Laramie, WY – Senator John Barrasso says he's worried Wyoming will not receive the 550-million dollars the federal government owes the state in Abandoned Mine Land funds. Barrasso voted against the nomination this week of a man named Brent Whalquist, who is being considered to head the federal government's surface mining reclamation program. Barrasso says Whalquist avoided direct questions when the senator asked him about the half billion dollars the government owes Wyoming.
Laramie, WY – A lightning strike cut power to nearly 4 thousand 6 hundred Laramie customers this afternoon. Heavy rain and hail had been pounding the region for much of the afternoon when the outage occurred. Rocky Mountain power spokesman Jeff Hymas says the lightning caused no lasting harm to the system. Hymas says the power was back on for all Laramie customers by 4 pm today. He says the company recommends customers be prepared for weather-related outages by keeping a flashlight on hand.
Greeley, Colorado – The attorney for a former University of Northern Colorado punter accused of stabbing the starter says his client is nervous and concerned as trial nears. Mitch Cozad is due for trial July 30th on charges of with attempted first-degree murder and second-degree assault in an attack last fall on Rafael Mendoza. Police have said they believe Cozad, of Wheatland, Wyoming, stabbed Mendoza in an attempt to get the starting job. Cozad has pleaded NOT guilty, and remains free on 500-thousand-dollars' bond.
Cheyenne, Wy – After being disappointed with a discussion at the National Governors Association Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal says the state will need to finance its own research on clean coal and carbon capture technologies. Freudenthal had asked federal officials when they were going to properly fund such efforts but was told the focus would be on energy efficiency instead. In a statement Monday, the Governor said it will be up to Wyoming to take the lead.
Laramie, WY – While several small businesses in Wyoming say they fear new minimum wage increases, a state employment official says it probably won't have much impact initially. Tom Gallagher with the Wyoming Department of Employment says the increase of the federal minimum wage up to five dollars and 85 cents an hour probably will have little effect on business.
Gallagher notes that the state labor shortage means that most businesses have been paying higher then the minimum wage already.
Laramie, WY – Fire crews quickly contained a 140-acre fire near the Kemmerer Reservoir today. Richard Putnam of the B-L-M's Western Wyoming Fire Zone says lightening sparked a sage and grass fire yesterday afternoon. Putnam says the department has put out about 65 fires so far this summer. He says they have mostly been grass and single-tree juniper fires, which are much easier to put out.
Putnam says another fire started about 4 o'clock this afternoon south of Rock Springs near Sage Creek.
Laramie, WY – As Cheyenne celebrates its western heritage with Frontier Days this week, the Department of Health is hoping to downplay one aspect of cowboy culture spit tobacco. Spokeswoman Kim Deti says the department has deployed a mobile billboard through Cheyenne that is covered with an image of a young man consuming a toxic reptile. She says the billboard is designed to capture a large audience in a state where tobacco use ranks higher than the national average.