News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Jun 29, 2012 - The Associated Press
Inmate sprung despite protests
CASPER -- An internal review has found that Wyoming Department of Corrections officials mistakenly released an inmate early even after he told a corrections officer that he still had at least five years left to serve for aggravated assault.
Managers at the Rawlins prison approved the release of Arthur Penrod in April without interviewing him or the corrections officer. Police caught up with Penrod in Riverton six days later and he surrendered without incident.
An investigating committee blamed lack of oversight as the main problem. The committee found that the department lacked a policy governing the release of prisoners.
Corrections Department spokesman Tim Lockwood says the department was working on a release policy at the time. Lockwood says the policy will go into effect July 11.
Group vows to repeal health law
CHEYENNE -- Gov. Matt Mead is being guarded about what will happen in Wyoming now that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the federal health care law.
Mead says in a statement that before any further decisions on what Wyoming does with health care depend on studying the court ruling and meeting with experts, citizens and lawmakers.
He did say he believes the health care law is not a good fit for Wyoming and the state must continue to work on health care solutions developed in Wyoming.
Wyoming Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso and Rep. Cynthia Lummis say the ruling doesn't change their stance that the law is bad policy that must be overturned.
The delegation says they will work to repeal the law.
Two arrested in Guernsey fire
TORRINGTON -- Authorities say two people have been arrested in Torrington in connection with the wildfire that burned in Guernsey State Park earlier this month.
The fire chased out campers and park users on June 9 and ended up burning about 2,700 acres in and near the park. The park was closed for five days, but no structures were lost.
KCWY-TV reports that the fire cost about $2.5 million to fight.
The two people were arrested by Goshen County deputies on a warrant out of Platte County charging them with arson.
The park is fully reopened but with fire restrictions.
Fire bill already at $6 million
LANDER -- The state of Wyoming has already spent $6 million in fighting wildfires so far this season.
Renny MacKay, of Gov. Matt Mead's office, says the state has $2 million in its two-year budget for fighting wildfires. The state also has a $2.8 million budget for general operations such as fire preparedness.
In addition, there is $9.2 million available in an emergency fire suppression account.
The governor recently put $6 million in unspent money into his office budget for fighting wildfires.