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Drought conditions persist in northeastern Wyoming

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Drought conditions are persisting in northeastern Wyoming. The region has seen months of warmer-than-average temperatures combined with very dry conditions. The National Weather Service in Rapid City, South Dakota, issued a recent update on the ongoing drought saying severe drought conditions are continuing in portions of western South Dakota and portions of northeastern Wyoming. Agency hydrologist Melissa Smith says some areas have seen ongoing drought conditions since May. She says recent cold temperatures have caused the ground to freeze. That will make it difficult for any melting snow to soak in and improve soil moisture conditions, meaning that areas of drought will persist through much of the winter. … Read entire article »

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Traces of benzene found in Jackson drinking water well

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Environmental officials have found traces of a volatile organic compound in a well that supplies drinking water to the town of Jackson. A sample from a well in July showed benzene, a component of petroleum, at more than three times the level that triggers monitoring by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA didn’t notify the town of the presence of benzene until Tuesday. The EPA says regular consumption of water with high benzene levels can cause anemia and increase the risk of cancer. Town officials said Thursday that there’s no reason for immediate concern about the water. Jackson utility manager John Ryan says the benzene isn’t at unsafe levels, but simply high enough for the EPA to require closer monitoring. … Read entire article »

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Little Big Town, Rhett, others to take Frontier Days stage

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — All but one headliner for Cheyenne Frontier Days has been announced. Frontier Days officials announced the lineup for next summer’s rodeo during the opening night of the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas on Thursday. Two of the headliners, Thomas Rhett and Jason Aldean, were already announced at the end of this year’s CFD. Adding to the lineup next year is Country player Luke Bryan, country group Sawyer Brown, country-rock musician Brantley Gilbert and special guest Tyler Farr and Little Big Town. One headliner has yet to be announced. … Read entire article »

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Compressor station explodes near Clark

CLARK, Wyo. (AP) — There are no injuries after a compressor station near the community of Clark in northwest Wyoming exploded. Clark firefighter Dave Hoffert says the facility owned by Windsor Energy exploded Tuesday night. Hoffert said the building housed the natural-gas-fired boiler to heat crude oil exploded. He says the only explanation for the explosion is a natural gas leak ignited due to some sort of electrical malfunction. Although most of the steel siding was blown off and the shed’s roof crumpled, the boiler and equipment in the shed remained intact. Hoffert says damage was relatively minor. … Read entire article »

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Fremont County ranks low for debt in Wyoming

(LANDER, Wyo.) SmartAsset, a financial technology company, recently released their second annual study on the counties across America with the lowest per capita debt and Fremont County is one of the best in Wyoming. Counties were analyzed by the amount of debt residents held across three categories: credit cards, auto, and mortgage, compared to local income. Fremont County placed fourth in Wyoming for the lowest per capita debt, behind Park, Natrona and Sweetwater counties. … Read entire article »

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Casper woman pleads not guilty to embezzlement charge

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A Casper woman has pleaded not guilty to embezzling more than $52,000 from a nonprofit organization that helps people with addictions. Carrie Good entered her plea Wednesday in Natrona County District Court. Court records say authorities accuse Good of taking funds from the 12-24 Club for personal use while she was employed as an office manager of the organization from December 2013 into July 2016. Police began investigating when club director Dan Cantine noticed irregularities in the bookkeeping. Good told police that she had permission from Cantine to use the cards for some personal purchases, but Cantine said he never allowed her to do so. In 2014, Good completed four months of probation for a previous conviction for embezzling from another organization. … Read entire article »

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Man pleads guilty in crash that killed 3 German bikers

CODY, Wyo. (AP) — A man who crashed his pickup into a group of German motorcyclists heading to Yellowstone National Park, killing three, has pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of vehicular homicide. Manuel Defuentes, of Ontario, Oregon, entered his pleas Wednesday for the June 9 crash that killed 53-year-old Tino Cachey, 52-year-old Ute Cachey and 37-year-old Erik Brecht. Four other motorcyclists were injured. The group was headed to Yellowstone from Cody when Defuentes’ truck crossed the center line at a curve. Prosecutor Bryan Skoric says an investigation did not reveal any drug or alcohol use or mechanical issues with the truck, saying “there’s no explanation whatsoever.” Defuentes apologized in court and said he thinks about the victims when he closes his eyes to sleep. Prosecutors are calling for a year served consecutively for each … Read entire article »

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Casper teen dies after experiencing seizures in jail

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the death of a 19-year-old man who died days after being booked into the Natrona County Detention Center on drug charges. Logan Martz, of Casper, died Saturday. Officials are awaiting the results of an autopsy performed Wednesday to determine his cause of death. Police had responded to a disturbance report Nov. 22 to find Martz, who appeared to be under the influence of a drug. Officers took him to the Wyoming Medical Center, where he reportedly told investigators he had taken acid. Martz was later released from the hospital and jailed on suspicion of use of a controlled substance. Court documents say he had a seizure Nov. 23 and was again taken to the hospital, where his condition deteriorated and he died. … Read entire article »

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Doctor suspended in Wyoming and Arizona amid probe

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A Casper doctor and his wife face a federal criminal charge alleging they conspired to distribute the painkiller Oxycodone. A criminal complaint unsealed Thursday charges Dr. Shakeel A. Kahn and his wife Lyn Kahn with prescribing inappropriately large amounts of the powerful painkiller to patients. The Kahns were arrested Wednesday in Casper and remained jailed Thursday. They are scheduled for an initial court appearance Friday in Casper. Search warrant applications from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents state they believe Kahn was taking cash payments to prescribe Oxycodone to patients in Wyoming, Arizona and elsewhere who were then reselling it. The Arizona Medical Board suspended Kahn’s state license in August while the Wyoming Board of Medicine suspended Kahn’s license this week. Both boards concluded he was prescribing painkillers inappropriately. … Read entire article »

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Republican vows to reverse land planning change

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A U.S. Senator from Wyoming says he’ll seek to reverse changes in how government officials plan for development across almost 250 million acres of public lands. The Obama administration announced Thursday an overhaul to an often-cumbersome process that dictates oil and gas drilling, grazing and other activities on lands administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The administration says its new rule will increase public involvement and government transparency. But Sen. John Barrasso predicted it will take away authority from locally based government workers and increase the influence of officials in Washington, D.C. The Republican lawmaker said he would work with President-elect Donald Trump to reverse the regulation.   … Read entire article »

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