Wyoming AP members rank top stories of 2009

AP News
Posted: Dec 24, 2009 8:41 AM

Wyoming members of The Associated Press voted this month on the state's top news stories of 2009. Here are the results:

1. The economic recession hits Wyoming. Energy companies curtail operations in the state as some fuel prices drop. Wyoming's unemployment rate increases to 7.4 percent in October, the highest in more than 20 years.

2. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decides to leave gray wolves in Wyoming on the endangered species list while delisting them in Idaho and Montana. Wyoming files suit in response.

3. Gov. Dave Freudenthal orders $230 million in budget cuts for fiscal year 2010, or about 10 percent for all state agencies, as energy prices and state government revenues fall.

4. A second year of normal- to above-average precipitation helps fill Wyoming reservoirs and propels the entire state out of drought conditions for the first time in nine years.

5. Former Wyoming state trooper Franklin Ryle is sentenced to 15 years in prison for the January kidnapping of a truck driver in what prosecutors say was an aborted murder plot.

6. Health officials detect swine flu in Wyoming and say it contributed to several deaths.

7. Tie: Hundreds of Wyoming Army National Guard members deploy to the Middle East in the spring; The Environmental Protection Agency opens its only investigation in the nation into potential effects of hydraulic fracturing on water wells; The University of Wyoming selects Laramie County as the site for a $100 million plant being built by Wyoming and General Electric Co. to research ways to use Wyoming coal more cleanly.

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8. About 900 small earthquakes shake Yellowstone National Park in the last days of 2008 and first days of 2009.

9. Tie: Former Wyoming Gov. and U.S. Sen. Clifford Hansen dies Oct. 20; The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Wyoming field office says it opposes any wind energy development in Wyoming's sage grouse core habitat areas before demonstration that it can be done with no impact on the birds.

10. The National Park Service issues a temporary rule limiting snowmobiles to 318 a day at Yellowstone National Park during the winter.