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Ex-youth sports association director denies theft

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - A former director of the Wyoming Youth Sports Association in Casper has denied stealing more than $13,000 from the club.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports Katherine Sue Strom pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two counts of grand larceny and two counts of misdemeanor larceny.

Prosecutors say she used the organization's bank account to write checks to herself and to make personal purchases.

Strom was the sole director of the association for about 10 years until a new director was elected in February. The new director contacted police in March to report possible stolen funds.


Lawyers for Dale Eaton oppose new death hearing

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Lawyers for a convicted murderer want a judge to block Wyoming prosecutors from holding a new hearing on whether to reinstate the death penalty against their client.

U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson of Cheyenne last month overturned the death penalty against 69-year-old Dale Wayne Eaton. He was convicted in 2004 of the 1988 murder of Lisa Marie Kimmell, 18, of Billings, Montana.

Johnson ruled Eaton didn't receive a fair trial because jurors didn't hear personal details about him that might have convinced them to spare his life. Johnson said prosecutors could ask another jury to consider the death penalty for Eaton or he would serve life.

Eaton's lawyers Wednesday asked Johnson to sentence Eaton to life, saying witnesses who could have testified about his background at trial are unavailable.


Pet owners asked to control dogs around wildlife

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is asking people to control their pets around wintering wildlife.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that even if an animal is not caught and killed by a pet, the stress of being chased can cause it to lose important energy reserves needed for winter.

Already, a deer had to be killed recently after injuries from a dog in the Jackson area. In another recent case, a cow moose injured a dog.

Dogs found chasing big game animals may be killed by wildlife officers and the pet owners may be cited.


Government officials speak at menorah lighting

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming government officials joined with members of the state's Jewish community at the state Capitol in Cheyenne on Wednesday for the seventh annual celebration there of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights.

Chabad Rabbi Zalman Mendelsohn and his wife Raizy Mendelsohn of Jackson presided at the event. It featured musical presentations from local school children and a U.S. Army band.

Rabbi Mendelsohn said it was a testament to the beauty of the state of Wyoming that people chose to attend the event marking a holiday that celebrates freedom and dates back thousands of years.

Mead said the event underscored that all people, regardless of differences in religion, can pray for peace and better understanding while reflecting on what they can do to provide light around the world.


In surprise, Wyo. senator to head budget committee

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Alabama lawmaker who has been the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee for the past four years says he is stepping aside so a colleague can chair the powerful panel next year.

Sen. Jeff Sessions said Wednesday in an emailed statement that he would defer to Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi, whom he called a close friend.

Sessions and Enzi are both conservatives and had been expected to compete for the job in the new Republican-controlled Congress, which starts in January.

Sessions said he was deferring to Enzi's seniority, but did not further explain his decision.

The Budget Committee is expected to be at the center of GOP efforts next year to confront President Barack Obama over deficit cutting and other GOP policies.


Study: Tall grass aids sage grouse nesting success

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - New research could have implications for cattle and sheep grazing in the habitat of a ground-dwelling bird that environmentalists say needs federal protection across the Rocky Mountain region.

A study published in the December issue of Wildlife Biology examines the relationship between nesting success by the greater sage grouse and the height of grass nearby.

Environmental groups including WildEarth Guardians say the study is cause for concern about livestock grazing in sage grouse habitat. Others say grazing can improve habitat for sage grouse.

Researchers studied sage grouse nests in Wyoming and Montana. They found the likelihood that at least one egg in a nest would hatch increased when the grass nearby was taller.

Biologists theorize that vegetation, including grass, provides cover that helps sage grouse hide their nests from predators.


Second suspect in Cheyenne killing in court

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The second of two men charged with first-degree murder in the death of another man in Cheyenne remains in custody on $100,000 cash bail after making his initial court appearance.

Joshua Bowen, of Cheyenne, appeared before Laramie County Circuit Judge Thomas Lee on Tuesday.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that Lee set Bowen's preliminary hearing for 10 a.m. Friday and said he would appoint Bowen a public defender.

Bowen is one of three people charged in the death of 48-year-old Anthony Hayward, whose body was discovered Dec. 7 in a Cheyenne motel. An autopsy revealed that Hayward died from asphyxiation due to a broken larynx caused by a choke or blunt-force trauma to the throat.


Oregon allows Wyoming, Montana into coal hearing

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The state of Oregon is allowing Wyoming and Montana to participate in an appeal over a proposed coal terminal on the Columbia River.

Administrators with the Oregon Department of State Lands this summer rejected a proposal to allow construction of the proposed Coyote Island Terminal at Port of Morrow. Oregon ruled building the terminal would threaten its water resources.

The terminal would allow coal mined in Wyoming and Montana to be loaded from trains into barges for shipment down the Columbia River for eventual export to Asian markets.

The Oregon Department of State Lands is hearing an appeal of its rejection of the coal terminal. The agency on Monday ruled that it would allow Wyoming and Montana to participate in the appeal as limited parties. Environmental groups oppose the project.

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