Cheyenne, WY – Travelers in Riverton, Gillette and Rock Springs could soon enjoy improved air service. The three towns are the latest to request grant money from the state's Air Service Enhancement fund. These grants would be different from those aready awarded to Casper, Jackson and Cody. For one thing, no new airlines are involved, only upgrades to current service. Wyoming Aeronautics Division Administrator Shelly Reams says the three proposals will be considered as one package.
Laramie, WY – Two Wyoming legislators from opposing parties agree lawmakers will have some difficult decisions concerning the state's budget surplus. Various state agencies are vying for a share of the surplus in next year's legislative session, while Governor Freudenthal suggests putting some of it into a rainy day account. Republican Senator Hank Coe of Cody says the upcoming session won't be easy. Coe says when the legislature hasn't had money, agencies realize they may have to put off some projects. He believes it's more difficult to legislate when the state has a large surplus.
Cheyenne, Wy – A new study ranks Wyoming sixth in the nation for policies that promote job growth. Pollina Corporate Real Estate Incorporated issued the study, which evaluates state economic development policies. South Carolina was rated first, followed by Virginia, South Dakota, North Carolina, Alabama, Wyoming, Georgia, Washington, Florida and Oklahoma. The study attributes Wyoming's high ranking to being a right-to-work state with no personal or corporate income taxes and having low operating costs for business.
Cody, WY – The Cody Chamber of Commerce Director says the fact there will at least be a snowmobile season this year is helpbul. But Gene Bryan does not know what the full economic benefit will be for his area of the state. Bryan is pleased Senator Craig Thomas attached an amendment on a spending bill to put the new Bush Administration snowmobile rules in effect for at least a year. He says the uncertainty of the whole situation last winter played havoc with the season. Bryan says he doesn't know all the details about Thomas' amendment, but he would say it's a positive move.
Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and law enforcement agencies have successfully apprehended several poachers this year. Game and Fish Assistant Chief Game Warden Scott Talbot says it's partly due to good fortune. But he says the public also is more willing to report suspicious behavior in this day and age. Talbott says the average hunter is very conscientious about his or her activities in the field. He says the average person committing wildlife crimes is not the average hunter. Talbott says hunters do a pretty good job of policing themselves.
Laramie, WY – State Climatologist Jan Curtis says the drought is easing in southern and western Wyoming, but will likely persist in northeastern parts of the state. Curtis says drought conditions have slowly improved across the state since 1992, except for the northeastern corner, where things have gotten worse. He predicts western Wyoming will continue to have dry, warm weather for one to two more years. Curtis expects another two to four years of drought are in store in eastern Wyoming.
Laramie, Wy – Aaron McKinney's public comments about the killing of Matthew Shepard violated a promise not to talk about the case, but court records indicate the pledge was not contained in the official sentencing order. Excerpts of interviews McKinney and Russell Henderson gave to A-B-C reporter Elizabeth Vargas from a prison in Nevada were to air Friday on the network's news program "20/20." The two Laramie men said the 1998 attack on the gay college student was motivated by the prospect of robbery to fuel a methamphetamine binge, not homophobia.
Laramie, Wy – The marketing director for the Frontier Mall says Friday was as busy or slightly busier than last year. Martha Pollock says they specifically tried to get people to come to the mall from far away by putting ads in local papers and she says it seems to have worked, as people came from as far away as Nebraska and Platte County. Pollock says they also create an atmosphere that is festive to bring people in that might shop online, and she says some of the sales Friday are better than shoppers can get on the Internet.