Laramie, Wy – Tobacco companies sent the states five point eight billion dollars in fiscal year 2005. Out of that Wyoming received nearly 16 million dollars. The money is a result of a settlement between the tobacco companies and the states. Attorney General Pat Crank says Wyoming is expecting more money in 2006, but it's unknown exactly how much that will be because of some legal maneuvering by the tobacco companies.
Laramie, Wy – The Bureau of Land Management is under fire on all sides for its decision to allow more natural gas drilling in the Pinedale area. One group is appealing to the federal government to try and ensure the B-L-M protects air quality. They say right now visibility is limited and human health is in danger. B-L-M spokesperson Stephen Hall responding saying they're already working to prevent any deterioration of public health or quality of life.
Laramie, Wy – Starting this year summer school programs in Wyoming are getting a huge boost. To start with the state legislature doubled the funding for them and created new requirements for the summer school courses. The assistant superintendent of schools in Albany County, Suzanne Perry, says this will allow districts to use innovative techniques to help students learn. And she says that should increase the number of students that take advantage of summer school and entice teachers to come and try out some advance approaches.
Laramie, Wy – Right now it's not possible to tell if the Endangered Species Act works. That's in a report from the Government Accountability Office the congressional watchdog. The report says the agencies in charge of the Act do not provide enough information about recovery efforts. The G-A-O's director of Natural Resources and Environment, Robin Nazarro, says primarily there needs to be an estimate of the time and cost of recovering a species. And until then they won't be able to tell if the Endangered Species Act is an effective way to save animals and plants.
Lander, WY – Prescribed burns are designed to reduce the risk of wildfires and protect homes near forests. But a prescribed burn near Lander this weekend got away from Forest Service personnel and has destroyed four structures. Fire Information Officer Pam Wilson says two of those were summer homes and she was still waiting on more information about the other two structures. According to the Associated Press, homeowners are accusing the Forest Service of incompetence saying the agency left the burn unattended.
Laramie, Wy – A new report by the Public Interest Research Group shows that all states, including Wyoming, may have trouble recruiting social workers and teachers. The report says about 35 percent of all graduates could not survive on the starting salaries offered to Wyoming teachers and social workers because of debt from student loans. Cory Nadler is an organizer with the group that did this report. He says all efforts to give out scholarships based on need will help alleviate this situation and he compliments Wyoming for creating the Hathaway Scholarship.
Laramie, Wy – A ghost town in southwestern Wyoming is starting to grow. Opal has 105 residents and is listed on ghosttowns.com. But, is surrounded by the booming natural gas industry. Recently it won a 150-thousand dollar downtown development grant from the Wyoming Business Council to build a convenience store. And Williams Companies is planning on expanding its natural gas processing plant that sits just a few miles outside of Opal this summer.