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Wyoming miners locked out of jobs face health insurance loss

(Information from: The Gillette (Wyo.) News-Record,

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Hundreds of Wyoming coal miners locked out of their jobs could lose health insurance.

The Gillette News-Record reports that Blackjewel LLC Wyoming has filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to terminate its medical insurance Aug. 31.

Blackjewel is seeking to terminate a medical plan purchased under Revelation Energy, which would prevent employee eligibility for continued coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, commonly known as COBRA.

The lockout that began July 1 has affected 1,700 workers, including nearly 600 in Wyoming.

The company says the employees have not been fired, but the miners have been denied access to their jobs and pay has been withheld.

A company notice says workers should move to family members’ heath care plans or utilize the federal Health Insurance Marketplace.


Minnesota man dies in Montana climbing accident

(Information from: The Billings Gazette,

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A 65-year-old Minnesota man has died while trying to summit Montana’s highest mountain peak.

Park County officials say the experienced climber slipped and fell about 150 feet (46 meters) Saturday afternoon when he and a climbing partner were about 200 feet (61 meters) from the summit of Granite Peak in the Beartooth Mountains north of Yellowstone National Park.

Sheriff Brad Bichler tells The Billings Gazette the man’s climbing partner called Park County dispatchers at 2 a.m. Sunday, after climbing down from the 12,799-foot (3,901-meter) peak to get to an area with cellphone service.

Bichler says bad weather was delaying Monday’s effort to recover the man’s body.

The name of the man was being withheld until family members could be notified.


Former Wyoming player released from jail for sexual battery

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

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — A former University of Wyoming football player has been released from jail in a sexual battery case after a judge found the sentencing judge improperly called Carl Granderson’s therapist before handing down the sentence.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported District Judge John Perry suspended Granderson’s six-month jail sentence Friday and placed him on supervised probation.

Granderson was signed as an undrafted free agent by the New Orleans Saints this spring. He was placed on the reserve/did not report list at the start of training camp.

The former Wyoming defensive end had been jailed since July 11 after District Judge Tori Kricken rejected a plea agreement that recommended unsupervised probation for the misdemeanor charges of sexual battery and unlawful contact.

His attorney asked that he be allowed to withdraw his “no contest” pleas. Perry rejected that motion but changed Granderson’s sentence.

Granderson was charged in February after two women accused him of unwanted sexual contact while they slept at his off-campus apartment in November 2018.


Wildfire breaks out at Wyoming reservoir over weekend

(Information from: KTWO-AM,

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — More firefighters are arriving to help tackle a wildfire near Pathfinder Reservoir in central Wyoming.

The fire was initially reported Saturday and had grown to about 2.3 square miles (5.95 square kilometers) by Sunday.

Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Courtney Whiteman says a team of federal firefighters was arriving Monday to bolster local resources.

KTWO-AM reports that Natrona County Emergency Management on Monday asked the public to avoid using Pathfinder Reservoir for the time being so as not to interfere with firefighting efforts.

Two boat ramps were closed Monday for safety reasons as crews prepared to use the water in the reservoir to help fight the fire. Campgrounds in the area, however, remained open.


Prescribed burn project to start this fall in west Wyoming

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

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Forest managers are planning to begin an expansive, yearslong controlled burn project on the Bridger-Teton National Forest this fall in western Wyoming.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that the project in the Star Valley area will be done over a 10-year period and cover nearly 65,000 acres (26,300 hectares), a tract about a fifth the size of Grand Teton National Park.

The project will be a mix of fuels-reduction work designed to prevent wildfires from creeping onto private lands to the west, and prescribed burns that mimic wildfire’s natural role of invigorating browse for elk and mule deer.

The first burn is set for the backcountry Salt Range subalpine zone.

Greys River District Ranger Justin Laycock says impacts to the public are expected to be minimal.


National Park Service approves Wyoming cell service project

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

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming park officials have approved a plan to bring high-speed internet into the Grand Teton National Park.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reported Friday that the National Park Service authorized a proposal Aug. 15 to build a network of nine cell towers and 63 miles (101 kilometers) of a new fiber-optic line between Flagg Ranch, Moose and Kelly.

Park officials say multiple telecommunication companies proposed the plan to wire the park, and the scope of the infrastructure is unprecedented within the National Park system.

Officials say new signals are expected to cover portions of the adjacent Teton Wilderness.

Advocacy groups and residents question the importance of the internet in the woods.

Officials say construction could begin this fall, but the bulk of it is expected to be built in 2020.

Associated Press State News