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May 20, 2012 - Staff and wire reports

Saturday work starts on Togwotee

Heavy road construction is continuing on the Rosie's Ridge section of U.S. 26/287 between Dubois in Fremont County and Moran Junction in Teton County, known as the Togwotee Trail to Yellowstone National Park.

Saturday construction was scheduled to begin May 19, weather permitting, according to road construction officials involved in the project.

Travelers should expect up to 15 minute stop delays during daylight hours.

The construction zone is located 11 miles east of Moran Junction, and 41.5 miles west of Dubois. Flagging stations are posted, and pilot cars will guide traffic through the area.

Motorists are reminded to pay heed to the flaggers at all times. Flaggers are in place to ensure that motorists are able to drive through the area safely.

Officials advise motorists to stay with the pilot car lines, and not pull out of line or pass.

Heavy construction is taking place, and equipment operators need to know that all traffic is behind the pilot car, construction officials said.

CWC uses labor grant for new class

Central Wyoming College officially kicks off its new Entrepreneurship Program with two summer session offerings.

Using its share of a $2.7 million Department of Labor grant awarded to CWC and two other Wyoming community colleges, CWC is developing the program as well as an Innovation Institute, targeting people who wish to initiate or finance a new enterprise or business.

This summer, business instructor Eric Heiser teaches "Advertising and Sales" (MTK 1000) and "Entrepreneurial Mindset" (ENTR1500).

The marketing course is offered online from May 29 to July 27 to help students to gain the understanding of advertising and other mass communications market practices.

He also teaches "Entrepreneurial Mindset," assisting students with their mindset as applied to their own entrepreneurial potential, Heiser said. This course meets Mondays from June 11 to July 27 from 10 a.m. to noon.

For more information on how to register for these classes, contact Heiser at 855-2038.

County firefighters get award

The prestigious Pulaski Award, presented to the Bureau of Land Management's Wind River/Bighorn Basin District fire program, will be temporarily located in both Lander and Riverton in recognition of the BLM's partnership with Fremont County Fire Protection District.

The Pulaski award recognizes outstanding contributions to wildland firefighting and America's wildland firefighters.

This national award from the U.S. government's secretaries of agriculture and interior departments is presented annually by the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

The WR/BBD fire program received the award for its work in developing interagency partnerships geared toward cooperation, coordination and the standardization of fire management in the state of Wyoming, according to a press release.

WR/BBD Fire Management Officer Chuck Russell is sharing the recognition with partners by sending the award to locations throughout the area.

"We could not have received this award without our great fire staff and cooperators," Russell said in a statement. "I want the Pulaski Award to travel so that all the folks who came together to help develop these relationships can enjoy it."

In Lander, the Pulaski Award spent a week at Lander City Hall and now the community can see it at the Lander Volunteer Fire Department. The award will then wrap-up its tour with a month at the Fremont County Fire Protection District offices in Riverton.

"It is an honor to share the Pulaski Award with the BLM and the other cooperators," Fremont County Fire Protection District Chief and Fire Warden Craig Haslam said in a statement.

"It pays tribute to the years of cooperative effort with the BLM and other federal agencies. We enjoy the opportunities that we have had in the past to work together and look forward to the same ongoing relationship in the future," Haslam said.

Enzi seeks fall Senate Page applicants

U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., is encouraging Wyoming juniors in high school to apply to be a Senate Page for the fall session in Washington, D.C. The deadline for fall applications is June 5.

"The page program allows students to have a front row seat during debates in the U.S. Senate," Enzi said in a press release. "The program will provide experiences that participants will carry with them forever."

Page duties consist primarily of delivering correspondence and legislative material at the Capitol. Other duties include preparing the Senate chamber for sessions and carrying bills and amendments to the appropriate people on the Senate floor.

Pages attend classes at the Senate Page School until 9:45 a.m. and then work until 4 p.m. or until the Senate adjourns for the day. The Senate Page School provides the necessary requisites for a junior year course of study.

Fall Page eligibility is limited to juniors in high school who will be 16 or 17 years old on or before the date of appointment. Applicants must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0.

Pages live in Webster Hall located near the Capitol and receive a stipend to cover the cost of the residence. Breakfast and dinner are provided daily.

The fall session runs from Sept. 10 to Jan. 25. Applications and additional information can be found at www.enzi.senate.gov. Questions can be directed to Dianne Kirkbride in Enzi's Cheyenne office at (307) 772-2477 or Dianne_Kirkbride@enzi.senate.gov.

Deaths called murder-suicide

CASPER (AP) -- Authorities suspect a murder-suicide in the shooting deaths of a married Casper couple whose bodies were found in their living room earlier this week.

60-year-old Walt McMillin and his 55-year-old wife, Jodi McMillin, were found with gunshot wounds to the head Thursday morning by police responding to a welfare check.

Police say it appears alcohol played a role in the shooting, and the couple had a history of family violence, but it remains unclear who fired the gun.

The shooting is believed to have happened sometime between 10 p.m. and midnight Tuesday.

Bear that killed calf relocated

JACKSON (AP) -- The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has relocated a male grizzly bear that killed a calf on a private ranch north of Cody.

Wyoming officials say the bear was trapped and moved Thursday to grizzly bear habitat in the Bailey Creek drainage about 10 miles north of Moran Junction.

State wildlife officers try to relocate bears to minimize conflicts between people and grizzlies.

Life term for hammer attack

CASPER (AP) -- A man convicted of striking his former girlfriend in the head with a hammer has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

A judge also ordered LaShawn King on Thursday to pay medical expenses of his former girlfriend Melissa Benson.

In March, a jury convicted King of attacking Benson near an east Caper movie theater last year. Prosecutors say King put Benson in a minivan and drove around with her for 90 minutes after the attack. Police arrested him after Benson dialed 911 from the back of the minivan.

King was convicted of attempted first-degree murder, kidnapping and aggravated assault.

At King's sentencing hearing Thursday, Benson said she still suffers from vertigo and has trouble sleeping.

No change in rig count

HOUSTON (AP) -- The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. is up 12 this week to 1,986.

Houston-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday that 1,382 rigs were exploring for oil and 600 were looking for gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago this week, Baker Hughes reported 1,830 rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, New Mexico gained three rigs; California and West Virginia each gained two; and Alaska, Colorado and North Dakota were up one apiece.

Pennsylvania declined by four rigs and Arkansas by one.

Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming were unchanged.

The rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.