AP News Update

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AP News Update

Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment

WYOMING ECONOMY

Oil lends boost to Wyoming economy

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - The oil industry continued to lend a boost to Wyoming's economy over the first three months of this year despite a slight slowdown in drilling.

New figures from the Wyoming Department of Administration and Information show state revenue is up compared to last year. Unemployment is relatively low and housing prices are rising.

State economist Jim Robinson says Wyoming's oil and gas industry shed 300 jobs last winter but that was probably due to a seasonal slowdown in drilling.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports other indicators show growth in the oil industry. The number of rigs drilling for oil is up compared to this time last year. So are tax collections from the oil industry.

Robinson says overall, Wyoming's economy appears to be doing fine.

JACKSON-GROUND SLIPPING

Water pump station unhooked amid Jackson slide

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - Crews have disconnected a water pumping station because of a slow-moving landslide in western Jackson.

Town officials said Tuesday the pump was taken out of service because of significant new damage from the slide.

The slide was discovered April 4 on a hill above Budge Drive near West Broadway, and the ground is moving about an inch a day.

Four houses and two apartment buildings have been evacuated while officials consider ways to stabilize the hillside.

Crews plan to start work Wednesday on a massive buttress to slow the slide. The Town Council authorized up to $700,000 for the project.

Officials say they don't believe there's any danger of a catastrophe.

HOUSE SPEAKER RETIRING

Wyoming House Speaker Lubnau to retire

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming House Speaker Tom Lubnau is retiring from the Legislature.

The Gillette Republican was elected speaker for the 2013 and 2014 sessions.

According to the Casper Star-Tribune, House speakers traditionally don't run again for representative and Lubnau said Monday he wants to honor that tradition.

Lubnau could run for the Wyoming Senate, but Lubnau says he doesn't want that. Labnau tells the newspaper he prefers to fade into obscurity.

FACEBOOK-BURGLARY

Stolen wedding dress spotted for sale on Facebook

ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. (AP) - Sweetwater County deputies have arrested a man on a theft charge after a woman spotted her stolen wedding dress for sale on Facebook.

Authorities said Tuesday the dress and other items were taken from a home north of Rock Springs in February. On Thursday, the woman told authorities the dress was listed in a posting for a garage sale at a Rock Springs-area home.

Sheriff's officials say an undercover deputy bought the dress at the sale. Deputies then searched the home with a warrant they had already obtained and found other allegedly stolen goods, including a motorcycle missing from Uinta County since 2010.

Fifty-year-old Leon Lynch was arrested on suspicion of theft, wrongful taking or disposing of property and marijuana possession. No phone listing could be found for him.

YELLOWSTONE ROADS

Roads to Old Faithful set to open starting Friday

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) - Spring plowing continues in Yellowstone National Park and people should be able to drive to Old Faithful starting Friday.

That would be right on time. Park officials typically try to get the roads east of West Yellowstone and south of Mammoth Hot Springs plowed and open by the third week of April.

Last year, federal budget cuts threatened to delay plowing in Yellowstone. Local officials pitched in to hire state snow plows and plow crews. That helped to get Yellowstone opened up on schedule.

Park officials say the park's gates should open up on time again this year. The East Entrance is scheduled to open May 2 and the South Entrance May 9.

The road from the North Entrance to the Northeast Entrance remains open all year.

DISTRICT WAIVERS

19 school districts get waivers for 16-1 ratio

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Department of Education is allowing 19 school districts to exceed the state mandated 16-to-1 student-teacher ratio.

Thirteen districts were granted a waiver for the 2014-15 school year because they did not have the facilities to increase classroom space. Other districts granted waivers had online education programs that skewed the number of students or were doing so well academically that the ratio wasn't judged to be necessary.

The student-teacher ratio was set by the 2011 Legislature as part an ongoing, comprehensive education reform initiative. It applies to kindergarten through third grade.

The state Education Department can waive the requirement for any district that demonstrates insufficient school facility capacity, positive school performance, positive student achievement or for other reasons related to the delivery of the education program to students.

AID WORKER-NICARAGUA

Jackson church says volunteer dead in Nicaragua

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - A Jackson church says a woman who disappeared on a church mission trip to Nicaragua has been found dead.

The pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Jackson Hole, the Rev. Paul Hayden, told the Jackson Hole Daily on Monday evening that Karen Colclough's body was identified in Nicaragua by a church member and another person associated with the trip.

The 37-year-old worked on a project with a Seattle-based non-profit, Agros International, in Tierra Nueva, Nicaragua last week. She disappeared on the final day of the trip after saying she was going for a run on the beach.

Agros International posted its condolences to Colclough's family on its Facebook page but didn't provide any details about how she died.

WYOMING WOLVES

Wyoming governor touts wolf reintroduction success

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Gov. Matt Mead says a survey showing Wyoming's wolf population is stable proves ending federal protections for the animals and placing them under state management was the right move.

Mead on Tuesday released a report stating there were at least 306 wolves in Wyoming at the end of 2013. He says the report shows the state has met its commitment to maintain minimum wolf populations.

Wyoming took over wolf management in late 2012 after the federal government ruled they no longer needed Endangered Species Act protections.

Conservation groups are pressing federal lawsuits challenging the end of federal protections for Wyoming's wolves. Wyoming classifies wolves as predators that may be shot on sight in most areas and hunters have killed scores of wolves since the start of state management.

BIG BOY-SCHEDULE

Big Boy's trip from California to Wyoming

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The tentative schedule for Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014, which is being towed from Southern California to the railroad's steam shop in Cheyenne, Wyo., for restoration:

April 28: Bloomington, Calif., to Yermo, Calif., passing through Canyon, Victorville and Barstow.

April 29: Yermo, Calif., to Las Vegas, passing through Kelso, Calif., and Jean, Nev.

April 30: On display in Las Vegas.

May 1: Las Vegas to Milford, Utah, passing through Moapa and Caliente, Nev., and Modena, Utah.

May 2: Milford, Utah, to Salt Lake City, passing through Clear Lake, Delta and Stockton, Utah.

May 3: On display in Salt Lake City.

May 4: Salt Lake City to Ogden, Utah.

May 5: On display in Ogden, Utah.

May 6: Ogden, Utah, to Rock Springs, Wyo., passing through Echo, Utah, and Evanston, Granger and Green River, Wyo.

May 7: Rock Springs, Wyo., to Laramie, Wyo., passing through Wamsutter, Rawlins and Medicine Bow, Wyo.

May 8: Laramie, Wyo., to Cheyenne, Wyo.

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