AP News Update

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AP News Update

Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment

CHEYENNE STORM

Storm causes flash flooding in Cheyenne

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A storm dumped heavy rain and small hail on Cheyenne, causing temporary street flooding and tree damage.

The National Weather Service reported a funnel cloud on the southwest end of the city that did not touch down during the storm on Sunday afternoon.

A number of trees lost limbs, and one tree about a foot in diameter was knocked down.

There were no other reports of major damage.

Flash flooding occurred on some streets and in low-lying areas, but most of the streets were clear of water by late afternoon.

YELLOWSTONE-REMOTE CHECKPOINT

Improvement plan for Yellowstone ranger station

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) - The National Park Service has approved a plan to make improvements to a remote ranger station in the southwest corner of Yellowstone National Park.

Since 1910, the Bechler Administrative Area has served as the major checkpoint near the Wyoming-Idaho state line. It is the only entrance fee collection point in that area of Yellowstone.

The ranger station is located 26 miles from Ashton, Idaho, at the end of a 12-mile gravel road, and is not accessible from or connected to any of the major park roads.

Improvements will be made in parking, employee housing and utilities under the plan.

The Park Service says a proposed telecommunications tower was dropped for now until issues with design, funding and compliance can be resolved.

YELLOWSTONE VISITS

Yellowstone visit numbers up in June

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) - Yellowstone National Park saw its visitation numbers increase more than 7 percent for June, compared with a year ago.

In addition, visitation to the first national park exceeded the 1 million mark for the first six months of 2014.

The National Park Service recorded more than 669,642 recreational visits to Yellowstone in June.

That compares with about 624,400 recreational visits in June 2013.

Driving the increase were bus passengers. June bus passenger numbers were up almost 25 percent at the North entrance, nearly 34 percent at the West Entrance, and up almost 39 percent at the South entrance compared with June 2013.

July is typically the park's peak visitation month, followed in order by August, June, September and May.

WILD HORSES-ROUNDUPS

BLM to remove fewer mustangs across West

RENO, Nev. (AP) - The U.S. Bureau of Land Management says it will remove fewer wild horses and burros from the range across the West this summer because of budget constraints and overflowing holding pens.

Under its roundup schedule announced this week, the bureau plans to gather 2,400 of the animals through the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year. All but 215 of them will be horses.

Plans call for the removal of 1,535 horses in Wyoming, 285 in Nevada, 200 in Utah, 75 in Oregon, 50 in California and 35 in Idaho. The bureau also plans to gather 140 burros in Arizona, 50 in California and 25 in Oregon.

The BLM says it removes excess horses and burros each year to maintain the ecological health of public rangelands.

Suzanne Roy of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign says wild horses aren't overpopulating the West, and the problem is rangelands are being overrun by privately owned livestock instead.

PRISON HEALTH CARE

Study: Wyoming No. 3 spender on inmate health care

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A new report says Wyoming spent about $20.7 million on prison health care services in 2011.

That ranks Wyoming third-highest among states in such spending per inmate.

A study released last week by the State Health Care Spending Project found Wyoming spent an average of $10,870 on health care per inmate in 2011.

The national average was for states to spend about $6,000 per inmate during that time.

Only California and Vermont spent more per inmate than Wyoming.

Wyoming Department of Corrections Director Bob Lampert says the state's location makes it hard to find inexpensive contractors to provide the health services within the prisons.

Lampert also tells the Wyoming Tribune Eagle that the average Wyoming inmate enters the prison system with more health problems than the typical resident.

ELK REFUGE TREES

National Elk Refuge aspens show improvement

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - New research indicates aspen trees are making a comeback on parts of the National Elk Refuge.

The number of aspen trees on the preserve in northwest Wyoming has been in decline for decades.

The refuge is undertaking a study with Montana State University to quantify how many young aspens are positioned to survive and where they're located.

Refuge biologist Eric Cole says there's some evidence of some aspen regeneration, at least on the extreme north end of the refuge.

Cole tells the Jackson Hole News & Guide that researchers are most interested in the capacity of the stand to regenerate and their rate of height growth.

The refuge is working on a conservation plan that includes maintaining sufficient numbers of aspen trees.

GAME RAFFLE

New raffle raises $665,000 for Game and Fish

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A new raffle for hunting licenses in Wyoming has raised more than $665,000.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department raffled off difficult-to-draw hunting licenses and one Super Tag Trifecta.

The Super Trifecta Tag winner can buy three different licenses from a pool of antelope, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, moose, mountain goat, gray wolf, black bear, mountain lion or wild bison licenses.

Game and Fish sold more than 50,000 raffle tickets to people from Wyoming, across the country and around the world.

The revenue helps the agency's operating budget in managing wildlife resources in the state.

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