Laramie, Wy – Wyoming was hit with an onslaught of flu cases recently. State Health Officer, Doctor Brent Sherard, says that as of last week, 185 cases of influenza have been confirmed in Wyoming 94 of those cases -- more than half - were reported in the previous week. And there could be more. Sherard says the official numbers are often lower than the actual infection rate.
Cheyenne, Wy – An effort to ban the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving has failed again. The sponsor Democratic Representative Floyd Esquibel is claiming a victory of sorts -- he got one more vote this year. Esquibel says the addition of cameras and Internet functions make cell phones more distracting than ever. The cell phone industry says drivers commonly engage in many other activities that are more distracting than phones, including eating, adjusting the radio, and taking in the scenery.
Cheyenne, Wy – In the Wyoming Senate a committee recommended Torrington as the site for a new medium-security prison. Torrington has the support of the Corrections Department, the House of Representatives and now this Senate committee. Many officials from the city and county in Eastern Wyoming spoke in favor of the plan, but there are opponents to the idea from Goshen County. At the same time officials from Rawlins and Riverton are questioning the objectivity of the site selection process.
Cheyenne – The legislature has been lobbied hard for the past few years to provide more money to help pay the health insurance for retired state employees. This year, the appropriations committee rejected such a request, but during discussion of the budget on the house floor...an amendment addressing the issue passed. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck has the story
Casper, WY – The increase in passenger numbers at the Casper airport is resulting in added service. SkyWest Airlines announced Wednesday that starting next month; it is adding another flight between Casper and Salt Lake City. Natrona County International Airport Manager Dan Mann says they saw more then 70,000 passengers last year and thinks that number could grow to 80,000 this year. Mann would also like to add another Denver flight on United Express.
Cheyenne, WY – Following a heated debate, the house adopted an amendment Thursday to give retirees from state government an extra $200 a month for health insurance. The amendment came during second reading debate on the state budget bill. The amendment will cost the state over nine million dollars. Majority Floor leader Roy Cohee opposed the amendment saying that even the lowest state employees get a lot of benefits when they working. Cohee also worries that more employees may choose to retire early causing more of a problem.
Cheyenne – Two conservation groups are waiting for a response to their lawsuit against the Mountain Cement Company in Laramie. The groups claim the cement factory has committed significant and ongoing violations of the Clean Air Act. Wyoming Public Radio's Renny MacKay reports the cement company claims they're not doing anything illegal.
Cheyenne – Driving under the influence bills are having tremendous success this legislative session, despite years of having trouble surviving the legislative process. But this year bills that impose felonies for certain D-U-I crimes and bills to tighten other statutes have sailed through the legislature. Bob Beck speaks with Cheyenne Representative Beckett Hinkley and Laramie Representative Jane Warren.
Cheyenne, Wy – Lawmakers Wednesday turned down proposals allowing drug testing of public school students and creating higher education endowments. During the second day of budget debate, the Senate turned down a plan to appropriate 105-(M)-million dollars from the School Foundation Program to set up endowments to recruit and retain outstanding college faculty. Two-thirds of the money would have been used by the University of Wyoming and the rest by community colleges. The amendment died mainly because a similar bill is awaiting debate in the Senate.