Conservation easement aims to protect Wyoming ferrets

(Information from: KUWR-FM,

MEETEETSE, Wyo. (AP) — A ranch in northern Wyoming where black-footed ferrets were discovered in the 1980s is being preserved.

The Nature Conservancy recently announced a conservation easement agreement to restrict the Lazy BV ranch’s 2,300 acres (930.7 hectares) near Meeteetse from being subdivided or developed.

The ranch is in the area where the ferrets were discovered in 1981 after they were thought to be extinct. The ferrets were used to start a captive-breeding program that has restored black-footed ferrets in Wyoming, Colorado, Montana and elsewhere in the western U.S.

Jim Luchsinger of The Nature Conservancy tells Wyoming Public Radio that it had been a dream of the ranch owners to protect the ranch and bring ferrets back.

The protected land is also home to greater sage-grouse, mule deer, antelope and Yellowstone cutthroat trout.


Wyoming university lands money for research project

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — The University of Wyoming has received an $8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to field test foam-assisted hydrocarbon gas injection technology that could help recover more oil from unconventional reservoirs.

The project through UW’s Department of Petroleum Engineering plans to pilot the use of a hydrocarbon gas mixture to create foam for injection into hydraulically fractured reservoir rock. This foam will slow the flow of gas, allowing more oil to be extracted from the rock.

UW’s project was among five research and development projects recently selected to receive federal funding. The DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory will manage all of the selected projects.

Besides the $8 million in DOE money, the UW research project will receive an additional $2 million of funding from UW, Hess Corp. and Dow.


Wyoming tribal court judge pleads guilty to drug charges

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

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The former chief judge of the Wind River Indian Reservation tribal court has pleaded guilty to two drug distribution charges.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports Terri Smith entered guilty pleas to a single count each of cocaine distribution and conspiracy to distribute oxycodone Tuesday.

Court records say Smith pleaded guilty as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

Prosecutors are expected to dismiss a single count of use of a communication facility to commit a drug felony.

Smith’s attorney did not reveal the terms of the plea agreement but says she resigned her judgeship earlier this year.

Records say Smith became the court’s chief judge in January 2018 and the crimes took place while she served on the bench.

Smith remains free on bond prior to her scheduled sentencing Oct. 29.


Wyoming hospital plans security upgrades after shooting

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

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming’s largest hospital is moving forward with a slate of security upgrades after a man opened fire inside the facility earlier this year.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported Thursday that the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper has already started securing all doors on its campus nightly, requiring personnel to use badges to enter.

Hospital chief administrative officer Mike Staley says the facility will be bringing in its own security team instead of contracting an outside company. It plans to increase the number of officers to 21.

The hospital also plans to upgrade and increase surveillance cameras and improve its radio capabilities.

Mitchell Taylor was convicted last month of aggravated assault and destroying property for shooting a handgun inside the hospital in March.


Bison petted in latest Yellowstone dangerous-behavior video

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A man caught on video petting a bison is the latest example of dangerous behavior by a visitor to Yellowstone National Park.

The bison dodges from the man, who was on a crowded boardwalk near a thermal area. Yellowstone officials warn the outcome could have been worse.

Park officials said Wednesday they’re still investigating details of the video posted online July 8, including who the man was and where and when the incident happened.

On July 22, a bison charged and tossed a 9-year-old Florida girl several feet (meters) into the air after tourists came within 5 to 10 feet (2 to 3 meters) of the animal.

The girl was treated at a nearby clinic and released. Yellowstone officials said Wednesday they will not cite anybody for that incident.


Seasonal worker gets 3 months in jail for Yellowstone fire

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — A seasonal concessionaire employee has been sentenced to three months in jail for igniting a small grass fire near the North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park.

Park officials say Curtis Faustich pleaded guilty Tuesday to discarding lighted material in a hazardous manner. He said he dropped a cigarette on the ground while sitting at a picnic table July 26.

The blaze scorched 4 acres of grass and sage before it was contained.

Faustich also was sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation, was ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution and is prohibited from entering Yellowstone for two years


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