OLD FAITHFUL TRESPASSING-SENTENCE
2 men banned from park for years for walking on Old Faithful
MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. (AP) — Two men who pleaded guilty to trespassing on the cone of Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park last fall were sentenced to 10 days in jail and have been banned from the park for five years. Park employees and other witnesses saw two people on the geyser on Sept. 10 taking photos with their cellphones. At least one witness shared photos with park rangers, who cited the two defendants. Park officials said the ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin and there is scalding water just below the surface.
GRAND TETON-MOUNTAIN GOATS
Foul weather postpones helicopter goat shoot in Grand Teton
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Foul weather has postponed plans to kill nonnative mountain goats in Grand Teton National Park. Park officials closed a large area of the Teton Range to the public this week so that hunters could shoot goats by helicopter without endangering people on the ground. Park officials now say snow and poor visibility are postponing those plans. Grand Teton spokeswoman Denise Germann says another attempt could take place in late January or early February. Mountain goats aren't native to the park and biologists worry the 100 or more goats could spread disease to native bighorn sheep.
TETON PASS AVALANCHE
Avalanche traps delivery truck, closes Wyoming pass
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — An avalanche trapped a delivery truck and closed a pass in western Wyoming. The driver was alone in the truck and unhurt. The slide happened around midday Thursday on Teton Pass near the Idaho line. The Wyoming Department of Transportation says the avalanche onto Wyoming Highway 22 was 150 feet (50 meters) wide and 2-3 feet (1 meter) deep. Over a foot (30 centimeters) of snow has fallen over parts of the Teton Range. The National Weather Service has posted a winter weather advisory for the area.
Wyoming lawmakers to try again with Interstate 80 toll bill
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming lawmakers will try again to enact tolls on Interstate 80. The Legislature's Joint Highways, Transportation and Military Affairs has endorsed an I-80 toll bill for the annual legislative session, which begins Feb. 10. This year's session is dedicated primarily to the budget. The I-80 toll bill and other legislation not directly related to the state budget will require a two-thirds vote to be introduced. Lawmakers have been discussing I-80 tolls as a way to raise money for roadwork for at least a decade. The tolls would require federal approval and likely take a decade or more to implement.
COAL CLOSURES-TRI STATE
Tri-State to close coal facilities in Colorado, New Mexico
DENVER (AP) — Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association plans to close two of its coal-fired power plants and a coal mine in Colorado and New Mexico. The utility plans to close the Escalante Station in New Mexico by the end of this year. It also plans to close two units at the Craig Station plant in Craig, Colorado, and its operation at the Colowyo Mine in northwest Colorado by 2030. The closures will affect about 600 employees. That includes more than 100 workers in a rural area of New Mexico, where state and local officials began scrambling Thursday to identify options for replacing the lost jobs.
FELON ESCAPES RE-ENTRY CENTER
Federal felon escapes from Wyoming re-entry center
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Federal authorities have confirmed a prisoner escaped from a Wyoming re-entry center in December after leaving to report to Healthcare for the Homeless and then perform a job search. KTWO-AM reported Tuesday that 45-year-old Jeremiah Anthony Mahoney left the Casper Re-Entry Center Dec. 26 and did not return by his designated time. A U.S. Marshal filed a criminal complaint Monday in U.S. District Court. Authorities say the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Marshals Service were notified of Mahoney's escape before a federal magistrate issued an arrest warrant. Officials say the complaint did not explain why authorities waited 12 days before announcing the escape.