Casper, WY – The husband of U-S Representative Barbara Cubin is recovering from surgery in a Casper hospital. Fritz Cubin is in stable condition following surgery to patch his spinal cord to prevent leakage of spinal fluids. Doctors think Cubin may be able to go home Wednesday. He has been in the Wyoming Medical Center for more than four weeks. Fritz Cubin has suffered from an auto-immune disorder and complications from pneumonia for several years.
Laramie, Wy – Governor Dave Freudenthal is recommending that nearly half of the projected one billion dollar surplus be used to pay for five years of school construction and several prison projects. Freudenthal says these are needs that the state has known about for many years and he wants to get them taken care of. He says the problem is it is a huge chunk of money, but if they take care of those issues now they won't have to raise taxes or go into debt in the future.
Casper, Wy – As President Bush prepares for his reelection bid next year, his potential Democratic opponents have mainly criticized his handling of the economy and the war in Iraq. A close third, however, could be his environmental record. Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry has called President Bush the kind of politician who would cut down a tree and then climb on its stump to give a speech about conservation. Wesley Clark says Bush's policies are mortgaging our children's future. Whoever the Democratic nominee is, these barbs are sure to continue.
Gillette, WY – Sheridan College administrators say they are unsure how the planned departure of President Steve Maier will affect the school's Gillette campus. Gillette Campus Director Jerry Winter hopes Maier's resignation won't jeopardize any plans that are in the works. Maier and the school's Board of Trustees announced Friday that Maier will leave his position June 30. It was apparently a joint decision by Maier and the board. Maier says he does not expect fallout for the Gillette campus.
Laramie, WY – The U-S Senate approved a sweeping Medicare reform bill Tuesday morning. Wyoming A-A-R-P Director Rita Inoway admits the legislation to provide a prescription drug benefit isn't perfect, but it's a good start. Inoway says one problem is the prescription drug programs complexity and the doughnut hole that doesn't provide coverage. She says people in certain income ranges get help to a certain point and then coverage stops and they have to pay for their own medications. Inoway says when the cost gets to a catastrophic level, then they get help again.
Riverton, Wy – The Fremont County Suicide Prevention Team hopes to set up a suicide prevention hotline that will be professionally staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Fourteen suicides were recorded in the county in 2002. They involved people ages 15 to 93. County Coroner Ed McAuslan says nine suicides have been reported in Fremont County so far this year. He says he hopes the Suicide Prevention Team is able to bring inspirational speaker Steven "Black Bear" Laboueff to the area soon.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming prison inmates housed in Colorado prisons may be headed to Texas soon. Wyoming Corrections Department Director Robert Lampert says Colorado needs the beds now occupied by Wyoming inmates for its own prisoners. Lampert says the state is negotiating a contract to move the Wyoming prisoners to Texas. Wyoming doesn't have enought space in its prisons to house all its inmates. The state has 355 inmates in Colorado and another 126 in Nevada. Governor Freudenthal and lawmakers are looking at building more prisons in Wyoming.
Pinedale, WY – For a second straight year, drilling for natural gas will occur in mule deer winter range in southwestern Wyoming. That has raised concern among environmental groups. On Friday, Questar Exploration and Development Company received federal approval to drill eight wells on the Pinedale Mesa. Four of the wells would be drilled throughout the winter. As the company did last year, Questar will employ directional drilling to minimize surface disturbances. But environmental groups say winter drilling fragments crucial wildlife habitat for wintering deer and antelope.
Gillette, WY – A Campbell County man has become the ninth person in Wyoming to die of West Nile virus this year. Andrew Anderson died November 16 at Campbell County Memorial Hospital. Although that was just over a week ago, state health officials say new cases of West Nile are unlikely this year because mosquitoes are no longer active in Wyoming. Anderson died a month and a half after he was believed to have been bitten. He was one of 70 human cases in Campbell County this year.