Cheyenne, WY – Officials at Great Lakes Airlines believe the energy boom in northeastern Wyoming could also be a windfall for them. The airline is changing its Sheridan and Gillette service. Great Lakes currently operates 3 round-trip flights every day from Sheridan to Denver, and 4 from Gillette. The airline is keeping that the same, but one flight to each town will be upgraded from a 19-seat plane to a 30-seat plane. Great Lakes CEO Chuck Howell says Gillette and Sheridan are growing air service markets, thanks to growth in oil and gas, so they want to take advantage of that.
Laramie, WY – Some business owners in Laramie are unhappy about a movement to ban smoking in workplaces, including bars and restaurants. A group called Smoke-Free Laramie is writing a no smoking ordinance for the city council to consider. Bar owners in particular are wary of the proposal. Reed's Package Liquor owner Jade Miller says he doen't think people in Laramie like it when others tello them what to do. But other businesses support the proposed ban.
Jackson, WY – Organizers of the Jackson Hole Community School hope to begin accepting the first students in September. Co-founders Scott Hirschfield and Kathleen Crowley have scheduled a March 3rd meeting to outline their plans for the private school. Those plans include enrolling as many as 125 students, offering international baccalaureate classes and providing scholarships to students who cannot afford the $10,000.00 annual tuition. The two have worked nearly four years to open Jackson Hole's first college prep high school. The school will be located in a business park.
Cheyenne, WY – A variety of bills dealing with funding for local government have been introduced in the Wyoming legislature. Many deal with short-term funding and infrastruction, but community officials are hopeful about a handfull of bills that would provide long-term funding. Casper City Manager Tom Forslund is exicted that local government funding is a priority this year. He says it's the first time in all of his years of local government that there is strong legislative support to help cities, towns and counties.
Cheyenne, WY – Despite some opposition, the House Wildlife Committee approved a bill that would adjust Wyoming's wolf management plan. House Bill 155 is a compromise measure that allows for fewer breeding pairs in the state, but requires regulating the hunting of wolves, instead of shooting them on-sight. The bill passed the committee 6-3, but Lyman Representative Mick Powers argued against changing the current plan and thinks the state is caving too quickly to federal demands. Powers says the state will have to go to court, even if it changes its plan. So he thinks it is best to fight.
Cheyenne, WY – As the Wyoming legislature tried to figure out what to do next over the wolf issue, there's another potential problem looming on the horizon. Last week, the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service Director met with legislative leaders and Governor Dave Freudenthal. The main topic was how the two sides could reach a compromise over Wyoming's wolf management plan in order to remove the species from the Endangered Species list. But Freudenthal also asked about who would pay for wolf management. He says the response was if the species is de-listed, U.S.F.W.S.
Cheyenne, WY – A bill that's been in the works for several years was approved on general file Monday by the Wyoming House. The legislation would provide a sales tax exemption on manufacturing equipment. Supporters claim a lack of such an exemption has kept some businesses from coming to the state. Cheyenne Representative Pete Illoway says it costs his community a key business last year.
Cheyenne, Wy – Gay marriages granted in other states like Massachusetts would be declared void in Wyoming under a measure introduced in the Senate. State law already defines marriage as a union between men and women only. But Gillette Senator Dick Erb said he discovered this week that Wyoming would have to recognize same-sex marriages granted in other states under current statutes. Erb says he drafted Senate File 85 as an attempt to "head off" the issue before it becomes one in Wyoming.
Cheyenne, Wy – A Wyoming Army National Guard soldier killed in a rollover in Wyoming is as much a hero as soldiers who died in Iraq. That's according to Governor Dave Freudenthal. Specialist Billy Jess Watts of Cody died February 5th while riding in an Army truck in a convoy on his way to train at Camp Guernsey. The wreck occurred on an icy stretch of Interstate 25 near Douglas. Two other soldiers were injured.
Cheyenne, Wy – Congresswoman Barbara Cubin is praising the state's efforts when it comes to wolves. During a speech before the legislature Cubin said that she appreciates their battle with the federal government. She says she hopes the state does not have to go to court to solve this issue, but admits Wyoming may have little choice. Cubin, a Republican, says this one time she's willing to go against the Administration and that the legislature can count on her support.
Sheridan, WY – A Sheridan native in the Army's 2nd Armored Cavalry was wounded in action in Iraq Wednesday. According to Nathan Leikip's parents, Leikip received shrapnel in his left eye, and "a chunk" of the eye subsequently had to be removed in surgery. Two other members of Leikip's unit were killed in the incident. Leikip's mother told the Sheridan Press that Leikip was due to leave Iraq in late March or early April. Leikip was also wounded in November.
Laramie, WY – Laramie could become Wyoming's first city to institute a smoking ban. The City Council is preparing to consider a measure written by Laramie residents to outlaw smoking in all workplaces, including restaurants and bars. The Laramie school board gave its unanimous support to the proposal Wednesday. Residents behind the ordinance say it would protect people from secondhand smoke and help prevent children from taking up smoking. A similar ordinance failed narrowly in Casper three years ago.
Cheyenne, Wy – The Senate said no, but the house said yes to a bill that could bring about a compromise on the wolf issue. The Wyoming house will consider a bill that deletes the word predator from the state wolf management plan. The word is a source of trouble for the U-S Fish and Wildlife service who says it wants to delist wolves. But they also told key legislators that they would allow trapping and snaring of wolves outside of the national parks. House Wildlife committee Chairman Mike Baker urged Representatives to send the issue to committee.
Cheyenne – The Wyoming legislature is moving ahead with the most controversial issue of the session, tort reform. Medical providers contend that medical costs in WYoming are rising and doctors are leaving the stat, since the state does not limit the damages someone can recover in a medical malpractice state. Trial lawyers say Wyoming juries don't hand out large award.
Cheyenne, Wy – The Senate travel committee has approved a bill that allows the state to take over operation of the Wyoming Territorial Park in Laramie. The financially strapped facility wants the state to take over operation of the historic site. Senator Mike Massie says without the state running the facility it may have to be mothballed. State Parks and Cultural Resources Director Phil Nobel says they will be able to provide the financial support and upkeep that the park has lacked.
Cheyenne, Wy – Two days after Representatives voted it down on introduction the Graduated Licenses issue rose from the dead. With a slight adjustment in wording, the house reconsidered and agreed to allow debate on the bill. It now allows for a young person to get a full license at age 17 instead of having to wait till 18. But it still has requirements for the number of time a teen needs to spend behind a wheel, when they can drive and limits on how many can ride in a car with a 16 year old.
Cheyenne, Wy – The Wyoming legislature will move forward with wolf legislation in an effort to resolve a feud with state and federal officials. Following another meeting with U-S fish and wildlife Director Steve Williams Wednesday, Representative Mike Baker of Thermopolis introduced one house bill and will offer a second later this week, to try and reach a compromise by yielding to the federal position on wolves.
Cheyenne, WY – The minerals industry scored a major victory in the Wyoming House Tuesday. Representatives killed a measure designed to work out differences between mineral rights holders and surface land owners. The bill was touted by supporters as a way to solves disputes in gas development areas. While Representative Pete Illoway admits there have been conflicts that shouldn't have happened, he thought this bill went too far.
Cheyenne, Wy – An increase in small school funding and in an area called external cost adjustment will mean a major increase in funding for state schools. The school funding bill, when combined with other education committee funding bills, will mean that no school districts will lose money. Meanwhile, the committee agreed to add in a six million dollar grant program for full day Kindergarten. This prompted committee chairman Jeff Wasserburger to say that education funding reform is just about over.
Laramie, Wy – Yellowstone and Grand Teton are changing their rules for snowmobiling again. Yellowstone Superintendent Suzanne Lewis made the announcement Wednesday morning. She said 780 sleds are now allowed in Yellowstone each day and 140 sleds can enter Grand Teton every day for the rest of the winter. The changes come in response to a decision by Judge Clarence Brimmer issued Tuesday night. That basically overturned a decision by a Washington D-C judge to cut down the number of snowmobiles allowed in the parks this year and ban them next year.
Cheyenne, WY – Snowmobiling in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks is on again. Tuesday night, U-S District Judge Clarence Brimmer issued a temporary restraining order setting aside a ban on snowmobiles. Brimmer says without the order, companies that rely on park snowmobiling would suffer irreparable harm due to lost business. He ordered the Park Service to develop temporary rules for the remainder of the 2004 season. Brimmer's ruling apparently conflicts with an order by a US District Judge in Washington, DC.
Wyoming – Cities and towns are out in force to get funding for local government needs. These needs range from infrastructure to a guaranteed revenue stream to local governments. Some of this is addressed in the state budget, but a variety of issues will need to be addressed in legislation. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck reports that community leaders are anxious about their financial
Cheyenne – State officials are continuing to stand up to the federal government on the wolf management issue. Yesterday the director of the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service visited the state capitol to try and come up with a compromise, but Wyoming Public Radio's Renny MacKay reports that was unsuccessful.
Cheyenne, WY – Federal and state officials could not come to a compromise Tuesday on how Wyoming should manage wolves. This means the two sides are probably heading towards a legal battle. Almost a month after his agency declared Wyoming's wolf management plan unsound the director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service flew to Cheyenne. He met with the governor, state officials and leaders from the legislature. Immediately after the meeting Governor Dave Freudenthal said there was little movement. If the parties can reach a compromise they have to do it before Friday.
Cheyenne – The 57th session of the Wyoming Legislature got underway yesterday with the state of the state address from the governor. He called on lawmakers to take advantage of the opportunity they have and make a serious impact on the future of the state. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck reports on how the speech went over.