Laramie, Wy – Some residents of Sweetwater County are considering creating their own town rather than live under the zoning rules of the county. Paul Zancanella is a resident of the Mountain Air Subdivision and is working on the incorporation plan. He says this came about because the county is considering changing some zoning rules. One rule that he says is particularly concerning would not allow rural residents to have large animals on their property.
Laramie, Wy – Obesity levels for Wyoming citizens have doubled over the last 20 years. The impacts are already being felt in health care costs, especially since more state residents are being diagnosed with type-two diabetes. The Past Chair of the Governors Council on Fitness and sport says people need to start changing their lifestyles. Amber Travsky says people need to start moving.
Pinedale, Wy – Wyoming still is not considered a brucellosis-free state, but it seems the outbreak of the disease in Sublette County cattle is over. A second round of brucellosis testing was held over the last two weeks on cattle that came into contact with the originally-infected herd. USDA Veterinarian in Charge of Wyoming Bret Combs oversaw the testing. He says all two-thousand head came back clean, so he no longer worries about this brucellosis outbreak spreading further.
Laramie, Wy – While contaminants have been found in the Yellowstone River Basin, federal officials say they are nothing to be alarmed about. U-S Geological Survey scientists studied the basin for three years and found some things like radon, dissolved minerals, and bacteria in the water, but overall they are pleased. Hydrologist Dave Peterson says the basin is especially good when compared to other areas of the country. Peterson adds there is some human impact, but most impacts come from natural sources.
Cody, WY – Wyoming Game and Fish officials are investigating the third grizzly bear death this month. Officials say a man who says he acted in self defense at his camp southwest of Cody killed an adult male grizzly May 7th. He claims the bear was threatening him while he was searching for horns on Timber Creek. A young adult male grizzly died May 1st at the head of Grass Creek between Meeteetse and Thermopolis. The third bear, which had a radio collar, was killed May 5th by black bear hunters in a case of mistaken identity.
Topic: Aaron Alpern reports on the latest Wyoming effort to spur economic development is getting off the ground
Topic: Obesity levels of Wyoming citizens doubled over the last 20 years and the impacts are being felt in healthcare costs and future costs; Guest: Margi McDonald, Chairman of the Governors Council on Fitness and Sports and Amber Travsky
Wyoming – The latest Wyoming effort to spur economic development is getting off the ground. The Business Ready Community Program comes in the wake of a number of failed economic development attempts. Supporters hope this approach will be different and expectations are high. But Wyoming Public Radio's Aaron Alpern reports some questions have been raised about how the program is being run...
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,