Wyoming News Update

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Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment.

CHENEY-HEALTH OVERHAUL

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney says she supports the Republican-sponsored health care bill.

Cheney tells the Wyoming Tribune Eagle that the proposal would give flexibility to states and individuals that would make insurance more affordable for consumers.

The bill would repeal major parts of former President Barack Obama's health law. The House is scheduled to vote on the proposal Thursday.

Cheney says the proposal does exactly what needs to be done in terms of replacing the current health law with a system that "puts people back in charge."

The first-term Republican says she likes the plan to allow states to convert Medicaid payments into block grants. She says the block grant would allow Wyoming the flexibility to distribute funding as it sees fit.

IRRIGATION DITCH-BODY

RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) — Toxicology reports show drugs and alcohol may have contributed to the drowning death of a man who was found in an irrigation ditch in Riverton.

The Ranger reports that Joseph Atkin's body was discovered Feb. 21, nearly an hour after he was reported missing.

According to the Fremont County Coroner's Office, Atkin had a blood alcohol content of .169 at the time of his death. Marijuana, amphetamine and Valium were also found in his system.

Deputy Coroner Tadd Curtin says Atkin's toxicology is relevant to his drowning.

A woman had reported seeing the Lander man standing near the edge of the water before his body was found about a mile and a half downstream. It is unknown whether he willingly entered the flood waters.

YELLOWSTONE BISON

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Operations to kill bison in Yellowstone National Park for slaughter have come to an end, with more than 1,200 bison culled this winter.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports the park released figures Wednesday showing 748 bison were consigned to slaughter this year. Another 453 were killed by hunters from Native American tribes and the state of Montana.

The total winter death toll marks the highest number of bison killed in the Yellowstone area since 2008. It also falls just short of the removal goal bison managers set in the fall.

Bison are taken from the area each year because of a management plan established in 2000 that calls for a population of 3,000 bison in the region. Park biologists estimate there are 5,500 bison there now.

GILLETTE MURDER-CONVICTION

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — A 24-year-old Gillette man has been sentenced to 48 years to life in prison for a second time in a fatal shooting on Thanksgiving 2013.

Todd Sindelar was convicted in January of shooting and killing Matthew Boyer. He had been convicted and sentenced for the same crime once before, but that conviction was thrown out because of an improper jury instruction.

District Judge Michael N. "Nick" Deegan on Tuesday handed down the same sentence that he originally ordered after the first conviction.

The Gillette News Record reports that Deegan noted the evidence presented in the second trial was the same as the first.

Public defender Mitchell Damsky asked Deegan to give Sindelar a sentence of 25 years to life.

DISASTER DECLARATION

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — President Donald Trump has approved a federal disaster declaration for damage caused by a winter storm in Teton County in early February.

The storm knocked down power lines and cut power to the Jackson Hole Mountain Ski Resort and nearby residential areas. It took days to restore power in some places.

The declaration makes federal disaster funding available to help with the costs and repairs associated with the event.

HIGHWAY LANDSLIDE

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Department of Transportation is working to figure out what's causing a landslide to fracture a stretch of U.S. Highway 89/26 south of Jackson and how to fix it.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that the landslide, reported Friday, affects about 175 feet of pavement and has fractured approximately 20 feet of highway as well as 10 feet of the embankment. Officials say the slide is still moving slowly toward the Snake River.

Geologists are conducting tests on the landslide to figure out a permanent remedy for the fractured highway. After those tests are complete, geologists will come up with proposals to fix the problem.

Those solutions will be presented to WYDOT's executive board, which will decide which project to pursue.