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Community News – This Is Laramie http://thisislaramie.com Showcasing the people, places, businesses, and history of Laramie, Wyoming. Fri, 17 Sep 2021 16:32:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.9 168237324 Five Laramie Police Department and three Laramie Fire Department employees receive life saving awards http://thisislaramie.com/five-laramie-police-department-and-three-laramie-fire-department-employees-receive-life-saving-awards/ http://thisislaramie.com/five-laramie-police-department-and-three-laramie-fire-department-employees-receive-life-saving-awards/#comments Thu, 22 Apr 2021 15:18:08 +0000 http://thisislaramie.com/?p=3532 On Wednesday, 21 April, Laramie Police Department Chief Dale Stalder presented officers Jacob Bury and Joseph Plante with life saving medals and Letters of Commendation were presented to officer Christopher Groh (serving as a dispatcher at the time of the incident), Stacey Gonzales and Laramie Fire Department ambulance crew Mike Nyquist, Craig Rumsey and Kevin Rice. Officer Wes Kelly who was not in attendance, will also receive a letter of commendation.

Dispatcher Stacey Gonzales, Officer Christopher Groh, Officer Jacob Bury, Officer Joseph Plante, LFD Shift Commander Kevin Rice, LFD Equipment Operator Mike Nyquist and LFD Firefighter Craig Rumsey at the award ceremony Wednesday afternoon, at the Laramie Police Department. (Photo used with permission of Nid Collins)

All eight received their awards for their actions in the assault of a Laramie citizen with a sword, which took place on July 13th 2020. Beginning with Dispatchers Stacey Gonzales and Christopher Groh establishing the location of the injured subject, to Officer’s Jacob Bury and Joseph Plante immediately helping the victim on their arrival at the scene,  to the continued lifesaving efforts of Officer Wes Kelly and to Laramie Fire Department ambulance crew Mike Nyquist, Craig Rumsey and Kevin Rice arriving moments later to continue aid and transport the wounded citizen. “The teamwork and ability to work under pressure undoubtedly saved the life of a citizen of Laramie. Your involvement has demonstrated exceptional work ethic, dedication and teamwork.” Chief Stalder said.

Chief Dale Stalder recounting the night of the incident. (Photo used with permission of Nid Collins)
Officers Jacob Bury and Joseph Plante receiving their life saving medals from Chief Dale Stalder. (Photo used with permission of Nid Collins)

Laramie Police Officer’s Joseph Plante and Jacob Bury were dispatched to the vicinity and located the victim sitting on a doorstep in the area, in grave condition. Officer Plante immediately secured a tourniquet to the upper arm of the Victim and Officer Bury began to pack the wound with gauze to stop the bleeding. Officer Wes Kelly arrived a short time later to provide assistance. Officers were able to relay details to dispatch and summon and gain assistance from EMS.

Chief Stalder thanking the ambulance crew and dispatchers. (Photo used with permission of Nid Collins)
Fellow colleagues and family members offer their congratulations at the life saving ceremony. (Photo used with permission of Nid Collins)

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The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s http://thisislaramie.com/the-alzheimers-association-walk-to-end-alzheimers/ http://thisislaramie.com/the-alzheimers-association-walk-to-end-alzheimers/#respond Fri, 17 Sep 2021 16:32:25 +0000 http://thisislaramie.com/?p=3820

“The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research…Together, we can end Alzheimer’s,” says the Wyoming Alzheimer’s Association.

The Alzheimer’s Association is inviting you to help join the fight to end Alzheimer’s by walking in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk. Taking place at LaBonte Park on September 18th at 10:00am.

For the walk, each participant holds a colorful flower pinwheel dedicated to the connection each individual has to Alzheimer’s. Carrying a purple flower means you lost someone to Alzheimer’s. Carrying a yellow flower means you are a caregiver to someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Carrying a blue flower means you are living with Alzheimer’s. Carrying an orange flower means you support the Alzheimer’s Association. “On Walk day, participants honor those affected by Alzheimer’s with the poignant Promise Garden ceremony — a mission-focused experience that signifies our solidarity in the fight against the disease. The colors of the Promise Garden flowers represent people’s connection to Alzheimer’s — their personal reasons to end the disease.”

This Event will be taking many Covid-19 precautions to ensure that all participants are safe. This includes required masks, social distancing, hand sanitizer stations, and following CDC guidelines “Options will be offered to participate online and in local neighborhoods.”

“Walk Chairman, Sabine Schenck, is excited to bring Albany County residents together, whether they choose to walk with their teams at LaBonte Park or walk remotely in their neighborhoods.”

There are more than 6 million Americans over 65 years old living with Alzheimers disease, and more than 10,000 people in Wyoming that suffer from Alzheimers disease.

To register to walk or learn more about this event visit: https://act.alz.org/site/SPageServer/?pagename=walk_homepage

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Laramie’s Sydney Edwards, a kind spirit and flawless photographer http://thisislaramie.com/laramies-sydney-edwards-a-kind-spirit-and-flawless-photographer/ http://thisislaramie.com/laramies-sydney-edwards-a-kind-spirit-and-flawless-photographer/#respond Wed, 08 Sep 2021 15:05:17 +0000 http://thisislaramie.com/?p=3801 26 year old Photographer Sydney Edwards takes photos by creating comfortable relaxed sessions. The end result is natural, genuine photos.  

Photograph of Sydney Edwards, used with permission from Sydney Edwards
Photo taken by Sydney Edwards, used with permission from Sydney Edwards

Edwards explains “My artistic journey as a whole started with dance and movement…I started kind of capturing these moments in dance through photography. I started with shooting female bodies in different spaces…and that grew to people reaching out to me for portraiture, and that kind of blossomed into taking photos for high school seniors…couples…weddings… That’s how it all got started.”

Photo taken by Sydney Edwards, used with permission from Sydney Edwards

Edwards explains what she enjoys taking photos of, “Sometimes I do couples, but I work best one on one…primarily I shoot people, but beyond that I love doing anything that is happening live…so performances and dance performances. Just capturing what’s in front of me without me needing to instruct someone or guide. That is probably my favorite type of work.”

Photo taken by Sydney Edwards, used with permission from Sydney Edwards

When Edwards was asked what inspires her art she says, “Lately it has been color, and picking out locations in Laramie that really match and layer well with what a person is wearing. If you would look at my website, there is a lot of color stacked on top of each other.”

Photo taken by Sydney Edwards, used with permission from Sydney Edwards

“I think having really simple color blocking is something that has been inspiring me a lot lately. Also peoples’ personality…the more open people are when I am shooting with them, the better pictures we get and it just keeps snowballing into this really relaxed casual and authentic photo session.” Says Edwards.

Photo taken by Sydney Edwards, used with permission from Sydney Edwards

“I think the secret is to keep moving. If you’re just posed, standing, staring at the camera. You are going to feel awkward and your smile is not going to feel real. So throughout my photo sessions, it’s always based on movement prompts…I’m always saying things like, ‘grab the edge of your dress and kind of bring it back and forth’…maybe we do a little hair flip. Sometimes I say ‘rub your hands together or give yourself a round of applause.’ That kind of helps people have something to do with their hands and arms. We all feel awkward in photos. So the more we move, the more at ease we feel.” Edwards says.

Photo taken by Sydney Edwards, used with permission from Sydney Edwards

 “I think I get most of my work through Instagram…people usually dm me and I tell them to send me an email through my website, that way I have all the information I need to get started.”

Photo taken by Sydney Edwards, used with permission from Sydney Edwards

To learn more about Sydney Edward’s Photography

Visit: https://www.sydneyportfolio.com/

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The BK Shop: A Business with a Viral Twist By Shelby Yarchin http://thisislaramie.com/the-bk-shop-a-business-with-a-viral-twist-by-shelby-yarchin/ http://thisislaramie.com/the-bk-shop-a-business-with-a-viral-twist-by-shelby-yarchin/#respond Fri, 03 Sep 2021 16:50:15 +0000 http://thisislaramie.com/?p=3795 Shelby Yarchin | Shelbyyarchin@gmail.com

Social media has always had a large part in advertising for companies, and small business ventures. The industry has changed drastically from printed adverts on the side of milk canisters and eye-catching billboards littering the sides of interstates. Recently, the app Tik Tok, has taken the world by storm with more than 1 billion downloads worldwide and that kind of audience gives entrepreneurs the perfect, free, medium to advertise.  

Bryce and Kenzie Francois in front of the BK Shop, Shot by Shelby Yarchin

Laramie is no exception to the new rules of advertising. Kenzie and Bryce Francois are no strangers to the magical powers of Tik Tok and viral videos. The married couple have had many business ventures dipping into the arts, and their love of animals. The most recent one involves a shop that was opened right here in Laramie this past June. 

After Bryce threw together a video about the process of making their custom resin tags gained traction on the app, their lives were changed forever. “It was December 22nd, the tuesday before Christmas, the last day of work. I went out to the parking lot and had a couple of videos on my phone of reinforcement rings in our resin tags. I just threw it together, and by the time I got home it had 25k views on tiktok.” Bryce stated. 

Over the next six days the video would climb the ladder with seven million views. From ad revenue and exposure, the pair made 10,000 dollars over the next six days and quit their day to day jobs that following Monday. 

The BK Shop currently specializes in “Unique Products for Unique Pets” and sells anything from treats to large tennis balls that are proudly displayed in the window. But the shop started out as a venture dedicated to customized resin tags. “we kind of got our start just doing Resin pet tags, that’s kind of how we blew up, and now we’re trying to bring unique products into town for cat’s and dogs.” 

One of the many products offered for pets, the Emat. 

Kenzie added “we want to be an alternative for people shopping on amazon. They’re specialized, and our products are stuff that we have bought and we have loved. It’s mostly small businesses coming together.” 

While the BK shop is dedicated to the happy lives of pets right now, there’s nothing stopping the couple from expanding into different branches. There’s no rules. If we’re going to have a store lets sell art supplies and dog treats. I want to sell children’s books about LGBTQ+ communities, I want to sell books about Bi POC, and api people. I want to educate people and make it a fun shop where you can get a gift for your friend and a bone for your dog.” 

Custom dog tags made of resin.

Bryce and Kenzie plan on utilizing their new space by opening up a drive thru to service the community and their pets, but in the meantime you can catch the couple this Saturday the 3rd for their special “Puppy Tailgate” before the first Wyoming home game of the season! 

 “We just wanted to have an event for dogs. We have some really awesome UW stuff, and we have licensing with the University so we can actually sell the authentic steamboat stuff. So we wanted to do a little doggie tailgate! We’re going to have little burgers and a dog beer with every purchase.” Kenzie explained excitedly. 

The Shop, located at 369 N 4th Street, is also offering 20% off all Wyoming Apparel. 

To keep up with the daily adventures of Kenzie and Bryce, and the BK shop, you can find them on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube

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Corn for a Cause: An Annual Cornhole Tournament http://thisislaramie.com/corn-for-a-cause-an-annual-cornhole-tournament/ http://thisislaramie.com/corn-for-a-cause-an-annual-cornhole-tournament/#respond Fri, 13 Aug 2021 17:33:26 +0000 http://thisislaramie.com/?p=3781 Resilient Ministries will be holding a public cornhole tournament this Saturday, August 14th, along with music, other yard games, and outdoor fun! Justin Scott, the Director of Resilient Ministries explains that the tournament is a way to bring the community together for fun outdoor games, as well as raise money for his nonprofit.

The tournament will be held at Washington Park at the Laramie Otta Dahl picnic shelter. The event starts at 9:30am with a meeting regarding the tournament at 9:45am and first toss happening at 10:00am. Teams will consist of two people and will compete in two different divisions for children and adults. “Hopefully we have enough people to play a little round robin before the tournament starts,” says Justin Scott.

While the deadline has passed to sign up and pay for the tournament, fans are encouraged to join in the fun for free! Besides the cornhole tournament itself, families and friends can play a multitude of other yard games at the event, Justin Scott explains. “We will have other yard games there so that family, friends, and fans can not only come in and watch but also play other games.”

This tournament will mark the first fundraising event to be held by Resilient Ministries, and Justin Scott hopes to do more community events in the future. “I put this plan in place right at the beginning, to make this an annual event,” Justin Scott says. “One of the ways that I did that is through our sponsors. The majority of our cornhole boards are sponsored by local businesses, and when they sponsor boards, they get a set of boards engraved with their logo.” The top sponsor of the tournament is Laramie GM Auto Center.

Resilient Ministries is a faith-based nonprofit that focuses mainly on the Laramie community and Laramie families. “One of the facets of my non-profit is that we try to get families and people outdoors,” Justin Scott says. The organization strives to assist individuals who desire strong family bonds, resilient leadership, and faith mentorship.

To learn more about the nonprofit or for more information on the tournament, visit:  www.rmwy.org/cornhole

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Feeding Laramie Valley Invites You to Food and Fun in the Park http://thisislaramie.com/feeding-laramie-valley-invites-you-to-food-and-fun-in-the-park/ http://thisislaramie.com/feeding-laramie-valley-invites-you-to-food-and-fun-in-the-park/#respond Fri, 13 Aug 2021 15:31:00 +0000 http://thisislaramie.com/?p=3768
Image used with permission from Ruby Novogrodsky

Feeding Laramie Valley is holding their annual Food and Fun in the Park event this Saturday, August 14th (see above poster for details). The Laramie community can join in the fun by playing games, eating the free provided lunch, dancing to live music, meeting llamas, and learning about the Feeding Laramie Valley programs. Feeding Laramie Vally strives to support families by helping them receive fresh produce and meals.

Photo used with permission from Ruby Novogrodsky

Community Outreach Program Assistant for Feeding Laramie Valley, Ruby Novogrodsky, says that this is the 7th annual Food and Fun in the Park.

“We are encouraging people to bring their own picnic blankets and spread around the park to enjoy the food, to be conscious of social distancing,” Novogrodsky explains. “We are also encouraging people to wear masks in crowded areas or while waiting to get their food.”

Photo used with permission from Ruby Novogrodsky

“It is an entirely free event, it is open to the public. We will have a quilt raffle there and tickets are $3 for one quilt, that is optional. There will be donation jars but we are not requesting that people donate,” says Novogrodsky

“We are going to have games, some for younger kids, some for older kids,” says Novogrodsky. “We are also going to have entertainment… Sharen Martinson from The Littlest Birds is going to play from 11:30 until 12:00 and Students from the UW Cowboy Country Swing Club will run a dance demonstration from 12:00 until 12:30.”

Photo used with permission from Ruby Novogrodsky

“The last purpose of the event is to sign people up for programs and raise awareness about our food sovereignty efforts in Albany County. We will have information booths so people can sign up for those things there.”

Photo used with permission from Ruby Novogrodsky

Novogrodsky shares what Feeding Laramie does for their community. “The idea behind Feeding Laramie Valley is that we are not a normal food bank. We help people in the long run so we call it food sovereignty, the idea that we try to help people get themselves in charge of their own food and food security. We have a lot of different programs we use…We run a program called Shares, which provides free bags of produce, providing fruits and vegetables for an entire household… A lot of times food banks and soup kitchens don’t have access to fresh produce. That’s such a big part of eating healthy, so we are trying to promote that by making it accessible to everyone.”

To learn more about Feeding Laramie Valley

visit: https://www.feedinglaramievalley.org/

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Laramie Lemonade Day Returns – Support Our Young Entrepreneurs http://thisislaramie.com/laramie-lemonade-day-returns-support-our-young-entrepreneurs/ http://thisislaramie.com/laramie-lemonade-day-returns-support-our-young-entrepreneurs/#respond Mon, 09 Aug 2021 22:23:00 +0000 http://thisislaramie.com/?p=3760 There are a whopping 19 stands to choose from!

By Tom Kocal

for This Is Laramie


LARAMIE — Lemonade Day Laramie is back this year! 

Lemonade Day 2019 – Photo used with permission of Kent Wood

The Laramie story began in 2019 when this refreshing event was first introduced to the Gem City. The first year, 22 stands with 48 young entrepreneurs participated. After taking 2020 off during the pandemic, Lemonade Day is back in Laramie for its second year on Saturday, August 14.

Lemonade Day is a free, fun, experiential learning program that teaches youth how to start, own and operate their own business – a lemonade stand. Kent Wood, Vice President, Commercial Relationship Manager at the First Interstate Bank in Laramie, and chairman of this year’s event, said the main objective of Lemonade Day is to empower youth to take ownership of their lives and become productive members of society – the business leaders, social advocates, volunteers, and forward thinking citizens of tomorrow.

Lemonade Day 2019 – Photo used with permission of Kent Wood

“On Lemonade Day, everyone has a job,” said Wood. “If you’re not running a stand on Lemonade Day, our goal is to have a huge amount of the community participate by buying lemonade from our young entrepreneurs. So, please tell your friends and family to get out and support our stands. Lemonade Day works best when we have lots of stands, and just as crucial, lots of buyers!”

Wood said each child that registers receives a backpack with an Entrepreneur Workbook that teaches them the lessons of Lemonade Day like creating budgets, setting profit-making goals, serving customers, repaying investors, and giving back to the community. Along the way, they acquire skills in goal-setting, problem solving, and gain self-esteem critical for future success. They keep all the money they make and are encouraged to spend some, but also to save some and share some.

“The money made at each stand on Lemonade Day belongs to the youth participants who operate the stand. One-hundred percent of what they make is their business profit,” Wood said. 

“The Lemonade Day curriculum encourages them to spend some, save some, and share some: spend some on themselves for all their hard work; save some and open – or add to – a bank account; and share some with a charity, non-profit or cause in the Laramie community. Please take note that of our 2019 post-event survey participant responses, 100% donated some of their profits to a local non-profit. Outstanding!” said Wood.

Lemonade Day 2019 – Photo used with permission of Kent Wood

Participants get to choose their own business hours, so take your time and tour Laramie to search for that perfect glass of lemonade. 

“As Lemonade Day business owners, pick what works best for you, and your prospective customers. We see stands open up as early as 9 am, and close as late as 5 pm. Most stands are open between about 11am and 3 pm,” Wood said.

For more information, listen for radio ads running on Hits 106; Ads, map, and stories are coming in the Boomerang; Or check out lemonadeday.org/laramie for a full listing of all Lemonade Day participants and their locations, sponsors, and a photo gallery of the 2019 Laramie Lemonade Day event (under the “Learn More” – Media tab).

Lemonade Day 2021 Locations
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Bird e-Scooters Will Soon Flock to Laramie http://thisislaramie.com/bird-e-scooters-will-soon-flock-to-laramie/ http://thisislaramie.com/bird-e-scooters-will-soon-flock-to-laramie/#respond Mon, 09 Aug 2021 20:28:24 +0000 http://thisislaramie.com/?p=3755 Electric scooters a useful way to bridge the gap between public transportation and your home or work

By Tom Kocal for This Is Laramie


LARAMIE — Bird, a California-based, shared electric scooter company, will soon be bringing e-scooters to Laramie on a trial basis. The City of Laramie is partnering with Bird at no cost to the city. Scooters will be available through a mobile phone application, and riders pay per minute to use the scooter. The program is expected to begin by mid- to late August.

Photo coutesy of Bird Partners

The Los Angeles-based company plans to offer scooters to residents and visitors in order to help reduce carbon emissions, as well as traffic congestion on roadways. The scooters also provide a safe way to get around during the pandemic and offer residents without cars another transportation option. Bird is a naturally socially-distanced way to get around. 

“We are happy to welcome Bird on a trial basis to the City of Laramie and look forward to having the scooters available,” said Mayor Paul Weaver. “I hope they will be a great addition to our community.”

Weaver said the electric scooters can be used on roads and bike lanes, and have a maximum speed of 15 mph. 

“We believe scooters could be a useful way to bridge the gap between public transportation and a person’s home or work. Additional transportation options can bring a lot of benefits to the City,” Weaver said. “By making safety a priority, Bird scooters bring a well-established service for our community to test drive.”

Weaver said scooters must be parked out of the way of pedestrians and must never block driveways. Riders are required to be 18 years-old and older to access the scooters. They are also encouraged to wear a helmet on every ride and are required to obey all standard rules of the road.

Bird offers several programs available for those who qualify. The Community Pricing Program offers a 50% discount to low-income riders, Pell grant recipients, select local nonprofit and community organizations, veterans, and senior citizens. It’s designed to be the most inclusive micro-mobility program available anywhere. To sign up for the Community Pricing Program, download the Bird app, create an account, and email your proof of eligibility to access@bird.co.

Bird also offers free rides to healthcare workers and emergency personnel. To sign up, simply email a copy of your medical identification card along with your name and phone number to together@bird.co. Eligible riders will receive two free 30-minute rides per day for as long as it takes to help our communities recover from the global health crisis.

Additional safety features and community offerings from Bird includes the “How to Bird” guide, all you need to know to safely ride, park and experience the benefits of Bird shared scooters in your city. The “Beginner Mode” feature offers a gentle acceleration mode that helps riders feel comfortable and build confidence. “Community Mode” allows anyone with a Bird account to report or provide feedback on vehicle-related issues such as poorly parked or damaged vehicles in their area. When a report is submitted, a member of the Bird team is assigned to correct the issue. Anyone can access Community Mode by tapping the yield sign on the bottom left of the Bird map.

The company can be reached directly at 1-866-205-2442 or hello@bird.co for questions or concerns about the e-scooters. More information about the company can be found at www.bird.co and www.bird.co/blog. Or you may contact the Laramie City Manager’s office at 307-721-5226 from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday.

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Little Snowy’s: Stop By for a Sweet Treat http://thisislaramie.com/little-snowys-stop-by-for-a-sweet-treat/ http://thisislaramie.com/little-snowys-stop-by-for-a-sweet-treat/#respond Fri, 16 Jul 2021 21:11:27 +0000 http://thisislaramie.com/?p=3748 Shelbyyarchin@gmail.com | Shelby Yarchin

As the temperature keeps rising into the upper 80’s in Laramie, it becomes even more important to find a good way to stay cool. Aside from shoving ice cubes into your pockets and making the occasional visit to the community pool, there aren’t many options to keep your core body heat down, but Brett and Sari Bingham are certainly fighting the rays of the sun with their new business: Little Snowy’s Snow Cones. 

Brett and Sari Bingham posing in front of “Little Snowy’s” Shot by Shelby Yarchin 

The couple opened up to the public earlier this week, both of them having called Laramie their home for years, Brett explained “I moved here when I was younger, but I’ve gone to elementary and high school here and just finished here at the college a little while ago. And then my Wife Sari. She is from Gillette. We met here, down at the university.” 

“We actually had some snow cones at our wedding. We thought they were delicious so we wanted to bring that idea back to Laramie and share with everyone else.” Brett explained with a smile as he looked over his creation, happily greeting any customers that wanted to get their hands on a freshly made snow cone to ward off the summer heat. 

Ralph Fawaz enjoying a Shaved Ice treat, Shot by Shelby Yarchin

They fitted a trailer with a shiny coat of baby blue paint and an expertly designed logo before creating masterful creations and sweet treats. They are currently located in the Murdoch’s parking lot from 1pm-7pm, but plan on expanding the business soon. “ As of right now we are focusing on the Murdoch’s parking Lot. We will eventually transition into moving around. We want to get into doing some events. We can do parties or catering for individuals if they want. We’re looking into doing some community events in the future.” 

Little Snowy’s Snow Cones are already a hit, and can be found easily on social media on Facebook at “Little Snowy’s” and on Instagram under the same name

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Laramie’s Drag Queens Fighting for a Good Cause http://thisislaramie.com/laramies-drag-queens-fighting-for-a-good-cause/ http://thisislaramie.com/laramies-drag-queens-fighting-for-a-good-cause/#comments Mon, 28 Jun 2021 16:45:54 +0000 http://thisislaramie.com/?p=3741 Shelby Yarchin | Shelbyyarchin@gmail.com 

  The Laramie Railroad Depot is nestled on First Street right behind a row of businesses and next to the occasional Farmers Market. It’s a building famous for its rich Wyoming history and industrial architecture. But on June 26th the depot hosted a new kind of event;  A Draglesque show. 

The Stilettos, From Left: Ambrosia Beaverhausen, Temple Ceiling, and Oblivia D’Clueless

The festivities were just one part in Laramie’s Pridefest and featured resident troops from Laramie as well as a few special guests from Fort Collins and Casper. Together they put on an all inclusive, LGBTQ positive show that lasted well into the night. The show sold out within hours and crowds leaned fully into flashing lights, bass heavy song selections, and good fun. 

The Stilettos are a local group of drag queens formed nineteen years ago who have been hosting Drag Queen Bingo annually for the last nineteen years. Member Oblivia, Queen of the Clueless, explained that the troop formed following news that drag queens from Denver wouldn’t be able to make it to the event. “A few of us were lying around, and joking with one another and someone with us said “Y’all should do drag.” and so we did.”  

Temple Ceiling at Laramie Pride Drag Show

The event on June 26th was just one of the appearances The Stilettos have made around town. While their main event is Drag Queen Bingo, they also attend shows, parades, and occasions in Fort Collins, Casper, and surrounding areas. Recently they hosted Drag Queen Bingo on the Warren Airforce Base. 

“We did just recently have the opportunity to do Drag Queen Bingo on the Warren Airforce Base which was the first LGBTQ event ever to be held in the bases history.” Ambrosia Beaverhausen continued “at the end, a lot of people came up to us and thanked us for being brave and being out, they were service men, women, and it was incredible, families were there.” 

Oblivia D’Clueless performing at Laramie Pride Drag Show

While the troop travels, they also enjoy staying in Laramie where it all began years ago. Oblivia conveyed that the crowds here are always plentiful because there aren’t many events in Laramie that feature the drag and burlesque community, so when they are hosted, people want to be there. Temple Ceiling has family and friends attend most shows “Being from Laramie it’s fun to know people you’re preforming for. They appreciate it. That’s always fun, to perform for your friends and family.” 

The fun continues on October 23rd when the Stiletto’s host Drag Bingo at the Hilton Hotel. To keep up with the Queens and the work they do for WyoAids you can find them all on the social media below: 

Ambrosia Beaverhausen’s Instagram @respectthebeaver and their Facebook @Theonlybeaverhausen 

Oblivia Queen of the Clueless’s Instagram @Oblivia_dclueless and their Facebook: Oblivia Queen of D’Clueless 

Temple Ceiling’s Facebook is Temple Ceiling 

For more information about Drag Queen Bingo go to https://wyoaids.org/

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The Unforgettable Experience of Wyoming Girls State http://thisislaramie.com/the-unforgettable-experience-of-wyoming-girls-state/ http://thisislaramie.com/the-unforgettable-experience-of-wyoming-girls-state/#respond Wed, 23 Jun 2021 14:11:53 +0000 http://thisislaramie.com/?p=3703

Governor Mark Gordon with the Girls State delegates for 2021. Photo courtesy of Wyoming Girls State.

Wyoming Girls State is a weeklong learning experience and citizenship training for girls who have completed their junior year of high school. Sponsored and organized by American Legion Auxiliary, Girls State is held at LCCC in Cheyenne, Wyoming. During the week, delegates learn about the process of government, create lifelong friendships and connections, and also get the chance to win college scholarships and earn college credit. 

Delegate introducing herself to Governor Mark Gordon. Photo used with permission from Kialie Pead.

Dawn Kenneda assistant director of Wyoming Girls State explains “American Legion Auxiliary was founded in 1919. Its vision is in the spirit of service, not self…to honor the sacrifice of those who served by enhancing the lives of our veterans and their families…In Wyoming we have 42 units around the state and we have around 3,000 members.” 

The poppy is the official American Legion flower. The poppy corsages worn in this photo, are worn 2 days during the week to honor those who have fought and/or died serving in a war. Photo used with permission from FaithHoney Anderson.

Upon arrival at Girls State, these high school delegates are split into mock cities with names such as Bison, Meadowlark, and Paintbrush. The girls are also split into mock political parties. 

“Girls State works really hard to be non-partisan, that is why we call (the parties) Nationalists and Federalists. We don’t use the words Democrats and Republicans. We don’t use anything we think might cause a bias at Girls State, because it is about the process of government. It is not about your politics.” says Kenneda. 

Delegate debating her bill in the Girls State House of Representatives. Photo courtesy of Wyoming Girls State.

During the week, delegates get a hands-on experience learning about being part of government branches. The young women participate in writing and debating bills in the Girls State Senate and House of Representatives, and debating court cases as different positions in the Girls State court room. Girls State also has the girls learn and participate in voting, party caucuses, and running for different offices. 

“Girls State is about taking your natural ability as a young woman and as a leader, and polishing it through government. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know a lot about government, Girls State is going to bring that part of you up,” says Kenneda. 

Two senators from the Wyoming Senate helping the delegates in the Girls State Senate. Photo courtesy of Wyoming Girls State.

Wyoming Girls State gives an opportunity for young women to meet others with a passion for learning, and an interest in being a part of American democracy. 

Delegate from Greybull, Maliyah Porras, winner of the Northwest College Scholarship explains, “I am an introvert, so I knew meeting people would be a challenge. But by each day, I noticed myself coming out of my shell more and more, and I have made amazing friends. From this amazing experience I have gained so much confidence, learned so many things, friends, and memories. I recommend for any girl who has even the slightest interest in doing Girls State, do it. It’s worth it, and you won’t regret it.” 

Delegate and staff member saying goodbye at the end of Girls State. Photo courtesy of Wyoming Girls State.

All Wyoming Girls State staff volunteer their time to help the delegates succeed in becoming the best they can be.

“Natural leaders come in all shapes and sizes; they are introverts they are extroverts…they come from all walks of life, and that’s part of the beauty of Girls State. We make sure our staff also come from all walks of life, so the delegates feel like they have a place. They can look at another woman leader and go ‘well I’m not like Gayle, but I might be like Melissa or Kendra or Dawn or Shareen.’ We try to make sure that they can see different types of women leaders, because we do come in all shapes and sizes…in our government, each one of us should have a place,” explains Kenneda. 

Girls State delegates debating a bill in the real House of Representatives at the Wyoming State Capital Building. Photo used with permission from Rylee McCollum.

Delegates also participate in activities such as touring the capital and meeting real Wyoming government officials including Governor Mark Gordon and Senator John Barrasso. They also have the opportunity to participate in a talent show, a drawing contest for the cover of the Girls State handbook, and sing in a group choir performance on the steps of the Wyoming Capitol Building.  

The Girls State Choir practicing with their choir instructor, Dawn Kenneda. Photo courtesy of Wyoming Girls State.

Kenneda shares how she teaches 76 young women to sound beautiful in only one week for the Girls State choir, “It’s a miracle to me every single time. The girls are separated into city rivalries and split into party rivalries. They cheer for their team and they are debating bills and they have some pretty stressful court cases. For me, choir is that moment for them to emotionally have a safe place, express the stress of it, and to come together and unify as an entire delegation so they know they are a part of something bigger.” 

Delegates celebrating with a political party rally. Photo courtesy of Wyoming Girls State.

Delegate from Laramie, Katrina Yurista, and winner of Girls State County Treasurer explains, “Some of my favorite parts were doing all the cheers with the friends I made.” 

Girls State Cheer (call and response): 

Call: “Girls State is what!!??”  

Response: “Dynamite!!!”  

Call: “Boys State is what!!??”  

Response: “Hold up, wait a minute, they ain’t got no women in it!!” 

The Laramie Girls State delegates, from left front row: Ruby Homer-Wambeam, Arundathi Nair (the 2019 Girls State Governor), Katrina Yurista. Top row: Anna Roesler, Tanner Rogers, Mischa Yurista. Photo courtesy of Val Rothwell Photography.

Delegate from Laramie, Arundathi Nair, winner of the 2019 Girls State Governor explains, “I love the experience because I get the chance to get to know smart, talented, incredible young girls from all around the state. Through Girls State, we get the chance to discuss a large variety of topics and learn different perspectives. The environment is full of supportive women who believe in you and encourage you to push yourself.” 

Delegates at the Wyoming State Capital building. Photo used with permission from Grace Steenbergen.

Kenneda adds, “The thing you will see in Girls State delegates is that it makes such a significant change in their lives that when you see a woman who is a mover and shaker in her community, you can almost bet dollars to donuts, she is a Girls State delegate or she has been a delegate in the past.” 

For more information about Wyoming Girls State visit: http://www.wylegionaux.org/girls_state.html

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