Mammoth, WY – The mild winter has officials in Yellowstone National Park concerned about the summer fire season. The Park's Fire Management Officer, Phil Perkins, says moisture levels are strikingly similar to what was seen before the devastating 1988 fire season. He says February precipitation was exactly the same this year as it was in 1988. But Perkins notes they were in the same boat at this time a year ago. He says spring and summer rains helped them dodge a bullet. Still, the long-term forecasting doesn't look too promising.
Laramie, Wy – The U-S house has passed its version of the highway funding bill and Wyoming stands to gain over one-point-three billion dollars. Representative Barbara Cubin says it both provides overall funding for the states highways, but also provides over seven million for a pair of Casper Road projects and funding for some other site specific projects throughout the state. Wyoming Department of Transportation Spokeswoman Lisa Murphy says the key component of the bill is that is provides six straight years of funding.
Laramie, Wy – Wyomingite Tom Sansonetti is leaving his job as Assistant U-S Attorney General. He worked at the Department of Justice for three and a half years. Sansonetti headed up the Environment and Natural Resource Division. His work included the Platte River settlement between Wyoming and Nebraska, the decision to allow snowmobilers to continue using Yellowstone, and coal bed methane development in the Powder River Basin.
Laramie, Wy – The general consensus is that gas prices are going up across the country. A University of Wyoming professor of economics and finance says the Cowboy State could see prices around two dollars and forty cents a gallon this summer. Walt Werner predicts that the cost of gas won't go under $1.50 for ten to 12 years and then only if there is a significant development of alternative energy sources. Werner says a national energy policy could help to show where the oil reserves are and set up plans for them, but the policy won't have a long term effect on gas prices.
Laramie, Wy – U-S Representative Barbara Cubin has introduced legislation to prevent any attempt to give Devils Tower in northeast Wyoming another name. A spokesman for the Republican says the action is meant as a warning to Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton that a pending proposal by the National Park Service to designate the monolith as "Bear Lodge National Historic Landmark" will meet with opposition.
Laramie, Wy – Country music artist and former world champion bareback bronc rider Chris LeDoux has died. He was 56. His recording company Capitol Records says LeDoux died this morning in a Casper, Wyoming, hospital following a lengthy liver-related illness. Ledoux had checked into the hospital earlier this week following complications from ongoing treatment for cancer of the bile duct and was with family and friends at the time of his death.
Laramie, Wy – Last week a report came out saying there is a deposit of opal in Fremont County. The Bureau of Land Management's Lander Field Manager says since then there has been an opal rush. Jack Kelly says he doesn't know exactly how many people are out looking for the gem, but it's quite a large number. He says some are casual rock hunters and others are professionals staking claims. So, far no one has filed a claim at the state office of the B-L-M, but the rules say they have 90 to stake their claim.
Cody, WY – Park County tourism officials are expressing relief now that they know Yellowstone National Park's east gate will not be closed for the month of October. Originally, the road over Sylvan Pass was to be closed for construction this May and October, but the Park Service has decided that neither month-long closure will happen. Gene Bryan is the Executive Director of the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce. He says after the closure of the East Gate in 2003 because of fire and 2004 because of mudslides, any major shut-down this year would have been too much.