Appeals court sides with state in opposing coal terminal

(Information from: Seattle Post-Intelligencer,

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Would-be builders of a massive coal export terminal along the Columbia River at Longview suffered a severe setback in court.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports the Washington State Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the Department of Natural Resources had a valid reason when it refused to lease state-owned aquatic lands to Millennium Bulk Terminals.

The DNR had noted the bankruptcy of Arch Coal, one of Millennium’s owners, and the developer’s initial failure to disclose that it wanted to build the largest coal terminal on the West Coast.

The terminal would receive as many as 16 coal trains a day from Wyoming, for shipment to Asian markets.

The court also said Millennium “intentionally misrepresented the scope of its plans for the property in 2011.”

Supporters of the project say construction of the terminal would be accompanied by needed environmental cleanup. But environmental groups opposed Millennium.

4 ordered to pay fines for Wyoming ski violation last winter

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

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Four skiers have been ordered to pay fines for illegally leaving a Wyoming ski boundary and entering an area of Grand Teton National Park that had been closed because of avalanche danger last February.

Two of the skiers had to be rescued after becoming lost.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that Andrew Richards of Jackson, Ruth Schwietert of Jackson, Natalie Burns of Breckenridge, Colorado, and Joseph Higgins of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, all ended up pleading guilty to violating an emergency closure. Richards also pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.

All four received varying terms of unsupervised probation and fines and fees.

National Park Service officials said the incident put rescuers at unnecessary risk because of the dangerous backcountry avalanche conditions at the time.

Wyoming officials propose tribal voter registration bill

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

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A draft bill has been passed in Wyoming that would make it easier for indigenous people to vote if the proposed legislation becomes law.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that the state’s Select Committee on Tribal Relations passed draft bill language Monday, and asked the Corporations, Elections & Political Subdivisions Committee to sponsor the legislation this fall.

State lawmakers say the proposed bill would allow driver’s license numbers and Social Security numbers to be printed on tribal ID cards allowing tribal citizens to use one card when registering to vote.

Officials say federal law states a tribal ID can currently be used to vote if presented with a driver’s license number or the last four digits of a Social Security number.


Body of Illinois climber recovered from Wyoming mountains
(Information from: Jackson Hole (Wyo.) News And Guide,

RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) — The body of an Illinois man has been recovered in Wyoming mountains by authorities after he died in a climbing accident.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reported Monday that a five-person team of search-and-rescue volunteers retrieved the body of 63-year-old Zijah Kurtovic of Evanston, Illinois, from the Wind River Mountains.

Authorities say Kurtovic died after falling about 500 to 700 feet (152 to 213 meters) from the Pingora Peak while climbing on Aug. 10.

Authorities say the incident involved a 67-year-old Arizona man who also fell, and was transported to an Idaho hospital.

Authorities say the U.S. Forest Service helped recover the body, and Fremont County Coroner’s Office led the group.

Officials say authorities made several attempts to retrieve the deceased man, but were slowed by severe weather.


Casper man pleads guilty to sex crimes

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A 26-year-old Wyoming man has pleaded guilty to molesting two mentally disabled women at a Casper group home where he once worked.

Trae D. Smith made the admissions Monday as part of a deal with prosecutors which recommends that he serve between five and 60 years in prison. Judge Catherine Wilking will determine the final sentence.

Smith pleaded guilty to a single count of abuse of a vulnerable adult and a single count of first-degree sexual assault. He also entered an Alford plea to a single count of second-degree sexual abuse.

An Alford plea is a guilty plea that allows a person to maintain their innocence after entering the plea.

A sentencing date has not been set, and Smith remains in custody.


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

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — New leaders at a Wyoming tribe’s gambling enterprise say their goal is to return the greatest amount of money possible to the tribe.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that the new leadership team from the Northern Arapaho Tribe announced several changes during a tribal citizens meeting last week.

Officials say the decisions will affect the Wind River Hotel & Casino, the Little Wind Casino and 789 Smokeshop and Casino.

About 80% of the more than 500 casino staff members are Northern Arapaho Tribe members.

The changes concern casino affairs and the employment of longtime advisers.

A tribal general council meeting following the announcement expressed support for Northern Arapaho Business Council Chairman Lee Spoonhunter and new CEO Brian Van Enkenvoort.

Van Enkenvoort says future staffing levels will be determined by tribal leadership.

Associated Press News State News