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May 15, 2012 - The Associated Press

Snowy road now open for season

RAWLINS -- The Wyoming Department of Transportation says Wyoming 130 in the southern part of the state is now open to traffic.

A stretch of the highway in the Snowy Range is closed each winter because of snow, and crews plow the road open each spring.

WYDOT spokesman Ross Doman says crews were able to plow the road open on Sunday.

Doman said mild weather conditions have let crews work to clear the road more quickly than usual.

Doman says plow crews will now begin clearing Wyoming 70 over Battle Pass.

Appeal filed in bison ruling

BILLINGS, Mont. -- Environmental groups say they will ask the Montana Supreme Court to overturn a district court ruling that temporarily halts transfers of Yellowstone National Park bison to tribal and public lands.

Attorneys for Defenders of Wildlife and the National Wildlife Federation appealed the ruling Monday.

They are challenging a restraining order issued by Judge John McKeon after about 60 Yellowstone bison were moved to Montana's Fort Peck Indian Reservation in March.

The groups want bison transfers to continue, including one for the Fort Belknap Reservation that was put on hold after McKeon's ruling.

The relocations are part of an attempt to establish new bison herds while curbing the periodic slaughter of the animals when they leave Yellowstone. Many ranchers fear the bison could spread disease and compete with cattle for grazing.

Town to lose its only cop

The town of Alpine plans to eliminate its sole police officer to balance its budget.

The community in Snake River Canyon is facing a $43,000 deficit after experiencing a drop in property, cigarette and gas taxes. Insurance costs also have risen.

The town council recently decided to terminate the police chief, James Phillips, to balance the budget. A final vote is scheduled next month.

About 800 people live in Alpine, and many residents commute to Jackson for work. Clerk and treasurer Pam Poston says the town can't cut snow plowing or road repairs because residents would be stuck all winter.

Once the decision is final, the town will depend on the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department and the Wyoming Highway Patrol for law enforcement.

Meeting set on elk herd

JACKSON -- The Wyoming Game and Fish Department plans a public meeting in Afton this month to discuss the local elk population.

The game department says it's reviewing its population objective for the Afton elk herd. The department reviews all elk herd populations every five years.

The population for the Afton herd in the Star Valley and the Grey's River drainage is 2,200 animals. The population has averaged about 2,300 animals over the last five years.

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