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Wyoming digest

Jan 31, 2017 By Kelli Ameling, Staff Writer

Not-guilty plea in theft from elderly man

CASPER (AP) -- A 58-year-old Casper woman has denied charges that she stole more than $48,000 from an 89-year-old man.

Tamara Kay Voelker pleaded not guilty to one count of theft and one count of exploitation of a vulnerable adult during her arraignment Tuesday in District Court.

Investigators accuse Voelker of befriending the victim and then becoming his caregiver after his wife passed away.

They say she used the victim's money to pay for her rent and utilities and charged items to the victim's credit cards without his knowledge from January 2015 through April 2016.

Cigarette tax fails to advance

CHEYENNE (AP) -- The Wyoming House has defeated a bill that would have raised the state tax on cigarettes by 30 cents a pack.

House Bill 151 failed on 38-22 vote on Tuesday.

Wyoming now levies a tax of 60 cents per pack. The bill would have raised the tax to 90 cents.

Supporters noted that the higher tax could add nearly $7.9 million a year to state coffers at a time when the state is seeing huge revenue losses from the energy industry downturn.

But opponents questioned how much money would be raised from the tax and said the higher tax would hurt the small businesses that sell tobacco products because smokers would buy cigarettes in neighboring states where the tax was lower.

Layoffs announced at Sierra Trading Post

CHEYENNE (AP) -- Sierra Trading Post has laid off 40 employees amid a restructuring of the digital operations of its parent company, TJX Companies Inc.

The Cheyenne-based catalog and online retailer announced the layoffs. It was not clear from a company statement whether all of the job losses were in Cheyenne.

TJX spokeswoman Doreen Thompson says TJX, which also owns Marshalls, T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods, created a digital operations group in the last several months to better support is online business in the U.S.

Most of the digital operations are based in Massachusetts. Some Sierra Trading Post employees in Cheyenne were given the chance to relocate. Other jobs were eliminated through restructuring.

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