Apr 15, 2014 The Associated Press

House Speaker Lubnau to retire

CHEYENNE -- Wyoming House Speaker Tom Lubnau is retiring from the Legislature.

The Gillette Republican was elected speaker for the 2013 and 2014 sessions.

House speakers traditionally don't run again for representative and Lubnau said Monday he wants to honor that tradition. Not all recent speakers have abided by the tradition

Lubnau could run for the Wyoming Senate, but Lubnau says he doesn't want that. Lubnau tells the newspaper he prefers to fade into obscurity.

Lubnau has been near the center of the ongoing controversy regarding State Superintendent Cindy Hill for more than a year, emerging as one of her principal detractors and coming under fire from her defenders.

Church volunteer dies in Nicaragua

JACKSON -- A Jackson church says a woman who disappeared on a church mission trip to Nicaragua has been found dead.

The pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Jackson Hole, the Rev. Paul Hayden, said Monday evening that Karen Colclough's body was identified in Nicaragua by a church member and another person associated with the trip.

The 37-year-old worked on a project with a Seattle-based non-profit, Agros International, in Tierra Nueva, Nicaragua, last week. She disappeared on the final day of the trip after saying she was going for a run on the beach.

The death is under investigation.

Weather hampers elk counting

BILLINGS, Mont. -- Wildlife officials say the annual count of a major elk herd that migrates between Yellowstone National Park and Montana was unable to be completed this year.

But scientists from the park and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks say a related study suggests the population size remains similar to the 3,915 elk counted in 2013.

Officials said Monday that weather problems prevented completion of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd survey when it was attempted in February.

The herd peaked at about 20,000 animals in 1992. That was just a few years before gray wolves were reintroduced to the Yellowstone area from Canada after being absent from the region for decades.

Also taking a toll on elk have been hunters, other predators including bears and harsh winters.

Comment sought on ranch plan

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK -- The National Park Service is seeking public comment on some proposed infrastructure improvements at the historic Lamar Buffalo Ranch in Yellowstone National Park.

The agency is proposing to make improvements to various energy production systems at the ranch to conserve water and energy and reduce waste. For instance, one project involves installing a new micro hydro turbine.

The project seeks to increase the renewable energy available for use at the ranch and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the current fossil fuel-powered generator currently in operation.

The Park Service wants public comment to help prepare an environmental assessment of the improvements.

The Lamar Buffalo Ranch is located about 10 miles from the nearest electric service. It has an existing solar energy system that was installed in 1996.

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