Laramie, Wy – The city of Gillette issued a record 631 housing construction permits in 2006. City planner Michael Surface says it appears that housing construction in Gillette has outpaced all other cities in Wyoming. And at least one contractor thinks that 2007 could be just as busy. Jim Anderson is with Premier Homes L-L-C. He says a shortage of workers will also continue to make it necessary for subcontractors to come in from out of town. Gillette's economy is booming because of coal, gas and oil development.
Laramie, Wy – Wyoming's unemployment rate continues to fall. The state Department of Employment says the jobless rate dropped to just three percent in November. That's a half a percent lower than the rate calculated this time a year ago. Meantime, the state saw job growth in 2006 of four-point-eight percent. That's among the highest in the country. Given these facts, it may be tough for the jobless level to dip much lower. That's according to the Department of Employment's Tom Gallagher. He says there are about 8,500 people who still can't find work.
Laramie, Wy – Governor Freudenthal's second inauguration is today (Tuesday). The ceremony is scheduled for ten a-m at the Cheyenne Civic Center. Also being sworn in are Max Maxfield as secretary of state, Rita Meyer as state auditor, Joe Meyer as state treasurer and Jim McBride as superintendent of public instruction. The ceremony will be followed by a reception at the Capitol rotunda at 11:30 this morning. Both the inauguration ceremony and the reception are free and open to the public.
Laramie, Wy – Governor Dave Freudenthal's second inauguration took place this morning. During his address Freudenthal said the state has a great opportunity to shape its future because of a surplus of money. But, he said hesitation or indecision could take the state down the wrong path because history marches forward with or without action. Freudenthal backs the development of intellectual capital, local infrastructures, and workforce. He also mentioned looking at new uses for the natural resources in the state, such as wind farms or alternative uses for coal.
Laramie, Wy – Plans to fly larger regional jets into Cody may be delayed. The reason is the cost of making required security improvements. The Cody/Yellowstone Air Service Organization has sought to work with United Airlines to serve Cody with a 70-passenger regional jet. But regular flights by jets with more than 61 passengers would require costly security improvements that are mandated by the federal government. State Republican Senator Hank Coe, of Cody, says improving airport security is expensive and tedious.
Laramie, Wy – The Wyoming Department of Health is urging high risk individuals to get flu shots. Those include people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder and heart disease. About 36-thousand people across the country die from the flu each year. Risk of developing serious complications, such as pneumonia, increases for individuals with chronic illness.
Laramie, Wy – Wyoming's plan for improving its child welfare services has received federal approval. When the federal government began its random review of child welfare cases in 2002, none of the 50 states passed. Last week, the U-S Department of Health and Human Services notified Wyoming that it was one of 29 states that met its Program Improvement Plan. Wyoming's plan strengthened the state's help in finding future living arrangements for children and providing for their well-being.
Laramie, Wy – The Glacier Trail in Wyoming's Wind River Range has been ranked in the top five listing of best hikes by Men's Journal magazine. The 23-mile Glacier Trail starts just outside of Dubois, cuts through forested moose country before climbing to the alpine lakes of the Wind River Range. Maps and more information about the trail can be obtained from the Shoshone National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management.
Laramie, Wy – It's been nine months since a 22-vehicle chain-reaction crash killed six people and injured dozens on Interstate 80 near Elk Mountain. Yet, the state Highway Patrol still has not released the results of its investigation. That's left victims and their families unable to settle insurance claims or litigation.
Laramie, Wy – A Republican state lawmaker from Jackson says he will introduce legislation to exempt the first five-thousand dollars of the value of a home from property taxes. Representative Keith Gingery estimated his proposal would save the average homeowner about 300 dollars on their annual state property tax bill. With property values increasing throughout Wyoming, property tax relief is beginning to become a major issue.