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Federal judge won't give Wyoming control of wolves

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A federal judge has denied requests from the state of Wyoming, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, and pro-hunting groups to change a decision last week that reinstates federal protections for wolves in the state.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday denied requests to change her ruling.

Wyoming had requested fast action on its reconsideration request because the state had planned to allow hunters to begin killing wolves Wednesday in an area bordering Yellowstone National Park. The judge's ruling bars any hunting.

Conservation groups sued in 2012, saying the state's management plan failed to protect wolves adequately. The state plan classified wolves as predators that could be shot on sight in most areas.

A lawyer for the state says officials haven't decided whether to appeal.


Sagebrush habitat fuels $1B in recreation spending

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Advocates of protecting sage grouse habitat across the West say new research shows visitors to western federal rangelands with significant tracts of sagebrush pumped more than $1 billion into the economy last year.

The Pew Charitable Trusts says the study released Tuesday is the first of its kind to examine the direct and indirect economic impacts of recreation spending tied to U.S. Bureau of Land Management property with habitat for sagebrush-dependent species.

The report by ECONorthwest (ECK'-oh-nohrth-wehst) says hunters, campers, fishermen and others directly spent more than $623 million within 50 miles of relevant BLM property across more than 61 million acres in 11 states.

Idaho led the way with $126 million, followed by Nevada, $88 million; Wyoming $87 million; Oregon, $75 million; Colorado, $50 million; and Utah, $39 million.


State gets $605K grant to fight chronic diseases

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming will receive a $605,000 federal grant this fiscal year to strengthen the state's program for fighting chronic diseases.

The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle reports the money comes in part from the Affordable Care Act and is administered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Christine Revere, head of the Wyoming Department of Health's chronic disease division, tells the newspaper the grant provides the state with at least $454,000 a year for five years. This is the second year Wyoming has received the grant.

CDC Director Tom Frieden says the money is aimed at helping Wyoming's health departments, community groups and other partners prevent heart disease, cancer and stroke. It also will be used to train health care providers so they can teach others.


March trial set in Gillette murder case)

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) - Trial is scheduled to start in March for a 22-year-old Gillette man charged in the Thanksgiving 2013 shooting death of another man, apparently during a dispute about rent.

The Gillette News Record reports the first-degree murder trial for Todd Michael Sindelar will start either March 2 or March 16.

Sindelar is charged with shooting 25-year-old Matthew Ryan Boyer in the chest and torso early on Nov. 28, 2013. Boyer died at the hospital of the chest wound.

Boyer's girlfriend told investigators the men had been in a dispute about rent.

Sindelar fled Gillette after the shooting and was arrested in South Dakota.


State Education Dept employee arrested for DUI

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - A Department of Education employee was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Sheridan while driving a state-owned vehicle.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports 44-year-old Lachelle Brant was cited early on Sept. 18 after a Sheridan County deputy saw her abruptly switch lanes and cross out of her lane several times. Court records say her blood-alcohol level was 0.14, above the 0.08 level at which a person is considered legally intoxicated.

Motor pool fleet manager Annette Spitsbergen says Brant returned the state vehicle that weekend. Spitsbergen says she was unaware of the charge until the newspaper called.

Department of Education CEO Sam Shumway also didn't know about Brant's arrest, but says it's a personnel matter and declined to comment.

The agency's website says Brant is an early childhood education consultant who works in Cheyenne.


3 charged in Wind River stabbing death

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Three residents of the Wind River Indian Reservation face charges in the June stabbing death of Jared Little Whiteman during an apparent argument over drugs and money.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports defendant Susan Chippewa admitted cutting his throat. She led investigators to his body, which had been wrapped in carpet and buried.

Court records say a witness told FBI agents that Little Whiteman was tied to a chair and questioned about drugs and money at a trailer on the reservation on June 2. The witness said Little Whiteman was later taken to a back room.

An autopsy found he was stabbed 40 times.

Chippewa, Byron Spoonhunter and James Whiteplume face charges of first-degree murder or an alternative accountability charge. They have been arrested but have not appeared in the court and do not appear to have attorneys.


Albany County man gets 10-15 years for sex assault

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - A 28-year-old Albany County man will spend up to 15 years in prison for having sex with a 16-year-old autistic girl.

Cassidy Wayne Thurston was sentenced to between 10 and 15 years in prison on Monday in Laramie for two separate counts of sexual assault in the third degree. He pleaded guilty to the charges in July and prosecutors agreed to drop more serious charges.

The Boomerang reported that Thurston allegedly told investigators that the teen had the mentality of a 10-year-old.

Thurston's public defender, Robin Cooper, requested that District Court Judge Jeffrey Donnell sentence him to probation or three to five years in prison instead. However, the girl's mother requested the maximum sentence of 15 years because she said her daughter was psychologically damaged from the encounters in May.


Boone and Crockett sponsors Wyoming antelope hunt

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - With sponsorship from the Boone and Crockett Club, the second Wyoming Women's Antelope Hunt is set to be held next month.

The hunt hosted by the Wyoming Women's Foundation will be held Oct. 9-12 in northeastern Wyoming.

The inaugural women's antelope hunt was held last year.

The Wyoming Women's Foundation created the hunt to promote camaraderie and mentorship through hunting while raising awareness and funds for the Foundation's mission to improve the economic self-sufficiency of women in the state.


Snowmobile registration, user fees increase

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming State Trails Program is reminding snowmobilers that registration fees have increased to help pay for the increased costs to groom and develop snowmobile trails.

The Legislature passed a bill earlier this year that increases the resident registration fees and non-resident user fees from $25 to $30 while commercial registration costs increase from $75 to $105.

The state's registration and user fees were last increased in 2005.


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