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U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announces a ban on new mining claims in the mountains north of Yellowstone National Park on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, in Emigrant, Mont. The move extends a 2-year ban enacted under former President Barack Obama for another 20 years. 

Mills woman dies in fire; police pull second person from blaze

A Mills woman died early Monday after her RV caught fire and emergency responders who arrived at the scene were unable to find her in time.

A Mills Police officer pulled a man from the flaming motor home around 3 a.m. The man was taken to Wyoming Medical Center to be treated for injuries sustained in the fire. An update on his condition was not available.

Although officers and firefighters tried to find the woman as well, they couldn’t until after the fire was extinguished a half hour later.

A firefighter and a police officer were both treated for minor injuries.

On Monday morning in Lariat Trailer Park, near the intersection of the Old Yellowstone Highway and Wyoming Boulevard, the smell of damp burnt wood lingered in the air. Caution tape marked off the RV that had been largely consumed by flames. Scraps of burnt siding lay in the street, as far as three lots away from the damaged trailer.

Two neighbors, who live only a few lots away from the burnt motor home, said they were awakened around 2 a.m. after hearing the woman.

“She couldn’t get out,” one neighbor said.

The Natrona County Coroner’s Office on Monday was still investigating the cause and manner of her death. The woman’s name was not available, pending notification of her family.

A Mills Fire Department spokesman said oxygen tanks exploded once the fire, already burning, reached them.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Trump says he's not firing Rosenstein

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared a reprieve Monday for Rod Rosenstein, saying he has no plans to fire his deputy attorney general whose future was the source of intense speculation for two weeks.

“I’m not making any changes,” Trump told reporters as he returned to the White House after traveling with Rosenstein to an international police chiefs’ conference in Florida. “We just had a very nice talk. We actually get along.”

The flight provided an opportunity for their most extensive conversation since news reports last month that Rosenstein discussed the possibilities in early 2017 of secretly recording Trump to expose chaos in the White House and invoking constitutional provisions to have him removed from office.

Those reports triggered an avalanche of speculation about the future of Rosenstein — and also the special counsel’s investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. The deputy attorney general appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to his special counsel post and closely oversees his work.

Trump said earlier in the day that he had “a very good relationship” with Rosenstein and was eager to speak with him aboard Air Force One on the flight to Florida. They did talk, for about 45 minutes, but not alone, a White House spokesman said. The subjects: violent crime in Chicago, support for local law enforcement, border security, the conference they were flying to and “general DOJ business,” spokesman Hogan Gidley said without elaboration.

“I didn’t know Rod before, but I’ve gotten to know him,” Trump said at the White House earlier.

The Justice Department has denied that Rosenstein proposed invoking the 25th Amendment of the Constitution, which would involve the Cabinet and vice president agreeing to remove him. And the remark about secretly recording the president was meant sarcastically, the department said.

Even so, Rosenstein told White House officials he was willing to resign and arrived at the White House a week and a half ago with the expectation that he would be fired. He met in person with White House chief of staff John Kelly and spoke by phone with Trump during a tumultuous day that ended with him still in his job.

Rosenstein and Trump were expected to meet at the White House days later, but that meeting was put off so that the president could focus on the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Trump previously said he would prefer not to fire the Justice Department’s No. 2 official and that Rosenstein told him he did not say the remarks attributed to him. Advisers also cautioned Trump against doing anything dramatic in the weeks before the midterm elections next month.

Kelly was present for Monday’s conversation between Rosenstein and Trump, the White House said, as was Rosenstein’s top deputy at the Justice Department, Ed O’Callaghan.

The speculation over Rosenstein’s future concerned Democrats, who feared that a dismissal could lead to Trump curtailing Mueller’s probe. Though Trump at times criticized his deputy attorney general, he reserved his sharpest verbal attacks for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from the Russia investigation in March 2017 because of his own earlier involvement with the Trump campaign.

Both men will likely see their futures re-evaluated after the elections, Trump advisers have said.

Besides the meeting with Trump, Rosenstein also agreed to a private meeting with House Republicans who want to question him about his reported statements on the president.

breakingtop story
Cercy trial
Witnesses in Cercy trial arrested on allegations they tried to dodge subpoenas

Two men who testified in Tony Cercy’s February sexual assault trial were arrested Friday on allegations they tried to dodge subpoenas for his upcoming retrial.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Marcus Spurgin, 22, and Ryun Olson, 24, on Friday afternoon after they tried to avoid service of documents that would compel them to appear in court for Cercy’s November trial in Thermopolis, court documents allege.

A jury acquitted the Casper businessman in February on first- and second-degree sexual assault charges. Jurors could not agree on a third-degree sexual assault count, so Cercy is slated to stand trial again.

The charges stem from a then-20-year-old woman’s allegation that in June 2017 she awoke to Cercy performing oral sex on her. She had passed out on the couch in his Alcova lake house.

Court documents filed against Olson state he did not return phone calls left by a sheriff’s deputy in an attempt to serve the subpoena.

When the deputy went Thursday to Olson’s workplace — where Spurgin also works — a secretary told him that Olson had just returned from lunch, the documents state. Spurgin then arrived in the lobby and said Olson was not available, the documents state.

Spurgin, whom deputies were also trying to serve a subpoena to, said he did not know if he would have time to go to the sheriff’s office and accept his subpoena before leaving town for work on Saturday, the documents state.

The documents state the sheriff’s deputy then reached Olson by phone. He said he was in Texas, according to the documents. When the deputy confronted him about the inconsistency, he then said he was in Casper, the documents state.

Olson agreed to come to the sheriff’s office the same day, according to the documents. By Friday he had not done so and the deputy requested a warrant for his arrest.

When Spurgin did not answer his phone Friday, deputies requested a warrant for his arrest. Both men spent the weekend in jail, records show.

Spurgin and Olson each face a single misdemeanor count of avoidance of service.

Daniel Forgey, the district court judge hearing Cercy’s trial, agreed to release the two men on $10,000 bonds to compel their appearance at the November trial.

Speaking with the Star-Tribune by phone on Monday morning, Spurgin’s family members said they would have to consult with their attorney before speaking to the press. Spurgin’s attorney, Rich Jamieson, declined to comment Monday.

Olson’s attorney, Anna Olson, declined to speak with a Star-Tribune reporter. A person answering the phone at her office said she did not comment on open cases.

During Cercy’s first trial, Olson had a contentious back and forth with Natrona County District Attorney Michael Blonigen over what he described as Olson’s refusal to meet with prosecutors.

Spurgin testified that Cercy’s accuser fell off a boat the day before the alleged assault. Defense attorneys had implied bruising on the woman’s legs came from getting in and out of boats, rather than from Cercy, as the prosecution had alleged.