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May 31, 2013 - The Associated Press

Forest parcel on the market

JACKSON -- After years of on-and-off talk about a sale, the U.S. Forest Service has chosen Sotheby's International Realty to market a big part of the agency's land in Jackson.

The Forest Service wants to unload the 10-acre parcel to raise cash for other projects.

Sotheby's associate broker Jay Kornoff said the Forest Service regional office in Ogden, Utah, is expected to put a price on the land within a few days.

Appraisals in recent years were in the $10 million to $11 million range.

The town of Jackson failed to win voter approval in November for $13.5 million to buy the land for unspecified public use.

The Forest Service will retain 5.3 acres in Jackson, where its Bridger-Teton National Forest headquarters is located.

Molestation arraignment postponed

SHERIDAN -- An arraignment has been postponed for a Sheridan man accused of molesting a 10-year-old special needs girl whom he babysat.

59-year-old Robert Bell's arraignment was postponed Wednesday after his attorney asked the judge for a competency evaluation by the Wyoming State Hospital in Evanston.

Bell's attorney Ryan Healy says he has doubts about Bell's mental capability to proceed with the legal process. Healy says Bell's family has expressed similar concerns.

According to court documents, Bell is accused of molesting the girl between June 2012 and January 2013, when he was her baby-sitter. Court documents say that although Bell is registered as a sex offender, the girl's mother was desperate for child care.

Visitors study astronomy at UW

LARAMIE -- Six undergraduate students from across the country are taking part in a 10-week program to study astronomy at the University of Wyoming.

The students from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Minnesota arrived in Laramie this week.

During their stay, the students will make nightly treks to observe stars at either the Wyoming Infrared Observatory on Jelm Mountain or Red Buttes Observatory along U.S. Highway 287. They also will learn what it means to work in a team environment, scientific programming, data analysis and other skills.

Daniel Dale chairs the UW Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dale says the program looks for students with enthusiasm for research in Wyoming.

The six students were chosen from a pool of about 200 who applied from across the nation.

Conservation group seeks new leader

LARAMIE -- The executive director of the Laramie-based Biodiversity Conservation Alliance will be stepping down this fall.

Erik Molvar has been the group's executive director since September 2004. He will remain with the organization through September to help ease the transition to a new leader.

Alliance Board President Mike Weber says Molvar has been relentless in his efforts to protect species and habitat in Wyoming.

The Biodiversity Conservation Alliance is an independent environmental advocacy group that aims to protect wildlife and wild land areas in Wyoming and surrounding states. It has been involved in many conservation issues in Wyoming.

It has been in operation since 1994.

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