Casper, WY – Higher than average rainfall this summer has done little to lessen the effects of five years of drought on the North Platte's reservoir system. The Bureau of Reclamation says Pathfinder Reservoir stored less water last month than it had in 35 years. Seminoe Reservoir held just 32 percent of its capacity while Pathfinder was 25 percent full. Power generation from both dams also was down. Pathfinder Dam put out the fourth lowest amount of power it has produced in the last 30 years.
Sheridan, Wy – Governor Freudenthal says he is NOT sure if he will endorse the Kerry-Edwards ticket. Freudenthal -- who is a Democrat -- says the issues that are vital to Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain region are not getting much attention from the Democratic nominees. He says he has found very little on Kerry's Web site that specifically addresses such topics as forest policy and energy development. Freudenthal says he's not certain if a Kerry administration would be more supportive than the Bush administration has been with
Laramie, WY – Some students and a professor from Rice University in Texas want to learn the truth about gas development in Sublette county. Doctor Marc Epstein and two students are doing a study on the impacts of natural gas drilling. Epstein hopes they can provide independent research to companies, the government and conservation groups to aid in decision-making. He says it's been clear from his telephone and on-site interviews that not enough information is known to make good decisions.
Laramie, WY – Democrat Ted Ladd says addressing expensive health care coverage for Wyoming people is a must. Ladd is running for Wyoming's lone Congressional seat. He said over the weekend that after traveling the state, he notes there are a lot of workers who are struggling. Ladd says Wyoming ranks 42nd out of 50 states in median wages and health care premiums eat up a significant portion of Wyoming's low paychecks. He is proposing a plan that would provide more health care coverage to uninsured people.
Lararmie, Wy – The state office of the Bureau of Land Management can now charge Coalbed Methane producers a higher amount for bonds. The associate field manager in Buffalo, Richard Zander, says the agency just got clarification that it is alright to get money from producers to cover the cost of reclaiming any water reservoirs.
Laramie, Wy – A University of Wyoming Public Policy expert doubts that concerns over the wolf issue will ever reach the U-S Supreme Court. The state has sued the Department of Interior over Wyoming's wolf management plan. The feds especially have a problem with the term predator in the plan. But Wyoming officials contend that the reasons for turning the plan down are improper and have sued because they say the plan is science based. But U-W Political Science Professor Greg Cawley believes this is more about supporting constituent groups then anything else.
Laramie, WY – Several conservation groups want to take part in the lawsuit Wyoming filed against the federal government. The state sued the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service for rejecting Wyoming's wolf management plan. A coalition of five conservation groups has filed to intervene and defend the federal position. One of the groups is the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance. Director Franz Camenzind says they got involved because they believe the agency's decision was the right one based on sound science. He says the groups are disappointed by Wyoming's lawsuit.
Lararmie, Wy – A Creighton University business survey shows Wyoming's economy is expected to see continued growth in the next three to six months. Steve Elledge from the Wyoming Business Council's Casper Regional Office says that optimistic outlook is reflected in his area's business community. Elledge says specifically the manufacturing sector continues to show signs of gains. The Creighton report says new orders in Wyoming were strong while production and employment were also showing growth.
Gillette, WY – About 350 head of cattle in Campbell county will be tested Friday for brucellosis. The cattle come from a herd from which two cows tested positive for the disease ealier this week. Six other contact herds with about 15 hundred head of cattle will be tested within the next couple of weeks. The two infected Campbell county cows were discovered after a group of 50 cows were sent to a livestock sale in South Dakota.
Laramie, Wy – The U-S Energy Department has awarded nearly one-point-two-million dollars in grants to Wyoming to help low-income families weatherize their homes. The agency says poor families spend an average of 14 percent of their income on energy, compared to three-and-a-half percent for the average American family. The Energy Department says that weatherization can reduce energy costs by 218 dollars a year. The money for Wyoming is part of 95-million dollars awarded to 20 states.
Casper, WY – Natrona county voters will decide the fate of a sales tax increase November 2nd to raise 11 million dollars to turn a vacant hotel into a new court building. The question on whether the quarter-cent tax would come before voters in November was decided Wednesday night when the Mills Town Council approved putting the issue to voters. The councils in Bar Nunn, Casper and Edgerton earlier backed putting the tax issue on the ballot. If approved by voters, the tax will be in effect about four years.
Beulah, WY – The Vore Buffalo Jump site west of Beulah has been opened to the public for the first time in nearly a decade. The site's foundation has hired employees to explain the archeology and help interpret the site and intepretive signs have been added. The buffalo jump was discovered in the 1970's. Centuries ago, American Indians used the natural sinkhole as a way to trap bison. More than 20 thousand bison were killed over the years. Foundation officials eventually hope to build a visitor's center and make the Vore Buffalo Jump a state historic site.
Gillette, WY – The nation's fourth largest coal producer has sold its American mining operations and formed a new corporation. R-A-G International owns two mines in Campbell county, Eagle Butte and Bell Ayr. Both operations employ 480 people. The three American buyers have formed Foundation Coal. The sale price has not been disclosed, but previous announcements put the figure at close to one billion dollars. No changes are expected in the operation's management.
Laramie, WY – N-C-A-A rules will require that the University of Wyoming football team average 15-thousand fans per home game starting this season. If not, U-W could lose its Division One football status, which in turn could mean the University would have to leave the Mountain West Conference. Athletic Director Gary Barta admits it's a concern, but he has started a campaign to try to average 20 thousand fans per game. Barta says the first objective is obvious: a winning team. But he's working to make sure War Memorial Stadium is the place to be on Saturdays.
Laramie, Wy – On the Republican side of the race for Wyoming's seat in Congress, State Senator Cale Case says he is the candidate who will best protect the constitution. At a press conference Thursday he said incumbent Barbara Cubin has not done a good job upholding citizens' rights.
Cody, WY – The success of summer flights between Cody and Denver apparently has United Airlines ready to sign on for winter service. The consultant for the Cody Yellowstone Air Service Organization says his group and the airline have agreed to a contract and United should sign it by the end of the week. Rick Wilder says both sides saw summer traffic was better than expected and want to use that momentum to re-establish 12 month service to Denver.
Laramie, Wy – The state Game and Fish Department will be able to do more monitoring of elk and other ungulates thanks to federal money. Wyoming just received 200 thousand dollars to prepare for wolf management and the Game and Fish's John Emmerich says they will put a lot of the funds towards surveillance. He says right now they monitor every three years, but now they'll fly over elk herds every year to see what impact wolves are having on birth rates and survival.
Laramie, Wy – Efforts to develop more research at the University of Wyoming continue to be successful. U-W Vice President for Research Bill Gern says U-W researchers have brought in over 61 million dollars from a variety of areas. Gern says this means a lot for the state as a whole, especially economically. Gern adds that they are also getting some state support and have been able to set up some research operations to assist the state with a variety of projects.
Laramie, WY – Despite hearing from several bar owners that a proposed ordinance was unfair and would hurt their businesses, the Laramie City Council gave first reading support to make Laramie buildings smoke-free. While several supporters called it a health issue, many bar owners objected. Among them was Dwight Rowell, who owns The Library. While he made his restaurant smoke-free, Rowell objects to being forced to make his bar smoke-free. He says it's his decision whether he loses money or not allowing smokers in his bar, not city government's.
Cheyenne, Wy – Ever since the state has taken over the funding of school buildings, gyms are being built smaller and projects like swimming pools have been denied. It has concerned community leaders who use school facilities for their residents. In an effort to find some middle ground, Governor Dave Freudenthal is proposing that local governments get funding to help pay for community centers, by providing financial help for those communities with a need for the development of community facilities.
Riverton, WY – Only two of the three Democrats seeking Wyoming's lone seat in Congress were on hand for Tuesday night's debate. Al Hamburg of Torrington didn't attend, but Casper attorney John Henley and Wilson business consultant Ted Ladd's discussion centered a lot around energy. Ladd says when energy decisions are made on federal lands, there needs tro be more focus on multiple use principles. Ladd believes "big oil" is threatening recreation, hunting and other activities.
Riverton, Wyoming – The four Republicans vying for Wyoming's lone seat in the U-S House talked about health care, the deficit, how the federal government can help Wyoming and other issues. Three candidates often crowded one another as they tried to get their views out. Bruce Asay, a Cheyenne attorney, and Cale Case, a state senator from Lander, traded their thoughts on the deficit and other issues while criticizing Cubin, who defended her voting record.
Laramie, Wy – Two candidates for U-S House are criticizing incumbent Barbara Cubin for taking a disproportionate sum of campaign contributions from the oil and gas and pharmaceutical industries. Of the 555-thousand dollars Cubin has raised this election cycle, more than 70 percent has come from political action committees. PACs are formed by industry or issue-oriented groups to raise money for candidates likely to advance the group's interests. Cubin's PAC donors include the drug company GlaxoSmith Kline and
Riverton – The Democratic debate was a much more subdued affair. Casper Attorney John Henley was joined by Wilson business consultant Ted Ladd. The third candidate, Al Hamburg of Torrington, was not in attendance. Most of the conversation focused on energy policy as Wyoming Public Radio's Aaron Alpern reports
Washington, D.C. – The U-S Forest Service has drafted four options for managing grizzly bears in six national forests around Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. The option the agency chooses will determine how grizzly bears are managed after their removal from Endangered Species Act protections. The forests covered by the draft environmental impact statement include the Caribou-Targhee, Bridger-Teton and Shoshone National Forests in Wyoming.