AP News Update

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AP News Update

Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment

WILD HORSE ROUNDUP

Feds agree to delay Wyoming wild horse roundup

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The federal government has agreed to delay a plan to remove about 800 horses from areas in southern Wyoming.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management recently announced plans to start removing the horses from lands within the Great Divide Basin, Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek herd management areas starting Aug. 18.

Lawyers for the federal agency recently filed notice with a federal judge in Wyoming that the agency won't start the roundup until Sept. 1.

Wild horse preservation groups are challenging the federal agency's roundup plans, saying the BLM failed to follow federal environmental laws in planning the action. Delaying the roundup until Sept. 1 will give the groups time to ask a federal judge to order the federal agency not to proceed.

HOUSE DEBATE-WYOMING

Wyoming US House candidate calls Obama dictator

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A Republican candidate for U.S. House in Wyoming says President Barack Obama is a dictator and he wants to personally say it to the president's face.

Jason Senteney is challenging U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis for Wyoming's lone U.S. House seat.

During a debate Tuesday night sponsored by Wyoming PBS, the candidates were asked for their thoughts on Obama.

Lummis answered first, criticizing Obama's foreign policy, national economic policy and rulemaking.

Senteney responded next, saying he disagrees with almost all of what Obama has done and adding that Obama is "more of a dictator than a president, and I want to tell that to him to his face."

Senteney is a 36-year-old corrections officer and volunteer firefighter from Torrington. He has not held a major office before.

SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT-DEBATE

GOP candidates for Wyoming schools chief debate

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Two of the three Republican candidates for Wyoming's superintendent of public instruction clashed over the administration of schools under the current state schools chief.

Sheryl Lain, Jillian Balow and Bill Winney are running in the Aug. 19 Republican primary.

During the debate Tuesday night sponsored by Wyoming PBS, Balow challenged Lain to apologize for committing nepotism by hiring Lain's own daughter for a job at the Wyoming Department of Education. Lain is one of the top agency deputies under current Superintendent Cindy Hill.

Lain didn't address Balow's challenge.

Balow blames the Hill administration for the chaotic state of Wyoming K-12 public education, while Lain defended Hill.

On allowing guns in schools, Lain and Winney say that's up to local school boards. Balow says police officers are the best option.

WYOMING PRIMARY-GOVERNOR-MEAD

Mead emphasizes achievements ahead of GOP primary

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Matt Mead is a Republican governor in a heavily Republican state. But he says he's not taking his re-election bid for granted.

Mead is seeking a second term in Wyoming's Aug. 19 GOP primary. He says he's anxious to get his message out to defeat two challengers in an unusually bitter and personal campaign.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill accuses Mead of orchestrating her removal from the state education department last year. Taylor Haynes vows to seize federal lands.

Mead says he prefers to focus on his record. He says Wyoming has enticed high-tech companies to expand operations under his term. He notes the state has kept saving money while unemployment has dropped to about 4 percent - below the national average of over 6 percent.

WYOMING COURT RECORDS

Wyo. Supreme Court rules for media in records case

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Supreme Court has ruled in favor of media organizations that challenged a circuit judge's refusal to release information about a Casper man charged in 2012 with kidnapping and sexual abuse of a Glenrock girl.

The court on Tuesday concluded that Circuit Judge I. Vincent Case Jr. violated the First Amendment when he closed court proceedings and sealed the court records before transferring the defendant to district court.

The Wyoming Press Association, several Wyoming newspapers and The Associated Press had challenged the closure of proceedings.

The supreme court ruled circuit judges can still follow state law forbidding state employees from identifying people accused of sexual assault before their cases reach district court by requiring attorneys to file papers with the defendant's name represented by initials or completely redacted.

JACKSON AIRPORT

Jackson Hole Airport on track for record year

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - The Jackson Hole Airport is on track to set a record this year for the highest number of passengers.

Airport officials are reporting more than 48,100 air travelers in July, a month that's typically the second-busiest of the year.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that 189,000 people had boarded a commercial jet at the airstrip this year through the end of July. The travel hub is tracking for a record year.

Air traveler volume in Jackson Hole usually tops out in August, followed by July, September and then June.

The passenger record was in 2008, when the count surpassed 305,000. Last year was the second-busiest, with 296,000.

TETON COUNTY-SALES TAX

Sales tax revenue up in Jackson, Teton County

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - Sales tax revenue collections are up in and around Jackson this summer.

The Jackson Hole Daily reported Tuesday that Teton County took in $2.3 million in sales tax revenue in July and August while the town of Jackson received $1.9 million during that time. That's a nearly 12 percent increase for both.

The revenue reported during July and August actually comes from sales made in May and June.

The increase is especially important to Jackson, which doesn't collect property taxes. The town was counting on a 3.5 percent increase in sales tax collections to support its new budget.

CHEYENNE-SEX ASSAULT PLEA

Man pleads not guilty to 11 sexual assault charges

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A former Cheyenne recycling business owner has pleaded not guilty to 11 sex assault counts in a case involving a child.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that Jeffrey Stumpf is charged with five counts of second-degree sexual assault and six counts of second-degree sexual assault by an authority figure.

Court documents say the alleged assaults occurred between 1991 and 2013. The victim contended he had been assaulted since the age of 5.

The 47-year-old Stumpf denied the claims. He entered his plea Monday in Larimer County District Court.

Trial was set for Nov. 18.

YELLOWSTONE-MISSING MAN

Search for missing man in northern Yellowstone

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) - A search is underway for a 22-year-old Georgia man who was swept down a dangerous river in Yellowstone National Park.

The National Park Service says Darien Latty was last seen about 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Yellowstone River near Tower Junction on the north side of the park.

It says Latty was among three park concession employees who were floating the Lamar River with inner tubes. Floating the Lamar River is prohibited by park regulations due to safety concerns.

Shortly after reaching the confluence of the Lamar and Yellowstone rivers, two of the men got out of the water.

However, Latty was seen being carried downstream by the rushing water, without either an inner tube or life jacket.

Initial search efforts failed to turn up any sign of Latty.

NATIVE EDUCATION

Native education conference starts in Riverton

RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) - The fifth annual Native American education conference starts Tuesday in Riverton.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports the conference will feature two days of presentations on issues that affect native students.

The conference is open to the public and is being held at the Intertribal Center at Central Wyoming College. It costs $100 for out of town attendees.

Keja Whiteman is Native American liaison to the Wyoming Department of Education. She says she hopes community members and teachers attend the conference with the desire to learn something they are willing to implement in their classrooms and community.

On Wednesday, Rev. Michael Oleksa from Alaska will lead a discussion on culture and miscommunication at 8:30 a.m.

STOLEN EXPLOSIVES

Wyoming man to change plea in explosives theft

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A Wyoming man accused of stealing 559 pounds of explosives from a U.S. Forest Service bunker near Red Lodge is seeking to plead guilty to a federal criminal indictment.

Thirty-three-year-old Budd James Nesius of Wheatland was ordered to appear in U.S. District Court in Billings Thursday for a change of plea hearing before Judge Susan Watters.

Nesius was arrested in February and charged with one count of possession of stolen explosives.

He faces up to 10 years in prison, three years' supervised release and a $250,000 fine. Court documents show he did not reach a plea deal.

Prosecutors said Nesius came across the bunker while looking for a place to camp in April 2013. Prosecutors say he stole the explosives intending to sell them to "make a little money."

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