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Jan 18, 2013 - The Associated Press

Senate hears dropout law

CHEYENNE -- A bill requiring students to stay in school until they're 18 or finish their senior year is advancing at the state Capitol.

Senate File 96 won initial approval in the state Senate on Thursday.

Currently, students can decide to drop out once they've turned 16. The bill from Sen. Chris Rothfuss of Laramie takes away that right and makes parents responsible for keeping their children in school.

However, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported that the bill would give parents the option of pulling their children out of school before they turn 18.

Sen. John Schiffer of Kaycee opposes the bill. He said students who want to drop out will find a way to do it.

The bill faces two more votes in the Senate before it can advance to the House.

Feds indict hotel owner

CHEYENNE -- A federal indictment charges that a man who was an officer in the company that owned the landmark Hitching Post Inn in Cheyenne retained a New Mexico man to torch the building for insurance money.

A grand jury in Wyoming indicted Ajay Jariwala, 51, of Albuquerque, on several charges including arson and conspiracy in the 2010 fire that destroyed the main building of the Hitching Post. The hotel had served as a favorite lodge and watering hole for Wyoming lawmakers for decades.

Jariwala appeared in court Thursday in Albuquerque and is scheduled to be back in court on Friday to get an attorney. He's being housed in the Torrance County Detention Center.

The indictment also names Robert Rodriguez, also from New Mexico. The indictment supersedes one that was filed solely against Rodriguez last fall. He pleaded not guilty last year to arson and other charges and is awaiting trial in Wyoming. Rodriguez's lawyer declined comment on Thursday.

The indictment says that Jariwala has worked as a hotelier in Albuquerque. It states that he took out a $13.6 million insurance policy on the Hitching Post Inn in 2010 on behalf of CJM Hospitality LLC, a Delaware company, after CJM bought the hotel in May 2010.

Man found dead in trailer fire

GILLETTE -- The state fire marshal is investigating after a man was found dead inside a mobile home on fire.

Firefighters found the body around 3 a.m. Thursday as they fought the fire. Sheriff Bill Pownall said he understands the man was found in a bed.

The home wasn't fully consumed in the fire. Fire chief Don Huber hopes that will help investigators determine how the fire started and how the man died.

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