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Wyoming adopts wildlife migration conservation guidelines

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming has adopted new guidelines to protect some of North America's longest wildlife migration routes from oil and natural gas development.

The guidelines call on state wildlife officials to continue to identify routes traveled by elk, antelope and mule deer. Biologists also will study ways to counter threats to those migrations.

The state Game and Fish Commission endorsed the broadly written guidelines Thursday with support from both environmentalists and the petroleum industry.

The guidelines could play a role when petroleum developers seek to drill on federal land in Wyoming. State biologists will refer to their findings when they advise federal agencies on wildlife populations on federal land.

Vast natural gas reserves in western Wyoming underlie habitat for elk, antelope and mule deer that travel to the Yellowstone region each summer.


Wyoming man who sought military pension gets 18 years

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A judge has imposed an 18-year prison sentence on a Wyoming man who sought unsuccessfully to have his sentencing on child sex-crime convictions delayed so he could receive a military pension.

U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson of Cheyenne sentenced Army National Guard Lt. Timothy Wells on Thursday.

Wells, of Cheyenne, was convicted in October of sexual exploitation of a child and other charges. Prosecutors say the crimes occurred at the F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne.

Johnson recently denied a request to release Wells from custody temporarily and reschedule his sentencing for April to allow Wells to finish the 20 years of military service necessary to qualify for a pension.

Assistant Federal Public Defender James Barrett told Johnson in court that Wells now has lost his military pension.


Skiers killed in avalanche near Jackson Hole went over cliff

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - Two skiers who were killed in an avalanche just south of Jackson Hole were carried over a 100-foot cliff before they died.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that 46-year-old David Hannagan and 36-year-old Catherine Grimes were likely killed by trauma before they were buried by snow at the base of the slide on Sunday.

Hannagan, Grimes and a third skier were in an area outside of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort's boundary known as Ralph's Slide. They were caught in a slide that traveled 350 vertical feet, burring both Hannagan and Grimes after taking them over the cliff face.

The third skier survived by grabbing onto a tree.

The area has been the site of skier-triggered avalanches in the past. It is known as Ralph's Slide because of a skier who was killed in 2001.


25-year-old enters race for Wyoming's US House seat

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A Buford man has announced his bid for Wyoming's sole seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that 25-year-old John Meena filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission stating his intention, making him the youngest candidate in the race.

Meena is running as the only independent in the already crowded contest to replace Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis.

This if Meena's first foray into politics. He currently works as a database administrator and accountant for the Wyoming School Facilites Department.

State Rep. Tim Stubson, R-Casper, state Sen. Leland Christensen, R-Alta, Casper pizzeria owner Charlie Tyrrel, state corrections officer Jason Senteney, veterinarian Rex Rammell, Northwest College professor Mike Konsmo, Platte County resident Darek Farmer and Casper resident Paul Paad have also announced bids for the seat.


Mills man gets probation for unemployment fraud

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - A Mills man has been sentenced to probation for making unemployment claims when he was working.

KTWO-AM reports that Homer McCann was handed a 2- to 4-year suspended prison sentence with three years of probation. He pleaded guilty to one count of obtaining benefits by fraud. He has also been ordered to pay $7,400 in restitution.

Prosecutors say McCann started receiving unemployment benefits around March 2009, but discrepancies were later found in his claims in 2010. The Unemployment Department sent him over-payment notices, but he didn't begin repaying the state until 2013.

McCann told the State of Wyoming Special Investigation Unit he was having trouble making ends meet and was collecting unemployment and still working.


Jobless rate in Wyoming at 4.3 percent in December

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming's unemployment rate increased to 4.3 percent in December.

The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reports that the rate is up from November's 4.1 percent.

The state's jobless rate is still below the national rate of 5 percent.

Albany and Niobrara counties have the lowest unemployment rates in the state at 2.9 percent, followed by Goshen at 3.1 percent and Weston at 3.3 percent.

Fremont County posted the highest unemployment rate at 6 percent, followed by Natrona and Sublette each at 5.5 percent and Uinta at 5.2 percent.