Cheyenne, WY – Only about half of the funding for this year remains in the state's newest economic development program. Five Business Ready Community program grants have been approved so far. They were considered first because they would help existing businesses. But 15 communities are now competing for the four and a half million dollars remaining. Many will lose out because the total cost of the applications is over 13 million dollars. Afton Town Administrator Gregg Wilkes believes the Wyoming Business Council is running the programs backwards.
Cheyenne, WY – The state's Senior Economist says the out-migration of Wyoming's youth is not as bad as many people believe. Wenlin Liu looked at data from the 2000 census. He says Wyomong lost about six thousand young adults from 1995 to 2000. But Liu points out that was when the rest of the country was booming and there were plenty of jobs in metropolitan areas. He says the job situation in Wyoming has improved since them. Liu says it's natural for young people to gravitate toward large cities. But he says many of those adults are looking to move back to Wyoming.
Laramie, Wy – An agent from the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation created a computer program that law enforcement officers from around the world are using. The program helps catch people who distribute child pornography. Attorney General Pat Crank says this helped Wyoming a lot and then the agent allowed others from around the world to use it for free. Crank says it is incredible this came from a Wyoming employee. The attorney general, governor and the U-S attorney all say they put a special emphasis on fighting child pornography.
Laramie, WY – A Wyoming natural gas exploration technology company has been recognized by a technology and business magazine. Welldog Inc. was named to the Red Herring 100 as a company that defines business innovation. Welldog Chief Operating Officer John Pope says his company uses technology to help mineral producers locate gas deposits. He says it's been particularly useful in solving problems in the Powder River Basin coal bed methane fields. He says one problem producers have is how much gas is trapped in a coal seam as opposed to water.
Green River, WY – A walleye kill meant to keep the fish out of Flaming Gorge Reservoir has been postponed until this fall. Officials say the walleye must be treated with the chemical after they spawn because the poison does not kill fish eggs. Since walleye spawn in the spring, officials say the kill must be postponed until late September or early October to be effective. The kill at a pond near the Jim Bridger Power Plant is meant to keep walleye from invading Flaming Gorge. Officials say walleye could devastate the reservoir's trout population.
Cheyenne, Wy – A Wyoming Medical Malpractice Insurance provider will raise rates by nearly 12 percent. The Doctors Company increase represents the average of the changes to rates for each physician specialty. Wyoming Insurance Commissioner Ken Vines says that means some specialties will see no increase. Vines also doubts that the hikes have anything to do with the lack of Tort Reform in the state. Vines adds that hikes in some other states are much higher. But he says it will impact some doctors in the state who are already dealing with high insurance costs.
Jackson, WY – The American Legion Post in Jackson wants to make it easier to find out information if another Wyoming serviceman dies in Iraq. A display has been put up in front of the Legion building next to the flagpole. And whenever the flag is lowered to half-staff, the Legion will put information in the display about why. Post Historian Walt Farmer says it will apply whenever the flag is lowered, whether for a serviceman or not. The first piece of information was about a Wyoming Highway Patrolman who recently died of cancer.
Cheyenne, Wy – It was a busy first filing day for state and federal office. Over 50 people have placed their names in the hat for a shot at either a congressional or legislative office. State Elections Chief Peggy Nighswonger says several incumbents filed, but newcomers are also seeking office. A few house members have decided to cross over. House Appropriations Chairman Phil Nicholas has decided to run for the State Senate, as has longtime Cheyenne Representative Wayne Johnson and Stan Cooper will cross over to challenge incumbent Larry Caller of Rock Springs.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming Senator Craig Thomas is questioning this week's decision to ground 33 air tankers because of safety concerns. Thomas says the ruling has grounded two of the remaining heavy air tankers at Hawkins and Powers Aviation in Greybull. He says Hawkins and Powers doesn't believe it will be compensated for preparing its grounded air tankers for the fire season. Thomas says the decision could be devastating for the company. He says other Wyoming firefighting business will be affected as well.
Laramie, Wy – he ongoing drought and impacts of Brucellosis are making for tough times for Wyoming Ag producers. But the rebounding hay market is making them smile. Dick Coulter of the Wyoming Agricultural Statistics Service says there was enough Spring moisture in 2003 to turn things around. For now the Hay shortage is over, but Coulter says the relief may only be temporary. He says next years supplies are still in question.
Wheatland – Two Platte County citizens say they have had it. Despite settling with Wyoming Premium farms several months ago, Richard and Bonnie Johnson say that the Hog Farm operation has not resolved odor issues, and that the state Department of Environmental Quality is not forcing them to address violations of air and water quality standards. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck reports that the Johnson's have notified both the company and the state of their intent to sue ..
Laramie, WY – The Mountain West Conference is holding its' outdoor track and field championship this week and U-W's coach believes it will be competitive. Don Yentes says several Wyoming athletes have a chance at winning events, including eight students who went to high school in Wyoming. He says the women's team is currently a top seed in relays. No Wyoming team has ever won an overall conference championship. Yentes says it will be difficult for the men to do it because there are fewer U-W men than at other schools.
Pinedale, WY – A grizzly bear has been killed by a hunter near Pinedale. Wyoming Game and Fish Department officials say a black bear hunter shot and killed a young male grizzly on Monday. It's the first grizzly to be killed this spring in Wyoming. The hunter apparently mistook the grizzly for a black bear. The incident is under investigation. Meanwhile, a black bear that broke into a shed to eat some bird feed was trapped and relocated this week in the Jackson area.
Sheridan, Wy – Despite some concerns following a suicide at the Wyoming Girls School, the scope of the facility will not be changed. That is good news to Sheridan area legislators who met with Department of Family Services Director Roger McDaniel in Sheridan last week. State Senator Bruce Burns says there was concern that the Girls School would be changed to more of a corrections model, but Burns says the way the facility currently operates is more effective.
Cheyenne, Wy – Attorneys for the education community say they are preparing to go back to court over school finance. An order by the Wyoming Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way for further proceedings to return to the state District Court level. Pat Hacker is an attorney with the Wyoming Education Association. He says the matter will likely return to District Court within several months. Hacker says many questions remain whether the Legislature has properly funded both the operation and construction of schools in Wyoming.
Laramie, Wy – A group is planning to intervene on behalf of the state in its lawsuit against the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service. The group will be called the Wolf Challenge Initiative and will be involved in the suit over wolf management. The vice president of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Jim Magagna, is helping to organize the effort. He says the short term goal is to represent the interests of ranchers, outfitters and local communities during the lawsuit. Over the long term he says the goal is to remain involved until the state gets control over wolves.
Laramie, Wy – A June 15 hearing has been set on an attempt by one of two men convicted of murdering Matthew Shepard to get his life prison sentence reduced. The state is asking District Judge Jeffrey Donnell to dismiss a petition by Russell Henderson. Henderson contends he was denied effective legal assistance after his guilty plea in April 1999 to felony murder and kidnapping. He received two consecutive life terms without parole. Henderson argues he was not advised of several of his rights,
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming and 30 other states plan to sue Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corporation for the marketing of its Kool brand of cigarettes. The states say hip-hop images are being used to target young people, and that the company has put the Kool brand-name on non-tobacco merchandise; both violations of the 1998 settlement made with tobacco companies. The Wyoming Attorney General's office says the state hasn't been directly targeted by the Kool campaign.
Cheyenne, Wy – There are more allegations of problems at the Wyoming State Hospital. The group known as Protection and Advocacy is alleging that it has received numerous reports of patient-on-patient assaults at the hospital, and that teens are too often housed with adults -- and in some cases, adult felons. The group's executive director, Jeanne Thobro also says the staff at the Evanston instititution for the mentally ill is extremely overburdened.
Topic: Two citizens have notified Wyoming Premium Farms and The Department of Environmental Quality of their intent to sue over alleged air and water quality violations at the Hog Farm operations in Platte County.
Topic: Bob Beck speaks with University of California, Berkeley professor, Daniel Kammen about energy and resources might be important to diversity in the energy industry
Topic: Bob Becks speaks with Debbie Popp from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center about the upcoming business week.
Casper, Wy – Casper's airport manager says there's no need to worry about a loss of SkyWest Airlines flights to Salt Lake City. Dan Mann says reports last week about the potential loss of the service were overstated. Mann says SkyWest may lose money on the Casper-Salt Lake route this summer, due to new weight restrictions on propeller planes that won't allow the airline to sell all 30 seats on their Casper flights. A SkyWest spokesperson says they are looking at ways to make the service profitable this summer.
Boise, ID – Firefighters in the drought-parched West could have an even tougher job this summer. The federal government is ending its contract for 33 large air tankers due to questions over their airworthiness. The action follows last month's Natioal Transportation Safety Board report on three tanker crashes between 1994 and 2002 that killed seven crew members. The tankers' average age is 48 and some are more than 60 years old. The planes are operated by private companies under contract to the Interior and Agriculture Departments, including Hawkins and Powers Aviation of Greybull.
Wheatland, Wy – Two citizens have notified Wyoming Premium Farms and The Department of Environmental Quality of their intent to sue over alleged air and water quality violations at the Hog Farm operations in Platte County. Despite a previous settlement, the Hog Farm has failed to resolve issues involving odor and water quality. Attorney Mary Throne says her clients, Richard and Bonnie Johnson are upset that although the state has cited the company, they have done little more.
Cheyenne, WY – Threats over possible legal action concerning the State Hospital has Wyoming officials reviewing practices at the Evanston facility. Health Department Director Deb Fleming says a third review team that includes regional and national experts will be the next group to study the facility. While Fleming calls a recent suicide at the State Hospital tragic, she hopes the review teams will be able to make the hospital better. She welcomes the kind of outside expertise being used to study the facility's operations.