Laramie, Wy – The final draft management plan for Grizzlies was an attempt to manage the bears and compromise with those who disagreed with previous drafts. It confines the bears to northwest Wyoming and will keep occupation levels at around 500. The Biological Services Supervisor for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department says that will likely mean fewer Bears then currently exist in the state. And Reg Rothwell adds that Wyoming officials will reduce their numbers through hunting or other means, and hope that some Grizzlies could be relocated to Idaho or Montana.
Dubois, WY – The reconstruction of the highway over Togwotee Pass will now take a year longer then originally planned and won't be complete until 2012. The Wyoming Department of Transportation still has not received a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers for the first segment of the project. So that segment will not even go out for bids until at least September. Due to the early winters on Togwotee Pass, a contractor would only be able to start on some off-highway work this fall. Jeff Corbett, a WyDOT engineer in Dubois, says this delay pushes the timeline back for the entire project.
Casper, WY – At least three people are interested in taking over as the state's top educator. Trent Blankenship is leaving as superintendent of public instruction effective August first to take a job in Alaska. So far, those expressing interest in the job are Natrona County School District trustee Jim Bush, state Representative Jeff Wasserburger of Gillette and former state Senate President Jim Twiford of Douglas. Governor Freudenthal will appoint a successor from a list of candidates provided by the state Republican Party.
Cheyenne, Wy – Cement is going to be in short supply this summer, especially in Wyoming. A national report lists Wyoming is one of ten states where the shortage could cause some problems. Building projects in the region are adding to the problem Wyoming Contractors Association Director Charles Ware says there does not seem to be a solution anytime soon. He expects that some cement rationing will take place.
Cheyenne, Wy – Longtime Natrona County Attorney Eric Easton has been chosen to be the Director of the WyomingL Medical Malpractice Review Panel. The panel was set up by the legislature to review medical malpractice cases before they go to trial. Some believe the panel could help prevent frivolous medical malpractice cases. Attorney General Pat Crank made the choice of Easton. Crank believes that it will be helpful to have an attorney oversee the program.
Cheyenne, WY – Governor Dave Freudenthal worries that high moisture levels this spring could mean people will lose interest in water storage projects. Freudenthal says people need to remember that Wyoming is a high-plains desert state and the water projects discussed during the five-year drought will, in the long-run, be fundamental to the state's growth. Plus, the Governor thinks all the state has really gotten this year is a respite.
Washington, DC – Federal budget cuts could have a detrimental effect on the recovery of the black-footed ferret. Mike Lockhart is a Laramie-based recovery coordinator for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. He says an expected budget crunch could be "pretty dire" for the ferret, which was once declared extinct, until a colony was found near Meeteetse, Wyoming. Lockhart says biologists have made substantial progress in helping the species bounce back, but he says the financial squeeze could set back the program.