A WYOMING JUDGE HAS REQUESTED THAT A JUDGE IN THE STATE OF TEXAS ORDER A "MATERIAL AND NECESSARY" WITNESS TO APPEAR AND TESTIFY DURING THE TRIAL OF A PROMINENT CASPER BUSINESSMAN ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ASSAULT.

MARCUS SPURGIN IS DESCRIBED AS AN "ESSENTIAL" WITNESS TO TONY CERCY'S ALLEGED SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A 20-YEAR-OLD WOMAN IN JUNE, ACCORDING TO COURT DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED LAST WEEK BY NATRONA COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY MICHAEL BLONIGEN.

THE PROSECUTION, LED BY BLONIGEN, CLAIMS THAT THE ALLEGED VICTIM WENT TO SPURGIN'S RESIDENCE IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE ALLEGED SEXUAL ASSAULT AND MADE "IMMEDIATE OUTCRY STATEMENTS" TO PEOPLE PRESENT, INCLUDING SPURGIN.

SPURGIN WAS ALSO WITH THE VICTIM THE DAY PRIOR TO THE ALLEGED SEXUAL ASSAULT, BLONIGEN SAYS.

ON THURSDAY, NATRONA COUNTY DISTRICT JUDGE DANIEL FORGEY ISSUED A CERTIFICATE PURSUANT TO WYOMING STATUTE AND THE TEXAS CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CALLING FOR A TEXAS JUDGE TO DIRECT SPURGIN TO TESTIFY AT THE TRIAL, WHICH IS SET TO RUN FOR SIX DAYS BEGINNING FEB. 12.

CERCY IS CHARGED WITH FIRST-DEGREE SEXUAL ASSAULT, SECOND-DEGREE SEXUAL ASSAULT AND THIRD-DEGREE SEXUAL ASSAULT. THE PROSECUTION ALLEGES THAT HE PERFORMED ORAL SEX ON THE VICTIM WHILE SHE WAS UNCONSCIOUS ON A COUCH INSIDE CERCY'S CABIN AT ALCOVA LAKE.

A PRETRIAL CONFERENCE IS SET FOR FEB. 7 AT 1:30 P.M., AND IS SCHEDULED TO RUN FOR THE REST OF THE DAY.

==========================
CHEYENNE, WYO. (AP) - WYOMING LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS WOULD LIKE TO SEE STRICTER PENALTIES FOR PEOPLE WHO FLEE FROM POLICE.
===========================

THE BODY OF A UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING GRADUATE WHO HAD BEEN MISSING SINCE DEC. 15 WAS FOUND NEAR THE SOUTH PLATTE RIVER IN DENVER ON SATURDAY, JAN. 13.
THE BODY OF ADAM GILBERTSON, 29, WAS FOUND AROUND 4 P.M. BY A GROUP OF VOLUNTEERS SEARCHING FOR HIM, SAID SGT. JOHN WHITE OF THE DENVER POLICE DEPARTMENT.
A DENVER CORONER CONFIRMED THE BODY WAS GILBERTSON'S ON SUNDAY.
WHITE SAID AN INVESTIGATION IS UNDERWAY. HE SAID A CAUSE OF DEATH HAS NOT YET BEEN DETERMINED BY THE CORONER.
GILBERTSON HAD RECENTLY GRADUATED FROM THE UW ACCELERATED NURSING PROGRAM AND WAS LIVING IN DENVER.

=============================
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Consultants reviewing Wyoming's K-12 public education funding say the state needs to spend over $50 million more a year over current levels.

Wyoming spends over $1 billion a year on its schools.

In the face of declining state revenues, lawmakers last year decided to hire consultants to look at how the state was spending its money on education. Some lawmakers believe the state is spending too much and can cut education spending.

The Legislature convenes its budget session on Feb. 12 in Cheyenne.

The interim Select Committee on School Finance Recalibration will meet later this month to consider the consultants' report.

Republican Sen. Hank Coe of Cody is co-chairman of the select committee. He says Wyoming provides significantly higher funding for schools than other states in the region.
====================

IT HAS BEEN A LONG DRY SPELL, BUT OIL PRICES ARE CLIMBING AND THE INDUSTRY IS HOLDING ITS BREATH THAT THIS IS FOR REAL.

BUT MUCH OF IT WAS DRIVEN BY COLD WEATHER A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, SO SOME WORRY IF IT'S TEMPORARY.

BUT PATRICK DEHAAN OF GAS BUDDY DOT COM SAYS, THERE ARE OTHER ISSUES DRIVING THE PRICE.

AND THAT IS BEING REFLECTED IN DRILLING ACTIVITY.

tHE PRICE OF OIL BRIEFLY TOUCHED $70 A BARRELL TUESDAY BEFORE SLIDING BACK TO THE MID-60'S.