Douglas, Wy – The only general surgeon in the town of Douglas, Dr. Robert Ratcliff, plans to move his practice to Casper this fall. Too much time on call and the types of surgeries Ratcliff has been doing are the main reasons for his departure. That's according to Tom Nordwick, administrator of Memorial Hospital of Converse County. Ratcliff is a colon-rectal surgery specialist but has been doing many basic procedures in Douglas. He hopes to shift his attention to more complicated cases after moving his practice to Wyoming
Big Horn, Wy – A Big Horn man needed a little help to fight off a mountain lion this week. The unnamed man was attacked on his property near Little Goose Creek around four in the afternoon. When he spotted the lion, it was ten feet away and eventually charged him. He hit it with a shovel, and shouted for help. A neighbor helped him, and later authorities killed the lion. Game and Fish Spokesman Warren Mischke says people always need to fight back against a Lion.
Laramie, WY – University of Wyoming Head Coach Joe Glenn says Corey Bramlet is his starter. After last Saturday's 31-to-nothing loss to Texas A-and-M, Glenn hinted the quarterback job was open to competition. But now Glenn says Bramlet will start when U-W returns to action September 25th to play Ole Miss at War Memorial Stadium. The coach says he has confidence Bramlet can run the Cowboy offense.
Laramie, Wyoming – Wyoming law enforcement officials are pleased with the results of the states Amber Alert system. It was activated again Wednesday and a motorist did find the car authorities were looking for and a young girl was retrieved. Amber co-ordinator Tim Olsen says it's the second time their has been a statewide alert in the state, and both have led to resolutions. From what he can tell, the media and law enforcement worked well together on this. Olsen is not aware of fine-tuning that needs to be done.
Laramie, WY – Police say a man suspected of killing his ex-wife and abducting their five year old daughter shot himself to death near Laramie Wednesday night. Authorities say the girl is safe. The search for Stormy Shirk began Wednesday morning after her mother was found slain in her Topeka, Kansas home. Police believed her father, 29 year old Justin Shirk, took the girl and they issued an Amber Alert. Investigators believe Shirk was taking the girl to Oregon.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming's highway maintenance is about 20 million dollars short of what the state needs. Officials say the dropoff has occurred since 2001. That's according to Wyoming Department of Transportation budget officer Kevin Hibbard. Wyoming legislators capped the amount of mineral taxes provided to state agencies in 2001, costing the Wyoming Transportation Department about 40 million dollars a year. Hibbard says that shortfall, coupled with how Congress has not passed a six-year national highway funding bill, are the two biggest funding issues facing his department.
Laramie, Wy – Wyoming customers of Pacific Power also known as Pacific Power and Light should see an average increase in their bills of one dollar and 30 cents. The state's Public Service Commission approved the rate increase Tuesday. It came after the company and several groups worked on a compromise. Wyoming Consumer Advocate, Bryce Freeman, says they always look for ways to benefit consumers. Freeman says as part of this deal Pacific Power agreed to freeze rates for 12 to 18 months. The electricity company serves 15 Wyoming counties including the city of Casper.
Washington D-C – It is not what Wyoming's delegation wanted, but the U-S Senate has agreed to renew a government program to clean up abandoned mines for nine months. The deal disappoints Senator Craig Thomas since the state is owed nearly 400 million dollars in backpayments for cleaning up sites. But Thomas says they had no other choice but to accept this offer. Thomas thinks the issue will remain on the front burner when it gets revisited next year.
Jackson, Wy – To protect Wyoming cattle from brucellosis the state needs to first address the disease in elk and bison. But a state task force charged with addressing brucellosis is proceeding cautiously with recommendations to reduce or eliminate the disease in wildlife. Wyoming Public Radio's Aaron Alpern reports
Casper, WY – Wildlife biologists continue to study last winter's elk die-off south of Rawlins. Officials know a commong lichen the elk ate is what caused the illness. What they don't know is exactly what the toxic compound in the lichen was, whether that compound is present in lichen elsewhere in Wyoming and if other animals are at risk. Hunting this fall has been impacted with fewer licenses offered in the affected area near Rawlins. Walt Cook of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department says as far as they know, those elk are safe to eat because no other animals were affected.
Laramie, Wy – A higher percentage of University of Wyoming students are graduating within six years compared to a decade ago. That's the findings of a report on higher education. But, U-W President Phil Dubois says the school still needs to do better at retaining students. He says it is their goal to have a graduation rate between 60 and 65% and right now it is around 52%.
Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming Supreme Court says it's illegal for a police officer to ask questions of a driver that are unrelated to a traffic stop after issuing a ticket or returning the driver's paperwork. The Justices handed down that ruling Monday in a case involving the detention of an Illinois man and the search of his car in 2002. As a result, Alan Campbell will be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea to marijuana possession with intent to deliver the drug. Also, more than eight pounds of pot allegedly seized from Campbell's car cannot be used as evidence against him.
Jackson, Wy – A group in Jackson will be hosting a forum on hate and acceptance this week. Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays is trying to raise awareness of such issues and promote tolerance. Organizer Mark Houser says the Jackson school system has been very open to the message. This week the Jackson schools will be host to a reading of the play The Laramie Project and Judy Shepard will present a forum and a number of talks on hate and acceptance.
Laramie, Wy – A nationwide investigation shows that absentee voting has led to fraud in at least 15 states. The New York Times did the investigation but did not find wrongdoing in Wyoming. The Equality State Policy Center's Sarah Gorin, says there are safeguards in this state that don't exist elsewhere but she says there is a possibility of voter fraud here. And she says that could affect local and even federal elections. Gorin says Wyoming could shore up its system by spending more money on voter technologies and by removing deceased people from voting lists.
Cheyenne, Wy – A new report says Wyoming's recent high school graduates are more prepared for college than their counterparts ten years ago. But a smaller percentage of them are enrolling. The report was released today (Tuesday) by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. The center gave Wyoming a C-plus for its percentage of K-through-12 students taking upper-level math and science courses and those scoring at or above proficient in math, science, reading and writing.
Casper – The moose population in northwestern Wyoming has declined significantly in recent years. A decade ago, there were more then 500 moose hunting permits offered every fall around Jackson Hole. That number is about 150 now. One culprit often named is the re-introduction of wolves and grizzly bears. But a study presented Thursday to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission suggests the predators only play a minor role. Wyoming Public Radio's Aaron Alpern has more from Casper
Casper, WY – A Bighorn sheep reintroduction project near Lovell is tentatively set for this November or December. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is transplanting 40 Bighorn sheep from Oregon to the Devil's Canyon area on the western edge of the Bighorn Mountains. For years, Game and Fish Director Terry Cleveland says they've tried relocating sheep around the state from the Dubois herd. He says that hasn't been too successful because the Dubois sheep are migratory animals. Cleveland says the Oregon sheep are not migratory so biologists believe they will adapt better.
Washington, D-C – A Senate panel begins work on a bill that renews funding to clean up abandoned mines. Wyoming stands to gain 400 million in backpayments if the bill passes. The support for the legislation ran into problems earlier in the year and Wyoming Congresswoman Barbara Cubin fears that there are some groups who might want the bill to fail, because it could hurt President Bush.
Topic: 5th Annual Wyoming Women's Conference "Ignite your Creative Fire" in Douglas; Guest: Rosemary Bratton, Executive Director of the Wyoming Women's Business Center. Topic: Bob Beck speaks with Scott Boberg, Education Curator for the UW Art Museum about the upcoming events and exhibits at the UW Art Museum.
Washington, DC – Yellowstone National Park has been accused of illegally pocketing money from cell phone tower leases. The Washington, DC group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, or PEER, is making that claim. According to PEER, the law requires most of the money from a lease of park land to go the US Treasury.
Lander, WY – Lander, Cody and Wheatland are the three finalists for a proposed four-year Catholic College in Wyoming. The three towns were chosen from more than 30 communities that submitted site proposals around the state. Some communities offered more than one possible site. Members of the college founder's committee hope to make a final site selection by the end of the year.
Casper, WY – It appears the federal government will be ready to formal remove the grizzly bear from the Endangered Species list in the second half of 2005. Only about five steps in the lengthy process remain. Larry Kruckenberg has been deeply involved in the grizzly bear issue as Assistant to the Wyoming Game and Fish Director. Kruckenberg says it's smooth sailing from here, until the end when everyone involved expects a lawsuit. He says state and federal agencies have worked hard to make sure they do their work by the book.
Laramie, Wy – Wyoming's plans to focus on substance abuse problems with youth are getting solid reviews from a key federal government official. U-S Substance Abuse and Mental health Services Administrator Charles Curie says the state recently received almost three million dollars to develop a three year treatment plan for children involved in the Criminal Justice System. Curie says Wyoming's focus is a good one.
Cody, WY – The second Wyoming Renewable Energy Conference is taking place in Cody Monday. Conference organizer Ed Werner from the Converse Area New Development Organization says particpants will discuss geothermal, biomass, wind and solar energy. Werner says some good news for the state is there is interest in building more wind farms in southeastern Wyoming. He says growing enery demands in Colorado are prompting that interest. Werner says there is also demand coming from Utah and the Salt Lake City area which could mean more wind farms will be built in southwestern Wyoming.
Sheridan, Wy – State Attorney General Pat Crank won't pursue criminal charges against two former Sheridan County commissioners and one current commissioner. Crank's office investigated their handling of a county road and bridge building contract. Crank says his office found no intentional misuse of public funds by former commissioners Steve Cox and Brad Waters and current commissioner Charley Whiton. He says when potential conflicts arose, a commissioner would declare the conflict and not vote.
Laramie, Wy – Wyoming will get a good measuring stick of where it stands as a football team Saturday. The Pokes travel to face Texas A and M, and while the Aggies are not the same team that they have been in past years, Head Coach Joe Glenn says they are solid. Glenn says the thing that worries him is A and M's athleticism. But Glenn also thinks if he's team can stay in the game early, they have a chance to win. Kickoff is at 1:30.