Cheyenne, Wy – The state Department of Corrections has chosen architects to provide conceptual drawings and cost estimates for proposed prison expansion projects. G-S-G Architecture of Casper and Reilly Johnson Architecture of Denver were selected to help the state plan for expansion of prisons at Riverton and Lusk. The Legislature in its last session authorized planning for an additional 59 beds at the Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton and 108 beds at the Wyoming Women's Center in Lusk, plus expanded rehabilitation programs.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming House Speaker Fred Parady will have to decide which legislative committee will review a controversial piece of legislation. Lawmakers will be asked to vote on a bill that would change the constitution to allow the capping of non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. Last year, the House Judiciary Committee killed a similar piece of legislation. Parady admits he's been getting pressure to assign the bill to a committee that's not headed by a trial lawyer.
Pinedale, WY – Some 3,200 negative tests have come back on cattle that may have come into contact with the brucellosis-infected cows in Sublette County. But there were four suspect cases, two each in two different herds. State Veterinarian Jim Logan says those animals registered positive results on two tests, but negative on two, more sensitive tests. The testing being done looks for titer levels, which are a measure of antibodies to the brucellosis disease.
Laramie, WY – Housing costs in Laramie are rising faster than incomes, causing a shortage of affordable housing. That's according to a recent study for Laramie city government. Housing is considered affordable if it costs no more than 30 percent of gross monthly income. The study says 29 percent of households spend more than that. The average cost of a new single-family home in Laramie has risen to 160 thousand dollars. The study says most new housing in Laramie has become too pricey for even buyers with moderate incomes.
Cheyenne, WY – The city of Cheyenne may soon have its second business park. This week, the economic development group Cheyenne LEADS bought a 612 acre piece of land west of town, in hopes of using it to attract new business. Part of that land is the subject of an annexation lawsuit, but LEADS President Randy Bruns says it doesn't matter much what happens in that case. He says the key for them is getting the land rezoned from a mix of residential and agricultural to light industrial. Bruns says he's not totally confident in that happening.
Saratoga, WY – The U-S Forest Service has denied an appeal of a timber sale in the Sierra Madre section of the Medicine Bow National Forest. Although the appeal was denied, the regional forester ordered more analysis of the proposed logging before it's offered to logging contractors. Saratoga forester Terry Delay says that's been done. He says it amounted to a page and a half of documentation involving mainly wildlife issues. The Singer Peak sale involves clearcutting about 180 acres and salvage logging on another 23 acres that are burned.
Evanston, WY – Wyoming's largest wind farm is scheduled to go into operation by year's end. Construction of the 150 million dollar project in Uinta county northeast of Evanston wrapped up on time and under budget. F-P-L Energy spokesman Steve Stengel says crews have been busy testing the facility in recent days. The Florida-based utility will operate the wind farm. Two years in the works, the wind farm is the third and largest in Wyoming. Its turbines are capable of powering 43 thousand homes.
Cheyenne, WY – Some changes in Wyoming Black Bear seasons and regulations will be the focus of several statewide meetings in January. Game and Fish Assistant Wildlife Division Chief John Emmerich says many of the proposals will keep regulations in place for three years in order to get better information. Emmerich says it's pretty hard to determine the effects of the season on a particular bear populations when the seasons change each year. He says going to a three year season structure will allow officials to gather better data.
Cheyenne, WY – An economic development group has bought 612 acres west of Cheyenne with plans to establish a business park. Cheyenne LEADS President Randy Bruns filed the deed on the Village West property Wednesday. The purchase price was not disclosed. Neighboring landowners have a lawsuit pending against the previous owner of the land. At issue was the 2001 annexation of a 111 acre parcel. Homeowners say the annexation would have brought their land under the city's regulatory control. That lawsuit is pending before the Wyoming Supreme Court.
Bismarck, ND – Natural gas began flowing through a new pipeline across Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota Tuesday. The Williston Basin Interstate Pipeline is run by a subsidiary of Bismarck's M-D-U Resources. Work on the pipeline started in August. One crew worked from the south end near Gillette and the other crew worked from the north, starting near Killdeer, North Dakota. The 253 mile pipeline can carry 80 million cubic feet of natural gas a day. M-D-U spokesman Tim Rasmussen says the pipeline began carrying about a quarter of that capacity.