Laramie, Wy – Union Pacific Corporation says mild weather helped its railroad haul a record amount of coal during the first five months of this year. The nation's largest railroad loaded five-thousand, 304 coal trains during that period -- a company record. Last May derailments slowed traffic on U-P's rail lines. Union Pacific and B-N-S-F- Railway Company -- the two main U-S- shippers of coal -- have been criticized in the past year for not keeping up with the coal demand of power generating companies.
Laramie, Wy – Members of Wyoming's congressional delegation have released documents detailing their personal finances for 2005. They show a taste for sophisticated investments ranging from municipal bonds and land through individual stocks. All three members of Wyoming's delegation, senators Craig Thomas and Mike Enzi as well as Representative Barbara Cubin, are Republicans. All three make a base congressional salary of just over 162-thousand dollars a year.
Laramie, Wy – New research suggests coal-bed methane development is adversely affecting sage grouse in parts of Montana and Wyoming. Grouse populations have been decreasing in the gas fields of the mineral-rich Powder River Basin. University of Montana researchers found that mating sites in developed areas did not see a rebound in the population, but a rebound did occur elsewhere in the basin in 2004 and 2005. And mating sites in extensively developed areas showed far lower population trends than those away from development.
Laramie, Wy – Census data shows that about 40 percent of Wyomingites volunteer in their communities. That's the sixth highest percentage in the country. The executive director of Serve Wyoming, Rachel Chadderdon, says what's impressive is that the people giving up their time are from all age groups, including the youth. The study shows that Wyoming volunteers do service work for about 50 hours a year. That's the national average. The top state in the country for volunteering is Utah, where nearly half of the population say they do volunteer activities.
Laramie, Wy – Several government agencies are planning to monitor wild and domestic bird populations in Wyoming for the bird flu. The potentially deadly H-Five-N-One strain of bird flu hasn't turned up in North America yet. But the virus has spread widely around the Eastern Hemisphere, killing dozens of people who've had direct contact with infected poultry. A spokesman for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department says the agency is planning to test 500 geese for bird flu. Keszler says the testing does NOT harm the birds.
Laramie, Wy – Cheyenne has joined Laramie in banning smoking from all public places, including bars and restaurants. After four hours of testimony and debate last night (Monday), the Cheyenne City Council voted 8-to-2 in favor of the ban. The ordinance will go into effect August 15th unless opponents of the law follow through on their vow to put the smoking ban before voters this fall. Before approving the ordinance, the council amended it to exempt tobacco shops from the ban.
Laramie, Wy – Following the national trend, Wyoming saw an increase in violent crime last year. Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation Director Forrest Bright says violent crime in the state was up zero-point-six percent in 2005. According to a report issued yesterday (Monday) by the F-B-I, the overall national increase in violent crime was two-point-five percent. That equates to more than one-point-four million crimes. That's the largest percentage increase since 1991.