Laramie, WY – Wyoming is still short state snow-plow drivers, despite some progress since last year. The Wyoming Department of Transportation says they're down thirty eight of a total 390 snow plow drivers. Last year, they were down 45.
One problem is that WYDOT only pays snow plow drivers between $22,000 and $32,000 a year. Truck drivers in the mining industry are often paid around $40,000 a year. WYDOT spokesman Dave Kingham says they often train new drivers, only to lose them to the private sector.
Laramie, WY – With the announcement of a coordination team to focus on ways to keep the Sage Grouse from being listed as an endangered species, the Wyoming Petroleum association says they are hoping to improve on some positive things already occurring.
Association Vice President Cheryl Sorenson knows there are skeptics, but she says the industry has made positive changes in business practices to protect all wildlife. She says this latest effort will include a website that will share best practices.
Cheyenne, Wy – State workers may be forced to start paying a portion of the cost of their retirement benefits if some legislators have their way. Members of the Joint Appropriations Committee on Wednesday agreed to ask the Management Council for authorization to push legislation on the issue in the coming budget session. Legislation could call for state workers to pay 3 percent or more of their salaries into the state retirement program to cover cost of living increases to the state's roughly 18,000 retirees.
Cheyenne, Wy – The Wyoming Community College Commission has approved a nearly 5 percent tuition increase at the state's seven community colleges. Currently tuition is $62 per credit hour. Starting next school year, that will increase to $65 per credit hour, matching a $3 increase enacted last year. Jim Rose is the commission's executive director. He says the commission is opting for small, regular increases rather than sporadic, steep ones. Commission staff could have enacted the increase without the
Casper, Wy – The Petroleum Association of Wyoming has formed a team to try to keep sage grouse from being listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. A federal judge in Idaho recently ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to begin a new review of whether the grouse deserves federal protection. Government and industry officials in Wyoming say that giving the bird federal protection could cut into energy production and harm revenues in the state. Paul Ulrich of EnCana is serving as chairman of the Petroleum
Washington, DC – Sen. Mike Enzi calls it an "anti-energy" bill.
Enzi said that while he likes some parts of an energy bill passed by the Senate on Thursday, he points out that the bill wouldn't provide incentives for coal-to-liquid technology - the process of turning coal into diesel fuel.
Enzi also said he wanted incentives for cleaner power from coal and increasing refinery capacity. But Enzi said the energy bill wouldn't do those things, either.
The bill heads to the House after passing the Senate 86-8.
Cheyenne, WY – Police in Cheyenne say a junior high school teacher was hospitalized Monday after a student put Visine eyedrops into her drink as a prank.
Police identified the victim as 58-year-old Jo L. Miyamoto, a teacher at Johnson Junior High. She went to the emergency room for treatment, spent the night in the hospital and was released late Tuesday.
A school receptionist said Miyamoto was back in the classroom on Thursday.
Washington, DC – The Senate today removed a provision from the energy bill that would have extended for four years payments to rural counties that once depended on federal timber money to pay for schools and libraries.
A House bill approved last week would set aside more than $1.5 billion dollars to compensate 700 rural counties in 39 states - mostly in the West and South - that were hurt by federal logging cutbacks in the 1990s.