Counties report spotted fever

RAWLINS - Rocky Mountain spotted fever has been detected in scattered areas across the state this summer, according to Wyoming Department of Health data.

Last year, there were 11 cases of the disease carried by ticks in Wyoming - in Carbon, Crook, Laramie, Lincoln, Sweetwater and Campbell counties. Campbell County saw five of the cases.

So far this year, a total of four cases have been reported in Campbell and Uinta counties, including one unidentified case.

"Last year was more than usual," said Clay Van Houten, emerging diseases and health statistics section chief with the state health department's infectious epidemiology sector. "There was no particular area or similar exposure, it was people doing different things."

He said the disease usually crops up in the spring, but people who spend time outdoors should be aware in all warmer weather. A bug spray containing DEET protects from the carrier of the disease, the Rocky Mountain wood tick.

"(The tick) can be in the mountains or in the sagebrush," said Steven Miller, Ag News senior editor for the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service.

Reservoir reaching recent record

ROCK SPRINGS - The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reports that the Fontenelle Reservoir in southwest Wyoming has been filled by snowmelt runoff.

The reservoir has not been completely full in recent years.

Ed Vidmar of the Bureau of Reclamation says this year's run off has been slow and steady with cooler summer temperatures keeping the inflow predictable.

Vidmar said the reservoir will be brought down about 3-to 5-feet below capacity to allow for thunderstorms and other sudden inflows.

New energy group targets sage grouse

GILLETTE - Challenging the recent federal sage grouse protection rules in the Powder River Basin is one of the priorities of a new organization of energy-related businesses and workers in northeast Wyoming.

Glen Wise is chairman of the newly formed Americans for Responsible Energy Advancement. He is a foreman for Dan Hart Patrol Service.

Wise says the group believes that the Buffalo office of the Bureau of Land Management has acted illegally in several circumstances in the past year and that the group is prepared to take legal action.

He said the group also is concerned about several other issues related to BLM management of drilling.

BLM associate field manager Paul Beels said he had not heard of the group and declined comment.

Report validates wind power

CHEYENNE- Electricity generated by Wyoming wind farms offers the cheapest renewable energy for growing areas in the southwestern United States, according to a new study.

The report says more than half of the country's best quality wind resources are located in Wyoming.

The energy evaluation was prepared by National Grid and Energy Strategies, a London-based transmission and utility firm.

The analysis confirms what Ed Werner, executive director of the Wyoming Wind Working Group, has believed for years.

Elected officials must decide how they will meet clean energy demands as states develop renewable portfolio standards, which require a certain percentage of electricity sales to come from renewable resources, Werner said.

For example, California set a requirement of 20 percent by 2010.

He added that the National Grid report combines information on who needs clean energy and who can produce it.

The West is the fastest-growing region in the United States. It also is expected to grow by more than 45 percent between 2000 and 2030, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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