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Aug 6, 2013 - The Associated Press

Towns suggested for recognition

Six Wyoming communities are in the running in Rand McNally's 2013 Best of the Road contest.

Centennial, Cody, Jackson, Laramie, Lovell and Sheridan have been nominated in the travel publication's 2013 Best Small Towns contest.

People can cast their votes for the community of their choice among six categories: most beautiful, most fun, friendliest, most patriotic, best food and best for geocaching.

The contest began on July 1 and voting concludes Sept. 3, 2013. Winners will be announced in October.

The winning towns will receive a feature in the 2015 Rand McNally Road Atlas and a free custom iPhone app and online travel guide promoting the town as a top destination. The contest is only for American towns with a population below 150,000.

Lummis bills make progress

The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee has endorsed three proposed bills that Rep. Cynthia Lummis says will help Wyoming.

Lummis is co-sponsoring two of the bills, which address hydraulic fracturing and national forests, and is the sole sponsor of one bill that deals with the historical Ranch A in the Wyoming portion of the Black Hills National Forest.

The fracking bill would prohibit the Bureau of Land Management from regulating hydraulic fracturing in states that already regulate it.

Another bill would continue to allow timber projects in areas where state and national forests meet with portions of timber sales going to rural counties.

The Ranch A bill would consolidate the historical ranch about 5 miles south of Beulah.

Forest office to stay in Jackson

JACKSON -- Bridger-Teton National Forest officials have dropped a plan to move more than a third of its supervisor office employees from Jackson to Alpine.

Bridger-Teton Supervisor Clinton Kyhl says he now prefers to keep all 47 jobs in Jackson. The move had been proposed by the former Bridger-Teton supervisor.

In addition, he says plans to fold the forest's Greys River Ranger District office, currently based in Afton, into a new building in Alpine also have been temporarily halted.

The amended proposal is currently being reviewed by officials at the U.S. Forest Service's regional office in Ogden, Utah.

Utility seeks rate increase

GILLETTE -- Powder River Energy Corp. is proposing to increase electricity rates for its Wyoming customers by 3.9 percent.

The cooperative plans to present the proposed increases to the Wyoming Public Service Commission in August for approval. The proposed increase would come in March.

Spokeswoman Kristin Kelly says Powder River Energy hasn't increased its rates since 2008. The proposed increases come at a time when Powder River's 2013 operating budget anticipates a $4.4 million revenue shortfall, as demand for electricity from coal-bed methane producers and the coal industry decrease and continues to decline.

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