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Wyoming delegation backs Trump's move on Iran nuclear deal

Wyoming’s Congressional delegation supports President Donald Trump’s decision Tuesday to withdraw the United States from the nuclear accord with Iran, though none presented a clear alternative to the agreement.

Congressman Liz Cheney and Sens. John Barrasso and Mike Enzi all said in statements that the deal, which was reached under President Barack Obama in 2015, did not go far enough to stop Iran’s ambition to build nuclear weapons or to cut down on other activity that the trio views as counter to American interests overseas.

“The deal was one of the most dangerous agreements the United States has ever entered into,” Cheney said.

Barrasso came the closest to outlining what he wanted to see in a new agreement with Iran, saying that he supported the White House’s conditions for any future accord. Namely, the deal would need to bar Iranian nuclear activity indefinitely, allow inspections of military sites in the country, end ballistic missile development and force Iran to cease supporting militants in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere, according to spokeswoman Laura Mengelkamp.

“The United States remains committed to denying Iran all paths to a nuclear weapon and ending Iran’s terrorist activities,” Barrasso said in an email. “(Tuesday’s) announcement paves the way for the United States to negotiate a new, stronger and more effective nuclear agreement with Iran.”

Cheney did not directly address what kind of agreement would allow her to support the end of sanctions against Iran, though pointed to several areas in the current accord that she considered inadequate. In a statement, Cheney cited the lack of “anywhere/anytime” nuclear inspections and Iran’s ability to continue enriching uranium, though only to a lower grade than needed for nuclear weapons.

Enzi, who is less active on foreign policy than his two delegation counterparts, likewise backed Trump’s decision without clearly stating what goal he would like the United States to achieve.

Trump: US leaving Iran nuclear deal

President Donald Trump says he is pulling out of the landmark nuclear accord with Iran, calling the agreement 'defective at its core.' His announcement dealt a profound blow to U.S. allies and potentially deepened the president's isolation on the world stage. Speaking at the White House, Trump said the United States "will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction."

“I believe that continued sanctions at this time are the best way forward to address the full range of threats from Iran and any future relief should put a more permanent end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions,” Enzi said in an email.

He cited Iran’s “aggressive behavior” in the Middle East as evidence that the deal was not working.

Supporters of the agreement, which countries including Germany, France and Britain plan to remain in, say it places strict limits on Iran’s nuclear facilities that make it unable to produce a bomb during the lifetime of the deal. U.N. inspectors have repeatedly confirmed that Iran is abiding by the accord’s terms.

Critics of the deal object to a sunset provision that would allow Iran to resume enriching uranium at high levels in 15 years, unless an extension or longer-term deal is negotiated. Europe could join the U.S. in re-imposing sanctions in retaliation if Iran does so.

Opponents also point to issues that are not addressed in the deal, such as Iran’s ballistic missile program, its support for militias in the region and its expanding influence. The deal’s architects say those issues can be negotiated separately and should not be allowed to wreck an accord that halted progress toward a bomb.

The deal’s unravelling could backfire and spark even more unrest in the Middle East, experts say. Also, if Iran follows with an all-out revival of its nuclear program, Saudi Arabia has threatened to respond by launching a nuclear weapons program of its own.

Yoel Guzansky, a senior researcher at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, believes the current deal has “many, many problems,” but says there are consequences to walking away from it, including the possibility of escalating violence and instability in the region.

“Not just in Syria but also in the Gulf and elsewhere. It could mean a more volatile Middle East, absolutely,” he said.

Wyoming Symphony Orchestra conductor bids farewell after a decade in Casper

When some conductors plan their parting concert with an orchestra, they choose a contemporary work they couldn’t otherwise perform.

But Wyoming Symphony Orchestra conductor and music director Matthew Savery wanted to go out having some fun with both the symphony and the audience.

And nothing is more fun that Tchaikovsky, he said, especially the composer’s celebratory Fourth Symphony.

“An All Tchaikovsky Spectacular,” set for Saturday night in Casper, concludes with the orchestra performing the piece. Internationally-celebrated violinist Alexander Markov returns to open the show with one of the best-loved solo pieces of all time, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto.

The concert is the finale of Savery’s decade with the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra.

“It’s a celebration.” Savery said. “We’ve had 10 years together and things have really gone well and we’ve made a lot of changes over the years. The symphony has grown a lot, so I wanted to celebrate that.”

Savery also wants to celebrate the audience in his send off.

“It’s really amazing that a town in the middle of a region like this with this population has such a good orchestra. I think if you go to towns five times this size, you might not find an orchestra as good as this, so that’s a real tribute to this community,” he said. “I just want to say thank you so much for your support over the years of both me and the symphony, thank you for your love of music.”

A send-off, a new chapter

It’s bittersweet for Savery as he prepared his last concert. He began saying his goodbyes when the season opened in the fall.

“We’ve come a long way together, and we’re kind of like a family,” Savery said. “So in some ways it’s like leaving your family.”

Savery plans to spend more time with another family — his son, Adam, and wife, Catherine Viscardi Savery, a soprano who’s performed with the symphony — at home in Bozeman, where he also conducts the Bozeman Symphony Orchestra. His boy just turned 5, so the two have many days ahead playing catch and honing golf skills in the backyard, he said.

Savery’s also working on a book and plans to guest conduct with other symphonies, he said. For now, he looks forward to slowing down a little.

“My plan for this following year is to chill out. I’ve been going at it full-tilt for 30 years,” he said. “I plan to sleep in a lot and play a lot of golf — get recharged.”

Savery credits the whole team of musicians and administrators for the Wyoming Symphony’s accomplishments over the past decade. That includes increasing community involvement and offering more opportunities for students.

“One thing I feel really good about is leaving the symphony in a lot better condition that I found it, which I think is the best anyone can hope for in a job,” Savery said. “Both artistically and financially, the symphony has come a long way and I think the next conductor is going to have a wonderful time taking it to the next level, whatever that may be.”

One of his contributions was starting Wyoming Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition, to give Wyoming students a shot at performing a concerto at a symphony concert.

“In all my things I’ve done here, that’s the thing I’m proudest of is that I introduced that,” he said.

With Markov, Savery will have one of his best friends on stage for his send-off, he said. The two have performed all over together in the past 20 years, even in Turkey and at Carnegie Hall. The violinist has been a crowd favorite in Casper, including last summer’s concert in Washington Park during solar eclipse weekend.

When Savery considered performing Tchaikovsky at his last performance, he immediately thought of Markov.

“The Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto is probably the most famous concerto there is,” he said. “And nobody, and I mean nobody on the planet, plays it like Alex.”

The Tchaikovsky symphony and concerto make a fitting farewell gift from the conductor to the audience and symphony, Markov said.

“If I would play this on the street to the audience that doesn’t know much about classical music, they could relate to the Tchaikovsky concerto the most among any other concertos,” he said about the piece he’ll solo. “And yet it’s sophisticated enough to be enjoyed by musical connoisseurs.”

Working with Savery is always fun, because the conductor knows what the soloist wants artistically. Savery brings a youthful energy that’s needed to make music exciting, but also maturity so it comes across with strength, Markov said.

“I think Matthew, without any hesitation, is one of the best conductors in the world,” he said.

Cause to celebrate

Wyoming Symphony Orchestra principal trumpet player Scott Meredith has played with the symphony for 12 years. Savery arrived at a time when concert attendance was down. He aimed to revitalize the orchestra by increasing the quality of the players, enjoyment of the music and filling the seats, he said.

“He challenged us, first and foremost,” Meredith said. “He chose music that was difficult for us to play. But when we did, it gave us a sense of accomplishment and then he kept raising the bar.”

Nimi McConigley has attended Wyoming Symphony Orchestra concerts for more than 40 years and said she’s never heard the orchestra sound better.

“What I loved about Matthew being here is he’s very driven to produce the best, and I love that in creative people,” McConigley said.

She and her husband became friends with Savery after a post-show conversation that turned to her native country and the Indian food she cooks. She invited him to dinner and they’ve had many conversations, she said.

Savery has traveled throughout the states and overseas as a conductor, and with his many contacts, brought in extraordinary guest performers, she added. He’s even showcased musicians who play instruments outside what people usually think of as classical solo instruments, like a recorder virtuoso, McConigley said.

The symphony and ensembles of its players have been expanding more into the community including performances at hospitals, nursing homes and brunches at the Nicolaysen Art Museum, she said.

“I think the symphony has become sort of the people’s music, and I think that’s a great step for any symphony in a small town,” she said.

Savery makes symphonic music more user-friendly by telling audiences about the composers and history around the pieces, as well as what to listen for in certain parts, she said.

“I just feel that he’s been a gift to the people here, and his contribution can’t be calculated by numbers or money or anything else, but by the difference he’s made for people who perhaps didn’t love all the symphony music but have grown to truly appreciate it,” she said. “And I think he has a singular, outstanding talent.”

Natrona County Regional Juvenile Detention Center
Former Casper juvenile detention center worker accused of sexually assaulting inmate

A former juvenile detention center worker has been accused of sexually assaulting a female inmate at the facility.

Prosecutors allege that John R. Gallagher, who worked at Natrona County’s Regional Juvenile Detention Center, asked an inmate to show him her breast while she was in her cell. When she did so, Gallagher reached through the bars and grabbed it, according to court documents.

Court documents do not list the girl’s exact age at the time of the assault but indicate she was no older than 16.

Gallagher, 31, pleaded not guilty Friday in Natrona County District Court to two felonies: second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and third-degree sexual assault.

Gallagher is also alleged to have unzipped his pants in front of the girl, though she told a Natrona County sheriff’s investigator that he did not expose himself to her.

Another inmate told the investigator that Gallagher would frequently wink at her, and on at least one occasion, told her she was beautiful, according to the documents.

The documents state that Gallagher admitted to touching the girl’s breast in an interview with the sheriff’s investigator.

The detention center is operated by Cornerstone Programs, a private Colorado company. The facility holds up to 28 inmates at once.

Gallagher remained free on bond Friday. His attorney, Don Fuller, declined comment other than to say, “we’re preparing for trial.”

Cornerstone Programs could not be reached for comment Friday morning.

Wounded Casper police officer opens eyes, continues to improve

The Casper Police Department announced Friday that the medical condition of an officer injured in last weekend’s shootout continues to improve.

Jacob Carlson, who was struck by five bullets in an east Casper gunfight, opened his eyes and appeared to attempt to focus on family members in his hospital room, according to a police department social media post.

“We cannot express the joy and relief that we feel at this time and again extend our gratitude to all who have helped bring this continued hope and progress to pass,” the agency stated.

Carlson, an Army veteran who’s been with the department for three years, underwent successful surgeries at Wyoming Medical Center on Wednesday and Friday. During the more recent surgery, doctors were able to “close the wound opening to his chest cavity and also to his abdominal cavity,” according to a post on the department’s Facebook page.

Medical staff have used more than 100 units of blood and blood products in treating the wounded officer, who was struck by five bullets in the shootout. One round hit Carlson in the lower waist and damaged a major artery, Chief Keith McPheeters said Tuesday.

The shootout took place at about 1:40 p.m. in a dirt lot adjacent to Fairdale Park in east Casper. Carlson and Officer Randi Garrett had responded to a report of a man allowing a 3-year-old to drive a car. Video footage taken by a camera system in Garrett’s police car captured the shooting. It shows the man, 38-year-old David P. Wolosin, backing away slowly as the officers talk to him. When Carlson steps toward Wolosin and attempts to grab him, Wolosin draws a gun and fires. Police return fire and Wolosin falls to the ground.

Wolosin died at the scene. Garrett was not injured.

The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation is examining the shooting.