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Feb 4, 2014 - The Associated Press

Skiers swept over cliff

JACKSON -- An avalanche forecaster says two skiers who were swept off a cliff by a small slide south of the boundary of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort were unfamiliar with the area.

Bob Comey, a forecaster with the Bridger-Teton National Forest, said three skiers found themselves close to the edge of the cliff and triggered the avalanche at about 3:45 p.m. Saturday when they decided to try to hike back uphill.

One of two skiers who were swept over the cliff suffered a leg injury and had to be taken off the mountain by a helicopter.

Authorities have not released the names of the skiers, who were not buried by the slide. Comey says they were not from Jackson.

Controversial Shepard author to speak

LARAMIE -- The author of a controversial book about the killing of Matthew Shepard is returning to Wyoming to talk about his investigation.

Journalist Stephen Jimenez is scheduled to speak about "The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths about the Murder of Matthew Shepard" Tuesday evening at the Gryphon Theatre. He researched the book in Laramie. He claims Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student, and one of his killers were involved in the methamphetamine trade and that drugs, not hate, was the main motive behind the killing.

The Matthew Shepard Foundation says the book is based on "rumors and innuendo."

Jimenez was invited to Laramie by Glenn Johnson, a retired administrator at Laramie Junior High School, who says he worked with students involved in the city's drug culture during his career.

Utility seeking rate increase

Rocky Mountain Power is seeking to change a state rule on how much utilities pay small-scale renewable power producers.

Rocky Mountain Power submitted a proposal to the Wyoming Public Service Commission seeking to amend the rule.

The proposed amendment was prompted by contentious contract negotiations between Rocky Mountain Power and Wasatch Wind. The wind developer is seeking to strike a deal with the utility to buy the electricity produced by Pioneer Wind Park, a proposed 46-turbine development near Glenrock.

Under the proposal, the company would offer producers like Wasatch two prices, a higher ­price where new transmission lines are built and a lower one where new lines are not constructed.

The Public Service Commission will hold a public hearing on the amendment in April.

Idaho towns consider bus to Wyo.

REXBURG, Idaho -- The southeast Idaho city of Rexburg has applied for a federal public transportation grant to start a bus route to Wyoming.

The city made the application through the Idaho Transportation Department for the $80,700 grant to start a twice-daily service to Jackson.

A $45,300 match will be required to get the federal money to start the service in May 2015.

Rexburg is asking other government agencies, chambers of commerce, hospitals and businesses to contribute $2,500. Rexburg, Victor and Teton County say they will do that.

Officials say the interstate bus service will boost regional tourism and offer convenient travel for commuters and medical patients. The service is also expected to better connect eastern Idaho communities.

"This type of public transit will help (Brigham Young University-Idaho) students if they want to travel for employment, internships or if they want to travel to Yellowstone," Rexburg City Councilwoman Donna Benfield said. "This would also be a good thing for Rexburg to capitalize on the tourism dollars that are being lost from the visitors that come to the area."

The bus route is part of the Regional Plan for Sustainable Development designed to encourage regional growth. The agreement includes Fremont, Madison and Teton counties in Idaho, and Teton County, Wyo., and seven area cities.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Consortium supplied a sustainable communities planning grant of $1.5 million for the plan.

If the bus route is approved, a regional busing cooperative that promotes public transportation in eastern Idaho will work with Rexburg in creating routes.

The Salt Lake Express, Targhee Regional Public Transit Authority, Karst Stage and START Bus are Linx members.

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