AP News Update

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WYOMING DEBATE-SECRETARY

Secretary of state hopefuls meet at debate

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Cheyenne businessman Ed Murray tried to paint himself as the only candidate who offers new blood as he faced off against three others also seeking the Wyoming Republican Party's nomination for secretary of state.

But as Murray criticized the others for their political experience, candidate Ed Buchanan of Torrington, a former speaker of the Wyoming House, retorted that Murray didn't have his facts straight on local government funding issues. Buchanan suggested some political experience might benefit Murray.

Murray and Buchanan, as well as Pete Illoway, a Cheyenne businessman and former legislator, and Clark Stith, a Rock Springs lawyer who serves on the Rock Springs city council, faced off Wednesday in Riverton at a debate sponsored by Wyoming Public Media.

No Democrat is running for Secretary of State in Tuesday's primary.

CLIMATE CHANGE-WOLVERINE

Conservation groups to sue over wolverine decision

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Two coalitions of advocacy groups have filed notices that they intend to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its withdrawal of proposed protections for the wolverine.

The federal agency reversed course Tuesday and said it does not consider climate change a threat to the long-term survival of the members of the weasel family.

Wolverines need deep, late-season snow to den, and wildlife officials last year proposed increased protections to keep the animals from extinction.

But Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe says predictions about the localized effects of climate change are uncertain.

The notices filed Wednesday by Earthjustice and the Western Environmental Law Center give officials 60 days to reconsider.

Earthjustice attorney Adrienne Maxwell says the government is ignoring evidence that warmer temperatures will reduce wolverine habitat.

WYOMING PRIMARY-GOVERNOR-HILL

Cindy Hill says she's running to protect freedoms

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming Republicans have two possibilities to consider as they weigh Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill's candidacy for governor in next week's primary.

The first is that Hill is correct when she says high-ranking state officials, including Gov. Matt Mead, drove her out of the Wyoming Department of Education last year because they viewed her as a political adversary.

The other possibility is that Hill's critics are correct. They say she ignored personnel laws as head of the education department and spent money on unauthorized teacher training programs.

Hill succeeded in overturning the state law that removed her from the education department.

She has been running for governor as a champion of individual rights, saying she's standing up to a group of 'good old boys' who run the state.

GUBERNATORIAL FUNDRAISING

Mead leads challengers in gov's race fundraising

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Incumbent Gov. Matt Mead has a substantial fundraising lead over his two Republican challengers, new financial reports show.

Mead reports total contributions of $413,000 in his re-election campaign. Of that, over $323,000 is from individual donors while the rest is mainly from political action committees.

Dr. Taylor Haynes reported $164,000 in contributions. That figure included $116,000 from individuals and over $27,000 in various contributions from the candidate himself.

Cindy Hill came in last among the Republican candidates. She reporting nearly $114,000 in total contributions of which over $72,000 was in loans and donations from herself and immediate family. Hill reported just under $21,000 in individual contributions.

Democrat Pete Gosar is unopposed in the primary. He reported $56,000 in total contributions, including $20,000 he put into the campaign himself.

SECRETARY OF STATE-FUNDRAISING

Secretary of State candidates raise serious funds

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - All four Republican secretary of state hopefuls are putting up large sums of their own money in hopes of winning Tuesday's primary.

The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle reports that campaign finance reports released Tuesday show the candidates raised a combined amount of over $655,000. That's an unprecedented amount for a secretary of state's race.

Cheyenne businessman Ed Murray easily outraised the group by bringing in more than $400,000. More than $360,000 of that amount came from Murray himself.

Candidates Pete Illoway of Cheyenne; Ed Buchanan of Torrington; and Clark Stith of Rock Springs each reported raising less than $100,000.

Buchanan raised over $94,000, including over $51,000 in loans from himself.

Stith raised over $86,000, which includes $65,000 in personal loans.

Illoway brought in about $70,000, including $40,000 in personal loans.

RIVERTON AIRPORT-GREAT LAKES

Great Lakes losing co-op agreement with Frontier

RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) - Some travelers out of Riverton Regional Airport might see higher fares after Great Lakes Airlines' code-share status with Frontier Airlines ends Oct. 1.

The Riverton Ranger reports that the end of the code-sharing pact was confirmed by airport board member Cindy Olson. Great Lakes is the only airline serving Riverton.

Passengers connecting with Frontier flights in Denver might have to pay higher fares.

Under the Frontier agreement, passengers pay a single fare from Riverton to destinations beyond Denver. After Oct. 1, passengers will effectively pay for each flight segment. That could raise some ticket prices, but not all.

Travelers connecting with other airlines won't be affected.

The Ranger reported that United Airlines is continuing a code-share pact with Great Lakes.

TRIPLE FATAL

Prosecutors charge bus driver in triple fatal

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) - A bus driver faces felony charges in connection with an accident that killed three men from Gillette earlier this year.

The Gillette News-Record reports that Campbell County prosecutors have charged 53-year-old Rhoda Jesson Steel of Gillette with three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide. Prosecutors charge she operated the bus recklessly.

Steel has not yet appeared in circuit court to answer the charges.

State troopers reported the bus Steel was driving plowed into a line of vehicles stopped at a construction site on May 14.

Authorities say the crash killed 37-year-old Colin Schultz; 40-year-old Chris Joubert and 55-year-old Charles Errington.

YELLOWSTONE BISON

Park service estimates 4,900 bison in Yellowstone

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - National Park Service officials say aerial surveys have found the estimated bison population in Yellowstone National Park is 4,900 animals.

The park service said in a statement Wednesday those numbers are similar to last year's summer estimate, and just 100 shy of 2005's peak population of 5,000 bison.

The bison observed from the air in June include 740 calves born this year.

Earlier this month, Yellowstone administrators recommended the removal of about 900 bison next winter through hunting, slaughter and research.

They estimate that would drop the population to 4,600 animals.

An agreement between state and federal officials sets the target population between 3,000 and 3,500 bison.

The aerial surveys are used to plan management strategies under the Interagency Bison Management Plan between federal, state and tribal officials.

UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING-SPORTS

UW requesting $4M to feed athletes, scholarships

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - The University of Wyoming's athletic department is asking for an extra $4 million with more than half of that going to buy more food for players.

The Laramie Boomerang reported Wednesday that the request is aimed at helping the department adjust to new and expected NCAA rule changes.

Previously, universities were only allowed to provide three meals a day to players but now there are no limits.

Athletic director Tom Burman says football players should be eating 6,000 more calories at this time of the year.

The rest of the money would pay for things including full scholarships and paying for families to join prospective players on campus visits, both changes the NCAA is expected to approve.

Burman hopes donors will match the requested state funding.

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