AP News Update

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AP News Update

Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment

JACKSON-GROUND SLIPPING

Engineers build wall to slop sliding butte

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - Workers in Jackson are building a massive wall officials hope will temporarily stop a landslide that is slowly moving down a hillside.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports crews used backhoes and excavators on Wednesday to build concrete barriers as high as 10 feet along a road.

Geologists say road-grading projects over decades may have contributed to a slow-moving landslide that has displaced residents of four homes and two small apartment buildings and cut off road access to dozens of other homes.

The ground has cracked and is slipping at a rate of about an inch a day. At the foot of the slide, the earth is bulging upward and buckling the pavement in a pharmacy parking lot. Officials say there is little chance of a catastrophe.

SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT-RECORDS

Judge issues narrow ruling in public records case

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A state judge has ruled that elected officials cannot use the Wyoming Public Records Act to obtain massive amounts of internal documents from other government agencies.

District Judge Peter Arnold issued the narrow ruling recently in a lawsuit filed by state schools Superintendent Cindy Hill against Gov. Matt Mead and the state Department of Education director.

Hill is seeking correspondence among employees in the department and the governor's office.

While Arnold ruled Hill can't seek the documents as superintendent, he noted she can still seek them as a private individual. Hill filed the lawsuit in both her capacity as superintendent and as a private citizen.

Bruce Moats, Hill's attorney, says the lawsuit continues and the state is supplying some records but still withholding others that the governor's office considers privileged.

GOVERNMENT POLL-WYOMING

Poll: most Wyomingites trust state government

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A recent Gallup poll shows that 76 percent of Wyoming residents have a great deal or fair amount of trust in their state government.

The percentage is the second-highest among states.

Only North Dakota, at 77 percent had a higher ranking than Wyoming.

The poll's results are based on interviews with at least 600 residents in every state and were conducted between June and December 2013.

Gov. Matt Mead commented that the poll results are a compliment to those in state government and to the Legislature. He says having a citizen Legislature is one of the keys to good state government.

UNIVERSITY RANCHLAND

Davis dies, will provides for ranch use by UW, CSU

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The will of a wealthy Denver philanthropist who has died contains an incentive for the University of Wyoming and Colorado State University to use a ranch for agricultural education rather than sell the property.

Amy Davis died Wednesday. She was 86.

Davis' personal representative, Tyson Dines, said Thursday that Davis' will sets aside a considerable amount to support teaching at the Y Cross Ranch. He wouldn't specify the amount.

University officials said they were saddened by Davis' death but had no additional comment.

Davis donated her family's southeast Wyoming ranch to the UW Foundation and CSU Research Foundation in 1997. Davis later expressed concern the Y Cross saw little use for hands-on teaching.

Preparations to sell prompted Davis to sue in 2012. She lost before the Wyoming Supreme Court in March.

MEAD TAIWAN

Gov. Matt Mead meets with Taiwanese officials

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Gov. Matt Mead has met with Taiwanese officials in Cheyenne and says he looks forward to building greater trade and cooperation with the island nation that has a powerful hunger for Wyoming coal.

Mead welcomed officials to the Wyoming State Capitol on Thursday including Andy Chin, the director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Seattle. The governor visited Taiwan last year.

Mead called Thursday's visit a great opportunity for Wyoming to build on its relationship with Taiwan. He says he hopes the state can increase tourism as well as trade.

Chin says Taiwan sees coal imports as critical for its national energy.

Wyoming has run into some opposition from states in the Northwest to its plan to export coal to Asian markets through deep-water ports there.

MOSER ENERGY-PICKENS

Pickens teaming up with family-run Wyoming firm

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - T. Boone Pickens is teaming up with a family-run Wyoming business hoping to become the largest maker of natural gas engines for drilling rigs.

The Texas millionaire's energy hedge fund, BP Capital, is partnering with Casper-based Moser Energy Systems to create a new company - Mesa Natural Gas Solutions. The Casper Star-Tribune (http://bit.ly/1h6KGqz ) reports that Moser will continue making the engines and Pickens' fund will promote them.

Pickens joined Moser executives in announcing the joint venture Wednesday at its new building in Evansville.

He says 95 percent of drilling rigs are powered by diesel engines but Moser's engines are a cheaper and cleaner domestic alternative.

Moser's engines convert raw natural gas from oil drilling sites into fuel for the engines, eliminating the need to haul diesel to the sites.

GILLETTE MURDER CHARGE

Death penalty ruled out in Gillette murder case

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) - Prosecutors say they will not seek the death penalty in a first-degree murder case against a 21-year-old man charged in a fatal shooting in Gillette on Thanksgiving.

Todd Sindelar is accused of killing Matthew Boyer at Boyer's home.

The Gillette News Record reports Deputy County Attorney Ron Wirthwein refused comment, saying it's still an active case.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Sindelar faces up to life in prison without parole.

Sindelar was returned to Campbell County after spending several weeks in a South Dakota jail.

INMATE DEATH

Montana inmate dies at Colorado prison

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Montana State Prison officials say an inmate has died of an apparent hanging at a Colorado prison.

Prison spokeswoman Linda Moodry says 38-year-old Timothy DeHerrera was found unresponsive in his cell late Saturday afternoon. He was hanging with a sheet that was tied to a cell window.

DeHerrera's death is under investigation.

DeHerrera was first sentenced to prison in April 2004 for two auto thefts and assault on a peace officer in Yellowstone County. At the time of his February 2003 arrest, the Colorado Springs, Colo., man was suspected of stealing a minivan in Colorado Springs and a pickup truck in Wheatland, Wyo.

He was sentenced in September 2008 for riot and criminal mischief and later moved to a Colorado prison.

Moody did not say where in Colorado DeHerrera had been held.

NEWSPAPER LAWSUIT-LEGAL FEES

School district spent $43K suing Laramie newspaper

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - The Albany County school district says it spent $43,000 on legal fees in a lawsuit against the Laramie Daily Boomerang over access to records of an employee survey.

The Boomerang reported Thursday that Albany County School District No. 1 released the figure after denying two previous requests for the information in December and January. School officials said then the lawsuit was still pending.

The lawsuit was settled in March with the school district agreeing to make redacted comments from the survey available to the public.

Officials agreed to make an unredacted version available to a teacher group if members signed a confidentiality agreement.

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