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MYSTERY DRONE SIGHTINGS

Report: No large drone groups confirmed at night in Colorado

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — An official investigation into reports of large drones flying in groups over the western U.S. plains in the hours after sunset has confirmed nothing illegal or out of the ordinary. The Colorado Department of Public Safety said Tuesday it will scale back flights of a heat-detecting plane to try to corroborate reports as they're made but will continue to look into new reports. Law enforcement agencies in eastern Colorado and much of Nebraska have been taking calls about unusual drone sightings for over a month. Drones as big as cars have been said to fly back and forth after sundown.

GILLETTE MURDER-SUICIDE

Woman, man died in apparent murder-suicide in Gillette

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — A 36-year-old woman and a 46-year-old man are dead in an apparent murder-suicide in northeastern Wyoming. Gillette Police Lt. Brent Wasson said a relative found their bodies late Friday morning. Wasson says an investigation indicated Richard Massman shot Felicity Sjostrom with a handgun before shooting himself.

COMPANY-HIGHWAY TROOPER SETTLEMENT

Former Wyoming patrol officer settles lawsuit over crash

CODY, Wyo. (AP) — A Montana food distributor reached a settlement with a former Wyoming Highway Patrol officer stemming from a 2015 collision that forced the trooper into medical retirement from field duty. The Cody Enterprise reported Monday that Sysco Montana notified a district judge on Dec. 23 that the case was settled with Rodney Miears. Terms of the settlement are confidential. Officials say Miears sued Sysco Montana for negligence after he was left with lifelong injuries from the crash. Sysco denies it caused the accident and blames the truck driver. Miears declined to comment. He still works for the department as a tow and recovery coordinator.

SCIENTOLOGY LAWSUIT

Wyoming firm settles religious discrimination suit

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming company has settled a federal lawsuit by a former employee who claimed she was pressured to take Scientology courses as a condition of her employment. Julie Rohrbacher filed the suit against Teton Therapy, which operates physical and occupational therapy offices in four Wyoming locations. Rohrbacher claimed that owner Jeff McMenamy declined to promote her and then forced her to resign after she refused to enroll in Church of Scientology courses. The Casper Star-Tribune reports that the suit was settled on Jan. 2, and that Chief U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl dismissed the case. Settlement terms weren’t disclosed. Teton Therapy owner Jeff McMenamy says he used work training for business purposes and doesn’t practice the religion.

ANIMALS REMOVED FROM HOME

Prosecutors to pursue charges against owner of 61 animals

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Prosecutors plan to pursue charges against a woman who had 61 animals removed from her home last week. Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen told the Casper Star-Tribune Monday that prosecutors are looking into the appropriate charges. He declined to provide details but said the charges would be related to animal cruelty. The 45 dogs, 15 rabbits and one pregnant cat were removed from the home on Thursday. Casper police originally said 62 animals were removed but later said they had miscounted. The animals are being cared for at a shelter but aren't up for adoption now.

WYOMING WOLVES-LIVESTOCK

Wyoming lawmaker sponsoring wolf-kill compensation bill

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming lawmaker is sponsoring legislation to create a new state compensation program for ranchers who lose livestock to wolves. The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. John Winter, of Thermopolis, would create a fund with $90,000 to reimburse ranchers over a two-year period. Currently only livestock killed within wolf-hunting zones in western Wyoming qualify for compensation. Under Winter's bill, ranchers who lose livestock to wolves outside wolf-hunting areas also would qualify. Other reimbursement programs have been discontinued since the U.S. government removed Wyoming's wolves from federal protection in 2018. The bill would need a two-thirds vote to be introduced during this winter's legislative session dedicated primarily to the budget.

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The Associated Press

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