Wyoming News Update

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NEW JUDGE

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon has named a new district court judge for Fremont County.

The governor's office announced Monday that Jason M. Conder will succeed Judge Norman Young, who plans to retire in July.

Conder is currently an assistant U.S. attorney based in Lander, a job he has had since 2005. He was previously deputy county attorney in Uinta County.

He holds a law degree from the University of Wyoming.

Gordon chose Conder from three finalists chosen by the state Judicial Nominating Commission.

ELECTION 2020-WYOMING SENATE

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — An increasingly influential congresswoman from Wyoming isn't ruling out running for U.S. Senate but says she has no announcement to make.

Republican U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney says she's focused on her work in the U.S. House rather than possibly succeeding Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi. Wyoming's senior senator plans to retire at the end of his fourth term in 2021.

Cheney first won election to Congress in 2016. Her peers already have chosen her to chair the Republican caucus, the third-highest Republican leadership position in the U.S. House.

Cheney neither hinted at a possible Senate run nor ruled it out when asked recently. Other possible 2020 candidates for U.S. Senate in Wyoming include former Republican Gov. Matt Mead, GOP donor Foster Friess and former Republican U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis.

LANDFILL FIRE-LIABILITY

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Casper is planning an appeal to the Wyoming Supreme Court after a judge declined to impose a $500,000 liability limit for a blaze that originated in a city landfill.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports Judge Catherine Wilking in January decided not to set the total for damage claims related to the October 2015 fire that burned nearly 16 square miles (41 square kilometers) and destroyed 14 homes.

The city had argued the limit is required by state law. The judge ruled the city had not demonstrated the fire was the result of a single occurrence — a requirement under the law.

City attorney John Henley referred questions to the Wyoming Association of Risk Management, which provides the city's liability coverage.

The association's attorney did not immediately respond to the newspaper Friday.

AP-US-YELLOWSTONE-GEYSER

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — A noisy geyser in Yellowstone National Park has roared back to life after three years of quiet.

Ledge Geyser is one of the biggest in Yellowstone's Norris Geyser Basin.

The Billings Gazette reports the geyser shoots hot water at an angle up to 125 feet (38 meters) high and a distance of 220 feet (67 meters).

Yellowstone geologist Jeff Hungerford says Ledge Geyser is noisy because its water and steam must pass through a narrow opening in the ground.

Yellowstone has 1,300 thermal features and 500 geysers, more than anywhere else on Earth. Some geysers such as Old Faithful are predictable but most, like Ledge Geyser, erupt erratically.

PREGNANT WOMAN KILLED

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming man has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty in the killing of his pregnant ex-girlfriend.

Erik Ohlson, of Jackson, pleaded guilty in February to the murder of Jennifer Nalley and the involuntary manslaughter of Nalley's fetus.

He was sentenced Friday to life in prison with a chance of parole after 25 years. The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that Teton County District Court Judge Bruce Pickett told Ohlson that he "ruined" multiple lives.

Authorities have said Ohlson shot Nalley multiple times at her cabin in Idaho in July 2016 and was arrested after crashing his truck a few miles away.

SEASONAL WORKERS-SHORTAGE

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Some eastern Idaho businesses are struggling to find seasonal workers under new visa rules.

The Post Register reports that companies like MD Nursery and Landscaping, which does business in Driggs, Idaho and Jackson, Wyoming, applied for 62 foreign workers through the H-2B visa program but didn't get any. MD Nursery controller Mandi Wilkinson says it's been difficult for the company to deal with, forcing tough decisions about whether to take on new clients.

In recent years visas for non-agricultural workers who returned to their former employer didn't count among the total number of visas issued every year. MD Nursery and other companies used that exemption to hire the same foreign workers year after year. Now they can't unless they meet the requirements for new H-2B visas, including proving that they've tried to hire workers from the United States.

SheridanWyoming.com

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