Laramie, WY – The city of Laramie has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to overturn a citywide smoking ban. Six Laramie residents filed the lawsuit claiming the city failed to comply with laws governing special elections and referendums. The City argues that Albany County District Court doesn't jurisdiction in the matter and that any questions should have been raised before the election. The ordinance to ban smoking in public places, including restaurants and bars, passed by 366 votes in November.
Casper, Wy – The legislature's Education Committee supported the State Superintendent's proposal to change existing law. The change would mean school districts again would be completely in charge of determining graduation requirements, with no oversight. Former Wyoming teacher and current school consultant, Kim Ferguson, says the law is used to get real information about whether a student is proficient in a certain subject. The State Superintendent says gathering all of that information is too much work for schools. He also says it is not a good way to help students.
Casper, Wy – The idea of giving all teachers a five thousand dollar raise did not get support from the legislature's education committee. Most lawmakers on the committee say they are in favor of getting more money to teachers, but say it should not be done across the board. Senate Chair of the Committee, Hank Coe, says better planning is needed. The State Superintendent of Education says he understands the committee's decision but he thinks the raise is critical. He says it is needed to attract new people to the state's schools.
Laramie, Wy – While he says players have done as well as they can, Wyoming Football Coach Joe Glenn says it's been tough to spend a lot of time preparing for UCLA. The Cowboys face the Bruins in next weeks Las Vegas bowl, but it is final's week at the University, and Glenn says it's tough to get everyone together. Glenn continues to say that several injured players are getting more healthy by the day. The Cowboys leave for Las Vegas this weekend. The game is Thursday the 23rd.
Cheyenne, Wy – Great Lakes Pilots have unanimously rejected a contract offer as both sides continue to haggle over what pilots should be paid. Teamster local 747 spokesman Jason Hedgepath says salaries for many pilots are around 15-thousand dollars. While Hedgepath says the pilots don't want to return to the negotiating table, he suspects that is what they will be directed to do. A request to strike has been denied.
Lander, WY – The Fremont County Commission has again declared its opposition to grizzly bears. Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday that declares grizzlies unacceptable in the county. The resolution follows a series of Game and Fish public meetings on the department's plan to manage grizzly bears once federal protections are removed. Under the plan, the bears would be allowed to roam outside of a primary conservation area into some other parts of the state, including a Fremont County portion of the Wind River Range.
Denver, CO – A federal appeals court has restored a Florida woman's lawsuit against the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Camie Dunbar says the resort is responsible for injuries she suffered in 2001 after falling into a snowboard halfpipe. Yesterday, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the ruling of a Wyoming judge who sided with the ski resort. The appeals court says a jury should hear the case.
Laramie, Wy – Torrington has been chosen as the site for the new medium security prison. Department of Corrections officials say Torrington scored well above both Rawlins and Riverton and they have forwarded their choice to the states five elected officials and some legislators. It will be up to the Legislature to make the final choice. Rawlins Community Development Director Ron Kilgore read a statement from his Mayor and City Council that indicates they will continue to fight to bring the prison to their community.
Laramie, Wy – The legislatures education committee will consider doing away with Wyoming's three tiered diploma program tomorrow. (Today) The plan that was supposed to go into effect in two years would give out either a diploma that calls a students work Advanced, Comprehensive or General. State Superintendent Trent Blankenship has heard a lot of complaints about the system.
Laramie, WY – The Las Vegas Bowl is a little over a week away. And the University of Wyoming says it has sold about 5,000 tickets for the game so far. The school's Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations, Tim Harkins, says fans started buying tickets immediately after the bowl bid was announced. When UW accepted the bid to go to Las Vegas, Head Coach Joe Glenn said he expected between eight and ten thousand fans there. Harkins says they are hopeful the 8,000 figure can be reached.
Laramie, Wy – Business and community leaders hope to set up a community-owned clothing store in downtown Rawlins next year. The Carbon Mercantile Corporation follows the example of community-owned clothing stores in Powell and Worland. Officials in Torrington are also planning a cooperative store. Shares in Carbon Merc. will be available for 25-dollars apiece after January first. At least 20 shares must be purchased but no one will be allowed to own more than 400 shares, or ten-thousand dollars worth.
Laramie, Wy – A new telephone tip line is now available, for anyone wanting to report a crime in Yellowstone National Park. Individuals can leave their name and a callback number, or can remain anonymous. Last year, Yellowstone Park had more than four-thousand criminal incidents. Park officials say the public provided valuable information in a number of those investigations, including wildlife poachings and drug incidents. In some cases, cash rewards are offered for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of offenders.
Casper, WY – Northwest Airlines is pleased with the traffic they've seen in their first two months of offering flights between Casper and Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Jet service to the Northwest hub started in early October. The airline's Media Relations Manager Thomas Becher says with a new market Casper's performance has been about what they'd expect, and maybe a little better. Becher thinks the positive response has been due to the fact that Northwest is the only airline with jet service from Casper. He says offering the state's only hub to the east has also been a draw.
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.
Laramie, Wy – Federal wildlife authorities are offering rewards of up to five thousand dollars for information about four separate wolf killings in southern Idaho. Scott Kabasa is a special agent with the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service. He says the wolves appear to have been shot sometime between the months of October and November. That's also when there were more hunters in the field. Six wolves have been poached in southern Idaho this year. Statewide totals aren't available yet.
Cheyenne, Wy – A compromise has finally been reached on a bill that would set up agreements between surface landowners and mineral developers in oil and gas development. The key provisions of the measure require 30 day notification of intent to drill bonding to make sure possible damage is paid for and a dispute resolution process. After changes to the bill last month led to some opposition the new fine tuning has all sides saying that it is a decent compromise.
Laramie, Wy – Several people are taking the city of Riverton up on its offer to excuse fines at half-price during the holidays. Municipal Judge Wes Roberts says one single mother of four who had an outstanding fine of 200-dollars told the city court clerk that she would be left with enough money to celebrate Christmas with her children. Another man paid off a friend's bond that had been outstanding since 1997. Still another man came into pay a fine for a stoplight violation