Laramie, Wy – The number of teachers in Wyoming labeled as highly qualified just went down. That's because the state Department of Education had to change its definition of highly qualified. The head of education, Jim McBride, says the issue is a matter of doing new paperwork required to qualify. With the change the number of highly qualified instructors went from 95 to 50 percent. McBride says that does not reflect the quality of teachers, but happened because of a breakdown in communication between two large beaurocracies.
Laramie, Wy – Downtown Cheyenne may soon have a new hotel. Officials, including Mayor Jack Spiker, won't say what hotel chain is interested. But they do say the chain already has a contract to buy one downtown building and the empty lot where a fire last winter destroyed the building next door. Owners of the buildings involved would NOT comment about the deal.
Laramie, Wy – Wyoming congresswoman Barbara Cubin says cracking down on illegal immigration will be her top priority in Congress next year. The Republican says the nation needs a real immigration policy enacted into law. Cubin also says she strongly disagrees with President Bush's plan to grant temporary legal status to undocumented workers.
Teton Village, WY – Funding will be a key question as Jackson Hole Mountain Resort weighs the options for replacing its famous aerial tram. Resort President Jerry Blann says three alternatives are on the table. He says a complete replacement with a $25 million price-tag is far-and-away their preferred option. But Blann says the resort can't afford it alone. He says they have discussed loan and grant possibilities with both state and federal officials. Blann says there's a strong economic argument for investing public money in a new tram.
Gillette, WY – Students at Gillette's Twin Spruce Junior High School have set up a memorial for Bryce Chavers. The ninth-grader was found shot in his bed last weekend. Chavers' death has deeply affected students at Twin Spruce. At the school, he was known as an artist with a knack making others smile. A memorial at the school includes poems, candles, flowers, and a photo of Chavers. Investigators have not found the weapon used the Chavers' shooting and relatives said they had heard nothing unusual the night before his body was found.
Laramie, Wy – The Business Council board of directors has approved seven-point-two million dollars in grants for local communities. The problem is there isn't any money available to spend. This means the State Loan and Investment Board will have to ask the legislature for the funding for these projects to proceed in March.
Cheyenne – Governor Dave Freudenthal is proposing a three and a half billion dollar budget. It will focus on funding a number of so-called on time programs that range from road maintance to community impacts from energy development. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck reports that a pair of Republican lawmakers expects some areas of the budget to get considerable debate.
Topic: Study by an economist for the state of Wyoming that looked into oil and gas production and the relationship between prices and employment in Wyoming; Guest: Sherry Win, author and Tom Calliger, Manager of research planning of the State Department of Employment.
Topic: Heat and eat bill; Guest: State Representative Ann Robinson.