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Saturday, May 24, 2003

Crank signs on in bouncer case CHEYENNE — Attorney General Pat Crank will step in for District Attorney Jon Forwood when the case of a bouncer charged with aggravated assault goes before the Supreme Court.

The attorney general's office represents the state at the Supreme Court level.

The case against Bobby Newman was dismissed with prejudice on the third day of his jury trial, soon after assistant district attorney Mary Beth Wolff asked him why he was wearing his Air Force uniform.

Days later, Forwood's office filed a petition for writ of review that asked the Supreme Court to weigh in.

The high court granted the petition in April but asked Forwood to give a good reason for allowing it to proceed.

That burden has been answered by Crank. In his entry of appearance, he called the case a "matter of great public importance."

If the Supreme Court agrees, the trial will pick up where it left off.

Prosecutors say Newman had helped two other bouncers beat and kick a club patron on Cheyenne Day last July. The other two bouncers pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.

Firefighter, 16, killed in alleged DUI accident NEWCASTLE — A 16-year-old volunteer firefighter was killed when the tanker truck she was riding in rolled over.

The driver, Ron J. Caillier, of Newcastle, was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence, according to the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

At about 10:15 p.m. Thursday, the 1981 Freightliner truck was responding to a fire call when Caillier allegedly lost control and the truck rolled over 1 3/4 times on a Weston County road south of Newcastle.

Anndee Huber was ejected from the truck and died at the scene.

Caillier was treated for scrapes and bruises and was being held without bond in the Weston County jail. Additional charges were pending.

Neither Caillier nor Huber was wearing a seat belt, according to the patrol.

Gillette looks for more efficient irrigation GILLETTE — Four major water users are collaborating to reduce the amount of water they use in the summer.

Irrigation at city and county parks, Bell Nob Golf Course and school district lawns makes up almost half of all irrigation water used during the summer — 233 million gallons during 2002.

When the cemetery and hospital are included, the number jumps to 301 million gallons, or 61 percent of the total.

All told, those public properties irrigate an area that equals 4,000 homeowners, said George Haines, Gillette public works director.

Transformation to high-tech systems that more accurately irrigate could delay the need for an estimated $20 million second well field south of town.

By "working a lot smarter than we have historically on irrigation practices," city officials hope to put off the well's development for several more years, City Administrator Bret Jones said.

"We can't prevent that day from coming. We're trying to slow down its approach," he said. "Right now, we're able to meet our peak demands, but it has ended up stressing the system a few times."

Nuclear expert to command 20th FRANCIS E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE — Brig. Gen. Frank Klotz has been selected by the Air Force as next commander of 20th Air Force, which oversees the nation's ground-based nuclear missile defense arsenal.

Klotz, who is director of nuclear policy and arms control for the National Security Council at the White House, replaces Maj. Gen. Timothy McMahon in a change-of-command ceremony next Friday.

The Air Force announced Jan. 16 that McMahon would retire.

Klotz, who will be the seventh commander since the reactivation of the 20th, will report both to Air Force Space Command and U.S. Strategic Command.

He will be responsible for the day-to-day maintenance and operation of the ICBM force, comprising three space wings with more than 11,000 assigned members. Those wings include the 90th Space Wing at F.E. Warren, the 91st Space Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., and the 341st Space Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

Klotz also will keep on-alert ICBMs ready for Strategic Command.

In his current position, he advises the president and his national security adviser on matters related to U.S. nuclear weapons policy, including its implications for relations with NATO and Russia.

Klotz entered the Air Force in 1973 as a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Academy. He has commanded a Minuteman missile squadron, a missile launch task force, an operations group and a missile wing.

Campbell sheriff target of probe over party GILLETTE — The state Division of Criminal Investigation is looking into an allegation that Campbell County Sheriff Bill Pownall helped stage an alcohol party for graduating high school seniors.

Pownall, who confirmed the investigation, said the allegation is just a rumor without substantiation.

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"The way I read it, I'm the one that supposedly organized it and got the party together," he said Thursday. "I guarantee you there is no truth to the thing."

He added, "I'm going to let DCI do the investigation and clear my name."

The allegations began circulating after Campbell County High School seniors had their last day of class Wednesday.

Pownall said he and his wife hosted a graduation party for his son, Skyler, at his ranch after graduation on Sunday. "But no kids were allowed to drink," he said.

Freudenthal signs order to speed power facility siting CHEYENNE — Gov. Dave Freudenthal issued an executive order encouraging Wyoming state agencies to work closely with other states and federal governmental entities in developing electric transmission lines.

When an interstate transmission facility originating in or going through Wyoming is proposed, Freudenthal wants the state Public Service Commission and other agencies with a role in the process to help facilitate it.

The signing of the order Wednesday stems from discussions among members of the Western Governors Association.

Cooperation by Western states in the siting and permitting of electric transmission lines will result in a more efficient, cohesive process, which will ultimately benefit the state, Freudenthal said.

The governor is directing state agencies to create an efficient environmental review process that results in documents that can be shared by all entities involved in siting and permitting. The agencies should eliminate duplication of pre-application, information gathering and permit review meetings among participating state, local, tribal and federal authorities, he said.

Freudenthal has also instructed agencies to establish joint timelines, provide for early notification and information-sharing among the region's various agencies, and preserve and protect the authority of each affected agency.

Domestic oil and gas rig count up by 10 HOUSTON — The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the United States was up 10 this week to 1,050.

Of the rigs running nationwide, 882 were exploring for gas, 164 were looking for oil and four were listed as miscellaneous, Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday.

A year ago, the rig count was 859.

Baker Hughes has kept track of the count since 1944. The tally peaked at 4,530 on Dec. 28, 1981, during the height of the oil boom, but set several record lows in 1999, bottoming out at 488 on April 23, 1999.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, New Mexico gained five rigs, Wyoming four, Louisiana three and Alaska one. California lost four rigs, Oklahoma one. Texas' total was unchanged.

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