Casper, WY – Casper College has narrowed its search for a new President to four candidates. All have community college experience and ties to the west. The finalists are: Skip Gillum, Casper College's Vice President for Academic Affairs; Richard Fleming of Hobbs, New Mexico; Robert Musgrove of Pine City, Minnesota; and Walter Nolte of Trenton, Missouri. The college hopes to name a replacement by the end of March. The new President will replace Leroy Strausner, who announced in August he planned to retire in June after 13 years as the college's top executive.
Laramie, Wy – By an act of Congress National Forests can now use camping fees to improve their campgrounds. The spokesperson for the Shoshone National Forest, Gordon Warren, says this is just a trial project, but it will be a big help. He says they've got some picnic tables and outhouses from the 1960s. Warren says his forest used to get money from timber sales, but they don't do as many of those any more so they didn't have enough money to keep up with needs at campgrounds. Improvement projects will start this summer.
Laramie, Wy – A Teton County man died over the weekend after being swept 17-hundred feet down a mountain in an avalanche near Teton Pass in northwest Wyoming. It is the first avalanche fatality of the winter in Wyoming. The victim was identified as 48-year-old Ray Azar, of Teton Village. Authorities say he died Saturday of suffocation after being buried for about an hour. Friends say the avalanche swept Azar down the southeast face of the Pyramid, a peak north of Teton Pass.
Topic: Chad Pergram reports from Washington about the No Child Left Behind law and how the program is doing after two years
Topic: In the past years there has been a decrease in day-care and in 2003 it changed; Guest: Deanna Fry, Director of the Wyoming Child Action Alliance
Topic: State Officials are considering adding more youth homes and youth crisis centers around the state as a prevention tool but the programs cost money; Guest: Sharon Webber with Laramie's Youth Crisis Center
Washington, D-C – A Wyoming U-S Senator disagrees with those who say No Child Left Behind won't work in a rural state. Mike Enzi is working with the department of Education on the rules that will accompany the law. He says the bill took Wyoming into consideration, and "now we need to make sure the rules themselves take into consideration Wyoming's rural nature. Enzi says Wyoming's own school reform rules should dovetail nicely with what federal officials want.
Laramie, Wy – For over five years Wyoming has seen a continual drop in the amount of childcare available in the state. But, last year that trend ended when 750 new spots opened up in daycares. The executive director of the Wyoming Children's Action Alliance, Deanna Frey, says this does not necessarily mean all children who need adequate care are getting it. She says the problem is they do not track children who are not in daycare. Frey says she hears that parents are more worried right now about finding any childcare provider than finding quality care.
Laramie, Wy – Inflation remains a threat to the economy of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, but business leaders are growing more confident. That's the finding of the latest report on the Mountain States Economy. The confidence index for January stood at 83-point-five, its highest level since initiation of the survey in 1994. Wyoming accounted for most of the gains while Utah and Colorado continued to lose jobs. New orders rose to 71-point-four, the highest level in more than seven years.
Rochester, Minn – A federal appeals court says it won't consider any further legal challenges to the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad expansion project into Wyoming. The court in St. Louis has denied petitions seeking a rehearing of the case to overturn federal approval of the project. That means the court's ruling issued last October second stands. That order upheld some of the most critical parts of the Surface Transportation Board's 2002 decision, which authorized the project and rejected Rochester's request for a 34-mile bypass around the city.
Gillette, WY – State budget officials are predicting that Wyoming's string of 18 straight years of natural gas production growth could come to an end this year. State Geologist Lance Cook serves on the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group, which made the prediction. Cook says he's hoping the forecast is wrong and there will be an increase. But he says the group does not see an opportunity for higher production this year. State Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Supervisor Don Likwartz attributes the slowdown mainly to questions about Powder River Basin permitting.
Cheyenne, Wy – While three Republican Top Elected officials are still pushing for equal footing with the Governor on hiring, legal and budget issues, Governor Dave Freudenthal is not paying much attention. But when asked about the issue during a news conference, the Governor stated that it is an issue that nobody in the state cares about. He says citizens are concerned about the budget, brucellocis and economic development and do not care where someone sits in Cheyenne.
Laramie, Wy – The avalanche danger increased significantly this week in the Tetons. The mountains were hit with 45 inches of snow. Avalanche forecaster Bob Comey says that's sitting on an unstable layer called surface hoar. Comey says skiers and snowmobilers need to be cautious for a few weeks because hoar frost remains weak for a long period of time and it is usually several weeks after a storm that fatalities occur. Comey says snowmobilers are at higher level of risk because they're heavier.
Laramie, Wy – This week a judge dismissed a lawsuit against Yellowstone National Park. Two men who say they mistakenly jumped in thermal pools and were critically burned filed the suit. Another woman died in the incident. The men who were 18 at the time say the government failed to provide adequate warnings of the danger.
Cheyenne, WY – The U-S Department of Interior urges Wyoming ranchers to comment on proposed federal grazing regulations announced last month. B-L-M Deputy Director Jim Hughes stresses the final rules will not disregard environmental concerns. Hughes says the agency has to protect the resource for future generations. He says it's important to keep ranchers and the ranching community viable, but they won't sacrifice the environment to do that. Comments will be taken on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement until March 8th.
Cheyenne, Wy – Two Republican state officials contend that their effort to give equal footing to all elected officials was supported at one time by Governor Dave Freudenthal. Treasurer Cynthia Lummis and Auditor Max Maxfield argue that the Governor knew of their intentions before he took office. Among their goals is to be able to have budget control without input from the Governor. They also want separate legal representation from the attorney general and they want those who work for all the top office holders to be hired by all of them not just the Governor.
Laramie, Wy – The legislature is moving to spend more money on education this coming year. And that's good news to a coalition of school supporters. The president of the Wyoming Education Association, Gary McDowell, says more funding needs to go to building good schools. McDowell says the state should also spend more on teacher salaries and benefits. The coalition McDowell belongs to will also push a reading program for students in kindergarten through second grade and a summer school proposal.
Laramie, Wy – While state figures show a huge drop in Niobrara County's unemployment over the past year, there also seems to be a huge drop in the labor force. According to State Economist Dave Bullard, that could mean that people have simply left area communities. That seems to be backed up by Census numbers that show the population fell by a hundred residents from 2000 to 2002.
Laramie, Wy – A group of western anglers and hunters converged on capital hill this week trying to get provisions curtailing wildlife protections removed from the proposed Energy Bill. Pinedale's Courtney Skinner joined the group and met with congressional representatives from the west, begging them to protect wildlife from mineral development. Skinner is very concerned about the impacts gas development could have on a migration corridor in Western Wyoming. He says the impact on the hunting industry could be devastating.
Laramie, Wy – The U-S Supreme Court decided this week that it will rule on whether executing juveniles is constitutional. And a state legislator here has proposed a ban on the practice. Representative Jane Warren is sponsoring the bill; she says the timing is a coincidence. But, she does note there is a growing sentiment in the country that the death penalty for juveniles isn't necessary.
Topic: Bob Beck speaks with Auditor, Max Maxfield about a new conference discussing the equal footing to all elected officials supported by Governor Dave Freudanthal
Topic: Chad Pergram reports on a plan to pay Wyoming for the Abandon Mine Lands fund that is stalled in Washington
Topic: Bob Beck speaks with Courtney Skinner from Pinedale about a group of western anglers and hunters who have converged on capital hill trying to get provisions for wildlife protection from proposed energy bill
Cheyenne, Wy – Milward Simpson -- who bears the same name as his grandfather, the former Wyoming governor and U-S senator -- has been hired as program manager of the Wyoming Arts Council. State Parks and Cultural Resources Director Phil Noble made the announcement today (Thursday) of Simpson's hiring, effective February 18th. The younger Milward Simpson has spent a lifetime in the arts.
Washington, DC – Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman says her department's mad cow probe has "made a lot of headway in the last five weeks." Veneman testified before a Senate Committee Tuesday. She said that protection systems have been enhanced, consumer confidence in the beef supply remains high and that work is being done to reopen foreign markets to US beef. Meanwhile, South Korea still isn't convinced. They've rejected the latest US safeguards against BSE, saying they will not lift a ban on American beef until the meat is "scientifically proven" safe.
Laramie, Wy – Cities, towns, counties and tribes are now able to apply for eight point four million dollars in grants and loans. The Business Ready Community Program has been up and running for almost three weeks now and its first deadline is March fifth. But, the director of the program, Steve Achter says they've only had one application, so far, but he does expect a lot of communities to apply before the first deadline. Achter says his estimate is they'll get requests for 15 million dollars. A panel will review the applications and determine which are deserving.
Laramie, Wy – A five-year-old Utah girl who was allegedly abducted by her father last night has been released back to him. Authorities in Carbon County unraveled the complicated story of the alleged abduction that triggered an Amber Alert. Steven Miller from Texas, picked up his daughter, Stephanie, at her mother's home in Harrisville, Utah. The mother reported it as an abduction, and authorities triggered the alert. The father and daughter were found in Rawlins, where he was arrested and she was put into foster care.
Laramie, Wy – Investigators continue to look for the source of the brucellosis cases in a Sublette County cattle herd. Much has been made of the elk herds in the area, which are known to carry brucellosis. No one is officially pointing a finger at the elk, but State Veterinarian Jim Logan says they've ruled out cattle as a cause of the transmission. He says it likely came from wildlife.
Cheyenne, WY – Oil prices are high right now and that's getting companies interested in looking at old oil reserves in Wyoming. To get at the oil operators would have to use enhanced oil recovery technologies. The governor reports that this could mean millions more in revenue for the state. And he put together a task force to make recommendations on how to encourage enhanced oil recovery. State Geologist Lance Cook says the task force decided the best thing the state can do is set up a research institute at the University of Wyoming.
Laramie, WY – Over the weekend, a legislative committee cut $5 Million from the University of Wyoming's request for athletic facilities. UW officials will try to get the funding restored. And Athletic Director Gary Barta says he wants not only that money, but also money for increasing the department's overall budget. He thinks UW's lack of funding in the last few years has led to poor performances by teams. Meanwhile, Barta is responding to a State Legislator's claim the UW athletic plan focuses too much on football.
Topic: A group of experts from the oil development field say Wyoming should put more money in getting oil out of the reserves in the state; Guest: Lance Cook, Member of the Task force and State Geologist
Topic: Bob Beck speaks with Lois Pine, Albany County Program Director of Wyoming Quit Tobacco about programs and counseling to quit smoking