AP News Update

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AP News Update

Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment

SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT-INVESTIGATION

Panel begins hearing into Wyoming superintendent

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A special Wyoming House committee kicked off a three-day hearing into whether state schools Superintendent Cindy Hill committed any impeachable offenses with about 11 hours of testimony yesterday in Cheyenne.

The panel heard from six of the 16 witnesses scheduled to testify.

Yesterday's witnesses described Hill's leadership as "erratic" and "threatening" and said she misused federal money and employees.

The Legislature's Select Investigative Committee can recommend whether Hill should face impeachment by the full House.

The panel was formed to look into claims that Hill misspent federal and state money and mismanaged the state Education Department.

Hill has denied any wrongdoing and says she's a victim of a political witch hunt.

The superintendent was removed as head of the Education Department under a law Hill is challenging in court.

SCHOOL CALENDAR

Legislation would shorten Wyoming school year

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - A Wyoming state lawmaker plans to push a bill in the 2014 legislative session that would shorten the school year for students in kindergarten through high school.

Sen. Bill Landen, a Casper Republican, proposes to move in-service training days for teachers to the summer months, or at other times when school isn't in session.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports it would take a vote of two-thirds of lawmakers for the bill to be considered in the House or Senate.

Landen said he's sponsoring the teacher training bill on behalf of small business owners and families who complain the school calendar keeps expanding. He says the training days expand the calendar by 10 days a year.

The Legislature will convene in mid-February for a session focused on developing a state budget.

REMOTE TESLA STATION

Tesla station to bring electric cars to rural Wyo.

LUSK, Wyo. (AP) - Tesla electric cars could soon be zipping over the remote plains of Wyoming.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla is building its first coast-to-coast network of quick-charge stations for its cars. The network will make it a lot easier for Tesla owners to drive across the country even though Teslas can't go more than 250-300 miles between charges.

Last month, Tesla installed four of its Supercharger units at a motel in the cattle-ranching town of Lusk.

A Supercharger enables a depleted Tesla battery pack to be recharged to 90 percent in 45 minutes. That's several times faster than any other charging option available for a Tesla.

Some Lusk residents say they'll be curious to see how other locals react to sleek and expensive Teslas showing up in their little town.

SUGAR PLANT DEATH

Woman dies at sugar beet plant in Lovell

POWELL, Wyo. (AP) - Authorities say a 28-year-old woman was killed in an accident at a sugar beet processing plant in Lovell.

Big Horn County Sheriff Kenneth Blackburn tells The Billings (Mont.) Gazette that Saturday night's accident at the Western Sugar Cooperative facility happened in a piece of equipment "quite a ways from the main factory" in a lift station that feeds water to where beets are dropped off by trucks.

The woman's name has not been released.

A Western Sugar spokesman tells the Powell Tribune the cooperative is investigating and is committed to cooperating with authorities. Blackburn says foul play is not suspected

The Gazette reports the cooperative, formed in 2002, includes 1,400 grower-owners who raise sugar beets in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska.

TRIBES-AIR QUALITY

Wyoming asks EPA to reconsider reservation ruling

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead's administration wants the EPA to freeze implementation of its recent decision that over 1 million acres around Riverton remains legally Indian Country.

Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael wrote yesterday to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy asking her to reconsider her agency's determination that a 1905 federal law opening part of the Wind River Indian Reservation to settlement by non-Indians didn't extinguish the land's reservation status.

The EPA ruled on the reservation boundary last month when it granted an application from the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes. The tribes had applied to have the reservation treated as a separate state under the federal Clean Air Act.

Wyoming claims the EPA's analysis of area history is flawed. Mead has pledged to challenge the EPA decision in federal court.

SCHOOL FRAUD CHARGES

Couple pay back $5K stolen from school district

(Information in the following story is from: The Gillette (Wyo.) News Record, http://www.gillettenewsrecord.com)

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) - The Campbell County School District has been paid back in full by two former employees accused of filling their gas tanks using district funds.

The Gillette News Record reports Wayne Patches and Heather Dahlke acknowledged the theft and owed the district $5,462. Dahlke was previously a parts manager for the district and Patches was a shop manager for the school bus garage. Patches was Dahlke's direct supervisor, as well as her boyfriend.

Dahlke was responsible for keeping track of the district's gas cards and receipts to make sure there was no unauthorized use. According to court documents, they both filled their gas tanks with school district money multiple times between February 2012 and February 2013.

AP-WF-01-07-14 0902GMT

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