joe Torczon said.

Sandra Garcia gave her account to authorities in May 2014, after Guerra-Torres’ body was identified.

She declined to speak with Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agents when arrested in March — though she did make the statement that “they (the agents) didn’t have to live with the cartel,” Torczon said.

Sandra Garcia and Pedro Garcia have each denied felony charges of aiding and abetting first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Trials are tentatively set for October, though those dates are likely to be pushed back.

Marquez will soon enter his plea in District Court to felony charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

The three defendants continue to be held in the Park County Detention Center.

Multi-state mineral and gem show comes to Cody

Colorful rocks, minerals, fossils, beads and gems will be displayed and dealers from 12 states will be on hand for a multistate mineral and gem show in Cody. The event runs from Thursday evening through Saturday at Cody High School's Scweitzer Gym, with field trips offered on Sunday.

The show's previous visit to Cody in 2013 drew plenty of onlookers. Cody News Co. photo by Ilene Olson
This is only the second time since the 1960s that the multi-state Rocky Mountain Federation of Mineral Societies’ 2015 Mineral and Gem Show has come to Cody. The show, themed “Wyoming’s Petrified Forests,” is sponsored jointly by the Wyoming Mineral and Gem Society, the Cody 59ers Rock Club and the Shoshone Rock Club in Powell.

The show will take place from 4-8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the gym. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for students (K-12). Preschoolers are admitted free.

In addition to static displays and dealers’ tables, the show will feature programs, demonstrations, a fluorescent light show, a silent auction and activities for children, said Stan Strike of the Cody 59ers.

Strike outlined the show’s features and schedule:

• “Knapping Jack” Faxon of Tennessee will demonstrate the art of knapping.

Faxon uses the rounded end of an antler and other tools to make strategic breaks and chips in obsidian and other rocks to create knives, spearheads, arrowheads and other sharp objects that also are works of art.

His techniques are similar to those used centuries ago by Native Americans and others who relied on tools they created from obsidian, flint and jasper for hunting, fishing, scraping hides and performing other tasks.

'Knapping Jack' Faxon
Faxon’s daughter, Tina Fagan, lives in Powell.

• Gary Olson of Powell will demonstrate his lapidary hobby. Olson, who has been blind all his life, uses his keen sense of touch to cut, grind, shape, sand and polish stones into cabochons for jewelry, and to tumble-polish pebble-sized rocks.

Olson works with colorful agates, jaspers, quartz and jade, but his favorite material is obsidian (volcanic glass), which takes a flawless mirror polish that is pleasing to the touch as well as the eyes.
Though many people are familiar with black obsidian, most don’t realize obsidian comes in many types and colors, from subtle to bold.

Olson enjoys demonstrating his art in hopes of inspiring more people to join the lapidary hobby.

• A fluorescent light show by Richard Heumier of Torrington will transform ordinary, plain-looking rocks into amazingly vivid displays of color. Minerals in rocks that may appear white, gray, brown or tan in ordinary light, fluoresce when put under a black light and flash bright colors such as orange, pink, blue, green.

• A kids’ rock activity area will feature a sand search where children can dig through sand to find fossils and polished rocks. They also can make pet rocks, create their own fossils from plaster of Paris, and spin a wheel to win prizes.

• Showcases artfully arranged by rock clubs and individuals will be on display. Attendees can vote for their favorites.

• An ongoing silent auction will offer rocks, minerals, fossils and other specimens donated by members of participating rock clubs.

“That’s where you find the real bargains,” said Strike of the Cody 59ers.

• Experts will be on hand to help identify rocks and minerals. If you have a rock you’d like to know more about, bring it along.

• Door prizes are provided and food concessions available.

• Programs and field trips also are planned.

For more information, visit www.wymineralandgemsociety.org or email 2015codyrockshow@wymineralandgemsociety.org.

Park County government trims funding for non-profits

Park County commissioners are giving fewer tax dollars to local non-profit organizations in the coming year.

In the budget for July 2015 to June 2016, commissioners have set aside $356,047 for other governments and private entities that range from senior centers to a drug treatment program to the Cody Shooting Complex. That’s about $14,800 fewer dollars — or 4 percent less — than the county sent to the organizations over the past year.

Park County commissioners
“All these groups are worthy and they could all use, to varying degrees, more money,” Commissioner Bucky Hall said during a brief discussion last month. However, commissioners stuck with their goal of trimming parts of the budget by 4 percent to prepare for what they believe will be leaner years ahead.

For most of the organizations, it’s the second time in three years that their county funding has been cut by 4 percent.

Commissioners exempted the county’s senior centers from the 4 percent cuts they made in the 2013-14 fiscal year (and actually upped the centers’ funding last year), but they did not spare them this time around.

The funding breaks down as:

  • $110,400 for the senior centers in Powell and Cody ($49,920 each) and Meeteetse ($10,560)
  • $42,393 for the economic development organizations Forward Cody ($18,432), Powell Economic Partnership ($14,745) and the Meeteetse Economic Development Alliance ($9,216)
  • $41,472 to help pay for the mental healthcare services provided by Yellowstone Behavioral Health
  • $38,516.78 of support for the Park County Drug Court program (the majority of the contribution isn’t cash, but the free use of a county building)
  • $27,648 to help subsidize airline service into the Cody airport (through Cody-Yellowstone Air Improvement Resources)
  • $26,544 to support local youth through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Park County ($13,824), Park County 4-H ($11,200) and in helping pay for graduation parties for high school seniors in Powell, Cody and Meeteetse ($1,200)
  • $18,432 for the Cody Shooting Complex, which sits on county owned and leased land
  • $14,745.60 for the Park County Animal Shelter in Cody ($11,059.20) and City of Powell/Moyer Animal Shelter ($3,686.40)
  • $12,902.40 to Crisis Intervention Services to help serve victims of domestic abuse
  • $12,902.40 for recycling efforts by Powell Valley Recycling ($7,372.80), the City of Cody ($4,608) and the Town of Meeteetse ($921.60)
  • $8,939.52 for Cody’s Mannahouse, which provides food and other items to people in need
  • $1,152 for a Wyoming Game and Fish Department program that picks up and disposes of dead animals from agricultural producers who live in grizzly bear territory

Commissioner Loren Grosskopf reiterated his objections to contributing to the parties for high school seniors, but he was overruled by the rest of the commission.

Outside funding represents only a small fraction of the county’s general budget, which is around $26.6 million.

Jul 13, 2015

Meeteetse is country's most misspelled town, survey finds

If you can correctly spell Meeteetse, you're doing better than most.

A recent national survey of 1,000 adults found a whopping 70 percent could not figure out how to spell Meeteetse, making the town the country's toughest place to spell.

Meeteetse proved just slightly trickier than Kaumalapau, Hawaii, along with places like Skaneateles, New York, and Pflugerville, Texas.

Tex-Edit Plus doesn't know what to make of Meeteetse.
The survey was designed by the PR firm Ketchum Global Research & Analytics as part of a promotion for a spelling-themed video game and administered online by the polling company Ipsos. Participants were presented with four possible spellings for each city and asked to pick the right one.

Meeteetse emerging as the most misspelled surprised some locals.

Tess Fremlin, the events coordinator at the Meeteetse Visitor Center, said when she provides her address, “I always have to spell it out, but it's not that difficult, I think.”

“Honestly, people don't ask here about the spelling so much as the pronunciation,” Fremlin said.

Of the many phone calls she's fielded during her 13 years in Meeteetse, she can recall only a couple who've correctly said Ma-teet-see. (Saying something like Mee-teets is a common mistake, Fremlin said.)

The town name does baffle some automated spell checkers. For example, the Macintosh program Tex-Edit Plus suggests replacing Meeteetse with “Meatiest” and the web browser Firefox suggests “Meetinghouse.”

Meeteetse is an old Native American word that's been roughly translated to mean “where chiefs meet” (that's the town's slogan) or “meeting place.”

While “the toughest town to spell in America” isn't going to make it as a marketing slogan, “at least it puts us on the map at some point for some reason,” Fremlin said.

She said it's also better to be known as tough-to-spell than as the place where a high-profile fugitive was caught. (An Arizona prison escapee was nabbed outside a Meeteetse church in 2010, drawing a lot of national attention.)

“I'd much rather be known as that weird town with the weird funky spelling,” Fremlin laughed.

Here's the list of the 10 toughest-to-spell places, according to the survey:
  1. Meeteetse, WY – Misspelled by 70% of respondents
  2. Kaumalapau, HI – Misspelled by 69%
  3. Saguache, CO – Misspelled by 68%
  4. Skaneateles, NY – Misspelled by 67%
  5. Champaign, IL – Misspelled by 63%
  6. Pflugerville, TX – Misspelled by 63%
  7. Worcester, MA – Misspelled by 62%
  8. Ketchikan, AK – Misspelled by 61%
  9. Winnemucca, NV – Misspelled by 60%
  10. Aquebogue, NY – Misspelled by 56%
The survey was commissioned by King Digital Entertainment to promote its new game AlphaBetty Saga. (A press release announcing the results suggests improving your spelling, in part, by testing “your spelling skills with word games like AlphaBetty Saga to improve daily.”)

The survey found towns in the West were generally tougher to spell than other regions of the U.S.

Stolen vehicle found abandoned in McCullough Peaks

A Chevy Cavalier, reportedly stolen from Cody last week, was found Sunday evening, abandoned in the McCullough Peaks south of Powell.

The 2003 Cavalier went missing from Shoshone Trail South around midday Wednesday, the vehicle's owner told Cody police.
The stolen vehicle, abandoned in the McCullough Peaks. All photos courtesy Royal Stukey

On Sunday evening, a group of Powell residents found the vehicle while riding all-terrain vehicles in the peaks area. The group found it about a mile south of the end of Road 8.

They reported the discovery to the Park County Sheriff's Office and, because they had the foresight to take photos and get the vehicle's identification number, authorities were able to confirm it as the stolen Cavalier.

Jacobs led a deputy out to the remote location Monday morning, where the vehicle was impounded and taken to Cody to be processed for evidence.

The Cody Police Department is handling the investigation into the theft, the sheriff's office said.

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