Wyoming – The eastern Wyoming community of Torrington is struggling with some new trials. The percentage of people on some form of public assistance is among the highest in the state and those numbers went up substantially last summer. The question is why? The simple answer has to do with the national economy and Goshen County's lack of economic diversity. But some wonder if there is another reason.
Wyoming – The Wyoming National Guard is nearly through its largest deployment in history... about 800 Wyoming soldiers are in Kuwait and Iraq. One of them is there explicitly to support the mental health of the others. He is the first uniformed "behavioral health officer" the Wyoming Guard has ever deployed... and in total, he's watching over the psychological health of 25-hundred soldiers overseas. My colleague Addie Goss has this profile.
Laramie, Wyo. – An entomologist with the University of Wyoming says there may be an outbreak of grasshoppers this summer. Alexandre Latchininsky says the insects have become much more prevalent over the past few years. He says last summer, parts of eastern Wyoming and the Big Horn Basin had a lot of grasshoppers - about twelve of the insects per square yard. Latchininsky says there should be even more of them this summer.
Cheyenne, Wyo. – The Wyoming House of Representatives continues to work on a bill that would lift the requirement that Wyoming District and Supreme Court Judges retire at the age of 70. Supporters call the current law "age discrimination."
Laramie, WY – A newly installed highway underpass for migrating animals north of Baggs is working well so far. Several thousand mule deer, pronghorn, bobcats and other animals used it in the fall and winter to migrate across Highway 789 to their winter range.
Cheyenne, WY – The State Senate has given final approval to a controversial bill that would allow the public to see how much homes are worth in their neighborhood. It would allow people to see what a specific home sold for and how the county assesor has valued other homes in an area. Some Senators argue that this would violate privacy. But Kaycee Senator John Schiffer says it is a matter of fairness: "You have the right to know how your taxes are determined. Why did my taxes go up 40 or 50% in the last 2 or 3 years?"