Lawmaker: Expand compensation from nuclear weapons testing

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A compensation program for those exposed to radiation from years of nuclear weapons testing and uranium mining would be expanded under legislation that seeks to address fallout across the western United States, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico is rolling out the measure Tuesday on the 74th anniversary of the Trinity Test.

As part of the top-secret Manhattan Project, government scientists and the U.S. military dropped the first atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert in 1945. Nearly 200 atmospheric tests followed. Uranium mining persisted even after the tests ceased.

Citing affected downwinders and Native American tribes, Lujan says coverage must be expanded.

Among other things, the measure would require Congress to issue a formal apology to people in a dozen U.S. states.


Wyoming prison inmate dies after lengthy illness

TORRINGTON, Wyo. (AP) — A 53-year-old inmate at a prison in southeast Wyoming has died after a lengthy illness.

The Wyoming Department of Corrections says Lorenzo Montez died at the state’s medium-security prison in Torrington on Tuesday, and an autopsy has been ordered.

Montez was sentenced in November 2007 on two counts of immodest, immoral or indecent liberties with a child and one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance. Corrections officials did not release any details about his illness.


Trial begins for man charged in Wyoming hospital shooting

(Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com)

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The trial has started for a man accused of opening fire in a Wyoming hospital.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported Monday that the defense attorney for 20-year-old Mitchell Taylor is preparing to argue that the two counts of aggravated assault don’t match his client’s actions.

Taylor pleaded guilty last week to property destruction in the shooting at the Wyoming Medical Center in March.

Prosecutors say he fire seven shots after entering the Casper hospital. No one was injured.

Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen told the court that Taylor provoked fear and caused the emergency department to go into lockdown.

Taylor has said that he was high on LSD and was trying to seek medical help.


Man who died in western Wyoming house fire identified

PINEDALE, Wyo. (AP) — Authorities have released the name of a man who died in a house fire in western Wyoming.

Sgt. Travis Bingham with the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office identified the victim Monday as 67-year-old James Tipton, of Pinedale.

Firefighters were called to the blaze in Pinedale last week, and a woman who was able to escape told them someone was trapped inside. Firefighters entered the burning home and found Tipton dead.

Investigators have not released a cause of death and have not said what caused the fire.

The woman who escaped is being treated for burns and smoke inhalation and will likely soon be released from the hospital.


Body of missing Arizona man found in Wyoming’s Snake River

(Information from: Jackson Hole (Wyo.) News And Guide, http://www.jhnewsandguide.com)

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming authorities say a boater found the body of a northern Arizona man in the Snake River 10 days after he was reported missing.

Lincoln County Sheriff Shane Johnson says the boater called police Sunday afternoon and search and rescue responders pulled the body of 21-year-old Averin Scott out of the water a couple of hours later.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports crews had been searching the area since Scott went missing July 4.

He had been spending the summer with an uncle and was staying in a rental house near the Snake River.

Relatives found Scott’s phone, wallet, keys and fishing rod at the house and one of his shoes by the river. Officials say his body was found about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of where he probabaly fell in.


University of Wyoming says Nichols job documents not public

(Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com)

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The University of Wyoming has filed court documents arguing the administration did not violate the law by withholding files about former President Laurie Nichols.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports the filing Thursday was a response to a lawsuit by Wyoming news organizations seeking details about the end of Nichols’ three years as president.

The filing in Albany County District Court says the school is under no obligation to release documents because Nichols was not fired.

The administration surprised the campus community in March with the announcement that Nichols’ contract would not be renewed and she would instead take a faculty position.

The joint lawsuit by newspapers and a news site says the content of the documents is a matter of public interest and should negate potential privacy concerns.

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