A MONTANA FEDERAL JUDGE ORDERED PROTECTIONS RESTORED FOR GRIZZLY BEARS IN THE NORTHERN ROCKY MOUNTAINS ON MONDAY, WHICH BLOCKED THE FIRST GRIZZLY HUNTS PLANNED IN THE LOWER 48 STATES IN ALMOST THREE DECADES.
WYOMING AND IDAHO HAD BEEN ON THE CUSP OF ALLOWING HUNTERS TO KILL UP TO 23 BEARS THIS FALL, BUT U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE DANA CHRISTENSEN HAD TWICE DELAYED THE HUNTS.

MONDAY, CHRISTENSEN RULED THE CASE WAS NOT ABOUT THE ETHICS OF HUNTING, BUT WHETHER FEDERAL OFFICIALS ADEQUATELY CONSIDERED THREATS TO THE SPECIES' LONG-TERM RECOVERY WHEN THEY LIFTED PROTECTIONS FOR MORE THAN 700 BEARS LIVING AROUND YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK.

HE NOTED THAT AN ESTIMATED 50,000 BEARS ONCE ROAMED THE LOWER 48 STATES, AND SAID IT WOULD BE "SIMPLISTIC AT BEST AND DISINGENUOUS AT WORST" NOT TO CONSIDER THE STATUS OF GRIZZLIES OUTSIDE YELLOWSTONE, ONE OF THE FEW AREAS WHERE THEY HAVE RECOVERED.

STATE AND FEDERAL OFFICIALS REACTED WITH DISAPPOINTMENT.

WYOMING GOVERNOR MATT MEAD SAID THE RULING PROVIDED EVIDENCE OF FLAWS IN THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT AND THE NEED FOR CONGRESS TO MAKE CHANGES, ADDING GRIZZLY BEAR RECOVERY SHOULD BE VIEWED AS A CONSERVATION SUCCESS STORY.

HOWEVER, THE RULING MARKED A VICTORY FOR WILDLIFE ADVOCATES AND NATIVE AMERICAN TRIBES THAT SUED WHEN THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT LAST YEAR REVOKED FEDERAL PROTECTIONS.

THEY ARGUED THE ANIMALS FACE CONTINUED THREATS FROM CLIMATE CHANGE AND LOSS OF HABITAT.
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A 60-YEAR-OLD GEORGIA MAN IS DEAD AFTER TIPPING HIS SEMI ON INTERSTATE 80 WEST OF CHEYENNE.

THE WYOMING HIGHWAY PATROL SAYS THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED AROUND 5:23 A.M. SUNDAY.

THE PATROL SAYS CHARLES MOSTELLER WAS HEADED WEST ON I-80 WHEN HE FAILED TO NEGOTIATE A RIGHT-HAND CURVE NEAR MILEPOST 337, WENT INTO THE MEDIAN AND TIPPED HIS RIG ONTO THE DRIVER'S SIDE.

MOSTELLER WAS WEARING HIS SEAT BELT, BUT DIED FROM HIS INJURIES.​

THE PATROL SAYS IT'S POSSIBLE MOSTELLER FELL ASLEEP OR HAD A MEDICAL CONDITION WHICH LED TO THE CRASH.
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AUTHORITIES SAY A WILDFIRE IN WESTERN WYOMING NEAR GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK HAS DESTROYED MORE BUILDINGS AND FORCED THE EVACUATION OF OVER 300 HOMES.

OFFICIALS WERE SURVEYING THE DAMAGE MONDAY AFTER THE FIRE FLARED UP IN WINDY, DRY WEATHER AND SWEPT THROUGH A RURAL SUBDIVISION OF ABOUT 125 HOMES ON SUNDAY.

EMERGENCY OFFICIALS WENT DOOR TO DOOR TELLING PEOPLE TO LEAVE THE SMALL COMMUNITY OF BONDURANT AND NEARBY AREAS SOUTH OF GRAND TETON AND YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK.

A 64-MILE STRETCH OF U.S. HIGHWAY 191 THAT IS ONE OF THE GATEWAY ROUTES TO THE PARKS WAS REOPENED AFTER THE 76-SQUARE-MILE FIRE FORCED ITS TEMPORARY CLOSURE.

SUBLETTE COUNTY SHERIFF'S SGT. TRAVIS BINGHAM SAID AUTHORITIES ARE TRYING TO DETERMINE HOW MANY HOMES BURNED BEYOND THE THREE THAT OFFICIALS IDENTIFIED PREVIOUSLY.
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RIVERTON, WYO. (AP) - TWO LARGE WIND ENERGY PROJECTS THAT WOULD GENERATE A COMBINED 780 MEGAWATTS OF ELECTRICITY ARE BEING PROPOSED IN SOUTHCENTRAL WYOMING...

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THE TRIAL OF A CHEYENNE JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER ACCUSED OF SEXUALLY ABUSING A TEENAGE GIRL STARTED MONDAY IN LARAMIE COUNTY DISTRICT COURT.
JOE MEZA (MAY-ZUH) IS FACING EIGHT COUNTS OF FIRST-DEGREE SEXUAL ABUSE OF A MINOR. IF CONVICTED, HE FACES A MAXIMUM SENTENCE OF 400 YEARS IN PRISON.

THE JOHNSON JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL MATH TEACHER IS ACCUSED OF SEXUALLY ABUSING THE GIRL BETWEEN MAY 2014 AND APRIL 2017, WHEN HE WAS BETWEEN 31 AND 34 YEARS OLD AND SHE WAS BETWEEN 14 AND 17 YEARS OLD.

COURT DOCUMENTS SAY MEZA WAS THE GIRL'S RUNNING CLUB ADVISOR WHEN THE ALLEGED ABUSE STARTED AND BECAME THE GIRL'S LEGAL GUARDIAN WHEN SHE WAS BETWEEN 15 AND 16 YEARS OLD.

MEZA, WHO WAS PLACED ON ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE 2017-2018 SCHOOL YEAR, IS STILL ON LEAVE PENDING THE OUTCOME OF THE CASE.