Cheyenne, Wy – Wyoming's Consumer Advocate says higher natural gas prices should be here awhile. Bryce Freeman says the purchase price of gas by utilities has been volatile and that has impacted both gas companies and electric utilities that use natural gas. He says the high prices will stay that way until more natural gas is developed and prices stabilize. Meanwhile, Freeman says something needs to be done about electric transmission. He says that some changes need to take place, in order to be able to transfer electricity more easily in the west.
Laramie, Wy – Faster growth than expected is already straining the city of Buffalo's nine-year-old water treatment plant. Projections in 1995 forecast that Buffalo's population would not reach its current population until 2011. The Buffalo Bulletin reports that last June, the city used 75 percent of the water produced by the treatment plant. The plant had to be run at full capacity 24 hours a day to keep up with demand. Measures to keep water flowing to the city include construction of a water tank that will be ready in June 2005.
Laramie, Wy – A group of former lawmakers from across the West are banding together to try and build support for the Democratic Party. Wyoming's former governor Mike Sullivan is part of the effort. He says a major reason he got involved with the group is to try and make the Democrats more aware of the issues that matter in Wyoming and this region. Democrats for the West say they will work with current leaders of the party to build unity across the region. Sullivan says the group does also want to build momentum heading into the coming elections.
Laramie, Wy – University of Wyoming Trustes gave full support behind a plan to turn Prexy's Pasture from a parking area to a greenspace. Trustee President Kathy Hunt says the trustees will not reconsider their plans to turn the area into a walking part of campus. This will include the removal of some trees. But U-W President Phil Dubois says he has put together a group of tree experts to assist with the removal and planting of any trees.
Laramie, Wy – The eighth annual Shepard Symposium for Social Justice is being held Thursday and Friday at the University of Wyoming. This year's main theme will center on the 50th anniversary of the U-S Supreme Court decision in Brown versus Board of Education. The pivotal case called for the desegregation of public schools. The daughters of the plaintiff in the case will speak in the Fine Arts concert hall. It is open to the public.
Douglas, Wy – Cody and Greybull are in line to be the first recipients of money from Governor Freudenthal's centerpiece economic development program. The Wyoming Business Council Board of Directors approved grants for the two Thursday from the Business Ready Community Program. Steve Achter is the Business Council's point-man for this program. While speaking to the Board, Achter said he thinks the state's embarking on something historic. The State Land and Investment Board still needs to sign off on the grants.
Lander, Wy – Three people so far have expressed an interest in filling the vacancy created by the death of state Representative Harry Tipton. Tipton, who served 24 years in the House of Representatives, died March 11th of leukemia. He was 76. Those who have stepped forward are Lander businessman John Birbari; former state Representative Dale Urbigkeit, who is a building contractor from Crowheart; and Joe Malek, a member of the Solid Waste District Board who lives near Fort Washakie.
Laramie, Wy – The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service will reassess whether the Preble's meadow jumping mouse should continue to receive federal protection. Agency and state officials made the announcement Wednesday. The mouse, found only in Colorado and Wyoming, was listed as threatened in 1998. Designation of critical habitat for the rodent has delayed construction of housing projects and restricted farm-and-ranch operations such as haying and weed control.
Wyoming – Part 2: Scattered across the state, there are a total of 23 rural schools that have only one teacher. The cost of educating students at these schools is up to 10 times higher then the state average, nonetheless there is little opposition to funding them. Wyoming Public Radio's Renny MacKay visited a school with just one student and reports on why one room school houses remain part of the state's culture.
Wyoming – Part 1: At this point in history it might seem surprising to hear that there are still one room school houses, but they do exist in Wyoming. There are 23 single-teacher schools operating in isolated areas of the state. The smallest is Cozy Hollow Elementary with just one student. Wyoming Public Radio's Renny MacKay visited the school and has this report.
Cheyenne, Wy – Attorneys debated Wyoming's term limits law before a packed state Supreme Court Wednesday. Attorneys argued over a lawsuit challenging the law filed by state Senator Rich Cathcart, state Representative Rodney "Pete" Anderson and two of their constituents. Cathcart and Anderson are among 13 lawmakers subject to term limits. In oral arguments, attorneys for Anderson and Cathcart argued the term limits law strips citizens of their constitutional rights to vote and hold office.
Washington D-C – Lawmakers who oversee the National Park Service are questioning planned cuts in services at several parks. They say the agency first should pare back 44 (m) million dollars in travel -- including more than 215 trips abroad last year.
Worland, Wy – Add Worland to the list of cities that want to be considered as a site for a new medium security prison. Worland's City Council voted for a resolution last week expressing interest in such a facility, joining Casper, Torrington, Rawlins, and Riverton. Worland Mayor LaVertha Gotier says supporters believe it would help create jobs, something she says is badly needed. But Gotier, personally, isn't sure this would be the right type of economic development.
Wilson, WY – A Wilson man is the latest to announce he'll seek the Democratic nomination for Wyoming's lone congressional seat. The 34-year-old Business consultant Ted Ladd says reckless federal policies are hampering the state's efforts to strengthen small business and provide jobs. He believes large corporations should have to play by the same rules as small businesses. Ladd says the un-even playing field hampers Wyoming's efforts to strengthen small businesses and provide jobs. Ladd also believes the federal deficit needs to be addressed.
Cheyenne, Wy – The Wyoming Supreme Court hears a case on the constitutionality of term limits Wednesday. The case is being challenged by two citizens and two legislators who would be impacted this year. Term limits were approved by 70 percent of Wyoming voters in 1992. But in the lawsuit the opponents say they are unconstitutional. 16 other states currently have term limits for legislators.
Cheyenne, Wy – James Robert "Bob" Duke is appealing his conviction in the 1996 cliff deaths of his wife and son near Flaming Gorge Reservoir. In Wyoming Supreme Court arguments today (Tuesday), his attorney argued that Duke's lawyers during his 2002 trial were ineffective and that he should be awarded a new one. Public defender Marion Yoder also argued jurors were prejudiced against Duke by a model of the 200-foot cliff in the courtroom -- which prosecutors called the murder weapon -- and because Duke was shackled.
Cheyenne, Wy – State Corrections Director Bob Lampert is praising the work of the Legislature for allowing major prison construction projects to move forward. This year, lawmakers set aside 126-(M)-million dollars for renovation and construction at all four prisons. Lampert says the projects will allow 500 inmates now housed out-of-state to return by 2007. He says much of the expansion should also help improve rehabilitation and job-training programs.
Cheyenne, Wy – Wyoming Business Council CEO Tucker Fagen sees a bright future for Wyoming manufacturing. Especially with the approval of a tax break on equipment used in manufacturing. He says Wyoming lost out on several opportunities because it did not offer such a break.
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.