Laramie, Wy – Friends are remembering longtime Laramie resident Dave Nicholas as a great asset to the state and country. The 64 year old Nicholas was working as an ambassador in the Ukraine, when he died on Sunday. Officials in that country are expressing shock and sadness at his death. Nicholas first started working for NATO in the late 80's thanks to the help of longtime friend Dick Cheney, who was the Secretary of Defense. From that time he held a number of jobs as a diplomat.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming continues to see a good deal of highway fatalities where seat belts are not in use. During each of the last two weekends, there have been fatal car crashes on Wyoming roads where the victims were ejected from their vehicles. Two teenagers died on March 6th in a crash near Kaycee and an Idaho man died this past Sunday west Casper. None of the three was wearing a seat belt. Sergeant Steven Townsend says the number of fatalities where seat belts aren't in use is a source of frustration for the Wyoming Highway Patrol.
Kiev, Ukraine – A Former state Senator from Laramie has died of an apparent heart attack. Family members say David Nicholas was found dead in his office in Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday. Nicholas was an employee of the US Defense Department assigned to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. While in the Ukraine, Nicholas helped monitor recent elections. In Wyoming, Nicholas served in the state Senate from 1979 to 1986 and also at the University of Wyoming. David Nicholas was 64 years old.
Laramie, Wy – Most ratings put Wyoming's open records and meetings laws among the worst in the country. But the Director of the Wyoming Press Association believes that will change thanks to legislative action. Jim Angel says Wyoming legislators significantly improved Wyoming's open meetings law by putting in place penalties for violating the act. Angel thinks that is the kind of deterrent that will keep meetings open. He says this law, coupled with the passage of a recent open records law, is making government in the state much more open.
Cheyenne, Wy – The Governors Food Safety council is recommending a ban on facial jewelry for restaurant workers who prepare food. But some restaurant owners say it is a solution without a problem. The council voted 5-3 earlier this year to recommend the ban after hearing testimony that people were finding "tongue rings in their food". But Greg Smith of Altitude Chophouse and Brewery in Laramie finds that baffling, saying that he doubts anything like that would cause a health hazard. He also does not know how such things would get into food.
Washington, DC – The Director of the Bureau of Land Management says they are making positive strides in processing oil and gas drilling permits. Energy producers have been unhappy with the pace of BLM permitting. But BLM Director Kathleen Clarke told a congressional committee last week that they've improved their output by about 67% over the last several years. Clarke says it's a challenge because of the sheer volume of applications they are seeing. She thinks delays in drilling are also the result of the number of leases that are protested.
Cheyenne, WY – According to new census estimates, Wyoming's population has grown by more than 12,000 people since 2000. The Census Bureau says the state's population in 2004 was 506,529. However, the number of children from 5-17 year-old fell by more than 10,000 over the same period. As of the last official Census in 2000, the 5-17 age group made up nearly 26% of Wyoming's population. It now accounts for about 17%.
Casper, WY – A state wildlife unit has been renamed asA state wildlife unit has been renamed as a memorial for two renowned researchers who died in a car-crash late last year. Tom Thorne and Beth Williams spent many years researching wildlife diseases at the Game and Fish Department's Sybille Wildlife Research and Conservation Unit near Wheatland. Game and Fish personnel decided the best way to honor them was to rename the facility the Tom Thorne-Beth Williams Wildlife Research Center.
Washington, DC – Legislation proposed by Wyoming Senator Craig Thomas would restrict the amount of private land the federal government can acquire in states where it already owns large chunks of acreage. Thomas says his "No-Net-Loss of Private Lands" proposal would protect the rights of private property owners and instill some common sense into federal land acquisitions. Under his proposal, limits would be in effect in states where 25 percent or more of the land is federally owned.