Cheyenne, WY – Only about half of the funding for this year remains in the state's newest economic development program. Five Business Ready Community program grants have been approved so far. They were considered first because they would help existing businesses. But 15 communities are now competing for the four and a half million dollars remaining. Many will lose out because the total cost of the applications is over 13 million dollars. Afton Town Administrator Gregg Wilkes believes the Wyoming Business Council is running the programs backwards.
Cheyenne, WY – The state's Senior Economist says the out-migration of Wyoming's youth is not as bad as many people believe. Wenlin Liu looked at data from the 2000 census. He says Wyomong lost about six thousand young adults from 1995 to 2000. But Liu points out that was when the rest of the country was booming and there were plenty of jobs in metropolitan areas. He says the job situation in Wyoming has improved since them. Liu says it's natural for young people to gravitate toward large cities. But he says many of those adults are looking to move back to Wyoming.
Laramie, Wy – An agent from the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation created a computer program that law enforcement officers from around the world are using. The program helps catch people who distribute child pornography. Attorney General Pat Crank says this helped Wyoming a lot and then the agent allowed others from around the world to use it for free. Crank says it is incredible this came from a Wyoming employee. The attorney general, governor and the U-S attorney all say they put a special emphasis on fighting child pornography.
Laramie, WY – A Wyoming natural gas exploration technology company has been recognized by a technology and business magazine. Welldog Inc. was named to the Red Herring 100 as a company that defines business innovation. Welldog Chief Operating Officer John Pope says his company uses technology to help mineral producers locate gas deposits. He says it's been particularly useful in solving problems in the Powder River Basin coal bed methane fields. He says one problem producers have is how much gas is trapped in a coal seam as opposed to water.
Green River, WY – A walleye kill meant to keep the fish out of Flaming Gorge Reservoir has been postponed until this fall. Officials say the walleye must be treated with the chemical after they spawn because the poison does not kill fish eggs. Since walleye spawn in the spring, officials say the kill must be postponed until late September or early October to be effective. The kill at a pond near the Jim Bridger Power Plant is meant to keep walleye from invading Flaming Gorge. Officials say walleye could devastate the reservoir's trout population.
Cheyenne, Wy – A Wyoming Medical Malpractice Insurance provider will raise rates by nearly 12 percent. The Doctors Company increase represents the average of the changes to rates for each physician specialty. Wyoming Insurance Commissioner Ken Vines says that means some specialties will see no increase. Vines also doubts that the hikes have anything to do with the lack of Tort Reform in the state. Vines adds that hikes in some other states are much higher. But he says it will impact some doctors in the state who are already dealing with high insurance costs.
Jackson, WY – The American Legion Post in Jackson wants to make it easier to find out information if another Wyoming serviceman dies in Iraq. A display has been put up in front of the Legion building next to the flagpole. And whenever the flag is lowered to half-staff, the Legion will put information in the display about why. Post Historian Walt Farmer says it will apply whenever the flag is lowered, whether for a serviceman or not. The first piece of information was about a Wyoming Highway Patrolman who recently died of cancer.
Cheyenne, Wy – It was a busy first filing day for state and federal office. Over 50 people have placed their names in the hat for a shot at either a congressional or legislative office. State Elections Chief Peggy Nighswonger says several incumbents filed, but newcomers are also seeking office. A few house members have decided to cross over. House Appropriations Chairman Phil Nicholas has decided to run for the State Senate, as has longtime Cheyenne Representative Wayne Johnson and Stan Cooper will cross over to challenge incumbent Larry Caller of Rock Springs.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming Senator Craig Thomas is questioning this week's decision to ground 33 air tankers because of safety concerns. Thomas says the ruling has grounded two of the remaining heavy air tankers at Hawkins and Powers Aviation in Greybull. He says Hawkins and Powers doesn't believe it will be compensated for preparing its grounded air tankers for the fire season. Thomas says the decision could be devastating for the company. He says other Wyoming firefighting business will be affected as well.
Laramie, Wy – he ongoing drought and impacts of Brucellosis are making for tough times for Wyoming Ag producers. But the rebounding hay market is making them smile. Dick Coulter of the Wyoming Agricultural Statistics Service says there was enough Spring moisture in 2003 to turn things around. For now the Hay shortage is over, but Coulter says the relief may only be temporary. He says next years supplies are still in question.