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Jul 12, 2012 - The Associated Press

T-storms threaten to start new fires

CHEYENNE -- Thunderstorms hit parts of western and central Wyoming on Wednesday, and spotters are on the lookout for any more wildfires that may have been ignited by lightning associated with the storms.

Meantime, firefighters improved containment of two of Wyoming's largest wildfires and attacked new fires that began Monday and Tuesday.

The 153-square-mile Arapaho fire in the Medicine Bow National Forest northwest of Wheatland is now 85 percent contained.

In western Wyoming, the 100-square-mile Fontenelle fire is now 76 percent contained.

The Wyoming State Forestry Division says firefighters quickly attacked other new fires started in Washakie, Sheridan, Carbon, Crook, Laramie, Lincoln, Natrona and Weston counties.

The National Weather Service posted red flag warnings into Wednesday evening for all but the extreme southeast corner of Wyoming.

State seeks NCLB waiver

CHEYENNE -- The Wyoming Department of Education is seeking a waiver from certain requirements under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

The waiver request from Superintendent Cindy Hill seeks to freeze language arts and math standards established by the federal education law at 2011 levels rather than allow them to increase to 2012 levels for the state.

Hill says Wyoming's waiver request is similar to a joint request Maine and New Hampshire made in February.

State Education Department spokesman Jerry Zellars said state needs the waiver in order to focus on implementing state mandated education reforms.

Cheney hosts Romney dinner

JACKSON -- Former Vice President Dick Cheney is using his popularity with Republican conservatives to give a boost to Mitt Romney, hosting a fundraiser for the party's likely nominee at a mountain valley resort as well as a private dinner at his Wyoming home.

Romney has avoided appearing in public with Cheney or with former President George W. Bush -- both are seen as divisive figures by many of the swing voters he needs to win over if he's going to defeat President Barack Obama.

The Cheney-sponsored events Thursday evening at this resort town near Yellowstone National Park represent a welcome endorsement for Romney, who is eager to win over more of the party's base.

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