Wyoming Capitol renovation lawsuit resolved

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon and state Treasurer Curtis E. Meier Jr. have settled a lawsuit related to the state Capitol renovation project.

In a joint statement released Thursday, Gordon and Meier announced that the settlement reaffirms the state treasurer’s constitutional authority to approve contracts for “repairing and furnishing the halls and rooms used for the meeting of the legislature and its committees.”

They said a District Court approved the dismissal of the suit with prejudice last Friday.

The lawsuit was filed in May 2016 by Gordon when he was state treasurer, initially challenging the Legislature’s decision to omit him from the State Capitol Building Rehabilitation and Oversight Group.

The Wyoming Capitol reopened last month after a $300 million renovation that took three and a half years.


Remains of missing Yellowstone worker from China sent home
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — The remains of a Yellowstone National Park seasonal worker from China have been returned to his family four years after he was swept down a river.

Feiyang “Isaac” Xiang (SHANG) was swimming in the Yellowstone River with two companions on July 23, 2015, when he was pulled away from the shore by the current. Search efforts conducted

for nearly two weeks after he disappeared failed to find any sign of the 21-year-old.

Yellowstone spokeswoman Morgan Warthin said in a statement Thursday that the remains of Xiang were found by park staff in February 2018 near where he was last seen but not positively identified until this past June by forensics experts.

Warthin says Xiang’s family returned to Yellowstone last month and collected the remains.


Man to serve jail time for illegally killing deer in Wyoming

(Information from: Jackson Hole (Wyo.) News And Guide,

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming man has been sentenced to six months in jail and had his hunting privileges taken away for 20 years for shooting four buck mule deer, taking their antlers and leaving the carcasses to waste.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that Stetson Long, of Thayne, also was ordered last week to pay the Wyoming Game and Fish Department $16,000 in restitution and lost his fishing privileges for 10 years.

All four animals were shot between Nov. 5 and 13 on private land near Cokeville. A ranch manager tipped off Game and Fish after finding four sets of fresh mule racks hidden in a barn at the ranch where Long worked and had permission to hunt.

An attempt to reach Long for an interview Wednesday was unsuccessful.


Kansas woman convicted of killing driver in Wyoming crash

(Information from: Laramie Boomerang,

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — A Kansas woman has been convicted in the deadly crash she caused when she fell asleep while driving a tractor-trailer in Wyoming.

The Laramie Boomerang reports an Albany County jury found 48-year-old Tonya Hightower guilty Wednesday of aggravated homicide by vehicle.

Authorities say Hightower drove through a median into oncoming traffic on Interstate 80 after she fell asleep in March 2018.

Her truck collided with the car driven by 57-year-old Vidal Madera of Laramie.

Wyoming Highway Patrol says Madera suffered “extreme, fatal injuries” and was ejected from his car despite wearing a seatbelt.

Hightower told authorities after the crash that she lost control of the vehicle but didn’t know what happened.

Court documents say Hightower did not test positive for narcotics.



Panel named to help select new University of Wyoming leader LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Sixteen people have been named to the committee that will help select the next University of Wyoming

president.The panel members announced Wednesday by US Board of Trustees Chairman David True include UW trustees, faculty, staff and students as well as former Gov. Matt Mead.

The search committee will be charged with forwarding about 12 qualified candidates to the Board of Trustees.

Former Trustees President John MacPherson, of Saratoga, will chair the committee.

The trustees intend to hire a consulting firm and a search recruiter to assist in the search.

Acting President Neil Theobald is not restricted from applying for the long-term position previously held by Laurie Nichols, whose contract was not renewed.

It is hoped that a new president will be selected by July 1, 2020.


Comment heard on proposed Wyoming oil and gas permit rules

(Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune,

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — More than 100 operators, landowners and lawmakers packed the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s public meeting on a proposed drilling application rule change.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that nearly 150 others joined Tuesday’s public meeting in Casper by phone.

The proposed rule would prevent a developer from controlling untapped land indefinitely by allowing others the opportunity to challenge inactive permits.

Commission Supervisor Mark Watson proposed the new rule to create opportunities to challenge operators that aren’t drilling on their permitted areas.

Under the proposal, if an operator wins a permit but fails to drill within the two-year period, other developers can file a challenge within 15 days of a notice.

The public comment period for the proposed new rule runs until Sept. 14.

Associated Press State News