Green River, WY – A movie theater in Green River will reopen after residents flooded the owner with requests and phone calls to reconsider closing it. The Star Twin will reopen in six to seven weeks depending on when new chairs and equipment arrive. That's according to Encore Cinemas President Randy Pryde. He says when the theater closed, the company sold the chairs and equipment, so it had to order more before reopening. The movie house will reopen as a discount theater.
Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming Arts Council says it is at the halfway point in an effort to raise 100 thousand dollars in 100 days. The council needs to raise the money to access a 100 thousand dollar legislative matching grant. First Lady Nancy Freudenthal encourages artists and residents to continue with the fundraising push. Freudenthal says it's important to get the rest of the way in order to meet the state match. The Arts Council will use the funds to provide arts grants throughout Wyoming. IF the money is raised, it will double the amount of grant money currently available.
Gillette, Wy – Cattle ranchers are hoping prices remain strong and will offset any possible effects of a brucellosis scare. Ranchers have been enjoying high prices in the U.S. cattle market for the past few months. Strong consumer demand, continued drought on the Plains and a case of mad cow disease in Canada sent cattle prices in the United States to more than 100-dollars per hundred pounds in November. Last year at the same time, prices were around 60-dollars.
Washington, DC – The National Park Service will need to start phasing out snowmobiles from Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Tuesday, a federal judge refused to suspend his ruling that struck down a Bush Administration plan to allow snowmobiling to continue. Washington DC District Judge Emmet Sullivan reinstated a Clinton Administration plan that will ban the machines starting next winter. Snowmobiling is still allowed this year, but with restrictions that the state of Wyoming says will seriously hurt the local tourism industry.
Cody, WY – With less snowmobile traffic expected in Yellowstone National Park, the Shoshone National Forest is preparing to deal with an influx of people looking for other snowmobile destinations. Forest Spokesman Gordon Warren says the court ruling reinstating a ban on the machines from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks should result in more people coming to the Shoshone and other national forests in the state to snowmobile this winter. And even more next year, if the Yellowstone ban is upheld.
Cheyenne, Wy – Twenty conservation organizations submitted a petition to the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service to list the greater sage grouse as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The groups say the species has suffered declines of 45 percent to 80 percent over the past 20 years due to habitat loss. The Fish and Wildlife Service has received numerous petitions in recent years to protect sage grouse under federal laws but has declined to do so.
Cheyenne, WY – Another state is placing import restrictions on Wyoming cattle, following the discovery of brucellosis near Pinedale. Nebraska is now the third state to impose restrictions, joining Colorado and California. Wyoming still has its brucellosis-free status. 3,400 head from herds near the infected cows have all tested negative. If the state were to lose its status, that would subject the state to automatic restrictions for exporting cattle anywhere in the nation.
Cheyenne, Wy – Public health nurses are hopeful about the Governors 22 million dollar pay raise plan. Jo Ann Blevins of the State Health Department says the plan puts nurses on park with similar employees from across the country. Health officials say such disparities are contributing to the nationwide nursing shortage.
Casper, Wy – Two Wyoming legislators say they are pleased with the progress of the state's school funding model, but say that lawmakers also must watch spending. Senators Jim Anderson and Kathryn Sessions both have worked in public schools. Anderson says it cannot be an open ended process, but he thinks changes they have made will improve education. Sessions is hopeful that they are close to wrapping up the funding reform they have been working on for the past few years.
Denver, Co – Researchers are looking to wolves to help control the spread of chronic wasting disease, which some biologists say could invade Yellowstone National Park in coming years. Researchers says wolves could kill off sick animals through their ability to spot vulnerable prey.
Laramie, WY – Airports in Laramie, Riverton, and Rock Springs will not need 10,000 passengers to receive a million dollar grant for airport improvements. That's because in the FAA Reauthorization Bill the President signed this month, the passenger requirement for getting the money was waived. Riverton's airport is expected to meet that requirement, but Laramie and Rock Springs would have come up short. Laramie Airport Manager Jack Skinner says the waiver is a relief because they can now make a critical upgrade to a runway used for bad weather landings.
Wyoming – Topic: Wyoming Children's Action Alliance has release the latest Wyoming kid count fact book which is a county by county statewide study of the well being of Wyoming's children; Guest: Shelly Stewart. Assistant Executive Director of the Wyoming Children's Action Alliance
Topic: The Joint Education Committee of the Wyoming legislature will debate a bill that will add 21 million dollars to Wyoming school districts for regional cost adjustments; Guest: Jeff Wasserburger, Joint Education Committee Co-Chair Representative
Cheyenne, WY – There is a lot of good and bad when it comes to kids in the state. That's the assessment in the most recent Wyoming Kids Count Factbook. Shelli Stewart of the Wyoming Children's Action Alliance says the increased need for public assistance is a concern, but she says the fact that some of those applications are going for children's insurance, or Kid Care, is a plus. Stewart says the state has also seen a decline in teen pregancies, although it's only a slight decline and not as big as decreasing being reported nationally.
Cheyenne, WY – California is the second state to impose restrictions on Wyoming cattle following the discovery of brucellosis in Sublette County. Colorado immediately restricted imports of cattle from a wide area of western Wyoming. Governor Freudenthal's press secretary says the California requirement will be imposed throughout Wyoming and will require all cattle 18 months and older to show a negative brucellosis test within 30 days of entry into California. Exceptions are livestock from a certified brucellosis-free herd and cattle moving directly to slaughter.
Riverton, Wy – Wyoming Public Television officials are disappointed that Governor Freudenthal has slashed their requested budget increase from eight-point-one-(M)-million dollars to 30-thousand-dollars. Dan Schiedel is general manager of Wyoming Public T-V. He told two Fremont County lawmakers this week that the higher amount is needed to complete statewide conversion from an analog signal to a digital one. And he points out that the Legislature has already invested three-(M)-million dollars in the upgrade.
Laramie, Wy – The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service is busy investigating five wolf killings. Enforcement Agent Dominic Domenici worries that people have become less tolerant of wolves. He is calling on the public to solve these cases. But Domenici fears that some people are withholding information because of their general feelings about wolves.
Cheyenne, WY – Six proposals were submitted to the Wyoming Business Council for the $3 Million air service improvement program. The Council's Minerals, Energy, and Transportation Director is pleased with the responses because he says all would enhance service and not just fund current operations. Patrick Pitet confirms that one proposal, from Northwest Airlines, would be for direct service between Casper and Minneapolis. The other proposals came from United, Mesa, Great Lakes, and Sky West.
Casper, Wy – The Joint Education Committee has gone along with Teton County Concerns over a new regional cost formula. The committee will give Teton County one and a half million to address loses the county would suffer under a new regional cost adjustment in the school funding formula. Teton County school officials say the loss of money would keep them from retaining teachers. Albany County is another district that would lose money under the formula, but the committee did nothing to hold them harmless.
Billings, Mt – Attorneys for Wyoming have asked a federal magistrate to decide if lawsuits challenging coal-bed methane plans should be heard in Montana. Conservation groups had sued the Bureau of Land Management and Department of Interior. Among their claims was that a single environmental study looking at the potential effects of coal-bed methane development should have been done for the Powder River Basin. The mineral-rich basin is in Montana and Wyoming. But each state has its own development plans.
Cheyenne, WY – Two of Wyoming's top five elected officials held a press conference Wednesday to air some grievances. The message had an air of partisanship, but Wyoming Public Radio's Renny MacKay reports the officials tried emphatically to clear the air.
Newcastle, Wy – A firefighter accused of driving drunk before a rollover that killed 16-year-old volunteer firefighter Anndee Huber was sentenced today to 14 to 18 years in prison. Forty-seven-year-old Ronald Caillier pleaded guilty in July to aggravated vehicular homicide in the May 22nd crash south of Newcastle. District Judge Dan R-Price The Second also ordered Caillier to pay more than 99-hundred dollars in restitution. He was given credit for 208 days in jail.
Cheyenne, Wy – On the same day the U-S fish and wildlife service rejected three petitions to delist the Preble's meadow jumping mouse, the state has gotten in the picture. Because they say researchers of Denver's Museum of Nature and Science say the mouse is not genetically distinct from a common mouse, the state is the latest to ask Fish and Wildlife to remove it from the list of threatened and endangered animals.
Yellowstone, WY – The snowmobile season in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks started Wednesday with the cloud of a federal judge's ruling hanging overhead. Just 13 hours before the season got underway, Washington D-C District Judge Emmet Sullivan struck down the Bush Administration's plan to allow snowmobiling to continue in the parks. Sullivan ordered the Park Service to reinstate the Clinton Administration plan that will result in a ban on the machines. Snowmobiles are still allowed this year, but in smaller numbers and all visitors must have guides.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming Attorney General Pat Crank plans to file an appeal Wednesday of a judge's decision regarding snowmobiling in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Crank says Wyoming officials feel the Bush administration's winter use plan is the correct one. He says the federal judge who reinstated the Clinton administration's snowmobile ban has second-guessed the National Park Service.
Cheyenne, Wy – Three of Wyoming's five top elected officials say there is an imbalance in power among them. Auditor Max Maxfield, Treasurer Cynthia Lummis and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Trent Blankenship say they are supposed to be equal. But, Maxfield says right now other officials can trump their work. He says the governor is one of them. Maxfield says this is because the governor names the directors of the offices the five officials oversee, so they're more beholden to him.