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CJ Baker

UPDATED 11:20 a.m.: The power outage in Powell and Cody this (Thursday) morning was apparently due to a downed 69 kilovolt line in the Cody area that belongs to the Western Area Power Administration.

Western spokeswoman Lisa Meiman just told the Tribune that a sheriff's deputy reported the downed line this morning. Power went out just after 9 a.m. in the Powell and Cody areas, including Ralston, the Willwood and Garland. The Tribune's power kicked on around 10:37 a.m., just as a reporter was wrapping up a conversation with Meiman. All power was restored by about 10:50 a.m, she said in a follow-up interview.

Meiman, based out of the Denver area, said the line was brought down by the ice storm and high winds just outside Cody near the Park County Regional Landfill.

Western, which provides high voltage power to local power providers, has two lines to the area, but the other was brought down by last night's weather, Meiman said.

"We were gong to come out this morning (to fix the other line) so that one will be next," she said.

Powell had some outages and flickering last night throughout the city due to the high winds, said Larry Carter, city of Powell electric superintendent. Power was restored to most of the city by 7:30 p.m. Wednesday after a roughly 15-minute outage. Another 150 homes on the west side of town lost electricity for four to five hours after a fuse blew in the area, Carter said.

"Our crews were out there until after midnight," he said. "They couldn't do much until then because of the wind."

We'll update as we get more information and have more details in Tuesday's Tribune.

Late last year, Cody orthopedic surgeon Jimmie Biles Jr. sued Cody neurologist John H. Schneider Jr. and his wife Michelle, accusing them of being behind a December 2010 mass mailing that disparaged him with false information.

On Tuesday, the Schneiders fired back in a filing in federal district court in Cheyenne, denying any involvement and countersuing Biles. The Schneiders argue Biles’ suit accusing them of defamation amounts to defamation against them. They claim Biles’ lawsuit was filed because Biles has long-standing animosity and jealousy towards Dr. Schneider.

A Cody woman will serve four to six years behind bars for a March 2011 incident in which she reportedly came close to shooting her now-ex-husband in the chest.

On Wednesday, Mary “Suzy” Ferrell, 59, pleaded no contest to a felony count of aggravated assault.

A proposal to build an indoor equestrian center on Cody’s west strip with a temporary 1-cent sales tax has been put on hold.

Tony Scheiber, a Cody veterinarian who has helped lead the charge for the project, said the center’s proponents don’t want to conflict with a separate 1-cent tax proposal being discussed by leaders from Park County, the city of Powell, the city of Cody and the town of Meeteetse.

A federal district court judge in Cheyenne has rejected the federal government’s claim that it’s immune from being sued over the fatal 2010 grizzly bear mauling of a Illinois man, allowing the case to go forward.

On June 17, 2010, Erwin F. Evert was apparently killed by a 430-pound grizzly bear that was recovering from federal researchers’ tranquilizers in the Shoshone National Forest, just east of Yellowstone National Park. The 70-year-old botanist and his wife owned a cabin about a mile from the site and lived there seasonally for several decades.

Years ago, a group of folks in Cody came up with the idea of instituting an additional 1-cent sales tax in Yellowstone National Park to pay for improvements to and maintenance of the park’s roads, sewer systems and other infrastructure.

The idea didn’t gain traction then, and a revival of the concept didn’t fare much better in the Wyoming Legislature on Tuesday.

A 31-year-old man was fatally shot by Powell police on Thursday morning, ending a four-hour standoff in which the man reportedly claimed to have hostages and fired gunshots from a room at the Park Motel.

Nicholas Alan Ungar, a Chicago-area native who’s lived in Powell off-and-on for the past several years, was shot by an officer around 7:25 a.m. The shot from police came after Ungar exchanged fire with officers, said Powell Police Chief Roy Eckerdt.

February 14, 2012 8:37 am

PHS girls snap skid

Beat Lyman, Mountain View at home

There were no ruby red basketball shoes on the court, but it was still apparent there’s no place like home for the Lady Panther basketball team.

Ending a stretch in which they lost five of six games, mostly on the road, the Powell High School girls claimed a 47-44 overtime win over Lyman on Friday night, then pummeled Mountain View 46-12 on Saturday.

 

UPDATED AT 7:15 P.M. WITH COMMENTS FROM FRIEND, MOTEL MANAGER

A 31-year-old man was fatally shot by Powell police early Thursday morning at the Park Motel. Police say the man held at least one individual hostage in a room for several hours and fired several rounds into the motel parking lot. The man was pronounced dead at Powell Valley Hospital following the incident, said Park County Coroner Tim Power.

Officials have not yet released the man’s name, but a friend identified him as Nick Ungar.

The Powell Police Department had been called to the motel by a 911 call at 3:12 a.m. Thursday, with a report of the sound of several shots having been fired over the past hour, said Powell Police Chief Roy Eckerdt.

Officers contacted a man — reportedly Ungar — at the East Second Street motel.

“The subject self-reported that he had hostages in with him, that he was armed and some demands were made at that point in time," Eckerdt told reporters this morning.

According to Christopher Swartwood, a close friend of Ungar’s who was at the motel, Ungar was involved in a dispute with his father and wanted him to come to the motel.

“That’s all he kept wanting,” Swartwood said. Eckerdt didn't specify what the suspect demanded.

The Park County Sheriff’s Office and Cody Police Department's tactical team were called for assistance after Powell police responded. Eckerdt said he did not know how many shots were fired during the course of the confrontation, but said that in addition to those reported at 3:12 a.m., officers reported hearing gunfire at 4:33 a.m., 4:43 a.m. and 6:56 a.m.

“Shots were being fired from the building to the outside,” he said.

However, in separate interviews, Swartwood and another man at the Park Motel, co-manager Bill Sales, said they heard no shots between the first two that drew police and the shooting that killed Ungar.

Eckerdt said police confirmed that “there were hostages” with the suspect. Eckerdt said police were told there were between two and four hostages in the room, but early Thursday he wasn’t sure how many were actually found to have been there. Police briefly spoke with one during the standoff, he said.

Swartwood and Sales each said they believed only one person was in the room with Ungar, a woman that he knew.

Eckerdt said the suspect — reportedly Ungar — exchanged gunfire with police around 7:25 a.m., and was shot by a Powell officer. He didn't specify what factors or events played into that decision, citing the ongoing investigation, but said there were concerns, including the safety of all involved.

After being shot, the man was taken to Powell Valley Hospital by ambulance and pronounced dead, Power said. An autopsy will be conducted tomorrow.

Eckerdt said police had received information that the man used a .357 caliber handgun.

Swartwood, who was watching from across the street at that point, said Ungar opened the door and was shot. He disputed the police account that Ungar was firing at officers.

“He didn’t shoot at them,” Swartwood said. “I know that.”

He added that if Ungar had wanted to shoot police, he had a clear shot when they arrived hours earlier. Swartwood said police rejected his offers to try to calm Ungar down and said they should have resolved the situation without violence.

“There was so many other options they could have done,” he said.

No one else was injured in the incident, Eckerdt said, including whoever was in the room with the man and the responding officers. The chief said the man lived occasionally at the Park Motel and at other places in Powell. Swartwood said Ungar was from Chicago and has a young daughter.

Eckerdt indicated that the investigation will include an incident or incidents that happened away from from the motel. He offered few details on any part of the incident, noting that the criminal investigation and investigation into the officer-involved shooting are being handled by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI).

“I can’t talk about anything specifically to do with the criminal investigation, because DCI’s doing it,” he said at the outset of the impromptu press conference at the police station.

Some people at the Park Motel and surrounding block were evacuated from the area at different points during the morning. Some at the motel were taken to the neighboring America’s Best Value Inn.

Speaking Thursday afternoon, Sales said it was frustrating to have the motel’s business closed down for an unknown amount of time for the investigation. Sales also said he’s been told the motel will be responsible for paying for the displaced guests as well as cleaning up the damage caused in the incident.

As a part of routine procedure in any officer-involved shooting, the officer who fired the shot will be put on paid leave while the DCI investigation is pending.

The Tribune will update this story as more information becomes available and have a more complete story in Tuesday’s newspaper.

Editor's note: This version corrects the spelling of Nick Ungar's last name.

 

Powell city officials won’t be able to build a garbage transfer station where they wanted to, but they’ll move forward on the project somewhere else — and Park County commissioners say they’ll lend aid.

“We’ll have to take a step back and try to find another area, I guess,” Powell City Administrator Zane Logan said Wednesday morning.