Wyoming News Update

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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A judge has approved an agreement for Exxon Mobil Corp. to pay $1.05 million to settle federal pollution violations over a 2011 pipeline break that sent oil into Montana's Yellowstone River.

U.S. District Judge Susan Watters accepted the deal Monday.

It resolves the last outstanding federal enforcement case against Exxon after 63,000 gallons (238,474 liters) of crude oil spilled into the river downstream from Yellowstone National Park.

Flooding in 2011 scoured the river bottom and exposed the buried pipeline, causing it to break along a stretch of river popular with anglers and boaters.

Exxon previously paid $12 million over natural resource damage and $2.6 million for pipeline safety and state pollution violations.

The Irving, Texas-based company also spent an estimated $135 million on a monthslong cleanup and repairs.


JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Authorities say human remains found on a property in western Wyoming are those of a woman who has been missing since 2015.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports Joann Hakes' remains were found near Etna on May 18. The Pocatello, Idaho, native was last seen Jan. 3, 2015, leaving the Silver Stream Lodge near Afton with two men and carrying only her debit card.

Hakes, who was living in Afton, left behind her cellphone, purse, car and some clothing.

Lincoln County sheriff's officials say Ronald Weerheim, of Chubbuck, Idaho, is being held at the Bannock County, Idaho jail until he can be extradited to Wyoming. He is facing charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and kidnapping.

Online jail documents do not indicate if Weerheim has an attorney.


CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The renovated Wyoming State Capitol building will reopen to the public on July 10, which is Wyoming Statehood Day and 130 years after the Capitol first opened.

Festivities planned for the reopening include a ribbon cutting ceremony, followed by tours of the Capitol Square Project, live music and entertainment and fireworks.

The renovation of the Capitol building and other buildings around it cost about $300 million and began in 2014.

The project included replacing outdated building systems, adding safety infrastructure and creating larger meeting rooms.


CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The mayor of Wyoming's capital city says Gov. Mark Gordon "got in her face" and "used his physical presence in an aggressive and threatening manner" during a meeting last week between the two Republicans.

Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr said Monday that Gordon slammed his fists on a table and shouted "F--- you, mayor" last Friday.

Gordon in a statement apologized for his language but denied using intimidating body language.

Orr says the outburst happened in a meeting about a Taiwanese government delegation possibly visiting during Cheyenne Frontier Days in July.

Orr tells The Associated Press Gordon was upset about the city's involvement in the visit.

Orr says the meeting witnessed by three Gordon staffers ended on a less confrontational note.

Orr expressed regret about endorsing Gordon in the 2018 election.


GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — A 27-year-old man was injured when a trench that he and a teenager were digging collapsed on them in northeast Wyoming.

The Gillette News Record reports that Campbell County Undersheriff Quentin Reynolds says the man and a 13-year-old boy were hand digging a trench in Wright when the collapse occurred about 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

The two were pinned down by the fallen soil but were able to get out before emergency personnel arrived.

The boy was not hurt. However, Reynolds said the older man complained of severe hip pain and had to be air lifted from the scene.

Reynolds didn't have information on the man's condition or which hospital he was taken to.


LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Outgoing University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols will become president of a South Dakota university.

The Laramie Boomerang reports Nichols will begin work as president of Black Hills State University on July 1, one day after her contract expires in Wyoming.

A statement by Black Hills State Monday says Nichols will serve as president in "a temporary capacity" while a national search is conducted for a permanent president at the school in Spearfish, 12 miles (19 kilometers) from the Wyoming border.

Nichols is a native of Colman, South Dakota, and spent two decades as an administrator at South Dakota State University before becoming the University of Wyoming's first female president in 2016.

In a May 24 interview, Nichols did not indicate she intended to immediately take another presidential position.


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