Riverton, Wyoming – The Director of the Department of Corrections says he is very aware of the fact that people in Riverton that do not want a medium security prison built in Fremont County. The department is in the process of choosing a site to build the new prison and have narrowed their choices to Riverton, Rawlins and Torrington.
Laramie, Wy – Later this month A-B-C's 20/20 program will air a story on the murder of Matthew Shepard where it will contend that it may not have been a hate crime. But the lead investigator in the case strongly disagrees. Laramie's underground world of methamphetamine could have contributed to the crime and that it was really a mugging gone wrong. But the lead investigator in the case, Lieutenant Rob Debree of the Albany County Sheriffs department, says both McKinney and Henderson told him that Shepard gave up his wallet right away.
Laramie, Wy – Interest is growing for the University of Wyoming's new Golf Course expansion project. U-W officials announced that around 140 people have expressed interest in lots, without much advertising. They've also been given more land for the project and have been able to determine that the site won't have a negative impact on Laramie's water supply. U-W President Phil Dubois told trustees that the project can make money for the University and enhance Laramie's economy. But it will not take away from U-W's mission.
Cheyenne, WY – The Bush Administration's support of clean coal technology and coal, in general, resulted in an immediate jump in coal company stocks after the President's re-election. Wyoming contributes 30% of the country's total coal production, so the industry here is also looking forward to the next four years. Wyoming Mining Association President Marion Loomis says experts are predicting production increases in the state. He thinks the favorable environment for coal could also mean new mines starting up.
Topic: Later this month A-B-C's 20/20 program will air a story on the murder of Matthew Shepard where it will contend that it may not have been a hate crime; Guest: Lieutenant Rob Debree of the Albany County Sheriffs department.
Topic: Aaron Alpern speaks with Northern Arapahoe member who was recently elected to the Wyoming Legislature, Patrick Goggles.
Topic: Renny Mackay speaks with the Director of Blue Sun Bio-Diesel, John Long, about the state of a new energy source.
Cheyenne, Wy – While the state is making nearly 800 million dollars in revenue, the state is actually only able to pay its bills with money it made years earlier. The appropriations committee was told that carry over money---money that was saved from previous years is actually the money legislators are using to balance the budget. State Senator John Schiffer says that means that state revenues are not enough.
Laramie, Wy – The Bureau of Land Management has agreed to allow a company to drill on the Pinedale Anticline through the winter. Questar made a proposal to the B-L-M saying it would use several different techniques to cut down on the impact in the area all year round in exchange for the opportunity to drill during the winter. This is an issue because the Anticline is crucial winter habitat for deer and antelope.
Cheyenne, Wy – The Joint Appropriations committee has agreed to a slight adjustment in school salaries and will consider a proposal from the Superintendent of Public Instruction later. Trent Blankenship wants teachers to get a five thousand dollar pay hike, but the committee increased educators salaries by two point three percent. But they based the increase on cost of living data. This concerns Senator Jayne Mockler of Cheyenne who notes that Wyoming's cost of living increase is closer to five percent
Laramie, Wy – The city of Rawlins is offering water, sewer and landfill service to the Department of Corrections in exchange for inmate labor around the community. The proposal would save the state an estimated 200-thousand dollars a year in utility costs. The idea has been submitted as part of Rawlins' bid to get a medium-security prison built alongside the existing State Penitentiary. Under the proposal, inmates would work on landscaping, weed control, housing rehabilitation and general property maintenance.
Laramie, Wy – A statewide survey shows that nearly 70 percent of all restaurants in the state are smoke free compared to 46 percent in 2000. Park, Big Horn and Teton counties all exceed 80 percent while Weston county reports only 32 percent of its restaurants are smoke free. The Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center released the information. Assistant Research Scientist Marc Homer says that 91 percent of smoke Free restaurants are located in Teton County.
Billings, Mt – Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit over National Park Service plans to allow snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park for the next three winters. The groups say the government ignored the effect that roads groomed for snow machines have on wildlife, particularly bison. The complaint brought by The Fund for Animals, Bluewater Network and three individuals names Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Park Service Director Fran Mainella as defendants. The lawsuit was filed
ElPaso, Texas – Nineteen-year-old Mark Robert Walker of Rochester, New York, was nabbed while crossing into El Paso from Mexico. He faces a detention hearing Friday in El Paso. Walker is charged with providing support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization. If convicted, Walker faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Walker was apprehended Saturday by a U-S agent -- based on an alert describing him and his car. The feds were made aware of Walker after his roommate at Wyoming
Laramie, Wy – So, far in Wyoming there has only been one reported case of the flu. That's the word of Department of Health epidemiologist, Nicole Lindsey. She says they still do not have any indication of when the flu season will begin in earnest in Wyoming because influenza is so unpredictable; sometimes starting early in the winter and other times not until February.
Laramie, Wy – The current Speaker of the House says the legislature's Tribal Relations committee had to mend some fences during a meeting in Lander this week. Fred Parady says that's due to the fact that the governor's tough language in dealing with the Northern Arapaho tribe. He says that's probably due to the fact that the governor is a prosecutor and is used to speaking in strong language, but Parady says that is not advancing common understanding.
Laramie, Wy – Some environmental groups have intervened in a lawsuit filed by agriculture and outfitter organizations concerning Wyoming's wolf management plan. The state has also sued the federal government who rejected the states plan for managing wolves because the Department of Interior is concerned that too many wolves could be killed if they wandered outside of a boundry surrounding the national parks. Among those intervening is the Wyoming Chapter of the Sierra Club. Director Steve Thomas says the state simply needs a new plan.
Pinedale, Wy – A legislative committee will go forward with a plan to set up a Wildlife Habitat fund. The committee looked at three bills, including one by the Governor and will try and meld the three together. House Recreation, Parks and Natural Resources Chairman Mike Baker says it is something that has been tried in the past and seems to be gaining momentum this year.
Laramie, Wy – The U-S Department of Justice has released figures showing that the number of people in Wyoming prisons increased by nearly eight percent in 2003. The actual increase in the number of prisoners is up by almost 150.
Cheyenne, WY – Governor Dave Freudenthal believes the legislature revisit the idea of a Rainy Day Account. Lawmakers formed such an account during the revenue boom of the 1970's. Freudenthal says such a fund makes more sense then putting money into the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund. He says that fund has $270-300 Million going into it by viture of how the state consitution works. Freudenthal thinks the good revenue times will eventually end and the state should have a fund to draw on then for needed operating revenue.
Pinedale, WY – Sublette County's natural gas boom has kept motels in Pinedale busy. Motels that used to have year-round occupancy rates of around 50% are now enjoying rates of 90% or more. The prices for those rooms are also going up. $65 to $100 a night at the Rivera Lodge cabins, for example. The current motel situation may not be sustainable, though. Soon, many gas workers are likely to be living in "man camps" that are slated to go up around the area. One camp is expected to have 102 beds after the first phase and 106 after the second.
Cheyenne, WY – 21% of laborers in Wyoming last year came from outside of the state. In the early 90's that figure was about 18.5%. Tom Gallagher manages the Research and Planning Section at the state Employment Department. He says companies look out of state for workers when a large number of people who can work are working, when unemployment is low, and when the job market is growing. Nonresident employees in Wyoming often work in construction, tourism and oil and gas.
Torrington, WY – A Jackson hunter is pushing for restrictions on transporting parts of deer and elk carcasses from areas known to have chronic wasting disease. Shane Moore asked the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission Friday in Torrington to consider regulations that would require hunters to leave behind infectious materials, like the brain and spine. Moore does not believe the Game and Fish is doing enough to slow the spread of CWD. And he says a recent study shows the disease can be transmitted through carcasses and he thinks the agency should exercise caution because of that.
Torrington, WY – A new proposal is out that talks about how grizzly bears will be managed in specific portions of western Wyoming after delisting. Concerns were raised about the grizzly management plan adopted in 2002 and exactly what will happen inside the boundary that was established then. This new plan marks off the area where grizzly presence is biologically suitable and socially acceptable. John Emmerich with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department says he thinks it's a good compromise.
Laramie, Wy – Three counties in Wyoming approved sales tax increases during this week's general election. Taxes were passed in Crook, Goshen and Washakie counties. They paid for such projects as water and street improvements, new buildings and additions to existing ones. However, similar tax proposals were defeated in Campbell, Natrona and Fremont counties.
Cheyenne, WY – Governor Dave Freudenthal doesn't expect any big changes despite Democrats losing four state legislative seats Tuesday. Freudenthal expects to have the same relationship he's always had with the Republican-dominated legislature. He says it's not like the Democrats had been the majority party and now are no longer. Freudenthal says legislative Democrats typically held their own positions on issues that sometimes differed from his.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming Department of Transportation Director Sleeter Dover hopes to seek funding in the next legislative session to hire ten additional Highway Patrol Troopers. Noting the Highway Patrol is short about 110 officers, Dover says he'd like to getr up to full strength over the next decade. He says his agency couldn't recruit 110 officers right away and if they did, they wouldn't have the money to train and equip them. Governor Dave Freudenthal agrees with the concept of adding ten additional officers.
Laramie, Wy – The National Park Service has released its long awaited plan on Snowmobile Use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. A study of the plan revealed no significant impact. It allows 720 guided snowmobiles a day into Yellowstone and 140 Snowmobiles in Grand Teton. It also requires the use of the best available technology and will be in effect for three years. The Deputy Director of the Wyoming Travel and Tourism Division Alan Dubberly says they are pleased to have a final plan, so they can begin advertising.