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Aug 29, 2013 - The Associated Press

State gets NCLB waiver

The U.S. Department of Education has granted Wyoming's request to freeze its goals for meeting federal education mandates.

Without the relief from the No Child Left Behind Act, even Wyoming's highest performing schools would soon be labeled as failing.

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 holds schools accountable to proficiency targets that increase annually until they reach 100 percent. At that point, every tested student is expected to score at or above proficient in every subject area on a state test by the end of the 2013-2014 school year.

David Holbrook, of the state Education Department, said freezing Wyoming's targets is a more reasonable measure than continuing on and using the targets that have been escalating over the years.

Park fire not near tourist spots

CHEYENNE -- Officials are confident that a wildfire burning in the heart of Yellowstone National Park will stay away from several major tourist areas during the busy Labor Day weekend.

The Alum Fire has burned about 7,300 acres. It is located on the ridge about five miles northwest of Fishing Bridge Junction on the north side of Yellowstone Lake. Fishing Bridge, Lake Village and Bridge Bay are major tourist areas nearby.

The fire hasn't grown much over the last few days and all park campgrounds, lodging, stores, service stations, restaurants and other facilities are open.

While the fire is not expected to move toward Fishing Bridge, Lake Village or Bridge Bay, firefighters have done extensive work to ensure the protection of these areas should the fire make an unexpected move.

Murder convict could get parole

SHERIDAN -- A Sheridan man who had been serving a life sentence for his role in a 2009 home invasion killing will be eligible for parole after serving 25 years for the crime, a district judge ruled Wednesday.

The action by Judge John Fenn means Wyatt Bear Cloud, 20, could walk free in about 35 years, prosecutor Matt Redle said. Bear Cloud still must serve at least about 10 years on a burglary conviction before he will begin serving the murder sentence, Redle said.

In 2009, when Bear Cloud was 16, he and two teenagers broke into the house of Sheridan businessman Robert Ernst, who was shot to death in front of his wife. All three teens were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

The Wyoming Supreme Court at first upheld Bear Cloud's life sentence. However, a decision last year by the U.S. Supreme Court established that judges must consider alternatives to life sentences when sentencing juvenile killers. Early this year, the state Supreme Court ordered Fenn to re-sentence Bear Cloud to comply with the federal ruling.

Bear Cloud addressed Fenn at the end of Wednesday's daylong hearing.

"Every day, I wake up and looking in a mirror knowing that I've done wrong," Bear Cloud said. "All I see is that stupid, ignorant 16-year-old kid."

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