Wyoming News Briefs

Rawlins officials watching water supplyRAWLINS – City officials have been keeping an eye on the city’s water supply, Sage Creek, which has about 25 percent less water running through it than a year ago.

The flow rate, at about 800 gallons per minute, is so low the city has begun drawing an additional 440 gallons per minute from wells in the Miller Hills.

City Parks and Recreation Director Bruce Florquist said another worry is how the area’s snow pack is at just over half the normal amount, which means the city could face a water shortage if nothing changes before the snow starts melting in the spring.

Complicating the situation is the Overland Cattle Company’s water rights on Sage Creek that are senior to the city’s. The ranch last year asked to use some of the city’s water to irrigate hay meadows, and it was the first time such a request was made.BLM contracts for horse roundupRAWLINS – The Bureau of Land Management has contracted a private firm to round up wild horses in the area next month.

The $122,000 contract to round up 300 horses in the Stewart Creek area north of Rawlins went to Dave Cattoor Livestock Roundups, of Nephi, Utah, according to BLM wild horse specialist Chuck Reed.

Reed said the company, which has 20 years experience in Utah and Nevada, will provide all the necessary wranglers, horses and vehicles, as well as at least one helicopter.

Cattoor will also provide a government-certified veterinarian to supervise handling of the horses and to make sure they are in good health before the roundup.

Cattoor plans to keep the captured horses in pens in the area until 300 have been captured. When that happens, all will be taken by truck to BLM horse corrals in Rock Springs.

Another 350 horses are expected to be removed from the Green Mountain and Bairoil areas in July, and 1,190 will be rounded up from the Adobe Town area southwest of Baggs this fall, according to BLM officials.

In November, 200 horses will be rounded up from the Divide Basin horse management area.State employees pay bill dies CHEYENNE – The House Appropriations Committee rejected 4-3 a bill to make permanent a longevity pay raise for state employees.

Employees would have received up to $40 a month in longevity pay for every five years of service.

Last session, the Legislature temporarily boosted the longevity pay from $30 to $40 a month, but the $10 increase is scheduled to expire.

“I don’t see how we can possibly take money back that we’ve already given as raises,” said Rep. Wayne Reese, D-Cheyenne, after the vote Thursday.

Rep. Wayne Johnson, R-Cheyenne, said he would try to get the raises included as a footnote in the budget bill.

“It’s just wrong to take away a pay raise,” he said.Store clerk sentenced on larceny chargeTORRINGTON – A woman accused of embezzling $42,000 from a drug store has been sentenced to five days in jail and 10 years of supervised probation.

Marty Anne Wamboldt, 59, pleaded no contest recently to felony larceny charges in the theft of money from Vandel Drug, where she was a bookkeeper from 1999 to 2001.

District Judge Keith Kautz gave Wamboldt a suspended sentence of two to five years in the Wyoming Women’s Center in Lusk. She also was sentenced to 900 hours of community service and $500 for a crime victim’s fund.

Kautz receive several letters of support for Wamboldt from local citizens. Also, Wamboldt repaid $20,000 of the money before she was sentenced, the Torrington Telegram reported.

Wamboldt allegedly stole the money, then covered her tracks by creating false receipts for returned prescriptions.

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An investigation started after an employee discovered a prescription return receipt for $200 that was printed on a store register before business hours, authorities said.G&F gives approves grizzly planCHEYENNE – The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission unanimously approved a final statewide grizzly bear management plan Friday in Douglas.

Wyoming’s plan is the first to be finalized in an effort to guide the future of grizzly bears once they are removed from the Endangered Species list, said John Baughman, director of the Game and Fish Department.

Idaho and Montana are still in the process of drafting their plans. All three states’ plans must be in place before the grizzly bear can be delisted.

Wyoming’s plan allows grizzly bear habitat in all suitable and socially acceptable areas in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. The plan classifies the bears as trophy game, meaning they could be hunted if their population grows large enough to accommodate hunting.

Any decision to allow hunting would go through a public process first, Baughman said.

The plan also calls for educating residents on how to avoid confrontations with grizzly bears, he said. The plan would not allow grizzly bears in the Big Horn Range, Snowy Range and Sierra Madre Mountains.

“We’re not going to move them into those areas,” Baughman said. “Those areas are too small for them to stay out of trouble.”Tax-free status for veterans passesCHEYENNE – A bill that would give veterans of recent wars a tax break passed final reading in the Senate on Friday.

Under the proposal, veterans from wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo would not have to pay property taxes.

A bill that would expand the number of people eligible to harvest eye tissue from organ donors also passed final reading in the Senate.

Likewise, a bill that would allow predator control districts to increase the amount of fees they collect advanced to the House.

The bill would allow an increase in fees from 20 cents per head of cattle to 80 cents.