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.
Cheyenne, Wy – The governor's Council on Impaired Driving is recommending tougher penalties for people who have children with them when they drink and drive. Twenty-seven states have tougher penalties for people who drive under the influence with children. In eight other states, tougher penalties are suppported by case law. The 40-member council was established more than a year ago. The law it is seeking could bump up penalties if any driver 18 or older drives with anyone under 16 as a passenger.
Saratoga, Wyoming – A small town Wyoming doctor says the medical malpractice insurance issue has driven up her rates for no particular reason. Doctor Diane Noton of Saratoga says when she first took over the Platte Valley Medical Clinic in 1999 her rates were seven thousand dollars. But she now pays 24-thousand dollars a year. Noton says it is somewhat surprising because she is a family practice doctor with very little risk.
Wyoming – As Wyoming works to diversify its economy and get away from its reliance on energy, one focus is helping people to start businesses. Wyoming Public Radio's Renny Mackay reports on the state of entrepreneurship.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming's Homeland Security Director isn't worried about any changes to how the federal government doles out Homeland Security funding. Joe Moore believes no matter what the set up, Wyoming will have enough money to continue improvings the capabilities of first responders. The state's $38.00 per capita level of funding has rankled many in larger states. But Moore doubts efforts to change the funding formula will result in Wyoming getting shortchanged. He notes there is additional funding available to big cities.
Laramie, WY – Entrepreneurs in Wyoming are putting a positive spin on the challenge of operating in the least populated state in the country. Some say it makes them unique while others note Wyoming is home to major transportation routes. Business consultant Sandra Robnett says entrepreneurs can succeed by looking at national and international markets. An entreprenuer who started two computer companies in Laramie does have some criticisms. Brooks Mitchell says the state should invest more in high tech resources and make them available to entrepreneurs.
Casper, WY – Wyoming's three candidates for U-S House squared off in a debate in Casper Sunday afternoon. Democrat Ted Ladd promoted his enthusiasm and potential. Libertarian Lewis Stock said he could offer fresh ideas. Five-term incumbent Republican Baraba Cubin pointed to her experience and knowledge. Over the course of an hour, the trio discussed the Patriot Act, found some common ground on federal lands, sparred over federal spending and argued over the war in Iraq.
Riverton, Wy – Opponents of placing a medium security prison in Riverton are hoping to have enough signatures to get the issue placed on the ballot next week. The Fremont County Coalition to Stop the Medium Security Prison wants citizens to vote on whether they want the prison to be placed in the county. Meanwhile, they are also working to get the Fremont County Commissioners to reverse course and pull support from the effort. Riverton officials see the prison as a way to create more jobs in the community.
Laramie, Wyoming – The University of Wyoming was one of 56 stops across the country this week by the International Caravan for Justice in Juarez and Chihuahua. The Caravan is traveling across the US to educate people about the hundreds of unsolved murders and thousands of unsolved disappearances in the cities along the United States-Mexico border. Mari Lou Andrade, a spokesperson for the Caravan for Justice, spoke to a crowd at the University of Wyoming about the need for support from Americans in bringing these crimes to light. Andrade's sister was one of the victims.
Washington, DC – Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi was among a group of congressmen who received flu shots two days after federal officials announced a shortage of the vaccine. Several lawmakers turned down a chance for a flu shot to avoid the appearance of preferential treatment. Enzi's spokesman says the Senate physician recommended the flu shot, as did Senate Majority Leader and doctor, Bill Frist. Senator Craig Thomas of Wyoming also received a flu shot, but his spokesman says Thomas got it several days before the shortage was announced. Representative Barbara Cubin did not receive a shot.
Laramie, Wy – The new cost estimates for installing sprinkler systems in student housing at the state's seven community colleges is now just under three million dollars. The Wyoming Community College Commission and the state Fire Marshal's office have been studying sprinkler costs in residence halls since a March 30 fire gutted a dorm at Northwest College. The college commission plans to submit a supplemental budget request for the work.
Laramie, Wy – The Game and Fish Department is announcing the discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease in a new area. The deer came from a location near the Snowy Range Mountains near the Colorado border. It is an area where C-W-D has not been found before, but officials say the finding is not surprising. The Game and Fish department reports testing 950 animals so far this fall with 13 positive results. This being the only new area documented. There is still no evidence that C-W-D can move from deer and elk to humans.
Washington DC – THE PRICE OF OIL NOW HOVERS AROUND 50 DOLLARS A BARREL. AND THERE'S NO RELIEF IN SIGHT. REPUBLICAN WYOMING SENATOR CRAIG THOMAS BLAMES THE PROBLEM ON THE FAILURE OF CONGRESS TO APPROVE A COMPREHENSIVE ENERGY BILL. IN PARTICULAR, THOMAS PLACES MUCH OF THAT BLAME ON DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE JOHN KERRY. CHAD PERGRAM REPORTS FROM OUR CAPITOL HILL BUREAU
Cheyenne, WY – There's been a delay in leasing Martin's Cove to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been delayed. The 25-year lease was to be signed Thursday. And Thursday morning the BLM released the document on the Internet. But by 10am, the document had been removed. A Wyoming BLM spokeswoman says the document needed to be reviewed in Washington before being issued publicly. It's now unclear when the document will be signed.
Ft. Collins, CO – There's some added drama to Friday night's Border War game between Wyoming and Colorado State. Earlier this week, someone apparently entered CSU's Hughes Stadium and sprayed chemicals on the field, leaving the letters "U" and "W" painted on the field. The letters are 30 feet high and 75 feet wide. CSU athletic director Mark Driscoll says the grounds crew is working diligently to rectify the situation and that the vandalism will have no effect on the quality of the playing surface.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming's revenue outlook continues to be very positive. The figures from October show the forecast for the general fund this year up $42 million dollars from projections in January. Governor Dave Freudenthal says it is important to keep putting money into the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund, which has been used to keep taxes low, but he says that needs to be balanced with the effort to expand the economy for today and the future. Freudenthal says he would like to use the extra revenue at the University of Wyoming, in local communities and to protect wildlife.