AP News Update

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AP News Update

Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment

SPRING STORM-WYOMING

Spring snow packs punch across southern Wyoming

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A powerful spring snowstorm continues to bring highway traffic to a halt across most of southern Wyoming.

The storm has closed Interstate 80 from Cheyenne to Rawlins and eastbound from Rock Springs to Cheyenne.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning from Rock Springs to the Nebraska line through Monday morning. Winter weather advisories are in effect for Evanston, Green River, Lander and Douglas.

The weather service says mountain areas in Carbon County got 1 to 2 feet of snow. Meteorologist Rob Cox says Laramie County averaged 6 to 10 inches, a common total elsewhere. More snow is expected overnight.

Temperatures in most of Wyoming will dip into the 20s overnight before climbing back above freezing Monday.

The weather is forecast to gradually warm up again over the remainder of the week.

AIRPLANE SEARCH

Search underway for plane missing near Yellowstone

CODY, Wyo. (AP) - A search and rescue team is looking for a single-engine plane with two people on board that may have crashed near Yellowstone National Park.

Park County sheriff's officials say the 1963 Mooney M20C was last seen Tuesday departing Yellowstone Regional Airport in Cody. On board were 84-year-old Robert Zimmerman of Huntsville, Alabama, and 86-year-old Ward Zimmerman of Seattle.

The brothers were headed from Cody to Twin Falls, Idaho, and from there to Seattle.

Radar last detected the plane about 7 miles outside the Yellowstone east entrance in northwest Wyoming. Poor weather prevented an aerial search, but searchers were on the ground in that area Sunday.

The search began after police in Idaho on Saturday asked Park County officials to check for the plane at the Cody airport.

CASPER STABBING

Casper man's attempted murder trial to begin

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - The trial of a Casper man charged with attempted first-degree murder is set to begin Monday in Natrona County District Court.

Twenty-seven-year-old Zacharia Johnson is accused of stabbing Robert Masterson multiple times in March 2013. Masterson was 60 at the time, and a police report says he suffered a collapsed lung and a punctured stomach.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that alleged accomplice Robert Simmons has pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and aggravated burglary and has gone to prison.

Police say Johnson and Simmons had a neighbor knock on Masterson's door so they could get into his home. Police allege that Johnson then attacked Masterson.

Johnson faces life in prison if convicted. His trial is set to last three days.

CAPITOL RENOVATION

Detailed study precedes Wyoming Capitol renovation

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A consultant for a project to remodel the Capitol building in Cheyenne says experts are studying the more than century-old structure to better understand what repairs it needs.

The Wyoming Legislature has committed up to $259 million over several years to renovate the Wyoming Capitol and to renovate and expand an adjacent state office building.

The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle reports that in Kansas, a recently completed 13-year Capitol renovation cost almost $200 million more than initial estimates. Renovating Nebraska's Capitol took four years longer than planned.

Wyoming Capitol renovation consultant Tom Whetstone says trying to manage unforeseen problems is important for remaining on budget.

WILD HORSES-HOLDING FACILITIES

BLM seeks bids for new corrals for wild horses

RENO, Nev. (AP) - The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is soliciting bids for new, short-term holding facilities for wild horses removed from Western rangelands under its ongoing program to thin what it calls overpopulated herds.

Bids will be accepted until June 2 from those interested in operating the corrals in 17 Western and Midwestern states.

The BLM places mustangs in the facilities until they're adopted or shipped to long-term pastures in the Midwest.

Suzanne Roy of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign says the plans come at a time when the agency already "warehouses" more mustangs off the range than remain free in the wild.

She says it's an indication the BLM intends to remove more horses in direct contradiction to a recommendation by an independent panel of the National Academy of Sciences.

ALCOVA-FINANCIAL REPORTS

Suit alleges Natrona County reservoir misreporting

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - A former superintendent of Alcova Reservoir southwest of Casper claims in a federal whistleblower lawsuit that Natrona County defrauded the federal government.

Charles Loraas alleges county officials falsely reported to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation their income and expenses associated with the county's reservoirs.

Loraas was superintendent at Alcova from 1989 to 2011. He alleges he was fired when he attempted to tell county officials about the fraud.

The lawsuit alleges the appearance that the reservoirs were being operated at a loss enabled Natrona County to accept additional grant money.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports Natrona County and individuals mentioned in the lawsuit have not yet filed a response to the allegations.

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