Sundance, Wy – A compromise Eminent Domain measure was adopted by a joint legislative committee. The bill is a joint effort between some agriculture groups and members of the energy industry. But some landowner groups thinks the bill is too weak. One group that wants changes is the Powder River Basin Resource Council. Director John Vanvig says they want a bill with strong landowner protections, something he does not think this current bill provides. A Stock Growers Association official says they tried to compromise on a bill that has a good chance of passing the legislature.
Casper, Wy – While Senator Craig Thomas admits some changes are probably needed in how the country is fighting the war in Iraq his Democratic opponent says there is no question that change is needed. Dale Groutage agrees with Thomas that the U-S needs more support from other countries. But he says they need more Middle Eastern help. Groutage says the war is the biggest mess he has seen in most of his life but he says finding diplomatic solutions is better then just pulling troops out.
Laramie, WY – The state's efforts to help companies get a better price for natural gas from Wyoming will likely mean higher gas bills for Wyoming residents. Some Wyoming residents might end up paying 25 percent more for natural gas. But the chairman of the Wyoming Pipeline Authority, Mark Doelger, says the benefit from Wyoming's investments in gas pipelines is ten times larger than the cost of higher gas bills. The pipeline authority has had a hand in building gas pipelines to the Midwest. Companies can sell Wyoming gas at a higher price in the Midwest than they can get in the West.
Laramie, WY – The rate of home foreclosures is up nationwide, but the foreclosure rate in Wyoming is second-lowest in the nation. A study conducted by the Mortgage Bankers Association says Wyoming's energy boom is the reason for the low foreclosure rates. The group points out that home prices statewide are up. That means if people get into financial trouble in Wyoming, they can sell their homes quickly.
Laramie, WY – Calling the war a horrific problem, Wyoming US Senate candidate Dale Groutage wants the United States to come up with an entirely new plan in Iraq. He suggests getting Middle Eastern stakeholders to develop a new solution. But one thing the Democrat does not favor is a military withdrawal.
Casper, Wy – State lawmakers are looking at gradually increasing coursework requirements for students to qualify for the Hathaway Scholarship over the next several years. Yesterday (Wednesday) the Legislature's Joint Education Committee discussed minimal requirements that would go into effect in 2008. The requirements would then be increased through the Class of 2011. Students currently don't have to take any particular classes to get the scholarship. They only have to meet minimum A-C-T and
Laramie, Wy – A friend who's scaled peaks with renowned rock climber Todd Skinner says Skinner sometimes used gear beyond its life span, something that may have led to his death. Skinner plunged to his death Monday in Yosemite National Park while climbing an imposing rock face near Bridalveil Fall. It will take authorities days -- possibly weeks -- to officially determine why Skinner fell 500 feet to his death. A witness says as Skinner lowered himself down the rock wall, a
Laramie, WY – The federal government has a new computer program that may help prevent forest fires. It's called Landfire and it maps the country, identifying areas that are likely to burn. Kristine Lee is working on the project and says it's valuable because it shows land owners and managers what the landscape looks like on their property and on land nearby.
Laramie, WY – The candidates for state treasurer debated the best way to invest the state's money in Casper last night. Democrat Ron Redo says he would avoid investing in private equities. Those are investments that are NOT traded on the stock market for example, venture capital or growth capital. Redo notes that the state's current investors have purchased private equities.
"They've gotten into the private equity market, and that to me is a little too risky," Redo said.
Laramie, WY – The Democrat running for auditor continues to call for changes in that office. Bill Eikenberry says he wants more transparency and accountability in the state auditor's office, especially when it comes to federal grants.
"There's a general lack of oversight, there's a general lack of control. And I think that is where I would start as state auditor," he said.