Laramie, Wy – Students in Wyoming schools will soon take a new assessment test. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Trent Blankenship, announced he is developing a new test that will be put in place during the next school year. Blankenship says this test will be much better than the current one and it should be less culturally biased because they will design it with people from the reservation and with Spanish speakers.
Laramie, Wy – Seatbelt use in Wyoming is well below the national average. While 80-percent of drivers across the country wear seatbelts, a study found Wyoming drivers are around 50 percent. Injury Prevention Resources is trying to increase those numbers with a project that uses women to get people to buckle up. Spokesman Lorrie Pozarik says more men tend to buckle up if a woman is with them. So they are pushing a New Education Program called Buckle Those You Love. It is trying to get women to make men buckle their seatbelts.
Jackson, Wy – The fire danger is growing in western Wyoming. That's according to national forest officials, who say that recent dry weather and the start of fall hunting are raising the risk. Paul Hutta is fire management officer for the Bridger-Teton National Forest. He says it wouldn't take much for a fire to easily spread, especially in some of the forest's high alpine meadows. Officials says that vigorous undergrowth -- brought on by a wet spring and early summer -- could serve as kindling for a large wildfire.
Laramie, Wy – There is a shortage of the food grizzly bears traditionally eat at this time of year in the Yellowstone Ecosystem. Officials from the Shoshone National Forest say this is causing bears to move into areas where people are camping or recreating. This has led to three people being attacked. And Wildlife Biologist, Lynette Otto, says it is possible there will be more this fall, but if people are cautious and keep their camps clear attacks may be avoided.
Washington, DC – Wyoming's congressional delegation is opposing a loan that would allow Turkey to get into the soda ash business. The proposed $50 Million loan would allow Turkey to use American technology and expertise to build a soda ash facility. Representative Barbara Cubin and Senators Mike Enzi and Craig Thomas say the loan would hurt Wyoming's soda ash industry, which is already being squeezed by competition from China.
Cheyenne, Wy – Wyoming's new medium security prison will be in one of five places. Proposals asking to be considered were submitted by Rawlins, Torrington, Worland, Riverton, and Lincoln County. Department of Corrections Spokeswoman Melinda Brazzale says the next step is to narrow the list to two or three possible locations. From that short list, the Department of Corrections will recommend one site. Then the legislature has the final say in where to build the prison.
Cheyenne – Every two years a group of senior citizens from around the state comes to Cheyenne and participates in the Silver Haired Legislature. The most recent session took place last week and Wyoming Public Radio's Renny MacKay stopped by to see what issues they dealt with
Cheyenne, Wy – The Silver Haired Legislature held its bi-annual session recently. 34 Wyoming citizens over the age of 60 met to discuss laws they would like to see passed. The group gave its approval to bills that would ban driving while talking on a cell phone, would join a multi state lottery and remove wolves from Wyoming. A former legislator watching the session, John Patton, says these people are making a significant contribution because they are representing their age group and can bring concerns and ideas to state Senators and Representatives.
Laramie, Wy – A group will be meeting this week to discuss the next steps for expanding electric transmission lines from the west. Wyoming Consumer Advocate Bryce Freeman is a member of the group. He remains optimistic that more generation and transmission will occur. Freeman says if it doesn't then, utilities will continue building power plants near places they serve. He believes that will keep prices high, and will not benefit consumers.
Laramie, Wy – Wyoming made some key plays in all phases of the game and was able to overcome a two fourth quarter mishaps to beat Mississippi 37-32 Saturday. It was the first time Wyoming has ever beaten an S-E-C team. Josh Barge scored on two big plays. The first was an 87 yard punt return and the second was a 69 yard option pass from fellow receiver Jovon Bouknight, late in the 4th quarter.
Cody, WY – For the first time, the Shoshone National Forest will conduct patrols aimed at ATV drivers that don't follow the rules. Forest Spokesman Gordon Warren says the patrols will start next week in areas where ATV users have been driving into wilderness areas and onto closed roads. Forest Spokesman Gordon Warren says ATV abuse is nothing new, but it's getting worse. He says some violators are blatant about it, driving right past wilderness boundary and road closure signs.
Laramie, Wy – Following the binge drinking deaths at two Colorado Universities U-W trustees were asked to continue focusing on binge drinking at their own campus. First Lady Nancy Freudenthal calls it a public health issue. While commending U-W for having an alcohol policy, she urges them not to stand on written words. However, in the last week, the trustees have received e-mails asking them not to overreact to what happened in Colorado. But Trustee President Kathy Hunt says Wyoming has its own issues. She says a survey of students shows that 46 percent of them binge drink.
Cheyenne, WY – A lawsuit was filed Thursday against the Secretary of State over Wyoming not allowing voter registration drives. Such efforts are popular in other states, but when three Wyoming residents tried to conduct such a drive, their county clerks told them they couldn't. Secretary of State Joe Meyer says Wyoming has never allowed voter registration drives. Meyer says he's not necessarily opposed to such efforts, but the legislature would have to change the law to allow them. Attorney John Robinson believes Meyer's interpretation of the law is too narrow.
Casper, WY – An effort to create a statewide ban on smoking in Wyoming restaurants seems to have stalled. The legislature's health committee discussed the issue at a meeting in Casper and decided not to support a bill that could have limited where people can smoke. That means the only way such a bill could come up during the legislative session is if an individual lawmaker sponsors it. Representative John Hastert brought the proposal to the committee, but says he won't sponsor a bill on his own.
Cheyenne, Wy – Earlier this month the State Treasurer named a new Chief Investment Officer for Wyoming. Michael Walden Newman is set to take over the position November first. This elicited a critical editorial in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Governor Freudenthal said he was unaware that Walden Newman had a background in investment.
Gillette, WY – Some doubts have been raised about the cattle from Campbell County that were found with brucellosis. A formal review has been requested of test procedures at the South Dakota laboratory where the two cows tested positive this summer. The review comes after bacteria isolated from the infected cattle animals matched that of infected South Dakota bison previously tested.
Cheyenne, Wy – A group calling itself the Wolf Coalition is suing the federal government over its rejection of Wyoming's wolf management plan and for the federal governments failure and refusal to properly manage wolves. Attorney Harriet Hageman says the coalition is a group of 27 associations, entities and counties. Among their issues is that the state released a plan for managing wolves around the national parks, but the U-S Fish and Wildlife service has implied that they want wolves to thrive throughout the state. But she contends that was "never the deal".
Laramie, Wy – The governor says a decision by the Northern Arapahoe is forcing him to shut down the Tribal Liaison position in his office after one year. The position requires 25 thousand dollars a year from both tribes and the Northern Arapahoe Business Council decided not to pay its share, saying it had to spend the money to provide social services on the reservation after a contract dispute with the state. Governor Dave Freudenthal says this was not a good decision and he hoped the tribe would not give up on the position after one disagreement.
Jackson, Wyo – A U-S Forest Service employee says two people -- including a Wyoming man -- survived the crash of an airplane that earlier was reported to have claimed five lives. Forest Service employee Ed Lieser says Jodee Hogg of Billings, Montana, and Matthew Ramidge of Jackson Hole, Wyoming walked away from Monday afternoon's crash. They were picked up this afternoon and flown to a Kalispell hospital. Flathead National Forest spokeswoman Denise Germann says Ramidge was then flown to Harborview hospital in Seattle for burn
Casper, WY – The U-S Bureau of Land Management may issue a final decision next month on leasing Martin's Cove the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The site about 55 miles southwest of Casper is considered hallowed ground by the Church. In 1856, a company of Mormon pioneers were trapped by an early winter storm there and many died. Congress has already authorized the lease, but some have questioned the deal.
Moose, WY – Grand Teton National Park officials want to rehabilitate an historic dude ranch to turn it into a facility that will teach others how to preserve historic log structures across the west. The White Grass Ranch west of Moose was active as a dud ranch up until the 1950's. Park spokeswoman Joan Anzelmo says the park's preferred alternative is to rehabilitative three of the ranch's 13 structures to be used as the training facility. She says, eventually, those students would rehabilitate the rest of the ranch.
Laramie, WY – Wyoming's Congresswoman predicts that politics and the upcoming election will keep Congress from approving an energy policy this year. Representative Barbara Cubin says it does not look like the issue will be resolved before Congress adjourns. Cubin says that's too bad because the country needs to take a stand the public understands. She says there are only a few issues, primarily tax credits, that need to be resolved.
Laramie, Wy – A national independent polling group predicts the presidential election will be very close, but not in Wyoming. The American Research Group polled Wyoming this month and found that 65 percent of likely voters support President Bush, 29 percent of those polled say they support John Kerry with two percent going for Ralph Nader and three percent undecided.