Wyoming News Update

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FOREST SERVICE-SEXUAL HARASSMENT

WASHINGTON — Amid scrutiny stemming from fresh revelations of rampant discrimination, bullying, retaliation and sexual misconduct at the U.S. Forest Service, the agency's new chief pledged Thursday that she will "do everything in my power to put us on a path to no harassment." Vicki Christiansen acknowledged to a congressional panel that the Forest Service is in need of a culture change. She pledged to enact new systems and overhaul existing processes to ensure a safe and functional work environment.

SCHOOL-STUDENT GUNS

GILLETTE — The 14-year-old junior high student who brought two handguns and 36 rounds of ammunition to a Wyoming school and threatened to shoot another student and staff members faces nine counts of attempted first-degree murder. Each of the nine counts is for a potential victim who was identified as someone the student intended to target because he was unhappy with them or was in the classroom where the student planned to commit the shooting, Gillette Police Lt. Brent Wasson said.
WILDFIRES-WHAT CAN BE DONE

BILLINGS, Mont. — Creating fire buffers between housing and dry brush, burying spark-prone power lines and lighting more controlled burns to keep vegetation in check could give people a better chance of surviving wildfires, according to experts searching for ways to reduce growing death tolls from blazes in California and across the U.S. West. Western wildfires have grown ever more lethal, a grim reality driven by more housing developments sprawling into the most fire-prone grasslands and brushy canyons, experts say. Many of the ranchers and farmers who once managed those landscapes are gone, leaving terrain thick with vegetation that can explode into flames.

GOLD EXPLORATION-LAWSUIT

BOISE, Idaho — Two conservation groups say the federal government violated environmental laws by approving a Canadian company's plan to search for gold in key wildlife habitat in eastern Idaho. The Idaho Conservation League and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition in a lawsuit filed Tuesday say the U.S. Forest Service needs to halt British Columbia-based Otis Gold Corporation's 5-year mining exploration project in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.

COLORADO RIVER WATER-DROUGHT

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — A major Colorado River water user has proposed an interim plan for Arizona as the state faces looming a looming deadline to manage expected shortages. The Central Arizona Project board said its proposal could jumpstart talks after previous ones failed to gain consensus among water users. The Central Arizona Project wants to draw up to 400,000 acre-feet of water it stored in Lake Mead and 50,000 acre-feet in Lake Pleasant to lessen the burden of shortages on mainly farmers and developers. A second component would be a $60 million conservation program. Another program would help improve groundwater systems but doesn't have a price tag.

WYOMING ENERGY-LAWSUIT — An environmental group is suing the federal government for information about a proposed 5,000-well oil and gas project in central Wyoming.

YELLOWSTONE VISITATION — Officials at Yellowstone National Park say the park had the third busiest October on record, sending the park over the 4 million-visitation mark for the year.

GRAND TETON-HIDDEN FALLS — A rock buttress tumbled down above the popular Hidden Falls Overlook in Grand Teton National Park, about four months after it developed a crack.

ELECTION RESULTS CERTIFIED — The Wyoming State Canvassing Board has certified results of last week's general election.

BANKERS SURVEY — For the first time this year, a monthly survey of bankers in parts of 10 Plains and Western states indicates the regional rural economy is shrinking.

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