Cheyenne, WY – Officials at Great Lakes Airlines believe the energy boom in northeastern Wyoming could also be a windfall for them. The airline is changing its Sheridan and Gillette service. Great Lakes currently operates 3 round-trip flights every day from Sheridan to Denver, and 4 from Gillette. The airline is keeping that the same, but one flight to each town will be upgraded from a 19-seat plane to a 30-seat plane. Great Lakes CEO Chuck Howell says Gillette and Sheridan are growing air service markets, thanks to growth in oil and gas, so they want to take advantage of that.
Laramie, WY – Some business owners in Laramie are unhappy about a movement to ban smoking in workplaces, including bars and restaurants. A group called Smoke-Free Laramie is writing a no smoking ordinance for the city council to consider. Bar owners in particular are wary of the proposal. Reed's Package Liquor owner Jade Miller says he doen't think people in Laramie like it when others tello them what to do. But other businesses support the proposed ban.
Jackson, WY – Organizers of the Jackson Hole Community School hope to begin accepting the first students in September. Co-founders Scott Hirschfield and Kathleen Crowley have scheduled a March 3rd meeting to outline their plans for the private school. Those plans include enrolling as many as 125 students, offering international baccalaureate classes and providing scholarships to students who cannot afford the $10,000.00 annual tuition. The two have worked nearly four years to open Jackson Hole's first college prep high school. The school will be located in a business park.
Cheyenne, WY – A variety of bills dealing with funding for local government have been introduced in the Wyoming legislature. Many deal with short-term funding and infrastruction, but community officials are hopeful about a handfull of bills that would provide long-term funding. Casper City Manager Tom Forslund is exicted that local government funding is a priority this year. He says it's the first time in all of his years of local government that there is strong legislative support to help cities, towns and counties.
Cheyenne, WY – Despite some opposition, the House Wildlife Committee approved a bill that would adjust Wyoming's wolf management plan. House Bill 155 is a compromise measure that allows for fewer breeding pairs in the state, but requires regulating the hunting of wolves, instead of shooting them on-sight. The bill passed the committee 6-3, but Lyman Representative Mick Powers argued against changing the current plan and thinks the state is caving too quickly to federal demands. Powers says the state will have to go to court, even if it changes its plan. So he thinks it is best to fight.
Cheyenne, WY – As the Wyoming legislature tried to figure out what to do next over the wolf issue, there's another potential problem looming on the horizon. Last week, the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service Director met with legislative leaders and Governor Dave Freudenthal. The main topic was how the two sides could reach a compromise over Wyoming's wolf management plan in order to remove the species from the Endangered Species list. But Freudenthal also asked about who would pay for wolf management. He says the response was if the species is de-listed, U.S.F.W.S.
Cheyenne, WY – A bill that's been in the works for several years was approved on general file Monday by the Wyoming House. The legislation would provide a sales tax exemption on manufacturing equipment. Supporters claim a lack of such an exemption has kept some businesses from coming to the state. Cheyenne Representative Pete Illoway says it costs his community a key business last year.
Cheyenne, Wy – Gay marriages granted in other states like Massachusetts would be declared void in Wyoming under a measure introduced in the Senate. State law already defines marriage as a union between men and women only. But Gillette Senator Dick Erb said he discovered this week that Wyoming would have to recognize same-sex marriages granted in other states under current statutes. Erb says he drafted Senate File 85 as an attempt to "head off" the issue before it becomes one in Wyoming.
Cheyenne, Wy – A Wyoming Army National Guard soldier killed in a rollover in Wyoming is as much a hero as soldiers who died in Iraq. That's according to Governor Dave Freudenthal. Specialist Billy Jess Watts of Cody died February 5th while riding in an Army truck in a convoy on his way to train at Camp Guernsey. The wreck occurred on an icy stretch of Interstate 25 near Douglas. Two other soldiers were injured.