Cheyenne, WY – A bill setting up a Medical Review Panel will go to the full legislature, but a policy question remains. Judiciary Committee members can't decide whether the panel should just be a screening panel or if it should be a full blown hearing, with evidence available to be used in court. But they voted to send the bill to the Legislature who can work out the details. The Medical Review Panel concept was approved by Wyoming Voters in November. The concept is that the panel could weed out frivolous lawsuits and, in turn, help reduce medical malpractice insurance rates.
Powell, WY – A not guilty plea was entered last week in a case stemming from the October death of an 18-year-old from Powell. Ryan Burgess is accused of recklessly handling a gun that discharged inside a car, fatally wounding Patrick Teasdale. A police investigator testified that Burgess said he had consumed 18 beers on the night of the shooting. Burgess' attorney contended Burgess told police he always leaves the chamber empty when carrying a gun, and that Burgess said other people had played with the gun earlier in the evening.
Cheyenne, Wy – The House Appropriations Chairman has declared that the State Superintendent of Public Instruction did not willfully do anything wrong when the decision was made to move part of his operation into a school building in Riverton. The move was called inappropriate earlier this week, but after investigating the matter, Representative Phil Nicholas now understands how the department was led to believe that they could make the move. While mistakes were made, Nicholas says attorneys who were advising the department were as much at fault as anyone.
Grand Island, NE – Chronic wasting disease was found in several new parts of Wyoming this fall, but it's taken what seems to be a huge leap in Nebraska. A white-tailed deer harvested by a hunter last month near Grand Island, Nebraska tested positive for CWD. The case near Grand Island was confirmed this week after testing by Dr. Beth Williams at the Wyoming State Vet Lab. Nebraska found its first chronic wasting case in 2000 and this marks the eastern-most point where CWD has been discovered.
Cheyenne, Wy – Wyoming Supreme Court Justice Larry Lehman has lost his battle with cancer. Chief Justice Bill Hill confirmed this morning that Lehman has died at the age of 59. It was just four months ago that Lehman announced he was receiving radiation treatment for brain cancer. Lehman originally had planned to seek a retention vote, but later changed his mind. He had planned to step down from the Supreme Court next month. Lehman was appointed to the court in 1994 by then-Governor Mike
El Paso, TX – A federal grand jury in El Paso, Texas indicted a Wyoming Technical Institute student this week on terrorism charges. 19-year-old Mark Robert Walker of Rochester, New York, is accused of attempting to aid a terrorist organization in Somalia. Investigators say Walker was in communication with people involved with a group supporting an Islamic government in Somalia, and had plans to travel there to fight. Walker's roommate at Wyo Tech in Laramie told law enforcement that his computer had been used by Walker to communicate with terrorist groups on the Internet.
Moose, WY – It was a slow season for elk hunters in Grand Teton National Park this fall. Preliminary figures show that hunters killed 287 elk this year. That's down from 484 in 2003, 500 in 2002 and 375 in 2001. Grand Teton spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs says the lack of snow this fall is likely the cause. Without snow on the ground, herds probably stayed in their summer ranges. Skaggs says this year's figure could still increase as late reports from hunters come in. But even so, numbers are likely to be down.
Laramie, Wy – There are over six hundred jobs available in Rock Springs right now. The C-E-O of the city's chamber of commerce, Dave Hanks, says most of the jobs are in the service sector, but there's also demand for professionals and people with technical expertise. Hanks says employers are having trouble filling the positions because the unemployment rate is less than two percent and because it's hard to find a place to live in Rock Springs, where even the motel/hotel occupancy rates are the highest in the state.