Laramie, WY – A Laramie-based environmental group contends the Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse needs continued Endangered Species Act protections. Jeff Kessler of Biodiversity Conservation Alliance also disputes a study cited by the State of Wyoming as evidence why the mouse should be de-listed. Kessler says the Denver Museum of Nature and Science study had a number of problems. He says scientists reviewing the work questioned the study's scientific methods and unsupported conclusions made by the author.
Cheyenne, WY – Citing security concerns, Great Lakes Airlines has been denied the right to start bus service between airport terminals in Laramie and Cheyenne to Denver. The Transportation Security Administration has decided not to approve what would have been a first-of-its-kind service. The T-S-A says there were too many questions about whether the bus would be secure as it traveled to Denver. Great Lakes Vice President for Marketing and Planning Dave Thomas says the decision doesn't make sense to him. He says the airline had a great plan in place to make the bus secure.
Topic: Great Lakes Airlines has been denied the right to start bus service between airport terminals in Laramie and Cheyenne to Denver, Guest: Mike Fearburn, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Spokesperson and Dave Thomas, Great Lakes Vice President for Marketing and Planning
Topic: Bob Beck speaks with Nicole Korfanta and George Jones about the first birding festival of Audubon Wyoming
Cheyenne, WY – A Cheyenne social studies teacher has been suspended with pay amid accusations he molested a 14-year-old girl. Howard Evans faces sexual assault charges. According to court documents, on three occasions, Evans asked the girl to lie down with him. One time, the girl complied and Evans allegedly stripped off his and the girl's clothes and initiated sexual contact. Evans has denied the accusations.
Laramie, WY – Greater Sage Grouse Conservation Task Force coordinator Jim Sims says private conservation efforts will do more to help that species. Sims heads up a group of timber, mining, ranching and outdoor enthusiasts called Partnership for the West. He says his group wants Governor Freudenthal to resist attempts to list the sage grouse as threatened or endangered. Sims says the Endangered Species Act discourages private conservation efforts. He says the E-S-A has not recovered a single species in its' 30 year history.
Cody, WY – Denver International Airport will be the scene of a celebration Friday afternoon. That is when the first United Express flight from Cody will land, starting summer service that's been in the works for 18 months now. The Cody Yellowstone Air Service Organization hopes they can parlay these flights into year-round service. Consultant Rick Wilder says success this summer will be a key component for securing winter service. Wilder is optimistic about how successful the service will be. He says bookings are on par with other United destination and that's positive for their efforts.
Jackson, WY – A temporary plan will be drafted for snowmobiling in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks next winter. The National Park Service will start taking comments on the plan in mid-June and is hoping to hear new information about winter use. This comes as there are two conflicting court opinions on whether snowmobiling should be allowed in the parks. Yellowstone spokeswoman Cheryl Matthews says they want to provide the public with some certainty about next winter. She says confusion over the issue led to fewer winter visitors this past year.
Jackson, WY – The Wyoming Business Council voted to fund 12 projects meant to stimulate economic development Wednesday in Jackson. The Council's Board of Directors did this even though it means spending money set aside for the Business Ready Community program next year. That program only had $4 Million left in its budget for this year. So, it looked like the council would have to make some tough choices because it had applications totaling $15 Million. But, the council decided to spend money that isn't available until July first.
Washington, D.C. – Leaders with the U-S Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service say they won't place lives at risk by using aging air tankers to fight wildfires this year. Kathleen Clark with the B-L-M and Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth issued a joint statement Tuesday defending their decision. They say they understand public concern, but for now wildfires will be fought on the ground. And they say a fleet of 33 air tankers won't take flight again until officials can find some way to assure their safety. Some lawmakers have criticized the decision to ground the planes.
Boise, ID – Federal firefighting agencies announced Wednesday that they will acquire over a hundred additional aircraft to battle wildfires this summer. Last month, 33 large air tankers were grounded because safety concerns. This move is to make up for the loss of those aircraft. National Interagency Fire Center Spokeswoman Venetia Gempler says the $66 Million to pay for the new aircraft will come out of the existing firefighting budget. Gempler says the plan is to acquire 38 smaller air tankers and 71 helicopters.
Washington, D.C. – A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. has upheld tougher pollution controls on snowmobiles used in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. But the judges Tuesday asked why the Environmental Protection Agency rule would exempt almost a third of newly built snowmobiles. The three judge panel also rejected claims by the snowmobile industry that the E-P-A had no authority to require new snowmobiles to have cleaner burning engines to reduce air pollution. The rule came in a lawsuit filed by two environmental groups over the 2002 E-P-A rule.
Wyoming – Because of high school graduations and the start of summer, drinking and driving has been on the minds of many law enforcement officials. But a group says Wyoming has had too many alcohol related tragedies. The Governors Council On Impaired Driving are trying to bring even of an emphasis on drinking and driving throughout the year. Recently the legislature did lower the legal limit for drinking and driving, but the state has not touched a number of laws that some think it should pass.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming contractors are feeling the pinch of higher gasoline prices. Wyoming Contractors Association Executive Vice President Charlie Ware says higher fuel prices are having a devastating impact on some contractors. Ware says construction companies working on federal highway project are particularly hard hit. He says those contractors usually get the bid six to eight months before they start work. Ware says having to estimate how much gasoline costs to complete a project cuts into a company's bottom line.
Topic: Bob Beck reports on drinking and driving has been on the minds of many law enforcement officials and the Governors Council on Impaired Driving is trying to bring more of an emphasize on drinking and driving throughout the calendar year
Topic: The on going question of how Jackson will handle growth in the future; Guest: Mark Barron, Mayor of Jackson, Wyoming
Topic: Preparations for droughts: Guest: Brian Remlinger, Water Resource Specialist at the Teton Conservation District
Jackson, WY – The fate of an effort to start flights between Casper and Minneapolis will be decided Wednesday. The Wyoming Business Council will decide whether to award a $1.8 Million grant that's needed to start the Northwest Airlines service. Casper Area Economic Development Alliance President Chris Manegold says having Northwest in Casper would benefit travelers throughout central Wyoming. He says another airline will bring competition and hoepfully lower airfares. One of the most attractive parts of this proposal is that Northwest would fly jets.
Washington, D.C. – A review of federal records shows nearly three-fourths of the public land leased for oil and gas development in the continential U-S isn't producing any oil or gas. That, even as the Bush administration pushes to open more environmentally sensistive public lands for oil and gas development. Eighty percent of federal lands leased for oil and gas production in Wyoming are producing no oil or gas. Neither are 83 percent of the leased acres in Montana or 77 percent in Utah.
Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming Department of Agriculture is concerned about the spate of dog poisonings in Teton county. Pesticide Compliance Officer Slade Franklin says the person distributing the poison is using the pesticide Temik, which is used in the sugar beet and potato crop industries. Franklin says the misuse of this pesticide could prompt state or federal officials to restrict its' sale. He says it's also possible the company that manufactures the poison could restrict sales of its product. Franklin says that could be problematic for the agriculture industry.
Jackson, WY – A black bear that became used to raiding garbage cans and bird feeders has been killed near Teton Village. Friday night, the bear got into a garage through a pet door, got into some garbage, and did considerable damage before leaving. The Game and Fish Department decided to euthanize the bear because it would have continued to seek out food in residential areas and remain a safety hazard. Bear management officer Eric Shorma says it was a frustrating incident because the homeowner had already been warned about having bird feeders too close to the ground.
Jackson, WY – Jackson's Mayor says he'll try once again to get a plan to control growth in the town's downtown area enacted. Twice the town council came up with a plan and twice Jackson residents turned down the measures through a referendum. Mayor Mark Barron supported the second proposal, which would change zoning for downtown Jackson. He believes it's too easy for citizens to hold referendums. Barron admits referendums are a fact of life and he's learned the town council must be viligilant about communicating its' intentions and plans to the public.
Laramie, Wy – The lone bid for a plaza in Casper that would display a Ten Commandments monument alongside monuments to five other historical documents has come in 106-thousand dollars over budget. And the bid from Andreen Hunt Construction did NOT include a brook-like water feature the city had wanted for the plaza. That would bring the bid price up to 816-thousand dollars. The city is now left with the decision of either adding to the 600-thousand-dollar budget for the plaza or delaying the project indefinitely.
Laramie, Wy – Devil's Tower National Monument is among 12 national parks and monuments that will operate this summer under some combination of reduced budgets, employees or visitor services. That's according to a recent report by the Coalition of Concerned National Park Service Retirees. Bill Wade is spokesman for the coalition. He says the cuts contrast with a promise by National Park Service Director Fran Mainella in March that visitors will find "outstanding visitor services" at parks.
Laramie, Wy – More students in Wyoming will be going to kindergarten all day in the future. The Department of Education's Kenya Haynes says there are currently 78 schools already offering longer sessions of kindergarten and the legislature set aside money for more districts to try making the change. And Haynes says kids can adapt to the longer day because with most parents working two jobs most children are in day-care for about the same hours as all day kindergarten.
Lararmie, Wy – As open space in Colorado disappears the city of Fort Collins is working with other groups to preserve a swath of land from the mountains to the plains just south of the Wyoming border. Recently the city bought part of a ranch that sits right on the border. Natural areas director, Mark Sears, says they want to try and keep some land like it was before Europeans arrived. He notes that Wyoming has lots of land like that but because of a booming population in Larimer County, Colorado the city of Fort Collins wants to preserve at least some land.
Cheyenne, Wy – Republicans are mathematically guaranteed to keep a significant majority over Democrats in the Wyoming Senate this fall. And while it is technically possible that Republicans could lose their majority in the House, it is unlikely based on the affiliations of those who filed to seek office before Friday's deadline. Republicans outnumber Democrats 20 to ten in the Senate and 45 to 15 in the House. Sixteen Senate seats are up for election this year. In the six races in which both a Democrat and a Republican filed