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03-06-13 Wyoming Briefs

McClements resigns from Fremont District 21

RIVERTON (AP) — Richard McClements is resigning as superintendent of Fremont County School District 21.

McClements joined the Fort Washakie district at the start of the 2011-12 school year. Before moving to Wyoming, he was a superintendent at a K-12 school on the Navajo Reservation in Shonto, Ariz.

The Riverton Ranger reports that McClements says he appreciates having had the Wyoming experience and wishes the district well.

McClements is the latest superintendent serving a district on the Wind River Indian Reservation to tender a resignation.

Jonathan Braack submitted his resignation from District 38 in Arapahoe last month. He plans to continue to work through June.
Superintendent Michelle Hoffman plans to retire from Wyoming Indian Schools by the end of the year.

UW gets money for
bonuses and buildings

LARAMIE (AP) — The University of Wyoming will see money for new construction and a pay bonus for employees from the supplemental budget approved by the Legislature this winter.
However, UW will be required to reduce operations funding by 6 percent.

UW President Tom Buchanan says in a statement that the employee bonuses is significantly less than what was requested for continuing salary increases.

But Buchanan says he hopes it’s a first step toward recognizing that good university employees are necessary and deserving of merit pay increases after four years of no raises.
He noted the 6-percent reduction is less of a decrease than many state agencies experienced.
The Laramie Boomerang reports that under the budget bill, UW is slated to receive $70 million for construction projects.

Work starts on pathway bridge in Jackson

JACKSON (AP) — Work is beginning this week on construction of a pathway bridge over the Snake River in the town of Jackson.

Jackson Hole Community Pathways, a joint program of the Town of Jackson and Teton County, announced that contractor Cannon Builders Inc., plans to begin building the Snake River pathway bridge this week.

When it’s finished, the bridge will connect the west bank of the Snake River to the Town of Jackson by a non-motorized pathway.

Plea deal in case of
overbilling Wyoming Medicaid

CASPER (AP) — A woman accused of overbilling Wyoming’s Medicaid program for services provided to her disabled daughter has reached a plea deal.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports Connie Bryant, of Casper, faces one to five years of probation after pleading guilty last month to obtaining goods by false pretenses. Wyoming Attorney General Greg Phillips announced her plea Tuesday.

Bryant had been providing services to her daughter through a Medicaid waiver program that helps people who want to live at home but require care typically found in a nursing facility.
An investigator said Bryant had billed the state for daily care while typically only supplying service three days a week.

Thunderbirds cancel at Frontier Days, other sites

CHEYENNE (AP) — The Air Force Thunderbirds may not make their traditional appearance at Cheyenne Frontier Days this year because the team has been grounded by the budget battle in Washington.

Thunderbirds spokesman Maj. Darrick Lee said Tuesday the team canceled about 58 appearances between April 1 and the end of the season in November to save money amid mandatory spending cuts.

Lee says the cancellations will allow the Air Force to shift more flying time and resources into combat training.

It wasn’t immediately clear how much money the move would save.

The Thunderbirds were scheduled to appear at Frontier Days on July 24. They also canceled their traditional flyover and air show at the Air Force Academy graduation in Colorado in May.
This is the Thunderbirds’ 60th anniversary year.

Fewer Wyo. sheep lost but predation up slightly

POWELL (AP) — Wyoming sheep producers lost fewer sheep last year even though predation increased slightly.

According to a U.S.D.A survey conducted in January, producers lost an estimated 43,000 sheep and lambs, down from 55,000 in 2011.

The Powell Tribune reported Tuesday that the losses were mainly attributed to weather, disease and other environmental factors. Predation rose 6 percent over 2011.

Todd Ballard of the U.S.D.A. says the drought drove wildlife out of the mountains in search of water and they encountered sheep at watering holes.

Coyotes were responsible for killing the most sheep among wildlife but eagles have also become a problem as well.

Eagles killed more sheep than bears and wolves combined in each of the last two years.

Conservation groups want more Red Desert drilling protections

CASPER (AP) — Some conservation groups want more environmental protections before a large drilling project in Wyoming’s Red Desert is developed.

If approved by the Bureau of Land Management, the 9,000-well Continental Divide-Creston Natural Gas project would the largest in the state. It would cover more than one million acres between Rawlins and Rock Springs.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Wyoming Outdoor Council submitted comments to the BLM on the project Tuesday.

They’re asking that project developers be required to detect and control pollution leaks and to improve plans protecting wildlife, among other requests.
About 20 companies are involved in the project.

Wednesday is the deadline to submit comments. The BLM will review the comments and then issue a final environmental impact statement.

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