Laramie, Wy – A week long attempt at attempting to solve Wyoming's high cost of medical malpractice insurance begins today. The headliner is a cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. Legislators are being asked to give two-thirds support to the concept and put in on the ballot for citizens to decide the matter in November. But a bill that proposes other long range options, such as a risk retention group, will also be considered. Buffalo Representative Doug Osborn is hoping that legislation setting a cap on non-economic damages will pass.
Laramie, Wy – A consulting firm is coming to Wyoming to do a unique analysis of the delivery of healthcare in rural and frontier parts of the state. The company will take an inventory of resources and project needs in five, ten and twenty years. The director of the Wyoming Healthcare Commission, Diane Harrop, says she hopes it can be a tool for lawmakers at all levels of government. The study will cost 150 thousand dollars and should be done by October. Harrop says it may include some recommendations.
Laramie, WY – A Republican candidate for Congress wants to dismantle the U-S-A Patriot Act. Cale Case says Wyoming's current Congressperson did not vote on the final version of the bill, but he says he would have taken a stand. Case calls the Patriot Act a piece of reactionary legislation and he believes it's inappropriate. He says if there were good ideas in the Patriot Act, they could have been pulled out and handled separately.
Laramie, Wy – Union Pacific Railroad says it is further limiting service amid record shipping demand and crew shortages. In a letter to customers posted on its Web site, U-P Executive Vice President of Marketing Jack Koraleski says new actions will include creating an allocation system to schedule intermodal and other shipments. It also will temporarily limit rock and aggregate materials shipments from Texas through the 23-state U-P system. The nation's largest railroad had been troubled with slow trains
Rock Springs, WY – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department's Sagegrouse Coordinator is asking Wyoming residents to report any dead sagegrouse they see this summer immediately. Tom Christiansen says biolgists are particularly concerned about how deadly West Nile Virus can be for sagegrouse. He says last year, 20 to 25 of the birds were killed due to the virus. Christiansen says those deaths were the only ones confirmed by testing so the number may be higher. He says most of the dead sagegrouse were found in northeastern Wyoming's Powder River Basin.
Laramie, WY – Congressional candidate Bruce Asay continues to push his plan for total reform of the health care system. He says a broad approach is the only proper way to reduce health care costs and reduce premiums for medical malpractice insurance. The Republican says his plan involves everyone. Asay says doctors, lawyers, pharmaceutical companies and individuals all have to give something in order to fix what many are calling a health care crisis.
Sheridan, WY – Questions still remain whether Campbell county has an obligation to maintain Lake DeSmet, despite pulling out of a joint operating agreement with Sheridan and Johnson counties. Sheridan County Commissioner Larry Durante says two issues remain regarding Campbell county's responsibility: the cost of daily upkeep of the lake and expenses for a major problem like a dam break. Durante says Campbell county still has an obligation to pay its share of outstanding debt and for any possible future damages.
Laramie, Wy – The National Forest Service is proposing a new rule for off highway vehicle use. It would limit ATVs to specific trails and areas, although local forests would have control over the specifics of the rules. The Director of Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers for the Forest Service, Mary Wagner, says they came up with this idea because unmanaged recreation is one of the biggest threats to the nation's forests. Wagner says the Forest Service will take public comment on this proposed rule for 60 days. It does not affect snowmobiles.
Casper, WY – Several states in the Rocky Mountain region are enjoying modest increases in oil production. This year, Colorado is on pace to take 7.4% more oil out of the ground when compared to 2002. Montana and North Dakota also are experiencing similar production spikes. But Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Director Don Likwartz says increased production isn't the case in Wyoming. He says the main reason is that Wyoming's oil fields are old. Likwartz says 12 of the top 25 field in the state have been around for 75 year.
Torrington, Wy – Torrington Livestock Market is joining an effort to create a voluntary beef check-off program. The U-S Supreme Court is studying the mandatory program, in which cattle producers are required to pay fees for research into diseases and marketing to promote beef consumption. The Torrington livestock auction has joined the Organization for Competitive Markets in a lawsuit filed Friday in U-S District Court in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Laramie, Wy – A Republican candidate for Congress in Wyoming is a fan of President Bush's No Child Left Behind initiative. Jim Altebaumer of Casper supports increased efforts to improve education in the nation. Altebaumer believes No Child Left Behind was needed. He says it's much more productive to educate young people rather than incarcerate them. If elected, Altebaumer says he'd continue to support improvements and increased funding for education. He says that type of spending is critical for the country's future.
Jackson, Wy – Investigators are still scratching their heads over the poisoning of 26 dogs in western Wyoming and eastern Idaho since March. The latest was a dog that died last Thursday after it apparently ate poison at Bridge Bay Campground in Yellowstone National Park. That's the first time a dog has been poisoned in Yellowstone National Park. It brings to eight the number of dogs that have been killed by poison-laced meat left at campgrounds, roadsides and picnic areas. Another 18 dogs have gotten sick but have recovered.
Laramie, Wy – A legislative committee will take another look at a proposal to provide subsidies to doctors paying high medical practice premiums. The temporary subsidy, supported by the Governor is intended to try and keep doctors from leaving the state until a permanent solution to medical malpractice is found. But not everyone likes the idea. Among them is Senate appropriations chairman John Schiffer. His concern is that doctors are being singled out for help, when other citizens have high insurance costs.
Laramie, Wy – The National Education Association is endorsing Democrat John Kerry in the presidential election. The president of the Wyoming Education Association, Gary McDowell, says this is because President Bush is not willing to change the No Child Left Behind Act while Kerry says he is willing to work with the recommendations of the National Education Association. McDowell says they do look at every individual candidate before endorsing one. He says while they haven't endorsed a Republican for president they have supported members of the G-O-P on the state level.
Casper, WY – Negotiations over a contract to start Northwest Airlines service from Casper to Minneapolis are progressing well. That's according to Casper Area Economic Development Alliance President Chris Manegold. It took Northwest several weeks to send CAEDA a draft contract, and the Casper Airport Manager says it's more more likely they'll have to wait until next spring to start the service. Manegold still is shooting for an October 4th start date. He believes there's still time between his group and Northwest to negotiate a contract and start service this fall.
Sheridan, Wy – Sheridan Prosecutor Matt Redle has filed a pair of charges against a man accused of shooting and killing a Sheridan woman over the weekend. Authorities say that 21 year old Stephen Hyatt both kidnapped and shot and killed Kaleigh Ford, last Friday night around 6:30 in the evening. Witnesses say that Ford was abducted by Hyatt at gunpoint and shot and killed as she tried to escape. Witnesses say he fired a second shot in the back of Ford's head as she lay on the ground. Hyatt then left the area and was arrested in Washakie County, near Ten Sleep.
Jackson, WY – A holiday hike in the Tetons turned into an ordeal for three family members Sunday. All three were injured when they fell through an opening in a snowfield in Grand Teton National Park July 4th. All three were able to dig themselves out and one of the trio was able to hike out and notify rangers. Rangers then mounted a helicopter rescue of the other two. Officials remind hikers and climbers that as snow continues to melt, be cautious where snow is poorly packed or water flows underneath. And beware of areas where rocks and fallen trees cause snow to melt unevenly.
Douglas, WY – Wyoming State Fair Director Barney Cosner is confident a large building project for the state fairgrounds in Douglas will be realized. Cosner says fair officials have been weighing their options following a 40 percent increase in steel prices and an overall 20 to 25 percent increase in other building materials. He says officials have considered everything from a change in building materials to modifying the configuration of the buildings. Cosner says nothing has been rule out.
Laramie, Wy – The news that presumptive Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry named John Edwards as his running mate went over well with the chair of the Wyoming Democratic Party. Mike Gierau says he's excited about Edwards and that he shares values with the people of the Cowboy State. He cites Edwards' advocacy for cheaper health care and better education. Edwards was in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination but withdrew in March. Republicans say he is too liberal and inexperienced.
Cheyenne, Wyoming – A coalition of more than two dozen county officials and various interest groups have served notice of intent to sue over the federal gray wolf recovery program. The so-called Wolf Coalition intends to seek relief in U-S District Court for alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act because of federal rejection of the Wyoming wolf management plan. The groups also contend the Fish and Wildlife Service failed to properly manage wolves in Wyoming or follow its own recovery plan.
Laramie, WY – Pharmacists in Wyoming have joined a national effort to discourage people from purchasing prescription drugs from on-line suppliers in Canada and elsewhere outside the U-S. Wyoming Pharmacy Association Director Mindy Rasmussen says there is a real danger of health problems with unsanctioned drugs. Rasmussen says just because the drugs are cheaper in Canada doesn't mean the Canadian government has certified those drugs. She says many times on-line operations are simply trying to mislead consumers into buying their products.