News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Jan 2, 2013 - The Associated Press
Delegation splits on fiscal cliff deal
CHEYENNE -- Wyoming's congressional delegation was divided over the compromise to break the fiscal cliff standoff.
Rep. Cynthia Lummis voted against the deal late Tuesday. She was one of the many GOP lawmakers who parted ways with Speaker John Boehner to oppose the legislation.
Both of Wyoming's senators, John Barrasso and Mike Enzi, voted for the measure. Only eight senators voted against the deal, including Colorado's Michael Bennett.
The bill would boost the top 35 percent income tax rate to 39.6 percent for incomes exceeding $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples. It continues decade-old income tax cuts for everyone else.
Scores of GOP lawmakers voted for the measure, reversing a quarter-century of solid Republican opposition to boosting any tax rates at all.
Wolf hunt ends with 43 kills
CHEYENNE -- Hunters didn't take all the wolves they were allowed to during Wyoming's wolf hunting season.
They killed 43 wolves before the season ended Monday, nine short of the state's quota for the animals.
It was Wyoming's first wolf hunting season since the federal government reintroduced wolves to the Yellowstone ecosystem in the 1990s.
Besides those taken during hunting season, 26 wolves were killed around Wyoming in 2012 because they were considered predators.
Homicide rate returns to average
CASPER -- Wyoming officials say the number of homicides in the state this year fell back to average after a disturbing spike was reported last year.
The Wyoming Department of Health says so far this year 21 homicides were reported in the state, compared with 43 from the previous year.
This year's figure falls just below Wyoming's average of 24.5 homicides per year since 2005, when the health department began compiling comprehensive statistics. Since then, the numbers have fluctuated relatively drastically, from 16 in 2010 to the peak in 2011.
Casper Police Lt. Mike Thompson says there's no single factor driving the murders.
He adds "it's not like in some cities, where you have gang homicide issues. Ours are far more random."
Counterfeit $20 bills turning up
POWELL -- Powell police say at least $440 in counterfeit $20 bills have been passed to businesses during the holiday season, and counterfeit money is still turning up.
Police Chief Roy Eckerdt said the bogus bills that officers have collected so far lack the security strip and exact coloring of legitimate bills.
He said the bills apparently started showing up on Dec. 21 and Dec. 22.
Producing, passing or possessing counterfeit U.S. currency is a federal crime with stiff penalties.
Wyoming man charged in fatality
SALT LAKE CITY -- A Wyoming man has been charged with automobile homicide in a Dec. 2 crash in Salt Lake County that killed a passenger after the two left a rock concert.
Jacob Jensen, 28, of Boulder, also was charged with possession of a controlled substance and failure to stay in one lane.
The Utah Highway Patrol says Jensen lost control of his vehicle on a State Road 202 curve and crashed shortly after he left a Megadeth concert at Saltair.
A passenger, 22-year-old Joshua Wallace, of West Jordan, Utah, was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to charging documents, Jensen told investigators he consumed four or five beers and smoked marijuana all day at the concert.
Troopers found a quarter pound of marijuana in the vehicle.