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DISTRICT WAIVERS

16 districts receive student-teacher waivers in 2015-16

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Department of Education has granted 16 school districts permission to exceed the state mandated student-teacher ratio in kindergarten through third grade next school year.

The waivers granted for the 2015-16 school year continues a downward trend in the number of districts seeking and receiving permission to deviate from a law passed in 2011 that requires Wyoming districts to have one teacher for every 16 students in the classroom.

Last year, the department granted 19 waivers, while 22 waivers were granted in each of the 2012-13 and 2013-14 schools years.

Julie Magee, of the Education Department, says a lack of classroom space remains the main reason districts are unable to meet the ratio.

The 16-1 ratio was set by the 2011 Legislature as part a comprehensive education reform initiative.

WYOMING-NURSES

State faces in certified nursing assistant shortage

ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. (AP) - State Department of Health Director Tom Forslund says the shortage of certified nursing assistants, especially in nursing homes, in Wyoming is reaching crisis stage.

Forslund says Medicaid officials have said the state needs to do whatever it can to help the situation.

He tells the Rock Springs Rocket-Miner that his agency is reaching out to the Department of Workforce Services to see if they can work together to focus on CNAs for nursing homes.

VEHICULAR HOMICIDE

Man pleads guilty in death of another motorist

LANDER, Wyo. (AP) - A man has pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide in the death of a 73-year-old woman in Fremont County last November.

The Riverton Ranger reports that Reuben Revere pleaded guilty this past week in Lander District Court to aggravated vehicular homicide as part of a plea agreement.

Prosecutors charged Revere with driving drunk and causing a three-vehicle wreck on Nov. 13 that led to the death of Carolyn Whitman about a week later.

Authorities say Revere had a blood alcohol content of .179 percent soon after the collision.

District Court Judge Norman E. Young ordered a pre-sentence investigation.

Prosecutors agreed to ask for no more than 12 years in prison for Revere.

YELLOWSTONE-CANYON LODGE

New lodges replace old cabins at Yellowstone's Canyon area

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) - Five new lodges are under construction at Yellowstone National Park's Canyon Lodge that will replace 400 outdated cabins.

Mia Bell, of Xanterra's Yellowstone National Park Lodges, says the five new lodges will have 73 to 87 rooms each.

Three of those buildings will open to guests early next month. The two other buildings will open next summer.

The redevelopment at Canyon Lodge is part of Xanterra's 20-year contract as the concessionaire in Yellowstone. That contract calls for $150 million in improvements of Yellowstone's lodging and dining facilities.

The Great Falls Tribune reports that the Canyon Lodge project will account for $90 million.

The new lodges at Canyon will have a total of 409 rooms and offer a range of rates.

JACKSON ELK

Elk sticking closer to Jackson

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - Researchers are finding that more elk are forgoing longer migration in favor of sticking around Jackson.

In the late 1970s and early '80s less than 2 percent of the Jackson Elk Herd spent summers not far from their wintering grounds in the stretch of Jackson Hole between Moose and Wilson.

New assessments now estimate 40 percent of the herd are sticking close to their winter grounds.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that the situation is the subject of an upcoming Journal of Wildlife Management article based on research led by U.S. Geological Survey ecologist Aaron Foley and National Elk Refuge biologist Eric Cole.

There's not yet any good management plan to reverse a trend toward more local elk and fewer migratory elk.

WOLVES MANGE

Wolf pack dynamics lessen death from mange

POWELL, Wyo. (AP) - Research indicates that wolves suffering from sarcoptic mange have a better chance of survival when they are members of a pack. And the larger the pack the better off the sick wolves are.

A scientific paper published in Ecology Letters recently finds that a lone wolf suffering from mange faces nearly five times the risk of mortality of a lone, uninfected wolf.

But when a wolf with mange is part of a group of five additional wolves, it survives just as well as an uninfected wolf.

The Power Tribune reports that researchers say mange-infected wolves had a higher chance of survival in larger packs than mange infected wolves in smaller packs because larger packs can provide better food and protection.

WYOMING-SHYATT

Shyatt hopes to play 9 or 10 players consistently in 2015-16

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt knows that senior guard Josh Adams will be playing a lot of minutes next season.

Beyond that the roles and responsibilities for Wyoming's men's basketball team remain up in the air.

Wyoming boasts a roster with eight newcomers among 15 players. Six are freshmen and six are sophomores, two are juniors and Adams is the lone senior.

Shyatt tells the Casper Star-Tribune that 10 or more players could regularly see playing time because of the youth on the team.

Meantime, Wyoming women's basketball coach Joe Legerski has kept his team occupied throughout the summer with two hours of team workouts per week.