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Aug 21, 2013 - The Associated Press

Road near fire open again

Yellowstone National Park officials have reopened a road closed by a wildfire but tell visitors at the tail end of the park's busy season to expect the road to close again.

The Alum Fire has burned about 12 square miles but has been growing little over the past few days.

Even so, park officials are making preliminary evacuation plans for Lake Village on the north shore of Yellowstone Lake. The fire is about five miles north of Lake Village.

Thick smoke prompted park officials to close part of the road north of Fishing Bridge on Tuesday.

The road reopened Wednesday but Yellowstone spokesman Dan Hottle says it could close again with little or no warning. He says visitors should be prepared to drive long distances around the closure area.

Coal train study shows mixed effects

SEATTLE -- A study of the economic impacts of sending up to 18 more coal trains through Seattle says there would be benefits as well as costs.

The study was announced in December by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, a coal train opponent, who released results Friday on his blog.

The mayor held onto the results for five weeks and released it after the paper filed a public disclosure requests.

Supporters of the proposed Gateway Pacific export terminal at Cherry Point in Whatcom County say the study shows it would have a net positive impact on Seattle.

The coal would come mostly from Wyoming's coal-rich Powder River Basin, with sizable quantities from Montana as well.

The $25,000 study was conducted by Community Attributes. It found the terminal would trigger construction and add jobs. It also found the trains could increase congestion and and reduce some property values.

County opens door to horse racing

CHEYENNE (AP) -- Horse racing could be coming to Laramie County.

County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to allow the owner of the Wyoming Downs track in Evanston to offer off-track betting and horse race simulcasting at the Outlaw Saloon. The measure also gives Dynasty Development Management LLC the ability to host live race events in the county. It would still have to win additional approvals from the Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission, which regulates horse racing statewide, to gain that ability.

The operations director of Wyoming Downs, Joan Ramos, has been talking with Cheyenne Frontier Days officials about bringing thoroughbred racing to the city.

"We could be on the brink of one of the biggest expansions of live horse racing in North America over the past 40 years," said Charles Moore, executive director of the pari-mutuel commission.

Live horse races are expensive to operate and off-track betting helps subsidize the cost, said Bill Gentle, former chairman of the Wyoming Horse Council.

With simulcasting, a gambler in Wyoming could place a bet on a race in another state and watch the race live at the off-track betting location.

Laramie County already has one off-track betting location at the Cheyenne Amvets Post 10.

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