Farson, Wy – A rancher and veterinarian is joining the race for Wyoming's lone congressional seat. Marvin Applequist the 2nd says he wants to be elected to represent the more rural elements of the state. Applequist says one issue he would watch carefully is government spending. Applequist will run as a Republican.
Cheyenne, Wy – Months ago, national fire managers predicted the 2004 wildfire season would be a bad one. Now, they're changing their forecast: It's going to be worse. With unseasonably warm temperatures in March and April, the potential loss of heavy air tankers for safety reasons, and a years-long drought continuing, Western states and the federal government are grimly facing the possibility of another devastating fire season. Years of drought have left states across the West vulnerable to extreme fire conditions.
Indianapolis, IN – Rulon Gardner will be heading back to the Olympic Games. Gardner won a pair of tight 2-to-1 overtime decisions over top-seeded Dremiel Byers Sunday to secure the return trip to the Olympics. The Afton native was the 2000 Greco-Roman super heavyweight gold medalist at the Sydney Games. Gardner thought going to the Olympics was an impossible goal after losing a toe to frostbite when he was stranded in a Wyoming blizzard on a snomobile in early 2002. He's had to adjust to wrestling without the balance and leverage he lost when his toe was removed.
Laramie, Wy – University of Wyoming trustees have agreed to continue looking at a proposal for a new 27-hole golf course and residential housing development behind Jacoby Golf. It would add a 3 million dollar clubhouse, a nine million dollar golf course and a million and half in other structures. University of Wyoming President Phil Dubois says it should have a positive cash flow in five years. Area banker and Laramie Economic Development Council member Gary Negich says it could be a tremendous boost to Laramie's economy.
Laramie, Wy – Beer could now be on the menu along with burgers and fries at some local fast-food joints and convenience stores in Green River. The City Council has given final approval to an amendment that allows fast-food restaurants and drug and convenience stores to apply for liquor licenses. The city has three retail liquor licenses still available. An unlimited number of restaurant liquor licenses exist. Each request will still require the City Council's approval.
Cheyenne, WY – State officials are urging residents to use pesticides properly and report any missing supplies in light of a recent string of dog poisonings in northwestern Wyoming. At least 21 dogs in Wyoming and Idaho have been sickened or killed since March. The dogs ate hot dogs filled with the insecticide Temik, a granular substance that looks like black table salt. Wyoming Department of Agriculture officials says the insecticide is used to control nematodes in Wyoming's surgar beet fields. Investigators believe the poisoned hot dogs were meant for wolves, not pets.
Laramie – Add an Albany County prosecutor's name to the list of those who want some enhanced drunk driving laws. It stems from an incident that occurred in Laramie last fall. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck has the details.
Laramie, Wy – An appeal of a judge's ruling overturning a Clinton-era ban on national forest road-building remains alive following a federal court order. The roadless rule would limit timber harvesting and other development on 58 million acres of remote forest land. Last July, U-S District Judge Clarence Brimmer in Wyoming struck down the rule, saying it illegally created wilderness areas and violated other federal laws. Eight conservation groups took the matter to the Denver-based 10th U-S Circuit Court of Appeals.
Laramie, WY – A project to explore for oil and gas in Wyoming's Red Desert has prompted conservation groups to file a legal challenge in federal court in Washington, D.C. Patricia Dowd of the Wyoming Chapter of the Sierra Club says the Bureau of Land Management proposed allowing the use of 62 thousand pound seismic "thumper trucks" to search for oil and gas. Dowd says there are lower impact methods that could be used to protect the Red Lake Dunes fragile landscape.
Laramie, Wy – Add the University of Wyoming to the list of municipalities and organizations seeing higher than expected costs for building projects. Vice President for Planning and Budget, Phil Harris, tells UW trustees bids for the new child care center were 24% higher than anticipated. He says it will require UW to use more of it's federal mineral royalty revenue to complete the child care center. Harris says officials also saw bids two percent higher for a dormitory renovation, but he's not sure why they child care center is 12 times more expensive.
Wyoming – Since the National Elk Refuge was founded in 1912, elk have been fed during the winter in Western Wyoming. Along with the refuge, there are now 22 state-run feed-grounds in Sublette, Teton, and Lincoln Counties. And while they ensure a robust elk population, feed-grounds are also reservoirs of disease, particularly brucellosis. Last year, elk on the Muddy Creek Feed-ground in Sublette County transmitted the disease to neighboring cattle, leading to Wyoming losing its brucellosis-free status.
Wyoming – Doctors and many other continue to warn of a health care crisis in the states. The problem they says is the skyrocketing price of medical malpractice insurance. Their solution is something called tort reform. But Wyoming Public Radio's Renny MacKay reports that plan remains impossible to agree on and almost as hard to understand.
Pinedale, WY – The future of western Wyoming's 22 elk feedgrounds was the topic of a Pinedale forum Wednesday held by the Greater Yellowstone Interagency Brucellosis Committee. Elk were the source of the cattle outbreak of brucellosis in Sublette county that led to Wyoming losing its' brucellosis-free status. Feedgrounds are important because they tend to concentrate the disease. National Elk Refuge Manager Barry Reiswig says it may be time to consider the notion of a end to an era.
Missoula, Mt – Conservation groups say the Department of Interior is NOT protecting Montana and Wyoming parks and wilderness areas from air pollution. A federal lawsuit filed today (Thursday) in Missoula, Montana, contends that coal-bed methane development in the Powder River Basin threatens to damage air quality in parts of both states. The groups contend the federal government has acknowledged methane development could threaten public health and air quality -- but has made no effort to prevent it.
Cheyenne, Wy – A continued boom in Wyoming's minerals industry along with low interest rates have helped push tax revenues higher than expected for the first eight months of the fiscal year. According to a state report, income to the state General Fund is 62-(M)-million dollars higher than expected so far in fiscal 2004. That's a jump of 12 percent. Revenues are up 34 percent on investment earnings and 14 percent on mineral severance tax income. Sales tax income is up slightly more than one percent.
Casper, WY – The Wyoming Governor's office is checking around the state to see if there is a change in attitudes toward capping medical malpractice awards. This year, the legislature voted down a proposal to change the constitution and allow damage caps to be put on in the future. Governor Freudenthal could call a special legislative session this summer to take up the issue, but Wyoming Healthcare Commission Chair Chris Muirhead says it would have to be done by August 9th.
Cheyenne, Wy – Law enforcement officers who get drunk drivers off the roads and highways are being honored by the state. Governor Dave Freudenthal is hoping that the publicity officers receive for their enforcement could work as a deterrent. But some worry that even if officers make arrests, Prosecutors don't have the tools to handle repeat offenders. This year, Legislators defeated a bill that would have made a third D-U-I in a specific time period a felony.
Laramie, WY – The chairman of a new Wyoming Health Care Commission subcommittee believes his group's work could lead to a cost savings. Casper Radiologist Dr. Geoffrey Smith says his group will esamine information technology and how it's used by Wyoming medical professionals. He says making it easier to share information might lead to effieciencies that could reduce costs. Smith says Wyoming doctors typically spend one third to one half of their daily workload communicating information between patients and other providers.
Casper, WY – A convicted Casper murder was denied a new penalty phase Tuesday. 59 year old Dale Wayne Eaton was sentenced to die for the 1988 rape and murder of Lisa Marie Kimmel. Eaton's attorneys allged there was "egregious" prosecutorial misconduct. They allege Seventh District Attorney Mike Blonigen made inappropriate statements during his closing arguments. But District Judge David Park ruled there was no misconduct and sais the defense took Blonigen's comments out of context.
Laramie, Wy – Four Wyoming Business associations are jointly opposing a lawsuit in Federal Court filed by PacifiCorp. The Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association, Retail Merchants association, the Hospital Association and the Automobile Dealers Association all oppose Pacific Corps efforts to collect an additional 91 million dollars in rate fees. The company has gone to federal court to try and get them to overrule the Wyoming Public Service Commissions Denial of the same request.
Cheyenne, Wy – A legislative committee today (Wednesday) moved forward with plans to install a security system to protect priceless art at the Capitol building. The Select Committee on Legislative Facilities agreed to begin writing a request for proposals on such a system for the second and third floors. It could eventually incorporate the entire building. Dozens of priceless paintings and old photographs line the hallways of the Capitol. This past legislative session, lawmakers earmarked thousands of
Casper, Wy – A deal to lease Martin's Cove to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is more than two months behind schedule. The land southwest of Casper is considered sacred by Mormons. It was supposed to be in their hands by the end of March under requirements spelled out in a law signed by President Bush last year. However, poor weather this spring has held up required environmental studies by the Bureau of Land Management. B-L-M officials say the deal won't be complete now until late this summer or early fall.