Wyoming News Update

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Here is the latest Wyoming news from The Associated Press

New program aims to improve school safety

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The state has launched a program that allows students to anonymously report threats or safety concerns to law enforcement and school authorities.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports the program was introduced Wednesday in the Natrona County School District. The director of Safe2Tell, Bill Morse, says it will expand statewide by the end of the school year. He says authorities will still respond to any report made through the program's call center, regardless of where it comes from.

Wyoming Office of Homeland Security Director Guy Cameron says the program is meant for authorities to able to intervene at the earliest point possible when a child doesn't feel safe.

State legislators approved the program this year.

Safe2Tell was first implemented in Colorado after the mass shooting at Columbine High School in 1999.

Father sentenced in death of infant daughter

ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. (AP) — A 27-year-old man charged with murder in the death of his infant daughter has been ordered to serve at least 60 years in prison.

The Rock Springs Rocket-Miner reports Jacob Anthony Triplett was sentenced Tuesday after pleading no contest in the death of 4-month-old Susan Triplett. He was given additional time for several child abuse charges related to the abuse of Susan's twin and his two sons, ages 2 and 4.

Doctors determined Susan was malnourished and dehydrated when she died in 2014.

An autopsy found signs of child abuse.

Triplett's attorney unsuccessfully argued for a shorter sentence, saying his client has taken responsibility and had no criminal history.

Triplett's wife is also charged in the case and faces 20 years to life in prison when she is sentenced.

Trial to consider coal pollution from BNSF coal trains

SEATTLE (AP) — A trial set for next month will weigh whether coal dust that spills into waterways from passing BNSF coal trains violates environmental law.

Seven environmental groups sued BNSF Railway in 2013, arguing the railroad violated federal law by releasing coal pollutants into waters without a permit.

A federal judge in Seattle on Tuesday found that coal particles that fall into waterways from passing uncovered coal trains are considered "point sources" of pollution and that BNSF would be liable for such pollution if the groups prove at trial that the discharges actually occurred.

Group representatives say they look forward to proving their case about the environmental harms.

BNSF spokeswoman Courtney Wallace said Wednesday the company is confident in its legal arguments and that its coal-loading rule eliminates most coal dust issues.

Hundreds of trains carrying coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming traverse Washington state each year.

New Circuit Court judge named in Campbell County

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Gov. Matt Mead has appointed Paul Phillips as the new Circuit Court Judge for the 6th Judicial District in Campbell County.

Phillips will replace Judge Terrill Tharp, who is retiring effective Jan. 1.

Phillips has been an attorney in private practice in Gillette for over 10 years. Prior to that, he served as a law clerk for the District Court Judges of the 6th Judicial District. He also has served as Circuit Court Magistrate and as a judge for the Campbell County Adult Felony Treatment Court.

From 1982 to 2002, he served in the U.S. Army, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.