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NEWS BRIEFS for Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

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Advocates: Barriers to diverse voter turnout persist in the Equality State

Functional access to the polls and experience of the democratic process in Wyoming varies by demographic, some voting-rights advocates say, with the result that certain groups are still underrepresented in the Equality State.

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Wyoming voter turnout lags behind other states’ averages

Early voting for the Nov. 3 general election is already underway in Wyoming, and election officials expect a repeat of the unprecedented early-and absentee-voting turnout that boosted voter numbers in the August primary.

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Liberal Ginsburg backed a Wyo ranch owner who sued the feds

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Sept. 18, was renowned for her dissenting opinions, a lesser-known example of which found the liberal justice siding with a classically western-conservative cause in the case of a controversial Wyoming ranch operation.

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Young Douglas COVID-19 victims being bullied in person, on social media

DOUGLAS — Douglas is a can-do community – evidenced by numerous fundraisers and other charity events run by empathetic, caring volunteers time and time again – as well as those who give and help in innumerable ways to those going through unplanned medical emergencies or other unexpected hardships.

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Jackson residents join thousands of global COVID-19 vaccine trial participants

JACKSON — News about the dozens of COVID-19 vaccine trials can seem removed from the coronavirus outbreak in Teton County, vague science experiments with no bearing on local life.

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A brief relief, but Mullen Fire expanded 82,649 acres

LARAMIE — A recent cold front provided a little relief for firefighters, but not much as the Mullen Fire burning in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest about 40 west of Laramie and just southwest of Centennial is still active and growing.

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Coal companies’ joint venture dead; Arch considers 'alternatives' for PRB mines

GILLETTE – A U.S. District Court decision to block a joint venture between Peabody Energy Corp. and Arch Resources Inc. could also mean the beginning of the end of Arch as a major Powder River Basin coal producer.

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Active cases drop for first time since Sept. 19, fall by 22

The number of active coronavirus cases in Wyoming fell Tuesday for the first time in more than a week, dropping by 22.

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Report details historic COVID impact to state economy

CASPER — The COVID-19 pandemic delivered historic blows to Wyoming’s economy during this year’s second quarter, according to a new report published on Monday by Wyoming’s Economic Analysis Division. The report shows the sheer scale of the economic fallout induced by the pandemic, which sparred few of the state’s industries.

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Increased grasshopper numbers impact ranchers

SHERIDAN — There are more than 100 species of grasshoppers in the United States, but only about 12 play the role of pest that rangeland and cropland in northern Sheridan County and Montana are currently experiencing.

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Health official blames relaxed attitude for COVID spike

CHEYENNE — Laramie County and most of Wyoming have seen a spike in the number of active COVID-19 cases over the past week, which one health official is partly attributing to a relaxed attitude toward safety precautions.

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Bill could limit CBD, hemp products

CODY — A new bill would hinder Cody resident Jacklyn Bullock’s ability to treat her lifelong pain without painkiller medication.

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NEWS BRIEFS for Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

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Two grizzlies killed in encounters with bow hunters

POWELL — Two grizzly bear conflicts in Park County have ended in one hunter being injured and two dead bears in the past week.

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NEWS BRIEFS for Monday, Sept. 28, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

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A professor prepares his Centennial home for the Mullen Fire

Since Sept. 20, University of Wyoming Natural Resources Department Chairman Jason Shogren has been working to prepare his home just west of Centennial for a wildfire.

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ESM, feds still in talks over unpaid leases

GILLETTE — Almost a year after buying and reopening the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr coal mines in Campbell County, Eagle Specialty Materials hasn’t secured federal leases for the operations.

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Fire in Medicine Bow grows by more than 32,000 acres

LARAMIE — There were no doubts the critical weather conditions and natural fuels feeding the Mullen Fire burning in the mountains about 40 miles west of Laramie went from bad to worse from Thursday to Friday.

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Experts discuss health impacts of oil, gas drilling

CHEYENNE — A pair of public health experts spoke on the effects of oil and gas drilling development in Wyoming and Colorado during a locally organized panel recently.

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UW football back for fall

CASPER — Wyoming football is officially back.

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NEWS BRIEFS for Friday, Sept. 25, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

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State Board of Education considers suspending testing performance accountability this year

CHEYENNE — Wyoming’s 48 school districts might not be held accountable for their students’ performance on state standardized tests this school year.

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Report: State missed out on billions in oil and gas taxes

CASPER — Wyoming taxpayers lost billions of dollars in potential revenue from oil and gas lease sales over the past decade due to outdated royalty and lease terms, according to a new report published Thursday by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to protecting American taxpayers.

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Gordon: Expect more public health orders to loosen

GILLETTE – Although there's been a recent statewide surge in active COVID-19 cases in Wyoming, residents can expect “significant changes” and loosening of some of the state’s public health orders put in place to help mitigate the pandemic.

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Thursday second day in a row with more than 100 new coronavirus cases

A second day of increases of more than 100 in new confirmed coronavirus cases around Wyoming pushed the state’s number of active cases to new highs Thursday.

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Wyoming virtual school sees large increase in enrollment

SHERIDAN — When Samantha Bublich made the decision to keep her kids at home this school year, she did so with reservations. She believes in public schools, in-person learning and classrooms where students interact with other learners on a regular basis.

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Gillette chorale singers adjust to year without shows

GILLETTE — Sad is a word to describe the mood of Vicki Gilmour and Karen Clarke in July as they sat around Gilmour’s backyard patio table signing cards.

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Cheyenne teenager is Wyoming’s first woman Eagle Scout

CHEYENNE — If you’ve noticed the new fishing line boxes at some of Cheyenne’s popular lakes and parks, you can thank Taylor Merriman-Fish.

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Weston commissioners take next step against state health mandates

NEWCASTLE — At its Sept. 15 meeting, the Weston County Board of County Commissioners took the next step in taking a stand against state COVID-19 health mandates when the commissioners passed a “resolution to refrain from health-related mandates” and expressed their intent to move forward with drafting and requesting a countywide variance to the state health orders.

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NEWS BRIEFS for Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020

News in Brief from Across the Cowboy State

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Medicine Bow fire grows to 14,600 acres

LARAMIE — The Mullen Fire increased in size to 14,653 acres and is now taking aim at the Platte River Wilderness with activity picking up as of Wednesday evening.

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Senators: Advance Trump’s Supreme Court nominee

CASPER — Roughly half a year before the 2016 presidential election, Sen. John Barrasso justified Republicans’ decision to block a vote on then Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland by saying the American people should “consider it as part of deciding who to support in November.”

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NEWS BRIEFS for Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

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Park sees uptick in visitors for August

CODY — Tourism has taken a rather meandering path in Cody this summer.

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Lawmaker claims ‘ systemic racism ’ after caution on decorum in meeting

RIVERTON — The aftermath of a tense encounter with Fremont County’s top prosecutor was what State Rep. Andi Clifford, D-Ethete, called evidence of race-based thinking within the Wyoming Legislature.

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Masks are “key” to keeping schools open, Laramie County health officials say

CHEYENNE – After at least one teacher and one student at McCormick Junior High School tested positive for COVID-19 last week, the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department is urging continued use of face masks among all students and staff.

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Bankruptcy settlement could pay coal workers $17.3 million

GILLETTE — Some 1,700 employees of a bankrupt coal mining company would get up to $17.3 million in back pay under a proposed class-action settlement.

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NEWS BRIEFS for Friday, Sept. 18, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

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Seidel hopes to resume Cowboy football

CASPER — More than a month after what he described as a “strong, strong consensus” among Mountain West presidents to postpone football and other fall sports indefinitely, University of Wyoming President Ed Seidel said the school is trying to resume competition in those sports sooner rather than later.

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Protestors gather at state Capitol in opposition to mask mandate in schools

CHEYENNE – Roughly 30 Wyomingites gathered on the grounds of the state Capitol at noon Thursday to protest against the requirements for children to wear masks in school.

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Bill giving tribal cops more authority over non-Indians revisited

RIVERTON — Public transparency and control by local officials were obstacles identified in the revival of a defunct 2013 legislation that would give jurisdiction over non-tribal members to Bureau of Indian Affairs police officers.

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Growing sage for grouse; Honor Farm seedling, transplant program expands in its second year

RIVERTON – After a successful debut last year, the Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton has expanded its sagebrush-growing efforts to enhance habitat for the greater sage grouse.

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Virtual but not alone, Oban pounds out the 26.2 miles for the Boston Marathon

DOUGLAS — When Allie Oban qualified for the Boston Marathon on her first try, it was one of the biggest accomplishments of her life. When the in-person event was postponed, then cancelled, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it threatened to ruin the milestone she worked years to achieve. Instead, friends and family rallied around her, giving her an experience that not even Boston could provide, and all from her adopted hometown of Douglas.

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Gillette Sage Hoppers seek to involve local kids in aviation

GILLETTE — The wind whipped through a recent cool Saturday morning as about 20 people gathered at the Sage Hoppers RC Club’s annual Fly-In at its airfield east of Cam-plex in Gillette.

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NEWS BRIEFS for Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

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Wyoming's first cryptocurrency bank approved by state board

CHEYENNE – In a crucial step in the state’s efforts to become the national leader in blockchain technology, a cryptocurrency company had its bank charter approved Wednesday by the Wyoming Banking Board.

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Big Horn County School District staff: policy on use of personal devices violates civil rights

GREYBULL — Big Horn County School District No. 3 staff members say a proposed policy that would make any personal electronic devices that they use to conduct school business subject to a search is a violation of their civil rights.

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Sparks fly at tribal relations committee session

RIVERTON — While contemplating tribal and non-tribal law enforcement jurisdiction legislation on Tuesday, State Rep. Andi Clifford, D-Ethete, sparked warnings on decorum when she criticized the county’s top prosecutor for his handling of an officer-involved shooting death last year.

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Wyoming refineries stung by decision; Barrasso rebukes administration after EPA denies relief

CASPER — The Trump administration delivered another blow to Wyoming’s oil refineries when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency denied relief to several small operators struggling to meet biofuel standards this month.

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More than 100 new confirmed coronavirus cases reported Wednesday.

With several counties reporting double-digit increases in lab-confirmed coronavirus case counts, the state’s total of confirmed cases seen since the disease was first detected in Wyoming in March went up by 104 Wednesday, the biggest increase since the pandemic began.

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NEWS BRIEFS for Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

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‘Decade of the elk’ for hunters as herds top goals by 32%

As elk hunters begin the general rifle season they’ll pursue animals that the Game and Fish Department found to be 32% above its population objective in the bulk of the state’s herds.

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A cautious governor confronts an ‘unprecedented time’

At Gov. Mark Gordon’s January 2018 inauguration ceremony, Sheridan musician David Munsick sang the song “Forever West.”

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A rally for the 'good cops': Group gathers on Town Square for pro-police rally

JACKSON – A black-and-white American flag with a centered blue stripe rose above the gathered crowd Sunday to show support for local police funding. A few dozen people stood on the corner of Town Square, backdropped with “Trump 2020” banners, waving signs to energize passing pedestrians and drivers.

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Wyoming oil rig boom a matter of perspective

DOUGLAS — Wyoming’s rig count skyrocketed by the end of last week, with four operating — a significant turnaround from not so long ago when the rig count hit zero, but still a far cry from the height of the most recent boom last year.

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About 100 Cheyenne junior high school school students told to stay home after staff member tests positive for COVID-19

CHEYENNE – Roughly 100 students from Cheyenne’s McCormick Junior High were told to stay home Tuesday after a staff member at the school tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.

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NEWS BRIEFS for Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

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Lawmakers look to overhaul notary laws

CHEYENNE — Wyoming lawmakers took an initial look Friday at replacing the state’s existing notary laws to allow for more signings to be done virtually and by some out-of-state residents.

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Shoshone Forest seeks input on travel plan

CODY — The Shoshone National Forest has released a travel management plan that could close popular snowmobiling areas and transition many roads to trails.

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Tribal leader says reservation COVID patients turned away

CASPER — Emergency room staff at the SageWest hospital in Riverton allegedly turned away potential COVID-19 patients from the Wind River Indian Reservation at the start of the pandemic, Northern Arapaho Business Council Chairman Lee Spoonhunter told state lawmakers Monday, leaving tribal members to figure out their care on their own.

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Survey says women hit hard by COVID

CHEYENNE — The social and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have hit Wyoming women especially hard.

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Spending cuts could cost state more in future

CASPER — Even before COVID-19, most state leaders already understood that Wyoming would be unable to cut itself out of its current budget crisis.

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Man sentenced to jail in wrestling club embezzlement

GILLETTE — A former treasurer of two youth wrestling clubs in Gillette will serve 30 days in jail and pay $50,000 in restitution for money he stole from them.

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Bridger-Teton grows by 240 acres

JACKSON — The Bridger-Teton National Forest just got a little bigger. Two hundred and forty acres bigger, to be exact.

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Wyoming oil, gas companies receive most royalty cuts

CASPER — Oil and gas companies operating on public land in Wyoming reaped the vast majority of royalty and lease relief from the federal government during an aid program spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Sage grouse researchers endure summer heat to gauge nest survival

POWELL — Insensitive to those laboring below, the sun bore down on the shadeless Chapman Bench.

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Forest protection officer ensures safety, compliance during a busy summer

BUFFALO — Already on the morning of Friday, Aug. 22, the road leading to the West Tensleep Trailhead was littered with vehicles, and the dispersed campsites along the road were all occupied.

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NEWS BRIEFS for Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

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Weston commissioners back away from public health orders

NEWCASTLE — The Weston County commissioners took a stand against COVID-19 health orders by voting 2-1 on Sept. 1 to rescind the chairman’s signatures from state/county health orders presented by Dr. Mike Jording, the county’s health officer.

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Campbell Co. releases community college application after WCCC refuses

SHERIDAN — The Wyoming Community College Commission would not release a copy of the Campbell County application seeking to form a new community college district, saying in an email last week that it would be made public when a contract with an outside surveying group to assemble the feasibility study was set.

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Study says federal land drilling ban would hurt economy

CASPER — A new study published by the Petroleum Association of Wyoming and the American Petroleum Institute found instituting a ban on leasing federal land to oil and gas operators would have grave economic consequences for the entire country, but especially for Wyoming.

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Gordon: Public health orders may be relaxed

GILLETTE — Gov. Mark Gordon is hopeful that the state’s COVID-19 public heath orders will relax some next week.

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UW extends ‘pause’ on plans to resume in-person classes

LARAMIE — The University of Wyoming will continue its campus pause, which was initiated last Wednesday due to positive COVID-19 tests by students, until Sept. 14, the school announced Wednesday in a news release.

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NEWS BRIEFS for Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020 Wyoming News Exchange newspapers

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

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Volunteers begin Grand Teton National Park goat shoot Monday

Grand Teton National Park has selected 70 teams of volunteer wildlife shooters and is ready to launch a mountain goat culling operation Monday.

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Gov, EPA outline plans to boost carbon capture, delay plant closures

Wyoming is collaborating with the Trump administration to develop strategies to extend the lives of the nation’s aging coal-fired power plants — the primary customers of the state’s coal mining industry.

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Bighorn Forest hunting case appealed again

SHERIDAN — Clayvin Herrera, the Crow tribal member cited with taking big game animals out of season back in 2014, has again appealed his case, postponing the answers to several questions regarding tribal hunting rights in and around the Bighorn National Forest.

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Proposed land swap angers landowners, legislators

GILLETTE — An oil and gas company’s proposal to trade land with the state has angered landowners in southern Campbell County.

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Legislators struggle with school funding

CASPER — Lawmakers alternatively poked and chafed Tuesday at the boundaries of Wyoming’s education system and the court decisions that protect it as they look to solve a yawning revenue deficit and stay on the right side of the state’s Constitution.

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Teton County Latinos see higher COVID rate

JACKSON — One group is taking the brunt of the coronavirus outbreak in Teton County, and it’s not young people.

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Man climbs 36 Wyoming peaks in 45 days

Sarah Meiser and Teresa Gergen completed climbing all 36 peaks in Wyoming above 13,000 feet in 2015.

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Man climbs 36 Wyoming peaks in 45 days

Sarah Meiser and Teresa Gergen completed climbing all 36 peaks in Wyoming above 13,000 feet in 2015.

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Powell woman hunts top predators alone

POWELL — Having identified the tracks of black bear, grizzly and wolf on a trail at the base of a rock slide, Tessa Fowler knew she was in the right place.

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NEWS BRIEFS for Friday, Sept. 4, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

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Supreme Court rejects appeal of convicted murderer Uden

RIVERTON — The Wyoming Supreme Court dismissed the appeal of triple-murderer Gerald Uden in August, saying his claims of innocence aren’t affirmed factually.

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Parties blamed in Laramie COVID spread

CASPER — Two off-campus parties held as students return to Laramie have helped spark the spread of the coronavirus there, which on Wednesday prompted the University of Wyoming to hit a five-day pause on all campus activity.

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Officials tout results of carbon capture study, others skeptical

CHEYENNE — Joined by several state and federal officials at a press conference Thursday, Gov. Mark Gordon praised the findings of a study on the potential for carbon-capture technology in Wyoming.

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NEWS BRIEFS for Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

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Prosecutors may reconsider death penalty in triple murder

SHERIDAN — Sheridan County Prosecuting Attorney Dianna Bennett asked for a chance to reconsider the death penalty in the case of Dana Beartusk, who was charged earlier this year with three counts of first degree murder.

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UW pauses return to in-person classes

CASPER — Five University of Wyoming students tested positive for the coronavirus Wednesday, causing the school to pause its phased return to the fall semester.

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Workers injured in explosion sue EOG

CHEYENNE – Workers who were injured during an explosion at a Laramie County oil and gas field site last year have filed a lawsuit against EOG Resources, arguing the company failed to ensure the safety of those on scene.

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Active coronavirus cases up by two Wednesday

The number of active coronavirus cases in the state changed very little Wednesday as the number of new confirmed and probable cases reported around the state offset the number of recoveries.

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NEWS BRIEFS for Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

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Hemp’s stumbles reveal hurdles in Wyoming’s race to diversify

ALBIN—Ron Rabou is no hemp-necklace-wearing hippy.

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Stewardship pact gives Wyo more say on national forests

Gov. Mark Gordon signed an agreement Aug. 25 with the U.S. Department of Agriculture that gives the state more say in “active management” of national forests in Wyoming including logging, firefighting and invasive weed control.

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Montana sage grouse estimates jump 73% in 2020

Montana biologists believe good weather and possibly the cyclical fluctuation of populations may be responsible for a 73% increase in the state’s 2020 estimate of greater sage grouse numbers compared to 2019.

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Heli-tours generate noise complaints, but business good

JACKSON — Melody Ranch resident Mike May was readying for dinner on a Saturday in late July when a red helicopter came in hot overhead.

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Sweetwater commissioners reject COVID resolution

ROCK SPRINGS — Sweetwater County commissioners decided not to approve a resolution against county-level health orders in light of COVID-19 during their regular meeting Tuesday morning.

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Nearly 50 UW students quarantined because of coronavirus

CASPER — COVID-19 infections stemming from University of Wyoming students gathering off campus have led the school to quarantine nearly 50 students since Monday.

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Lawsuits allege excessive use of force by Cheyenne officer

CHEYENNE – Two lawsuits have been filed by local residents in federal court alleging repeated incidents of an excessive use of force by a Cheyenne Police Department officer.

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Blockchain industry loses powerful voice

CASPER — When a powerful incumbent Wyoming legislator loses, the defeat usually doesn’t make headlines outside of the state.

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Drought, tough winters impacting big game herds

LARAMIE — Drought and harsh winters have taken their toll on the health of some big game herds in southeast Wyoming in the last few years, which could translate into tougher hunting conditions as summer turns to fall.

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Teton County residents push for land exchange along Snake River

JACKSON — Teton County has given a proverbial can a modest kick down the road, opting to wait a week on community requests to fully fund work to transfer 20 or so federally-owned parcels along the Snake River to county ownership.

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NEWS BRIEFS for Monday, Aug. 31, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

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NTEC lays off 80 previously furloughed Antelope mine workers

GILLETTE — When he got the call Thursday, Aaron McAllister was hopeful he’d be going back to work nearly three months after being furloughed from the Antelope coal mine.

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Warden explains novel coronavirus procedures at prison

RAWLINS — A prison is like a small, contained city. In normal times, inmates go to work, do activities, attend church services and have access to mental health and substance abuse programming.

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Budget cuts could throw State Public Defender's office back into constitutional crisis

CHEYENNE — Just a few months removed from a Supreme Court decision forced by heavy caseloads and understaffing for the agency, the Wyoming Public Defender’s office could soon be thrust into another constitutional crisis, thanks to the 10% budget cut announced last week.

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Crowds flock to Wyo public lands during COVID summer

Christian Vivet stood beside his camper at a riverside campground in central Wyoming’s Sinks Canyon State Park, peering through binoculars at the limestone cliffs above — a landscape vastly different from his home state of Florida.

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Mine cleanup program offers glimmer of hope for Wyoming

CASPER — In one of few bright spots for Wyoming’s economy, environmental regulators say cleanup projects at abandoned mine sites have been in full swing across the state, not only producing much-needed jobs, but funneling millions of dollars into local economies.

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Pinedale accepts settlement in water testing lawsuit

PINEDALE — To regain its image, large expenses and relief from federal water quality regulations, the Town of Pinedale filed a civil complaint June 30 against former water-quality lab Zedi US Inc., claiming “professional negligence” led to inaccurate, expensive and negative results when its 2018 tests seemed to show Fremont Lake raw water was tainted.

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Airport tests emergency preparedness with plane crash simulation

CHEYENNE — Thursday morning, a number of plane crash “victims” were sprawled across the runway at Cheyenne Regional Airport as part of a full-scale emergency exercise.

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NEWS BRIEFS for Friday, Aug. 28, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

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Statewide gaming rules will hurt reservation casinos, says expert

RIVERTON — Statewide gaming provisions enacted by the Wyoming Legislature in March could result in hundreds of jobs – and millions of dollars – lost in the tribal gaming sector.

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Coronavirus health orders extended again

CASPER — The public health orders put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Wyoming will remain in place through at least Sept. 15.

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Transition in coal country: the road to survival is uncertain

The 28-year-old man clearly had opinions on the future of coal, but wouldn’t share them until out of earshot of a group of unemployed miners at a gas station in southern West Virginia.

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Greater sage grouse counts tick up West-wide

Spring counts of strutting male greater sage grouse increased slightly this year across their western strongholds, possibly indicating the end of a three-year decline.

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Voting in a pandemic: What Wyoming learned from the primary

Pandemic concerns, combined with worries over potential mail-in ballot delays due to cutbacks at the U.S. Postal Service, created a greater awareness of election processes and a greater sense of urgency to be counted, according to some local officials — with some unprecedented results.

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Sen. Barrasso explores economic impact at cattle convention

ROCK SPRINGS — The impact of the coronavirus was apparent Monday at the Wyoming Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show hosted by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.

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Revenue Committee rejects multiple tax proposals amid historic budget shortfall

CHEYENNE – With Wyoming bracing for its largest revenue decline in state history, lawmakers rejected every tax-raising proposal on their agenda during a committee meeting Tuesday.

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Legislative committee passes COVID-19 immunity bill

CHEYENNE — A bill concerning immunity and liability during a pandemic was approved to be sponsored by the Joint Judiciary Interim Committee in the upcoming legislative session.

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UW enrollment climbs with education grant program

LARAMIE — Fall enrollment at the University of Wyoming rose dramatically after the Aug. 10 announcement of grant funding for students from the CARES Act.

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Police officer resigns over social media joke

JACKSON — A Jackson Police Department lieutenant is out after community members, advocates for survivors of sexual violence, activists and politicians expressed outrage over a Facebook post he wrote that they call harmful and beyond inappropriate.

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NEWS BRIEFS for Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

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Four wolves taken from Dell Creek Pack

PINEDALE — As gray wolves keep pushing through the edges of Wyoming’s trophy game management area, the federal agency Wildlife Services responds to requests from Wyoming Game and Fish to manage their predations.

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Wyoming mayors push lawmakers to consider tax options amid budget crisis

CHEYENNE – With Wyoming facing a projected $1.5 billion revenue shortfall over the next two years, a few mayors from across the state asked lawmakers Monday to start seriously considering new taxation options.

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UW prepares for tens of millions in budget cuts due to pandemic

CASPER — Three years after it cut $42 million, the University of Wyoming is facing another reduction of at least equal size from the state. But that’s not all: The school must absorb several million dollars in lost tuition revenue and another $10 million from the cancellation of the football season.

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Jackson town manager promises police training after scandal

JACKSON — Jackson’s town manager responded publicly Thursday after a Facebook post by a member of the police department enraged some members of the community who are now making demands for change.

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NEWS BRIEFS for Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

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Focus on Wyoming, CO2 research during hearing at ITC

GILLETTE — As much of the globe is focused on reducing humanity’s carbon footprint on the planet, Wyoming wants to expand its carbon research influence by innovating ways to capture and reuse waste carbon dioxide.

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Erroneous calls, texts spur pro-police demonstration

JACKSON — Some were calling it basement politics.

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Meat plant sale threatens Johnson County sheep producers

BUFFALO — According to Wyoming Department of Agriculture statistics, 34,000 sheep and lambs call Johnson County home. They outnumber the county's human population four to one.

116     0

Occidental goes with private buyer in land deal

CASPER — The buyer of roughly 5 million combined acres of land and mineral rights in the southern tier of Wyoming has finally been revealed.

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Lawmakers want details on state budget cuts

CHEYENNE — More than a month after Gov. Mark Gordon announced the state was cutting $250 million from its upcoming biennial budget, the number of positions and programs that will be cut remains unclear – but that should soon change.

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NEWS BRIEFS for Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

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DCI warned police of rumored antifa protesters headed to Sturgis

An intelligence officer in Wyoming’s Division of Criminal Investigation warned other law enforcement that Black Lives Matter and antifa protesters were traveling through Wyoming on their way to Sturgis, South Dakota, according to an email obtained by WyoFile.

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Fed’s OK of 4,250-well gas field dodges water quality question

The Bureau of Land Management has approved a 4,250-well expansion of the Moneta Divide gas and oilfield northeast of Shoshoni, leaving critical water-disposal and -quality questions to be decided by state officials.

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Transition in coal country: Forging paths forward

NEW RIVER GORGE, WEST VIRGINIA—The blue rubber rafts shriek as they slide down steep metal rails, each guided by a crew that will soon be floating down a 9-mile stretch of river, replete with Class III, IV and V rapids and the ghosts of now-shuttered coal mines and processing plants.

120     0

Bridger-Teton campers disregard fire ban

JACKSON — While doing her job to prevent forest fires, Lesley Williams Gomez encountered what she described as entitled attitudes and reckless behavior last Friday night on Shadow Mountain.

115     0

Kanye West collects signatures for presidential bid

CASPER — Kanye West is officially trying to get on Wyoming’s presidential ballot as an independent candidate this fall, a spokesman with the Wyoming Secretary of State confirmed Tuesday morning.

116     0

F.E. Warren nuclear missiles to be replaced first, creating more than 1,000 jobs

CHEYENNE – In a step expected to generate more than 1,000 jobs in Cheyenne over the next two decades, the U.S. Air Force announced Friday morning that F.E. Warren Air Force Base will be the first of three locations to have its land-based nuclear missiles replaced.

142     0

State seeks Jackson Hole development ideas

JACKSON — A Wyoming agency is seeking ideas for developing more than 7 square miles of trust land the state possesses within Teton County.

134     0

Stanton heralds Park Service preservation of civil rights sites

Former National Park Service Director — and the latest Murie Award honoree — Robert Stanton underscored his former agency’s important role in preserving the nation’s history of racial conflicts during his award acceptance Tuesday.

141     0

NEWS BRIEFS for Monday, Aug. 17, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

128     0

NEWS BRIEFS for Friday, Aug. 14, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

160     0

State Senate candidate Rammell’s address raises eyebrows

Rex Rammell, a Republican candidate in the Aug. 18 primary election for Senate District 14, filed to run using an address in Pinedale that has raised eyebrows with at least one of his opponents.

129     0

Attorney General visits Wyoming, announces $1 million in grants

CHEYENNE — United States Attorney General William Barr visited Cheyenne on Thursday to host a roundtable to hear the concerns of local law enforcement and announce $1 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Justice to the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.

119     0

UW president cites health concerns in football cancellation

LARAMIE — After going online exclusively during the spring and summer, the University of Wyoming soon plans to begin phasing its student body back on campus to resume in-person instruction for the fall semester.

132     0

Albany commissioners reject solar development moratorium

LARAMIE — The Albany County Commission rejected calls for a solar energy development moratorium, deciding instead to propose a set of minimum standards and voiced support for developing further standards at a later date.

120     0

Coal mines could store old turbine blades

CASPER — Wind energy companies will have the option of using decommissioned wind turbine blades as backfill material when reclaiming surface coal mine sites soon, thanks to a new bill signed into law earlier this year.

139     0

Free class teaches kids to shoot cannons

GILLETTE — A fire that destroyed a home and workshop earlier this year has not deterred Karl Milner from doing what he loves: teaching kids how to safely shoot off mortars and cannons.

124     0

A fight to the death: Bison rut is on in Yellowstone

POWELL — Bison are currently gathering in the Hayden and Lamar Valleys, moving into massive aggregations of hundreds, if not thousands, of the iconic animals of Yellowstone National Park.

126     0

Teton County detectives reopen 22-year-old cold case of Cache Creek skeleton

JACKSON — Wearing black gloves, Sgt. Clay Platt opens a box full of bones that’s been sitting in the Teton County Sheriff’s Office evidence room for more than two decades.

154     0

NEWS BRIEFS for Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

116     0

Private jet traffic picks up in Jackson

JACKSON — Going into the summer, Snake River boatman Jim Stanford had an expectation that it would be a relatively quiet season on the water.

139     0

Car crashes still top cause of workplace deaths

CASPER — Wyoming has one of the worst rates of workplace-related deaths in the country, with the number of fatalities over three times the national average. A new analysis published on Wednesday by the state’s occupational epidemiologist shows the troubling trend has continued to persist throughout the past several years.

139     0

UW classes to start online

LARAMIE — Less than two weeks before classes are to resume, the University of Wyoming’s administrators have decided to pivot to a phased reopening plan for the fall semester.

129     0

COVID-19 surveillance testing plan for Wyoming teachers in the works

CHEYENNE – Though details have yet to be revealed, state leaders announced Wednesday that Wyoming will implement a COVID-19 surveillance testing plan for teachers once school starts back later this month.

126     0

Cheyenne journalists file labor charges against newspaper owner

Lawyers representing the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s newsroom union filed charges against the newspaper’s owners with the National Labor Relations Board last week.

139     0

Teachers, parents question school reopening

As parents, students, administrators and district employees nervously eye the reopening of Wyoming schools under coronavirus pandemic rules, many are uncertain that safety plans will protect them and their communities.

143     0

Democratic House candidates discuss economy, health care

CHEYENNE – Two candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in Wyoming’s U.S. House race discussed some of their contrasting views on economic policy, health care reform and social justice issues during a virtual forum Monday night.

140     0

USDA rereleases plan for killing predators in Wyoming

JACKSON — For the second time in four years, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that kills wildlife it deems a nuisance has released draft plans assessing the impacts of how it does business in Wyoming.

160     0

Massive Wyoming land deal put on hold

CASPER — Wyoming’s bid to purchase 5 million combined acres of land on Wyoming’s southern tier has been put on hold after its owner, Occidental Petroleum, announced it would be moving forward with another bidder.

141     0

State legislators buck-back against gun group's tactics

GILLETTE — Multiple Campbell County Republican legislators and primary candidates are bucking against an outspoken pro-Second Amendment group after a bevy of political attacks targeting incumbents and other candidates ahead of this month’s election.

122     0

State readies for unique election

CASPER – As COVID-19’s interruptions on everyday life began stretching into the late-spring and early summer, voters around the country began looking toward their upcoming elections – and a pivotal presidential election in November – with apprehension and uncertainty about how exactly things would work.

166     0

NEWS BRIEFS for Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

142     0

'Human waste' proving a problem at Heart Mountain Ranch Preserve

POWELL — With access to some campsites and public bathrooms limited as part of efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19, surrounding areas are feeling the effects in a foul way.

112     0

Response to Great American Outdoors Act mixed

SHERIDAN — While Wyoming’s congressional delegation voted against its passage, officials with the Bighorn National Forest and the Wyoming Wilderness Association expressed optimism about what the Great American Outdoors Act can do to affect access and experiences on Wyoming’s federally managed public lands.

128     0

Judge to decide validity of Riverton man’s murder confession

RIVERTON – Accused of shooting his friend in the head, Mario Mills, 37, has disputed whether the confession he made during a police interview can be used in court under constitutional parameters.

141     0

Group formed to protect Cody citizens from rioters

CODY — A local group has been formed by Boone Tidwell and Flint Flesher to protect Park County citizens from outside rioters and looters, and negative economic effects they said these people could wreak on supply chains outside the county, specifically between now and the Nov. 3 general election.

121     0

Laramie adopts ordinance requiring use of its water

LARAMIE — Despite the urgings of the University of Wyoming, the Laramie City Council on Wednesday passed an ordinance on its third and final reading in an attempt to regulate the use of non-municipal water within city limits.

135     0

Reservation schools move classes online, cancel sports

CASPER — Four Wind River Reservation-based school districts have announced they’ll keep their students at home and learn virtually for the first weeks of this school year, as Fremont County remains the Wyoming county hit hardest by the pandemic and tribal governments continue to institute a limited shelter-in-place order.

131     0

Foresters try to keep up with Bridger-Teton camping demand

JACKSON — It was mid-morning when Lesley Williams Gomez’s Bridger-Teton National Forest pickup truck inched up onto the sagebrush to make room along the seldom-traveled, graveled northern stretch of Antelope Flats Road.

152     0

Supreme Court won't rehear UW gun case

LARAMIE — The Wyoming Supreme Court denied a writ of review on behalf of Uinta County resident Lyle Williams, who challenged the University of Wyoming’s ability to regulate firearms on its campus.

151     0

Active coronavirus cases drop by 34 with 70 recoveries Tuesday

The state’s number of active coronavirus cases fell by 34 on Tuesday as the Wyoming Department of Health reported recoveries among 70 people who have been infected with the disease since mid-March.

127     0

Department of Health urges wastewater testing to detect COVID

SHERIDAN — The Wyoming Department of Corrections recently completed COVID-19 testing on staff and inmates at the Wyoming Honor Farm and state penitentiary. The honor farm returned no positive cases but 15 inmates, two staff members and seven contract health care workers at the penitentiary tested positive.

130     0

Sixteen hurt in hot air balloon crash

JACKSON — Three hot air balloons carrying dozens of people lost control Monday morning and came to a crashing halt in a field near Teton Village.

163     0

County attorney seeks to officers to enforce health orders

LARAMIE — Albany County Attorney Peggy Trent is aiming to add three part-time positions to her office — public health advocates that would aid in communicating and enforcing statewide or local health orders.

153     0

State health experts stress importance of getting a flu vaccine

CASPER — State and county health officials along with medical facilities in Wyoming are preparing for flu season as COVID-19 continues to spread. This year, they must prepare to balance typical planning and preparation for flu season with the added challenges of the coronavirus.

186     0

NEWS BRIEFS for Monday, Aug. 3, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

138     0

Domestic sheep grazing prompts emergency bighorn hunt

Gov. Mark Gordon has approved an emergency early season allowing hunters to kill up to 34 wild bighorn sheep in Hot Springs County’s Owl Creek drainage beginning Saturday.

152     0

Minerals committee moves to support big business

SHERIDAN — A bill to create a relief program for businesses with 100 employees or more passed through the Wyoming Legislature Joint Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee Tuesday.

137     0

Three weeks after Wyo made its bid, ‘radio silence’ from Occidental

Nearly three weeks after submitting a bid to Occidental Petroleum for 1 million acres of land and 4 million acres of mineral rights, the state of Wyoming has had no word from the oil and gas giant, state officials said this week.

135     0

As case numbers spike, cause of coronavirus spread harder to pin down

CASPER — As the novel coronavirus continues to spike through the summer, health officials from across Wyoming say the spread can’t be attributed to large clusters but rather to small gatherings and younger people.

170     0

Rules, timing complicate state's temporary eviction relief program

CHEYENNE – After the Wyoming Legislature’s special session wrapped up in mid-May, lawmakers and Gov. Mark Gordon praised legislation creating a program to help residents avoid eviction amid the economic turmoil of COVID-19.

131     0

Blooms at reservoirs, lakes caused by nitrogen and phosphorus

RAWLINS – It might look like grass clippings, blue-green scum or spilled paint on the water surface. It might be suspended in the water or attached to rocks, sediments and plants. It might be a harmful cyanobacterial bloom.

138     0

NEWS BRIEFS for Thursday, July 30, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

0     0

Seasonal workers fuel Teton County coronavirus spread

JACKSON — Young seasonal workers are driving up COVID-19 infections through a lack of social distancing and mask wearing, health officials say.

203     0

Dog helps detect invasive mussels

EVANSTON — Last week was a busy one at the watercraft inspection station at the Evanston Port of Entry, as more than 2,000 boats, kayaks, canoes and assorted watercraft were inspected by technicians with the Wyoming Game and Fish Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) prevention team. For the first time at any Wyoming AIS inspection station, those human technicians were joined for several days by a mussel-sniffing dog.

196     0

Cheney, Barrasso reject suggestion of election delay

CHEYENNE — After President Donald Trump tweeted the idea of delaying the November election, several Republicans in Congress quickly rejected the idea Thursday, and two of Wyoming's federal delegates were among them.

182     0

Simplot to pay $775,000 for alleged hazardous waste violations

The giant Boise-based agribusiness J.R. Simplot Company has agreed to pay $775,000 to resolve allegations it violated federal waste and community-protection laws at its phosphoric acid and fertilizer plant outside Rock Springs.

148     0

NEWS BRIEFS for Thursday, July 30, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

191     0

Wyoming leaves door open to file for education waiver in 2021

CASPER — State officials did not file a federal waiver that would allow them to cut education funding while receiving federal stimulus money after regulatory changes nationally. But Wyoming “has a very compelling argument” to file for such a waiver next year.

145     0

Gordon says budget situation still “dire” despite small improvement

CHEYENNE — As state officials grapple with an unprecedented budget crisis, Wyoming's revenues were slightly ahead of abysmal projections released in May, but Gov. Mark Gordon and lawmakers maintained Wednesday that the state's budget crisis is not going anywhere.

162     0

Teton County forms animal attack response team

JACKSON — First responders have been running up the Snow King boot pack as their first round of qualifications to be part of a new animal attack response team.

164     0

Public health orders extended as Wyoming cases jump by 64

CHEYENNE — As Wyoming reported its single-day record for increase in lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases Tuesday, Gov. Mark Gordon announced the state's current public health orders have been extended through Aug. 15.

158     0

House speaker suggests using federal money to cover tuition

LARAMIE — The Speaker of the Wyoming House of Representatives has sponsored draft legislation that would provide $116 million to cover most of the costs of college tuition in the state. Existing federal stimulus funds would pay for the program.

145     0

Arch chief says mine outlook grim without joint venture

GILLETTE — Once a money-generating juggernaut for one of the world’s largest coal producers, Powder River Basin mines have become a financial albatross for Arch Resources Inc.

177     0

NEWS BRIEFS for Wednesday, July 29, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

137     0

NEWS BRIEFS for Tuesday, July 28, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

149     0

Cody RV parks boom as summer hits stride

CODY — As the hotel industry has suffered early this season, business is booming in the local campgrounds as people try to escape from the pandemic and enjoy the summer.

154     0

Lawsuit tackles polling site ‘buffer zones’

CASPER — Attorneys for the state’s leading libertarian think tank are suing Secretary of State Ed Buchanan and several top Laramie County officials for a conservative advocacy organization’s right to promote conservative candidates and causes inside of a “restricted speech zone” near polling places in Cheyenne.

182     0

Investigation concludes Riverton officer who killed man in shootout was justified

RIVERTON — The law enforcement officer who returned fire on a gunman three months ago in residential Riverton acted within the law to defend himself and others, according to an official analysis of the investigation.

176     0

NEWS BRIEFS for Monday, July 27, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

167     0

Cheyenne police body camera footage aids in acquittal of Abrams

CHEYENNE -- Laramie County District Judge Steven Sharpe acquitted Michael Abrams of two felony counts of attempting to injure a police officer Thursday afternoon.

177     0

Draft Barrasso bill eyes new BLM wilderness areas, motor park

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso is circulating a draft bill that’s drawing opposing reactions over its provisions to create five new Bureau of Land Management non-motorized wilderness areas in Wyoming.

162     0

Carbon County river restoration addresses 100-year history of use

RAWLINS – For the first time in 92 years, there is a 75-mile continuous stretch of unobstructed waterway on the Upper North Platte and the Encampment River.

177     0

Judge: State must pay $600,000 in fees for trespassing lawsuit

A court loss over controversial trespassing statutes passed by the Wyoming Legislature will cost the state around $600,000 in fees and expenses to be paid to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, according to a July 16 ruling.

173     0

Oil well cleanup program may spur jobs

CASPER — The COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding collapse in energy markets have wreaked havoc in the oil and gas sector. An estimated 76,000 direct oil and gas jobs were slashed across the U.S. from February to June, a low not witnessed since around 2006.

202     0

Gun rights group draws ire of top lawmaker

CASPER — A growing group of Wyoming lawmakers — including the vice president of the Senate — are coming after one of the state’s most aggressive gun rights groups after it lodged efforts to discredit incumbent Republican lawmakers in a number of vulnerable districts ahead of next month’s Republican primary.

157     0

Feds: Laramie research nonprofit lied to get $500k in grants

LARAMIE — The federal government is investigating the Western Research Institute, a Laramie-based nonprofit, for making false claims to win more than $500,000 in research funding between 2015 and 2018, according to a document obtained by the Boomerang.

148     0

NEWS BRIEFS for Friday, July 24, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

143     0

Model: Mask wearing could cut U.S. daily deaths by two-thirds

JACKSON — A new model says if universal mask wearing went into effect today, the daily COVID-19 deaths in the United States could be cut by two-thirds by Nov. 1.

175     0

Federal agreement to boost Wyoming’s uranium industry

CASPER — In a move cheered by Wyoming’s uranium industry, Gov. Mark Gordon endorsed an agreement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Thursday to clarify federal and state regulation of in situ uranium production and cleanup.

207     0

Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate discuss climate change, health care during forum

CHEYENNE - Candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in Wyoming's U.S. Senate race this year discussed their stances on a wide range of issues Thursday night, including health care reform, climate change and economic diversification.

190     0

Nonprofits and Elk Refuge partner to save house in Jackson

JACKSON — A crowd at the corner of Cache and Simpson gasped Sunday morning as a house wobbled back and forth on a semi trailer as the truck turned off the property’s curb and onto the street.

147     0

Flying on World War II bombers 'worth the money'

GILLETTE — Charles Schuler had never seen a World War II plane up close.

249     0

Palisades Reservoir seeing increased crowds this summer

AFTON — The water is high and lake enthusiasts are enjoying every drop of it -- that is the story of the summer and Palisades Reservoir.

149     0

Garth Brooks to play Cheyenne Frontier Days in 2021

CHEYENNE — Cheyenne Frontier Days Foundation launched a new campaign Wednesday to ensure the 125th anniversary of the “Daddy of ’em All” is better than ever, and in doing so, announced one of the headliners for next year’s Frontier Nights.

198     0

Murder suspect not competent to stand trial, psychologist says

POWELL— A man accused of murdering a former girlfriend in Cheyenne and then leaving her body in the foothills south of Cody is not competent to stand trial, according to a forensic psychologist retained by the man’s attorneys.

172     0

Grizzly attacks in 2020 run at record high

JACKSON – A male grizzly spooked out of a daybed by a 41-year-old Cody resident out hunting for antlers resulted in a helicopter ride to the hospital.

166     0

Environmental act overhaul could be significant for state

CASPER — Wyoming produces more minerals from public land than almost any other state in the country and also maintains some of the most coveted wildlife habitats in the world.

164     0

NEWS BRIEFS for Thursday, July 23, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

171     0

NEWS BRIEFS for Wednesday, July 22, 2020

News in Brief from across the Cowboy State

173     0

Jackson mask enforcement more ‘educational’

JACKSON — No matter how effective you feel cloth face coverings are, if you refuse to wear one in public businesses in Teton County, you could be hit with a fine.

156     0

Experts: State laws apply in Riverton despite Oklahoma decision

The U.S. Supreme Court’s July 9 decision negating state law enforcement authority on an Oklahoma Indian reservation should not affect law enforcement on the Wind River Indian Reservation, including police activity in Riverton, experts say.

155     0

Anatomy of a protest: How a Laramie march became a movement

By June, Billy Harris had grown sick of his girlfriend’s stepdad watching Fox News coverage of the George Floyd protests and “spewing constant [expletive deleted] hate.”

186     0

Unemployment falls below 8%

CASPER — Wyoming’s unemployment rate fell to less than 8 percent in June, the state Department of Workforce Services announced Tuesday.

154     0

Sheridan students repair school devices as part of class

SHERIDAN — Two computer science classes offer Sheridan High School students the chance to receive practical skills and aid the school district they attend.

308     0

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