Oct 6, 2015 The Associated Press

Arson trial starts

CHEYENNE -- Trial started Monday in federal court in Casper for a man accused of setting a fire that damaged the Sheridan County Attorney's Office.

Joel S. Elliott, 37 of Sheridan, was facing prosecution by the county attorney's office on a state forgery charge when its building was damaged by arson last summer. Federal authorities are handling the arson case because the county attorney's office received federal funds.

U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl last week denied Elliott's request to suppress statements he made early this year to a fellow jail inmate.

Testifying at a Sept. 23 hearing in Skavdahl's court, Elliott claimed he knew the other inmate was working for investigators.

Defense lawyer Keith R. Nachbar of Casper argued at the hearing that Elliott should have been advised of his right against self-incrimination before the other inmate recorded conversations with him about the arson.

Laramie No. 1 in new ranking

LARAMIE -- A website has ranked Laramie No. 1 on a list of the nation's best college and university communities.

College Values Online looked at factors including cost of living, unemployment rate, crime rate and "wow" factors.

It noted that Laramie is located on the Laramie River and between the Snowy and Laramie ranges and is a hot spot for outdoor enthusiasts.

It listed Laramie is ideal for recreational activities such as skiing, snowmobiling, mountain biking and trout fishing.

Laramie ranks ahead of Manhattan, Kansas; Normal, Illinois; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and Corvallis, Oregon.

Guard unit deactivated

CHEYENNE -- Wyoming National Guard officials say a 183-person company will be deactivated as part of budget cuts decreasing the size of the Guard.

Capt. Tom Blackburn of the Wyoming Military Department said in a statement Monday the members of the 1041st Multi-Role Bridge Company will be assigned to a new 131-person infantry company or other units in the state.

The deactivation is expected to be completed over the next year.

The 960th Brigade Support Battalion also will lose 114 positions by 2017.