Laramie, Wy – Four years ago voters in Casper defeated an effort to ban smoking in restaurants. Now in Laramie voters will have their say on a plan to prohibit smoking in restaurants and bars. The Chair of the Laramie Clean Air Coalition, Larry Deal, says it was important to also include bars in this effort. One bar owner, says people should not take the job if they have a problem with second hand smoke, or they should look for work at one of the two bars in Laramie that are already smoke free.
Laramie, WY – Voters will decide Tuesday whether or not to change the way money is distributed to Wyoming school districts. Supporters say it could prevent future lawsuits and make education funding more equitable. But about three school districts would lose money under the proposal. Pinedale School District Business Manager Vern McAdams says his district gets more money than average. McAdams opposes the amendment and would even it he was still in his old job in rural Laramie county.
Sheridan, WY – A Sheridan policy committee will hold a November public meeting to release the results of the first part of a study on building a loop road around the city's western edge. The committee is comprised of Sheridan's Mayor, the County Commission Chair and Transportation Department's District Engineer. Mayor Jim Wilson says the study indicates future growth will happen to Sheridan's southern and western side. Wilson says developers on the western side of Sheridan would like to have an answer as to whether a loop road will be built and what route it will take.
Laramie, WY – Wyoming rolled up 559 yards of total offense with better than half of that on the ground as the Cowboys beat up on Air Force Saturday 43 to 26. The Cowboys also got a great performance from Quarterback Corey Bramlet, who bounced back from two sub-par outings. Head Coach Joe Glenn says he challenged the team before the game. He says it was a "do or die" situation and his team played brilliantly. Glenn says they now have to figure out a way to win a game on the road, something the Cowboys have never done in Mountain West Conference play.
Laramie, Wy – A supporter of capping non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, admits he's little puzzled why Wyoming is battling high insurance rates for its Doctors. Cato Institute Tort Expert Robert Levy says the reason most insurance rates increase is because juries are paying out too much in medical malpractice cases. But he's surprised its an issue in Wyoming. Statistics show that most payouts in Wyoming don't exceed a million dollars. Levy says if that is the case, he'd have a tough time justifying a cap on damages.
Laramie, WY – 145 Wyoming National Guardsmen deploy for an overseas assignment next Wednesday. The 133rd Engineers Company, based in Laramie, will first go to Fort Lewis, Washington for training before heading to either Iraq or Kuwait. In advance of the deployment, Laramie's Ace Hardware store is donating half of its sales Saturday to the 133rd's family support group. Store Owner Joel Schneider says he wanted to do something for the guard members and their families. Schneider says the family support group can spend the money however they see fit.
Wyoming – Wyoming is facing a public health crisis as malpractice insurance rates soar and specialists stop practicing in the state. Wyoming citizens will vote on a constitutional amendment that would could cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice suits. Bob Beck of Wyoming Public Radio has more....
Gillette, WY – There could be another brucellosis case in Teton county where a single cow was found with the disease earlier this summer. Officials started testing neighboring cattle herds recently and preliminary results indicate two cows may have the disease. The animals were slaughtered to conduct more definitive testing, which should be complete in a couple of weeks. Former State Veterinarian Jim Logan still conducts brucellosis work for the state.
Cheyenne, WY – The U-S Attorney's office has appinted one of its officials to oversee Tuesday's election in Wyoming. Assistant U-S Attorney Jim Anderson will lead efforts in Wyoming under the Justice Department's nationwide Election Day program. Anderson's job will be to look into complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with the Justice Department headquarters. He can be reached on Election Day at (307) 772-2124.
Cheyenne, Wy – A letter threatening the life of the governor and containing a powder was opened at a Cheyenne newspaper offices today (Thursday). Three other similar letters, two delivered to the newspaper and one to a local television station, were not opened. Initial tests of the powder released at the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle showed no dangerous chemicals but more thorough tests were being conducted. Ten people who were exposed to the powder at the Tribune-Eagle were decontaminated and treated and released from United Medical
Laramie, Wy – Both sides of the smoke free ordinance that will be on Laramie's ballot next week are accusing the other side of using outside money to make their case. Opponents of the ordinance have received around 20-thousand in campaign contributions, while supporters received over 12 thousand. Opponents are critical of outside money from health organizations, but supporters of the smoke-free ordinance point to a 34-hundred dollar contribution from R-J Reynolds and they say tobacco lobbyists have helped them organize.
Laramie, Wy – Wyoming teachers would see a five thousand dollar raise this year and next if the legislature supports a proposal from the Education Coalition. The president of the Wyoming Education Association, Gary McDowell says it would cost 42 million dollars and is needed because in 2002-2003 teacher salaries were 36th in the nation. The coalition is also proposing that the state pay 24 million to cover 85 percent of heath and dental insurance for teachers. McDowell says local districts could pay for more, but teachers should receive the same benefits as state employees.
Jackson, WY – There could be another brucellosis case in Teton County. A single cow was discovered with the disease there this summer and officials recently started testing neighboring cattle herds. That testing, while preliminary, found two more cows that appeared to have brucellosis. The animals were slaughtered to conduct more definitive testing, which should be complete in a couple weeks. Jim Logan, the now-former State Veterinarian who is still doing brucellosis work for the state, says this is obviously not the type of news they want to hear.
Cheyenne, WY – The state School Facilities Commission will stay out of a local fight on where to build a new school in Lincoln County's Star Valley. The local school district has decided to locate a new elementary school in the town of Etna. But a group of Alpine residents has argued against the decision, saying explosive growth in their end of the valley makes Alpine the ideal location for the school. The school board has countered that Etna makes the most sense because it is centrally located.
Casper, Wy – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can now operate the Martin's Cove Historical Site for tourism, education and religious observances for the next 25 years. State Bureau of Land Management director Bob Bennett signed lease papers yesterday (Tuesday) in Cheyenne covering 933 acres of public lands surrounding the site in central Wyoming. The actual area considered to be Martin's Cove is 200 acres. The signing culminated years of negotiations among the church, Congress and the federal government.
Cheyenne, WY – The price to build the state's new medium-security prison has gone up by about $15 million. Earlier estimates showed a $70 million price-tag. That is now about $84.4 million. Wyoming Department of Corrections Director Bob Lampert says the cost for the prison shouldn't go any higher. Lampert's agency will recommend either Torrington, Rawlins, or Riverton as a site for the facility, with the Legislature making the final decision.
Laramie, Wy – The Director of Wyoming's A-F-L C-I-O does not have the same warm feeling about constitutional amendment C shared by others. The Amendment would allow the legislature to set up a Medical Review panel that could weed out frivolous cases. While it is getting support from newspapers and some legislators as a way to address a part of the problem surrounding high medical malpractice rates, Kim Floyd of the AFL-CIO thinks it is too risky, because the panel could be stacked full of medical people.
Gillette, WY – An agreement for a Wal-Mart Supercenter was approved last night the Gillette Planning Commission. Wal-Mart first approached the city in June and Senior Planner Michael Surface says the retail giant has been very cooperative. According to Surface, the city wanted to make sure the most workable site was used. He says Wal-Mart didn't have to build where their existing store is, but he's pleased they agreed to because that means there won't be 89,000 square feet of space to fill. Surface says Wal-Mart agreed to many requests made by the city.
Washington, DC – Wyoming ranks as the 11th safest state in terms of violent crime. The FBI's annual crime report says Wyoming had about 1,300 violent crimes last year, or 262 per 100,000 residents. The national rate was 475 per 100,000 people. States with lower crime rates than Wyoming include: North and South Dakota, Idaho, and Utah. New Mexico is among the states with the highest rates.