36-YEAR-OLD DANIEL HARLEY BURGESS PLEADED GUILTY TO ONE COUNT OF AGGRAVATED ASSAULT AND BATTERY AS WELL AS ONE COUNT OF A THIRD-TIME DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VIOLATION.

IN EXCHANGE FOR THE GUILTY PLEAS, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY MICHAEL SCHAFER AGREED TO DISMISS ANOTHER AGGRAVATED ASSAULT AND BATTERY CHARGE AS WELL AS ONE COUNT OF PROPERTY DESTRUCTION. UNDER THE PLEA DEAL, BURGESS WILL FACE A FOUR- TO FIVE-YEAR PRISON SENTENCE AND WILL HAVE TO PAY RESTITUTION TO THE VICTIM.

CHARGING PAPERS SAY THE CRIMES WERE ALLEGEDLY COMMITTED ON DEC. 15 AT A HOME IN THE 700 BLOCK OF NORTH DAVID STREET. THE VICTIM TOLD POLICE THAT OUT OF NOWHERE, BURGESS HIT HER IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD WITH A WINE BOTTLE, KNOCKING HER OUT. HE LATER BROKE A REAR-VIEW MIRROR OFF OF THE VICTIM'S VEHICLE AND USED IT TO HIT HER IN THE FACE.

COURT DOCUMENTS LIST FOUR OTHER CRIMINAL CASES WHICH INCLUDED PROTECTION ORDER VIOLATIONS BY BURGESS, ALL FROM 2017. BURGESS ALSO HAS A "LENGTHY CRIMINAL HISTORY" DATING BACK TO 2000, INCLUDING MULTIPLE FAILURES TO APPEAR IN COURT AS WELL AS CONVICTIONS FOR INTERFERENCE WITH A POLICE OFFICER, DUI, DRUG POSSESSION AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

BURGESS REMAINS IN CUSTODY PENDING SENTENCING.
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THE CASPER STAR-TRIBUNE, THROUGH ITS CORPORATE OWNER LEE ENTERPRISES, LAID OFF FEATURES EDITOR AND AWARD-WINNING JOURNALIST ELISE SCHMELZER ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT.
THE CASPER NEWS GUILD SAID THURSDAY THAT SCHMELZER RECEIVED A MESSAGE FROM PUBLISHER DALE BOHREN TO CALL HER.

SHE RETURNED THE CALL, WHICH WAS ANSWERED BY AN OUT-OF-STATE HUMAN RESOURCES REPRESENTATIVE OF THE STAR-TRIBUNE'S CORPORATE OWNER LEE ENTERPRISES WHO TOLD HER SHE WAS NO LONGER EMPLOYED.

THE NEWS GUILD SAID BOHREN TOLD ITS MEMBERS THAT THE DECISION TO FIRE SCHMELZER WAS FINANCIAL, BUT THAT WASN'T CREDIBLE BECAUSE THE CORPORATION RECENLY SAID THERE WOULD BE NO LAYOFFS AND IT WAS INVESTING IN THE PAPER.

BOHREN DID NOT RETURN A CALL SEEKING COMMENT.
THE NEWSROOM RECENTLY VOTED TO ORGANIZE A UNION BUT
SCHMELZER WAS NOT PART OF THE ORGANIZING EFFORT BECAUSE SHE IS MANAGEMENT.

THE NEWS GUILD BELIEVES HER DISMISSAL COULD BE IN RETALIATION FOR FORMING THE UNION AND A WAY TO INTIMIDATE NEWSROOM STAFF OF THE MISSOULA, MONTANA, INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER FROM VOTING FOR A UNION TODAY.

THE NEWS GUILD SAID THE JOURNALISTS VOTED TO FORM THE UNION TO PROVIDE A STABLE WORK ENVIRONMENT FOR THEM AND BETTER SERVE WYOMING READERS, BUT SCHMELZER'S FIRING SHOWS THAT LEE ENTERPRISES CARES MORE ABOUT GENERATING HIGH RETURNS FOR THEIR WALL STREET SHAREHOLDERS THAN ABOUT COVERING THE COMMUNITIES THEY CLAIM TO SERVE.
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THE UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING ENROLLED MORE THAN 1,000 NEW TRANSFER STUDENTS - MANY COMING FROM ONE OF THE STATE'S SEVEN COMMUNITY COLLEGES - FOR THE FALL 2017 SEMESTER.

THAT'S A 12.3 PERCENT INCREASE FROM THE FALL OF 2016 AND COMES AT A TIME WHEN THE UNIVERSITY IS WORKING TO BOOST ITS ENROLLMENT.

UW OFFICIALS SAY IT WON'T BE LONG BEFORE TRANSFERS MAKE UP HALF OR MORE OF THE INCOMING STUDENTS.

THE UNIVERSITY HAS ESTABLISHED A TRANSFER SUCCESS CENTER TO GUIDE TRANSFER STUDENTS AND MAKE THEIR TRANSITION FROM COMMUNITY COLLEGE TO THE UNIVERSITY SMOOTHER.

IN ADDITION, A NEW STATE LAW SETS DEADLINES FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF A COMMON TRANSCRIPT AND COURSE NUMBERING SYSTEM AMONG THE STATE'S PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION.
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A FEDERAL JUDGE IN WYOMING HAS RULED THAT ENERGY COMPANIES DON'T HAVE TO COMPLY WITH A SIGNATURE ENVIRONMENTAL RULE FROM THE OBAMA ERA INVOLVING METHANE WASTE.

JUDGE SCOTT SKAVDAHL RULED WEDNESDAY THAT BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS CURBING THE BURNING OF EXCESS GAS FROM WELLS, AS WELL AS MORE LABOR-INTENSIVE CHECKS FOR ACCIDENTAL LEAKS, MAKE "LITTLE SENSE" BECAUSE THOSE REQUIREMENTS WILL SOON DISAPPEAR.

HE DIDN'T WEIGH IN ON THE RULE'S MERITS, SO ADDRESSING METHANE LEAKS AND FLARES WILL STILL BE DECIDED IN COURT. BUT SKAVDAHL SAID THAT UNTIL THEN, THE RULES SHOULD BE ON HOLD.

HE SAYS HIS DECISION "WILL PROVIDE CERTAINTY AND STABILITY" WHILE THE BLM COMPLETES ITS RULEMAKING PROCESS.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND, WHICH FAVORS METHANE RULES, VOWED TO APPEAL.