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Wyoming in brief

Main break disrupts water supplyA broken water main created a hole “you could park a pickup in” on First Street West early Saturday, a city water official said.

The 12-inch water main was immediately turned off, said Jim Burnham, systems maintenance supervisor for the city of Billings Public Utilities Department.

The hole was in front of an alley on the west side of First Street West, just north of Grand Avenue. The water flowed south on First Street West and east along Grand Avenue, Burnham said. The water also deposited silt north to First Street West’s intersection with Avenue E.

A crew started working on the problem about 6 a.m. and water was restored to homes by 10:30 a.m., Burnham said. About six residences were without water until the crew replaced about 10 feet of old cast-iron pipe.New fires breaks out in Bridger-TetonJACKSON — Firefighters attacked seven new wildfires in western Wyoming forests sparked by a lightning storm.

Four of the fires, which started Friday evening, were suppressed by noon Saturday, said Bridger-Teton National Forest spokesman Jason Anderson.

The others were fairly small, with two at less than an acre. The blazes were expected to have little impact on recreation in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, he said.

The last of 14 fires in the Bridger-Teton started by lightning on the Fourth of July was controlled by Friday.Air Force base plans open houseCHEYENNE — F.E. Warren Air Force Base will hold an open house July 22 during Cheyenne Frontier Days.

The “Muskets to Missiles” open house will offer public tours, including visits to simulated ICBM launch-control facilities and a simulated missile silo.

A UH-1N Huey helicopter will be on display, along with maintenance and transportation vehicles, heavy equipment and fire trucks.

The open house will coincide with Fort D.A. Russell Days on base, which includes re-enactments of black-powder shoots, fur trading and daily life when the base was an Army cavalry post in the 1860s.

The base will be open July 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.State tribal leaders ask for more controlThe federal government should let the tribes improve their communities without strings attached to the funding it provides for social services, Wyoming tribal leaders told a congressional panel.

“Please don’t leave us behind again as you deal with the myriad of issues competing for your attention,” Ivan Posey, chairman of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, told the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Thursday.

The tribes are not seeking a handout, but a level playing field, he said.

State services are not reaching the Wind River Indian Reservation in amounts comparable to its tax and economic contributions, he said. The reservation receives only $9.7 million in services for every $15 million it pays in state severance taxes, he said.

Anthony Addison, chairman of the Northern Arapaho Business Council, said tribes have been saddled with managing programs on behalf of the federal government. Meanwhile, the government disregards tribal advice on policy matters, he said.

Government should acknowledge tribal sovereignty and pay for the administration of its mandated programs, among other things, he said.

Tribal schools have inadequate facilities and staff, which undermines work force training, Posey said.Agents defend shootout that wounded suspectCASPER — During an attempted murder trial this week, state detectives defended their actions in a shootout that wounded the suspect.

Samuel Urbigkit, 38, of Casper, is charged with 14 felonies, including four counts of attempted first-degree murder and seven counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Authorities were serving a drug-related search warrant on Urbigkit when he allegedly led them on a chase and shootout on Feb. 7 that ended with him being shot in the leg.

Urbigkit allegedly fled with two women in a car, hitting one DCI agent and clipping the other. When the car got stuck in snow, Urbigkit fled on foot, shooting at police.

Urbigkit’s attorneys have said the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation had no plan for executing the search warrant.

DCI officials countered Thursday by saying they gave careful consideration to how to approach Urbigkit, given what they knew about his drug dealing, drug use, violent past, hatred of police and arsenal of weapons.

Agents intended to approach Urbigkit when he was not in a residential area or busy street, but he appeared sooner than expected as they surrounded him at his shop, officials said.INEEL closes Jackson information officeJACKSON — The Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory plans to close its information office here on July 31.

The facility based west of Idaho Falls, Idaho, is making budget cuts and also plans to cut 1,200 jobs, according to Ron King, Idaho Department of Energy spokesman.

All areas of the nuclear research complex will be affected.

The Jackson office was opened nearly two years ago at the height of debate over a proposed nuclear waste incinerator at INEEL. The plans were shelved not long after conservationists and other Jackson Hole residents filed a $1 billion lawsuit.

Lorie Cahn, the INEEL liaison in Jackson, said her office remains busy but not as busy as when it first opened in October 1999. King said much of the need for the office has gone away now that there are no plans for an incinerator.

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But Erik Ringelberg, executive director of Keep Yellowstone Nuclear Free, said the U.S. Department of Energy continues to keep incineration an option for reducing volumes of nuclear waste.

Cahn will remain a full-time environmental restoration employee for INEEL. King on Tuesday gave her a plaque recognizing her work in Jackson.Northwest College offers preview day POWELL — Big Horn Basin adults who are interested in taking a college class this fall are invited to “Explore a New Beginning,” Northwest College’s preview day for nontraditional students. The activities begin at 8 a.m. Aug. 3 at NWC’s Hinckley Library.

Northwest tailors the day to meet the needs of adult students who must often juggle family, work and other responsibilities in addition to their college work. Participants will have opportunities to listen and talk with other nontraditional students about their experiences; and college personnel will discuss and answer individual questions about financial aid, child care services, health care services, housing, counseling, advising, library services and admissions procedures.

The preview day is free, unless they elect to take placement tests ($10) or register for classes. Child care is also provided free of charge all day for those with children at least two years old and toilet trained.

To make reservations, call the Northwest College Enrollment Services Office at 1-800-560-4NWC or 307-754-6043.More truck parking recommendedCHEYENNE — More parking space is needed for trucks along Wyoming’s busiest highways, a study found.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation study inventoried rest areas, highway turnouts and truck stops along the interstates and sections of three other U.S. highways.

The most serious parking shortage is on Interstate 80 between Wamsutter and Laramie.

Additional parking spaces were also recommended along I-90, U.S. 30 between Granger Junction and the Idaho border, and the rest of I-80.

“The study validated our concerns that we have insufficient truck parking facilities in certain areas,” said Del McOmie, WyDOT chief engineer. “We will be looking to add capacity over time by enlarging existing turnouts and adding new ones during the course of future road reconstruction and rehabilitation projects.”

The optimal places to add parking are truck stops, he said, because of the other services available. But the department also recognizes the need for more roadside slots, he said.

Parking becomes critical when weather forces highway closures, McOmie said.

“We are establishing cooperative plans with the communities along I-80, namely Cheyenne, Laramie, Rawlins, Rock Springs, Green River and Evanston on how to best handle the impact of road closures,” he said.

Topics include where to park trucks, where they need to be diverted into towns and when does a highway need to be closed farther ahead to avoid additional traffic stacking up at a closure site.

“One thing we definitely must do is restrict parking on the highway itself so that at least the passing lane is kept clear to maintain access for emergency vehicles and snow removal equipment,” he said.

The study, summarized in a release Thursday, found that existing parking along I-25, U.S. 26 between Orin Junction and Nebraska, and U.S. 287 between Laramie and Colorado is adequate. Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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