News

Cheyenne – A constitutional amendment dealing with a cap on non-economic damages and a series of bills dealing with medical malpractice and insurance reform were the topics of a full day hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. Committee members heard several predictable arguments, but Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck reports that it remains clear the issue is a hot topic among many in the state.

Washington, DC – A judge ordered the National Park Service Tuesday to explain why it should not be held in contempt, for allowing more snowmobiles into Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks than allowed under his December ruling. US District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington DC scheduled a contempt hearing for March 9th. In December, Sullivan ordered that only 493 snowmobiles be allowed in the park per day. The Park Service last Wednesday began allowing 780 snowmobiles per day to enter Yellowstone.

Cheyenne, WY – A bill intended to keep same sex marriages from being recognized in Wyoming was defeated in the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Senate File 85 was sponsored by Gillette Senator Dick Erb. He told the committee that people of Wyoming are independent thinkers, but he has not heard a majority support gay marriages. Cheyenne resident Bruce Hays had a stronger opinion. Hays says for the country to recognize homosexual marriage would be a gradual slide into decadence and immorality.

Cheyenne, WY – Two men found traveling with eight pipe bombs east of Cheyenne are members of white supremacist groups. The bombs wer found in a vehicle and trailer it was towing Monday night on Interstate 80. A state trooper had stopped the vehicle for driving erratically. Gil Salinas of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms office in Cheyenne says authorities have identified the two men. But he could not immediately release their names because it might jeopardize another investigation in Utah. Investigators don't know where the men were headed in the rented vehicle.

Cheyenne, WY – A plan to study children and families in the state survived some opposition in the state House Tuesday. The bill being discussed includes a $200,000 dollar appropriation and would look at how the state uses resources to help children. That includes an examination of the Department of Education, the Department of Family Services and the court system. On the floor Representative Mike Baker spoke passionately about how he supports families but says this is not something government should get involved in.

Cheyenne, WY – Many homeowners around Wyoming told lawmakers that insurance companies have canceled policies after a simple claim. In response, the Wyoming House approved a bill to clarify insurance regulations. Representative Tony Ross says the legislation seeks to establish rules for when a company can cancel or not renew a policy because of a natural cause. Ross says if you have a hail storm come through Laramie county, there are certain perameters when that would be used to not renew or cancel a homeowner policy.

Wyoming –

Topic: Bob Beck reports on the legislative issues

Topic: The system of the Wyoming Retirement System Board and what will be considered during this legislative session; Guest: Matt Potter, Wyoming Retirement System Board of Trustees Chair

Wyoming –

Topic: Bob Beck reports on the legislative report

Topic: Veterans in Wyoming are upset with the work of the Veteran Committee; Guest: Bob Craft, Veteran Foreign War Department Service Officer

Topic: How business owners can effectively utilize the media to get message out; Guest: Eliza Sherman

Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming is going to lose its federal brucellosis-free status after the federal government rejected an appeal by the state. Governor Dave Freudenthal appealed the second finding of brucellosis in cattle at a Worland feedlot because those animals were originally part of the first infected herd. U-S-D-A Chief Veterinarian Ron DeHaven sent a letter to Freudenthal last week saying the federal government cannot grant the state an exemption because their rules and regulations don't allow it.

Cheyenne, WY – Eastbound Interstate 80 outside of Cheyenne was detoured because of several explosive devices that were found during a traffic stop. Sergeant Steven Townsend of the Wyoming Highway Patrol says the explosives were found in a small U-haul trailer. Two adult males were arrested and jailed. Townsend says it's unknown who the men are and where they came from, but it's believed they were just passing through Wyoming.

Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming Veterans Commission is coming under fire. Wyoming members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars recently approved a no-confidence vote in the commission. Bob Craft is the VFW's Service Officer in Wyoming. He says the commission focuses too much on window-dressing issues, like improving the veterans' memorial at War Memorial Stadium, instead of addressing quality of life matters, like building a second veteran's nursing home in the state.

Cheyenne, WY – Ranchers could get some financial help from the state to deal with brucellosis. Because the disease was found in two herds of cattle in the state, Wyoming will lose its brucellosis-free status and ranchers will have to pay to test their animals before they can sell them outside of Wyoming. Under a bill passed out of a house committee Tuesday the state could end up paying $1.6 Million to cover the cost of testing. Originally the plan was to pay $500,000. Representative Monte Olsen says he's glad the committee increased the funding.

Cheyenne, WY – A new group has entered the debate into Wyoming's skyrocketing medical malpractice insurance rates. The Equality State Policy Center is the latest to ask legislators to try to find solutions other than amending the constitution to address high premiums. Center Director Tom Throop says Governor Freudenthal's call for a ballot issue should only come as a last resort. Center Board President Sarah Gorin says there is not just one solution. She says there are a lot of issues affecting Wyoming's access to health care.

Laramie – The University of Wyoming got a win in a House Appropriations Committee meeting. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck reports that the committee approved the university's request of $10 Million and the ability to match that money to improve athletic facilities.

Pinedale, WY – Sublette County Farm Bureau President Jim Urbigkit says livestock producers are losing eight times more calves to wolves than originally anticipated. That's why Urbigkit says his group filed a notice of intent to sue the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service over wolf management. He says the agency is not following the environmental impact statement for wolf re-introduction. Urbigkit says everybody has completely lost sight or forgot about the original goal of re-introduction, population goals and potential impacts.

Cheyenne, WY – Officials at Great Lakes Airlines believe the energy boom in northeastern Wyoming could also be a windfall for them. The airline is changing its Sheridan and Gillette service. Great Lakes currently operates 3 round-trip flights every day from Sheridan to Denver, and 4 from Gillette. The airline is keeping that the same, but one flight to each town will be upgraded from a 19-seat plane to a 30-seat plane. Great Lakes CEO Chuck Howell says Gillette and Sheridan are growing air service markets, thanks to growth in oil and gas, so they want to take advantage of that.

Laramie, WY – Some business owners in Laramie are unhappy about a movement to ban smoking in workplaces, including bars and restaurants. A group called Smoke-Free Laramie is writing a no smoking ordinance for the city council to consider. Bar owners in particular are wary of the proposal. Reed's Package Liquor owner Jade Miller says he doen't think people in Laramie like it when others tello them what to do. But other businesses support the proposed ban.

Jackson, WY – Organizers of the Jackson Hole Community School hope to begin accepting the first students in September. Co-founders Scott Hirschfield and Kathleen Crowley have scheduled a March 3rd meeting to outline their plans for the private school. Those plans include enrolling as many as 125 students, offering international baccalaureate classes and providing scholarships to students who cannot afford the $10,000.00 annual tuition. The two have worked nearly four years to open Jackson Hole's first college prep high school. The school will be located in a business park.

Cheyenne, WY – A variety of bills dealing with funding for local government have been introduced in the Wyoming legislature. Many deal with short-term funding and infrastruction, but community officials are hopeful about a handfull of bills that would provide long-term funding. Casper City Manager Tom Forslund is exicted that local government funding is a priority this year. He says it's the first time in all of his years of local government that there is strong legislative support to help cities, towns and counties.

Wyoming –

Topic: Bob Beck reports on the legislative session

Topic: The State Department of Family Services is starting up a study on children in families in the state; Guest: Roger McDaniel, Director of the Department of Family Services

Topic: Great Lakes Airline is changing its service to Gillette and Sheridan; Guest: Chuck Howe, CEO for Great Lakes Airline

Topic: Conversation about bald eagles; Guest: Chris Saunders, Information and Education Specialist

Cheyenne, WY – Despite some opposition, the House Wildlife Committee approved a bill that would adjust Wyoming's wolf management plan. House Bill 155 is a compromise measure that allows for fewer breeding pairs in the state, but requires regulating the hunting of wolves, instead of shooting them on-sight. The bill passed the committee 6-3, but Lyman Representative Mick Powers argued against changing the current plan and thinks the state is caving too quickly to federal demands. Powers says the state will have to go to court, even if it changes its plan. So he thinks it is best to fight.

Cheyenne, WY – As the Wyoming legislature tried to figure out what to do next over the wolf issue, there's another potential problem looming on the horizon. Last week, the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service Director met with legislative leaders and Governor Dave Freudenthal. The main topic was how the two sides could reach a compromise over Wyoming's wolf management plan in order to remove the species from the Endangered Species list. But Freudenthal also asked about who would pay for wolf management. He says the response was if the species is de-listed, U.S.F.W.S.

Cheyenne, WY – A bill that's been in the works for several years was approved on general file Monday by the Wyoming House. The legislation would provide a sales tax exemption on manufacturing equipment. Supporters claim a lack of such an exemption has kept some businesses from coming to the state. Cheyenne Representative Pete Illoway says it costs his community a key business last year.

Cheyenne, Wy – Gay marriages granted in other states like Massachusetts would be declared void in Wyoming under a measure introduced in the Senate.
State law already defines marriage as a union between men and women only.
But Gillette Senator Dick Erb said he discovered this week that Wyoming would have to recognize same-sex marriages granted in other states under current statutes.
Erb says he drafted Senate File 85 as an attempt to "head off" the issue before it becomes one in Wyoming.

Cheyenne, Wy – A Wyoming Army National Guard soldier killed in a rollover in Wyoming is as much a hero as soldiers who died in Iraq.
That's according to Governor Dave Freudenthal.
Specialist Billy Jess Watts of Cody died February 5th while riding in an Army truck in a convoy on his way to train at Camp Guernsey.
The wreck occurred on an icy stretch of Interstate 25 near Douglas. Two other soldiers were injured.

Cheyenne, Wy – Congresswoman Barbara Cubin is praising the state's efforts when it comes to wolves. During a speech before the legislature Cubin said that she appreciates their battle with the federal government. She says she hopes the state does not have to go to court to solve this issue, but admits Wyoming may have little choice. Cubin, a Republican, says this one time she's willing to go against the Administration and that the legislature can count on her support.

Sheridan, WY – A Sheridan native in the Army's 2nd Armored Cavalry was wounded in action in Iraq Wednesday. According to Nathan Leikip's parents, Leikip received shrapnel in his left eye, and "a chunk" of the eye subsequently had to be removed in surgery. Two other members of Leikip's unit were killed in the incident. Leikip's mother told the Sheridan Press that Leikip was due to leave Iraq in late March or early April. Leikip was also wounded in November.

Wyoming –

Topic:Wyoming Reporters Roundtable
Tom Thorton: Casper Star Tribune
Alison Fashek: Wyoming Tribune Eagle
Ilene Olson: Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Laramie, WY – Laramie could become Wyoming's first city to institute a smoking ban. The City Council is preparing to consider a measure written by Laramie residents to outlaw smoking in all workplaces, including restaurants and bars. The Laramie school board gave its unanimous support to the proposal Wednesday. Residents behind the ordinance say it would protect people from secondhand smoke and help prevent children from taking up smoking. A similar ordinance failed narrowly in Casper three years ago.

Wyoming –

Topic: Bob Beck speaks with Renny Mackay about the legislative report

Topic: Bob Beck speaks with State Representative Monte Olsen about the issue with the trappers point bottleneck migration area for cattle herds, mule deer and antelope

Topic: The Wyoming Wilderness Association is involved in a program called "Riding the Wild"; Guest: Lila Bruno

Pages