Laramie, Wy – While state figures show a huge drop in Niobrara County's unemployment over the past year, there also seems to be a huge drop in the labor force. According to State Economist Dave Bullard, that could mean that people have simply left area communities. That seems to be backed up by Census numbers that show the population fell by a hundred residents from 2000 to 2002.
Laramie, Wy – A group of western anglers and hunters converged on capital hill this week trying to get provisions curtailing wildlife protections removed from the proposed Energy Bill. Pinedale's Courtney Skinner joined the group and met with congressional representatives from the west, begging them to protect wildlife from mineral development. Skinner is very concerned about the impacts gas development could have on a migration corridor in Western Wyoming. He says the impact on the hunting industry could be devastating.
Laramie, Wy – The U-S Supreme Court decided this week that it will rule on whether executing juveniles is constitutional. And a state legislator here has proposed a ban on the practice. Representative Jane Warren is sponsoring the bill; she says the timing is a coincidence. But, she does note there is a growing sentiment in the country that the death penalty for juveniles isn't necessary.
Topic: Bob Beck speaks with Auditor, Max Maxfield about a new conference discussing the equal footing to all elected officials supported by Governor Dave Freudanthal
Topic: Chad Pergram reports on a plan to pay Wyoming for the Abandon Mine Lands fund that is stalled in Washington
Topic: Bob Beck speaks with Courtney Skinner from Pinedale about a group of western anglers and hunters who have converged on capital hill trying to get provisions for wildlife protection from proposed energy bill
Cheyenne, Wy – Milward Simpson -- who bears the same name as his grandfather, the former Wyoming governor and U-S senator -- has been hired as program manager of the Wyoming Arts Council. State Parks and Cultural Resources Director Phil Noble made the announcement today (Thursday) of Simpson's hiring, effective February 18th. The younger Milward Simpson has spent a lifetime in the arts.
Washington, DC – Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman says her department's mad cow probe has "made a lot of headway in the last five weeks." Veneman testified before a Senate Committee Tuesday. She said that protection systems have been enhanced, consumer confidence in the beef supply remains high and that work is being done to reopen foreign markets to US beef. Meanwhile, South Korea still isn't convinced. They've rejected the latest US safeguards against BSE, saying they will not lift a ban on American beef until the meat is "scientifically proven" safe.
Laramie, Wy – Cities, towns, counties and tribes are now able to apply for eight point four million dollars in grants and loans. The Business Ready Community Program has been up and running for almost three weeks now and its first deadline is March fifth. But, the director of the program, Steve Achter says they've only had one application, so far, but he does expect a lot of communities to apply before the first deadline. Achter says his estimate is they'll get requests for 15 million dollars. A panel will review the applications and determine which are deserving.
Laramie, Wy – A five-year-old Utah girl who was allegedly abducted by her father last night has been released back to him. Authorities in Carbon County unraveled the complicated story of the alleged abduction that triggered an Amber Alert. Steven Miller from Texas, picked up his daughter, Stephanie, at her mother's home in Harrisville, Utah. The mother reported it as an abduction, and authorities triggered the alert. The father and daughter were found in Rawlins, where he was arrested and she was put into foster care.
Laramie, Wy – Investigators continue to look for the source of the brucellosis cases in a Sublette County cattle herd. Much has been made of the elk herds in the area, which are known to carry brucellosis. No one is officially pointing a finger at the elk, but State Veterinarian Jim Logan says they've ruled out cattle as a cause of the transmission. He says it likely came from wildlife.
Cheyenne, WY – Oil prices are high right now and that's getting companies interested in looking at old oil reserves in Wyoming. To get at the oil operators would have to use enhanced oil recovery technologies. The governor reports that this could mean millions more in revenue for the state. And he put together a task force to make recommendations on how to encourage enhanced oil recovery. State Geologist Lance Cook says the task force decided the best thing the state can do is set up a research institute at the University of Wyoming.
Laramie, WY – Over the weekend, a legislative committee cut $5 Million from the University of Wyoming's request for athletic facilities. UW officials will try to get the funding restored. And Athletic Director Gary Barta says he wants not only that money, but also money for increasing the department's overall budget. He thinks UW's lack of funding in the last few years has led to poor performances by teams. Meanwhile, Barta is responding to a State Legislator's claim the UW athletic plan focuses too much on football.
Topic: A group of experts from the oil development field say Wyoming should put more money in getting oil out of the reserves in the state; Guest: Lance Cook, Member of the Task force and State Geologist
Topic: Bob Beck speaks with Lois Pine, Albany County Program Director of Wyoming Quit Tobacco about programs and counseling to quit smoking
Laramie, Wy – New Wyoming building standards for schools say the state will only pay for adequate facilities. So, school districts that want larger classrooms, or larger auditoriums will be asked to pay for those things themselves. The plan is to have districts pass local property taxes. Senator Irene Devin does not think it goes against a Supreme Court mandate that the state pay for schools, because the bill specifically addresses enhancements.
Cheyenne, Wy – The Wyoming Attorney Generals office is asking a district court to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the state's term limits law. They argue the statute of limitations in the case are up. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two legislators and two constituents. Their attorney Harriet Hageman disputes the claim, saying the earliest the clock would have started on the statute of limitations was when Governor Jim Geringer and Superintendent Judy Catchpole were prevented from seeking third terms. She disagrees with the state that the clock started in either 1992 or 1993.
Laramie, WY – A non-profit group is going to honor Wyoming people for making the state's outdoor heritage what it is today. The Wildlife Heritage Foundation of Wyoming will start taking nominations for the first Hall of Fame Banquet. Director Maureen Brown says they will open nominations February 1st. Brown says nominations are open to outdoorsmen and women, artists, authors, sportsmen and women and even those who have crafted policy to protect the outdoors. She says inductees must be of the highest integrity and must have been committed to Wyoming's outdoors.
Casper, WY – The U-S Energy Department is planning to inject carbon dioxide into underground oil reservoirs at the Teapot Dome north of Casper. The project could be one of the world's largest test sites for burying C-O-2 in hopes of slowing global warming. The Teapot Dome project will store carbon dioxide from a natural gas processing plant more than 300 miles away beneath the oil field in central Wyoming. Project Manager Vicki Stamps says the process has been tested at smaller sites nationwide but never on such a large scale. Storage could begin by 2006 and last seven to ten years.
Jackson, WY – Jackson Hole High School Principal Michael Redzich says he will not budge from his decision to change the school schedule from four to seven periods a day. That's despite an outcry from students and parents. Earlier this month, Redzich told parents and staff who had been working on the school's schedule that the school will use a seven-period day he developed over the holiday break. Staff members and students claimed they had been left out of the decision. On January 13, more than 200 students staged a sit-in at the high school gym to protest the change.
Laramie, Wy – Wyoming has finally finished its Amber Alert system. That will allow authorities to put out a bulletin about a child abduction in this state or in one of five surrounding states. Deputy Director of the Department of Criminal Investigations, Kebin Haller says they'll get the bulletin to the public through radio and T-V stations, as well as electronic highway signs.
Cheyenne, Wy – The owner of a resort between Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks says his business stands to lose nearly 2-point-7 million dollars by the end of the decade if snowmobiles are banned from the parks. Bob Walker owns the Flagg Ranch Resort in the John D- Rockefeller, Junior, Memorial Parkway. He testified in Cheyenne Monday before U-S District Judge Clarence Brimmer on how an impending snowmobile ban will affect his business.
Cheyenne, WY – President Bush wants to give American community colleges more money for job training programs. Bush outlined his proposal in his State of the Union address. Wyoming Community College Commission Director Richard Gilliland says Bush's plan calls for re-directing 50 million dollars from the Department of Labor to go to community colleges. He says that money would be welcome news for Wyoming. Gilliland says there's a major concern that over the next decade the state will see a large retirement of registered nurses.
Laramie, Wy – The federal veterinarian working on Wyoming's brucellosis cases thinks the state will lose its brucellosis-free status. Doctor Bret Combs doubts Wyoming can win its appeal of last week's finding of a second case. The new discovery was made in animals that came from the original infected herd. But Combs says those cattle changed owners, and have to be considered as a second herd, by federal rules. Those same rules also don't allow for exemptions.
Kansas City, Mo – Retired Roman Catholic Bishop Joseph Hart is accused in a lawsuit of molesting Kansas City area minors. Hart was the Roman Catholic bishop for the archdioscese of Wyoming from 1976 until he retired in 2001. He is named in the lawsuit along with a retired priest and a former priest. Nine men are plaintiffs in the lawsuit and six of them are remaining anonymous. The lawsuit alleges a series of abuses at a lake home north of Kansas City or in church facilities, often after liquor was given to the minors.
Laramie, Wy – Several conservation groups are trying to convince the Bureau of Land Management to deny a permit for a company to drill during the winter on crucial winter habitat for deer near Pinedale. Marisa Martin of the Wyoming Outdoor Council represented the groups at a presentation before the state B-L-M office. She says the B-L-M does not have the authority to allow the drilling in this area. Martin adds that for years the agency ensured wildlife was protected but lately has granted more exceptions to their prohibition on drilling during the winter.
Laramie, Wy – Law Enforcement officials say that the use of Meth in Wyoming is higher then most realize. A two-day conference in Casper is being used to develop community action plans. Casper Police Chief Tom Pagel who has tried to solve the growing problem for years, thinks the only way to properly attack it is through the local level. He favors treatment over other approaches.
Laramie, Wy – Wyoming is about to ask the federal government to reconsider revoking that state's brucellosis-free status. Governor Freudenthal wants the U-S-D-A to consider the link between six cattle that recently tested positive for the disease in a feedlot in northern Wyoming and 31 cattle that tested positive in western Wyoming last month. Under federal rules, confirmation of the disease in more than one herd results in revocation of a state's brucellosis-free status.
Cheyenne, Wy – Wyoming will lose its brucellosis-free status following today's announcement of a second case. Six cattle at a feedlot in Worland tested positive for brucellosis this week. Those cows were sold out of the same Sublette County herd where the disease was found in November. But because they changed hands, they are now considered to be from a different herd and a second case. Logan says he would not necessarily say the discovery is "devastating" to Wyoming's cattle industry. But he says it's a blow to the industry and will cause hardship.