AP News Update

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Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment

HOMELAND SECURITY GRANTS

Audit: Terrorism grants improperly overseen

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - A federal audit shows that nearly $400,000 worth of grants meant to protect Wyoming from terrorist attacks were improperly overseen by the state's Office of Homeland Security.

The audit by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General examined grant management from 2010 to 2012 and found that the state office wasn't properly holding law enforcement and other agencies to account for how they spent federal grants.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports the improper spending totaled $393,752 out of the $15 million in Homeland Security grants distributed in Wyoming from 2010 to 2012 as part of a federal initiative to beef up local communities' emergency preparedness after 9/11.

Such spending in the state peaked in 2010 at $6.61 million but slid to $2.8 million in 2012.

COW KILLING

Man accused of fatally shooting cow charged anew

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) - A 31-year-old Gillette man accused of fatally shooting a yearling cow for its meat and then damaging a backhoe after disposing of the remains is facing additional charges of aggravated burglary and disposal of stolen property.

The Gillette News Record reports Justin Epley has already been sentenced to six years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm when the cow was killed. Prosecutors now say the guns thought to have been used in the killing - an AR-15 rifle and a .45-caliber handgun - were stolen. The weapons have not been recovered.

Authorities say Epley put the backhoe into drive and sent it into a ditch after killing the cow. The carcass and backhoe were found Sept. 4.

Investigators say Epley told a cellmate he shot the cow 54 times.

CONVERSE COUNTY DRILLING

BLM reviewing plan for 5,000 Converse County wells

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Federal land managers have begun evaluating a proposal to expand an east-central Wyoming oil and gas field with up to 5,000 new wells, asking for public comment on issues surrounding the project.

The Bureau of Land Management published a formal notice in the Federal Register Friday that energy companies want to drill the wells over a 10-year period on more than 2,300 square miles in Converse County.

BLM officials first disclosed the proposal in January.

Meetings to get public comment on the issues will be held in Casper, Douglas and Glenrock. Dates haven't been set.

The BLM will also take written comments.

About 83 percent of the land identified for the project is privately owned. The federal government owns the mineral rights under about 65 percent of the land.

MOTH MIGRATION

Abundance of miller moths expected in NE Colorado

DENVER (AP) - Scientists at Colorado State University say the number of miller moths migrating through northeastern Colorado this spring is expected to be well above average.

The Denver Post reports this year's moisture and plenty of flowering plants created good conditions for the moths during their larvae cycle. The moths are expected to start migrating through the northern Front Range at the end of May or the beginning of June.

Miller moths don't reproduce or lay eggs during their migration, but they can become a nuisance if they make their way into homes.

Some flowering plants - especially lilacs, cherries, spirea and cotoneaster - may attract larger numbers of moths.

Residents in southeastern Colorado will have less to worry about because drought conditions there are expected to result in fewer moths.

COAL-FREE WASHINGTON

Inslee wants to wean electric utilities off coal

SEATTLE (AP) - Washington state has an abundant supply of hydroelectric power and currently gets less than 14 percent of its electricity from coal. Gov. Jay Inslee wants to take that down to zero over time.

To wean the state off coal-generated power, Inslee will have to persuade the state's three private electric utilities to reduce or eliminate electricity they get from plants in Montana and Wyoming.

Puget Sound Energy, Pacific Power and Avista Corp. say coal-fired electricity is reliable, cost-effective and part of a diverse portfolio that includes hydropower, natural gas and wind. For now, it will remain in their long-term plans.

Saying the state has a moral responsibility to act on climate change, Inslee signed an executive order that directed state agencies to negotiate with utilities to phase out coal-produced electricity.

FORESTRY WORKER DIES

State Forestry worker dies during pack test

NEWCASTLE, Wyo. (AP) - An employee with the Wyoming State Forestry Division died of an apparent heart attack while participating in an annual pack test in Newcastle.

Wyoming State Forester Bill Crapser says the man was participating with other employees in the annual firefighter work capacity test when he collapsed Saturday. Efforts to revive him at the scene were unsuccessful.

Crapser says the forestry division is "deeply saddened by this tragic event."

The man's name has not been released.

DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION

Pete Gosar announces run for Wyoming governor

ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. (AP) - Pete Gosar has stepped down as chairman of the Wyoming Democratic Party and announced that he's running for governor.

Gosar announced his candidacy Saturday afternoon at the Democratic Party convention in Rock Springs.

The 46-year-old Gosar lives in Laramie and works as a pilot for the state of Wyoming.

Gosar ran four years ago for governor, losing to Democrat Leslie Petersen in the 2010 Democratic primary. Petersen later lost in the general election to Republican Gov. Matt Mead.

Petersen of Jackson likewise had stepped down as Democratic Party chairwoman before her unsuccessful run for governor four years ago.

Mead is seeking re-election and faces challenges in the Republican primary from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill and Taylor Haynes, a retired physician.

ELK POACHING

Gillette woman who poached bull elk must pay $19K

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - A Gillette woman who acknowledged poaching two bull elk on a ranch near the Powder River east of Buffalo in 2011 and 2013 has been ordered to pay $19,500 in fines and restitution.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports Prairie Whiteface, who used elk licenses that were not issued to her, also lost her privilege to buy licenses and to hunt for three years in Wyoming and 38 other states. Both elk heads were confiscated and the meat from one of them was donated to a family.

WYOMING WOLVES

Wyoming wildlife officials begin trapping wolves

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Wildlife officials monitoring gray wolf populations will be capturing the animals in parts of northwestern Wyoming.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports the wolves will be immobilized, processed and released on site and monitored. All areas where the trapping will be taking place will be marked with warning signs.

Information gained from the trapping will be used to assess the wolf populations in Wyoming and to direct wolf management.

In April, Gov. Matt Mead released a report prepared by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department that said there were at least 306 wolves in at least 43 packs - including more than 23 breeding pairs - in Wyoming at the end of 2013.

Of that total, at least 95 wolves in at least 11 packs were in Yellowstone National Park.

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