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Mar 21, 2012 - The Associated Press

State BLM official gets Denver job

DENVER (AP) -- The Bureau of Land Management's associate state director in Wyoming has been named the agency's new director of the National Operations Center in Denver.

BLM Director Bob Abbey announced the appointment of Ruth Welch on Tuesday.

The National Operations Center provides internal and technical support to BLM offices and the general public. It has 350 employees and 100 contractors.

Welch began her federal career with the Office of Surface Mining in 1989 and joined the BLM in 1993. She helped lead the BLM's effort to prepare a new wild horse and burro management strategy, which will be rolled out in the near future.

She succeeds former National Operations Center director Lynda Stelzer and acting director Deb Rawhouser.

Study eyes effects of school change

CHEYENNE (AP) -- A study of public school students in Laramie County School District 1 suggests that students who move multiple times to different schools can see their academics suffer.

Superintendent Mark Stock says the data collected by the district shows students of all backgrounds and grades are affected by moving to a different school.

Stock says that generally, the more students had moved between schools the worse they performed academically.

According to the data, about 90 percent of sixth-grade students who switched schools once, or less, tested proficient or advanced on the math assessment tests.

However, of students who'd switched schools two or three times by sixth grade, only about 72 percent tested proficient or advanced.

Accused deacon denies allegations

CASPER (AP) -- A Casper church deacon accused of imposing a sexual relationship on a woman he was counseling is denying the allegations.

A woman filed suit against St. Anthony's Catholic Church, Deacon Don Stewart and four clergy members in January. It alleges the sexual relationship started after she went to Stewart for counseling in 2002 and that Stewart physically assaulted her twice in 2008.

Two priests and two former bishops are also named as defendants because the woman said they knew or should have known about the situation. They also denied the allegations in court filings.

The Diocese of Cheyenne wants the case dismissed to avoid having the court wade into the church's personnel policies. It claims that would violate the First Amendment.

Douglas wind farm petition denied

DOUGLAS (AP) -- The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has denied a petition against two wind farms south of Douglas.

A group of residents in the area has been fighting to stop Wasatch Wind from going through with the projects.

They contended the company had improperly divided its proposal into two projects to take advantage of federal rules favoring smaller projects.

But the federal commission last week said it would not examine the group's claim.

Wasatch Wind spokesman Michelle Stevens said the company has followed the law.

The company plans to begin construction this spring.

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