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Town Crier: Monday's Highlights
  • Updated

Rotary hears about Chamber of Commerce

On Monday, April 19, the Rotary Club of Casper is honored to welcome Jason DeWitt, Chief Executive Officer of the Casper Area Chamber of Commerce, at its noon luncheon meeting at the Ramkota Hotel. The meeting will also be held via Zoom. Rotary Club members and guests are invited.

Jason DeWitt is the newly elected President and CEO of the Casper Area Chamber of Commerce. He is a life-long resident of Wyoming and his hometown is Casper. Educated in Casper schools, including Casper College, DeWitt is in pursuit of an Organizational Leadership degree at the University of Wyoming.

Throughout his 25 year media career, he forged enduring professional relationships with many Wyoming families, business leaders, and “friends of Wyoming.” He has served as development and marketing director of the Science Zone for almost three years where he cultivated and strengthened those relationships. Jason sits of the Board of the Rotary Club of Casper and the Casper Boat Club, and is a former board member of the Casper Area Chamber of Commerce, National Historic Trails Interpretive Center Foundation, and several other community committees and groups.

Tween Monday: Inspiration Trees

Join library staff as it makes little trees to usher in spring and luck in 2021. Throwing beans is part of the Japanese tradition of “Setsubun;” beans are used to chase away bad luck. Tweens will be decorating glass jars and mini craft bags with decorative washi tape, then will fill the bags with beans and hang them from the branches of twigs, like little ornaments of good luck. The craft program for students in grades 4–6 will be held at 4 p.m., on Monday, April 19, at the Natrona County Library. All supplies provided at no cost. Call 577-7323 or visit the website for more information.

Monday support meetings

Alcoholics Anonymous: 8:30 a.m., 500 S. Wolcott; noon, 500 S. Wolcott; 2 p.m, 917 N. Beech; 5:30 p.m., 508 Wyoming Blvd.; 6 p.m., 500 S. Wolcott; 7 p.m., 1868 S. Poplar. Douglas: 7:30 p.m., 628 E. Richards (upstairs in back).

Alcoholics Anonymous “A Sufficient Substitute:” 6 p.m., 500 S. Wolcott. Info: 266-2969.

Al-Anon: Noon, 701 S. Wolcott, St. Mark’s Church, enter at the back of the church across from parking lot.

Narcotics Anonymous: Noon, 500 S. Wolcott, 12-24 Club; 7 p.m., 302 E. 2nd, Methodist Church; 8 p.m., 4700 S. Poplar (church basement). Web site:

Teen Addiction Anonymous: 3:30-4:30 p.m., Boys & Girls Club Teen Center. Info: 258-7439.

Adult Children of Alcoholics: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., 12-24 Club, 500 S. Wolcott St., Suite 200.

Bankers report strong growth in rural parts of 10 states
  • Updated

OMAHA, Neb. — Strong economic growth continues in rural parts of 10 Western and Plains states even though business continues to lag behind the level it was at before the coronavirus pandemic began, according to a new monthly survey of bankers.

The overall index for the region declined slightly from March’s 71.9 but remained at a strong level of 69. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy, while a score below 50 suggests a shrinking economy.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, said improving grain prices, continued low interest rates and growing exports have all helped the economy in rural areas.

Bankers remain optimistic despite the challenges in the economy. The survey’s confidence index was a healthy 72.4 in April even though it was slightly lower than March’s 76.7.

“Federal stimulus checks, improving gain prices, and advancing exports have supported confidence, offsetting negatives from pandemic ravaged retail and leisure and hospitality companies in the rural economy,” Goss said.

Goss said the region is adding jobs at a solid pace, but region still has about 184,000 fewer jobs than before the pandemic began. The hiring index also remained strong at 62.5 even though it was lower than March’s 72.9 reading.

Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

AP editor's pick
Pandemic challenges Wyoming woman and others with addiction
  • Updated

CODY (AP) — When Jackie Fales was admitted to the Cedar Mountain Center she weighed 78 pounds. There was almost nothing left on her 5-foot 7-inch tall frame.

The Cody resident said she entered treatment in 2016 not out of choice, but necessity.

“I didn’t want to die and I knew if I didn’t stop I was going to die,” she said.

Fales is in long-term recovery from heroin and meth. After in-person treatment, she started her intensive outpatient treatment with Park County Drug Court.

Even after graduating from Drug Court in 2018, Fales continued attending the program. She also started volunteering at Cedar Mountain, work experiences she described as “the most fulfilling job” she’s ever had, the Cody Enterprise reports.

“Everytime I left, my soul felt full,” she said. “I just really wanted to be around people who were struggling like I was and give them hope that things can be different.”

Fales got her peer specialist certification in 2019, a credential that allows her to provide personalized insight and her first-hand experiences to those going through treatment.

“I kept showing up at all of those places until they decided to hire me,” she said with a laugh.

Now, she is the family program facilitator for Cedar Mountain Center and works in a position supported by a Wyoming Department of Health grant at Cody Regional Behavioral Health as a peer support specialist, as well as being a peer support specialist for Drug Court too.

Pandemic effects

Fales said some of the most critical aspects to recovering from substance abuse disorder directly conflicted with the set of norms the COVID-19 pandemic brought on.

“Staying connected and not isolating is a lot of what recovering from substance use disorder is about,” she said. “When suddenly we had to isolate and limit contact with our support system, many of us had to rethink our recovery program and how we were going to stay connected.”

Recovery groups and therapists rely on group and individual sessions to provide tools and learning for their students, but when the pandemic hit, in-person sessions were ripped away from many organizations for an extended period. Cedar Mountain Center, for instance, closed its doors for about two months at the start of the pandemic.

“It wasn’t even an option for those people who are most at risk to get any sort of help,” she said, which she attributed to a few relapses. “I saw a lot of people with a lot of time in recovery and watched them relapse after that happened.”

Stability, both emotional and physical, is an essential part of recovery from any addiction. Attaining this baseline gives an individual confidence that they will be able to avoid relapse, according to Laguna Treatment Hospital, through a regular schedule dedicated to avoiding relapsing and improving one’s life. It was this sense of stability that drove Fales to keep working with treatment entities even after she finished their programs.

“A lot of people struggled in those first few months,” said Fales. “I think it was extremely difficult for people who didn’t suffer with a substance abuse disorder or mental illness. It was just incredibly hard on the people who do.”

Making adjustments

Despite staying clean for about 3 1/2 years by the start of the pandemic, Fales said she had a few weeks last spring where she felt “very uncomfortable.”

“I had to figure something out real quick,” she said.

Addiction can start to creep back into one’s life even if they are not putting substances into their body, Fales said.

“The addictive behavior of spending too much time on your phone, shopping, spending too much money,” Fales said, “(Doing) things that aren’t healthy to avoid whatever uncomfortable feelings you’re dealing with.”

She had to make an adjustment to her own relapse prevention plan to fit what was happening in the world around her. This involved reducing down time in her day by getting outside as much as possible, going out of her way to spend time with her children and other family members, video chatting with others and communicating with others about the struggles she was going through.

“It took about 2-3 weeks to feel like I was comfortable again,” she said. “I knew that if I didn’t figure out a different way to connect with people – because connection is so big in my recovery – that things were not going to end well.”