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Apr 5, 2013 - The Associated Press

Mountain pine beetle declines in state

CHEYENNE -- An aerial survey shows that the mountain pine beetle epidemic declined across Wyoming's forests last year except for the Black Hills area in the northeast part of the state.

The U.S. Forest Service and Wyoming State Forestry Division announced the results of the survey this week.

Statewide the number of new acres with mountain pine beetle declined from 719,000 in 2011 to 180,000 acres in 2012.

The total footprint of the outbreak in Wyoming is now 3.4 million acres since 1996. In 2011, the total acreage for the epidemic was 3.3 million acres.

In addition, spruce beetle activity has declined from 76,000 acres in 2011 to 32,000 acres in 2012 statewide. Since 1996, 558,000 acres have been affected by spruce beetle statewide.

Teton road opens to non-motor use

MOOSE -- Road crews in Grand Teton National Park have been clearing snow on the Teton Park Road from the Taggart Lake parking area to Signal Mountain Lodge and the road is set to open for non-motorized use on Friday.

The park delayed plowing operations by two weeks. That delay combined with relatively low snowpack allowed plow crews to clear the road in only three days.

Visitors should remain alert to park vehicles that may occasionally travel the road for administrative purposes. The road opens to vehicle traffic on May 1.

Oil-to-rail facility proposed

CASPER -- Genesis Oil is seeking permission to build a facility near Douglas so that oil can be shipped by train.

A company representative told Converse County commissioners Wednesday that the company has applied to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality for permission to build a potential crude-oil rail-loading facility near Douglas.

In the meantime, the company will build truck-to-pipe loading infrastructure there.

Genesis Oil does business in Wyoming as subsidiary Pronghorn Rail Services.

Two other developers are looking to build rail-loading facilities for oil in Guernsey and Casper, and Enserco Midstream LLC announced plans to build a similar facility in Douglas in March. Those three projects could be operational this year.

Quilts brighten lives of patients

SHERIDAN -- For the past few years, young patients at the Shriner's Orthopedic Hospital for Children in Salt Lake City have received handmade quilts from Sheridan resident Fronia Roberson. The quilts are transported or mailed to the hospital by local members of the Sheridan Kalif Shrine and are meant to provide some comfort and security to children facing medical procedures or dealing with illness.

"When a kid wraps up in them, it makes them feel like they are important, which they are," Roberson said.

"And when you get a picture of that child wrapped up in the quilt and a big smile on their face, it makes you feel good," she continued.

"I don't know anything about sewing but what she does is amazing," said Rick Badgett, who serves as recorder for the Sheridan Kalif Shriners. "She is gifted.

There is a lot of work and a lot of expense that goes into it and she just does it for the love of the children. And they are so appreciative to have something like that, that is personal to themselves. We just think she is wonderful. And I know the kids do too!"

Roberson, an Oklahoma native, moved to Sheridan three years ago, but has been making quilts for children with medical issues for many years.

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