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WPR News
4:35 pm
Mon February 23, 2004

Casper Airport Manger Upset With Business Council

Cheyenne, WY – The airport manager in Casper is upset by last week's decision not to spend any of the state's three million dollar air service enhancement fund. One proposal that was passed on by the Wyoming Business Council's Board of Directors was one that would start jet service on Northwest Airlines between Casper and Minneapolis. Natrona County International Airport Manager Dan Mann says the council walked away from its responsibilities.

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Wyoming Features
4:32 pm
Mon February 23, 2004

Tort Reform

Cheyenne – Today the Wyoming legislature will continue its debate on what to do about the high cost of medical malpractice insurance. A key solution favored by the Wyoming Health Care Commission, Doctors and many interest groups in the stat, would be to cap damages in medical malpractice cases. Insurance companies have told them that without caps, malpractice rates will rise and more doctors will be forced to leave the state. To do that requires the state to change the constitution and that would start with a vote of the people in November

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WPR News
1:50 pm
Mon February 23, 2004

Freudenthal and Other Governors Meet with President

Washington, DC – Dave Fruedenthal is attending the National Governors' Association meeting in Washington, DC and got a chance to sit down and talk with President Bush Monday morning. Freudenthal isn't sure much new ground was broken, but says it was a useful meeting. The Governor did not use the opportunity to question the President on Wyoming's big federal issue right now, the dispute over wolf management. He says the wolf issue probably isn't on President Bush's radar screen and he thinks a regional topic probably wasn't appropriate in that venue.

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Wyoming Features
1:40 pm
Mon February 23, 2004

Business Council Decides Not to Spend Air Service Money

Cheyenne – A year ago, the Wyoming Legislature set aside three million dollars to use as a way to improve air service. The goals were to increase ridership and bring down airfares; and to do it statewide. Meetings were held in all ten towns with airports, proposals were made by airlines, and possibilities were studied. But in the end, as Wyoming Public Radio's Aaron Alpern reports the Business Council decided not to spend any of the money.

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WPR News
1:24 pm
Mon February 23, 2004

Jury Selection Begins In Casper Murder Trial

Casper, WY – Jury selection is scheduled to begin in Casper Monday for the rape and murder trial of Dale Wayne Eaton. Eaton is accused of raping and murdering 18-year-old Lisa Marie Kimmell in 1988. Kimmell disappeared while she was headed from Colorado to her parents' home in Billings, Montana. Her body was found in the North Platte River. Kimmel's relatives are planning to be in Casper for the length of the trial. Opening arguments are scheduled for March 1st in Natrona County District Court.

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WPR News
1:10 pm
Mon February 23, 2004

House Moves to Crack Down on Drunk Drivers

Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming House has voted to toughen up the state's drinking and driving law. Last year the legislature made a DUI Felony Law for people who had four convictions in five years. The bill the House approved Monday would make it a felony if someone is convicted three times in seven years. Representative Beckett Hinckley says this makes a statement that the state is not going to tolerate this kind of behavior anymore by attaching a felony charge to these types of violations.

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WPR News
12:29 pm
Mon February 23, 2004

Senate Strips Funding For Land Purchase

Cheyenne, WY – The Governor's proposal to buy a large chunk of land in northeastern Wyoming is getting support, but no funding. The Senate approved the plan to buy 32 thousand acres called the Moskee Tract, but didn't include the money needed to purchase it. That will have to be put back in later. Marlene Simons of Beulah says she and most of her neighbors want this done because the land is home to a lot of elk and deer. Simons says if the property isn't purchased now, it's going to be developed. She says if that happens, it will displace all the wildlife.

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WPR News
11:49 am
Mon February 23, 2004

House Makes Cuts to Budget

Cheyenne, WY – The state started the legislative session with $1.2 Billion in surplus. After putting a significant amount of that away into savings the House realized they have spent the rest plus some. That meant Representatives needed to spend Monday cutting back on proposed plans for spending. Plans that were cut included money to pay for preschool for kids with developmental disabilities and paying for dental needs of people on Medicaid.

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WPR News
11:17 am
Mon February 23, 2004

Legislators To Debate Wyoming Budget

Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming legislature will address the state budget for the final time on Monday. Key issues addressed on Friday included additional money for U-W athletics, but the Senate said no to several other proposals including one to save new surplus money next year. Senator Jayne Mockler admits she's concerned about this year's spending. Mockler says the legislature has spent all the money so there's none left to fix the Capitol or Supreme Court or even to build a new prison. She says it's kind of amazing the legislature could spend a billion dollars in ten days.

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9:37 am
Mon February 23, 2004

Monday, February 23, 2004 --

Wyoming –

Topic: Bob Beck reports on legislative issues

Topic: Aaron Alpern reports on the desicion not to spend any money of the air service enhancement fund by the Business Council.

Topic: A conversation with Governor Dave Freudenthalabout the National Governors Association Winter Meeting

Topic: Jim Morgan discusses the No Child Left Behind with Vice President of the National Education Association (NEA) Dennis Van Roekel

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WPR News
3:40 pm
Fri February 20, 2004

Courts Looming in Wolf Dispute as Norton Fires Back

Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming continues to move towards a legal battle with the federal government over wolf management. Friday, the House gave initial approval to a bill that will clean up the state's plan but maintains the stance that Wyoming should classify wolves as both trophy game and predators, which has caused the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service concern.

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WPR News
2:34 pm
Fri February 20, 2004

Health Commission Debates Medical Liability

Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming Healthcare Commission Director Diane Harrop says her group is hoping to expand the medical liability debate beyond damage caps or a medical review panel. Harrop says Monday's meeting will feature a discussion on the strengths and weaknesses of the current system. She says the keynote speaker is the Director of the Washington, D.C.-based group Common Good. Harrop says that group's members believe the medical tort system is not doing a good job of compensating injured people in a timely and efficient manner.

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WPR News
1:36 pm
Fri February 20, 2004

Business Council Hires COO

Cheyenne, WY – There's a new Chief Operating Officer at the Wyoming Business Council. Bob Jensen comes to the position from the Plains Hotel in Cheyenne, where he was the general manager and is still a partner. Jensen's resume also includes work as a management and marketing consultant. Jensen says he's excited to have this opportunity and thinks economic development is primed fo meaningful growth in the state. As Chief Operating Officer, Jensen will manage the day-to-day operations at the Business Council headquarters in Cheyenne.

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Wyoming Features
12:48 pm
Fri February 20, 2004

Education Legislation

Cheyenne – Over the next 2 years the state will spend about $1.1 Billion on education. That's up from just less then $725 million. Much of the increase is due to the legislature's effort to create a system that funds schools equally and adequately. Yesterday, the house gave first round approval to a bill that would try to put an end to the court fights that have surrounded Wyoming education in recent years. Wyoming Public Radio's Renny MacKay reports

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WPR News
11:05 am
Fri February 20, 2004

Air Enhancement Fund Won't Be Spent

Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming Business Council Board of Directors decided Thursday not to spend any of the three million dollar fund to improve air service. The fund was created by the legislature a year ago to help communities statewide. But the board was reluctant to take a risk on revenue guarantees to lure airlines and wasn't convinced this was an appropriate way to use state money. Board Chairman John Kauchich says the program's statewide approach may have to be amended. He says much like other Wyoming economic development programs, you start at the local community.

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WPR News
11:02 am
Fri February 20, 2004

House Approves Manufacturing Tax Break

Cheyenne, WY – Manufacturing machinery would be exempt from excise tases if a bill the Wyoming House has approved gets approval in the Senate. Supporters of House Bill 44 say it will help attract new companies to Wyoming and others may expand, which means more jobs. Representative Roy Cohee says little is known about economic development. Cohee says what is known is is what the state has been doing isn't working. He says Wyoming's entire economic development budget is smaller than that of Detroit, Michigan. Cohee says something bold need to happen and this tax break may be the answer.

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9:48 am
Fri February 20, 2004

Friday, February 20, 2004 --

Wyoming –

Topic: Wyoming Reporters Roundtable
Bill Luckett: Casper Star Tribune
Jim Stanford: Jackson Hole News and Guide

Topic: Wyoming is one of the two States in the country who tax the purchase manufactoring equipment.

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WPR News
9:39 am
Fri February 20, 2004

Raising Age of Those Eligible for Death Penalty

Cheyenne, WY – The state would not be able to put people under the age of 18 to death if the State House has its way. On Friday, 45 of 60 representatives in the House voted in favor of changing Wyoming's law and moving the minimum age for receiving the death penalty up from 16 to 18. The head of the state's County and Prosecuting Attorney's Association Steve Weichman says his group has not officially taken a stance on this bill, but says he thinks it's probably appropriate to move the age by two years. House Bill 5 now moves to the Senate.

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Wyoming Features
4:48 pm
Thu February 19, 2004

First Look at Budget

Cheyenne – The state legislature's main task this year is passing a budget. Yesterday, the House took a first look at the $2.4 Billion budget. Wyoming Public Radio's Renny MacKay reports on what representative put in and took out.

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WPR News
4:37 pm
Thu February 19, 2004

Airline Enhancement Grants To Be Decided

Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming Business Council Board of Directors are expected to make decisions on the state's three million dollar air service enhancement fund Thursday. The board will received a presentation on the proposals made by six airlines to improve Wyoming air passenger service and decide which airlines will receive grants. Great Lakes C-E-O Chuck Howell will be watching the meeting closely since his airline is one of the six to make proposals.

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Wyoming Features
3:55 pm
Thu February 19, 2004

Same Sex Marriage Bill Dies

Cheyenne – A bill voiding same sex marriages in Wyoming that were granted in other states was defeated by the Senate Judiciary Committee following a spirited debate. Senate File 85 was filed in response to the legalization of same sex marriages in other states. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck has more.

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WPR News
1:36 pm
Thu February 19, 2004

House Supports Ending Death Penalty For Juveniles

Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming House continues to support ending the practice of executing juveniles. The bill passed out of committee Monday and the entire House approved it Wednesday. Cody Representative Colin Simpson says he feels the move is driven by new science. He says it's more than just the House objecting to executing kids. Simpson says there is great justification for acknowledging there are a lot of reasons why a juvenile would act in a crazy manner. There wasn't unanimous support for the bill.

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WPR News
12:07 pm
Thu February 19, 2004

Wolf Management Compromise Won't Be Introduced

Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming House Majority Floor Leader has decided not to introduce a bill that would have brokered a compromise on Wyoming's wolf management plan. House Bill 155 was put together after a discussion with federal wildlife officials. But Majority Floor Leader Randall Luthi says he won't spend any more time on the bill because no major constituency supports it. He says there are so many other bills that do have a lot more support. The Sierra Club's Patricia Dowd is disappointed because it forces litigation.

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Wyoming Features
11:24 am
Thu February 19, 2004

Same Sex Marriage Bill Dies

Cheyenne – A bill voiding same sex marriages in Wyoming that were granted in other states was defeated by the Senate Judiciary Committee following a spirited debate. Senate File 85 was filed in response to the legalization of same sex marriages in other states. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck has more.

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Wyoming Features
9:15 am
Thu February 19, 2004

Same Sex Marriage Bill Dies

Cheyenne – A bill voiding same sex marriages in Wyoming that were granted in other states was defeated by the Senate Judiciary Committee following a spirited debate. Senate File 85 was filed in response to the legalization of same sex marriages in other states. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck has more.

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WPR News
9:00 am
Thu February 19, 2004

Wolf Management Compromise Won't Be Introduced

Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming House Majority Floor Leader has decided not to introduce a bill that would have brokered a compromise on Wyoming's wolf management plan. House Bill 155 was put together after a discussion with federal wildlife officials. But Majority Floor Leader Randall Luthi says he won't spend any more time on the bill because no major constituency supports it. He says there are so many other bills that do have a lot more support. The Sierra Club's Patricia Dowd is disappointed because it forces litigation.

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Wyoming Features
2:28 pm
Wed February 18, 2004

House Committee Holds Tort Reform Hearing

Cheyenne – A constitutional amendment dealing with a cap on non-economic damages and a series of bills dealing with medical malpractice and insurance reform were the topics of a full day hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. Committee members heard several predictable arguments, but Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck reports that it remains clear the issue is a hot topic among many in the state.

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WPR News
1:53 pm
Wed February 18, 2004

DC Judge Threatens Park Service Over Snowmobiles

Washington, DC – A judge ordered the National Park Service Tuesday to explain why it should not be held in contempt, for allowing more snowmobiles into Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks than allowed under his December ruling. US District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington DC scheduled a contempt hearing for March 9th. In December, Sullivan ordered that only 493 snowmobiles be allowed in the park per day. The Park Service last Wednesday began allowing 780 snowmobiles per day to enter Yellowstone.

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WPR News
1:41 pm
Wed February 18, 2004

Senate Committee Kills Anti-Same Sex Marriage Bill

Cheyenne, WY – A bill intended to keep same sex marriages from being recognized in Wyoming was defeated in the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Senate File 85 was sponsored by Gillette Senator Dick Erb. He told the committee that people of Wyoming are independent thinkers, but he has not heard a majority support gay marriages. Cheyenne resident Bruce Hays had a stronger opinion. Hays says for the country to recognize homosexual marriage would be a gradual slide into decadence and immorality.

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WPR News
1:14 pm
Wed February 18, 2004

Investigators Still Probing Pipe Bomb Bust

Cheyenne, WY – Two men found traveling with eight pipe bombs east of Cheyenne are members of white supremacist groups. The bombs wer found in a vehicle and trailer it was towing Monday night on Interstate 80. A state trooper had stopped the vehicle for driving erratically. Gil Salinas of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms office in Cheyenne says authorities have identified the two men. But he could not immediately release their names because it might jeopardize another investigation in Utah. Investigators don't know where the men were headed in the rented vehicle.

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