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May 2, 2012 - The Associated Press

Coal cutbacks announced

GILLETTE -- Some coal companies operating in Wyoming's Powder River Basin are cutting back on overtime and the use of temporary contract workers because of reduced demand.

Peabody Energy Corp. has two mines in Campbell County. It let some contract labor go late last week.

Gillette-based Cloud Peak Energy says it is managing overtime, reducing the use of contractors, and trying to avoid buying new equipment. It owns two mines in Campbell County and one near Decker, Mont.

Peabody spokeswoman Beth Sutton said demand is down because of the mild winter and an oversupply of natural gas, which has become less expensive.

St. Louis-based Arch Coal announced Tuesday that it would further curtail production for the year. It has idled three dragline excavators in Wyoming.

Mine blast felt like quake

GILLETTE -- An explosion at a coal mine northeast Wyoming was big enough to register on seismographs on the scale of a small earthquake.

Some people in Gillette reported feeling the ground shake from 16 miles away.

The U.S. Geological Survey recorded the blast at 11:11 a.m. Tuesday. The blast registered as large as a magnitude 4.5 earthquake but had the signature of a human-caused explosion.

Using explosives is a routine part of remove dirt and soil at the coal mines where the blast occurred southeast of Gillette.

The explosion happened in the area of Cloud Peak Energy's Cordero Rojo mine.

Mine explosions that register with such force are rare. Sheriff's officials said they had not heard of any emergency at the mines.

Historic theater reopens for business

ROCK SPRINGS -- The Broadway Theater in downtown Rock Springs has reopened for business after a $1.8 million renovation.

Built in 1949, the theater had languished for many years until the city took ownership of the building and renovated it.

City leaders say the theater reopening should be seen as just a beginning step to revitalizing downtown Rock Springs.

Mayor Carl Demshar said the theater will be a catalyst for revitalizing the downtown area.

Warning issued to ATV users

CHEYENNE -- The Wyoming State Trails Program is urging ATV users to employ safe riding practices this year.

Chris McNeil is trails safety and education coordinator for the program. He says that many crashes involve riders 16 years of age or younger.

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