Wyoming News Update

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Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment.

SNOW STORM WINDS-WYOMING

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The National Weather Service says wind gusts reached as fast as 98 mph (158 kph) during a winter storm in Wyoming.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that the storm ripped through Wyoming Thursday morning, dumping snow on much of the state.

The nearly triple-digit wind gusts were reported near Clark, a small community close to the Montana border.

Wind speeds reached 60 mph (97 kph) in Casper and 72 mph (116 kph) near Muddy Gap.

The Weather Service says up to 1 foot (30 cm) of snow fell near Lander, with several inches falling elsewhere.

CHRONIC WASTING-SPECIAL HUNT

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana wildlife officials are proposing a special deer hunt in a second area of the state as they scramble to control a newly-found disease that's fatal to deer, elk and moose.

Chronic wasting disease is a neurological animal disease that showed up in Montana this fall.

In neighboring Wyoming, it's causing a 21 percent annual decline in mule deer populations that researchers say could cause the animals to become locally extinct.

One special hunt is already under way in Carbon County, Montana. Officials set a quota to harvest 200 white-tailed deer and 200 mule deer. They plan to test the animals to gauge the disease's prevalence.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks is proposing selling an additional 335 deer hunting licenses to harvest 135 mule deer north of Chester on the Canadian border.

SANTA HELPS CATCH SHOPLIFTER

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Casper police say they arrested a shoplifter with the help of a man dressed as Santa Claus.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports the man who only identified himself as St. Nick said he noticed the thief drop something among the trees at his Christmas tree lot on Monday.

He says he did not think the act was suspicious until he noticed a police officer.

A Rocky Mountain Discount Sports store employee had accused a man of shoplifting.

The suspect initially denied it until St. Nick showed Sgt. Scott Jones the grove of trees where the thief had stashed the stolen merchandise.

Jones says the thief admitted to the theft, but was not arrested.

Jones says he was instead cited for the crime.

WIFE KILLED-ARRAIGNMENT

POWELL, Wyo. (AP) — A northern Wyoming man has pleaded not guilty to a second-degree murder charge for the death of his wife.

The Powell Tribune reports 64-year-old David Williamson entered the plea at a Wednesday hearing. The judge also ordered a pre-sentence investigation report, indicating the parties may be working for a plea agreement.

Authorities say Williamson has acknowledged he shot 65-year-old Shirley Williamson in August, and the Powell man claims she attempted to shoot him with an unloaded gun and told him to kill her.

Defense attorney Tim Blatt says he and Park County prosecutors requested the pre-sentence report, which a judge typically uses during sentencing.

Blatt says specific negotiations for an agreement have not taken place, but the report would be helpful in reaching a resolution.

CHRISTMAS MEALS

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — A Laramie service organization is planning to provide 350 families with Christmas meals after a last-minute push for donations provided it with the necessary support.

The Laramie Boomerang reports the organization Interfaith-Good Samaritan recently obtained the resources to provide each family with a Christmas basket consisting of ham, fruits and vegetables.

Organization officials say the last of the needed funds arrived on Tuesday after area residents gave about $2,000 during the weekend.

Residents were able to donate to the organization through programs at local grocery stores. Much of the donations came from people who gave while checking out at the stores' registers.

Director Mike Vercauteren says the organization is thankful for the generosity from the community.

WYOMING POPULATION DECLINE

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming's population has dropped for the second year in a row.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that U.S. Census data released on Wednesday show the state has lost more than 6,600 residents since the energy bust began in 2015.

About 6,000 of those residents were lost between July 2016 and July 2017.

Wenlin Liu, chief economist at the Economic Analysis Division, says healthy economies in neighboring states like Idaho and Colorado are impacting whether Wyoming residents stay or leave.

Idaho had the largest population increase in the nation last year at 2.2 percent. Colorado had the eighth-largest population increase.

Wyoming's population decrease was 1 percent. That's the largest decline in Wyoming since 1989.

SheridanWyoming.com

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