Dec 26, 2013 The Associated Press

Antelope linger on elk refuge

JACKSON -- About an eighth of the Teton Valley's pronghorn antelope could end up spending the winter there, facing conditions that are tough even in average years.

About 50 antelope were spotted on the southeast corner of the National Elk Refuge last week. It remains to be seen whether they will ultimately make the migration to the Pinedale Anticline gas field with the rest of the herd or stay in the valley.

Pronghorn are poorly equipped to deal with extreme cold or hard snow. They're also at the bottom of the feeding hierarchy in competing for alfalfa pellets distributed for elk at the refuge.

Firefighters win pay increase

CHEYENNE -- Cheyenne city officials are trying to determine where to get funds to pay for salary increases for firefighters in the 2014 fiscal year.

The city is responsible for paying $140,000 in pay increases after the firefighters' union won 4.5 percent raises in arbitration. City officials had budgeted for raises of 2.25 percent.

The Cheyenne City Council on Monday voted against using money from its Impact Assistance Fund. It's a one-time payment from the state to help with impacts from the growth at Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power's Cheyenne Prairie Generating Station.

City officials say it's not prudent to use a one-time payment for a recurring expense. Treasurer Lois Huff says city reserves or tax revenue could potentially be used for the raises.

Cell banned in court building

CASPER -- The public won't be able to bring cell phones into Casper's judicial building starting Jan. 1.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported Monday that the ban is aimed at preventing people from recording and photographing court proceedings. Currently, phones are allowed inside the Townsend Justice Center but they must be turned off.

Law enforcement officers, attorneys and courthouse employees will still be able to bring their cell phones into the center.

Earlier this year, courthouses in Chicago also began barring cell phones to prevent people from taking photos of prospective jurors and potential witnesses. About half of federal courts ban all electronic devices in courthouses.

Gas no longer region's cheapest

Wyoming has lost its claim to selling the cheapest gas in the region because of its new higher fuel tax.

During the past decade, Wyoming's average gas prices have generally been at or below the average price in Colorado. But that trend has been reversed since Wyoming increased its tax by 10 cents a gallon in July.

Wyoming caught up with Colorado On Monday and gas is now selling in both states at an average of $3.02 gallon.

The average price in Montana is $3.00 and $3.04 in Nebraska.

Prices in Wyoming and neighboring states still remain among the lowest in the nation.

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