Cheyenne, WY – The State Health Department is reporting more than 200 flu cases in Wyoming. State health officer Doctor Brent Sherard says that level is not normally seen until February or March. He and other state health officials are concerned about the early high numbers, saying they have no idea when this year's flu season will peak. In Colorado, four children have died from the flu since last week.
Cheyenne, WY – A new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says higher speed limits on interstates lead to more accident deaths. But Wyoming Transportation Department spokesman Bruce Burrows says the agency needs to know more about those findings before deciding that faster speeds do in fact lead to more deadly accidents. According to the most recent U-S Department of Transportation records for Wyoming, 2.16 deaths occurred per 100 million vehicle miles driven on the state's roads. The national average is 1.51.
Casper, WY – The husband of U-S Representative Barbara Cubin is recovering from surgery in a Casper hospital. Fritz Cubin is in stable condition following surgery to patch his spinal cord to prevent leakage of spinal fluids. Doctors think Cubin may be able to go home Wednesday. He has been in the Wyoming Medical Center for more than four weeks. Fritz Cubin has suffered from an auto-immune disorder and complications from pneumonia for several years.
Laramie, Wy – Governor Dave Freudenthal is recommending that nearly half of the projected one billion dollar surplus be used to pay for five years of school construction and several prison projects. Freudenthal says these are needs that the state has known about for many years and he wants to get them taken care of. He says the problem is it is a huge chunk of money, but if they take care of those issues now they won't have to raise taxes or go into debt in the future.
Casper, Wy – As President Bush prepares for his reelection bid next year, his potential Democratic opponents have mainly criticized his handling of the economy and the war in Iraq. A close third, however, could be his environmental record. Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry has called President Bush the kind of politician who would cut down a tree and then climb on its stump to give a speech about conservation. Wesley Clark says Bush's policies are mortgaging our children's future. Whoever the Democratic nominee is, these barbs are sure to continue.
Gillette, WY – Sheridan College administrators say they are unsure how the planned departure of President Steve Maier will affect the school's Gillette campus. Gillette Campus Director Jerry Winter hopes Maier's resignation won't jeopardize any plans that are in the works. Maier and the school's Board of Trustees announced Friday that Maier will leave his position June 30. It was apparently a joint decision by Maier and the board. Maier says he does not expect fallout for the Gillette campus.
Laramie, WY – The U-S Senate approved a sweeping Medicare reform bill Tuesday morning. Wyoming A-A-R-P Director Rita Inoway admits the legislation to provide a prescription drug benefit isn't perfect, but it's a good start. Inoway says one problem is the prescription drug programs complexity and the doughnut hole that doesn't provide coverage. She says people in certain income ranges get help to a certain point and then coverage stops and they have to pay for their own medications. Inoway says when the cost gets to a catastrophic level, then they get help again.
Riverton, Wy – The Fremont County Suicide Prevention Team hopes to set up a suicide prevention hotline that will be professionally staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Fourteen suicides were recorded in the county in 2002. They involved people ages 15 to 93. County Coroner Ed McAuslan says nine suicides have been reported in Fremont County so far this year. He says he hopes the Suicide Prevention Team is able to bring inspirational speaker Steven "Black Bear" Laboueff to the area soon.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming prison inmates housed in Colorado prisons may be headed to Texas soon. Wyoming Corrections Department Director Robert Lampert says Colorado needs the beds now occupied by Wyoming inmates for its own prisoners. Lampert says the state is negotiating a contract to move the Wyoming prisoners to Texas. Wyoming doesn't have enought space in its prisons to house all its inmates. The state has 355 inmates in Colorado and another 126 in Nevada. Governor Freudenthal and lawmakers are looking at building more prisons in Wyoming.
Pinedale, WY – For a second straight year, drilling for natural gas will occur in mule deer winter range in southwestern Wyoming. That has raised concern among environmental groups. On Friday, Questar Exploration and Development Company received federal approval to drill eight wells on the Pinedale Mesa. Four of the wells would be drilled throughout the winter. As the company did last year, Questar will employ directional drilling to minimize surface disturbances. But environmental groups say winter drilling fragments crucial wildlife habitat for wintering deer and antelope.
Gillette, WY – A Campbell County man has become the ninth person in Wyoming to die of West Nile virus this year. Andrew Anderson died November 16 at Campbell County Memorial Hospital. Although that was just over a week ago, state health officials say new cases of West Nile are unlikely this year because mosquitoes are no longer active in Wyoming. Anderson died a month and a half after he was believed to have been bitten. He was one of 70 human cases in Campbell County this year.
Wyoming – A common complaint of those who are not involved in politics is that Wyoming does not appear to have a two party system. But, Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck reports that the question might also be are there actually two different points of view among our state officials
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming Department of Transportation officials have been testing new snowplows for the last few years in an effort to improve efficiency. WY-DOT Director Sleeter Dover says the department now has about a half dozen of the left and right-side wing plows in the fleet. He says two snowplow operators can clear both driving lanes and emergency lanes of an interstate using the new plows. The department is under added pressure to keep Interstate 80 open in the winter under a new policy that went into effect last winter.
Washington, D.C. – Noise levels would be restricted at Jackson Hole Airport under a bill headed to President Bush. The U-S Senate late Friday night agreed to a compromise version of an aviation funding bill already passed by the House. The measure reauthorizes funding for the Federal Aviation Administration and contains an amendment restricting noise levels at the Jackson airport, the only commercial airport in the lower 48 states located in a national park. The amendment was sponsored by Wyoming Senator Craig Thomas, who says the provision will not affect commercial aircraft.
Elk Mountain, WY – Blinding ground blizzards led to dozens of wrecks on Interstate 80 Sunday, forcing the Wyoming Highway Patrol to close a 90 miles section between Laramie and Sinclair. A patrol dispatcher says whitout conditions were the problem. She says there was zero visibility, especially in the Elk Mountain area. No fatalities were reported from more than 20 collisions or slideoffs.
Laramie, WY – A pharmacy expert at the University of Wyoming recommends people do not buy prescription drugs from Canada. Kendra Grande runs the Drug Information Center on campus. She says there is not enough protection for people who get their drugs from Canada or anywhere overseas. Grande says there's no guarantee the drug you're getting from Canada is the drug you're prescribed. She says counterfeiters are very adept at making the packaging look like the real thing.
Laramie, Wy – The US Fish and Wildlife Service is confirming that it was a wolf killed last month west of Daniel. The agency's Law Enforcement Agent in Charge of Wyoming, Dominic Domenici, says DNA analysis verified the wolf was part of the Yellowstone reintroduced population and probably a member of the Green River Pack. There's a well-documented problem of wolves from that pack killing livestock, but Domenici says they aren't making any assumptions about who was responsible.
Riverton, WY – Central Wyoming College Trustees have extended school President Jo Anne McFarland's contract through June 30, 2006. Last Wednesday's vote was unanimous. Board Chairman Dennis Christensen says the trustees met with McFarland on Tuesday and talked about how much the school is blessed to have her service. McFarland marked her 30 year anniversary or working for the Riverton-based college in May and she's been President for more than 14 years. The average tenure of community college Presidents is six years. McFarland's annual salary is 121 thousand dollars plus benefits.
Cheyenne, Wy – In Washington D-C the energy bill is stalled in the Senate after a bipartisan filibuster. Wyoming's congressional delegation is upset and wants to see the bill pass. All three members of the delegation are Republican. Governor Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat, says from what he knows about the bill there are some parts he doesn't like. For instance he has a fundamental concern about giving tax incentives to the energy industry. He says the energy sector is one sector of the economy that is healthy and will be into the future.
Laramie, Wy – Skiers from Wyoming can start to rejoice. Four hills are open this weekend. Hogadon in Casper is offering discount tickets, so is Snow King in Jackson and Grand Targhee's opening day was Friday. Marketing Director, Susie Barnett Bushong, says the fact they opened before Thanksgiving will attract more skiers from all over the region. She was word will spread about how good conditions are and more people will make reservations to come to the resort.
Casper, Wy – The Secretary of the Interior Department says coal bed methane permitting in the Powder River Basin needs to move at an appropriately rapid pace. Gale Norton spoke in Casper Friday at the Wyoming Heritage Foundation Forum. In her speech, she shared the results of a study on Powder River Basin CBM production, and how it could impact consumers of natural gas. She says that report shows the impact would be $88 billion dollars.
Cheyenne, Wy – A Rawlins man was sentenced to six-and-a-half to 14 years in prison for the traffic death of another Rawlins man last year. Twenty-one-year-old J-J Kaspar was sentenced Thursday by state District Judge Nicholas Kalokathis after being convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide in the death of 19-year-old Jacob Welsh. In August, jurors agreed that Kaspar was the drunken driver in a crash north of Cheyenne in May 2002. The men were riding in Kaspar's Ford F-250 when the truck left the highway, struck a culvert and flipped.
Cody, WY – Residents in Park county are asking commissioners to change the name of a road southwest of Cody because they say it's obscene. County Road Six-F-U got its name in 1980, when the county adopted a new road naming system. It's raised eyebrows over the years. And now more than 30 property owners have signed a petition asking for dual designation or two names for the road. They don't mind keeping County Road Six-F-U, but they also want to road known as Sheep Mountain Road. A similar request was rejected by commissioners in 1991.
Casper, WY – The Bush Administration is revisiting the various aspects of N-E-P-A, the National Environmental Policy Act, hoping to improve and modernize it. N-E-P-A governs how public lands rules are made and is why those bukly environmental impact statements come with any federal project. Wyomingite Tom Sansonetti is quit familiar with N-E-P-A. He runs the Environment and Natural Resources Division at the U-S Justice Department. Because of frequent lawsuits, Sansonetti says agencies often try to identify every possible impact of a project, consuming already limited resources.
Riverton, WY – Fremont County Coronor Ed McAuslan says human remains found near a road near Riverton last month likely came from a cremation. The ashes, pieces of bone and a cap from a tooth were reported to authorities by a resident in early October. The remains were sent to the University of Wyoming, where forensic anthropologist George Gill determined they were human and consistent with a cremation.
Casper, Wy – Lawmakers on Capital Hill reached an agreement yesterday over President Bush's Healthy Forests Initiative. The compromise would devote 780-million dollars to reduce the risk of the massive wildfires that have been seen in recent years. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth was in Casper Thursday speaking at the Wyoming Heritage Foundation Forum. Bosworth is pleased the legislation is moving forward again.
Laramie, WY – The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service is still over a year away from starting the formal process to take the grizzly bear off the endangered species list. Fish and Wildlife Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator Chris Servheen says national forests still need to amend their forest plans to accommodate grizzly habitat and then Fish and Wildlife will analyze the status of the population and whether it's distinctive from other grizzly populations. Funding questions also need to be answered.
Casper, WY – A judge has denied a motion to move the trial of Seventh District Attorney Kevin Meenan from Casper to Torrington. Eighth District Judge Keith Kautz also denied a defense motion to sever the charges against the prosecutor. Meenan is charged with forgery and other counts for allegedly mishandling a 55 thousand dollar personal injury settlement his stepdaughter received. He also is accused of forging the names of his stepdaughter and stepson to obtain credit cards. No decision has been issued yet regarding a this proseuction motion.
Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming Department of Health says the flu has officially arrived in Wyoming. The department confirmed its first cases of the virus, saying it's received reports of 23 cases mostly in southern Wyoming. Two of the cases, in Albany and Uinta counties, are confirmed as Influenza A through laboratory testing. The rest were reported by doctor's offices. Surveillance epidemiologist Nicole Lindsey says other cases have been reported in Laramie and Sweetwater counties as of this week.