Wyoming News Update

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COAL BANKRUPTCY-WYOMING

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming coal workers who were locked out of their jobs after Blackjewel LLC filed for bankruptcy protection are wondering whether they'll ever be called back to work.

The Gillette News-Record reported Sunday the West Virginia-based company has 580 employees at two open-pit mines in northeastern Wyoming, Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on July 1. About 1,700 Blackjewel workers were locked out nationwide.

Melissa Peterson-Worden, who worked in a Blackjewel warehouse, says she and other workers were at first optimistic when company officials told them the bankruptcy would allow the business to reorganize and improve its position.

She says workers were told a few hours later that something went wrong with financing the company was expecting, and they were told to go home.

CAPITOL RENOVATION

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming State Capitol will reopen to the public Wednesday after a four-year, $300 million renovation project.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported Sunday the building suffered from crumbling concrete, disintegrating plumbing and aging electrical wiring hanging loose inside walls.

The project included construction of a new utility plant for the Capitol complex, rebuilding parts of an adjacent office building and renting temporary space for the Legislature and other officials.

Renovation workers discovered historic features that had been covered up by earlier remodeling, included murals, dishes, bricked-up windows and opera posters on ceilings.

Gov. Mark Gordon says the renovation was a good investment.

He says it's appropriate that the Capitol is reopening in 2019, the 150th anniversary of the date Wyoming became the first state to recognize women's right to vote.

WYOMING TORNADO

Severe storms have produced a tornado and hail in southeastern Wyoming, but no serious damage has been reported.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports a tornado touched down Saturday near the town of Bosler north of Laramie. The National Weather Service says spotters reported the tornado, and it showed up on radar as well.

Weather Service meteorologist Matthew Brothers says the only damage reported was to a barn.

Tornado photos and videos began to show up on social media Saturday night.

MISSING MAN-SNAKE RIVER

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Search and rescue crews in west-central Wyoming plan to look through the weekend for a 21-year-old man who is believed to be missing in the Snake River.

Teton County crews have been looking for Averin Scott in the Jackson area since Thursday, when he was reported missing.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that searchers in neighboring Lincoln County later joined the effort on their stretch of the river.

Scott was last seen near the edge of the river around midnight Wednesday.

Officials say his shoe was found near the river and his keys and phone were at his house.

Teton County Sheriff's Sgt. Clay Platt says Scott is from northern Arizona but was living and working at an oil change and car wash business for the summer.

UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING-PRESIDENT

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Two former administrators at the University of Wyoming are coming back to the school to help as the Board of Trustees looks for a permanent president.

Bill Mai and Chris Boswell will return to their former roles at the university for a year starting Monday.

Both Mai and Boswell retired last year and were among the three finalists for interim president before the university's vice president for finance and administration, Neil Theobald, was selected to serve as president for the next year.

Mai and Boswell told the Laramie Boomerang that Theobald approached them about working during his interim presidency. Both say they expect to leave at the end of their one-year contracts.

University spokesman Chad Baldwin says the Board of Trustees will address their pay at their meeting this month.

MONTANA BEHEADING

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — One of two Montana men accused of decapitating a winning casino patron faces new charges.

The Billings Gazette reports that 32-year-old Donald Ray Cherry has been charged with intimidation for allegedly trying to persuade his girlfriend to change her testimony about the killing of 41-year-old Myron Wesley Knight in October 2017. He has also been charged with evidence tampering for allegedly hiding the severed head, body and belongings of Knight, a former resident of Lander and Fort Washakie (WASH'-ah-kee), Wyoming.

The other man accused in Knight's death, Jeffrey Glen Haverty, pleaded guilty last month. In a recent statement to police, Haverty said that Cherry had talked about eating Knight's brain after they killed him. Police say Cherry's girlfriend also made the same claim and said he was fascinated with zombies.

Cherry has pleaded not guilty.

SheridanWyoming.com

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