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Crime surge accompanies Wyoming oil boom

DOUGLAS, Wyo. (AP) - Law enforcement officials in east-central Wyoming say they're seeing more crimes committed by newly arrived workers in the area's booming oil fields.

The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation reports serious crimes including aggravated assault and larceny are up 17 percent in the Douglas area since 2009.

Douglas Police Chief Ron Casalenda says emergency calls there are up 9 percent from last year. Drug arrests are up from 37 in 2009 to 64 last year.

And the city's police officers were involved in two vehicle pursuits in September. The city didn't have any police chases for three years. Both pursuits involved energy industry workers.

Compounding the problem, the Douglas Police Department is short two officers. The Casper Star-Tribune reports city employees are quitting to work in the oil fields.


New Frontier Days chief seeks to carry on rodeo

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The next leader of the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo says he wants to carry on with his predecessor's good work and the organization's long-term plans.

Tom Hirsig is about to step down as Wyoming state insurance commissioner. He's set to become president and chief executive of the "Daddy of 'em All" rodeo starting Jan. 1.

Hirsig says competition from other events will require Frontier Days to study what draws potential customers, including the sort of entertainment acts people want to see.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports Hirsig's great-great-uncle Charlie Hirsig was a co-founder of Frontier Days. Hirsig says he's been attending Frontier Days all his life and began working in the arena when he was 10.


Prescription drug abuse on rise in Fremont County

RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) - Fremont County sheriff's officials say they're seeing more crimes having to do with prescription drug abuse.

Undersheriff Ryan Lee says they include theft, larceny, burglary and driving under the influence of prescription drugs.

The Riverton Ranger reports one recent case involved a man who was chased out of a home in Riverton by a woman wielding a garden hoe. Authorities say the man had gone into the home in search of prescription drugs.

Tauna Groomsmith with the Fremont County Prevention Organization says prescription drug abuse is on the rise locally. She says people with prescriptions for painkillers should track how many pills they have and keep those medications hidden.


Grand Teton asked Wyoming not to move griz too far

MOOSE, Wyo. (AP) - Grand Teton National Park managers say they asked Wyoming wildlife managers not to move a popular grizzly bear away from Jackson Hole before the state officials moved and ultimately killed the bear east of Yellowstone.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department officials euthanized the male grizzly in October for causing problems near Clark. They'd moved the bear to that region from Jackson Hole.

In Jackson Hole, the grizzly had been popular with wildlife photographers but also had a record of venturing too close to human habitation.

Grand Teton spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs tells the Jackson Hole News & Guide park managers asked Game and Fish not to move the bear too far. Game and Fish officials say they considered but decided against the request because of the bear's history of problems.


Air Force offers details of bomber training zone

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - The U.S. Air Force says any given location across a sprawling area of the Northern Plains could see up to nine low-altitude overflights by military aircraft annually under a proposed bomber training area expansion.

Supersonic flights in the Powder River bomber training area would be limited to no more than 10 days a year, during large scale exercises involving roughly 20 aircraft.

Details of the Air Force plans emerged Friday with the release of a 502-page environmental study of the proposal.

The Air Force wants to triple the size of the training area to roughly 28,000 square miles. That includes airspace over Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas to be used by B-1 and B-52 bombers.


Powell man denies possessing meth at home daycare

CODY, Wyo. (AP) - A Powell man has denied charges that he kept methamphetamine at his house, endangered children at the home daycare run by him and his wife.

The Cody Enterprise reports Nick Ringler pleaded not guilty to four felony counts of child endangerment and a misdemeanor count of meth possession.

Mandy Ringler faces the same charges.

Court records say a confidential informant told police the Ringlers were using and selling meth out of their residence. An Aug. 26 search turned up a small bag of suspected meth in Nick Ringler's pocket, a number of pipes, two digital scales and a syringe.


Cheyenne looks to cut worker health coverage costs

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - City officials in Cheyenne are deliberating whether to hire a consultant to help cut the cost of health insurance coverage for city employees.

Some Cheyenne City Council members are skeptical about the need for a consultant. They say the city should do the work in house instead of paying the consultant $90,000.

The City Council plans to vote on the contract Dec. 8.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports the city spent about $6.7 million last fiscal year on health care costs for its nearly 600 employees.

Cheyenne Human Resources Director Rich Wiederspahn says most large employers hire insurance consultants. He says the Denver-based Assured Equity Management could help reduce costs by negotiating with health insurers.