Casper, WY – The multiple fraud trial of Natrona County District Attorney Kevin Meenan has been cancelled. The trial was scheduled to begin Monday in Casper. A hearing in the case will be held instead. Neither Special Prosecutor Frank Chapman nor Meenan's attorney Terry Mackey would comment on the nature of the hearing. Meenan announced earlier this week that he was resigning as District Attorney, effective Friday. Meenan faces five counts of forger and other charges in the handling of finances involving his stepchildren.
Wyoming – Topic: Conflicts facing the Wyoming educational community are school construction and new ways of cost of living for school districts; Guest: Sandy Shuptrine, Superintendent of Teton County Schools
Topic: Business in Wyoming; Guest: Aliza Sherman, former marketing director of the Wyoming Business Counsel.
Renny Mackay reports on the flu shot shortage in the state of Wyoming.
Wyoming – The Centers for Disease Control say more people have had their flu shots this year than ever before. This has led to a shortage of the vaccine. Wyoming Public radio reports shots are now in short supply in this state but there may be a little help on the way....
Jackson, Wy – The legislature is considering a new system for the regional cost of living index. Teton County officials are strongly opposed to this new index. The state uses this index to distribute money to school districts for teacher salaries. It had used cost of living alone but based on a new study by a U-W economics professor the state would take many other factors into account.
Cheyenne, WY – A man from Johnson county is being treated for a brucellosis infection. Tracy Murphy of the Wyoming Health Department says the source of the disease has not been determined. He says there have been no other cases of brucellosis in humans and the agency doesn't have reason to believe the Johnson county case is a risk to others. Murphy says privacy laws prevented him from releasing the man's name or other information. The most common way for humans to contract the disease is from handling tissue or blood from infected animals.
Cheyenne, Wy – The head of the Wyoming Highway Patrol says a study shows the patrol is understaffed by 122 officers. Colonel John Cox told the Joint Appropriations Committee that some three million dollars recommended by the Governor to pay for ten new patrol officers is needed to deal with issues like fatigue and that ability to keep roads open. Cox also says it would make roads safer because more traffic stops cut down on the number of accidents. He says this is especially true during bad weather and on some of the roads where there have been a high number of crashes.
Washington, D.C. – National Park Service officials say they chose the stricter of two ways to test snowmobile emissions for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Final rules were filed Tuesday and are expected to be published Thursday. Conservationists are already attacking them and say the agency ignored thousands of people who said they don't want snowmobilers in the parks. Environmental groups favor a plan written by the Clinton administration to phase out the machines in favor of snowcoaches.
Laramie, Wy – The Centers for Disease Control announced Wednesday they will send Wyoming more doses of the flu vaccine. State Health Officer, Brent Sherard, says they asked the C-D-C for two thousand pediatric and five thousand adult shots. He has heard they will only get 150 adult shots because that is all that is available, but should get 2000 pediatric doses. He doesn't know when they will arrive. Sherard says right now shots are running low in many communities. In Laramie County, where the most cases are, there are zero vaccines left.
Jackson, WY – Voters in Jackson defeated a plan to revitalize downtown by increasing development rights. The Downtown Redevelopment District was rejected by a vote of 1,124 to 626. The Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance had problems with the proposed district. Director Franz Cammenzind says it was a difficult issue for his group's board to tackle. Cammenzind says the plan has many good aspects to it and tended to concentrate development in existing developed areas. But he says there were no guarantees that it would stop the sprawl seen in rural Teton county.
Cody, Wy – Of five recent Yellowstone-area wolf deaths under investigation, four did not die naturally. That's according to a federal official. Tim Eicher is a special agent with the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service. He says at least three of the five wolves were shot to death. At this stage of the investigation, he says he CANNOT conclude whether any of the deaths are related. It is a federal crime to kill a wolf without authorization because wolves are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Topic: Governor Dave Freudenthal presented his budget plan that calls for an increase in general fund spending and has caught the attention of the Republican members; Guest: Randall Luthi, House Floor Leader and Acting Committee Leader
Bob Beck speaks with Jackson resident and author of "Select Peaks of Greater Yellowstone", Tom Turiano about the mountaineering history and guide.
Jim Morgan speaks with Jennifer Thompson from the Wyoming Symphony about this weekends concerts, Sounds of the Seasons
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming may have another case of brucellosis in cattle on its hands. The state already has quarantined one herd in Sublette county after preliminary tests indicated brucellosis in some cows. But State Veterinarian Jim Logan says a cow that came through a Wyoming sale barn has tested positive for the disease. Further testing is being done to confirm the case. Logan says it isn't exactly known right now where the cow comes from. He says it's possible it could have come from outside Wyoming.
Casper, Wy – Wyoming District Attorney Kevin Meenan says he will resign Friday. Meenan is scheduled to face trial on ten felony counts and a misdemeanor charge on Monday. It concerns allegations that he mishandled a settlement his daughter received, along with charges that he forged the names of his stepson and stepdaughter to obtain credit cards. In addition, he is accused of illegally obtaining money by writing checks against one of the cards. In a statement released to the media, Meenan says he's resigning because it is in the best interest of his family, office and community.
Cheyenne, WY – A group of four family practice doctors in Cheyenne might stop providing obstetrical care due to the rising cost of medical malpractice insurance. Physicians from Family First lamented the high cost of medical malpractice insurance in a recent letter to Governor Freudenthal. The doctors pleaded with Freudenthal to support tort reform and other ways states have managed liability insurance costs. One of the doctors say the group's insurance carrier expects to increase premiums 40 percent next year. The doctors have decided to price out two other providers.
Story, WY – Federal funds have become available for residents of the town of Story to protect their homes from wildfires. The federal government says STory is at risk of wildfire. To date the town has received over 231 thousand dollars in grants under the U.S. Department of Interior's National Fire Plan. Most of the money is being used to create a firebreak between the community and the Bighorn Mountains. But just over 42 thousand dollars has been reserved to help landowners establish "defensible spaces" around their homes.
Cheyenne, Wy – The Governor defended his proposed budget for several hours, including an increase of 108 new workers. Governor Dave Freudenthal says he understands the questions, but he says the growth is not inappropriate for the activities they are being asked to do. But acting committee member and House Majority Floor Leader Randall Luthi is concerned about the increase. The Governors budget is a 17 percent increase in the state general fund, but Freudenthal argues that it is still relatively flat. Luthi says some trimming will need to occur.
Jackson Hole, Wy – The Town Council adopted the Downtown redevelopment district in September, but critics collected signatures to force a referendum. The plan is to slow sprawl, but opponents say not enough attention is paid to housing, and it lacks overall guarentees.
Cheyenne, Wy – Wyoming Secretary of State Joe Meyer says as long as nothing goes wrong, the state should be able to have new voter systems in place in time for the 2004 elections. He told the Joint Appropriations Committee that they should be able to do upgrades, buy new equipment and address disability issues with the 20 million dollars promised by the federal government. Meyer says if the state does not get federal funding, they will not do the upgrades, despite a law that says they must.
Cheyenne, Wy – A Texas non-profit group is battling Wyoming over the use of the Wyoming trademark. Deputy Secretary of State Pat Arp says the Texas Stampede is taking the state to court over whether Wyoming actually owns the state Bucking Bronc Trademark. Arp says Wyoming should have a strong case, since the logo has used since 1918.
Cheyenne, WY – In the Governor's proposed budget for the next two years, he's recommending the Wyoming Department of Health receive 111 million dollars less than it's request. The total budget request was for $1.2 billion. Department of Health Director Deb Fleming says they're already working on some cost containment plans such as in the area of Medicaid and prescription drugs. But she says her agency will try to do its best to work within the budget.
Laramie, WY – University of Wyoming President Phil Dubois says he's optimistic the legislature will approve most of his budget. Governor Freudenthal is recommending most of what Dubois wants, including emergency repairs to War Memorial Stadium and ten million dollars in other projects. Dubois says the request is a good budget, but he still plans to ask lawmakers for his original request, including more money for salaries and two million dollars in athletics spending Freudenthal did not include.
Green River, WY – The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has given final approval for a conservation easement protecting winter range for elk, mule deer and bighorn sheep in the Shoshone National Forest. That approval comes over the concerns by Park County Commissioners. The 635 acre easement is located on private land in the lower north fork corridor near Cody. Commissioners voted to buy it for 400 thousand dollars. The easement does not include provisions for public access, however, which concerned some Park County Commissioners.
Laramie, Wy – Snowpack levels in one part of the state are the highest they've been since 1998. But, despite early snow a meteorologist says this will just be a normal winter across Wyoming. John Griffith is the Warning Coordinator Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Cheyenne. He says the snowpack in the Southeast is the highest it's been in five years, other areas aren't doing as well though. Specifically, Griffith says the Fremont County area and the Northeast have only 75% of normal snowpack.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming officials will be trying to get a Montana lawsuit over coal-bed methane development in the Powder River Basin moved to a state federal court this week. Attorney General Pat Crank says environmental groups filed the suit in federal court in Billings, Montana shortly after the Bureau of Land Management released it's environmental impact statement. Crank objects to environmental groups engaging in what he calls "forum shopping" for their action.
Cody, WY – Officials in Park county must come up with another 500 to 700 thousand dollars to build a new jail or start trimming optional items. The project has been bid between 13 and 14 million dollars, but jail planners want to find more money for items like a garage, additional cells and asphalt not included in the original plans. Officials also want to include a communications tower which would ensure reliable communication with the jail. Planners say a possible source of extra funding is interest on the nearly 14 million dollars generated for the project.
Laramie, Wy – The flu season just keeps getting worse in Wyoming. The number of cases reported in Wyoming so far this fall has been rising exponentially. Health officials now say 806 flu cases have been identified statewide -- up from 475 cases last week and 209 the week before that. Just 533 cases were reported all last flu season. By far the most cases have been in Laramie County, where 351 people have come down with the bug.
Cody, WY – Park County Commissioners are reevaluating their chances of getting the McCullough Peaks Wilderness Study Area revoked. Only Congress can create or revoke wilderness study areas. And Commissioner Marie Fontaine says revoking the wilderness study area is a losing proposition right now considering the current makeup of Congress. The McCullough Peaks Wilderness STudy area covers about eight thousand acres southwest of Powell. If ever designated by Congress as an officials wilderness area, it would be subject to tighter regulation. That would mean no morotized vehicles.
Washington, D.C. – The Bush Administration is proposing new rules to help ranchers who graze on Public Lands. Environmentalists are concerned because they say the rules roll back all of the Clinton Era Restrictions on managing rangeland, which will lead to overgrazing. They also fear that the new rules make it harder for public comment to take place. B-L-M Special Assistant Jim Kenna insists that they are not rolling back anything.The new rues also gives the Bureau of Land management two years, instead of one, to make grazing decisions needed to maintain healthy ranges.
Boulder, WY – State Veterinarian Jim Logan says a cattle herd in Sublette county is infected with brucellosis. Wyoming has been a brucellosis-free state for nearly 25 years. Logan says the 400 cow herd in the Boulder area tested positive on Tuesday and has since been quarantined. Infected animals will soon be sent to slaughter. The source of the infection is unknown. STate officials aren't sure how the discovery will affect Wyoming's cattle industry. Colorado has already banned shipments of cattle from the Sublette county region.