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This Hour: Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment

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SCHOOL FUNDING

School districts team up to lobby for more money

(Information in the following story is from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com)

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - A coalition of seven Wyoming school districts says the state had underfunded K-12 schools by $151 million in recent years.

The districts are asking the Legislature to pay back the money and find a way to make adjustments for inflation an annual, automatic part of the state's budget.

The districts signed onto the coalition are Campbell County School District No. 1, Carbon County No. 1, Johnson County No. 1, Sheridan County No. 1, Sublette County No. 1, Sweetwater County No. 2, and Teton County School District No. 1.

State Rep. Steve Harshman, of Casper, is chairman of the Joint Appropriations Committee.

He tells the Casper Star-Tribune that districts had received too much money for inflation adjustment from the state in some years.

DISTANCE EDUCATION

State grant helps distance education in Wyoming

(Information in the following story is from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com)

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - A state grant worth about $250,000 is aimed at helping two community colleges and four school districts improve virtual distance education programs throughout Wyoming.

The Wyoming Department of Education says the $248,086 in grant money will help the districts and colleges develop online courses, increase professional development and maintain their distance education systems.

Edward Olson with the education department says "in the past Wyoming students have been limited by geography, distance, and teacher availability in terms of the classes they can take." But technology is helping students overcome those limitations.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports the districts receiving the funds are in Natrona, Campbell, Fremont and Niobrara counties. Northwest Community College in Sheridan and Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne will also receive money.

POWELL-STRINGER

Memorial service held for Powell football coach

POWELL, Wyo. (AP) - One of Wyoming's top high school football coaches is being remembered in Powell.

Residents are gathering Thursday morning at Panther Stadium for a memorial service for Jim Stringer, who died Friday.

Stringer led the Powell Panthers to four state 3A titles, most recently last fall when Powell beat Douglas in overtime. He was named as Wyoming's 3A coach of the year both in 2011 and 2013.

The Powell Tribune reports that the tall, burly coach was beloved for his open and friendly nature and the personal attention he gave to students.

He is survived by his wife, Jill, and their three children.

ANCIENT ANIMAL DIG

Wyoming cave with fossil secrets to be excavated

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - For the first time in more than 30 years, paleontologists are preparing excavate a sinkhole-type cave in northern Wyoming that contains the ancient remains of tens of thousands of animals.

Those animals include American cheetahs, mammoths and short-faced bears - species now extinct that were common more than 20,000 years ago.

Natural Trap Cave is a 15-foot-wide hole in the ground that opens up into an 85-foot-deep cavern. Over many years, tens of thousands of animals accidentally fell into the pit and died.

Starting Monday, scientists plan to resume digging in Natural Trap Cave for the first time since the early 1980s. One goal is to retrieve DNA from the animal bones.

They say the cave holds valuable clues to life in the last glacial period.

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