Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment
WYOMING STUDENT VACCINATIONS
Students exempt from vaccines down in 2013
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The numbers of Wyoming students taking vaccinations needed for public schools went up last school year.
The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported Thursday that in 2013, only about 366 students in public and some private schools didn't get vaccinated, down from 458 the year before.
Home-schooled students aren't included in the state health department figures.
Of those who weren't vaccinated in 2013, 19 were for medical reasons and 347 were for religious ones.
The agency's Kim Deti says 97 percent of kindergarten students and between up to 98.5 percent of seventh-graders had recommended vaccinations.
CASPER BOMB THREATS
Casper: Bomb threats part of larger scam
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Casper authorities believe bomb threats against three local businesses are related to other threats in Wyoming, Montana and Utah.
The Casper Star-Tribune reported Thursday that three city businesses received telephone bomb threats between Saturday and Monday. Similar threats have been made to businesses in Riverton and Douglas, as well as in Bozeman, Montana, and Kaysville, Utah.
A police affidavit states that the threatening calls demanding money from the businesses date back to January. In each instance authorities have determined there was no threat.
Casper police detective John Hatcher said authorities are taking all precautions to protect the businesses and the public.
Police in the affected cities also are investigating. There have been no arrests.
FREMONT COUNTY FIRE DANGER
Close calls illustrate Fremont fire danger
RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) - Someone flicked a cigarette butt into a tree line last weekend at Grannier Meadows, nearly sparking a major fire in Shoshone National Forest. Flames grew and started to lick at a tree before alert Forest Service workers put it out.
The Riverton Ranger reports the workers found the cigarette butt at the fire's origin, among pine needles and duff.
The incident at a camping ground south of Louis Lake was just one of many involving fire in the Shoshone Forest in Fremont County this summer.
Forest district manager Steve Schacht says crews have been dousing 10 to 15 improperly extinguished campfires every weekend. That's a problem, given that there are about 400 campsites to monitor throughout the Loop Road complex in the Southern Wind Rivers.
CHEYENNE DATA CENTER EXPANDS
Cheyenne welcomes new Green House data center
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A $35 million expansion to a prominent Cheyenne data center has opened.
The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported Thursday that the 35,000-square-foot Green House Data expansion is four times larger than the company's original center next door.
Green House Marketing director Wendy Fox said the center employs 41 people, most of them from Wyoming.
Gov. Matt Mead announced at Wednesday's opening that the state is the data center's first customer and has acquired 56 racks for computing equipment and servers.
Campbell expansion will bring 3-D mammography
GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) - Campbell County Memorial Hospital will soon be offering a cutting-edge breast imaging technology only recently approved for hospitals.
The Gillette News Record reported Thursday that the technology is called tomosynthesis, and it aims to catch instances of breast cancer earlier and more effectively.
The technology is among several services included in the hospital's ongoing $10.9 million radiology expansion. That project will open to the public early next year and includes suites dedicated exclusively to mammography, along with ultrasound and bone density scans.
RIVERTON GRILL FIRE
Grill suspected in fire that damaged Riverton home
RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) - A propane grill may be to blame for a fire that heavily damaged a Riverton home.
The Riverton Ranger reports that no one was injured in the fire last weekend.
Officials believe the fire began near a propane grill on the back deck of the split-level home. The fire spread inside, covered the rear of the house and reached the garage and attic.
Riverton Volunteer Fire Department chief Mike Hutchison said the kitchen and dining room areas were heavily damaged, and the entire home was impacted by smoke and heat.
A resident who was home at the time of the fire escaped unharmed.
TETON COUNTY-HOUSING DIRECTOR
Teton County will hire temporary housing director
(Information in the following story is from: Jackson Hole (Wyo.) News And Guide, http://www.jhnewsandguide.com)
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - The Teton County Housing Authority will hire an interim replacement for its outgoing leader rather than seek a permanent replacement.
The Jackson Hole Daily reported Thursday that authority board members are concerned the job description could change since the county is rewriting county planning rules. Residents are also in the middle of discussing the future of public housing there.
A task force looking at how to create more workforce housing is expected to release its plan in late August.
Christine Walker announced earlier this month that she was resigning as the authority's executive director. She could remain on a contract basis to manage the construction of a new 66-unit affordable housing project, the biggest in the county's history. The authority is seeking a $700,000 federal grant for the project.
Nugent says it's a culture 'war,' not 'discussion'
CODY, Wyo. (AP) - Rock musician Ted Nugent is speaking at a Big Horn Basin Tea Party rally on Saturday in Emblem following a concert in Sheridan on Friday night.
The Cody Enterprise reported Thursday that the Second Amendment activist plans to rally Tea Party supporters in what he calls a culture war - not discussion - over the direction of the country.
Nugent told the Enterprise by email that the Tea Party's strength lies in its demands for accountability from elected officials.
Political moderates, he said, play "background music. I play the soundtrack for the American Dream loud and proud."
Nugent will speak alongside Fox News analyst Paul Vallely, a retired Army major general.
CLOUD PEAK ENERGY
Cloud Peak Energy posts $2.1 million loss
GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) - Cloud Peak Energy, which operates only in the Powder River Basin, has posted a $2.1 million loss in the second quarter of 2014, compared to a $4.1 million gain for the same period last year.
The Gillette News Record reports that Cloud Peak, like other mining operations in the basin, has been affected by rail service disruptions.
That's what Cloud Peak president and CEO Colin Marshall said during an earnings conference call this week. He said that some 20.6 million tons of coal were affected by rail delays.
Marshall said that Cloud Peak reduced its costs per ton of coal, compared to 2013, with higher sales prices and by servicing equipment in-house rather than contracting the work.
GAS MASK RETURNED
Stolen WWI gas mask found in Rapid City pawn shop
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A World War I gas mask stolen from the Wyoming State Capitol and missing for almost a century is back on display in a Cheyenne museum.
A South Dakota pawn shop owner said Thursday he was happy to reunite the gas mask with its rightful owner.
The German gas mask originally got to Wyoming by way of a man who served in the war. Wyoming State Museum officials say the gas mask was displayed in the Wyoming Capitol and stolen in the 1920s.
Museum officials say they learned recently that Presidential Pawn in Rapid City was selling the old gas mask online. The gas mask carries a tag confirming the link.
Pawn shop owner Chris Johnson says being able to donate the $300 item back to the museum was priceless.
ALPHA NATURAL RESOURCES-LAYOFFS
1,100 layoffs planned at Alpha coal mines in W.Va.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Alpha Natural Resources expects to lay off 1,100 workers at 11 West Virginia surface coal mines by mid-October, with the company citing dismal markets and federal regulation.
An Alpha news release says the company notified employees Thursday afternoon that it expects to idle mines and related facilities.
Alpha says the mines produce about 75 percent thermal coal for power generation, and 25 percent metallurgical coal for steel production.
The company cited weak domestic and international coal markets and federal limits on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.
In the past three years, the Bristol, Virginia-based company says it has laid off 4,000 employees and idled 60 mines and 35 million tons of production.
Alpha is one of the country's biggest coal suppliers. It also has mines in Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.