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Feb 13, 2013 - The Associated Press

Wolves took 55 moose in three years

JACKSON -- Research shows wolves in the northern part of Grand Teton National Park have an appetite for moose during the wintertime.

Park and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service researchers documented some 55 moose killed by wolves over the past three winters.

Moose numbers have been declining in Jackson Hole for years.

The moose population is less than one-fifth the number counted 20 years ago and only about one-fourth of the number that wildlife managers would like to see.

Grand Teton biologist Sarah Dewey says wolves typically prefer to prey on elk rather than moose. Moose are bigger, and she says elk are easier for wolves to take down.

Other threats to moose in Grand Teton include parasites, wildfires, getting hit by cars and loss of habitat to development.

Gray wolves were reintroduced to Wyoming in 1996 by federal order. Last year they were removed from the Endangered Species List, and the first regulated wolf hunt the state took place late last year.

Casper revisiting smoking ban

CASPER -- The majority of Casper city councilors are inclined to either repeal or change the city's smoking ban.

Only two council members, including Casper's mayor, supported keeping the ban in its current form during a work session on Tuesday.

The council passed a ban on smoking in bars, restaurants, offices and other public spaces in June 2012 but four of the council members who voted for it are no longer in office. It went into effect in September after a failed referendum attempt.

Business owners say they have lost customers because of the ban and have been pressing for it to be repealed.

Councilman Keith Goodenough has dissolved his limo service business so he can vote to repeal the ban.

Court weapons ban gets initial OK

CHEYENNE -- A bill that would ban deadly weapons in Wyoming courtrooms has won initial approval in the state Senate.

House Bill 216 passed its first round of Senate floor debate on Tuesday. It faces two more votes in the chamber.

The proposal makes having deadly weapons in courtrooms a misdemeanor on first offense. A second offense within five years would be a felony.

The ban would not apply to jury rooms or other parts of the courthouse. In addition, the presiding judge in the courtroom could grant exceptions.

Bill would require pension split

CHEYENNE -- The latest proposal to boost contributions to the Wyoming's state pension plan calls for employees and the government to split the cost.

The full Senate on Tuesday passed a bill requiring employees and the state to each pay 0.5 percent more into the fund over the next two years.

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