Wyoming News Update

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LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) — National Guard troops were using specialized vehicles with tank-like treads to rescue stranded drivers in Colorado in the wake of a massive late-winter storm that's expected to unleash heavy rain and snow on the Midwest plains Thursday.

Wednesday's blizzard cut power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses, caused hundreds of flights to be canceled and wreaked havoc on roadways. A wind gust clocked in at 97 mph (156 kph) in Colorado Springs.

The storm also contributed to the death of Corporal Daniel Groves, a Colorado State Patrol officer who was hit and killed by a car as he was helping another driver who slid off Interstate 76 near Denver.

Blizzards, floods and a tornado were reported across more than 25 states, stretching from the northern Rockies to Texas and beyond.


JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. (AP) — Wildlife officials have spotted a winter-whitened, white-tailed jackrabbit, which is among the rarest native mammals in Jackson Hole.

The Jackson Hole News and Guide reports that National Elk Refuge staff have spotted the animal near the base of the Miller Butte mountain for much of the winter.

Elk Refuge spokeswoman Lori Iverson, who has spotted and photographed the animal, says it might be hanging near the Elk Refuge's autoshop at the base of Miller Butte's north face to take shelter from predators.

The area is off-limits to the general public.

White-tailed jackrabbits rarely frequent the Elk Refuge. There have only been three verified occurrences ever, the last being 56 years ago, in 1963, though there was an unconfirmed sighting scratched into Elk Refuge records in the winter of 1990-91.


CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A national park in Wyoming is moving ahead with plans for a network of cell towers amid questions about how the National Park Service balances public safety with the experience of wilderness.

Grand Teton National Park is taking public comment on plans for nine cell towers in already-developed areas of the park in northwestern Wyoming. The park currently has two cell towers.

Park officials say benefits would include the ability to call for help during medical emergencies and helping retain seasonal workers by keeping them in touch with friends and family.

Jeff Ruch with the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility says people enjoying nature shouldn't be disrupted by people selling stock or ordering pizza on their phones.

Ruch says the Park Service lacks a comprehensive policy for cell facilities.


YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — Yellowstone National Park has recorded its first grizzly bear sighting of the year as bears start to come out of hibernation with the pending end of winter.

The National Park Service says park visitors observed a large grizzly bear between Canyon Village and Fishing Bridge last Friday. Additionally, grizzly tracks were reported between Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris Junction on Monday. The first grizzly bear sighting in 2018 occurred on March 7.

Male grizzlies typically come out of hibernation in mid-to-late March. Females with cubs emerge in April and early May.

When bears emerge from hibernation, they look for food and often feed on elk and bison that died over the winter. Sometimes, bears will react aggressively while feeding on carcasses.


CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — State oil and gas regulators have denied protests by land and mineral owners opposing a major oil and gas developer's more than 100 applications for drilling permits in southeastern Wyoming.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports the state oil and Gas Conservation Commission denied the protests Tuesday after the group of Laramie County residents argued that Anadarko Petroleum is securing its authority over drilling in the area but is not planning to drill anytime soon.

The group argued the company is preventing development and them from making money.

A different group of landowners brought similar complaints that the commission denied last year.

Anadarko attorney Jim Mowry says this issue has already been argued and decided, noting the only difference is the name of the landowners and wells.


CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services says the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 4.1 percent in December to 4.0 percent in January.

The January rate is the same as the U.S. unemployment rate of 4.0 percent.

In January, Teton County and Niobrara County tied for the lowest unemployment rate, each at 3.0 percent. The next lowest rates were found in Goshen and Converse counties at 3.4 percent, followed by Albany County at 3.5 percent.

The highest jobless rates occurred in Fremont County at 5.9 percent, Park County 5.7 percent and Big Horn County at 5.6 percent counties.


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