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.
Green River, WY – A movie theater in Green River will reopen after residents flooded the owner with requests and phone calls to reconsider closing it. The Star Twin will reopen in six to seven weeks depending on when new chairs and equipment arrive. That's according to Encore Cinemas President Randy Pryde. He says when the theater closed, the company sold the chairs and equipment, so it had to order more before reopening. The movie house will reopen as a discount theater.
Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming Arts Council says it is at the halfway point in an effort to raise 100 thousand dollars in 100 days. The council needs to raise the money to access a 100 thousand dollar legislative matching grant. First Lady Nancy Freudenthal encourages artists and residents to continue with the fundraising push. Freudenthal says it's important to get the rest of the way in order to meet the state match. The Arts Council will use the funds to provide arts grants throughout Wyoming. IF the money is raised, it will double the amount of grant money currently available.
Gillette, Wy – Cattle ranchers are hoping prices remain strong and will offset any possible effects of a brucellosis scare. Ranchers have been enjoying high prices in the U.S. cattle market for the past few months. Strong consumer demand, continued drought on the Plains and a case of mad cow disease in Canada sent cattle prices in the United States to more than 100-dollars per hundred pounds in November. Last year at the same time, prices were around 60-dollars.
Washington, DC – The National Park Service will need to start phasing out snowmobiles from Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Tuesday, a federal judge refused to suspend his ruling that struck down a Bush Administration plan to allow snowmobiling to continue. Washington DC District Judge Emmet Sullivan reinstated a Clinton Administration plan that will ban the machines starting next winter. Snowmobiling is still allowed this year, but with restrictions that the state of Wyoming says will seriously hurt the local tourism industry.
Cody, WY – With less snowmobile traffic expected in Yellowstone National Park, the Shoshone National Forest is preparing to deal with an influx of people looking for other snowmobile destinations. Forest Spokesman Gordon Warren says the court ruling reinstating a ban on the machines from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks should result in more people coming to the Shoshone and other national forests in the state to snowmobile this winter. And even more next year, if the Yellowstone ban is upheld.
Cheyenne, Wy – Twenty conservation organizations submitted a petition to the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service to list the greater sage grouse as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The groups say the species has suffered declines of 45 percent to 80 percent over the past 20 years due to habitat loss. The Fish and Wildlife Service has received numerous petitions in recent years to protect sage grouse under federal laws but has declined to do so.