University of Wyoming reports first virus case among staff
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The University of Wyoming says one of its employees has contracted the coronavirus. The school says in a statement Friday that it’s the first time someone living or working on campus has tested positive. The Casper Star-Tribune reports that the school says the man went into self-isolation on July 3 when he began feeling symptoms. He says he believes he contracted the virus at a private appointment off-campus. According to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, Wyoming on had 1,839 confirmed cases and 21 deaths due to the virus as of Saturday.
Conservation groups upset by North Cascades grizzly decision
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The forested mountains in and around North Cascades National Park have long been considered prime habitat for threatened grizzly bears, so environmental groups are criticizing the Trump administration’s decision to scrap plans to reintroduce the apex predators there. U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt on Tuesday announced his agency will not conduct the environmental impact statement needed to move forward with the plan. That drew swift rebukes from conservation groups, who have worked for decades to grow the tiny population of about 10 grizzlies in the vast North Cascades ecosystem. They called it a political decision that ignored science.
Tribes struggle to meet deadline to spend virus relief aid
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Tribes across the country are wrestling with competing needs, restrictive laws and inadequate staffing as they try to meet a tight federal deadline on spending billions of dollars in virus relief funds. Congress set aside $8 billion for tribes that must be spent by the end of the year and meet strict federal guidelines. Otherwise, the tribes risk having to send it back. Officials on the vast Navajo Nation have received $714 million in aid but approved just $60 million for health care, protective equipment and front-line workers against the virus. Rifts between the tribal government’s legislative and executive branches have delayed putting more of the money to use.
Wyoming to test all inmates for coronavirus
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming corrections officials plan to test all inmates and employees for the coronavirus. Wyoming and Hawaii are the only states that haven’t reported cases of COVID-19 among their inmate populations. Corrections Department Director Bob Lampert said Wednesday he wants to confirm that’s indeed the case in Wyoming. The testing will begin Monday at the Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton, followed by the Women’s Center in Lusk, the Honor Camp in Newcastle and the state maximum- and medium-security prisons in Rawlins and Torrington. Regular surveillance testing will continue after every inmate is tested by the end of August.
South Dakota teen gets 55-years for killing of Wyoming girl
STURGIS, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota teenager was sentenced to 55 years in prison after admitting he fatally shot a Wyoming girl last fall. The 17-year-old Sturgis boy was sentenced after pleading guilty in May to first-degree manslaughter for killing Shayna Ritthaler, a 16-year-old from Upton, Wyoming. The boy’s attorney told the Rapid City Journal that Judge Kevin Krull sentenced the teen Friday. The teen was charged as an adult. Both the prosecutor and the defense agreed to ask the judge to sentence the teen to 55 years in prison. He will be able to seek parole after 27 years, at age 44.
COAL JOINT VENTURE
Wyoming sides with Arch, Peabody in coal joint venture case
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The state of Wyoming is siding with two major coal companies as U.S. regulators try to block their efforts to merge operations in the nation’s top coal-producing region. Arch Resources and Peabody Energy, both based in St. Louis, have five mines in northeastern Wyoming. Deputy Attorney General James Kaste filed “friend-of-the court” documents Tuesday in federal court in St. Louis. He said the benefits of the regional merger would outweigh any anti-competitive effects. The companies say it would save them $120 million a year. Federal Trade Commission officials say it could stifle competition and increase coal prices.