Wyoming News Update

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Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment

Fatal crashes on the decline in Wyoming

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — New state figures show fewer people are dying along Wyoming roads this year compared to 2015.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that the state has recorded 42 highway deaths through June, a decrease from last year's 66 fatalities during the same period.

There have been 39 crashes this year where at least one person has died. A majority of those crashes involved people who weren't wearing seat belts.

Wyoming Highway Patrol Sgt. David Wagener says the decrease in traffic deaths this year could be attributed to less traffic because of the downturn in the energy industry.

Federal judge dismisses challenge to Wyoming trespassing law

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Wyoming laws that prohibit trespassing on private lands to collect data.

Groups including the Western Watersheds Project, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Press Photographers Association sued Wyoming last year.

The groups claimed state laws prohibiting trespassing to collect data were unconstitutional because they would block people from informing government regulators about violations on private lands.

U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl of Casper dismissed the lawsuit Wednesday, ruling there's no constitutional right to trespass on private lands.

Skavdahl last year expressed concerns about an earlier version of the state law that prohibited collection of data on open lands. The Wyoming Legislature earlier this year revised the laws to specify they only applied to trespassing to collect data on private lands.

Yellowstone on track for another record visitation year

WEST YELLOWSTONE, Mont. (AP) — Yellowstone National Park has welcomed more than 1.4 million visitors this year, a 10 percent increase over the same time in 2015.

The National Park Service says the park had about 830,000 visitors during the month of June alone, a 7 percent jump from last year.

The park's south entrance, which connects to Grand Teton National Park, had the biggest increase in June visits with an increase of 20,000 tourists from last year. The west entrance to the park still holds the top spot for visitors, recording nearly 14 percent more than last year.

Officials plan to look further into the statistics by conducting a survey in August to determine where visitors are from and their motivation for visiting the park. This year marks the park service's 100th anniversary.

2 escape injury when small plane crash lands in Cheyenne

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A single-engine plane with two people on board — including a teenager on a quest to become the youngest African American to pilot an airplane around the continental United States — crashed Thursday. But no one was hurt.

KGWN-TV in Cheyenne reported that Isaiah Cooper, 16, of Compton, California, was on board.

Jim Schell, deputy director of aviation at Cheyenne Regional Airport, says flight instructor Roger Khan was piloting the plane when it went down.

Schell says the plane had traveled from Rock Springs Thursday morning and was headed to Omaha, Nebraska.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer says the plane was a Gulfstream AA-5. Kenitzer says the FAA is investigating.

Veteran tuition program saved from budget cuts

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A program that provides tuition assistance for veterans has been restored for now by Gov. Matt Mead after being targeted for elimination because of budget cuts.

Mead announced Wednesday that he would continue funding the program through the coming fall semester. And he didn't rule out the possibility of continuing it after this year.

The program administered by the Wyoming Community College Commission provided assistance to 162 veterans at the state's seven community colleges and the University of Wyoming last fall.

Veterans who had been deployed to combat zones could receive 10 free semesters at any Wyoming community college and the university. Veterans' surviving spouses and dependents are also eligible.

UW students in the program had been told recently that the program was being eliminated to save money.

WyoLotto makes 2nd payment to state cities, towns, counties

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Lottery has turned over its second payment this year to the state.

The lottery transferred more than $915,000 of its profits on Wednesday.

In April, the WyoLotto handed over more than $1 million.

The lottery shares its revenue with the state quarterly. The amount depends on the lottery's profits, which vary quarter to quarter. Proceeds are distributed among the state's cities, towns and counties.

The lottery started selling tickets in Wyoming in August 2014. Its initial profits were used to pay private loans taken out to set up the operation.