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Submitted by Newsroom on April 3, 2012 – 7:18 amNo Comment

AP-WY–Right Now/1123
Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

Wyoming jobless rate falls to 5.4 percent in Feb.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell slightly to 5.4 percent in February.

The rate was 5.5 percent in January.

The state’s jobless rate has been falling steadily for the past six months. It was 6.2 percent in February 2011.

Among individual counties, Sublette County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate in February at 3.3 percent, followed by Campbell County at 4.5 percent and Albany at 4.6 percent.

Lincoln County had the state’s highest jobless rate at 8.8 percent, followed by Johnson County at 7.7 percent and Fremont County at 7.4 percent.

GRADUATION RATE

Wyoming high school graduate rate at 79.7 percent

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Department of Education reports that the high school class of 2011 had a graduation rate of 79.7 percent.

That is down slightly from 2010′s 80.4 percent.

Vince Meyer of the Education Department says the difference in rates is statistically insignificant.

Among the state’s nearly 5,500 graduates in 2011, females had a higher graduation rate than males. About 83 percent of females graduated compared to 77 percent of males.

Small school districts had both the best and worst graduation rates. Big Horn School District 2 in northern Wyoming recorded the highest graduation rate in the state at 93 percent, while Fremont School District 21 had the lowest at 14 percent.

Among the largest districts, Laramie County District 1 reported a 72 percent graduation rate and Natrona County 71 percent.

PRAIRIE DOGS

Prairie dog plan raises concern in Campbell County

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Some people in Campbell County are expressing concern about a plan to transplant prairie dogs in northeast Wyoming.

U.S. Forest Service officials propose to move prairie dogs away from homes in Weston and Converse counties. They say prairie dogs carry plague and they want to move the rodents to reduce the possibility of transmitting the disease.

They propose moving the prairie dogs to a different area of the Thunder Basin National Grassland near the border of Campbell County.

Ranchers and county commissioners say prairie dogs take up too much land as it is and damage the range.

With approval from the Wyoming Fish & Game Department, the plan eventually could enable the reintroduction of endangered black-footed ferrets. Ferrets eat prairie dogs.

CHURCH-GAS DISCOUNT

Thanks to Wyo. church, drivers pay $2.46 a gallon

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — It looked like a miracle. Fill up your tank for $2.46 a gallon?

A church offered drivers a dollar discount on at a gas station in Cheyenne on Saturday.

Element Church covered the $1 discount for hundreds of people who showed up to take advantage of the offer. RVs and tractor-trailers were excluded from the offer.

Drivers in many parts of the country would already be grateful to pay full price in Wyoming, home of the nation’s cheapest gas with an average price of $3.51 a gallon.

POLE PEDAL PADDLE

Pole Pedal Paddle title remains in Jackson

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Jackson’s annual Pole Pedal Paddle race drew competitors from as far away as Indiana and California but a local emerged as the winner.

Spencer Morton finished the multisport course in 2 hours, 22 minutes and 49 seconds to win his second-straight title. The Jackson Hole Daily reported that Adam Wirth of Boise, Idaho finished two minutes behind him and Dave Bergart of Victor won third place.

The competition has been held on the second to last Saturday of skiing at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort for 37 years. It includes four events — alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, cycling and boating. Contestants can compete individually or in teams.

An Army pilot who just returned from Afghanistan competed in a bear head and hide. His team took the best costume award.

WYOMING FOOTBALL BOOK

Labor of love yields book Wyoming prep football

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Former Wyoming sports reporter Patrick Schmiedt recently released a book chronicling the history of every high school football program in the state.

The book is titled “A Century of Fridays.”

Schmiedt says the project had its beginnings when he attended Midwest High School and found out no one ever compiled Midwest’s football season records.

In all, Schmiedt estimates he spent more than 1,000 hours looking through records and compiling all the information he could.

Schmiedt now teaches journalism at North Dakota State University.

He also believes there will be future editions of the book, possibly a new one every five to 10 years.

 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press

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