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Dec 16, 2012 - Associated Press

School demolition might slow

CHEYENNE (AP) -- Gov. Matt Mead has proposed slowing the process of razing old and constructing new schools for budget reasons.

The Alliance for Historic Wyoming likes that idea, for different reasons.

"A slowdown in construction might be good news for some of these historic schools," Alliance for Historic Wyoming President Mary Humstone said.

The alliance is pushing for school repurposing, or adaptation, as part of its "More than Bricks and Mortar" campaign.

Since the state took over the construction of schools a decade ago as a result of a Wyoming Supreme Court mandate, the pace of razing and rebuilding has been feverish and costly.

An unfortunate consequence, according to some people, was the demolition of schools that failed to meet the standards of the new state School Facilities Commission.

This was particularly painful to people in small towns where the school was the heart of the community.

Nearly 50 schools were destroyed in the past eight years because of the push for new schools, Humstone said.

The list includes National Historic Register schools in Buffalo, Upton, Lander, Rawlins and Rock Springs. Other historic schools are threatened with future demolition, she noted.

Wolf trapping began Saturday

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- Trappers can harvest gray wolves in Montana starting Saturday, as the state's first wolf trapping season gets underway since the animals lost federal protection last year.

State officials say about 2,400 people are eligible to participate after taking a required wolf certification class.

Montana had about 653 wolves at the end of last year. State wildlife officials are trying to drive down that number through aggressive hunting and trapping seasons.

Some areas north of Yellowstone National Park were closed in advance of trapping over concerns that too many collared wolves had been shot by hunters.

Statewide, at least 92 wolves have been killed so far this season.

Wolf trapping and hunting continues in Montana through the end of February.

No change in state rig count

HOUSTON (AP) -- Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. fell this week by one to 1,799.

Baker Hughes, based in Houston, said Friday that 1,381 were exploring for oil and 416 were searching for gas. Two were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, Baker Hughes counted 2,019 rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, New Mexico gained eight rigs, Alaska gained four and Colorado and North Dakota each gained one.

Louisiana lost six rigs, Texas lost five, Oklahoma lost three and Arkansas lost one. California, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Wyoming were unchanged.

The rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.

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