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Apr 26, 2012 The Associated Press

Sage grouse season left as is

The state Game and Fish Commission has decided to keep a three-day sage grouse hunting season open this fall in northeast Wyoming, despite concern from state biologists that the bird's population is declining in the area.

Dozens of people attended the commission's meeting on Wednesday to oppose closing the season, with some saying there was no biological reason for doing so.

State biologists proposed closing the season because of declines in the population and because some members of the public worry hunting a species that could be placed on the endangered species list isn't a good idea, said Tom Christiansen, sage grouse program coordinator for Game and Fish.

The number of sage grouse breeding grounds has declined from 249 in 2007 to 169 in 2011. In 2011, the number of males on the leks was at the lowest number it has been since 1995, said Tom Ryder of Lader, assistant chief of the wildlife division for Game and Fish.

New I-90 interchange planned

SHERIDAN -- The Wyoming Department of Transportation is one step closer to finalizing plans for the proposed relocation of an Interstate 90 interchange in Sheridan.

WYDOT says it has, in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration, completed an environmental assessment on the proposed improvements and relocation of the North Main Street/I-90 interchange.

The proposed project would move the interchange slightly farther north.

City won't pay for mayor's trip

GILLETTE -- Gillette won't pay to send mayor Tom Murphy to a coal conference in China in June.

The Campbell County Economic Development Corp. invited Murphy to attend and asked the city to contribute some money to pay for the trip.

The city council rejected the request on Monday night.

Councilman Kevin McGrath said he doesn't understand how sending the mayor of a city of 30,000 people to a city of 10 million people would benefit taxpayers. He said it would help coal companies.

Murphy said it's important to explore world markets when domestic markets may be closing.

Traffic stop leads to drug arrests

MOORCROFT -- A traffic stop in northeast Wyoming has resulted in two arrests.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol says the case involved a U-Haul truck that was stopped for unsafe driving Sunday night on Interstate 90 west of Moorcroft. With the help of a canine, troopers found 14 pounds of drugs inside a television set in the truck.

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