Influenza completed its west-to-east sweep like a storm front by week's end, sowing chills and fever nationwide and hammering 24 states with widespread illness -- nearly twice as many as last week, U.S. health officials said Thursday.
The evidence suggests that this year's flu season, which started unusually early, is still gathering steam.
Yellowstone National Park, WY – Rules that allow snowmobiling to continue in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks were finalized Thursday. Wyoming Travel and Tourism Director Diane Shober is pleased with some of the changes made and hopeful the rules will withstand a lawsuit challenging them. But Shober says reservations for snowmobiles and hotel rooms are sluggish so far this year, due to the court case and minunderstandings over what the rules allow. She says concessionaires and outfitters rely on the Christmas season for anywhere from 35 to 40 percent of their business.
Laramie, Wy – On Monday, The legislatures Joint Judiciary Committee will try and agree to a bill that tries to address problems created when private landowners and mineral owners battle over access. Senator John Hanes says the committee has tried to focus on mediation over disagreements, with some teeth so that both mineral developers and landowners follow the rules. Hanes says the committee will consider four versions of a so called split estate bill.
Cheyenne, WY – State Health Officer Doctor Brent Sherard says the Wyoming Health Department is investigating the deaths of two people as possibly related to influenza. One child from southwestern Wyoming died at a Salt Lake City hospital last week and the other case involved an elderly man from southern Wyoming. However, it's not immediately known whether either death can be attributed to the flu. Sherard says his agency has not yet received information on the listed cause of death in either case. The number of flue cases in Wyoming has increased to 979.
Jackson, Wy – A jury was asked Friday to penalize Vail Resorts nearly 61 million dollars for the carbon monoxide poisoning of a couple honeymooning at a Jackson resort. The poisoning resulted in the death of a North Carolina man. The penalty would be at the high end of damages sought by 52-year-old Joette Williams and the parents and two children of David Williams. David Williams died in August 2001 when carbon monoxide from a malfunctioning boiler seeped into the couple's guest room overnight at the Snake River Lodge and Spa near Jackson.
Laramie, Wy – Governor Dave Freudenthal pushed his plan to spend over a 100 million dollars on local government. Most of the money would go into the business ready communities program and a fund to provide local government with funds to upgrade their infrastructure. Cheyenne Mayor Jack Spiker says many communities in the state are having some tough times.
Cheyenne, Wy – State officials finally got some better news concerning Brucellosis. An infected Cow found in Riverton, has been traced back to the herd in Sublette County where Brucellosis was first detected. It means there is no evidence that the disease is in more then one herd. Preliminary tests showed brucellosis in about 30 of 391 head on the ranch southeast of Pinedale. Final tests are being done at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. But Governor Dave Freudenthal is not optimistic that federal tests will show anything different.
Cheyenne, WY – A conservative legal group is suing the federal government over protection of the Preble's Jumping Mouse. Colorado-based Mountain States Legal Foundation filed the lawsuit in U-S District Court in Cheyenne. It claims a decision to list the mouse as threatened on the Endangered Species List violates federal law. Mountain States President William Perry Pendley says the 1998 decision wasn't based on the best commercial and scientific data available. He's also protesting the designation of more than 30 thousand acres of land in Colorado and Wyoming as critical mouse habitat.
wpr – The Centers for Disease Control say more people have had their flu shots this year than ever before. This has led to a shortage of the vaccine. Wyoming Public radio reports shots are now in short supply in this state but there may be a little help on the way....
Pinedale, WY – The State Veterinarian met Sublette county ranchers Tuesday to discuss the brucellosis situation there. Twenty-nine cattle from a herd tested positive last week and are being re-tested now to confirm the results. At least eight herds will also need to be tested because they cane into contact with the infected herd. Meanwhile, another cow with a Wyoming connection has shown signs of brucellosis. State Veterinarian Jim Logan says they're not sure if the animal actually had brucellosis or even if the cow is from Wyoming.
Casper, WY – The multiple fraud trial of Natrona County District Attorney Kevin Meenan has been cancelled. The trial was scheduled to begin Monday in Casper. A hearing in the case will be held instead. Neither Special Prosecutor Frank Chapman nor Meenan's attorney Terry Mackey would comment on the nature of the hearing. Meenan announced earlier this week that he was resigning as District Attorney, effective Friday. Meenan faces five counts of forger and other charges in the handling of finances involving his stepchildren.
Wyoming – Topic: Conflicts facing the Wyoming educational community are school construction and new ways of cost of living for school districts; Guest: Sandy Shuptrine, Superintendent of Teton County Schools
Topic: Business in Wyoming; Guest: Aliza Sherman, former marketing director of the Wyoming Business Counsel.
Renny Mackay reports on the flu shot shortage in the state of Wyoming.
Wyoming – The Centers for Disease Control say more people have had their flu shots this year than ever before. This has led to a shortage of the vaccine. Wyoming Public radio reports shots are now in short supply in this state but there may be a little help on the way....
Jackson, Wy – The legislature is considering a new system for the regional cost of living index. Teton County officials are strongly opposed to this new index. The state uses this index to distribute money to school districts for teacher salaries. It had used cost of living alone but based on a new study by a U-W economics professor the state would take many other factors into account.
Cheyenne, WY – A man from Johnson county is being treated for a brucellosis infection. Tracy Murphy of the Wyoming Health Department says the source of the disease has not been determined. He says there have been no other cases of brucellosis in humans and the agency doesn't have reason to believe the Johnson county case is a risk to others. Murphy says privacy laws prevented him from releasing the man's name or other information. The most common way for humans to contract the disease is from handling tissue or blood from infected animals.
Cheyenne, Wy – The head of the Wyoming Highway Patrol says a study shows the patrol is understaffed by 122 officers. Colonel John Cox told the Joint Appropriations Committee that some three million dollars recommended by the Governor to pay for ten new patrol officers is needed to deal with issues like fatigue and that ability to keep roads open. Cox also says it would make roads safer because more traffic stops cut down on the number of accidents. He says this is especially true during bad weather and on some of the roads where there have been a high number of crashes.
Washington, D.C. – National Park Service officials say they chose the stricter of two ways to test snowmobile emissions for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Final rules were filed Tuesday and are expected to be published Thursday. Conservationists are already attacking them and say the agency ignored thousands of people who said they don't want snowmobilers in the parks. Environmental groups favor a plan written by the Clinton administration to phase out the machines in favor of snowcoaches.
Laramie, Wy – The Centers for Disease Control announced Wednesday they will send Wyoming more doses of the flu vaccine. State Health Officer, Brent Sherard, says they asked the C-D-C for two thousand pediatric and five thousand adult shots. He has heard they will only get 150 adult shots because that is all that is available, but should get 2000 pediatric doses. He doesn't know when they will arrive. Sherard says right now shots are running low in many communities. In Laramie County, where the most cases are, there are zero vaccines left.
Jackson, WY – Voters in Jackson defeated a plan to revitalize downtown by increasing development rights. The Downtown Redevelopment District was rejected by a vote of 1,124 to 626. The Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance had problems with the proposed district. Director Franz Cammenzind says it was a difficult issue for his group's board to tackle. Cammenzind says the plan has many good aspects to it and tended to concentrate development in existing developed areas. But he says there were no guarantees that it would stop the sprawl seen in rural Teton county.
Cody, Wy – Of five recent Yellowstone-area wolf deaths under investigation, four did not die naturally. That's according to a federal official. Tim Eicher is a special agent with the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service. He says at least three of the five wolves were shot to death. At this stage of the investigation, he says he CANNOT conclude whether any of the deaths are related. It is a federal crime to kill a wolf without authorization because wolves are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Topic: Governor Dave Freudenthal presented his budget plan that calls for an increase in general fund spending and has caught the attention of the Republican members; Guest: Randall Luthi, House Floor Leader and Acting Committee Leader
Bob Beck speaks with Jackson resident and author of "Select Peaks of Greater Yellowstone", Tom Turiano about the mountaineering history and guide.
Jim Morgan speaks with Jennifer Thompson from the Wyoming Symphony about this weekends concerts, Sounds of the Seasons
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming may have another case of brucellosis in cattle on its hands. The state already has quarantined one herd in Sublette county after preliminary tests indicated brucellosis in some cows. But State Veterinarian Jim Logan says a cow that came through a Wyoming sale barn has tested positive for the disease. Further testing is being done to confirm the case. Logan says it isn't exactly known right now where the cow comes from. He says it's possible it could have come from outside Wyoming.
Casper, Wy – Wyoming District Attorney Kevin Meenan says he will resign Friday. Meenan is scheduled to face trial on ten felony counts and a misdemeanor charge on Monday. It concerns allegations that he mishandled a settlement his daughter received, along with charges that he forged the names of his stepson and stepdaughter to obtain credit cards. In addition, he is accused of illegally obtaining money by writing checks against one of the cards. In a statement released to the media, Meenan says he's resigning because it is in the best interest of his family, office and community.
Cheyenne, WY – A group of four family practice doctors in Cheyenne might stop providing obstetrical care due to the rising cost of medical malpractice insurance. Physicians from Family First lamented the high cost of medical malpractice insurance in a recent letter to Governor Freudenthal. The doctors pleaded with Freudenthal to support tort reform and other ways states have managed liability insurance costs. One of the doctors say the group's insurance carrier expects to increase premiums 40 percent next year. The doctors have decided to price out two other providers.
Story, WY – Federal funds have become available for residents of the town of Story to protect their homes from wildfires. The federal government says STory is at risk of wildfire. To date the town has received over 231 thousand dollars in grants under the U.S. Department of Interior's National Fire Plan. Most of the money is being used to create a firebreak between the community and the Bighorn Mountains. But just over 42 thousand dollars has been reserved to help landowners establish "defensible spaces" around their homes.
Cheyenne, Wy – The Governor defended his proposed budget for several hours, including an increase of 108 new workers. Governor Dave Freudenthal says he understands the questions, but he says the growth is not inappropriate for the activities they are being asked to do. But acting committee member and House Majority Floor Leader Randall Luthi is concerned about the increase. The Governors budget is a 17 percent increase in the state general fund, but Freudenthal argues that it is still relatively flat. Luthi says some trimming will need to occur.
Jackson Hole, Wy – The Town Council adopted the Downtown redevelopment district in September, but critics collected signatures to force a referendum. The plan is to slow sprawl, but opponents say not enough attention is paid to housing, and it lacks overall guarentees.
Cheyenne, Wy – Wyoming Secretary of State Joe Meyer says as long as nothing goes wrong, the state should be able to have new voter systems in place in time for the 2004 elections. He told the Joint Appropriations Committee that they should be able to do upgrades, buy new equipment and address disability issues with the 20 million dollars promised by the federal government. Meyer says if the state does not get federal funding, they will not do the upgrades, despite a law that says they must.
Cheyenne, Wy – A Texas non-profit group is battling Wyoming over the use of the Wyoming trademark. Deputy Secretary of State Pat Arp says the Texas Stampede is taking the state to court over whether Wyoming actually owns the state Bucking Bronc Trademark. Arp says Wyoming should have a strong case, since the logo has used since 1918.