Laramie, Wy – Despite several years of trying to run it themselves, a private organization will hand over management of the Wyoming Territorial Park in Laramie to the state. A proposal that includes a state partnership will go to a legislative committee next week. The idea is that it will ensure permanent state financial support. The plan has the state handling employees and most maintenance costs, but the local nonprofit corperation would continue offering community programs.
Sioux Falls, SD – The Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad has secured a $233 million dollar federal loan to repair tracks and bridges. The railroad is hoping to build a line into northeastern Wyoming to tap into the Powder River Basin's coal fields. D-M-And-E President Kevin Schieffer says the funding from the Federal Rail Administration gives the company a huge boost. Schieffer says much of the railroad's line was created from abandoned or neglected track. He says finding money to pay for improvements has always been a challenge.
Laramie, Wy – Since the state tightened up its drunken driving laws there has been a drop in the number of alcohol related deaths and accidents. The change to a point oh-eight blood alcohol content went into effect in the middle of 2002. In 2003 there was a five percent reduction in alcohol or drug related traffic deaths. Colonel John Cox of the Wyoming Highway Patrol says there's also been an increase in D-U-I arrests. Cox says that has contributed to the decrease in fatalities but he says more people are using seatbelts too.
Laramie, Wy – Nearly eight feet of snow have fallen on the Teton Mountains since Christmas. The Bridger Teton National Forest's Avalanche Forecaster, Bob Comey, says all of that snow has not made the backcountry especially dangerous. He says the risk of avalanche is moderate, meaning there is some unstable snow, but there is no weak layer of snow, which makes conditions unpredictable. During the last few winters Comey says there has been a bad layer of snow. He says because of that a small mistake could lead to severe consequences.
Sheridan, WY – A group of Sheridan county legislators will try to get a graduated driver's license bill passed this year. It would mean teenagers would have to drive with several restrictions until they're 17 years old. Kate Taylor does education on graduated licenses in Sheridan county. She says the community is behind the idea because 13 youth from the area have died in car accidents over the last two years. Taylor maintains that at least seven of those young people would still be alive if a graduated driver's license program was in place.
Wyoming – Renny Mackay speaks with Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Forecaster, Bob Comey about the avalanche conditions in Wyoming
Topic: In the past year, the number of alcohol related accidents and deaths have decreased; Guest: Colonel John Cox, Director of the Wyoming Highway Patrol
Topic: Communities around the state are developing programs for youth; Guest: Laura Feldman, Research Scientist with the Wyoming Statistical Analysis Center and Steve Hamaker, Executive Director for the Greater Wyoming Big Brothers/Big Sisters Organization
Riverton, WY – Legal fees and other costs of school finance litigation have totaled more than $3.5 million over the past five years. That's according to state records. The costs were calculated by state officials on request from the Joint Education Committee. It includes money spent by school districts and the state. Since 1998, the state alone has spent $2.7 million defending the legislature's position in the legal battles. The litigation began in 1992 and the Wyoming Supreme Court still retains jurisdiction over the case.
Laramie, WY – Supporters of an 8-lane pool in Laramie received bad news Tuesday night, but the city's isn't giving up on the idea. A group that raised private money for the pool heard that adding it to the new recreation center would cost $1.8 million. Friends of Community Recreation had raised $1.2 million. Group President Lisa Kinney says they're not giving up and want to work with the city to see if it has any funding sources available. She admits the city's tough financial situation is a concern. The architect will come back with a revised estimate for the pool in two weeks.
Wamsutter, WY – Wolves are being blamed for killing several cattle in southern Wyoming. In response, federal officials have authorized killing up to two wolves thought to be responsible. The cattled were killed by one or two wolves near Wamsutter, along Interstate 80. Wamsutter is in the southern extent of the area wolves are thought to be common in Wyoming.
Jackson, WY – A series of earthquakes woke people up, but caused no damage in northwestern Wyoming this morning. The first quake was the strongest, registering a magnitude of 4.7 shortly before one o'clock in the morning. The epicenter was about 19 miles east-northeast of Jackson. The U-S Geological Survey's John Minsch says that was followed by quakes ranging from 3.7 to 4.1 magnitude. The last one came around 2:30 a.m. A Teton County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman says her office got a lot of calls from people awakened by the tremors, but no damage was reported.
Laramie, Wy – Albany County's superintendent of schools says his district is under "fiscal assault" by a proposed school funding formula legislators are considering. Brian Recht says the Albany County School District is expected to lose 300 thousand dollars due to declining enrollment. He says the regional cost adjustment and small schools adjustment would mean even more lost revenue. Recht says declining enrollment led his school board to make the difficult decision of closing an elementary school at the end of this school year.
Cheyenne, Wy – Governor Dave Freduenthal is looking for support of several economic development proposals in his budget. The biggest is an attempt to enhance the Business Ready Communities bill approved by lawmakers last year. The Governor thinks the legislation will be key to Wyoming's future, but he says local government need to know that the program isn't going to just disappear after a couple of years.
Wyoming – Topic: Term limits could effect legislatures but attorneys are planning on challenging the term limit law; Guests: Harriet Hageman, attorney from Cheyenne and Tim Stubson, attorney from Casper
Topic: School Funding Proposal may effect districts across the state of Wyoming, Guest: Brian Recht, Albany County Superintendent
Renny Mackay speaks with Kate Taylor about the graduated drivers license bill
Gillette, Wy – The Bureau of Land Management today (Wednesday) ordered more environmental analysis on 18 planned coal-bed methane wells southwest of Gillette. The Powder River Basin Resource Council has sought more detailed environmental study of the planned drilling. No timetable is set for the additional study, but B-L-M officials say it should be conducted soon.
Cheyenne, WY – The state's consumer advocate believes "Choice Gas" has done little for consumers. K-N Energy has offered the fixed-rate plan saying it allows consumers to keep a locked-in rate and not be subject to the ups and downs of the market. But Wyoming Consumer Advocate Bryce Freeman says if customers had not locked in a rate and kept was is called the pass-on rate, they would have spent less on their utility bills to date. Freeman expects that will be the case in the near future. He notes gas companies have made money from the "Choice Gas" program.
Cheyenne, Wy – Two attorneys are trying to get rid of Wyoming's term limits law for legislators and the top five elected officials. Attorney's Harriet Hageman and Tim Stubson are challenging the law approved by voters on behalf of some citizens and a couple of legislators. Hageman thinks they have a great case and says it is likely others may choose to join the suit. She contends that Wyoming amended the consitution the wrong way. They also think that they have a couple of things going for them, such as the U-S Supreme Court throwing out the congressional term limits law.
Casper, Wy – Wyoming has new brucellosis testing rules. The State Livestock Board unanimously adopted the rules Tuesday in response to the recent cases in Sublette County. Under the rules, all female cattle sold for breeding purposes will need a negative brucellosis test within 60 days before change of ownership.
Laramie, Wy – Recent statistics show more kids have type 2 diabetes and some young children are even starting to develop some other health issues that used to be found sedentary adults. A University of Wyoming Professor of Kinesiology and Health,Tami Benham-Deal says a big problem continues to concern what children do with their free time. Instead of playing, many spend a lot of time around the television. Benham-Deal says parents need to make sure their children play and get exercise and children also need to eat smaller portion sizes.
Laramie, Wy – A convicted murderer who escaped from a Michigan prison was arrested Tuesday morning after a high-speed chase on Interstate 90. Ervin Brown was arrested by the Montana Highway Patrol in Billings, Montana, after using a spike strip to flatten two of the tires on his vehicle. He's being held at the Yellowstone County Detention Center on assault, criminal endangerment and eluding a peace officer. Brown, a 41-year-old Michigan native, escaped while on trash detail at Mound Correctional Facility in Detroit late Friday.
Cheyenne, Wy – The Wyoming Association of Municipalities has been pushing to raise the cap on the main revenue stream where they get funding. They say it is because they have a desperate need for more revenue. But Senator John Schiffer of Kaycee thinks that is a bad idea. Schiffer, who co-chairs the appropriations committee, mainly opposes the move because if the cap were raised, other entities would also get additional money that he says they don't need. Among those, is the legislature.
Laramie, Wy – The Wyoming Farm Bureau President admits her members are scared about what is happening with beef markets following the discovery of Mad Cow Disease in Washington State. Karen Henry says coupled with brucellosis in Wyoming, the whole industry is very nervous especially since the Wyoming cattle industry has been battling a drought. Henry says many have already lost money, and if the foreign markets disappear it will be devastation. She says low prices impact Wyoming worse because the climate keeps farmers and ranchers from diversifying.
Sheridan, Wy – Sheridan's Mayor is not surprisingly behind the Governors push to provide more money to local government. Governor Freudenthal has a proposal that could get 100 million in new dollars to cities, towns and counties. Sheridan Mayor Jim Wilson says the Governor is on the right track because local governments like his have a variety of needs and no other way to raise revenue. He says Sheridan needs upgrade to water and sewer plants, along with replacement of water lines under streets.
Laramie, Wy – A Laramie representative wants to eliminate capital punishment for Juveniles. Democrat Jane Warren has drafted such a bill for next months legislative session. Her bill would increase the age for capital punishment from 16 to 18. Warren says a lot of data supports the idea that the death penalty is NOT an appropriate option for juveniles. Among other things, Warren says the developmental level of people that young is NOT the same as adults.
Laramie, Wy – This past November residents of Jackson voted down a plan to change zoning in the city. The changes would have allowed more dense construction. One of the leading opponents of the Downtown Redevelopment District or D.R.D. was the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance. Now that group is holding public meetings to talk about growth in Teton County broadly. Program Director Margie Lynch says this discussion is a prerequisite for revisiting the D.R.D. Lynch says they will take the public's comments and draft them into recommendations for local officials.
Casper, WY – The State Livestock Board will consider a new plan for brucellosis testing at a Tuesday meeting in Casper. The possible change would require negative brucellosis test, prior to change of ownership, for cattle that are sold for the purpose of breeding. Breeding cattle do not make up the majority of cows sold from Wyoming, but State Veterinarian Jim Logan says this change would help Wyoming's standing with other states and improve brucellosis surveillance.
Wyoming – Topic: Websites that work and making your website affective; Guest: Aliza Sherman, former marketing director of the Wyoming Business Counsel
Topic: Statewide statistics show that there are continuing problems with obesity in the state of Wyoming and youth are not as fit as they should be; Guest: Tami Benham-Deal, Physical fitness expert and UW Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Health
Laramie, Wy – This year was the last time Bob Action Jackson will patrol Yellowstone's backcountry. Jackson is the embattled ranger who needed help from a U-S Senator to get his job back this summer. The Park Service said Jackson had poor evaluations, but he says he ruffled feathers by working to have salt baits removed from the edge of Yellowstone. He says they lured elk and grizzly out of the park.
Laramie, Wy – A group of citizens in Laramie is working to have an eight lane swimming pool included in a new recreation center. The group had to raise the money to pay for it on their own. President of Friends of Community Recreation, Lisa Kinney, says this Tuesday is the critical date for their effort. She says they find out if they raised enough money and then the city council will vote on whether or not to formally change the plans for the rec center. Kinney says if the council does not approve the change then the effort is probably over.
Casper, Wy – A University of Wyoming Professor doubts that more testing will weed out more animals with brain diseases. Ag officials think that more testing will help determine if animals have Mad Cow or other brain diseases. But Beth Williams, a leading expert on Chronic Wasting Disease says it won't help and is not an effective use of public resources.