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Oct 21, 2012 - The Associated Press

$2 million bail for kidnap suspect

CODY -- A judge has set bail at $2 million cash for a Montana man suspected of abducting and assaulting an 11-year-old Wyoming girl.

Thirty-nine-year-old Jesse Paul Speer of Manhattan, Mont., made his initial court appearance Friday before Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters in Cody.

Speer was advised of the charges against him, and Waters appointed Cody attorney Travis Smith as his public defender.

Waters set Speer's preliminary hearing for Oct. 26.

Prosecutors allege Speer forced a Cody girl into his SUV at gunpoint on Oct. 8, then assaulted and abandoned her outside of town. The girl was found by hunters driving through the mountainous area.

He was arrested Saturday in Montana.

Speer is a nature photographer and divorced father of two children.

Speer remains in the Park County Detention Center.

UW presidential search firm picked

LARAMIE -- The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees has selected a consulting firm to the help the university find a new president.

Florida-based Greenwood/Asher & Associates was chosen over two other firms seeking the job.

A UW press release says the company has conducted successful presidential searches for institutions including the University of Florida, the University of Texas and Ohio State University.

The firm will recruit candidates and accept applications for the job to replace President Tom Buchanan, who is retiring next year.

It also will conduct background checks, check references and perform other duties associated with the search.

UW hopes to have a new president selected by the end of next February.

Greenwood/Asher will be paid a base fee of $89,000. UW also will pay expenses, such as travel.

State's rig count up by one

HOUSTON -- The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased this week by four to 1,839.

Texas-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday that 1,410 rigs were exploring for oil and 427 were searching for gas. Two were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, Baker Hughes listed 2,013 rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Alaska gained five rigs while Arkansas, Colorado and North Dakota rose by two each. Louisiana and Wyoming were up one piece.

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