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Fire and ice hinder travel into Yellowstone National Park

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — Both fire and ice are hindering travel into Yellowstone National Park on the National Park Service’s centennial anniversary. Authorities closed a portion of the Beartooth Highway Wednesday night due to snow and ice from a summer snowstorm. The popular mountain roadway runs from Red Lodge, Montana, over the Beartooth Pass to Yellowstone’s Northeast Entrance. Montana Department of Transportation officials say crews are working to re-open the highway Thursday. The closure is from the Montana-Wyoming state line to Wyoming Highway 296. That roadway, which provides access to the Northeast Entrance from Cody, remains open. At the other end of the park, a wildfire has closed a portion of the road leading to Yellowstone’s South Entrance since Monday. Visitors heading to Thursday’s celebration and concert in Yellowstone from the south face … Read entire article »

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Wyoming legislators to discuss sales tax exemptions

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Lawmakers are set to review Wyoming’s sales tax exemptions next month, with the possibility of some exemptions being eliminated to boost state revenue. The Joint Revenue Interim Committee will discuss exemptions designated for economic development and other services not currently covered by the sales tax. The meetings, scheduled for late September, come as the state is trying to recover from major financial losses related to the declining energy industry. The Wyoming Department of Revenue has estimated that removing several exemptions will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars each year. The extra funds would be split between state and local governments. Those opposed to removing exemptions say doing so would negatively affect economic development in Wyoming. … Read entire article »

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Gov. Matt Mead tells state agencies to brace for more cuts

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead says he’s alerting state agency directors to brace for further budget cuts in the face of falling revenues. Mead early this summer cut roughly $250 million from the $3 billion state general fund budget legislators approved earlier this year. Mead told The Associated Press on Wednesday it’s not clear yet how much more agencies will have to cut in the two-year budget cycle that started in July. Wyoming is the nation’s leading coal-producing state and state revenues are being hit hard by falling coal production. Federal figures show Wyoming coal production this year running more than 25 percent below the same period last year. Wyoming lawmakers say it’s no surprise the state needs to make more budget cuts when the Legislature convenes early next year. … Read entire article »

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UW finds $19.3 million to carve out of budget

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — The University of Wyoming has found how to reduce its budget by $19.3 million, bringing trustees one step closer to finalizing the fiscal year 2017 budget. Most of reduction comes from vacant positions that have either been frozen or eliminated. As of Aug. 19, about 150 faculty and staff positions in the budget were empty. Of those, 97 positions have been eliminated and the others are remaining vacant. While the 2017 goal has been met, the Financial Crisis Advisory Committee is still searching for $15 million in reductions for the fiscal year 2018 budget, which will be in addition to the $19.3 million. … Read entire article »

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Students from school closed over gas leak relocate to Casper

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Students from a school closed because of a gas leak are preparing to start classes in Casper while they await testing results to determine whether they can return to their old building. Over 100 students from Midwest School will begin classes 40 miles away in Casper next week. This semester also marks the first time Midwest will begin running on a four-day school week. Testing at the school in May revealed volatile organic compounds and showed higher than normal levels of carbon dioxide after the discovery of a gas leak from a nearby oil well. The well has since been plugged and air quality has improved. Officials are still waiting on a federal report that will determine which hazardous compounds were identified and any associated health risks of exposure. … Read entire article »

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Wyoming Canvassing Board sets special election in HD 18

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Republican voters in a single precinct in Sweetwater County will return to the polls next week to determine the final outcome of a primary race for a Wyoming House seat. Will Dinneen, spokesman for the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office, says the special election in Precinct 5-4 of House District 18 will be held Aug. 31. Officials say incorrect ballots were distributed to some voters in the Aug. 16 primary that resulted in errors making it impossible to determine the winner. The Wyoming Canvassing Board certified the results Wednesday of recounts in two close legislative races. In the House District 41 Republican primary, Bill Henderson beat Patrick Fitzgerald by two votes. In the Republican primary race for Senate District 6, Anthony Bouchard beat David Zwonitzer by five votes. … Read entire article »

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Digging in weird Wyoming cave yields ice age insights

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Paleontologists say they have enough funding for one more season of digging at a Wyoming cave where they’re carefully removing a trove of animal bones from the last ice age. Scientists led by Julie Meachen at Des Moines University in Iowa have been excavating fossils from Natural Trap Cave every year since 2014. This summer’s haul included wolf, bison, lion and cheetah bones. Their work is boosting knowledge about the kinds of animals that roamed northern Wyoming around the end of the last ice age some 12,000 years ago. The only way in or out of Natural Trap Cave is a 15-foot-wide hole in the ground. From there, it’s an eight-story drop to the cave floor. Countless animals fell to their deaths into the cave over thousands of years.     … Read entire article »

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*****Endangered Person Advisory*****

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office has issued an Endangered Person Advisory for a missing person incident that occurred at 4:45pm on August 24, 2016. The endangered person is Harry Dennis Wood, a white male, 80 years of age. He is 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 185 pounds with grey hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a dark blue t-shirt, blue jeans and black tennis shoes. Harry does have dementia. He walked away from a residence near Atlantic City, Wyoming. He has his wallet with him but does not know his name. He is on foot, but his direction of travel is unknown. If you have any information regarding this subject, please contact the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office at (307) 857-3600 or 307 332-5611. … Read entire article »

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Former Wyo. officer is latest suspect in 1985 slaying

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A former police officer facing murder and arson charges in a 1985 slaying is the latest in a series of suspects investigators have focused on in the search to find the killer. Laramie police last week arrested 67-year-old Fredrick J. Lamb in connection with the murder of 22-year-old Shelli R. Wiley. She was a University of Wyoming student. Lamb had worked as a police officer in Laramie and as a local sheriff’s deputy before Wiley’s death. His lawyer and a county prosecutor declined comment Tuesday. Authorities filed murder charges against a teenager after Wiley’s death but dropped them after determining he had made a false confession. Investigators later performed DNA tests on a convicted rapist in Utah. A judge is set to decide Thursday whether Lamb will stand trial. … Read entire article »

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Jackson Hole airport sees record-breaking passenger numbers

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Officials say there has been record-breaking ridership on commercial jets touching down at Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Airport this summer. Officials say July was the second-busiest month in the airport’s history. August 2014 barely surpassed this July, with 52,254 passengers boarding airplanes compared to last month’s 52,065. Visitation to Yellowstone National Park was up about 50 percent in July compared to five years ago. An estimated 996,000 people visited the park last month, setting an all-time monthly record. Grand Teton National Park doesn’t yet know how many people visited in July because the employee who processes the data has been on a long-term wildfire detail. … Read entire article »

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