News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Mar 15, 2013 - The Associated Press
Grizzlies waking up for spring
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK -- Grizzly bears are emerging from their dens at Yellowstone National Park.
Park officials say that as grizzlies come out of hibernation, people should stay in groups of three of more, make noise on the trail and carry bear spray.
Bears look for food as soon as they emerge from their dens. Park officials say bears are attracted to elk and bison that have died during the winter. The bears can react aggressively if they're surprised while feeding on the carcasses.
There haven't been any reports of bear sightings or tracks in Grand Teton National Park yet but, historically, half of the male population is usually out by now.
Visitors to both parks must stay at least 100 yards from black and grizzly bears.
Man accused of tampering at refinery
RAWLINS -- A Rawlins man is facing criminal charges for allegedly tampering with valves at the Sinclair oil refinery to give workers the day off.
27-year-old Bryant Paul Willingham is a former refinery employee who was working as a contractor there on Oct. 18, 2102.
Police say he admitted to turning two valves in the Hydrocracker unit that day, prompting it to fill up with hydrocarbons.
According to a police affidavit, Willingham said workers were joking about wanting to home but no one specifically told him to turn the valves.
Operations manager Ray Hanson said that if the unit had overheated and ruptured, deadly hydrogen sulfide could have been released.
Willingham is charged with aggravated assault and battery, terroristic threats and reckless endangerment.
Supreme Court upholds life sentence
CHEYENNE -- The Wyoming Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a sentence of life without parole for a Rock Springs man convicted of sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl.
District Judge Nena James sentenced Kenneth James Huckfeldt last year in Sweetwater County.
On appeal, Huckfeldt argued it had been improper for James to allow testimony from the victim in an earlier child sexual assault case in which Huckfeldt also had been convicted.
Lawyer Keith Goody represented Huckfeldt on appeal. Goody argued that James' decision allowing the victim in the earlier assault to testify amounted to directing the jury to find Huckfeldt guilty in the second case.
The Wyoming Attorney General's Office argued that testimony from Huckfeldt's earlier victim was proper to show his motive and intent in dealing with the second girl.
Utah residents accused in drug ring
WORLAND -- Two Utah residents are accused of being involved in a heroin and prescription drug ring in northern Wyoming.
Warrants have been issued for 31-year-old Edward Danny Toledo and 26-year-old Danielle Jesse Baxter of Spanish Fork, Utah.
Toledo is serving time in a Utah prison for drug-related offenses and will be brought to Washakie (WASH'-ah-kee) County after his release. Baxter is at large.
Investigators accuse Toledo of being a main source of heroin and Oxycodone in the county.
A third suspect in the investigation, 21-year-old Sierra Ivy Herrera of Worland, was arrested in September. She's accused of distributing drugs for the ring and is being held in jail.