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.
Casper – Use of the drug called meth continues to increase in Wyoming. For the next two days the city of Casper is holding a conference to discuss the problem. And the state is about to kick off a new public awareness campaign called Wyoming Faces Meth. In the first part of a two part series on methamphetamines in the Cowboy State, we focus on the voices that are seldom heard those of the drug users.
Laramie, Wy – An economist who studies the economies of the mountain west region is praising efforts by some Wyoming leaders to put more money into economic development efforts. Ernie Goss is a economist with Creighton University who says Wyoming's economy is currently doing better then most states in the region. But he agrees with those in the Cowboy state who think more money and effort needs to be put into diversifying the economy.Goss says Wyoming's job growth has been gangbusters, but he expects that to slow down quite a bit in 2004.
Washington, DC – Wyoming may have more incentive to straighten out its wolf plan. Federal officials say the state needs to make changes in order for delisting of wolves to begin. The biggest issue appears to be language that would make wolves predators in most of the state. But Senator Craig Thomas says he has been speaking with federal officials, including Interior Secretary Gale Norton. He's been told that if they reach a compromise with Wyoming officials, then the state might be able to implement its wolf plan sooner rather then later.
Laramie, Wy – Wyoming's Republican congressional delegation is praising President Bush's State of the Union address. Senators Mike Enzi and Craig Thomas and Representative Barbara Cubin are rallying around Bush's health care and economic proposals and say they support his continued war on terror. Bush told Congress that America is strengthening its economy and asked lawmakers to make approved tax cuts permanent. Senator Thomas says he supports the call for tax relief -- saying it's money that can be invested.
Wyoming – Starting February 10th, brucellosis testing will be required by all Wyoming Ranchers selling female cattle used for breeding. The emergency action is meant to clam buyers in other states who worry about the potential for Wyoming to export brucellosis after 31 cases were discovered in Sublette County. The testing will make it more expensive for ranchers to sell cattle. And Wyoming Public Radio's Aaron Alpern reports this comes at a time when BSE, or mad cow disease has dramatically cut into beef prices.
Boulder, WY – Governor Freudenthal is setting up a task force to respond to the brucellosis cases in a Sublette County cattle herd. One item that will get plenty of attention is the elk of the Greater Yellowstone area that are known brucellosis carriers. Efforts to vaccinate elk have not been too successful. Plus many winter feedgrounds seem to be areas where the disease can spread easily. Joel Bousman is a Sublette County Rancher, whose neighbor owned the brucellosis-infected cattle.
Casper, WY – Do not add State Senator Keith Goodenough to the list of those surprised by the federal government's rejection of Wyoming's wolf plan. Goodenough, a member of the Legislature's Travel, Recreation, and Wildlife Committee, also does not favor fighting the federal government over Wyoming's wording. Goodenough believes they were warned that predator status could be a problem, and now that the plan's been rejected, he thinks the state has no choice but to meet federal demands.
Boise, ID – The US Fish and Wildlife Service says a gray wolf found dead in central Idaho was killed by a poison. The wolf carcass was found in May and testing found the presence of a poison known as Compound 10-80. The agency says the chemical, which is used to kill coyotes, is toxic to wild animals, family pets and humans. The service is offering a $2,500 reward for information on the killing.
Cheyenne, Wy – Wyoming's Revenue picture continues to improve. The states Consensus Revenue Estimating Group says this years revenue picture should improve by another 12 million and next years increase will come close to tripling that. State Economist Jim Robinson says improvements in Natural Gas and Oil Prices are big drivers behind the adjusted forecast. Robinson adds that half the projected revenue is already in the bank, and some members of the group think the state will do much better then they are saying.
Laramie, Wy – The President Elect of the American Medical Association says Wyoming will keep losing doctors if it does not place a 250-thousand dollar cap on non-economic medical malpractice cases. Doctor John Nelson is urging legislators to take the first step in changing the constitution to make the change. Currently Wyoming does not have a cap and trial attorneys argue that a cap is not needed because Juries in the state don't hand out large awards. They also say that premiums are high because of economic factors that have little to do with jury awards.
Jackson, WY – A conference in Jackson this week will examine the culture, environment and economy of the greater Yellowstone area. Chartrure Institute Director Jonathan Schechter says "The Greater Yellowstone Power of Place" conference will hopefully become an annual event. Schechter says the conference is a unique opportunity to delve into the issues from many different angles. He says past conferences have focused on the economy or the environment. Schechter says this one will include the arts, community character, economy and wildlife and environment.
Denver, Co – Four conservation groups today sued the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service. They want the Yellowstone cutthroat trout listed as a threatened or endangered species. Plaintiffs are the Center for Biological Diversity, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Ecology Center, and Pacific Rivers Council. The lawsuit was filed in U-S District Court in Denver. Plaintiffs say the Yellowstone cutthroat trout is beset by non-native trout, habitat degradation, fragmenting of the trout population and disease.
Byron, WY – A number of Byron residents are protesting a decision by Big Horn County School District One Trustees to centralize schools in the district. A petition is aking that Byron be severed from the district and attached to school district number two in Lovell. Several parents have pulled their children from the Byron schools and transferred them to Lovell. The District One board voted four to three last month to build a new high school and middle school complex in Cowley, which is an eight mile drive from Byron.
Rawlins, WY – A bill headed for consideration during next month's legislative session would enable peace officers to have full authority in neighboring jurisdictions. Current law provides no authorization for peace officers outside their jurisdictions unless he or she has been specifically requested by a police chief or sheriff in response to a specific indicent. State Representative George Bagby of Rawlins says the bill has wide support from city officials and police. But he says some legislators have resisted because they fear giving too much authority to police.
Laramie, WY – Calling it a crisis, the Mayor of Laramie says there will need to be some changes in what city programs get funding this year. Mayor Fred Homer says the city is looking at a $900,000 funding shortfall for operations. He says without significant state support, the city will have to trim staff. State Lawmakers say they will provide additional cash this legislative session, but Homer fears it will not be an increase that communities can bank on in the future. City Manager Bonnie Ridley-Kraft denies that Laramie has ever overspent.
Cheyenne, WY – Despite the fact a legislative committee did not endorse new wolf legislation, a co-chairman of that committee believes there will be some movement between the state and federal governments on wolves. Representative Mike Baker notes the agricultural community is having trouble trusting the Wyoming Game and Fish Department won't let wolf numbers get out of control. And while Baker likes having predator status in the plan, he is willing to allow the Game and Fish to manage wolves through hunting licenses.
Cheyenne, WY – Loud explosions were heard and massive flames were seen Monday afternoon at the Frontier Refinery in Cheyenne. Frontier Community Relations Manager Selina Hoflund says there were no injuries due to the incident. She says the fire started in the Coker Unit, where asphalt is made into coke used when refining oil. Holfund was at the refinery when the explosions occurred and says it sounded like a sonic boom or a sound that trains often make near the refinery. According to Hoflund, there are between five and ten people working in that area at any given time.
Cheyenne, Wy – The director of the department of corrections says Wyoming needs one or two new facilities if it wants to bring all of its inmates back to the state. Currently 480 Wyoming prisoners are housed in other states. Bob Lampert says the legislature can choose to build one or two new facilities but it will cost six or seven million dollars more to build two and an extra two million a year to run seperate prisons.
Laramie, Wy – The Forest Service has made a decision on the future of the Medicine Bow National Forest. It requests Congress designate 28 thousand acres of new wilderness, and 28 miles of river as wild and scenic. It also sets aside over 400 thousand acres for possible logging. Forest Supervisor Mary Peterson says that could produce 22 million board feet of timber a year. She says that's enough to support one or two mills and possible more depending on the number of shifts they run.
Laramie, Wy – A joint legislative committee is supporting a bill that turns the Wyoming Territorial Park in Laramie over to the state. State Parks officials say they will manage the historic sites, pay for long needed building improvements and hire additional staff to run the facility. They will also provide a steady income stream. Meanwhile, the Territorial Park Board will still play a role managing some additional facilities at the site and they will also host some local activities.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming is once again going to try and open up the snowmobile case. Jay Jerde of the Attorney Generals office has filed a motion with US District Judge Clarence Brimmer to try and re-open the case and return snowmobile numbers to either previous levels in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, or at least revert to the rules published by the Bush administration in December. State Trails Coordinator Kim Raap says they want Judge Brimmer to rule on a case Wyoming filed in 2000.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming Public Television is asking the legislature to support its request of eight million dollars to go digital. The request was denied by Governor Dave Freudenthal. But Public Television General Manager Dan Schiedel told the Joint Appropriations Committee the money is needed so the state can go digital by 2006, as required by the F-C-C. However, Senator John Hines of Gillette says he's uncomfortable paying such a price tag for a service that does not serve a lot of rural Wyoming without cable.