Jul 3, 2014 The Associated Press

County to vote on lodging tax

CHEYENNE -- Laramie County voters will be asked in November whether to renew a 10 percent tax on hotel and motel rooms that pays for tourism promotion.

The county commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to put the tax extension on the Nov. 4 ballot.

The levy generated $1.6 million last year. The money goes to Visit Cheyenne, which promotes tourism in Cheyenne and surrounding Laramie County.

Scott French, vice chairman of Visit Cheyenne's board, says the tax doesn't hurt tourism because travelers are accustomed to paying it in many cities.

Darren Rudloff, president of Visit Cheyenne, says the tax passed with 78 percent of the vote the last time it was on the ballot.

No charges in boy's shooting

SHERIDAN -- The Sheridan County Sheriff's Office says it doesn't intend to file charges after an 11-year-old boy was accidentally shot in the head with a .22-caliber rifle.

The unidentified boy was treated at a hospital in Billings, Montana, and released home.

The boy was shot Thursday at a ranch in northern Sheridan County. Details about what happened are sketchy but Sheriff's Sgt. Mike Gale says authorities interviewed three boys on Monday.

Gale said there was no apparent foul play.

Mine to ship billionth ton

GILLETTE -- One of the largest coal mines in the U.S. is about to ship its billionth ton of coal.

Gillette-based Cloud Peak Energy owns the Cordero Rojo surface coal mine in the Powder River Basin in northeast Wyoming.

The mine got its start 38 years ago as the Cordero Mine. The Cordero Mine merged with Caballo Rojo Mine in 1997 to create the Cordero Rojo Mine.

Last year, almost 37 million tons of coal from the mine was sold. That ranks Cordero Rojo third in the U.S. for production.

Cloud Peak officials said Wednesday the mine will ship its billionth ton of coal in the days ahead.

Cloud Peak also operates the Antelope coal mine in Wyoming and the Spring Creek coal mine in Montana. The company has about 1,700 employees.

Burglars lit blaze in fireworks stand

POWELL -- Officials say burglars who broke into a fireworks stand in Powell narrowly averted blowing themselves up after they lighted a fire near shelves stacked with highly volatile fireworks.

The burglars broke locks to enter a semi-trailer filled with fireworks on Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

The burglars burned boxes and sparklers inside the trailer but somehow avoided causing an explosion.

Officer Matthew Brilakis of the Powell Police Department said the situation could have been ugly.

The Powell Volunteer Fire Department was summoned, and firefighters used a thermal imager to make sure no fire was burning within the within the walls of the trailer.

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