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Wyoming News Briefs: Beet harvests, sharing grizzlies and vape detectors in school

Beet harvest halted with beets still in the ground

POWELL (WNE) — Western Sugar Cooperative has officially declared that any unharvested sugar beets will not be accepted. Last week’s announcement effectively ends the 2019 harvest — and means that all the sugar beets remaining in the ground will not be processed into sugar.

Western Sugar Board ViceChairman Ric Rodriguez said that within the Lovell Factory District — which includes producers in the northern Big Horn Basin — 31 percent of this year’s planted acreage will not be harvested.

Area growers were hit by freezing temperatures in October that damaged local crops.

The cooperative made its first payment on the 2019 crop to growers and has notified growers that they can contact their insurance companies for claims on unharvested acres.

Western Sugar processes sugar beets from 850 growers in Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska and Colorado. Those in other areas fared better: Rodriguez said Montana producers harvested 87 percent of their crops while Nebraska and Colorado producers harvested all but a few acres.

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service estimated on Nov. 3 that Wyoming’s sugar beet harvest was 70 percent complete, with producers harvesting 30,600 acres before the end of the year. That would represent a 100-acre drop from 2018.

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Game and Fish Commission agrees to share grizzlies

CODY (WNE) — Although the action was neither confrontational, nor controversial, it was somewhat unusual. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission last week endorsed giving away grizzly bears if asked.

Just in case another state, the federal government, an international government, or a Native American tribe requests a grizzly or so, the commission approved a process that could make it happen.

That is, as long as it does not impact local grizzly populations.

Scott Edberg, deputy chief of the wildlife division, made the request for philosophical support for the action called “translocation.”

This would basically be an amendment to existing statutes that allow for Wyoming to assist other entities if they wish to help reestablish wildlife in their historic ranges.

This specifically allows for the transfer of grizzlies.

The oddity here, in the timing at the meeting in Powell last week, is Wyoming does not currently have authority to manage grizzlies in the Yellowstone Ecosystem.

And it does not have the power to donate grizzlies on its own at the moment.

As one point of clarification to a commissioner’s question, Edberg said, “a live one.”

While the new regulation language the commission approved does indicate a willingness to assist other governments, (perhaps for zoos, too) the last words in the paragraph read, “Any translocation of a grizzly bear outside of Wyoming while under Endangered Species Act protections must be approved and facilitated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.”

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Big Piney school installs vape detectors

BIG PINEY (WNE) — The school district installed new vape detectors at Big Piney High School earlier this month, District Superintendent Kevin Garvey reported to the board of trustees at its Nov. 19 meeting.

The detectors are located inside all the bathrooms and some of the locker rooms at BPHS.

Over the last two weeks, the machines detected vaping in the bathrooms four times.

“I’m pleased to get so few positive hits (on the detectors),” Garvey said, but added that as vaping devices become smaller, students are possibly vaping outside the restrooms and locker rooms.

“The students are aware that the detectors are here,” Garvey added. “They really are designed to give the students a reason to say no.”

If the detectors go off, administrators and student resource officers receive an immediate notification on their phones, Garvey explained.

Any student caught vaping on school premises will “go through the proper disciplinary process,” Garvey said. Getting caught can also affect a student’s eligibility to play sports.

Rep. Albert Sommers, R-Pinedale, attended the board meeting and spoke about the vaping and education funding.

Four bills meant to address the vaping problem in schools passed through the Joint Committee on Revenue after extensive hearings this fall in Pinedale, Sommers said.

The students from Sublette and Lincoln counties that attended the meetings and testified deserve part of the credit for each bill’s passage through committee.

“All the kids that showed up and testified are rock stars,” he said.

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Wyoming this Weekend, Nov. 29-Dec. 1

By The Wyoming News Exchange

Wyoming’s towns are sparkling with Christmas celebrations this weekend. Many communities are launching downtown shopping promotions to encourage residents to do their Christmas shopping locally.

Shoppers in Rock Springs are encouraged wear something plaid on Plaid Friday, and the first 100 who stop by First Bank (the sponsor of the event) will receive a plaid shopping bag.  The Christmas Gift Show in Bunning Hall features a variety of gift possibilities, and those who are lucky enough to spot a plaid rock somewhere downtown are eligible to win prizes.  For more information, visit https://www.downtownrs.com/christmas-downtown.

Christmas tree lightings and Christmas parades top the list of this weekend’s festivities across the state, including the following.

On Friday evening:

On Saturday evening:

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