Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that voters do not have the right to impose term limits on state legislators through a ballot initiative. The ruling means about a dozen House and Senate members who were prohibited from seeking re-election this year can now do so if they choose.
Laramie, Wy – Many states around the country are dealing with the fact that many inmates will die in prison, and that inmates on average are getting older and will require more health care. The issue is starting to be a concern in Wyoming. State Corrections Director Bob Lampert notes that Wyoming has an older population overall, and many of those could end up in the prison system. For that reason, Lampert is considering elderly care as they move forward with a new prison.
Laramie, Wy – The Laramie city council is expected to decide the fate of the Laramie city manager tonight. Officials have been negotiating with Bonnie Ridley-Kraft over the past several days after telling her that they want to make a change. The issue will be over a severance package. It could be the second straight year that Ridley-Kraft has left a City Manager's Post without completing a year on the job. She worked eight months in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Sheridan, Wy – A group of Sheridan homeowners claim coal-bed methane development is lowering water well levels, but a drilling company denies the charge. Allison Cole of Beatty Spur Subdivision north of Sheridan claims methane development is reducing well production and water levels. However, Bill DeLapp of J-M Huber Corporation disputes that methane development is to blame. He says a number of other reasons could explain the drop, including drought, increased water well density in the subdivision
Cheyenne – Wyoming legislators can now stop the constant hand-wringing over term limits. The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled that voters do not have the right to impose term limits on legislators, saying that such a change can only be done through a constitutional amendement. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob beck reports that lawmakers who were facing term limits are pleased, but a man who got the law passed in 1992 is furious.
Thermopolis, Wy – Voters in Hot Springs County head to the polls today (Tuesday) to decide whether to approve a larger high school. The question is whether three-point-five-(M)-million dollars in revenue bonds should be issued. The money would be used to build a school that would be 24-thousand square feet larger than the size the state will pay for.
Cheyenne – A consultant for one of the two tribes on the Wind River Reservation says the Governor is treating the Northern Arapahoes differently then past governors and is threatening their sovereignty. Wyoming Public Radio's Renny MacKay reports that stuck in the middle of this fight are Northern Arapahoe children
Laramie, Wy – A representative of the Northern Arapahoe Tribe says Governor Freudenthal is threatening their sovereignty. The tension between the tribe and the governor is caused by a breakdown in negotiations over a contract. The governor is advocating that disputes be resolved in a state court. But, a tribal consultant says that would infringe on the sovereignty of the Northern Arapahoe tribe. Freudenthal counters that by saying the other tribe on the reservation did agree to this deal with the state. Both sides say a resolution is not possible right now.
Sheridan, Wy – Conflicts between hunters on foot and sportsmen on all terrain vehicles and off-highway vehicles are on the rise in Wyoming. The SafeRider Institute of Sheridan is proposing a solution. Representatives of SafeRider told the state Game and Fish Commission that the best way to prevent such conflicts is through educating children on the proper use of the vehicles. The commission decided to study whether partnering with SafeRider and other similar organizations would work.
Cheyenne, Wy – There are now five projects that have received grants from the state's Business Ready Community Program. The State Loan and Investment Board gave its approval Monday for proposals made by Washakie County, the town of Shoshoni, and the City of Riverton. The Business Ready Community program is the centerpiece of Governor Freudenthal's economic development plans and he says these are the types of projects he envisioned. Freudenthal says Riverton's plan for a new building for the Brunton Company was something he talked about during his campaign.
Laramie, Wy – New statistics show that Wyoming continues to have the worst gender wage gap in the country. An economist who has studied the issue is hopeful that efforts by the state to get women more non-traditional jobs could close the gap. U-W researcher Anne Alexander says the focus by state officials to specifically get those working two and three jobs into one non-traditional job would help dramatically. But Alexander says helping women start their own businesses is also critical, along with enhanced overall economic development in the state.
Laramie, Wy – A man who has studied wolves for nearly half a century is coming to Wyoming. Doctor David Mech has lived near wolves in the arctic, watched them from aircraft in Alaska and observed them in Minnesota and Wyoming. One project he worked on was to see if wolves kill for sport. He says that is an unreasonable assumption because there is documentation that all of wolves' prey animals have killed wolves including deers. Mech says wolves do kill prey and then leave them for some time before coming back to eat them.
Topic: A man who has studied wolves for nearly half a century is coming to Wyoming; Guest: Doctor David Mech
Topic: Bob Beck speaks with John Pope and Kim Vincent about Venture West forum in Laramie this week and how they work with those interested in their business or starting a new one. For more information about Venture West visit, www.venturewest.org
Topic: A group of students in Casper will be holding an event this weekend to teach middle and high school students about volunteerism; Guest: Mike Prentice, Natrona County High School student
Cheyenne, Wy – State money will be used in efforts to add new flights from airports in Jackson and Cody. The Wyoming Business Council Board of Directors voted unanimously to fund the projects today. 300-thousand dollars will help secure Cody to Denver summer service and 125-thousand is for flights next winter from Dallas and Cincinnati to Jackson. In February, the Board chose not to spend any of the state's three million air service fund, and actually seem opposed to playing with the free market.
Cheyenne, Wy – Shoshoni, Riverton, and Washakie County are in line to be the latest recipients of money from the Business Ready Communities program. The Wyoming Business Council Board of Directors signed off on the three projects today. The State Loan and Investment Board votes on them Monday. Riverton would get one-point-five million dollars for construction of a new building for the Brunton Company, a manufacturer that employs 79 people currently. Without the new building, Brunton would need to relocate.
Laramie, Wy – State officials say the number of dentists in Wyoming is falling and could reach critical levels if more aren't recruited to replace those nearing retirement. Grant Christensen is the new administrator of the Wyoming Department of Health's Dental Division. He says Wyoming particularly needs more dentists to serve its low-income population. Currently, just 25 dentists are providing about 80 percent of the state's Medicaid dental treatment. Pending increases in Medicaid reimbursement rates could help.
Laramie, Wy – Pinedale is having to weigh growth and private property rights versus the welfare of pronghorn antelope. On Monday the town's planning and zoning committee is discussing the annexation of 28 acres for development of 16 lots. The Upper Green River Valley Coalition's Linda Baker says that could cut off crucial habitat from 300 pronghorn that use the corridor. Officials from the Game and Fish Department say that pronghorn herd very well may just die off.
Wyoming – It takes a lot to convince an airline to serve a Wyoming-sized town these days. Airlines are still struggling financially, so they want their revenue guaranteed before starting new service. The Wyoming Business Council considers spending money from the air service enhancement fund Friday. And because airlines are so skittish, all the risk with any venture would be on the state and the community. That risk is higher because airlines still would have control over price, which goes a long way in determining if the service will attract passengers.
Laramie, Wyoming – Several Laramie officials say that City Manager Bonnie Ridley-Kraft is being forced out. The Laramie City council will supposedly address the matter in executive session Tuesday. Ridley-Kraft was hired in August after a short tenure in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where she resigned last April because of differences with that city council. Mayor Fred Homer calls rumors of her dismissal nothing but speculation, but admitted that at-will contracts will be addressed Tuesday night in executive session.
Wyoming – This week, the state could be spending up to three million dollars to allow Wyoming airports to add flights to new destinations. The Board of Directors for the Wyoming Business Council will consider proposals for Cody and Jackson on Friday and one for Casper next month. But Wyoming Public Radio's Aaron Alpern reports there's no guarantee these types of investments are worthwhile.
Yellowstone National Park, WY – A 50-square mile drainage in Yellowstone National Park has been closed to fishing because of whirling disease. It's not known when fishing will be allowed to resume in the Pelican Creek drainage. The season was to have opened May 29th. Researchers say the closure was prompted by scientists detecting fewer fish than normal in Pelican creek last August. The goal of the closure is twofold: to prevent the whirling disease parasite from spreading to new areas and to help the stream recover.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming's State Veterinarian is resigning to return to private practice in Fremont county. Dr. Jim Logan told the Wyoming Livestock Board he will stay on until a replacement is found and trained. The news comes just months after Wyoming lost its' brucellosis-free status. Logan says his resignation will not affect the effort to get that status back. He says he'll stay involved in the issue in order to achieve brucellosis-free status. To get that status back, there can be no more cases of brucellosis found in any Wyoming cattle for a year.
Cheyenne, WY – The scientist who first classified the Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse as a distinct subspecies now believes otherwise. That's according to Governor Dave Freudenthal's office. University of Arizona Professor Emeritus Philip Krutzsch determined in 1954 the Preble's mouse was a distinct subspecies. Freudenthal spokeswoman Lara Azar says Krutzsch now agrees with the findings of a new study commissioned by the State of Wyoming and others. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science study concluded the Preble's mouse is not genetically distinct.
Cheyenne, WY – A study by the National Academy of Sciences is validating the finding there is critical habitat for endangered and threatened species on the Platte River. The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Reclamation came out with those same findings months ago, but the Academy of Sciences commissioned a study to verify their work. Committee Chairman Will Graf recognizes that saying there is critical habitat on the river in Nebraska will have an impact in Wyoming.
Cheyenne, WY – Gains in construction and government jobs caused Wyoming's unemployment rate to edge downward in March. The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from three-point-five percent in February to three-point-four percent last month. Wyoming saw a net increase of 800 jobs, with government adding the most followed by construction. That offset the 200 jobs lost in the manufacturing, natural resources and mining industries. Albany county posted the lowest jobless rate for March at two percent. Fremont county recorded the highest rate at six-point-five percent.