Pinedale, Wy – A wildfire north of Pinedale is consuming large swaths of beetle-killed trees. According to fire officials, it's the second big fire in Western Wyoming this season that's doing more good than harm. Another fire is burning beetle-killed trees west of Cody. And so far, neither has threatened any buildings. Bridger Teton National Forest spokeswoman Mary Cernicek says it's the first stage of recovery from the beetle infestation. She says it will help clear out the forest.
Cody, Wy – A wildfire burning in the Shoshone National Forest east of Yellowstone National Park has grown to more than 3 square miles. The Gunbarrel Fire is burning about 20 miles from Yellowstone's east entrance and 40 miles west of Cody. A Forest Service spokesman says no buildings face an immediate threat but crews are taking precautionary measures by creating defensible space and setting up sprinklers around buildings that are about two miles from the fire. Those buildings are on the North Fork of the Shoshone River.
Laramie, Wy – Wyoming's largest electrical utility, Rocky Mountain Power, is asking state regulators for permission to increase rates by about 7 percent. Residential rates would increase by a little less than 3 percent. Company officials say the increase is needed to cover the cost of Wyoming's growing demand for electricity. They say that money raised by the rate increase would go toward building new power generation and power lines. Utah-based Rocky Mountain Power also is seeking permission from
Laramie, WY – Keith Goodenough says part of the nation's energy policy should include conservation. But he's not interested in moving ahead with more drilling, especially in sensitive areas like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: "I don't support drilling in ANWR or offshore right now. We're going to need oil in 30 or 40 years more than we do right now. I think we should save that as part of a strategic reserve."
Lander, WY – Ranchers and livestock officials say a western Wyoming rancher who has seen more than 20 of his cattle test positive for brucellosis would have much to lose and little to gain by slaughtering his entire herd.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is pushing the rancher to slaughter the animals. If he doesn't do that, Wyoming will lose its federal brucellosis-free status.
Cheyenne, Wy – A Mental Health official in Laramie County has expressed concern over lack of services available for returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Bill Quinn the Director for Peak Wellness Center in Cheyenne says his center is already struggling to provide mental health services for the community. "If we were to see a big influx of veterans coming back and families needing assistance we would be asking the state for additional help in providing staff to offer those services."
Cheyenne, Wy – State employees who practice healthy behavior and get checkups will get some incentive rewards. The state announced a new health care program called Healthier Wy. It is designed to benefit those who practice healthy living. The Governor's Health Policy Advisor Wendy Curran says that the new program focuses on the positive aspects of good health. Employees who opt into the program will need to fill out a form and get it signed by a health provider. Those who commit to healthy activities will get a reduction on their health insurance premium in the year 2010.
Buffalo, Wy – The Attorney General's Office has sued the Johnson County Commission and others seeking to reverse a 2002 county action intended to extinguish a conservation easement on a private ranch east of Buffalo. The state filed its lawsuit in Johnson County District Court this month. It charges that the county commission violated its fiduciary duty to county residents when it voted in 2002 to end the conservation easement on the 1,000-acre Meadowood Ranch. Johnson County hasn't filed a response to the state's lawsuit yet.