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Aug 2, 2012 - The Associated Press

'American Idol' auditions in Casper

CASPER -- "American Idol" will be holding auditions in Casper next week as part of its "Small Town Audition Bus Tour".

The event will be held Wednesday at the front of the Fort Caspar Museum.

Casper Chamber of Commerce Executive Robin Mundell said no one will be allowed into the area until 9 a.m. Contestants must show photo identification showing that they are between ages 15 and 28. After they get their IDs checked, Mundell said contestants will be given a number to wait in the outdoor audition line.

Parking is available at the Natrona County Fairgrounds.

The tour is also scheduled to visit Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado.

More counties get disaster label

CHEYENNE -- The federal government has designated 16 Wyoming counties as disaster areas because of the drought and six more also qualify for assistance because they're contiguous to the primary counties.

Gov. Matt Mead announced on Wednesday that U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack approved the disaster designation.

Mead had asked the federal government to designate all Wyoming counties except Teton County as disaster areas.

Those that currently qualify as contiguous counties are: Natrona, Washakie, Park, Teton, Sheridan and Johnson. The governor's office says some of the contiguous counties are likely to be designated as primary as federal officials review drought information.

A federal drought disaster declaration makes agricultural operators eligible for assistance from the Farm Service Agency. The producer has to meet eligibility requirements.

Dispute stalls bridge completion

JACKSON -- A contract dispute could cause a more than two-year delay in completing a $25 million bridge over the Snake River at Hoback Junction.

The bridge carries thousands of commuters daily between Jackson and Alpine, as well as much of the commercial traffic entering Jackson Hole.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation is trying to resolve disagreements with contractor Wadsworth Brothers Construction, of Draper, Utah.

The bridge was supposed to be completed by October. WyDOT District Engineer John Eddins says the work will continue into next season.

Discussions between WyDOT and the contractor focus on a 1,300-foot retaining wall near the bridge on U.S. Highway 26/89.

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