Strong wind hampers travel in Wyoming
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Whiteout conditions forced the closure of parts of two interstates in southern Wyoming.
A 100-mile stretch of I-80 between Laramie and Rawlins was closed Tuesday afternoon, and another 100-mile stretch of the eastbound lanes between Rock Springs and Rawlins was also closed.
In addition, a 10-mile section of I-25 south of Cheyenne to the Colorado state line was shut down.
The National Weather Service reported high winds the southern part of the state much of Tuesday. Winds as high as 89 mph were recorded in Platte County.
The winds caused significant blowing and drifting snow and slick conditions on many roadways.
The winds were expected to subside Tuesday evening, leading to improved travel conditions.
State responds to Cindy Hill's records lawsuit
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Attorneys for the state contend Wyoming schools Superintendent Cindy Hill is not entitled to certain records and correspondence from the governor's office and the state Department of Education.
Hill has filed a lawsuit in state district court in Cheyenne seeking correspondence from several employees in the governor's office and the agency as well as other information.
The Attorney General's office filed the state's response to the lawsuit Monday.
The state lawyers argue Hill cannot seek the records under her official capacity as superintendent of public instruction. It says the court should dismiss any claims to records in her official capacity.
They also contend that the information she is seeking as a private citizen is exempt from the state public records act because it is privileged or protected attorney-client information.
Wyo. vet finally receives medals for service
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - An 86-year-old Cheyenne man has finally received military medals, including a Purple Heart, that he earned in the Korean War some six decades ago.
Paul Kniss received his medals last week during a ceremony at the F.E. Warren Air Force Base.
Kniss was shot down during the conflict and was a prison of war.
When the war ended, he passed up the chance to pick up paperwork to apply for a Purple Heart.
Kniss tells the Wyoming Tribune Eagle that he wanted to get home as quick as possible.
Besides the Purple Heart, Kniss also received the POW Medal.
Kniss says he plans to wear the medals in honor of the troops, including his older brother, who did not make it back from Korea or World War II.
UW trustees president pleased with gov.'s budget
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - The president of the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees says he's pleased with Gov. Matt Mead's budget recommendations for the state's only four-year public university.
Trustees President Dave Bostrom welcomed the governor recognizing the need to give faculty and staff pay raises.
Pay raises were identified by the board as the top priority for UW.
Mead's budget proposal calls for an average increase of 2.5 percent each of the next two years for UW employees. The governor also included money to continue improving UW College of Engineering building and academic programs.
Mead's budget offers one, 2 percent pay raise for community college employees because the governor says community college boards have been giving their employees raises recently.
The 2014 legislative session will have final say on the budget.
Report: Wyo. No. 4 in protecting kids from tobacco
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A report by a coalition of public health organizations ranks Wyoming fourth in the nation in funding programs to help prevent children from smoking and to help smokers quit tobacco.
Wyoming currently spends $5.1 million a year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, which is about 57 percent of the $9 million recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Under a settlement with tobacco producing companies in 1998, Wyoming and other states receive millions of dollars for use however they see fit.
The report by the public health organizations assesses whether the states have kept their promise to use a significant portion of their settlement funds to fight tobacco use.
Twenty-two percent of Wyoming high school students smoke, and 400 more kids become regular smokers each year.
GILLETTE POLICE LAWSUIT
Woman sues Gillette police over arrest in home
GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) - A Gillette woman who says police tackled her and used a stun gun on her after finding her 12-year-old son driving in the middle of the night is suing the city and its police department.
The Gillette News Record reported Monday that April J. Fox claims the officers came into her house with her son in November 2011, woke her up and refused numerous demands to leave. She says they tackled her even though she didn't pose any threat to them and wrongly arrested her.
Fox filed a governmental claim seeking compensation but no settlement negotiations took place. City Attorney Charlie Anderson said officials are investigating the matter.
The police report on the incident is sealed because a juvenile case was filed.
Environmentalists oppose longer eagle-take permits
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - Some environmental groups in Wyoming oppose the Obama administration's decision to allow wind companies to kill or injure eagles without fear of prosecution for up to three decades.
Under Friday's decision, wind power companies will now be issued eagle-take permits for 30 years instead of five. There will still be formal checkups every five years.
Audubon Rockies director Brian Rutledge told Wyoming Public Radio that not enough is known about the impact of wind farms on birds to make such long-term commitments.
In a recent interview, the head of the Fish and Wildlife Service's Migratory Bird Division, Casey Stemler, said the agency won't just walk away after issuing permits. He says there will be consistent monitoring of wind farms and officials will look into any problems.
Wyoming Game & Fish meetings now online
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is giving the public better access to its information and meetings.
The agency has developed a new Web page that will allow citizens to view information presented at meetings, to view meetings themselves and to provide feedback.
The new Web page resulted from a recent public survey as well as recommendations from a group of department employees.
The survey found that 76 of the respondents said they would attend an online meeting and 47 percent preferred that option.
Regional wildlife supervisor Jason Hunter says he hopes the new link will help people view meetings and comment online at their convenience.
The Web page can be found through the agency's main website.
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