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Jul 10, 2012 - The Associated Press

WyDOT says highway bill OK

CHEYENNE -- Wyoming Department of Transportation officials say they're pleased with the just-approved federal transportation bill that keeps highway funding for the state relatively level.

WyDOT chief engineer Del McOmie says the state highway agency had been bracing for the possibility of federal cuts. That would have further strained an already tight budget.

McOmie says the law signed by President Barack Obama on Friday isn't perfect, as it's only a 27-month extension for highway funding. Past bills have covered six years of funding.

The bill is expected to maintain Wyoming's $244 million annual share of federal highway funding.

Wyoming is among the states most dependent on federal dollars for highway funds.

Casper smoke ban opposed

CASPER -- Opponents of Casper's smoking ban are busy circulating a petition to put the issue on November's ballot.

Casper businessman Pat Sweeney submitted about 2,000 signatures to the city on Monday.

Opponents need at least 1,896 valid signatures. They would like to gather between 5,000 and 8,000 by the July 17 deadline because some will likely be thrown out as invalid.

Businesses around the city have copies of the petition to sign. Smoking ban opponents will also be collecting signatures at the Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo.

The smoking ban is due to take effect Sept. 1. However, if the issue makes it onto the ballot, city councilors will revisit it.

G&F: Don't camp near water holes

GREEN RIVER -- Wildlife managers with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department are encouraging people not to camp near water holes.

Rock Springs Game Warden Dave Hays says camping near a water source can prevent wildlife from coming in and getting the water it needs.

If dry conditions persist, Hays says fewer springs and stock ponds will continue to offer water to wildlife. He says adults and newly born animals will have to travel farther for water.

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