Laramie, Wy – A 47-year-old woman died in a house fire early today (Wednesday) in Laramie. The victim was identified as Lori L. Morton, of Laramie. The fire was reported about 5:25 a-m and firefighters found an unconscious woman inside. The cause of death as well as the cause of the fire were under investigation.
Lander, Wy – A federal report is suggesting that communities and landowners should pay more of the cost of preventing and suppressing wildfires. The report says the abundance of private homes in areas that used to be remote is driving up costs. Federal officials say there will be a vigorous debate over how to split the costs. The fire warden in Fremont County is Craig Haslam. He says if less federal money was available they would have to adjust but Haslam does not support ideas to limit housing near federal land.
Laramie, Wy – Wyomingites can deduct what they pay in sales tax again when they file their returns this year. Congress recently passed a bill extending the deduction. But, the Internal Revenue Service had written up its tax forms and instructions before the bill passed, so it may be NOT be obvious that this tax deduction and two others are available.
Laramie, Wy – The Jackson Hole Airport board has adopted a utility company's plan to save electricity and help cut greenhouse gas emissions. The plan resulted from an energy audit at the airport by Lower Valley Energy last month. Assistant airport director Jeanne Kirkpatrick says most of the airport's energy savings will come from switching to low-wattage light bulbs. The airport board has also voted to have renewable sources supply 20 percent of the airport's electricity.
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.