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Sep 26, 2013 - The Associated Press

Man gets 12-26 years in fraud case

LINCOLN, Neb. -- A Wyoming man who was twice convicted for unlawfully buying vehicles in Nebraska has been sentenced to prison.

Court records say 53-year-old Thomas Merchant, of Cheyenne, on Wednesday was given 12 to 26 years in prison and credited with more than two years already served.

Merchant had been granted a second trial by the Nebraska Supreme Court in March. The court said trial testimony by the director of Nebraska's Motor Vehicle Industry Licensing Board effectively "instructed the jury on how to make its decision of Merchant's guilt."

Merchant originally was convicted last year. Prosecutors say Merchant bought 19 vehicles from the Nebraska Auto Auction in June 2011. The business said the checks Merchant wrote for the vehicles bounced and that Merchant included a fake dealer's license number on paperwork.

Capitol expansion considered

CHEYENNE -- Wyoming officials are considering adding more office space if the 127-year-old State Capitol undergoes renovations.

The State Building Commission decided Wednesday to spend $300,000 to study the cost and feasibility of building an expansion.

The expansion, if approved, would be coupled with renovations of the electrical, heating, cooling and fire-fighting systems in the Capitol.

State Sen. Tony Ross, a Cheyenne Republican who is Senate president, said no decision has been made on whether to add office space.

A 2008 report commissioned by the Legislature said the 100,000-square-foot Capitol needs another 42,000 square feet to accommodate current and future needs.

Boeing tests 787 in Wyoming's wind

CASPER -- Boeing has brought one of its 787 Dreamliners to Casper for testing, the second time in three years the plane has visited the city's airport.

The plane landed at Casper/Natrona County International Airport Wednesday afternoon.

Jim Pattan, the airport's public safety captain, said that Boeing was mostly testing tail wind braking.

Pattan says airplanes usually take off and land into the wind, but sometimes they have to land with the wind, so Boeing was testing how the 787 behaved in that situation.

Airport Manager Glenn Januska says Boeing also tested the 787 in Casper in April 2011.

Daniels Fund awards $891,000

CHEYENNE -- The Daniels Fund has awarded nearly $891,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations serving seniors, youth and the homeless in Wyoming.

Grant recipients are the Boys and Girls Club of Central Wyoming, the Casper Family YMCA, the Hot Springs County Senior Citizens Center in Thermopolis, the Northwest Wyoming Treatment Center in Powell, the Stride Learning Center in Cheyenne, the Youth Crisis Center in Casper and Youth Emergency Services in Gillette.

The Daniels Fund is expected to award about $3.3 million in grants to Wyoming nonprofit organizations this year.

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