Wyoming News Update

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Here is the latest Wyoming news from The Associated Press

Wyoming to play in Poinsettia Bowl Dec. 21

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — After losing the Mountain West Conference championship game Saturday night to San Diego State, Wyoming learned Sunday that it will be playing a bowl game on the Aztecs' home turf.

The Cowboys accepted an invitation to play in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 21 against former rival BYU.

San Diego State beat Wyoming 27-24 in the conference championship game Saturday night in Laramie. The Aztecs will play in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Wyoming enters the bowl game with an 8-5 overall record. BYU is 8-4 as an independent. The Cowboys and Cougars will be meeting for the first time since 2010. They've played 77 games over the years.

It will be Wyoming's 14th bowl appearance and first appearance in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. The Cowboys have an overall bowl record of 6-7 and last appeared in a bowl game in 2011.

New deputy warden to start at Torrington prison

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution in Torrington is getting a new deputy warden.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that Curtis Moffat starts in the position on Monday and will be in charge of the facility's daily operations. Moffat is replacing Ruby Ziegler, who became warden of the Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton last year.

Moffat has worked for the Torrington prison since 2009 as a unit supervisor. He began managing security operations as a correctional major starting in 2014.

Moffat previously worked as a case worker and unit manager at the Nebraska State Penitentiary for 12 years before heading to Wyoming's second-largest prison facility.

In his new position, Moffat says he hopes to be a "positive role model for others."

Wyoming police to dole out donated money for good deeds

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A good deed could turn into a $50 tip from Jackson law enforcement officials who will dole out donated money ahead of the holidays.

The Jackson Hole News and Guide reports that Teton County Sheriff Jim Whalen says anonymous donors have contributed enough for deputies, officers and troopers to give $50 to $100 gifts.

Whalen said the money could be given out for almost anything, including good drivers or people who are simply down on their luck.

He said the cash gifts are about spreading goodwill.

Donations last year helped officials run a similar effort.

Whalen said all of this year's donors were Jackson Hole residents. The area has a number of wealthy residents who own large estates.

Authorities plan to close Teton Pass for avalanche control

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Department of Transportation plans to close Teton Pass for avalanche control work for a few hours early Monday morning.

The Jackson Hole News&Guide reports that the Wyoming Department of Transportation plans to close Highway 22 over the 8,432-foot pass at 3 a.m. Monday. The highway carries traffic between Wyoming and Idaho.

Jamie Yount is an avalanche tech for WyDOT. He says the closure is not unusual for this time of year and says it was prompted by heavy snowfall over the last week.

Yount says the closure should only last a few hours depending on how much cleanup needs to be done after technicians trigger avalanches. He says it's possible that weather could force the closure earlier than 3 a.m.

UW gets DOE funding for carbon capture and storage projects

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — The U.S. Energy Department has awarded nearly $2.4 million to the University of Wyoming for research into commercial carbon capture and storage projects in Wyoming.

UW is among 13 universities and other organizations selected to share more than $44 million in research and development funds.

The funding is part of a DOE initiative to help mitigate carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

UW's project involves assessing secure, commercial-scale CO2 capture and storage at the Rock Springs Uplift in southwest Wyoming and studying CO2 capture, transportation and storage opportunities at Basin Electric Power Cooperative's Dry Fork Power Station near Gillette.

Previous research by UW and other entities has identified the Rock Springs Uplift as an ideal location for carbon storage.

Drought conditions persist in northeastern Wyoming

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Drought conditions are persisting in northeastern Wyoming.

The Gillette News Record is reporting that the region has seen months of warmer-than-average temperatures combined with very dry conditions.

The National Weather Service in Rapid City, South Dakota, issued a recent update on the ongoing drought saying severe drought conditions are continuing in portions of western South Dakota and portions of northeastern Wyoming.

Agency hydrologist Melissa Smith says some areas have seen ongoing drought conditions since May. She says recent cold temperatures have caused the ground to freeze. That will make it difficult for any melting snow to soak in and improve soil moisture conditions, meaning that areas of drought will persist through much of the winter.