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WyDOT: 22 killed in work-zone crashes CHEYENNE - Twenty-two people have been killed in work zone crashes in Wyoming over the past five years, a trend that is increasing nationwide, state transportation officials said.

In the last five years, 679 people have been injured in construction zone wrecks in the state, the Wyoming Department of Transportation said.

About 80 percent of fatalities are motorists. The rest are road workers.

"Work zones are a fact of life, and they are here to stay as roadways always need to be improved and made safer," WyDOT Chief Engineer Del McOmie said in a release. "But too many lives are lost each year in work zones simply because people are not slowing down enough or paying attention. Ultimately, it's in the hands of the traveling public to take responsibility."

In 2001, the most recent year that national statistics are available, 1,079 people were killed in work zone crashes. That compares with 1,026 deaths in 2000 and 872 fatalities in 1999.

McOmie urges motorists to stay alert, minimize distractions such as changing radio stations or using cell phones, obey the posted speed limit, turning on headlights, keep up with traffic flow but not tailgate, be patient and keep an eye on workers and their equipment.

LCCC newspaper honored in region CHEYENNE - Laramie County Community College's newspaper, Wingspan, has been honored as the best all-around student newspaper in a four-state region.

The Society of Professional Journalists judged it the best non-daily student newspaper published less than twice a week in Region IX, which includes Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.

In addition, Wingspan coeditor Kevin Wingert won first place in editorial writing for a series of three editorials.

Wingspan will now be entered in national competition with winners from all 11 regions. The national winners will be honored in Tampa Sept. 11-13.

Great Lakes adds new fare level RIVERTON - Great Lakes Airlines has added a new seven-day advance purchase level to its lowest discounted fares.

"We removed the 21-day advance purchase fare in favor of 14- and seven-day advance purchase fares," said Michelle Carroll, a Riverton station manager for the Cheyenne-based airline.

The new fare schedule could help boost travel at Riverton Regional Airport, where passenger boardings for 2003 lag behind last year by 289 people.

The airport last year barely met a minimum boarding level by the Federal Aviation Administration needed to keep an annual $1 million entitlement for airport upgrades.

Great Lakes operates three flights from Riverton to Denver between Sunday and Friday, and two flights to Denver on Saturday.

Cheyenne teachers in line for pay raise CHEYENNE - Cheyenne teachers would receive an average 3.5-percent salary hike effective July 1 under a tentative agreement.

Representatives from the Cheyenne Teachers Education Association and the Laramie County School District 1 board of trustees presented the proposal Thursday before a crowd that included teachers and board members.

Trustees will consider the proposal during Monday's board meeting. Teachers and other certificated staff will vote on the proposed agreement throughout next week.

The proposed agreement applies to all certificated staff, which include registered nurses, counselors, social workers, and speech and language specialists, among others.

Individual salary increases would vary from about 2.6 percent to about 5.5 percent, said Robin Inman, CTEA team member.

The higher percentage increases will go to those at the lower end of the salary schedule.

Most teachers would earn about $1,435 a year more under the proposal, according to Inman and John Lyttle, assistant superintendent in charge of human resources.

LCSD1 pays 100 percent of retirement costs, Inman said. Most districts do not, she added.

The school district expects to receive about $1.6 million in new money from the Legislature, Lyttle said. Proposed salary and benefits will cost close to $1.8 million, he said.

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The tentative agreement would provide an extra $1,000 for those who earn the rigorous national certification from organizations like the National Association of Social Workers and the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inman said.

Medical insurance premiums will increase by 5 percent next year. The district will continue to pay 92 percent of the premium, while employees will pay 8 percent.

To cover the 5 percent increase for family coverage, employees would pay an extra $3.12 a month and the district an extra $35.88 a month. The cost per month for family premiums would be $66.24 for the employee and $761.76 for the district, based on information handed out.

Baggs seeks cash for water system BAGGS - Town officials are hoping a 1-cent sales tax resolution passes so Baggs can upgrade its water system.

Carbon County voters go to the polls Tuesday to decide whether to hike the tax to raise $15 million to pay for a variety of projects countywide.

Baggs' share would be $885,000, which would help the city improve water flow, which ranges from 50 to 530 gallons per minute.

The Insurance Service Office recommends 750 gallons per minute for two hours to protect the town from a large or rapidly spreading fire, Mayor Bernie Caracena said.

The Town Council plans to replace water pipes to improve flows.

"This is going to be a long-term project for us," he said.

The $885,000 would be used to leverage several grants the town plans to seek from The Wyoming Water Development Commission and Abandoned Mine Lands program.

The city's water system improvement project will ultimately cost $3.7 million.

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