Laramie, WY – The Wyoming Republican Party has moved its caucus for the 2008 presidential election to January 5th--now the earliest in the country. But not everyone is convinced the move will bring more recognition to the state. University of Wyoming dean and political scientist Oliver Walter says it's a good idea to try and grab some attention away from political powerhouses like Iowa and New Hampshire, but ultimately Wyoming just can't compete with larger states.
Billings, Montana – An Interior Department official says the federal government must take immediate action to conserve shrinking sage grouse populations. In recent months, Interior tightened oversight of some new oil and gas activity in Wyoming and Montana, in a bid to slow development in areas with high numbers of sage grouse. That came despite questions raised by industry representatives. They argue the evidence linking sage grouse declines to drilling is inconclusive.
Laramie, WY – Foreclosure rates are up 93 percent nationwide compared to the same time last year. But in Wyoming, the rate is about the same as last year.
That's according to the state banking commissioner, Jeff Vogel. He says that the percent of homes in foreclosure in Wyoming is less than half a percent. Meantime, more than one percent of all mortgages in the US are in foreclosure. Vogel says homeowners who get into trouble here have more options.
Laramie, WY – A Wyoming environmental group hopes that a recent air-quality study mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency in northwest Colorado will be repeated here.
Last week the EPA demanded that the Bureau of Land Management do an in-depth air quality study before finalizing its resource managment plan for the Vermillion Basin. That plan currently would allow three thousand oil and gas wells to be drilled there.
Laramie, Wy – University of Wyoming classes get underway again today but those coming to campus might see parking a bit worse then they have in the past. Because of campus construction, about 135 spaces for faculty and staff behind the student union and about 150 student spaces near the dorms are unavailable. U-W officials say there are not enough spaces around campus to pick up the slack and say people will need to use the free shuttle system. Some 13 thousand students are expected to enroll in classes this year.
Casper, Wy – A legislative committee has voted to draft a bill to ban smoking in public places throughout Wyoming. The decision came after the Wyoming Healthcare Commission and the Wyoming Cancer Society pleaded to the committee during meetings this past week to consider a bill that would ban smoking in bars, restaurants and other public places. Committee co-chair Senator Charles Scott of Casper said the panel would draft the bill and then talk about the ban at the November or December committee meeting.
Riverton, Wy – Those planning on doing a lot of hunting this fall might want to purchase ammunition sooner then later. That is because Ammunition prices are expected to increase by as much as 15 percent across the country. At Riverton's High Country Sporting Goods, Dennis Mazet says he has been told to expect increases after September first. He notes that price hikes have been going on for a couple of years now and he does not expect that to change anytime soon. Mazet doubts the increases will have any impact on hunting this fall.