Cheyenne, WY – President Bush's rules for overtime pay are confusing many people around the country. The regulations went into effect a little less than a month ago and Charlie Rando with the Wyoming Department of Employment says he understands how they might cause some problems for employers. He says it's tough being an employer these days with all the rules changes to keep in mind. Rando says the best way to get information about the new rules is to contact the U-S Department of Labor offices in Casper or Salt Lake City.
Casper, WY – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will ask landowners in Campbell County Tuesday for permission to hold a special elk hunt season this fall. The purpose is to test elk around the Rochelle Hills area for brucellosis. That's where two cattle tested positive for the disease. Game and Fish Director Terry Cleveland says the special hunt is needed because the hunt area where the cattle outbreak occurred is closed this year. Cleveland says landowner permission will be required because many public parcels of land are landlocked by private property.
Laramie, Wy – The investigation into the devastating crash on I-80 last month is over. And the findings do not place the blame with any of the drivers involved. The lead investigator, Lieutenant Kleif Guenther says his work found that in a matter of ten minutes 66 people and 36 vehicles were involved in the chain collision. But, he says no one is at fault though people were traveling too fast for the conditions.
Laramie, Wyoming – A Laramie group believes it has enough signatures to challenge an ordinance that would ban smoking in public places. The focus of the ordinance has been on the outlawing of smoking in restaurants and bars and the committee to protect free choice thinks that should be a business decision. Spokesman Joe Hageman says apparently a lot of non-smokers feel the same way. He says their petitions have a lot of non-smokers on them.
Riverton, WY – A fire apparently started by children playing with fireworks caused over a million dollars of damage south of Riverton over the weekend. The blaze destroyed dozens of cars and recreational vehicles on a sales lot, several outbuildings and thousands of tons of stacked hay. Riverton Fire Marshall Matt Lee says the fire began Saturday afternoon and was fanned by 35 mile an hour winds before fire crews were able to control it Sunday morning. He says crews did a good job of stopping the fire at the edge of Riverton's south side.
Wyoming – Three years ago this week, Clint Haskins drove drunk and ran into eight U-W athletes, killing all of them. Haskins was later sentenced to prison for the crime. Since that time he has spoken to groups, but has had limited media contact. Today he talks about the night of the crash with Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck
Laramie, Wy – Most of the residents of Fremont County and the Wind River Reservation will soon be connected to the rest of the world by fiber optics. The Marketing Director for Dubois Telephone, Bill Guthrie, says this will bring down costs for telephone customers and give Internet users a better connection. He says this will allow schools and businesses to do video streaming. Guthrie says the fiber optic should be operational around the beginning of the New Year. He says it will help attract people that like the area and want to run businesses out of their homes.
Jackson, WY – The Wyoming Brucellosis Coordination Team took up the sticky issue of elk feedgrounds during its' 8th meeting in Jackson. The majority of the panel was willing to experiment with closing feedgrounds, but there was concern about dramatic loss in elk numbers and impacts to ranchers. One preliminary recommendation calls for the Game and Fish Department to continually evaluate each feedground and look for chances to phase-out or modify them. Task Force Chair and University of Wyoming College of Agriculture Dean Frank Galey likes the recommendation because of its' flexibility.
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