Wyoming News Update

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Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment.

POLITICAL CIVILITY

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Former U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Al Simpson made a case for political civility as the two discussed national topics at a public forum.

Montana Democrat Baucus and Wyoming Republican Simpson called for more respect and understanding during the Monday event hosted by Montana State University Billings and Yellowstone Public Radio.

The senators contrasted the current climate in the Senate with how things were done in their day, citing their ongoing friendship. The senators say political disagreement does not have to lead to animosity.

Simpson says he and Baucus didn't always agree, but they respected and trusted each other.

Baucus says the example of listening and working together can be set at the state level.

Both senators were elected in 1978. Simpson served until 1996, and Baucus served until 2014.

NEW NATIONAL FOREST SUPERVISOR

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A top official for the Bridger-Teton National Forest is leaving the Jackson Ranger District for a position with the U.S. Forest Service.

The Jackson Hole News And Guide reported Tuesday that District Ranger Dale Deiter is leaving Wyoming to lead the Prescott National Forest in north central Arizona as a supervisor.

He says he enjoyed the job and the place, but the cost of living became high with his salary was stretched thin between his mortgage and kids' college expenses even though he was highest-paid Jackson Ranger District employee.

The 52-year-old applied for the Jackson district ranger post over a decade ago.

He says one of his proudest accomplishments on the job was helping designate the Snake River watershed's wild and scenic stretches.

FIRE CHIEF-EARLY RETIREMENT

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Emails obtained by a Wyoming newspaper indicate a fire chief used his city email account to send suggestive messages to women and make sexual comments about women's appearances to other fire personnel.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports Casper Fire Chief Kenneth King's early retirement last week came after his emails were anonymously distributed to a group of firefighters and city officials last month.

King told the newspaper in a text message that he's "sorry if any of my emails have made anyone feel uncomfortable."

City Manager Carter Napier says he met with King last week after he received copies of the emails and a letter that outlined concerns about the chief. He wouldn't discuss details of their conversation.

Napier also declined comment on whether other employees were being investigated or disciplined.

TRAFFIC STOP-MARIJUANA

GREEN RIVER, Wyo. (AP) — Sheriff's officials in western Wyoming say they seized nearly 200 pounds (91 kilograms) of marijuana in a traffic stop on Interstate 80.

The Sweetwater County Sheriff's Department says deputies found the pot after pulling over 29-year-old Jorge Carlos Villafuerte Paniagua, of San Diego, on Saturday.

They say a deputy became suspicious after smelling the marijuana, which was packaged in 171 vacuum-sealed bags. Sheriff's officials also allege they found four marijuana oil cartridges and six refill cartridges for a total drug value of nearly $1 million.

Villafuerte Paniagua remained jailed on $15,000 cash bail or bond Tuesday. He did not have an attorney but court officials say he has requested a public defender.

He is charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

COLLEGE NEWSPAPER-SEX ASSAULT

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — The University of Wyoming says it will revise a policy that currently includes student journalists among school employees required to report sexual misconduct to campus officials.

The Laramie Boomerang reported Tuesday that the move came after the university police chief questioned a reporter at the student newspaper, the Branding Iron, about a story that included an unsourced allegation of sexual assaults by a dormitory resident assistant.

Chief Mike Samp said he wanted to find out the source of the allegation to determine if a crime had occurred. Newspaper editor Taylor Hannon said the request has had a chilling effect on her staff.

The vice president of student affairs, Sean Blackburn, says his office will work with the board that oversees the newspaper to change the policy.

PRAIRIE DOGS

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. wildlife officials say the white-tailed prairie dog does not need special protections under the Endangered Species Act because it's in no danger of extinction across the U.S. West.

Tuesday's announcement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service culminates a lengthy review of the squirrel-sized rodent's legal status. Its range includes portions of Wyoming, Colorado, Montana and Utah.

Biologists say poisoning campaigns, plague and habitat loss have significantly reduced the white-tailed prairie dog's abundance versus historical levels. But despite the threats, officials say the animal has proven resilient and adaptable, and therefore is in no danger of extinction within the foreseeable future.

Prairie dogs get their name from a barking sound they use when intruders enter their colonies. White-tailed prairie dogs are one of five prairie dogs species in North America.

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