Wyoming –

Topic: Bob Beck reports from the legislative session about the 15 new lawmakers this year.

Topic: A group that advocates for the mentally ill has filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Wyoming; Guest: Jeanne Thobro, Executive Director of Protection and Advocacy.

Topic: Aaron Alpern speaks with UW Athletic Director Gary Barta about new rules that affect the UW football team and fans.

Cheyenne, Wy – A group that advocates for the mentally
ill today (Monday) filed a federal lawsuit against the state of
Wyoming, alleging that health officials have NOT followed through
on a three-year-old agreement to improve conditions at the State
The suit -- filed by Protection and Advocacy System Incorporated
-- says the state has failed to provide and maintain appropriate
staffing, training and supervision so as not to endanger patients.
The complaint alleges that patients are at risk of immediate

Helena, MT – Montana's wildlife commission Monday canceled a planned bison hunt for animals that wander from Yellowstone National Park. The 4-1 vote by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission stops the month-long season that was set to begin Saturday. The vote supports a position taken last week by new Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, who raised fears about a "public relations nightmare" from shooting bison. The hunt would have been the first in Montana in more than a decade.

Cheyenne, Wy – The 58th Legislative Session kicked off Tuesday. During opening remarks the new speaker of the House continues to push for savings this legislative session.
Randall Luthi told house members that putting more money in the states permanent mineral trust fund is a visionary move. That fund cannot be touched, but provides interest income. Luthi says building the fund up will help future legislators.

Laramie, Wy – In Laramie lawyers discussed the merits of a lawsuit challenging the outcome of the smoking ban referendum. It passed in November.
At a hearing this afternoon a district court judge heard arguments for and against dismissing the lawsuit. The attorney for the plaintiffs, Janet Tyler, says there were problems with the election process and there should be a trial.

Wyoming –

Topic: Renny Macky speaks with Legislative Information Officer, Wendy Madison about the available legislative services.

Topic: Renny Mackay speaks with State Manager of the Wyoming Red Cross, David Markiawa about supporting global efforts.

Topic: Bob Beck speaks with Renny Mackay about the smoking ban.

Wyoming – Two of the most prominent wildlife researchers in Wyoming history died in a car accident last week. Today family, friends and colleagues gathered to celebrate the lives of Beth Williams and Tom Thorne. Wyoming Public Radio's Renny MacKay attended the event and has this report

Moran, WY – The snowmobile season in Yellowstone National Park a year ago was marked with confusion and uncertainty. This season, there were steps taken to eliminate that confusion, and one snowmobile operator says those efforts are working, to a degree. Michele John is the Marketing Manager for Togwotee Mountain Lodge. She says there is more certainty this year, but also some lingering misinformation. John says they still field questions from people who have heard that Yellowstone is closed to snowmobiles or that a trip is not worthwhile because of the restrictions in place.

Cheyenne, WY – The 2005 Legislature convenes Tuesday in Cheyenne. Among the items lawmakers will be faced with is the creation of a voter-approved review panel to examine medical malpractice lawsuits before they go to court. There are also proposals to create a variety of trust funds, including one to pay for management of wildlife habitat and another for the University of Wyoming. Other issues include selecting a site for a new medium-security prison, preventing spread of cattle diseases, and the regulation of drilling where mineral and surface rights are separately owned.

Laramie, Wy – Students at the University of Wyoming would
pay about 182-dollars more next year in tuition and fees if the
university has its way.
University officials presented their proposal yesterday (Friday)
to the Board of Trustees. Included was a tuition increase of
five-point-seven percent, with most of that going toward academic
and administrative support.
The tuition increase also would pay for a new student
information system, which handles online course registration,
financial aid, and e-mail.

Laramie, Wy – University of Wyoming Trustees approved a plan to expand Jacoby Golf Course and to add residential housing on University Property. The plan is to develop a 27 hole championship golf course, and 750 lots priced between 50-thousand and 100-thousand dollars each. Trustee James Trosper was the only no vote. He has questioned whether building a golf course was part of the University's mission.

Laramie, Wy – A project in Jackson Hole has established some ideas of the legacy people there want to leave behind. The effort dubbed Sustaining Jackson Hole started a year ago. It involved over 100 volunteers. They came up with goals for the community and ways to find out if they are meeting them.

Wyoming –

Topic: Report on the needs for housing in Campbell County, Guest: Tom Hart, President of the Communities Strategies Institute.

Topic: Wyoming Reporters Roundtable

Washington, DC – The US Fish and Wildlife Service announced Friday that the sage grouse will not be protected under the endangered species act. Fish and Wildlife Director Steve Williams says while special protections are not warranted, he says the agency's review clearly illustrates the need for continued efforts to conserve sage grouse and sagebrush habitat on a long-term basis. Wyoming Senator Craig Thomas applauded the decision. He says it is vindication of the endangered species reforms he has pushed for in Congress.

Helena, MT – Montana's proposed bison hunt may not happen. The state's wildlife commission yesterday agreed to consider canceling the controversial hunt, which was set to start next week. The 4-1 decision was made by a commission that included three members just appointed by new Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. Schweitzer said earlier this week that he wanted the hunt cancelled. The wildlife commission also voted to postpone the drawing for licenses for the bison hunt which was scheduled for today. The commission plans to meet Monday, to make a final decision.

Laramie, WY – The lawsuit challenging Laramie's smoking ordinance will go before a state district court judge on Monday. The ban on smoking in public places, including restaurants and bars, was passed by Laramie voters in November by 366 votes. Six residents sued to overturn the ban, claiming that city officials bungled the election. The city has argued to dismiss the suit, saying that Albany County District Court does not have jurisdiction and that the plaintiffs failed to make their case. Monday's hearing before Judge Jeffrey Donnell is scheduled for 2:00 pm.

Laramie, Wy – This week the federal government announced a new rule for wolf management in Idaho and Montana. The change makes it easier for ranchers and state wildlife agencies to kill wolves. But, Wyoming is still under the more restrictive old rule because the federal government rejected Wyoming's wolf management plan. Since then the state filed suit to try and overturn that decision. Attorney General Pat Crank says the rule change for the neighboring states won't affect Wyoming's plan.

Laramie, Wy – A tax increase has reduced cigarette use
and bolstered state revenue.
That's according to the Survey and Analysis Center at the University of Wyoming.
The excise tax on cigarettes was increased in 2003 from 12 cents per pack to 60 cents per pack. The center says that increased state revenue from around 500-thousand dollars per month to one-and-a-half million dollars per month.
Meanwhile, the number of packs sold fell by more than 17 percent.

Washington, DC – The U-S Senate is moving quickly to confirm a new secretary for the Department of Agriculture. Governor Mike Johanns from Nebraska received the unanimous support of the Agriculture Committee today. During the fairly relaxed hearing Wyoming's senior Senator, Craig Thomas, asked Johanns about country of origin food labels, drought relief and the upcoming farm bill. Afterwards Thomas says he was impressed with the way Johanns answered those questions.
Johanns also vowed to keep working to begin exporting beef to Japan.

Wyoming –

Topic: Bob Beck speaks with Senator Rae Lynn Job about the graduation issues that will be discussed this legislative session.

Topic: Staining Jackson Hole Project; Guest: Jonathon Schechter, Organizer of Project.

Wyoming –

Topic: Bob Beck speaks with Senator Rae Lynn Job about the graduation issues that will be discussed this legislative session.

Topic: Staining Jackson Hole Project; Guest: Jonathon Schechter, Organizer of Project.

Thursday, January 6, 2005 --

Wyoming –

Topic: Bob Beck speaks with Senator Rae Lynn Job about the graduation issues that will be discussed this legislative session.

Topic: Staining Jackson Hole Project; Guest: Jonathon Schechter, Organizer of Project.

Cheyenne, WY – The Administrator of the Wyoming Highway Patrol took over as the Department of Transportation director Thursday. But this comes amidst questions about Colonel John Cox's education. In 1990, Cox received a criminal justice administration degree from The International University, a distance-learning school based in Missouri. A 12-year consultant for the F-B-I's anti-diploma mill program says a degree from that school has no value in the academic world.

Riverton, WY – Riverton and Rawlins are combining their efforts over the medium security prison issue. Both towns are disputing the Department of Corrections recommendation to build the prison in Torrington. City government officials from both Rawlins and Riverton held a press conference Wednesday to make their point that choosing Torrington would not be in the best interests of Wyoming.

Laramie, Wy – The couple that helped bring black footed ferrets from the brink of extinction was remembered today. Wildlife researchers Tom Thorne and Beth Williams died in a car accident last week. They worked in Wyoming for a combined five decades; doing advance research on brucellosis and Chronic Wasting Disease as well as working on the black footed ferret recovery project.

Laramie, Wy – A district judge ruled Wednesday that electronic bingo games are illegal in Wyoming.
Laramie County District Judge James Burke ruled that electronic bingo machines are gambling devices prohibited under Wyoming law because they do not fit the statute's definition of bingo.
Burke also ruled that the sharing of proceeds from electronic bingo operations between non-profit and for-profit entities is in violation of the law because only non-profit entities are allowed to conduct bingo games.

Wyoming –

Topic: Wildlife researchers Tom Thorne and Beth Williams die in a car accident.

Topic: Renny Mackay speaks with UW professor Ed Barbier about the impacts of the tsunami.

Topic: Bob Beck speaks with Matt Stannard about the success of the UW debate team.

Cheyenne, WY – The Game and Fish Director says wolves are chasing elk from state feedgrounds in western Wyoming. Terry Cleveland says more than three-thousand elk have been dispersed by wolves over the past several weeks causing crop damage and increasing potential for brucellosis transmission to cattle. Cleveland has sent a letter to the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service asking that the agency remove and relocate the so-called Daniel wolf pack.

Laramie, Wy – Researchers with the National Institutes of Health are having lots of success with a vaccine for West Nile Virus. They recently tested a form of it in mice.
Wyoming's West Nile Coordinator, Doctor Terry Creekmore, says it is valid and could improve another vaccine that uses the yellow fever virus. But, Creekmore says this new vaccine is not very far along in the process. The Yellow Fever virus vaccine is the furthest along, but it is still two to three years away from coming on the market.

Laramie, Wy – The mayor of Rawlins is criticizing the process that led to the choice of Torrington over Rawlins and Riverton for the site of a medium-security prison.
But Governor Freudenthal is standing by the process.
Corrections officials announced last month that they believe the prison should be built in Torrington. It will now be up to state to confirm the site for the 650-bed facility when they meet for this year's legislative session, which begins next Tuesday.