Wyoming News Update

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COLORADO RIVER-CLIMATE CHANGE

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Snow swamped mountains across the U.S. West last winter, likely fending off mandated water shortages next year for states that rely on the Colorado River.

Although snow and rain swelled rivers and streams, that doesn't mean conditions are improving long term. Climate change means the region is still getting drier and hotter.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will issue its projection Thursday for the supply from a key reservoir that feeds Colorado River water to Nevada, Arizona, California and Mexico.

After a wet winter, the agency isn't expected to require any states to take cuts to their share of water.

But Arizona, Nevada and Mexico could give up some water voluntarily in 2020 under a drought contingency plan approved this year by seven Western states that rely on the river.

CHURCH ABUSE-WYOMING-CHARGES

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming police have recommended sexual abuse charges against a member of the Catholic clergy and another man in connection with events in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports the Cheyenne Police Department made the recommendation to the Laramie County District Attorney's Office regarding abuse of boys.

The men were not identified in a police statement that says one man was a clergy member and the other was seeking clergy membership at the time.

Police say the investigation stems from a 2002 case that was reopened in 2018 following an investigation by the Wyoming Diocese of the Catholic Church.

The diocese released a report in June naming 11 people believed to have been involved in abuse of 29 minors and a vulnerable adult between 1957 and 2003.

WIND POWER-WYOMING

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Bigger, more efficient equipment will allow a western U.S. electric utility to redevelop an aging Wyoming wind farm with far fewer turbines while generating the same amount of power.

Portland, Oregon-based PacifiCorp plans to replace 68 wind turbines at the Foote Creek I wind farm with 13 turbines over the next year.

The wind farm will continue to generate about 41 megawatts, or enough to power nearly 20,000 homes.

PacifiCorp spokesman Spencer Hall says the turbine changeover is like upgrading to a new cellphone from one made in 1998, when the wind farm was built.

PacifiCorp has 1.9 million customers in Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Washington state, Oregon and California and wants to generate more electricity from wind power in the years ahead.

PRISON COSTS

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union says Wyoming could cut its prison population in half by 2025 with a series of reforms that includes reducing prison sentences for drug crimes and ending prison terms for drug possession convictions.

The advocacy organization says in a report Tuesday that the state could save more than $160 million by adopting the reforms.

The proposed reforms include drastic cuts to sentencing guidelines and a significant reduction to the number of Wyoming residents behind bars as well as expanding access to mental health and addiction treatment.

The ACLU report comes at a time when the Wyoming Legislature has been considering a number of criminal justice reform bills to counter the state's rising incarceration rates.

QUAKE LAKE

EARTHQUAKE LAKE, Mont. (AP) — Earthquake Lake, also known in Montana as Quake Lake, formed 60 years ago Saturday when a 7.3-magnitude earthquake caused massive landslide that blocked the Madison River west of Yellowstone National Park.

Survivors are remembering their experiences for the anniversary of the largest quake on record to strike the Rocky Mountains.

Anita Painter Thon tells the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that she was 12 when her family camped in the Madison Canyon the night of the quake in 1959. She says the roar just before midnight sounded like a train.

Bonnie Schreiber, who was 7 at the time, says the ground rolled like waves, and then she saw water.

The earthquake killed 28 people. The landslide stopped the river, turning a swath of canyon into a lake.

HISTORIC LODGE FIRE

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A fire investigator has determined that a July 28 fire that damaged the historic Brooks Lake Lodge in northwest Wyoming started from a fireplace ember.

State fire investigator Eric Siwik tells the Jackson Hole News & Guide that the ember ignited roofing material and insulation material, leading to the fire that damaged the ceiling and roof of the 98-year-old lodge's "tea room" and dining room.

Despite the fire, the lodge remains open.

The causes of two other fires in the Jackson Hole area in July are still under investigation by the state fire marshal's office. One fire occurred July 2 at a downtown Jackson cafe and another occurred July 12 at the White Pine Ski Resort lodge near Pinedale.

Investigators say there's no connection between the three July fires.

SheridanWyoming.com

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