Laramie, WY – Wyoming State Climatologist Jan Curtis expects the drought will continue in Wyoming this year. Curtis says the state's mountain snowpack is averaging about 85% of average right now. He says a much higher snowpack is needed to improve the drought situation. He says the northern and western parts of the state are in the best shape with moisture currently. But the recent warm, dry weather can quickly make snowpacks disappear. Curtis says the short term forecast is for continmued warm and dry conditions.
Cheyenne, WY – A cause has finally been identified for the deaths of nearly 300 elk near Rawlins recently. The Game and Fish Department says a plant that's part fungus and part alga is responsible. The plant is a lichen known that is abundant in desert soils around the state. A department release says this past weekend, tests revealed that the lichen was indeed the cause of the strange affliction of the elk deaths.
Rawlins, Wy – Governor Freudenthal has appointed Wade Waldrip as the state's newest district judge. Waldrip will replace retiring second District Court Judge Kenneth Stebner, of Rawlins. The 51-year-old Waldrip joins Judge Jeffrey Donnell, of Laramie, on the district bench. The second Judicial District includes Albany and Carbon counties. Waldrip says his priorities will be prompt and courteous work, and he hopes to concentrate on juvenile problems.
Casper, Wy – The Casper District attorney credits perseverance by law enforcement and technology, as the reasons that Dale Wayne Eaton was caught and convicted for the death of Lisa Marie Kimmell. A jury sentenced Eaton to death for the murder over the weekend. He is appealing that sentence. But District Attorney Mike Blonigen says it is amazing that Eaton was arrested to begin with. He credits law enforcement personnel for first collecting and then saving a lot of evidence. But Blonigen says the case is a monument to technology because D-N-A evidence is what caught Eaton.
Casper, Wyoming – Dale Wayne Eaton was given the death sentance Saturday in a 16-year-old murder case. The senatnce came from the same jury that found him guilty on Wednesday of the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Lisa Marie Kimmell. Investigators of 1988 case say they are relieved it's finally all over.
Casper, Wy – Since the death of a student this week to meningitis, Casper College officials have announced that a vaccination clinic will be held April 1st. The clinic will be held from 9 a-m to noon at the Student Health Center. The vaccinations will be administered by the Casper-Natrona County Health Department at a cost of 80-dollars. Health officials recommend that students 30 and younger living in dorms or apartments with multiple roommates receive the inoculation.
Cheyenne, WY – Three Wyoming communities have applied for money from the Business Council to create new jobs. The City of Cody want funding to help Fremont Motor Company, Big Horn County is hoping to help Hawkins and Powers Aviation, and Sheridan County is requesting money to build a business park. All three applications says the money would bring new jobs to the communities. Steve Achter from the Business Council says their Board of Directors could fund all three proposals, if they pass certain requirements.
Cody, Wyoming – One of the oldest lodges on the North Fork of the Shoshone River was destroyed by fire this (Friday) morning. An investigation into the cause of the blaze at Crossed Sabers Ranch is under way. Fire officials say the preliminary indication is that it started in the kitchen. The original lodge, built in 1898 by Tex Holm, anchored one of the first dude ranches in America and was the second stage stop on the way to Yellowstone National Park by way of the East Entrance. The original lodge also burned -- in 1914.
Casper, Wy – Protests are planned around Wyoming Saturday on the anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. One of them is planned for Casper. Wyomingites United Against the War in Iraq and the Patriot Act Chairman Thomas Bleming says a number of speakers, including several veterans, will be at the Casper protest. Bleming sees a lot of similarities between the Iraq war and Vietnam war. He says Americans were suckered into invading Iraq just like President Johnson did to get us involved in Vietnam.
Casper, WY – On the first anniversary of the Iraq war, the divorced parents of a slain Casper Marine have different views of the conflict. Sergeant Brendon Reiss was killed in Iraq March 23, 2003. His father, Brian Reiss blames Marine higher-ups for sending his son unnecessarily into a dangerous situation. Now, he says the American military is mired in an unjustified and futile conflict. Reiss mother, Angela, though, says she's discovered an extended family in active and retired Marines who have been offering their sympathy.
Cheyenne, Wy – Governor Freudenthal has vetoed a bill designed to help landowners receive compensation for damage caused by wildlife. House Bill 18 would have instructed the Game and Fish Department to create and staff up to five pilot projects providing for landowner compensation for damages to grassland caused by wildlife. Freudenthal said it would have been a "drastic" departure from existing policy, which pays for only "extraordinary" damages. He also says the legislation might lock the state into providing funding through at least 2009.
Washington, DC – The National Park Service was criticized Wednesday by a group of former park service employees. At a time when the agency has launched a campaign to increase visitation, the Coalition of Concerned National Park Service Retirees says they are also quietly telling parks to cut services and maintenance. Former Superintendent at Dinosaur National Monument, Denny Huffman, says the two efforts are at odds with each other.
Laramie, Wy – While Governor Dave Freudenthal is disappointed that citizens will not get to vote on whether or not to cap damages in medical malpractice cases, he wants to see if the state can work on some other alternatives before looking into a special session. Freudenthal thought focus on the ballot issue got lost through the numerous health care bills that legislators offered as alternate solutions. While he notes an insurance company has left and some doctors are leaving, the Governor is not ready to call a special session.
Wyoming – A group of retired National Park Service employees attacked the Park Service Wednesday for how it is funding the parks. The Coalition of Concerned National Park Service Retirees says at a time the agency is talking about increasing park visitation, it is putting pressure on parks, behind-the-scenes, to reduce maintenance and services. Wyoming Public Radio's Aaron Alpern reports on the group's claims and what the budgets look like at Park Service sites in Wyoming
Laramie, Wy – While many feared a decrease in snowmobiling in Wyoming this winter, it did not happen. In fact some sites saw an increase. One of those sites was the Shoshone National Forest. Togwotee Mountain Lodge General Manager Jeff Golightly says people who would have normally gone to Yellostone, came to their location instead. He says business at his lodge increased by 15 percent.
Laramie, Wy – The Director of the Stockgrowers Association says the feds don't need to spend so much on Mad Cow Testing. The U-S Department of Agriculture says it will spend 70 million extra dollars testing for Mad Cow, by Wyoming Stockgrowers Association Director Jim Magagna says it is not needed. He says the current method has already brought about a high level of confidence in the beef supply.
Washington, D-C – For the first time since 1994, Wyoming Congresswoman Barbara Cubin is facing competition in the Republican Primary. State Senator Cale Case of Lander and Bruce Asay of Cheyenne have entered the race,but Cubin welcomes the chance to defend her record. But Cubin says she welcomes the competition and the chance to highlight her accomplishments. She says she has a good record and wants people to know about. Cubin does not view the challenges as personal, but notes there are few chances for people to run for federal office. The primary is in mid-August.
Lander, WY – Pictures taken by a resident just outside Lander last week has the Game and Fish reminding people about the danger of mountain lions. The resident snapped several pictures of the big cat as it looked through his porch windows. The Game and Fish's Brad Meyer says mountain lion sightings are more likely in February, March, and April, when their prey, deer, are traveling more in search of good forage. Meyer says residents should be aware when they are outside in the early morning or at dusk, the hours when mountain lions hunt.
Buffalo, Wy – An earlier prediction that 3-thousand gas wells would be drilled in the Powder River Basin appears to be off base, but a Wyoming based Bureau of Land Management official says the effort should soon pick up steam. The B-L-M's Richard Zander blames some new paperwork and the lack of adequate staff for the slowdown and the reason that less then a thousand permits have been issued. But he is predicting that many more permits will be issued in the next couple of months to get the program on track.
Cheyenne, WY – Rezoning a piece of land for the creation of a second business park in Cheyenne has been slowed somewhat. The economic development group Cheyenne LEADS needs the parcel re-zoned light industrial to start work on the West I-80 Business Park. The problem is the West Cheyenne Master Plan doesn't call for all of the 600 acres to be light industrial. So the Laramie County Commission says the master plan needs to be changed first. Some observers don't think that's necessary because they say the master plan is just a guide.
Casper, Wy – A man has been convicted for the killing, rape and 1st degree murder of Lisa Marie Kimmell 16 years ago. A jury found Dale Wayne Eaton guilty on all eight counts, following two days of deliberations. Eaton will now face a sentencing phase where he could get the death penalty. That is scheduled to begin at 9:30 in the morning. The 18-year-old Kimmell disappeared while driving from Denver to Cody to see her boyfriend. Her body was found eight days later in the North Platte River.
Lander, WY – Another name has been thrown into the hat for the Republican nomination for the US House. State Senator Cale Case of Lander is now the second Republican to announce he will challenge 5-term incumbent Barbara Cubin. Case has served six years in the state House and six years in the Senate. Cheyenne Attorney Bruce Asay announced his candidacy last week. The only Democrat to announce for the position is Ron Akin of Casper.
Laramie, Wy – Thirty bison captured this week near the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park have tested positive for brucellosis, and are being sent to slaughter. The bison were among 50 tested today (Tuesday). Twenty bison tested negative and were added to the number being held at the Stephens Creek facility for release in the park this spring. Fourteen animals were vaccinated. The bison tested today (Tuesday) were among about 150 animals captured Sunday and yesterday (Monday).
Laramie, Wy – U-S Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor today urged attorneys to practice civility and provide free counsel for the poor to help restore integrity to their profession. The nation's first female Supreme Court justice spoke to a standing-room only crowd of more than 700 at the University of Wyoming Fine Arts Center. She says at one time, Americans actually trusted and respected lawyers. O'Connor said a decline in professionalism is partly responsible for that NO longer being the case.
Cheyenne – By the 2005 school year, states are required to meet a federal guideline that ensures all teachers are highly qualified. While it might look good at face value, it meant that teachers could no longer teach multiple subject areas without them passing rigorous assessment tests. This was viewed as especially burdensome in science where a teacher was supposed to be "highly qualified" in a specific subject, like physics. But after complaints from western states, the US Department of Education is allowing for some flexibility for rural districts.
Topic: The Grand Teton National Park has a new Superintendent, Mary Gibbson Scott
Topic: Creation of the 2nd Cheyenne Business Park has been delayed due to re-zoning; Guest: Randy Bruns, President of the Cheyenne Leads
Topic: The Wyoming Chapter of the National Football Foundation and the College Hall of Fame will be honoring a number of high schools and University of Wyoming Scholar athletes; Guest: Mike Shootie, President of the Wyoming Chapter