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.
Billings, MT – A federal magistrate in Montana says challenges to coal-bed methane development plans in Wyoming should be decided in a Wyoming court. U-S Magistrate Richard Anderson says parts of a lawsuit conservation groups filed against the B-L-M will remain in the Billings court, but other claims should be transferred to Wyoming. The groups say the B-L-M should have done a single environmental impact statement on the effects of coal-bed methane drilling in the Powder River Basin. Wyoming Attorney General Pat Crank called Anderson's decision an important victory for Wyoming.
Cheyenne, WY – The Secretary of State is asking for $1 Million to protect the state's bucking horse trademark. A non profit group from Texas wants the sole rights to the logo. Secretary Joe Meyer made his request to the legislature's appropriation's committee. He says the state has walked lightly in this legal fight so far but must now carry a big stick because the situation has escalated. Meyer says they recently met with the state's copyright attorneys and were told there's a risk of prolonged litigation over a number of years.
Boulder, WY – About 260 cattle from a western Wyoming ranch were shipped to slaughter Wednesday, the latest step in federal and state efforts to prevent the spread of brucellosis. Boulder-area rancher Jerry Jensen watched with sadness as the cattle were hauled away in five trucks. He says it was like seeing four generations of the family's ranching business going down the road. All the family's breeding stock, including cows, bulls and two year old heifers, were sent to a packing plant in Nebraska.
Laramie, WY – The legislative committee that drafted Wyoming's wolf plan is apparently preparing to fight for its plan. The committee decided not to drop predator out of Wyoming's law or to manage 15 packs across the state, as suggested by the Fish and Wildlife service when it denied Wyoming's plan this week. After some heavy questioning, Fish and Wildlife official Paul Hoffman admitted their biggest concern over Wyoming's language had to do with the courts. He says this all hinges on what they believe is their ability to defend a rule to de-list wolves, if such a rule goes final.
Cheyenne, WY – The proposal to change the way school districts receive money for teacher salaries suffered a major defeat Thursday. The legislature's education committee opted not to sponsor a bill that would give rural districts more money to help recruit teachers. It came out of a report the state paid University of Wyoming Professor Rob Godby to draft. It drew fire from Teton and Albany counties because it would have cut funding to school districts there. Senator Hank Coe, Education committee Co-chair, says he doesn't know exactly what will become of that proposal now.
WAshington, DC – Yellowstone is on a conservation group's top-ten list again this year of what it considers the nation's "most endangered" national parks. Yellowstone is one of six repeaters on this year's list from the National Parks Conservation Association. The organization says the threats to Yellowstone are lack of money and the killing of bison that wander from the park. Glackier National Park was on the list last year, but not this year.
Laramie, Wy – The Colorado Department of Transportation is looking at some different options for the future of I-25 between Fort Collins and Denver. This could include a rail or bus system, expanding the highways or building a new interstate somewhere else. Project manager Dave Martinez says the public input process will flush out the best option. He does say congestion will only get worse between now and 2012. He says they do want to hear from Wyomingites about what they would like to see happen.
Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming legislature will be asked to fund a match for a number of University of Wyoming athletic facilities and provide more for day-to-day operations. But a representative is concerned that U-W is spending too much on football. Jackson Representative Pete Jorgenson doubts U-W can be competitive in football, so spending millions to upgrade that budget could be a waste. He says people need to be realistic about Wyoming's football expectations. Jorgenson questions how much money is it worth spending to achieve unreasonable expectations.
Cheyenne, Wy – A state senator thinks Wyoming needs to do a better job educating inmates. During a discussion on community college funding this week, Appropriations Committee member Irene Devin of Laramie stated that Wyoming's graduation rate through its corrections system is terrible when compared to other states. Central Wyoming President Jo Ann MacFarland admits that a better job could be done, but she says they had to curtail some of their offerings when pell grants were no longer available to inmates.
Laramie, Wy – The wolf recovery coordinator for the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service says the decision to reject Wyoming's wolf management plan was not political. Ed Bangs says there were significant biological concerns, especially regarding the dual predator-trophy status. Bangs says his agency has a basic message for Wyoming: The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is very capable with good people working for it and it needs the ability to manage wolves. But, including the predator status would make that an unworkable situation.
Bozeman, MT – Brucellosis may play some role in the mortality rate of bighorn sheep in and around Yellowstone National Park. A Wyoming Game and Fish Department researcher says brucellosis has been confirmed for the first time in bighorns. Speaking to members of the GReater Yellowstone Interagency Brucellosis Committee, Terry Kreeger said an accidental exposure to brucellosis killed most of the big horn sheep at a research facility in southeastern Wyoming. He also says a wild bighorn in the Jackson area has shown possible signs of exposure to the disease.
Topic: The Federal Government has upset several official in the state of Wyoming about the decision for the wolf plan; Guest: Ed Bangs, Wolf Recovery Coordinator fo the US Fish and Wildlife Service Topic: A state wide program, Barn Again, Barn Here is celebrating a Wyoming Icon; Guest: Marsha Brinton with the Wyoming Council for the Humanities and Mary Humstone, a research scientist for the American Studies at the Unversity of Wyoming
Douglas, Wy – Another attempt is being made to establish a state lottery in Wyoming. For the second year in a row, state Representative David Edwards of Douglas has co-authored a bill to create a state lottery. Edwards says he wants to stop the drain of money to surrounding states by Wyoming residents playing the lottery. Edwards estimates the state could earn up to five (M) million dollars a year from a lottery.
Washington, DC – An appellate court in Washington, D.C. Tuesday refused to suspend a ruling that curtailed snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park. The appeals court is considering several appeals and says the state of Wyoming, and others who had asked for a stay, did not satisified the stringent standards needed for a court to grant it. The appeals themselves now go forward, but could take months to decide. In December, US District Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered the Park Service to drop a plan to allow snowmobiling to continue in Yellowstone and Grand Teton.
Cheyenne, WY – The Director of Workforce Services told the legislature's Joint Appropriations Committee Monday they have formed a committee to better track some of the business training grant money the agency provides. Senators Irene Devin and Rich Cathcart expressed concern there might have been abuses. But agency Director Kathy Emmons says this workgroup will take a closer look at exactly what they are providing. Emmons says it's critical the grant funds have oversight because the program is used as a recruitment tool for new businesses thinking of relocating.
Cheyenne, WY – The U-S Fish and Wildlife SErvice is expected to rule soon whether Wyoming's plan to manage gray wolves is acceptable. U-S Interior Department officials aren't saying expactly when their decision will be announced. Wyoming Chief Deputy Attorney General Mike O'Donnell says the rule could come as early as Thursday. The agency has been reviewing wolf management plans submitted by Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. All three states must have acceptable plans before the gray wolf can be removed from the endangered species list.
Washington, DC – The Justice Department has filed a notice of appeal in a lawsuit over whether snowmobiles should be allowed in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. The notice was filed Monday in the U-S Circuit Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia circuit. The notice preserves the Bush administration's right to lodge an appeal in the case after U-S District Judge Emmet Sullivan reimposed a Clinton-era plan to phase out snowmobiles in the parks.
Billings, MT – The US Fish and Wildlife Service rejected Wyoming's wolf management plan Tuesday. One of three areas the federal government had problems with was Wyoming dual classification plan. That would classify wolves as predators in much of the state and leave the animals open to unregulated killing.
Laramie, WY – The University of Wyoming will have its' budget request heard before the legislature's Joint Appropriations Committee Tuesday. U-W President Phil Dubois says he'll be presenting legislators with a combination of what they requested, keeping in mind what Governor Freudenthal proposed in his budget. Dubois expects the most questions he'll face will be about salaries and athletic facilities and operations.
Laramie, WY – The University of Wyoming's student government President cautioned Trustees Friday about a proposed double-digit fee increase. Jack Edwards says student senators are concerned about "a dramatic fee increase" of 11 percent because of how it affects the cost of an overall college education. Edwards says many students are now non-traditional students who have families, rents and other costs than a college education. U-W President Phil Dubois says the driving force is anticipated salary and health increases increases for employees.
Laramie, Wy – A newly formed organization is planning an anti war rally this weekend in Casper. Chairman Tom Blemming says he founded Wyomingites United Against War in Iraq and the Patriot Act last week. He says the goal is to change leaders in Washington D-C because the current government is focused on war over other priorities. Blemming's group plans a protest this Saturday in Casper. He says it will not be a Democratic party rally, but people with all views will attend, including Republicans.
Yellowstone National Park, WY – A wolf expert says the wolf population in and around Yellowstone is probably reaching its limit because of the numbers of elk in the area are on the decline. Chris Smith told Montana Outfitters and Guides Association members over the weekend that wolves will spread to new areas, but probably will stick to mountain country. Smith if the Chief of Staff for the Montana Kepartment of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. He worked with wolves in Alaska for 20 years.