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2 new bishop candidates emerge

CHEYENNE -- The list of finalists to become Wyoming's new Episcopal bishop has expanded to six, as two new candidates have emerged.

Casper resident Margaret Babcock and Sandra Casey-Martus of Corpus Christi, Texas, are the latest to apply for the office. Wyoming's current Episcopal bishop, Bruce Caldwell, is retiring next summer after 12 years in office.

Both of the new candidates have connections to Wyoming. Babcock works for the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming as the canon for congregational and ministry development.

Casey-Martus, who is currently rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Corpus Christi, served as executive director of the Alta Retreat Center for 10 years and was vicar of St. Francis in the Tetons from 1996 to 2005.

The four other finalists are the Rev. Rebecca "Becky" Brown of Foxborough, Mass.; the Very Rev. Canon F. Michael Perko of Albuquerque, N.M.; the Rev. Canon Dr. Clark Michael Sherman of Bozeman, Mont.; and the Rev. John Sheridan Smylie, rector of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Casper.

Clergy and delegates from Wyoming congregations will elect a new bishop in March.

Hospital lifts visitor restrictions

CHEYENNE -- Because of the decline in the H1N1 outbreak, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center has lifted flu-related restrictions on visitors 12 years of age and younger.

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"The H1N1 flu outbreak in this region has declined in the past month so we are now allowing children 12 and younger to visit many of our inpatient areas," Stacy Farman, Infection Preventionist at Cheyenne Regional, said in a media release.

The restrictions on children ages 12 and younger were instituted at the hospital in September to prevent spread of the H1N1 flu. Children in this age group are among those most at risk to carry and transmit this type of flu.

Visitors who have flu-like symptoms are asked not to come to the hospital unless they are seeking treatment. Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body/muscle aches, chills, nausea or vomiting.

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The hospital will continue general visiting restrictions such as no children under 12 in the intensive care unit.

States get more mining aid

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The federal government is upping the amount of its financial support of state and tribal efforts to regulate surface coal mining.

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement said Wednesday it's providing $68 million this year, up from $60 million. Recipients can use the money to cover half the cost of issuing mining permits, inspecting mines and enforcement.

The bulk of the money is going to big coal-producing states. OSM says Kentucky, the nation's No. 3 producer, tops the list at $13.3 million, followed by Pennsylvania at $12.6 million. West Virginia, the No. 2 U.S. producer, is receiving $11.93 million, while top producer Wyoming gets $2.3 million.

Other recipients include Alabama, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, Virginia and Utah.

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