Laramie, Wy – A Laramie attorney has been named a circuit judge in the Second Judicial District overseeing Albany and Carbon counties. Governor Dave Freudenthal has appointed 53-year-old Jane Eakin to replace Judge Wade Waldrip, whom he has named to the district court. Eakin joins Judge Robert Castor on the circuit bench. Eakin has lived in Laramie for 16 years. She holds a law degree from the University of Wyoming. She has been a senior assistant public defender.
Lander, Wy – A Cheyenne consulting firm has launched a study on the 22 western Wyoming elk feedgrounds. The feedgrounds are run by the state to prevent winter starvation, but are areas where diseases like brucellosis are heavily concentrated. The Wyoming Brucellosis Coordination Team heard a presentation of the Western EcoSystems Technology study today (Thursday). Project Manager Dale Strickland says the purpose is to identify opportunities to close feedgrounds and move elk onto native winter ranges.
Gillette, WY – A South Dakota company has offered to buy a 19 seat passenger plane co-owned by Campbell and Natrona counties. The two counties bought the plane for one million dollars in 2002 in order to provide flights between Casper, Gillette and Billings, Montana. However, the plane lost money on that route while Big Sky Airlines operated it for nine months. Sioux Falls-based Business Aviation Services has offered to purchase the plane for 450 thousand dollars. The Natrona County International Airport board and Natrona County Commission have given initial approval to the sale.
Laramie, Wy – A political scientist believes it will be very difficult for anyone to unseat incumbent Congresswoman Barbara Cubin. Cubin is facing her toughest challenge to date, especially because she has to battle candidates from her own party. But U-W Political Scientist Jim King says Cubin has a tremendous advantage. Mostly because of the fact that she has both money and name recognition. He adds that although Cubin is facing a Republican challenge, the fact that there are multiple challegers actually helps her.
Torrington, WY – A Democratic Congressional candidate from Torrington believes there's no need to repeal of overhaul the Endangered Species Act. 72 year old Al Hamburg says animals have just as much right to live on Earth as humans. He also disputes the notion that wolves are killing everything in sight. Hamburg says Congress could exercise better fiscal responsibility by eliminating tax cuts for the wealthy and reigning in wasteful defense spending, such as the missile defense program.
Washington, D-C – The House voted today to let snowmobiles continue using Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. By a 224-198 vote, the chamber defeated an effort to ban the vehicles. Some lawmakers argued the machines cause pollution and noise, and pose a danger to the parks' wildlife. Democratic Representative Rush Holt of New Jersey argued that Yellowstone is a unique environment, that deserves an extra level of protection. But snowmobile manufacturers and tourism interests argue that a
Topic: Aaron Alpern reports on the Wyoming Brucellosis Coordination Team and their meeting in Lander on drafting recommendations for preventing brucellosis transmission to cattle and improving surveillance for the disease.
Topic: Wyoming Congresswomen, Barbara Cubin is facing the first serious challenge since she was first elected to office: Guest: Jim King, UW Political Scientist
Laramie, WY – The new Superintendent of Laramie's Wyoming Territorial Park says visitors can expect some changes at the historic site in coming years. Tom Lindemeier was chosen to head up the Territorial Prison when the state took over management of the site this spring. Lindemeier says some deferred maintenance needs to be performed to prevent further deterioriation of some of the buildings. He says electronic equipment used to provide interpretive displays also isn't working anymore. Lindemeier says his focus will be to spotlight the historic nature of the Territorial Prison.
Helena, MT – Montana livestock officials say they'll look into the possibility of vaccinating bison for brucellosis when the animals wander out of Yellowstone National Park. Karen Cooper of the Montana Department of Livestock says the agency hopes to have an assessment by late November and a decision by January. But a Buffalo Field Campaign official doesn't believe vaccinating bison will eradicate brucellosis. Public comments are being taken on the Montana plan through July 23rd.
Laramie, Wy – The Wyoming Brucellosis team will make its first set of draft recommendations to prevent Brucellosis transmission. They will also suggest ways to enhance surveillance for the disease. Team Chair Frank Galey, who is also U-W's Ag Dean will send the recommendations to the legislature and Governor. The two day meeting will be held in Lander.
Washington, D-C – A plan that would allow Wyoming to be paid 420-(M)-million dollars for cleanup of abandoned mines fell apart(Wednesday) in the U-S House. Revisions to the abandoned mines reclamation program were tied to legislation that would permit oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The plan included provisions of a bill sponsored by Wyoming's Barbara Cubin requiring the reimbursement to Wyoming and reduction of the amount coal companies pay into the abandoned mines fund. The proposal also would have shored up miners' pension plans.
Laramie, Wy – Laramie's Welldog Inc. will be looking to expand, thanks to a million and a half dollar Venture Capital Investment. Prospector Equity Capital of Park City, Utah, says Welldog is a company that can revolutionize the natural gas industry. Welldog President John Pope says they will be able to hire over 25 new employees and dramatically enhance their business. Pope says they will be based in Laramie, but be able to expand their business beyond Wyoming's borders.
Yellowstone National Park, WY – Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park officials have opened a 30-day comment period on temporary rules for snowmobiling this coming winter in both parks. Park service officials say the comments will be used to come up with several management options. Those alternatives will then be opened for a 30-day public review that will begin by August 20th. A final management plan for the winter is expected before the winter season begins around December 15th.
Washington D-C – More forest fire airplanes could be added to the country's arsenal. The U-S Senate approved an amendment by Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi to speed up efforts to develop new planes to fight fires. Enzi is concerned that the government currently plans to use military planes to fight this summers blazes. He says increased efforts are needed to have planes designed for fires. Enzi's amendment requires the Secretary of Agriculture to purchase ten planes to just fight forest fires.
Cheyenne, Wy – An updated study by Northwestern University says the Wyoming Highway Patrol needs 122 additional troopers. Colonel John Cox, the Highway Patrol Administrator, says that is more then half of the number currently patrolling the state. And Cox believes the shortage is hurting morale. The Highway Patrol asked the legislature for authority to hire ten new troopers last year. Only one was added.
Rock Springs, WY – Famed Wyoming lawman Ed Cantrell passed away Friday in a Salt Lake City hospital following a brief illness. The 76 year old Cantrell gained fame when he was charged, and later acquitted, of murder in connection with the fatal shooting of a Rock Springs undercover drug enforcement agent. Cantrell was serving as the city's Public Safety Director at the time. Funeral services will be held Friday morning at ten at the Vase Funeral Chapel in Rock Springs.
Laramie, Wy – An attorney for one of the killers of Matthew Shepard wants his client to have a chance to explore asking for a sentence reduction. Russell Henderson was sentenced to two life terms after pleading guilty to murder and kidnapping. But his attorney Tim Newcomb contends that Henderson was not told of his right to ask for a reduced sentence by his trial attorney Wyatt Skaggs. He is asking that Judge Jeffrey Donnell grant Henderson 30 days to explore that option.
Cheyenne, Wy – EnCana Oil and Gas expects a draft plan for new development within a few weeks. The Buerau of Land Management is preparing a draft Environmental Impact Statement that should have a range of alternatives. EnCana Spokesman Steve Reynolds says the Jonah Field presents a tremendous opportunity. But the Wyoming Outdoor Councils Meredith Taylor says Encana wants too many wells. However, she says it is already ruined for Wildlife Use and Migration Corridors.
Cheyenne, Wy – The question of whether all of the states top-elected officials should share some powers will be up for discussion again. A select legislative committee will once again hear why all top elected officials should be allowed to submit their own budgets and whether the Secretary of State, Auditor, Superintendent and Treasurer should be on equal footing as the Governor on some appointments. Senator John Hanes is a committee co-chairman and he admits that he'd like to avoid changing any laws. The meeting begins at nine.
Rawlins, WY – The U-S Bureau of Land Management has put out a final document to guide use of an area in southern Sweetwater and Carbon counties. The plan allows for 385 new natural gas wells. Erik Molvar with Biodiversity Conservation Alliance says the plan does nothing to protect wildlife or the beauty of the land. Molvar says the B-L-M could have opted to allow directional drilling, which means any wells would be clustered. He says that would have been a way to allow gas development will still protecting the landscape and wildlife.
Cheyenne, WY – A new study indicates the Wyoming Highway Patrol is severely understaffed. The Northwestern University report shows Wyoming needs 122 additional troopers. Colonel John Cox of the Wyoming Highway Patrol is offering details of the study to state lawmakers in hopes they will approve more funding. Cos says realistically, the patrol could only hire about ten new officers a year because of a shallow pool of applicants and because of the time needed to train new officers.
Cody, WY – The Shoshone National Forest is getting something new to help battle wildfires. A Type Two medium helicopter will be stationed in Cody to help with the summer's wildfire season. Acting Fire Management Officer Clint Dawson says the helicopter can carry twice as much water and twice as many firefighters when compared to the light helicopters they've used in the past. Even with the new equipment, Dawson expects a challenging fire season ahead.
Jackson, WY – A wolf's death is being investigated as part of the probe into the poisoning of over 20 dogs in western Wyoming and Idaho. Originally, it was believed that wolves were the targets of the pesticide-laced meat baits. That theory has come into question with the finding of the poson inside the town of Jackson. U-S Fish and Wildlife Service special agent Dominic Dominici says a wolf carcass was found about three weeks ago. He says since the dead wolf was found in the Greys River area, it may have been poisoned too.
Ranchester, WY – Sheridan County saw a tornado touch down Thursday afternoon. An air mass moving across northern Wyoming spawned the tornado between 3:30-4:00 in an area between Sheridan and Ranchester. Keith Meier is the Meteorologist in Charge of the National Weather Service office in Billings. Meier traveled to the site of the twister Friday. He says after looking at video shot by Sheridan Police, he thinks it was an F-Zero tornado, which usually carry winds of 70 to 90 miles an hour.
Laramie, WY – Gas stations are seeing an increase in the number of people who fill up and drive off without paying. There have been reported out of Gillette about a number of gas thefts occurring there. Colorado-Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association Executive Vice President Roy Turner says drive-offs generally go up when gas prices rise. He says it's more a problem in Colorado than Wyoming because Wyoming law enforcement is more aggressive in catching gas thieves.