Wyoming News Update

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WYOMING-COAL MINE SALE

KEMMERER, Wyo. (AP) — A federal judge has approved the sale of a Wyoming coal mine following the owner's bankruptcy.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that a judge in Houston, Texas, approved the sale of the mine in Kemmerer last week to a group of secured lenders.

Westmoreland Coal declared bankruptcy in October, leaving the future of the mine and the southwest Wyoming community unclear.

Officials say the sale has not yet been finalized, but is expected to be funded by the debt owed to the mine's creditors.

The U.S. Department of the Interior was among multiple entities that filed objections in federal court two weeks ago over complications from the bankruptcy declaration.

The court approved a sale to venture capitalist Tom Clarke in March, but Clarke says the deal fell through.

WEST NILE-WYOMING

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A woman has contracted Wyoming's first known human case of West Nile virus this year.

Wyoming Department of Health officials say the Campbell County woman contracted the more serious, neuro-invasive form of the disease.

They didn't disclose her identity or condition but symptoms of neuro-invasive West Nile virus can include coma and paralysis. The World Health Organization says only about 1 in 150 people infected contract the more serious form of the virus.

The case occurred much earlier than usual. The mosquito-borne virus doesn't usually begin appearing in people in Wyoming until late July or August.

Wyoming Department of Health officials documented four cases of West Nile virus, including one death, in Wyoming in 2018. They say the early case doesn't necessarily mean more people will be infected this year.

ILLEGAL DUMPING

ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. (AP) — Federal officials say they have ticketed a Colorado woman for dumping a large pile of roofing material and other trash on public land in Wyoming.

Investigators said Monday 31-year-old Idalia Reyes-Cruz, of Denver, faces a $780 fine if convicted.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management says one of its employees found the trash May 13 near Farson in western Wyoming. BLM investigators say a water bottle with a name written on it and discarded invoices led them to Reyes-Cruz.

BLM officials say Cruz worked in the Jackson area and would return to Colorado through Farson.

It was unknown whether Cruz had an attorney. Online listings show a woman by the same name works at USA Roofing in Denver and provide a nonworking phone number for the business.

BODY IN RIVER

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The body of a missing central Wyoming man has been found in the Sweetwater River.

Fremont County officials tell KTWO-AM the 83-year-old man from Fremont County was reported missing on Friday after he failed to return after going out to search for antlers shed by deer.

Sheriff Ryan Lee says cadaver dogs located the man's body Sunday in a logjam about a quarter mile (400 meters) from the Upper Sweetwater Campground. The area where his body was found included a narrow trail along the river's edge and steep canyon walls. He says the trail had been covered by flood waters and was inaccessible until Sunday.

The death remains under investigation. The man's name was being withheld while family members could be notified.

WYOMING WILDFIRES

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Average conditions are predicted for the Wyoming wildfire season this year, but officials say they expect the season to be less severe than last year.

Wyoming Public Radio reports State Forester Bill Crapser says fire predictions are below average for June and average for the rest of the summer.

He says the state will likely see wildfires, but the blazes probably won't reach the extent of last year.

He says the wet spring has delayed the fire season, but it doesn't necessarily reduce the risk. The rain leads to more grass growth that can turn into fuel for fire when it dries out.

He says the wet conditions can "help you and it can hurt you" depending on the summer weather.

MOTHER SLAIN-EVALUATION

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The public defender for a Wyoming man charged with first-degree murder in the death of his mother has requested a mental competency evaluation for his client.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported Sunday that attorney Brandon Booth has asked for 48-year-old James Wallace to be evaluated whether he understands the charges and can assist in his legal defense.

Wallace is accused of killing 80-year-old Carol Wallace, whose body was found face down in the basement of a home northwest of Cheyenne last month.

According to court documents, Wallace's brother had called police, saying Wallace was high on methamphetamine and had hit his mother with a hammer.

The autopsy indicated she suffered blunt-force trauma to the head and chest, a gunshot wound to the head and a cutting wound on the chest.

SheridanWyoming.com

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