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.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming fire officials say this spring's warm, dry weather will likely mean a longer and more intense fire season. The potential for the season still hinges on rainfall amounts in April and May. But snowpacks are melting at a near-record pace and this March was one of the driest on record. State Forester Bill Crapser says the Black Hills and Medicine Bow National Forests have the greatest fire danger at this point.
Powell, Wy – A preliminary investigation blames a fire at a Northwest College dormitory in Powell on an electrical appliance. Fire investigators sifted through the charred building today (Wednesday) and believe the fire was accidental. The type of electrical appliance was not identified. The fire began in a room on the second floor of the two-story dorm yesterday afternoon. Four students were treated for breathing problems but no one was seriously hurt.
Laramie, Wy – After enduring a shortage of flu vaccines this winter, some county health departments are already ordering extra vaccines for next year. But, in the past some departments have been left with excess shots. Doctor Brent Sherard, the State Health Officer, says this is why it is so hard to estimate how many vaccines are necessary. Basically, he says, it is just best guesstimate. The good news is that more people are interested in gettin flu shots and so Sherard says they will work to make sure everyone who needs a vaccine gets one.
Cheyenne, Wyoming – The state is requesting an outside review of the Wyoming State Hospital following the suicide of a female patient. A team of experts from Wyoming and across the country will be compiled over the next few weeks to inspect the Evanston facility. Health Department director Deb Fleming says such investigations aren't unusual and are used to determine if policies need updating.
Cody, WY – United Airlines and officials in Cody disagree over the potential success of Cody to Denver flights this summer. The deal for the service between United and the Cody Yellowstone Air Service Organization includes a revenue guarantee. Under it, the two sides set a revenue target and the community would need to pay United only if that target isn't met. Rick Wilder of the Cody Yellowstone Air Service Organization disagrees with United. He thinks the service will break even or make money. But regardless of success, Wilder says the service is better then what's there now.
Riverton, Wy – Rangers in northwest Wyoming's national forests are preparing for what could be a contentious first season enforcing new food storage rules. The rules took effect this month. They're meant to keep food away from bears in more parts of the Shoshone and Bridger-Teton national forests. Forest officials say they're needed to reduce human and bear conflicts and make more parts of the forests safer for visitors.
Cheyenne, Wyoming – The state Health Department is launching an intensive new campaign to educate more Wyoming residents about methamphetamine. Meth has quickly become the drug of choice in the Cowboy State, with officials saying one in every 200 residents has used the stimulant in the past year. To combat that growing tide, the department is launching a TV, radio and newspaper ad campaign this week. The ads feature the stories of recovering meth addicts. They also include facts about meth use and treatment options.
Cheyenne, Wy – State education officials are mostly pleased with a new risk survey of Wyoming Youth. The 2003 survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control finds that fewer students high school and middle school students are using tobacco then they did in 1995. They also found that the numbers of those having unprotected sex are decreasing. But concerns about alcohol use continue. Wyoming's At-Risk and School Health Program Supervisor Sunny Kaste says they would like to take some of their success with tobacco prevention and shift it into alcohol.
Pinedale, WY – Wyoming coservationists, landowners, hunters, anglers, and members of industry gathered in Pinedale this weekend to voice concerns about oil and gas development in the Upper Green River Valley. Governor Freudenthal spoke before the standing room only audience. He says pressure from the federal government impacts the pace of development, despite local concern. Even divergent members of the crowd were in consensus. Though all agree energy development in Wyoming is necessary, they hope it's done in a way that's responsible and sensitive to the local environment.