Laramie, Wyoming – Wyoming law enforcement officials are pleased with the results of the states Amber Alert system. It was activated again Wednesday and a motorist did find the car authorities were looking for and a young girl was retrieved. Amber co-ordinator Tim Olsen says it's the second time their has been a statewide alert in the state, and both have led to resolutions. From what he can tell, the media and law enforcement worked well together on this. Olsen is not aware of fine-tuning that needs to be done.
Laramie, WY – Police say a man suspected of killing his ex-wife and abducting their five year old daughter shot himself to death near Laramie Wednesday night. Authorities say the girl is safe. The search for Stormy Shirk began Wednesday morning after her mother was found slain in her Topeka, Kansas home. Police believed her father, 29 year old Justin Shirk, took the girl and they issued an Amber Alert. Investigators believe Shirk was taking the girl to Oregon.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming's highway maintenance is about 20 million dollars short of what the state needs. Officials say the dropoff has occurred since 2001. That's according to Wyoming Department of Transportation budget officer Kevin Hibbard. Wyoming legislators capped the amount of mineral taxes provided to state agencies in 2001, costing the Wyoming Transportation Department about 40 million dollars a year. Hibbard says that shortfall, coupled with how Congress has not passed a six-year national highway funding bill, are the two biggest funding issues facing his department.
Laramie, Wy – Wyoming customers of Pacific Power also known as Pacific Power and Light should see an average increase in their bills of one dollar and 30 cents. The state's Public Service Commission approved the rate increase Tuesday. It came after the company and several groups worked on a compromise. Wyoming Consumer Advocate, Bryce Freeman, says they always look for ways to benefit consumers. Freeman says as part of this deal Pacific Power agreed to freeze rates for 12 to 18 months. The electricity company serves 15 Wyoming counties including the city of Casper.
Washington D-C – It is not what Wyoming's delegation wanted, but the U-S Senate has agreed to renew a government program to clean up abandoned mines for nine months. The deal disappoints Senator Craig Thomas since the state is owed nearly 400 million dollars in backpayments for cleaning up sites. But Thomas says they had no other choice but to accept this offer. Thomas thinks the issue will remain on the front burner when it gets revisited next year.
Jackson, Wy – To protect Wyoming cattle from brucellosis the state needs to first address the disease in elk and bison. But a state task force charged with addressing brucellosis is proceeding cautiously with recommendations to reduce or eliminate the disease in wildlife. Wyoming Public Radio's Aaron Alpern reports
Casper, WY – Wildlife biologists continue to study last winter's elk die-off south of Rawlins. Officials know a commong lichen the elk ate is what caused the illness. What they don't know is exactly what the toxic compound in the lichen was, whether that compound is present in lichen elsewhere in Wyoming and if other animals are at risk. Hunting this fall has been impacted with fewer licenses offered in the affected area near Rawlins. Walt Cook of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department says as far as they know, those elk are safe to eat because no other animals were affected.
Laramie, Wy – A higher percentage of University of Wyoming students are graduating within six years compared to a decade ago. That's the findings of a report on higher education. But, U-W President Phil Dubois says the school still needs to do better at retaining students. He says it is their goal to have a graduation rate between 60 and 65% and right now it is around 52%.
Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming Supreme Court says it's illegal for a police officer to ask questions of a driver that are unrelated to a traffic stop after issuing a ticket or returning the driver's paperwork. The Justices handed down that ruling Monday in a case involving the detention of an Illinois man and the search of his car in 2002. As a result, Alan Campbell will be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea to marijuana possession with intent to deliver the drug. Also, more than eight pounds of pot allegedly seized from Campbell's car cannot be used as evidence against him.