Cheyenne, Wy – A State Trooper was involved in a high speed car chase on I-80 East of Cheyenne this week. The officer pulled over a vehicle with California plates and issued a warning for speeding. Then told the driver a K9 drug unit was en-route. Upon hearing this the driver sped off triggering a 14 mile chase.
Rock Springs, WY – House Speaker Fred Parady does not plan to run for a sixth term in the state House. At a luncheon in Rock Springs this week, Parady urged those in attendance to get involved in Wyoming government and he suggested they could do so by running for his seat. Later, he said it's traditional for the House speaker to retire after serving in that position. Asked if he intended to retire or whether he had other plans, Parady would only say that he intends to honor that tradition. Parady, an OCI trona mine manager, was first elected in 1994.
Cheyenne, WY – Increasing traffic has the Wyoming Highway Patrol creating a new patrol division based in Elk Mountain. Troopers that patrol roads in the Elk Mountain, Saratoga, Hanna, and Medicine Bow areas are currently under the Rawlins Division. But WHP Sergeant Steven Townsend there's been more calls for service on Interstate 80 and other roads in the area recently. Townsend says drivers will not notice more patrolling with this new division. He says they aren't adding personnel to the area, just making internal adjustments to make operations run smoother.
Cheyenne, Wy – The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service has rejected a complaint filed over its decision against protecting trumpeter swans in the Yellowstone region. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility filed the complaint last May. The group accused Fish and Wildlife of relying on false information and violating the Data Quality Act. They also said the agency distorted the findings of another study in issuing its decision last January. In a letter, Fish and Wildlife Service Director Steve Williams
Laramie, Wy – Efforts to improve aids prevention in the state are up and down according to an Aids Activist. While legislators voted for more funding this year, Bob Hooker notes that federal funding could be decreased for Wyoming. Even prevention efforts have yielded unclear results. Hooker, who sits on boards dealing with HIV and Aids in the state, says they have tried to be more aggressive by targeting high risk groups. But Hooker adds that statistics show that any impacts have been minimal.
Laramie, Wy – Early predictions for the coming forest fire season show it could be as bad as the summers of 2002 and 2000. Rocky Mountain Area Predictive Services just put out its first forecast of the year. And it says an especially dry month of March dried out the forests sooner than normal. One of the authors of the report is fire meteorologist, Tim Mathewson. He says there are parallels between conditions now and in 2000 and 2002, but he says the snowpack is a little bit better this year and April could bring more moisture.
Riverton, Wy – A female employee was found dead this morning(Thursday) at the state minimum security prison in Riverton. The Wyoming Honor Farm has been locked down while police investigate. Riverton Police Chief John Snell described the death as "unexplained." He refused to elaborate other than to say he was treating the death as a homicide. The name of the employee was not immediately released. Snell says another prison employee reported the death at about 6:45 a-m after finding the body inside a prison building. An autopsy will be done.
Laramie, Wy – A University of Wyoming Economist hopes a forum next week will get people thinking more about the future of Wyoming's revenue. Jason Shogren will moderate the annual Stroock Forum on Wyoming Lands and People next Tuesday in Cheyenne. He has invited a number of people representing interest groups, business and state government to discuss the state revenue picture. But Shogren hopes they will spend some time debating the Permanent Mineral Trust fund. He's one who would like to see the state put more of its wealth into the fund.
Laramie, Wy – A Wyoming native and an army pilot serving in Iraq just found out his deployment was extended. That means that instead of going home to his family in Germany he will serve at least another 120 days in Iraq. That's on top of a one year tour he just finished in Baghdad. Matt Hastings, who grew up in Lander, flies Blackhawk helicopters. His wife Whitney is one of many spouses who are very upset about this news. She says military officials should have known that fighting would pick up one year after the war so they should have brought replacements in sooner.
Jackson Hole, Wy – A conservation group has put out its annual list of the nation's most endangered rivers. American Rivers ranks the Colorado River as the most endangered because of radioactive, toxic and human waste. The Snake River, which begins in Wyoming and flows through Idaho, Oregon and Washington, is ranked third. American Rivers President Rebecca Wodder says the country's waters are in danger of returning to where they were in the early 1970's -- when they were the most polluted in history.
Laramie, Wy – A railroad that wants to tap into northeast Wyoming's coal fields received a split decision in a federal appeals court. The Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad had gone to court to fight restrictions placed on it by the 1999 South Dakota Legislature. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld some of the state's eminent domain laws and struck down others. Neither the railroad nor the state of South Dakota indicated plans to appeal the ruling.
Topic: Soliders serving in Bagdad just found out that they're not coming home after a year of deployment, one of those is Matt Hastings from Lander, Wyoming; Guest: Whitney Hastings, wife of Matt Hastings living in Germany
Topic: The Wyoming Aids Walk is the largest aids and HIV fund raising event in Wyoming. For more information visit http://www.wyoaidswalk.org/ ; Guest: Bob Hooker and Katie Morgan
Topic: Annual Strook on Wyoming Lands and People will be this weekend; Guest: Jason Shogren
Wyoming – While the 9-11 Commission is finishing up work in Washington D-C a member of another federal commission told an audience in Wyoming that he and colleagues predicted the September 11th attacks. Wyoming Public Radio's Renny MacKay has more details about a report U-S Senator Gary Hart and the National Security Commission gave to Presidents Clinton and Bush
Jackson, WY – More wildfires could be allowed to burn in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. An amended fire management plan clarifies policies both inside and outside of forest wilderness areas. Currently, forest officials can let wildfires burn in wilderness areas as a resource management tool, but elsewhere, the policies are less clear. The amendment also requires all fires caused by humans to be suppressed. Forest officials say the changes will save money in the long run by managing fires, rather than suppressing all of them.
Laramie, Wy – Congress is getting ready to approve a federal highway bill and send it to the President. The House's plan would mean about 275 billion dollars in spending over six years; the Senate's bill includes 318 billion dollars. The director of the Wyoming Department of Transportation, Sleeter Dover, says either way the state would see an increase of about 20 thousand jobs over six years, though that is contingent on finding enough skilled people to fill those jobs.
Laramie, Wy – Reducing health care costs is not the only item on John Henley's agenda, but he devoted nearly all of his opening statement to it in announcing a run for Congress today Tuesday). The Casper Democrat also says America needs a strong energy policy and reduction of the federal deficit.
Cheyenne, Wy – A Republican challenger to incumbent Rep. Barbara Cubin leveled his first attacks against her. Bruce Asay says the illness of Cubin's husband is no excuse for her missing votes in Congress. The Cheyenne attorney says Wyoming's voice has not been heard in Congress because Cubin has missed too many votes in the last year and a half. Cubin has defended her absences as her personal decision to be with her gravely ill husband.
Cheyenne, Wy – During an investigation of the state hospital, a Wyoming advocacy organization says they have uncovered several problems. Protection and Advocacy Director Jeanie Thobro says they have uncovered a number of problems at the State Hospital that go beyond the recent suicide. They range from staffing numbers to treatment of staff. Thobro has asked the Wyoming attorney generals office for formal mediation. The state had settled with Protection and Advocacy during a previous lawsuit and Thobro is hoping they can avoid going to court.
Dubois, WY – There's been another death in Iraq with ties to Wyoming. Marine Private First Class Chance R. Phelps died after he was shot in the head Friday while battling insurgents west of Baghdad. Phelps lived in Dubois as a youngster, than moved to Colorado with his mother while he was in grade school. His father, John, still lives in Dubois. Local residents are expressing shock at the death.
Casper, Wy – America needs affordable health care and strong economic and energy policies. That's according to a Casper attorney who is expected to become the latest Democrat to join the U-S House race. John Henley has scheduled news conferences tomorrow (Tuesday) in Casper and Cheyenne regarding his candidacy. Henley was born and raised in Evanston and obtained a degree in accounting from American University in Washington, D-C, in 1978. He graduated from the University of Wyoming Law School in 1981.
Gillette, WY – Governor Freudenthal says the coal-bed methane industry needs to address water quality if it expects the boom in northeast Wyoming to continue. Freudenthal recently toured the Powder River Basin and says if something isn't done soon to improve water quality; there will be more stock ponds than cattle. Methane drilling is moving away from Gillette, where the water discharged from wells is relatively pure, and into an area where the water contains more salt.
Laramie, Wy – A former U-S Senator and member of the National Security Commission says that commission warned of terrorist attacks on American soil two years before 9-11. Gary Hart told this to an audience on the campus of the University of Wyoming. He also says he's shocked no one was fired after the attacks. The National Security Commission Hart sat on started work in October of 1998 and reported to Presidents Bush and Clinton about imminent attacks that could mean thousands of civilian casualties.
Laramie, Wy – Yellowstone National Park is drawing criticism from conservation groups regarding the height of cell phone towers there. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility say a tower near Old Faithful is twice as high as originally planned. Park spokesperson Cheryl Mathews says they are in the process of creating an antenna management plan; it will look at any existing or proposed cell phone towers.
Casper, Wy – Democratic U-S House candidate Ron Akin is suspending his campaign because of financial troubles. Akin says he has not raised enough money to continue, and that he has found it increasingly difficult to mount a viable campaign. Republican incumbent Barbara Cubin defeated Akin two years ago by a 61 percent to 36 percent margin, but he carried her hometown of Casper and lost in Natrona County by one vote.
Cody, WY – The tourism industry is closely watching the nation's rising gas prices. Predictions of $2 per gallon and higher are being made for Wyoming, which gets most of its tourists from the so-called drive market. Thom Huge is the Communications Director at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. The BBHC's visitation numbers have been on an upswing in recent years, but Huge says there is some concern that gas prices could cut into this season. He says prices at the pump are always an issue, but its impacts are hard to predict.
Casper, WY – The Casper-Natrona County Public Health Department is celebrating its 50th anniversary next week. During its history, staff has prevented an outbreak of diphtheria, vaccinated people for many other infectious diseases and done work on chronic health problems. Director Bob Harrington says one major health crisis they dealt with happened last summer when there was an outbreak of Hepatitis B and C among methamphetamine users. It was so serious the Centers for Disease Control sent investigators.
Cheyenne, WY – The state's dry spring conditions have officials worried about the potential for wildfires. Tuesday, the Laramie County Commission banned outdoor fires and the use of fireworks in the county. A similar ban was passed in July last year. County Fire Warden David Thompson is certainly concerned about the upcoming fire season. He says there's a build-up of combustible fuels in the county that actually started a year ago, when there was a lot of spring moisture. That allowed grasses to grow, but those dried out over the summer and are now a serious fire hazard.