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Wyo. cities, towns back Mead's local funding hike

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming cities and towns are backing Gov. Matt Mead's request to boost state funding to local governments but they want more flexibility in how to spend the money.

The Jackson Hole Daily reported Monday that members of the Wyoming Association of Municipalities and the Wyoming County Commissioners Association wrote to state lawmakers last week in support of the proposal.

Mead has proposed giving cities and towns $175 million, $20 million more than this year. Forty percent would go to infrastructure and 60 percent would go to operational expenses.

Towns and counties, however, don't want to be limited to that split.

Jackson Mayor Mark Barron says local leaders have a better sense than state lawmakers of where the money would be best spent.


Senators ask DOD to delay nuclear missile study

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) - Montana's U.S. senators have joined six others in asking the Defense Department to hold off on an environmental assessment on Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile silos.

The Great Falls Tribune reports the study is required before the Air Force can make any changes to the structure of the ICBM force.

The 450 ICBMs are in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming.

Last week, President Barack Obama signed legislation allowing the Defense Department to begin the study.

The legislation withholds half the funds until the department gives Congress options for the nuclear force structure under the New START treaty with Russia.

Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus are asking the department to await a decision by Congress on funding for 2014 before beginning the study.


2013 Wyoming traffic deaths may fall below 100

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Department of Transportation says the state has recorded 92 traffic fatalities in 2013 - the lowest number in years.

The 92 fatalities is the lowest number since 1945, when there were 71 traffic deaths - although numbers before 1980 are based on historical documents and aren't confirmed.

Highway Patrol Sgt. Stephen Townsend tells the Wyoming Tribune Eagle that visibility of law enforcement may have played a part in this year's number.

For the past several years, the highway patrol and local law enforcement agencies have had extra officers out during periods marked by a lot of drinking, such as the upcoming New Year's holiday.

Also. The Wyoming Governor's Council on Impaired Driving has been holding news conferences and releasing ads about the dangers of drunken driving. And there are several communities that have been offering safe rides programs.


Wyoming beginning 2014 free of extreme drought

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming will start the New Year free of extreme drought conditions.

Snow in April, one of the state's wettest Septembers and early season snowfall have improved conditions in much of the state. A large swath of the state is still considered abnormally dry - the least severe ranking on the U.S. Drought Monitor - and only small pockets are considered to be in moderate drought.

Last year at this time, much of the state was in extreme or exceptional drought.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that Laramie County has been drought free for nearly four months.

Meteorologist Steve Rubin says Cheyenne has had 18.1 inches of moisture through Thursday this year compared with 10.2 in all of 2012.