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

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Mead appoints panel to improve UW science

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Gov. Matt Mead has appointed a task force to study how to improve the science programs and laboratories at the University of Wyoming.

The Task Force on Science and Facilities consists of nine accomplished scientists, industry leaders and others. Former Gov. Dave Freudenthal (FREE'-den-thawl) is among its members.

The Legislature created the panel as a first step in a process for UW to become one of the top academic and research institutions in science and engineering.

The group is scheduled to meet for the first time on Sept. 9-10 in Laramie. It expects to have a report by Nov. 1 to the governor, who will then submit any funding recommendations for program and facilities improvements to the Legislature's Joint Appropriations Committee.


Bison hunt starts slowly in northwest Wyoming

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - Hunters haven't had much success at the start of the annual Jackson Hole bison hunt in northwest Wyoming.

Game managers say only 11 bison were harvested in the opening days of the hunt that started on Aug. 15 and goes on for five months.

Hunting is allowed on the National Elk Refuge and Bridger-Teton National Forest to protect forage for elk wintering on the refuge and to keep bison numbers at manageable levels.

Ten bison were killed on the refuge through the first 12 days, and a single bison was killed on Bridger-Teton land.

Elk refuge biologist Eric Cole tells the Jackson Hole News & Guide that bison that had wandered south from Grand Teton National Park, a hunt-free safe zone, quickly left the refuge once hunting started.


Feds eye stricter rules for railroad rights of way

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The U.S. Department of the Interior says it made a mistake giving railroads too much discretion on what can be built on 200-foot-wide rights of way across thousands of miles of public land in 11 Western states.

A proposed water pipeline in California having nothing to do with railroad operations prompted the agency to fix an error from 15 years ago that could also provide a legal justification for putting in oil or natural gas pipelines on the publicly owned land.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management issued a memorandum to field offices earlier this month about the change that requires projects on rights of way to serve railroad operations only.

The agency says up to 3,500 evaluations could be needed to determine if work done the last decade and a half meets the updated criteria.


Yellowstone, Grand Teton parks rescues near 90

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - Rangers have conducted about 90 search and rescue operations Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks so far this year.

Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash says an estimated 15 "major" and 20 "minor" search and rescue operations have occurred in Yellowstone, which covers parts of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

A search and rescue operation involving emergency personnel is considered to be major when expenses exceed $500. Otherwise the event is considered minor.

In neighboring Grand Teton National Park, spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs says there have been 31 major and 23 minor search and rescue operations.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that Yellowstone averages about 50 to 55 search and rescues annually, while Grand Teton records about 65 to 70.


43 to become US citizens in Yellowstone ceremony

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) - Yellowstone National Park sees plenty of foreign visitors who come to see its unique natural features.

But this week, 43 foreigners will be coming to the park to become U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony at Mammoth Hot Springs.

The immigrants come from 20 different countries and currently live in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Utah.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark L. Carman of the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming will preside over the ceremony on Wednesday.


Investigation into decapitated body progresses

CODY, Wyo. (AP) - Investigators are monitoring a handful of people who may have information about the death of a 30-year-old man who was found decapitated in northern Wyoming.

Park County Sheriff Scott Steward has not identified any suspects in the death of Juan Antonio Guerra-Torres, but his office is working with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and the Tulare County Sheriff's Office in California to find the killer.

Guerra-Torres, a native of the city of Guanajuato, in central Mexico, had ties to Park County and is known to have lived in Tulare County.

Duck hunters found his body near Powell on Jan. 9. He had been decapitated, shot several times and was missing his left arm.

Detectives are asking anyone who may have information that will help them with their investigation to call the sheriff's office at 307-527-8700.


Elk rut begins in Yellowstone National Park

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) - Visitors are being asked to be cautious as the elk rut begins in Yellowstone National Park.

Park spokesman Al Nash says bull elk are much more aggressive toward people and vehicles this time of year, and visitors should keep a safe distance from the animals and look around corners before exiting buildings or walking around blind spots.

Several vehicles are damaged by elk every year, and people are occasionally charged and injured.

Nash says park staff and volunteers are patrolling areas like Mammoth Hot Springs when elk are present. Visitors should stay at least 25 yards away from most large animals in the park and at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves.

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