Wyoming News Update

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MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. (AP) — A judge has sentenced three men for killing a mountain lion in Yellowstone National Park.

The Livingston, Montana, men earlier pleaded guilty to shooting the lion in Yellowstone in December but claiming they legally hunted the animal north of the park.

Yellowstone officials said Wednesday the poaching prevented another hunter from killing a lion legally in Montana. The illegally killed lion counted toward the Montana hunt quota.

A federal judge on Friday ordered 20-year-old Austin Peterson to pay $1,700 in restitution and fees and serve three years of unsupervised probation. Peterson isn't allowed to hunt, fish or trap animals during his probation.

Twenty-year-old Trey Juhnke and 19-year-old Corbin Simmons received similar sentences.

Biologists estimate between 20 and 30 adult mountain lions live in northern Yellowstone.


GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming-based coal company has received another extension to make a $1.8 million payment on a loan.

Gillette-based Cloud Peak Energy disclosed in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing Wednesday it reached an agreement to make the payment by the end of the day Friday or go into default.

The payment originally was due in March. Nonpayment has raised expectations that Cloud Peak Energy faces bankruptcy.

The Gillette News-Record reports the company got three previous extensions.

Cloud Peak owns the Antelope, Cordero Rojo and Spring Creek mines in Wyoming and Montana. The Powder River Basin coal industry has been struggling with declining demand for coal-fired power as utility companies turn to natural gas-fired power plants and renewable energy.


CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A man accused of shooting at two people in a Wyoming hospital has pleaded not guilty.

Twenty-year-old Mitchell D. Taylor entered the pleas Wednesday to two counts of aggravated assault, one of property damage and one of possession of a deadly weapon with unlawful intent.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports a group of supporters accompanied Taylor in court in Casper.

Taylor allegedly told police he took LSD before driving to Wyoming Medical Center in Casper to seek help because he felt suicidal. Nobody was hurt when Taylor allegedly fired a handgun at a housekeeper and doctor early in the morning on March 4.

Police used a Taser to subdue Taylor in a tunnel beneath the hospital.

Taylor faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted on all counts.


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Dozens of retired coal miners visited lawmakers in Washington to call for legislative action to preserve the pensions of about 87,000 retirees and another 20,000 working miners.

United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts says the 2008 recession and mining company bankruptcies have endangered the miner's pension plan, established in 1974. He says those two factors have drained about $6 billion from the fund.

Several federal lawmakers, including West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, joined the miners for a news conference near the Capitol Wednesday. Manchin has introduced a bill that would transfer money from the Abandoned Mine Land fund to shore up the pension. The bill, introduced in January, hasn't moved out of committee.

Roberts says miners made the rounds on Capitol Hill, urging lawmakers to support the bill.


CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A nearly 80-year-old steam locomotive has been restored and is back on the tracks in the American West to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Big Boy Number 4014 is longer than two city buses and weighs more than a Boeing 747 fully loaded with passengers. It rolled out of a Union Pacific restoration shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on Saturday.

Big Boy engines hauled freight between Wyoming and Utah in the 1940s and 1950s. Only eight remain, and Number 4014 is the only one that's operational.

The massive locomotive will tour the Union Pacific system throughout the year in honor of the 1869 completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.

It will be in Ogden, Utah, this week for a celebration that will also feature the last steam locomotive delivered to Union Pacific, the "Living Legend" Northern Number 844.


RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) — The Northern Arapahoe tribal government has adopted a 32-hour work week for all employees to address a projected $5 million budget deficit.

Tribal business council chairman Lee Spoonhunter tells The Ranger in Riverton the move will save about $72,000 per week. The tribe has also instituted a hiring freeze.

Spoonhunter says the tribe expanded services years ago because of increasing revenue, but reductions in the prices of oil and natural gas have reduced the tribe's income.

The cuts do not affect the staff or hours at the Wind River Casino, which is not a tribal government institution.


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