News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Jun 6, 2013 - The Associated Press
State firefighters help New Mexico
CHEYENNE -- A group of Wyoming firefighters is in New Mexico to help with fires there.
Two large fires in northern New Mexico have displaced families from their homes.
The Wyoming team includes crews and equipment from Albany, Natrona and Washakie Counties along with a group from the Wyoming State Forestry Division.
The Wyoming team is based near Albuquerque and will stand ready to move quickly to active fires as they're needed. They will be in New Mexico for about two weeks.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez thanked Wyoming team and other firefighters from other states.
Wyoming officials say residents should plan ahead and prepare their homes and property against the threat of wildfire this year. Forecasts call for the 2013 Wyoming fire season to be normal.
Trial date set in discrimination suit
CHEYENNE -- A Dec. 9 jury trial has been set in lawsuit of an attorney who says he was improperly fired from the Wyoming Public Defender's Office.
Dion Custis alleges in his gender-discrimination lawsuit that office director Diane Lozano fired him after he ended their five-year relationship. He worked at the public defender's office from 1994-2011.
Lozano's office has said Custis was an at-will employee who could be fired for no reason and that Custis testified during a Wyoming State Bar hearing that he was fired for unrelated ethical violations for which the Wyoming Supreme Court later censured him.
A federal judge has dismissed many of the complaints Custis made in an amended lawsuit he filed April 1, but his gender discrimination claim is proceeding.
Sentence set in Hitching Post fire
CHEYENNE -- A federal judge has sentenced a New Mexico man to serve five years in prison for torching the landmark Hitching Post Inn in Cheyenne.
Judge Nancy Freudenthal in Cheyenne on Thursday ordered Robert Rodriguez, of Albuquerque, to serve three years of supervised release after he gets out of prison. She also ordered him to pay $50,000 restitution to an insurance company.
Rodriguez pleaded guilty in April to arson and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in the 2010 fire that destroyed the hotel. It had served as a favorite gathering place for Wyoming lawmakers for decades before the fire.
Prosecutor Jim Anderson told the judge that Rodriguez's cooperation with investigators was essential in persuading a principal in the company that owned the hotel to plead guilty to related charges last month.
Mead appoints judge
ROCK SPRINGS -- Gov. Matt Mead has appointed John Prokos as the new Circuit Court judge for the Third Judicial District in Sweetwater County.
Prokos replaces Judge Victoria Schofield, who has retired.
Prokos is currently the deputy county attorney in Sweetwater County. He has also worked in private practice and as an assistant public defender. Prokos has an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Valparaiso University.
Bison killed after moving efforts fail
BILLINGS, Mont. -- Two bison were killed by authorities Wednesday after livestock officials said repeated efforts to drive them back into Yellowstone National Park to make way for cattle had failed.
The two bull bison shot in the West Yellowstone area included one on private land and one on U.S. Forest Service land, Department of Livestock Executive Officer Christian Mackay said.
State and federal agencies have a no-tolerance policy for bison outside the park for much of the year to keep them away from cattle. Mackay said about 550 of the animals were pushed into the park by state and federal workers in recent weeks.