Riverton, Wy – State Representative Harry Tipton is being treated for leukemia at a hospital in Salt Lake City. Tipton says he feels well but may be a patient at University of Utah Hospital for about a month. He is taking antibiotics as blood cells rebound with the growth of bone marrow. Doctors are considering a bone marrow transplant and his brother plans to submit blood samples to analyze for a possible match. A Republican from Lander, Tipton has served in the House of Representatives for 23 years.
Casper, WY – The Wyoming Highway Patrol has commissioned ten new officers, including four from local police and sheriff's departments. One of them came from Casper and Police Chief Tom Pagel says it's common for people in his line of work to change jobs. He says it's especially common for officers to leave smaller departments. And Pagel says when someone leaves to take a new job, it has a significant impact. He says it puts a department short on manpower and requires the expenditure of time and money to get a new officer trained.
Cheyenne, Wy – A worldwide helicopter leasing and maintenance company in Colorado is moving its operations to Cheyenne. Heli-Support president Ken Roberts -- a Cheyenne resident -- says he's wanted to move his company from Fort Collins, Colorado, since 1999. He was swayed this past year, when state lawmakers exempted aircraft parts from sales and use taxes -- something common in many other states.
Laramie, Wy – The Wyoming Health care commission will finalize recommendations on how to improve health care and access across the state. Since the commission first met, they have been bombarded with concerns about the high cost of medical malpractice insurance for doctors. Director Diane Harrop says their investigation shows the Wyoming doctors are paying higher premium then their regional counterparts.
Riverton, WY – St. Stephen's Cross Country Coach John Redman is appealing his termination following the drunken-driving arrest of one of his runners. District officials say they fired REdman last month because they felt he could have prevented the runner's arrest in September. The 17 year old student was arrested near Casper while driving the team home from a meet in a school-owned vehicle. A security guard hired to drive the students has since been fired.
Cheyenne, Wy – Laramie County School District Number Two has approved stricter graduation requirements to meet state standards. Students still need 25 credits to graduate, but must meet at least five of nine new state standards to receive a diploma starting in 2006. The change approved by trustees moves the timeline required to meet state standards from 2003 to 2006. The state is requiring proficiency from the district by that time.
Moose, WY – Snowmobiles may still be for rent at northwestern Wyoming's Flagg Ranch this winter, just through another company. The ranch says it's negotiating with the National Park Service to enter into an agreement with a company to rent snowmobiles from its site. The ranch earlier decided not to rent snowmobiles this winter. It said new rules in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks limit snowmobile numbers and don't guarantee access to either park. Under the agreement, officials say the rental company would pay Flagg Ranch a fee to operate from its site.
Cheyenne, Wy – Wyomng 4th and 8th graders scored in the top ten in the national assessment of educational progress. The results surprise Wyoming educators. 4th graders were 7th in the country, while 8th graders placed 8th.
Cody, WY – An annual conference that displays western furniture, fashion and home accessories will stay in Cody for now. Western Design Conference owner Carol Decker says both Jackson and Park City, Utah expressed interest in taking the event. But she says neither has the support system Cody has nor the heritage and passion. Decker, of Jackson, bought the Western Design Conference for 765 thousand dollars last March. A month later she launched the upscale magazine, Western Interiors and Design.
Laramie, WY – The conservation group that has been compensating livestock producers for animals killed by wolves has now spent 300 thousand dollars on the program. Defenders of Wildlife Vice President of Species Conservation Nina Sasseon says they started the compensation trust in 1987 to put their money where their mouth was. One complaint about the program is that there are cases of animals disappearing that were mostly likely killed by wolves, but there's no proof.
Gillette, Wy – The first phase of a 180-acre business park for office and manufacturing companies in Gillette is slated to open in January. The Gillette Tech Center plans to offer eight lots up to five acres in size at that time. New businesses could start moving in sometime next year. Planning, meanwhile, is continuing on the Gillette Technical Training Center, which would serve as a vocational training spot for the Gillette Campus and emerging businesses.
Cody, WY – Up to ten elk were killed by hunters after wandering off public land near Heart Mountain. Game wardens say the herd of about 150 elk were apparently prevented from returning by several hunters in pickup trucks. The Game and Fish Department cited several of them for taking too many elk. Wardens don't think the hunters intentionally tried to keep the elk from escaping. However, Game and Fish wardens were trying to haze the elk uphill to the flanks of Heart Mountain. And wardens say many of the elk were exhausted from running and confused about how they could escape.
Cheyenne, Wy – Wyoming's sales tax collections have dropped off by almost 12 million dollars. Use Tax collections across the state are down about eight million. State Senior Economist Weinlin Liu blames lower prices for natural gas. However, Liu also notes that consumer spending appears to be up as retail sales taxes were up almost three percent. And despite the fact that sales tax collections have dropped, overall collections are the second highest in a decade
Laramie, Wy – Wyoming spends about three million dollars a year on tobacco prevention, but the state has received over 40 million in tobacco settlement money over the last two years alone. Anti-Tobacco groups say the state should do a better job of putting the settlement funds into prevention. The state currently ranks 18th in funding such programs. The Centers for disease control would like Wyoming to spend an additional four million a year on prevention and they contend that will pay future dividends.
Cheyenne, Wy – The effect of wind energy on wildlife and scenery and its potential to create jobs are among issues federal officials are exploring in a bid to boost wind power on public land. The U-S Bureau of Land Management has begun preparing an environmental impact statement examining effects of a national wind energy program that would encourage leasing of B-L-M land for wind power projects. B-L-M Wyoming State Director Bob Bennett says the agency sees wind power as part of a balanced approach to energy development on public lands.
Laramie, Wy – The President of the Wyoming Farm Bureau admits that many in her organization worry about health care. A recent study showed that those in the Ag industry were among the most likely not to have health insurance and Farm Bureau President Karen Henry says that is a huge issue. But Henry notes that it is difficult to get babies delivered in specific rural areas in the state. She says this will have implications on agriculture in the future.
Laramie, WY – A nationally syndicated columnist is claiming that Wyoming is a nirvana for small businesses. Paul Tulenko recently wrote that entrepreneurs in Wyoming have an advantage that their counterparts in other states don't have: a centralized location for getting funding and aid. Tulenko says the Wyoming Business Council is the umbrella agency that provides all that help. But he says economic development will only happen if Wyoming has some kind of funding for these businesses to get off the ground and perhaps allow them to sell stock so that everyone makes money.
Laramie, Wy – The conservation group that has been compensating livestock producers for animals killed by wolves has now spent 300 thousand dollars on the program. Defenders of Wildlife vice president of species conservation, Nina Sasseon says they started the compensation trust in 1987 to put their money where their mouth was.
Pinedale, WY – A 30 acre mountain lake contained by a glacier in the Wind River Range broke loose and flooded a remote mountain canyon. The unusual geological event occurred in western Wyoming in September and only a few witnessed the resulting flood. Nobody was harmed. The lake apparently eroded through the glacier and roared down Grasshopper Creek to the Downs Fork and into Dinwoody Creek. An estimated 650 million gallons gouged a 30 foot deep trench a half mile down the glacier. It deposited tons of glacial silt across 70 acres of the Downs Fork meadows.
Laramie, Wy – University of Wyoming President Philip Dubois is trying to stick around for another three years. Dubois says he and U-W trustees are working out a three-year extension to hi contract, which would keep him in Laramie through 2008. A father of three, Dubois says he likes Laramie's small-town atmosphere and jokes the contract extension would "get my youngest daughter out of high school." Dubois has become a hot commodity and is routinely contacted by public universities around the country. Dubois, however, says he doesn't want to go anywhere.
Laramie, WY – Wyoming's cities and towns would like to have a share of the state's projected one-time budget surplus. Wyoming Association of Municipalities Director George Parks says the state is projected to have a 450 million dollar surplus by the end of this fiscal year. So, Parks believes cities and towns should have ten percent of those one-time funds. He says a lot has been said about the capital construction backlog for the state's schools, but cities and towns have similar needs. Parks estimates cities and towns have about 500 million dollars in contruction projects.
Casper, Wy – The Wyoming Medical Center in Casper has named Pam Fulks as its new CEO. She replaces a previous CEO who resigned after the medical staff issued a vote of no confidence. Fulks says the best way to keep the medical staff happy is to provide their patients with quality medical care. She says they have already started addressing staff concerns and has even formed a retention committee.
Laramie, WY – The director of Wyoming's Department of Health says the reason Wyoming Medicaid numbers are so high, has a lot to do with the numbers of people in poverty. The department is asking for over 200 million NEW dollars for Medicaid, and that number could go up in the future. Director Deb Fleming says Wyoming has some of the lowest eligibility numbers in the country, but the fact that so many people are eligible has a lot to do with low wages and the fact that people have moved to the program during Welfare Reform.
Lander, WY – Fremont county is resisting attempts by the U-S Forest Service to impose stricter rules aimed at keeping food away from bears in northwestern Wyoming's national forests. The county is considering suing the agency over the proposed food storage order. The order spells out how food, pet food, dead game animals, livestock grains and feeds, garbage and hygiene items should be stored by forest users so they don't attract bears. There is fear the proposed order is aimed at expanding grizzly territory beyound current boundaries.
Laramie, WY – It's going to cost more to attend the University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy. The Board of Trustees Saturday reluctantly agreed to increase tuition after the school's accrediting organization suggested more money was needed for the program. Trustee Greg Schaefer of Gillette cast the lone no vote against the increase. He says it's the largest increase he's seen since being on the Trustees and he felt squeezed by the accrediting body. Schaefer also was concerned about how the increase would affect enrollment, particularly out-of-state students.
Rock Springs, WY – The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission was updated on efforts to take the grizzly bear off the endangered species list Friday. Assistant Wildlife Division Chief John Emmerick told the commission that they are going to put off the process of determining what areas are biologically suitable and socially acceptable for bears. He says they can afford to wait and notes there are more pressing priorities for the Game and Fish right now. Emmerick says they're still working on the wolf de-listing issue and working to initiate sage grouse local working groups.
Burgess Junction, WY – The Bighorn National Forest wants to limit motorized travel and camping in a popular recreation area to protect the land from further damage. Rangers says the area near Burgess Junction has been damaged by uncontrolled all-terrain vehicle usage and too many dispersed campsites. Rangers say years of heavy use in the area has filled lakes and streams with sediment and caused erosion and vegetation damage.
Cody, WY – A state lawmaker and doctors in Cody disagree over whether voters should decide on a constitutional amendment allowing legislators to debate medical malpractice reforms. Governor Dave Freudenthal introduced the proposed amendment last month. In a debate in Cody, State Representative Colin Simpson says he heeds a more compelling reason to amend the constitution. He also doesn't agree liability caps are the answer. However, West Park Hospital doctors argue Wyoming must address the medical malpractice crisis any way it can.
Newcastle, Wy – A group of counties in Northeast Wyoming have a new State Senator. Chuck Townsend who works in the minerals industry and who has served in local government, will fill the Seat of Bill Barton who resigned because of health reasons. Townsend is already getting support from Republican Chairman Jim Willox who praised his small business background as an asset. He will represent the largest Senate district in the state, covering five counties in northeast Wyoming.
Wyoming – Citizens of the state had their chance to say what they would do with a billion dollars. Wyoming Public Radio's Renny MacKay reports this wasn't hypothetical they were talking about the state's billion dollar budget surplus.