Moran, WY – The snowmobile season in Yellowstone National Park a year ago was marked with confusion and uncertainty. This season, there were steps taken to eliminate that confusion, and one snowmobile operator says those efforts are working, to a degree. Michele John is the Marketing Manager for Togwotee Mountain Lodge. She says there is more certainty this year, but also some lingering misinformation. John says they still field questions from people who have heard that Yellowstone is closed to snowmobiles or that a trip is not worthwhile because of the restrictions in place.
Cheyenne, WY – The 2005 Legislature convenes Tuesday in Cheyenne. Among the items lawmakers will be faced with is the creation of a voter-approved review panel to examine medical malpractice lawsuits before they go to court. There are also proposals to create a variety of trust funds, including one to pay for management of wildlife habitat and another for the University of Wyoming. Other issues include selecting a site for a new medium-security prison, preventing spread of cattle diseases, and the regulation of drilling where mineral and surface rights are separately owned.
Laramie, Wy – Students at the University of Wyoming would pay about 182-dollars more next year in tuition and fees if the university has its way. University officials presented their proposal yesterday (Friday) to the Board of Trustees. Included was a tuition increase of five-point-seven percent, with most of that going toward academic and administrative support. The tuition increase also would pay for a new student information system, which handles online course registration, financial aid, and e-mail.
Laramie, Wy – University of Wyoming Trustees approved a plan to expand Jacoby Golf Course and to add residential housing on University Property. The plan is to develop a 27 hole championship golf course, and 750 lots priced between 50-thousand and 100-thousand dollars each. Trustee James Trosper was the only no vote. He has questioned whether building a golf course was part of the University's mission.
Laramie, Wy – A project in Jackson Hole has established some ideas of the legacy people there want to leave behind. The effort dubbed Sustaining Jackson Hole started a year ago. It involved over 100 volunteers. They came up with goals for the community and ways to find out if they are meeting them.
Washington, DC – The US Fish and Wildlife Service announced Friday that the sage grouse will not be protected under the endangered species act. Fish and Wildlife Director Steve Williams says while special protections are not warranted, he says the agency's review clearly illustrates the need for continued efforts to conserve sage grouse and sagebrush habitat on a long-term basis. Wyoming Senator Craig Thomas applauded the decision. He says it is vindication of the endangered species reforms he has pushed for in Congress.
Helena, MT – Montana's proposed bison hunt may not happen. The state's wildlife commission yesterday agreed to consider canceling the controversial hunt, which was set to start next week. The 4-1 decision was made by a commission that included three members just appointed by new Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. Schweitzer said earlier this week that he wanted the hunt cancelled. The wildlife commission also voted to postpone the drawing for licenses for the bison hunt which was scheduled for today. The commission plans to meet Monday, to make a final decision.
Laramie, WY – The lawsuit challenging Laramie's smoking ordinance will go before a state district court judge on Monday. The ban on smoking in public places, including restaurants and bars, was passed by Laramie voters in November by 366 votes. Six residents sued to overturn the ban, claiming that city officials bungled the election. The city has argued to dismiss the suit, saying that Albany County District Court does not have jurisdiction and that the plaintiffs failed to make their case. Monday's hearing before Judge Jeffrey Donnell is scheduled for 2:00 pm.
Laramie, Wy – This week the federal government announced a new rule for wolf management in Idaho and Montana. The change makes it easier for ranchers and state wildlife agencies to kill wolves. But, Wyoming is still under the more restrictive old rule because the federal government rejected Wyoming's wolf management plan. Since then the state filed suit to try and overturn that decision. Attorney General Pat Crank says the rule change for the neighboring states won't affect Wyoming's plan.