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Wyoming lawmaker proposes $9 minimum wage

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - A Cheyenne lawmaker is again sponsoring a bill would increase Wyoming's minimum wage to $9 an hour.

The state's current minimum wage is $5.15, but few pay that wage. Companies that engage in interstate trade must pay the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

Republican Rep. Jim Byrd tells the Casper Star-Tribune he is sponsoring the bill to help workers earn a livable wage. He says people who work 40 hours a week should not have to ask for public assistance to make ends meet.

Byrd sponsored a similar bill during the 2014 session, but it was defeated.

Republican Sen. Charlie Scott of Casper says he doesn't think the bill will clear a committee vote. He says he believes the market should determine hourly wages.


Special master rules against Montana water claims

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - An official presiding over an interstate water rights lawsuit pending before the U.S. Supreme Court recommends denying most of Montana's claims that Wyoming failed to deliver enough water on the Tongue River.

Special Master Barton Thompson Jr. on Monday released his proposed decision in a lawsuit Montana filed against Wyoming in 2007.

Montana claims Wyoming has taken too much from the Yellowstone River tributary.

Montana had claimed Wyoming shorted Montana farmers about 10,000 acre feet of water over the last decade. An acre foot is the amount of water covering an acre to a depth of 1 foot, or about 325,000 gallons.

Thompson recommends the Supreme Court find that Wyoming shorted Montana only about 1,350 acre feet of water. If the court agrees, he proposes further proceedings to calculate damages.


UW faculty want more women on board of trustees

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Faculty at the University of Wyoming are asking Gov. Matt Mead to appoint more women to the school's board of trustees.

The UW faculty senate notes that Mead will nominate at least four new members to the board in 2015 and they asked for better balance than the current board, which has nine men and two women with one vacancy.

Mead's spokeswoman Mary Kay Hill tells the Casper Star-Tribune that the governor will consider the resolution by the faculty senate. The resolution notes that just over 52 percent of the students at UW are women.

Hill notes that Mead appointed Wava Tully of Lusk, one of the two women on the current board.


2 Arizona men plead not guilty in fatal Casper assault

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Two Arizona men have pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a drunken fight at a Casper motel that left a New Mexico man dead.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that 42-year-old David Watson Jr. and 36-year-old Dwayne Bahe entered their pleas in Natrona County District Court on Monday.

The men are charged with aggravated assault for the Nov. 9 death of Gary Jefferson. Investigators say he died after being kicked in the head with steel-toed boots. Two other people also suffered head injuries in the brawl.

Watson and Bahe were initially charged with second-degree murder for Jefferson's death, but prosecutors reduced their charges. The men claimed self-defense. Investigators say it appeared Jefferson threw the first punch.


Officers investigating skier death at Jackson Hole resort

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - Teton County officials are investigating the death of a skier at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in west-central Wyoming.

The man was found unconscious at about 3:10 p.m. Sunday. Resort spokeswoman Anna Cole tells the Jackson Hole News & Guide that the skier was found unconscious and upside down in the snow, but not buried. She says there was not a snow slide.

Ski Patrol and a doctor performed CPR at the scene and the man was taken to a clinic in Teton Village at about 3:30 p.m. He was pronounced dead at 3:50 p.m.

His name, age and hometown have not been released.


Wendy's of Montana sold to Spokane company

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Wendy's of Montana has been sold to another franchisee, Wenspok Resources of Spokane, Washington.

Greg McDonald, president of the Billings-based franchise, says the operations and assets of 18 fast-food restaurants have been sold to Wenspok. The sale price wasn't disclosed. Fifteen of the restaurants are in Montana, two are in Wyoming and another in Dickinson, North Dakota.

The Billings Gazette reports McDonald announced the sale in a statement on Friday, adding that his family will continue to own the land under the buildings.

The statement did not specifically address the future of the Wendy's of Montana Foundation, which has supported schools, universities and athletics. Donations have included $1.4 million to the College of Business at Montana State University-Billings, $400,000 for synthetic turf at Daylis Stadium in Billings and sponsorship of the Montana State University athletic hall of fame.

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