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Christmas Tree art winner named

Jackson artist Fred Kingwill's watercolor, "Christmas in the Tetons," has been selected as the official painting of Wyoming's 2010 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

Kingwill's painting will be presented to the Forest Service chief in December. The painting will hang in the chief's office for a year and then join "The Tree Gallery," a permanent collection of tree portraits.

Kingwill is an award-winning artist who teaches and leads workshops throughout the West. He also worked for the Forest Service for 30 years.

The Bridger-Teton National Forest and the Wyoming Arts Council sponsored a statewide artists' competition and juried art exhibition to select the painting. The next nine selected works will be posted at capitolchristmastree2010.org for voting by the general public for the People’s Choice Award. Voting begins Monday and runs through Oct. 8.

Meyer: Write off overpayment to cities

CHEYENNE -- Wyoming State Treasurer Joe Meyer wants the state to write off a $2.5 million overpayment it made to several cities and counties in 1994.

Meyer said he will ask lawmakers to sponsor legislation that would erase the debt.

Officials have said the state overpaid local governments from severance tax revenue because of a state accounting error. It was discovered by an audit.

Meyer said if lawmakers don't write off the money, cities and counties would have to start repaying it next year. He has said the debt could be repaid over four years.

Laramie seeks mandatory kindergarten

CHEYENNE -- Laramie County School District 1 officials want kindergarten to be mandatory and the legal dropout age to be raised to 17.

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The district's board of trustees voted this week to approve those resolutions, which will be reviewed by the Wyoming School Boards Association. The recommendations would be part of the association's 2013 legislative agenda if the group approves.

Trustee Jan Stalcup said kindergarten should be mandatory so children get an early start with their education. The current legal age for dropping out is 16 but that would change to 17 under the Laramie County proposal.

School bus, car collide; kids unhurt

ROCK SPRINGS -- Authorities say a school bus collided with a car north of Rock Springs, but none of the 17 children aboard were hurt.

The driver of the car, 19-year-old Heather Nelson of Rock Springs, suffered neck pain after the collision Thursday morning.

Sheriff's deputies say the bus driver, 22-year-old Calvin Brown of Rocks Springs, was given a citation alleging failure to yield.

Pete Rust, transportation director for the Sweetwater County school district, said a committee will investigate the collision and decide what action to take.

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