Ottawa, Canada – Fears about the financial impact of mad cow disease aren't being helped by looking north of the border. Mad cow was discovered in Canada in May of 2003. And Canadian farm income may have plunged to record lows last year because of it. A governmental report says realized net income for farmers is expected to drop to a negative $13.4 million for 2003.
Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming Senate introduced four health care measures Monday in an effort to deal with rising costs. Senate Health Committee Chairman Charlie Scott says the medical errors commission measure is the most significant. It is among the two tort reform measures under consideration and Scott says it would set up a system to look into health care errors and possibly make changes to avoid future ones. Bills also introduced would assist in recruiting doctors, study health care technology and provide smaller hospitals with money to treat catastrophic cases.
Cheyenne, WY – Republican leaders in the Legislature were generally complimentary with their views of Governor Freudenthal's State of the State message. But the Speaker of the House says the Governor used over-the-top, anti-minerals rhetoric in his speech. Representative Fred Parady, a Republican, says the Democratic governor went too far when he said the minerals industry could inadvertently turn our state into a water and wildlife wasteland.
Cheyenne, WY – Governor Dave Freudenthal gave his second State of the State address Monday morning, formally starting to 2004 Wyoming Legislative Session. In a speech that lasted about 50 minutes, the Governor urged legislators to build schools and prisons this session and consider major savings later. During his state of the state message the Governor tried to convince legislators that paying for these things now, will free up money and the need for taxes in the future. He says failure to act now will result in legislators having to come back and face debt or raising taxes.
Laramie, Wy – A plane crashed near the summit of Elk Mountain Friday, killing the pilot and injuring the two passengers. Local authorities carried out a daylong effort to get the survivors off the mountain in south-central Wyoming. They were finally able to reach them around ten o'clock. The plane crashed around 11:30 Friday morning about a thousand feet below the 11-thousand, 100-foot summit. The passengers were able to contact authorities by cell phone.
Cheyenne – This week, the Wyoming Arts Council surpassed its goal of raising $100,000 in the 100 Days of Arts campaign. But this should really come as no surprise. In recent years, it seems the Wyoming arts community has enjoyed its own little renaissance. Wyoming Public Radio's Aaron Alpern has more on this unexpectedly rich part of the Cowboy State.
Laramie, WY – The first woman appointed to the US Supreme Court will speak at the University of Wyoming on March 16th. The speech by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will be at the President's Society annual dinner for major university contributors. O'Connor will also join an afternoon dialogue, which will be open to members of the general public. Nominated by President Ronald Reagan, O'Connor became the Supreme Court's 102nd justice and its first female member in 1981. Former US Senator from Wyoming Alan Simpson extended the invitation for O'Connor to come to Laramie.
Laramie, Wy – A study of medical malpractice insurance in Wyoming over the last 30 years links higher premiums to the economy, not lawsuits. The analysis was conducted by Americans for Insurance Reform, based in New York City. It concludes that the legal system is not to blame for rising premiums that doctors pay for coverage. Instead, the study says rates are influenced by the strength of the national economy or lack thereof, rather than increases or decreases in the amount companies pay in jury awards and settlements.
This week, the Wyoming Arts Council surpassed its goal of raising $100,000 in the 100 Days of Arts campaign. But this should really come as no surprise. In recent years, it seems the Wyoming arts community has enjoyed its own little renaissance. Wyoming Public Radio's Aaron Alpern has more on this unexpectedly rich part of the Cowboy State.
Cody, WY – Air service between Cody and Denver will be restored during the summer thanks to an agreement signed this week. The Cody Yellowstone Air Service Organization signed the deal with United Airlines on Tuesday. The summer-only service will consist of a 50-seat jet that Sky West will operate for United Express and a 37-seat prop plane flown by Mesa. State Senator Hank Coe has led the local effort to restore the Cody to Denver Service. He says this gets them back to where they where they were a few years ago. Cody even had 737 service with Continental in the mid-90's.
Cheyenne, Wy – A Democrat is disagreeing with the Governors approach to the wolf issue. State Senator Jayne Mockler of Cheyenne does not concur with Governor Freudenthal's attempt to fight the federal governments denial of Wyoming's wolf management plan in court. Mockler thinks Wyoming would be better off changing its wolf plan, especially since the state usually has little luck fighting the federal government in court. She thinks they should just make the changes and then implement a liberal hunting policy to address the growing wolf population.
Cheyenne, Wy – The Department of Family Services is hoping to complete an ambitious study. Agency director Roger McDaniel says it could lay out a roadmap for how to improve the lives of children and families in the state. He says that's possible because the study will involve individuals directly affected and the goal is broad. The study got a boost recently when the McMurry Foundation donated 100 thousand dollars to the effort. The legislature will debate a bill that will fund an additional 200 thousand dollars.
Cheyenne, WY – There's a transportation bill working on Capital Hill during this election year. Along with the president, all members of the US House are up for re-election. Despite that, the Wyoming Department of Transportation Budget Officer, Kevin Hibbard, says the state isn't likely to get any extra for road projects.
Casper, WY – A hearing takes place Thursday night in Casper on an issue various outdoor groups will support in front of the Legislature next week. The organizations are backing legislation to have the state purchase what are called the Homestake lands in the Black Hills. The bill would set aside $24 Million for the 31,000 acre purchase. The Wyoming Wildlife Federation fears a private buyer may get the land if the state doesn't act quickly. If that happens the federation thinks citizens could lose access.
Cheyenne, Wy – A state official says it should take several months for the state to find out if it can retain ownership of the bucking horse logo. Deputy Secretary of State Pat Arp says a charity named Texas Stampede is trying to prove Wyoming abandoned the logo. Arp says this has happened a few times before, but Wyoming has always been successful. She says the group is trying to prove that Wyoming abandoned the logo. Arp says the case with Texas Stampede is the only one that has lasted this long.
Boulder, WY – 15 elk were tested for brucellosis last week as part of the investigation into the outbreak of the disease in a Sublette County cattle herd. The elk were at the Muddy Creek Feedground, which is close to where cattle from the infected herd graze. The testing found four brucellosis-infected elk. Game and Fish Deputy Director Gregg Arthur says they are trying to determine if that elk population is the source of the infection. Tissue samples will be taken from these elk and compared to samples from the infected cows to see if they all have the same strain of the disease.
Casper, Wy – A federal judge in Casper is hearing arguments this week in a dispute over how to handle coal-bed methane water. The Wyoming Outdoor Council and others are challenging the Corps of Engineers permit that allows construction of in-stream dams commonly used to control the water from methane wells. Underground water is pumped to the surface in order to free the coal-bed methane. U-S District Judge William Downes says he wants to do what is right for the state whether it's advantageous to environmentalists or to the coal-bed methane industry.
Laramie, Wy – A group called Students For Progressive Action is beginning a statewide campaign to empower Wyoming's youth. Founder Adrian Molina says he grew up in Wyoming and almost did not attend college. So, the first year U-W law student is trying to help kids that are just like he was. Tonight his organization will begin a High School coaching initiative to try and reach students in a number of Wyoming communities.S-P-A recently got a Daniels Fund grant to launch the program. The official unveiling will take place tonight at seven at the Wyoming Union.
Cheyenne, WY – A rezoning application needed to create a second Cheyenne business park easily cleared its first hurdle Monday night. The City/County Planning Commission unanimously recommended rezoning the property in about 20 minutes. The only public comment was a petition in favor of the rezoning signed by 44 residents who live near the property. The 612 acre parcel is on the western edge of Cheyenne, between Interstate 80 and the Happy Jack Road.
Laramie, Wy – Restoring a cut to its athletics budget request will be a key focus of the University of Wyoming when the legislature meets next week. The issue centers on the Joint Appropriations Committee's cut of a request of ten million of state money and the ability for U-W to raise and spend an additional 10 million for athletics. The committee only ok'd a total of five million dollars. U-W President Phil Dubois notes that those who voted against the request are concerned that too much is going to football.
Cheyenne, Wy – The governor announced Tuesday that he's prepared to fight the federal government in court over the state's wolf management plan. So far he has the support of the ag community and key legislators In a meeting with leaders from several agriculture groups Governor Dave Freudenthal said he does not want the state to change its wolf management plan. He would rather litigate the issue.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming lawmakers will be asked to consider a graduated driver's license bill once again. Similar legislation failed last session, but Casper Police Chief Tom Pagel is hopeful about the effort this time around. One change made to the legislation regards driver training. A requirement for an official driver's education course was replaced by 50 hours of adult-supervised driving. While he supports the bill, Pagel isn't sure about the change. He says any time you don't articulate exactly what training is required, you have a "fudge factor" in there.
Laramie, Wy – The 100 Days of Arts campaign exceeded its fundraising goal this week. The Wyoming Arts Council needed to raise 100-thousand dollars as matching money to receive 100-thousand from the legislature. And the campaign to do that went over the edge last weekend with a fundraiser in Denver. 100 Days of Arts Coordinator Sonya Chung-Hirano thinks the success shows how much individual Wyomingites care about the arts.