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Wyoming in brief

Architect to present 3 concepts for jail POWELL — The Park County Commission has hired Plan One Architects to develop three proposals for a new county jail.

The Jackson-based firm will study building a jail on a new site, tearing the current jail down and building a new one on that site, and remodeling and expanding the existing jail.

The firm, which has an office in Cody, has been allocated $10,000 and must have the study done by Aug. 31.Horseshoe Bend dock removed due to low waterLOVELL — Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area officials planned to remove a dock at Horseshoe Bend on Thursday and recommended that boaters not use the area because of low water.

The lake level has been falling by 2 to 4 inches per day for several weeks and only 2 to 4 feet remain in that part of the lake.

At that rate, assistant superintendent Bob Byrne said, sand bars should begin appearing above the surface this weekend.

The swimming beach at Horseshoe Bend remains open, but Byrne expects it to close within a week.Park County to declare drought, flood disasters POWELL — The Park County Commission plans to declare both drought and flood disasters.

Drought has been the main story in Park County this summer except for flash flooding early this month, according to county emergency management coordinator Bob Swanson.

An agribusiness disaster declaration for the drought would help farmers and ranchers and get grants, tax credits and low-interest loans.

The county is seeking aid to fix county roads damaged by the floods.Northwest College rejects out-of-state tuition cutPOWELL — Northwest College trustees have rejected the idea of reducing tuition charged to out-of-state students because of the potential drain on finances.

The idea came from a study of how to operate the state’s seven community colleges, as compared to those in other states.

The Wyoming Community College Commission will make the final decision on the idea.

Frances Feinerman, president of Northwest College, said the college would need to add 200 more students to offset a reduction in out-of-state tuition.

“A significant part of our income comes from that tuition,” she said. “Charging in-state tuition to Montana students would take away a lot of our income.”

The change also would not be popular because the state contributes a major part of the college’s operating budget, she said.Lake DeSmet’s water naturally low GILLETTE — Three counties that acquired a lake owned by Texaco are worried about the low water level this summer.

“Many citizens have called and asked us why we have dropped the lake. But we haven’t. It’s just not full,” Campbell County Commission Chairman Alan Weakly said.

Texaco gave Lake DeSmet to Campbell, Sheridan and Johnson counties in February. A citizen’s committee is expected to form to consider how to manage the lake.

Scant rain has caused the water level to drop, although Weakly said he does not think the low lake level will jeopardize recreation.

“The only detriment that I know of, is it might be difficult to get your boats into the water because the water is low,” he said.Rock Springs needs air service to SLC ROCK SPRINGS — Business travelers say they would fly instead of drive to Salt Lake City if that was possible, a consulting firm said.

Beside Salt Lake City service, the Airport Development Group suggested the Rock Springs-Sweetwater County Airport add another flight to Denver and use 30-seat planes.

The airport is behind in number of boardings, size of planes and number of flights per day, consultants told the Sweetwater Economic Development Association.

The company interviewed community leaders and business officials to get an idea of what the airport’s needs are.

Other recommendations included fair pricing, better connections and better rental car counter hours, said Forrest Harding with Tri-Star Marketing.

Most suggestions the airline controls, not the airport, he said. A few items the airport can work on, such as more communication with the public and better food concession hours.Coal industry having good year, rep saysGILLETTE — Higher coal prices are perpetuating Wyoming’s dominant role in the world’s coal industry, a mining representative said.

Marion Loomis, director of the Wyoming Mining Association, said Wyoming has 45 billion tons of recoverable coal that can generate six times the energy of the country’s natural gas reserves.

Wyoming has enough coal reserves to meet 90 percent of the country’s needs and 30 percent of the world’s needs for about 1,000 years, he told the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

This year, spot coal prices rose to $8 to $10 a ton in most states, compared to about $4 a ton last year.

Coal producers may not reap the benefits until 2003, however, Loomis said. Hardly any benefit was realized this year because most coal is sold under contract.

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Meanwhile, two companies have announced plans to begin the permitting process to build three coal-fired power plants in Campbell County.

“I’m tickled to death that they made these announcements,” Loomis said. “But I haven’t seen any work.”Cop rescues woman from house fireROCK SPRINGS — A Rock Springs police officer entered a burning house and saved an elderly woman trapped inside.

According to police Commander Lynnette Griffith, officer Adam Davies was the first person to arrive on the scene of a house fire about 11:33 p.m. Monday. Davies found one woman outside the home with a dog.

Davies heard another woman inside say she could not get out.

Davies entered the house and found an 80-year-old woman in the bottom part of a bunk bed. The woman, who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, was transported to Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County and treated for smoke inhalation.

According to Paul Easter of the Rock Springs Fire Department, the fire is still under investigation but appears to have been caused by combustibles stored near the water heater in the basement. Easter said damage to the building was minor.Interstate 80 work may end on timeLARAMIE —Workers are expected to complete a highway bridge construction project by the Oct. 15 deadline.

Since 1999, workers have been improving the Interstate 80 bridges that carry traffic over U.S. 287.

Last year crews rebuilt the ramps at the interchange and the eastbound lane of the interstate. One bridge, the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge, is 75 percent completed.

“Right now we are getting near the end of the job altogether,” said Greg Milburn, project engineer.

The project includes areas east of the Laramie River Bridge to just west of the 15th Street overpass.Park Service endorses bill on Teton land swapThe National Park Service endorsed a bill that would allow the agency to acquire state land within Grand Teton National Park.

Under the bill, the state would trade 1,406 acres of school trust land for federal assets of equal value.

The trade would raise money for the state’s school trust fund and strengthen the Park Service’s ability to manage land within its borders, said the bill’s sponsor, U.S. Sen. Craig Thomas, R-Wyo.

Currently the state acreage is not making much money for Wyoming, he said.

The Park Service testified on the bill before the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks on Thursday. Also testifying in support was Ron Arnold, director of the Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments.

Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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