Casper, Wy – Democratic U-S House candidate Ron Akin is suspending his campaign because of financial troubles. Akin says he has not raised enough money to continue, and that he has found it increasingly difficult to mount a viable campaign. Republican incumbent Barbara Cubin defeated Akin two years ago by a 61 percent to 36 percent margin, but he carried her hometown of Casper and lost in Natrona County by one vote.
Cody, WY – The tourism industry is closely watching the nation's rising gas prices. Predictions of $2 per gallon and higher are being made for Wyoming, which gets most of its tourists from the so-called drive market. Thom Huge is the Communications Director at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. The BBHC's visitation numbers have been on an upswing in recent years, but Huge says there is some concern that gas prices could cut into this season. He says prices at the pump are always an issue, but its impacts are hard to predict.
Casper, WY – The Casper-Natrona County Public Health Department is celebrating its 50th anniversary next week. During its history, staff has prevented an outbreak of diphtheria, vaccinated people for many other infectious diseases and done work on chronic health problems. Director Bob Harrington says one major health crisis they dealt with happened last summer when there was an outbreak of Hepatitis B and C among methamphetamine users. It was so serious the Centers for Disease Control sent investigators.
Cheyenne, WY – The state's dry spring conditions have officials worried about the potential for wildfires. Tuesday, the Laramie County Commission banned outdoor fires and the use of fireworks in the county. A similar ban was passed in July last year. County Fire Warden David Thompson is certainly concerned about the upcoming fire season. He says there's a build-up of combustible fuels in the county that actually started a year ago, when there was a lot of spring moisture. That allowed grasses to grow, but those dried out over the summer and are now a serious fire hazard.
Cheyenne, Wy – Friends and family are remembering the life of former Wyoming First Lady Roberta Hathaway, who died Monday in Cheyenne. The wife of former Governor Stan Hathaway died of natural causes. She was 79 years old. Friends say Roberta Hathaway was more than just Stan Hathaway's wife, describing her as a source of courage to her husband and a true leader with compassion for others. Former Governor and U-S Senator Cliff Hansen says Roberta Hathaway's concerns were widespread and praised her interests in children and helping others.
Laramie, Wy – Wyoming is not likely to be a battleground state in the 2004 presidential election. That's probably why it has been almost two years since a presidential candidate was in Wyoming. However, Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich will be nearby this week, speaking Thursday in Fort Collins, Colorado. Cheryl Beckett is the Fort Collins representative for the Kucinich campaign. She says he is still campaigning because he feels neither party is addressing issues important to his supporters.
Laramie, WY – One of the men convicted of killing Matthew Shepard wants the right to appeal his life sentence. An attorney for Russell Henderson says the public defender's office didn't give Henderson the opportunity to appeal his sentencing. Henderson and Aaron McKinney are both serving life sentences for 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student.
Laramie, Wy – L-D-S Church officials say they're grateful to the state of Illinois for their expression of regrets for events that happened about 160 years ago. The Illinois House approved a resolution last week expressing official regrets for the 1844 murder of Mormon leader Joseph Smith Junior and the expulsion of about ten thousand church members from Nauvoo. Today, Illinois Lieutenant Governor Patrick Quinn and Illinois State Representative Daniel Burke presented church officials with that resolution.
Cheyenne, WY – The stage is finally set for a second business park in Cheyenne. The Laramie County Commission Tuesday re-zoned 520 acres of land as light industrial, after amending a master plan for West Cheyenne development. Some saw changing the plan as an unnecessary delay and questioned why the commission saw the master plan as anything but a guide. County Commissioner Jeff Ketchum admits it added time to the process, but doesn't think there's a point to having a planning document if you aren't going to use it.
Laramie, Wy – The Governor has appointed a commission to oversee the Enhanced Oil Recovery effort. The technology is used to get more oil out of existing wells and studies show it could mean millions of dollars in extra revenue for the state. Lynne Boomgaarden (boom garden) is a member of the new commission. She says they will try coordinate the work of policy makers, researchers, and members of industry. The commission must establish a research institute at the University of Wyoming and help with the transfer of new technologies.
Green River, WY – A new road system is in place this spring at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge near Green River. Refuge Manager Carol Damberg says the changes strike a good balance between their primary mission, protecting wildlife habitat, and providing access to the public. Damberg says there is an overall reduction in of 7.5 miles available for vehicle traffic under the plan. Damberg says there will be areas where people can't just drive to the edge of the Green River, which cuts through the refuge.
Laramie, WY – Several national Latino groups are trying to sign up an additional 500,000 Hispanic voters before the November elections. The Wyoming Latino/Latina Coalition has the goal of also registering new voters. The secretary of the coalition, Cynthia Chavez Kelly says despite voting history, this isn't a partisan effort by Democrats. She thinks the presidential election could be a big draw because President Bush has reached out to Latinos and the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee could be Bill Richardson; the governor of New Mexico and a Hispanic.
Laramie, Wy – Wyoming Senator Craig Thomas has drafted legislation he hopes will stop the practice of "venue shopping." That's when lawsuits are filed in jurisdictions viewed to be more friendly to a group's interests. Thomas says the practice is becoming a big problem for Wyoming. He says the state has been "steamrolled" by judges in Washington D-C ruling on cases like snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park.
Cheyenne, WY – Controversial plans for a larger Cheyenne Wal-Mart are now in the hands of the City Council. The Laramie County Regional Planning Commission unanimously approved the project's final plat and zoning change at a meeting Monday night. A final vote by the City Council is scheduled June 28th. Several neighbors turned out in opposition of the proposal Monday, saying measures proposed by Wal-Mart to mitigate noise aren't enough. The nation's largest company wants to build a SuperCenter grocery and retail store behind its current location on Dell Range Boulevard.
Cheyenne, WY – New guidelines are in place for the state's $3 Million air service enhancement program. After the Business Council decided in February not to spend any of the fund, the legislature changed the program to require a local match and involved the State Aeronautics Commission. That Commission will review any applications that come in and make recommendations to the Business Council. Three communities are hoping for help in getting new air service this summer, so the Business Council's Patrick Pitet says everyone involved will need to work quickly.
Yellowstone National Park, WY – The National Park Service has concluded a new entrance station at Yellowstone's west gate will not significantly affect the environment or cultural sites. The agency says the $2.4 Million structure will be more pleasant for employees and visitors, protect workers from vehicle exhaust, and provide wider lanes to enhance safety and traffic flow. 40% of Yellowstone's visitors enter the park through the west entrance, which was built around 1969. Construction could begin later this year.
Green River – Energy companies predict the Upper Green River Valley in southwestern Wyoming will soon become the next major natural gas producing region in the country. The rapid pace of development has alarmed some locals. Wyoming Public Radio's Elizabeth Davis reports that pressure from the federal government is building in Sublette County.
Laramie, WY – The state made an extra $1.7 Million available to fight West Nile Virus this year. Last year, Wyoming had one of the highest per capita rates of West Nile infection with 9 human deaths caused. For this season, local governments can apply for matching grants that can be used to control mosquito populations. State West Nile Coordinator Terry Creekmore says mosquitoes thrive in wet conditions, so it will help if the spring is cool and dry.
Laramie, Wy – Drivers in Wyoming continue to die in one vehicle roll overs. Sergeant Troy Mclees says drivers that leave the roadway try to over correct and get back on the road when they don't need to. He says most highways are designed to allow someone to drive off the side. The good news is more Wyomingites are wearing their seatbelts. He credits people for recognizing that safety belts can save lives, but also says enhanced enforcement is helping too.
Laramie, Wy – Residents of 23 homes west of Fort Collins have been told they can return to their homes Monday night. They'd been evacuated earlier by a wildfire that so far has covered 91-hundred-and-55 acres. Cooler, wetter weather over the weekend and on Monday allowed firefighters to dig lines around 50 percent of the blaze -- and the residents of the last of about 120 homes that were evacuated by the blaze that began last week learned they could return at eight tonight.
Wyoming – A conservation group has asked for an investigation into a series of intimidating e-mails a member of their group received. Wyoming Public Radio's Renny MacKay reports that the e-mails came after the member wrote to the legislature's Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife, and Cultural Resources Committee
Cheyenne, WY – A conservation group from Wyoming announced this week they want a formal investigation into why one of their member's e-mail address ended up in the hands of anti wolf activists. Earlier this month a member of the Predator Conservation Alliance wrote to the legislature's wildlife committee urging it to adopt a better wolf management plan. One member of the committee, Senator Bruce Burns passed the e-mail address on to an anti wolf activist named Robert Fanning. That man then wrote several intimidating e-mails to the member talking about rape and guns.
Ft. Collins, CO – A wildfire in northern Colorado has destroyed a house and a garage, burning 5,600 acres. The fire threatens at least 23 other homes and has forced scores of families to flee. It defied expectations Thursday night by jumping from treetop to treetop. Officials say fires usually lay down at night as winds calm, but that hasn't happened with this fire in Poudre Canyon, northwest of Fort Collins. Gray smoke billowing thousands of feet into the sky grounded air tankers Thursday afternoon. The fire was 15 percent contained last night.