Wyoming News Update

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Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment

Wyoming Downs struggles with new horse race machines

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — One of two companies licensed to operate historic horse racing machines in Wyoming has closed half of its locations and reduced hours at the others in recent months.

Wyoming Downs is licensed to operate eight historic racing machine venues across the state.

Wyoming Downs and Wyoming Horse Racing were both forced to shut down operations last October after their instant racing machines were found in violation of state gambling law.

The two operators installed new machines that meet state law.

But Wyoming Downs chief operating officer Rick Cook tells the Wyoming Tribune Eagle that its new machines haven't proved successful, forcing it to close sites in Gillette, Evansville, Cheyenne and Laramie.

Cook said Wyoming Downs is looking to install different games.

More layoffs announced at Wyoming coal mines

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Alpha Natural Resources is laying off 37 workers at its Belle Ayr and Eagle Butte mines in northeast Wyoming.

The Gillette News Record reports that the layoffs announced on Thursday represent about 6.5 percent of Alpha's 563 workers at the two mines.

Low prices and weak market conditions have led Powder River Basin mines to lay off more than 500 workers since January in Wyoming.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration reports that at the end of the first quarter of 2016, Belle Ayr employed 271 workers, while Eagle Butte had 292. It wasn't made clear how many of the overall 37 layoffs came from each mine.

Bristol, Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in August.

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State education board wants to keep coordinator job

worRLAND, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming State Board of Education has voted to keep funding its state coordinator position.

The state Legislature this past winter approved a two-year budget that funded the job for only one year and directed the state education board to submit a report about the necessity of its coordinator.

But the Northern Wyoming Daily News reports that the board voted unanimously during a meeting in Worland on Thursday to use unspent money from elsewhere in its budget to keep the coordinator position.

Paige Fenton Hughes is the current Wyoming State Board of Education coordinator. She is leaving the job this year.

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Another spring storm to bring more snow to Wyoming

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — More snow is on tap for Wyoming, especially the southeast part of the state.

The National Weather Service has posted a winter storm warning for the mountains of southeast Wyoming as well as the Cheyenne and Pine Bluffs area. Up to 11 inches of snow is possible in Cheyenne.

A winter storm watch has been issued for Wheatland, Glendo and Torrington.

The Laramie area is under a winter weather advisory.

The Weather Service says snow is expected to begin Thursday night and continue off and on into the weekend.

Snow and rain is likely throughout much of western and central Wyoming as well.

Sinclair Refinery hires hundreds of workers during overhaul

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The Sinclair Refinery in Casper has hired of hundreds of workers as it undergoes a major overhaul to help reduce its environmental impact and improve operations at the facility.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that the refinery has been shut down while the company upgrades and renovates nearly all of its major equipment, including oil storage tanks and steam boilers. The refinery will remain closed through May.

Refinery manager Jim Ruble says the improvements will lay the groundwork to support another century of production.

A cost estimate on the project has not been released.

Ruble says the refinery has hired about 2,000 people to work on the various overhaul projects. Once the work is complete, he says employment will drop back down to about 300 to 400 workers.