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Sep 5, 2013 - The Associated Press

Welcome weather lowers fire risk

MOOSE -- More rain and cooler weather have prompted officials to reduce the wildfire risk in the Jackson area from "high" to just "moderate."

At least nine wildfires continue to burn in Yellowstone, Grand Teton and the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

None of those fires is burning vigorously any longer.

Three of the fires in Yellowstone aren't even putting off smoke, although the Alum Fire continues to be the largest and most active. The fire is northwest of Lake Village.

The fire danger rating is reduced for Grand Teton, Bridger-Teton National Forest, National Elk Refuge and for Lincoln, Sublette and Teton counties.

Fifty wildfires have broken out in that area so far this year.

Human beings have been responsible for starting about a third of those fires.

Barrasso among 'no' votes on Syria

CHEYENNE -- Wyoming U.S. Sen. John Barrasso is among the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who have voted against the use of U.S. military force in Syria.

The committee approved a use-of-force resolution Wednesday on a 10-7 vote. President Barack Obama seeks to use force to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad for a recent chemical attack the administration says killed more than 1,400 people.

Barrasso says in a release he condemns atrocities Assad's government has committed against innocent men, women and children over two years of civil war in Syria.

He says he voted against the resolution because the Obama administration hasn't provided an ultimate objective or strategy in Syria.

WyDOT sets projects with tax money

CHEYENNE -- The Wyoming Department of Transportation plans to get to work on 19 additional highway projects over the next year now that lawmakers have approved a 10-cent-per-gallon increase in the state fuel tax.

WyDOT officials say they're looking at starting more than 50 new projects over the next three years.

The tax increase will bring in an estimated $47.5 million a year in additional fuel tax revenue.

Upcoming projects include new pavement on a 10-mile section of Wyoming Highway 28 south of Lander. WyDOT also is looking at bridge rehabilitation work at various locations in northwest Wyoming.

Endangered species focus of hearing

Congressmen seeking to amend the Endangered Species Act said in Casper the way the act is being implemented inhibits energy development, agriculture and hunting and fishing.

Four members of the House Natural Resource Committee held a field hearing Wednesday that focused on the act. Wyoming U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis was joined by Reps. Doc Hastings, of Washington State, Doug Lamborn, of Colorado, and Steve Daines, of Montana.

All four are Republicans.

The four said state, not than the federal government, should decide when and how animal populations are listed or delisted as endangered.

Others, including Richard Garrett with the Wyoming Outdoor Council, say that more cooperation between different groups could help the Endangered Species Act but that overall the act benefits Wyoming.

Crisis center moving forward

RAWLINS -- Rawlins officials say a youth crisis center that has been in the works for nearly a decade could open as soon as the start of the year.

The Cathedral Home, a Laramie child-services facility, is expected to enter into a three-year contract to operate the center. It would be located west of the Carbon County jail and provide temporary housing for troubled youth or children before they get placed in foster care or return to their parents.

The Carbon County Commission will get a contract in the coming weeks to allow the Cathedral Home to run the center.

Museum features stamp exhibit

CHEYENNE -- A temporary exhibit at the Wyoming State Museum features U.S. postage stamps postmarked from around the state.

The exhibit features collages from the collection of Lewis Schrag of Cheyenne. He donated 182 collages to the state museum in recent years.

Schrag's compositions use stamps and first-day covers postmarked around the state. Many also feature additional elements such as coins and commemorative medals.

David Newell is curator of art at the museum. He says the collection focuses on the range of stamp designs and their beauty. The exhibit will be on display until Dec. 2.

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