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Sep 10, 2013 - The Associated Press

Committee will look at beer tax

CHEYENNE -- Wyoming's 2 cent per gallon tax on beer has remained unchanged since 1935, but that could soon change.

The Joint Revenue Interim Committee plans to discuss raising the tax during its meeting Friday in Buffalo.

Sen. Ray Peterson, R-Cowley, says he'd like to at least double the tax to pay for substance abuse centers and other health programs that deal with alcohol abuse.

Wyoming currently collects $265,000 a year through the tax, known as the malt beverage excise tax.

Wyoming's current tax is the lowest in the nation. Alaska's $1.07 per gallon is the highest.

Inmate found dead in Casper jail

CASPER -- Authorities say a Natrona County Detention Center inmate with a history of health problems has been found dead in his bunk.

Sheriff Gus Holbrook says 63-year-old George E. Mudge was found unresponsive at about 6 a.m. Friday. Foul play is not suspected, and authorities have not said why Mudge was being held.

Cell tower moratorium considered

JACKSON -- Opposition to a proposed 110-foot cell tower has prompted Teton County planning commissioners to consider a moratorium.

The commission will consider the moratorium at its meeting Monday.

The freeze is opposed by real estate agents, hotels and cell providers. Commissioners say the temporary ban is needed to give county staffers time to write regulations to deal a recent influx of cell-tower permit applications.

Current regulations could allow a 110-foot cell tower proposed atop a hill overlooking Swinging Bridge on the Snake River south of Jackson. Nearby residents have complained about the tower which would dwarf four existing 35-foot towers.

Rape convict seeking appeal

CASPER -- A judge is considering a request for an appeal from one of two men convicted in a 2009 Craigslist rape.

Ty Oliver McDowell's attorneys were in Natrona County District Court Monday. The attorneys argued that a judge misled McDowell into believing that he couldn't appeal after he pleaded guilty. McDowell has asked the Wyoming Supreme Court to reinstate his right to appeal.

Natrona County District Judge Daniel Forgey said he would consider the arguments and rule at another date.

McDowell and Jebidiah James Stipe were convicted and are serving 60 year sentences.

Authorities say Stipe placed an ad on Craigslist seeking a willing participant in a rape fantasy. McDowell answered the ad and claims he was duped into committing a crime.

Well-known warden retiring

JACKSON -- North Jackson Game Warden Bill Long is retiring after a wildlife management career spanning 37 years.

Long started with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department as a temporary fish biologist aid in Green River in 1976. He received his first game warden post in Green River in 1981 and was selected to serve as the North Jackson game warden in 1990.

Long has a special interest in working with swans. A release from the game department states that he's invested a lot of his own time and resources into protecting swans and providing them nesting habitat in western Wyoming.

Chief Game Warden Brian Nesvik says Long is passionate about his work with Wyoming's wildlife.

Long's replacement will be selected in the coming weeks.

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