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Sep 9, 2013 - The Associated Press

Healthy lunch sales picking up

CHEYENNE -- Officials in southeast Wyoming say school lunch sales are picking up after a slight drop that followed new federal guidelines for healthier lunches last year.

Some schools in other states are opting out of the healthier school lunches, complaining that cafeterias were losing money because students weren't buying the new items. But Kevin Concannon with the U.S. Department of Agriculture said no more than a couple hundred out of the 100,000 schools in the federal lunch program are doing so because of the new menu.

"There are some schools that come in and go out every year," he said. "There are about 540 schools that dropped out of the program; less than half cited the new requirements."

School officials in Laramie County said students and parents have had concerns about food quantity but approve of the quality and variety of food offered. They said lunch sales are picking up this year.

The new lunches will have more fruit, vegetables and whole grains and fewer calories.The Wyoming Department of Education got some calls from upset or curious parents last year, but the number this year has been far smaller, department nutrition program supervisor Tamra Jackson said.

"It's change, and any time you have change, there will be people who are upset about it," she said. "But, for the most part, in Wyoming we're finding that people are looking upon it as a positive."

No sign of rare mammal

JACKSON -- Biologists looking for the elusive fisher, a large cousin of the weasel, have come up empty-handed in the Wyoming neck of the Northern Rockies.

Habitat models predict that the fisher's range extends well into Teton and Park counties, and south to the very northwest tip of Fremont County. That caused the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to lead a search for the mustelid, which was recently, but is no longer, a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act.Using a $23,000 state wildlife grant, Game and Fish personnel last year searched the Sunlight Basin, near the Beartooth Mountains, just to the east of Yellowstone National Park. In January 1995, a fisher was photographed by a remote camera near this area Remote cameras are the primary method used to find the critters.

No change in state rig count

HOUSTON -- Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. dropped nine this week to 1,767.

The Houston-based company said in its weekly report Friday 1,365 rigs were exploring for oil and 394 for gas. Eight were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,864 active rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Colorado gained two rigs and Kansas, Pennsylvania and Utah each gained one rig.

Texas lost eight rigs, California lost three, New Mexico lost two and Louisiana and North Dakota each lost one. Alaska, Arkansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wyoming were unchanged.

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