Laramie, Wy – Congresswoman Barbara Cubin has her first challenger in this year's election for her seat. Cubin is a Republican and a six term incumbent. She says she will run again. Her opponent is Democrat Gary Trauner. He's an entrepreneur from Jackson. He says the fact he lives in Teton County should not be an issue in this race because the president of the state senate lives there and so does Vice President Cheney.
Laramie, Wy – Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff gave all three members of Wyoming's congressional delegation campaign contributions. Wednesday, all three members of the delegation said they would give that money to charity. That was after, Abramoff pleaded guilty in federal court to mail fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion. His plea agreement calls for him to share information with investigators about alleged bribes he made to members of Congress.
Laramie, Wy – Some Wyoming officials are wondering if the state will continue to get the same amount of Homeland Security money. The federal Homeland Security Department has announced they will single out 35 metropolitan areas for funds in a new formula, with the remainder of the money available for other areas. It's not yet clear what that will mean for Wyoming and other regions not among those 35 metropolitan areas. But Natrona County Sheriff Mark Benton is one of many in Wyoming law enforcement who expect to see their homeland security funding cut.
Laramie, Wy – The huge winter storm that hit western Wyoming this week, left up to two feet of snow in the mountains. This meant the Wyoming Department of Transportation had to artificially cause avalanches and close roads. Spokesperson Laura Grossnickle says the Teton Pass and the highway between Pinedale and Jackson shut down Tuesday morning while workers triggered avalanches. They do this to prevent a slide from coming down on its own when the roads are open. Grossnickle says actively managing avalanches works and haven't damaged roads.
Laramie, Wy – Public schools in Teton County don't just get money from the state; a non profit group there also contributes thousands of dollars a year to enhance the school system. It's called the Public Education Coalition of Teton County. Carol Peck says it uses private donations and holds a fund raiser once a year. That event, an adult spelling bee, takes place January 13th. Peck says it easily pays for itself and makes money for their effort. She says any community in the state could do something similar to benefit public schools.
Laramie, Wy – House Speaker Randall Luthi on Tuesday ended speculation that he might run for governor this year: He won't. Luthi said he wouldn't be an effective speaker during this winter's legislative session if every move he made were judged against a campaign to become governor. "My priority must be my responsibilities as speaker. I owe that to the people of Wyoming and my fellow representatives," Luthi said in a release issued by the state Republican Party.
Laramie, Wy – Former Laramie mayor Fred Homer died Sunday at age 66. Homer, who taught courses in political philosophy at the University of Wyoming, served as mayor of Laramie from 2002 to 2004. He served on the Laramie City Council from 2000 to 2004. Homer died at a Minnesota hospital where he was being treated for a heart problem.
Laramie, Wy – Only one coal miner died in Wyoming in 2005. That's according to the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. The man died on December 26th after a fall at the Bridger Coal Company's underground mine in Sweetwater County. That mine has seen three fatal accidents since 1999. The death was the second mine-related death in Sweetwater County. Back in April, a man was crushed by a piece of equipment while working at a trona and soda ash mine.
Laramie, Wy – This weekend the Albany County Sheriff's Department and others had to do three searches for lost snowmobilers. A total of eight people got lost or stuck in the Snowy Range. All spent nights in the wilderness, and they all did survive. Lieutenant Michael Garcia from the Sheriff's Department says people can do a lot to increase the chances of getting found alive. Building a shelter before nightfall is primary because he says that gets them out of the elements. Garcia says leaving details about where you are planning to sled also can cut down search time.
Laramie, Wy – Some outfitters aren't pleased about a proposal to change the way that landowners are compensated for property damage caused by wildlife. The state Game and Fish Department pays landowners for a variety of damage caused by wildlife, including elk that eat haystacks and bears that get into beehives. In exchange for being compensated, landowners are required to allow hunting on their property.