Associated Press

Two university foundations have asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit that is holding up their plans to sell a ranch.
 
Laramie County District Judge Thomas Campbell is scheduled to hear arguments in the dismissal request Tuesday.
 
Amy Davis donated the Y Cross Ranch to the University of Wyoming Foundation and Colorado State University Research Foundation in 1997. She filed suit in September, saying the two foundations haven't honored her intent that they use the ranch as a site for hands-on teaching.
 

An effort to buy oil and gas leases in western Wyoming to protect the land from development is raising funds at about half the speed needed to complete the $8.75 million deal.
 
 

A report by consultants hired by the Legislature gives the Wyoming Department of Education poor marks in implementing state education reforms.
 
The report says the agency has failed in some of its responsibilities and hindered other entities involved in the state's initiative to better prepare its public school students for college and careers.
 
 The report blames much of the agency's failings on loss of too many key personnel in the last two years.
 

Sinclair Oil is offering a $25,000 reward for information about an apparent sabotage attempt at its refinery near Rawlins.
 
Workers discovered damage to a number of valves on Oct. 18 after noticing strange feedback from instruments on a hydro-cracking unit.
 
A company spokesman says the company concluded the damage was intentional but wouldn't comment on whether there were signs of a break-in.
 
Sinclair Police Chief Jeff Sanders confirmed Wednesday that his department is investigating.

Wyoming authorities say a 39-year-old Montana man has been arrested in connection with the kidnapping of an 11-year-old girl in Wyoming.
 
Court records filed in Cody identify the suspect as Jesse Paul Speer. He was arrested Saturday in Belgrade, Mont., on a hold for Wyoming. He faces extradition to Wyoming on charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault and felony use of a weapon.
 
 Speer's bond is set at $2 million and he faces a court appearance in Bozeman on Monday afternoon.
 

Many coal-bed methane companies have downsized their production in the Powder River Basin over the last couple of years because of low natural gas prices.
 
Workers in the industry were forced to move to other states to find jobs.
 
 But a growing oil play in Converse County is bringing some of those workers back.
 
 Chesapeake Energy Corp. is one of the companies actively drilling in Converse County.
 

Citizens for the Wyoming Range

A land conservation group has reached a long-sought agreement to prevent a gas drilling project in northwest Wyoming by buying out a vast area of mineral leases inside Bridger-Teton National Forest.
 
 The Trust for Public Land tells The Associated Press it plans to buy out 58,000 acres of oil and gas leases owned by Houston-based Plains Exploration and Production Co. for $8.75 million.
 
 PXP confirms the agreement, to be formally announced Friday. The deal would end PXP's plans to drill 136 gas wells near the Hoback River headwaters inside the national forest.

University of Wyoming

The top U.S. military commander in the Middle East says attacks on international forces by Afghan soldiers and police are disheartening.
 
 But Gen. James Mattis says such treachery is a part of war and will not diminish the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan.
 
 He says measures have been taken to help reduce the so-called insider attacks that have claimed more than 50 American lives this year.
 
 Mattis spoke and answered questions for little over an hour Thursday at the University of Wyoming.
 

The Supreme Court has turned away an appeal challenging a federal rule that bars development on 50 million acres of roadless areas in national forests.
 
The justices said Monday they will leave in place a federal appeals court decision that upheld the so-called roadless rule that took effect late in the presidency of Bill Clinton.
 
The state of Wyoming and the Colorado Mining Association said closing so much forest land to development has had serious consequences for residents of Western states and the logging, mining and drilling industries.
 

The number of jobs Alpha Natural Resources plans to cut in Wyoming's Powder River Basin remains unclear after the coal giant said it plans to cut production by 16 million tons.
 
About 40 percent of Alpha's production cuts will come from high-cost eastern mines while about half will occur in the Powder River Basin. The company is eliminating 1,200 jobs companywide, laying off 400 workers immediately by closing mines in Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
 
 But, the company says most of the displaced workers may eventually be rehired.
 

Officials say the Sheep Herder Hill fire on Casper Mountain is about 50 percent contained.

Officials also say there was a lot more damage then previously thought. They have counted 36 homes and cabins destroyed by the wildfire burning on Casper Mountain. The number is a big jump from the seven confirmed earlier this week.

The U.S. Drought Monitor says extreme drought conditions now cover much of southern and eastern Wyoming after a dry August.
 
 The program's map shows all of Sweetwater, Laramie, Goshen, Platte and Niobrara counties are in an extreme drought, the fourth-worst out of five categories.
 
 Conditions in most of Converse and Weston counties and in parts of six other counties are also classified as extreme drought.
 
Most of the rest of the state is in a severe drought, the third-worst category.
 

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead has appointed Michael K. Davis to the state Supreme Court.

Davis is current a state district judge for Laramie County.  He will succeed Justice Michael Golden, who is retiring effective Sept. 30. Within the next month, Golden will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 set in the state Constitution.
 
Davis will be the first Justice chosen by Governor Mead. The Wyoming Supreme Court consists of five justices who serve eight-year terms. It decides cases and exercises administrative supervision over the Wyoming State Bar.

The Bureau of Land Management is backing a proposal to open a wild horse sanctuary in the Centennial Valley.
The BLM announced its decision Wednesday following a month-long public comment period.
 
The owners of the 4,000-acre Deerwood Ranch about 30 miles west of Laramie want to provide long-term care for up to 300 wild horses gathered from Wyoming rangelands. The horses would not be kept on public lands and would all be geldings.  
 

The state of Wyoming says Secretary of State Max Maxfield has no legal basis to file a lawsuit over term limits for state elected officials.
 
     In a recent filing with the state Supreme Court, Wyoming Attorney General Greg Phillips argued that because Maxfield has not said whether he will seek a third term he hasn't been harmed by the term limit law.
 

A new federal report says a flight instructor had warned a Minnesota man of the dangers of flying his single-engined airplane over the mountains of northwestern Wyoming just weeks before the 2010 crash that killed the pilot and his three sons.
 
     The National Transportation Safety Board on Monday published its report on the crash in Wyoming's Wind River Range that killed 41-year old Luke Bucklin of Minneapolis and his three young sons.
 

Firefighters quickly pounced on new wildfires started by lightning in northern Wyoming as they
contained or gained near containment on the state's largest fires.
The fire situation has improved a great deal in Wyoming because
of rain and cooler weather over the weekend.
 Firefighters are being reassigned elsewhere or are being rested.

A new wildfire has erupted in Wyoming.
     The Fontenelle Fire is burning in the Bridger-Teton National
Forest about 30 miles northwest of LaBarge in western Wyoming. It
has burned about 100 acres and firefighters are being deployed to
combat it.
     The cause of the fire, which was reported on Sunday, is under
investigation.
     Meantime, the Russell's Camp fire burning south of Glenrock grew
to more than 8 square miles over the weekend, but firefighters have
managed to gain 25 percent containment.

Anticipating a return of hot, dry, windy weather by this weekend, firefighters worked Thursday to build
lines around a wildfire in the Medicine Bow National Forest in east-central Wyoming.

 The Russell's Camp fire is located about 30 miles south of
Glenrock and has burned just over 4 square miles since Sunday.

 Cooler temperatures and higher humidity on Wednesday lessened
fire intensity, allowing firefighters to gain 5 percent containment. But the fire was more active Thursday with warmer temperatures.

Authorities say a man has died from injuries he suffered when he fell into a fan while conducting tests
of a ventilation system at a state warehouse in Cheyenne.

The Laramie County Coroner's Office says 57-year-old Steven John
Mullen of Laramie died of multiple injuries when he fell into the
fan at the State of Wyoming Liquor Warehouse on Wednesday.

Associated Press

Investigators have determined that a fire
burning in Guernsey State Park in southeast Wyoming is human
caused.

State Forester Bill Crapser says the fire started in a grassy
and brushy area along the lake.

While the land there is owned by the state Military Department,
Crapser says no military personnel or actions were involved in
starting the fire.

 Crapser says his office sent its report to local authorities.
 Platte County Undersheriff Grady Winders declined comment,
saying the investigation continues.

Authorities are telling people in a community in southeast Wyoming to be ready to evacuate as a
large wildfire spreads.

They're telling the 70 people who live in Hartville on the east
side of Guernsey State Park to be ready to leave in an hour's
notice.

     A wildfire has burned over six square miles of the park since
Saturday. Hundreds of campers had to evacuate and the park remains
closed.

The presidents of the University of Wyoming and Colorado State University have reaffirmed plans to sell a 50,000-acre ranch in southeast Wyoming.

The University of Wyoming Foundation and Colorado State
University Research Foundation have jointly owned the Y Cross Ranch
since 1997.

UW President Tom Buchanan and CSU President Tony Frank met and
decided this week to move ahead with selling the ranch by sealed
bid, possibly later this year.

Democratic Albany County Commissioner Tim
Chesnut says he will run for the U.S. Senate.

The 47-year-old Laramie resident admitted his chances of victory
were small. But Chesnut hopes his campaign will help shift the
political climate away from the hyperpartisanship seen today and
encourage politicians to find middle ground.

Chesnut will face perennial office-seeker Al Hamburg, a retired
painter from Torrington, in the August Democratic U.S. Senate
primary.

An 8-percent budget cut would cost Wyoming's seven community colleges about $9.1 million.

Falling energy revenues has prompted Gov. Matt Mead to order
state agencies to prepare for 8-percent budget cuts for the fiscal
year that starts in July 2013.

James Rose, of the Wyoming Community College Commission, says
each community college board of trustees has the freedom to handle
any funding cuts as it see fit so he can't speak to whether any
faculty and staff positions would be threatened with layoffs.

A veteran officer is taking over as the new colonel of the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

Lt. Col. John Butler of Cheyenne has been selected as the new
administrator of the patrol and will be promoted to the rank of
colonel. He's the twelfth person to head the patrol since its
formation in 1933.

 Butler is a 27-year Highway Patrol veteran. He replaces Col.
Jess Oyler, who retired at the end of last year. Butler has served
as interim patrol administrator since Oyler's retirement.

An orthopedic surgeon who has risen
quickly to become one of the highest-ranking Republicans in the
U.S. Senate is officially seeking his first full term in office.
     Sen. John Barrasso kicked off his campaign Tuesday at the
Wyoming State Capitol in Cheyenne by saying Wyomingites want the
federal government to leave them alone.
     Democratic Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal appointed Barrasso in
2007 after the death of Sen. Craig Thomas.
     Barrasso since has risen to chairman of the Senate Republican

University of Wyoming

Laramie resident Mark Jenkins has reached the summit of Mount Everest.

Jenkins reached the summit of the world's highest mountain on
Thursday. He called his wife by satellite phone from a lower camp a
few hours later.

The University of Wyoming announced Jenkins' achievement. He
first attempted to climb the mountain in 1986 when he was a
graduate student at the university. He's a writer-in-residence for
the UW master's degree program in creative writing.

Federal land managers have rejected an application by a Colorado company to use bacteria to produce
methane from northeast Wyoming coal beds.  

The Gillette News-Record reported Thursday the Bureau of Land Management threatened to prosecute Luca Technologies Inc. for trespassing if it continued the work. The company says it will comply but disagrees with the decision and may sue.

The BLM acted after Luca refused to pay an additional $40,000 for the cost of processing the application, on top of $40,000 it paid previously.

The Casper Democrat running against Wyoming U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis is a political newcomer who says
he wants to represent the interests of working families.

Chris Henrichsen is a 35-year-old political science instructor
at Casper College. He filed paperwork on Thursday declaring his
candidacy to run against Lummis.

Lummis announced on Monday that she's seeking a third term as
Wyoming's lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives. A
Republican, she served earlier as Wyoming treasurer and in the
state Legislature.

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