February 17th, 2012

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Requests for state funding dwindle amid bleak revenue forecast
Wyoming lawmakers are about to start budget work, with the knowledge that revenue projections have dropped substantially since last fall.  State agencies are being told that most budgets will not increase, and that they should be prepared to cut their budgets for a total of 12 percent over the next three years.  It should mean that the days of sticking in big money amendments into the budget during debates are probably over for a while.  Bob Beck reports.

UW President discusses state budget impact on the university
In its budget request, the University of Wyoming asked for nearly 10 million dollars for salary increases for its employees. But the legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee rejected pay raises for all state employees, including those at UW. Average pay at UW is below market average, so University President Tom Buchanan tells Willow Belden that salary increases were the university’s highest budget priority.

Y Cross Ranch manager laments missed opportunities
In the late 1990’s the University of Wyoming and Colorado State University were given a gift.  It’s 53 thousand acres of land 30 miles west of Cheyenne called the Y Cross.  It was donated to be available to be used for research from ranching to Geology.  But recently the ranch has been engaged in some controversy.  The foundations of U-W and C-S-U are looking to sell it, which has enraged the donor.   And there is discussion that one interested buyer is  Doug Samuelson.  Samuelson has offered to sell a much smaller section of land to the state to be used to protect Laramie’s aquifer, but Samuelson through his attorney Phil Nicholas had pushed to swap the aquifer land for the Y Cross, but was denied.  But setting all that aside, ranch manager Manny Monserrate tells Bob Beck he’s saddened that opportunities he says were given to a number of students through the Y Cross could be going away.

Wyoming GOP prepares to pick its presidential candidate
If you haven't noticed, it's election season, and Republican voters will soon be choosing a GOP nominee to challenge President Obama. The process may seem straight forward. The process may seem straight forward -- in November voters will choose whether the president gets a second term or is replaced by a republican challenger -- it can actually be very complicated. Right now precinct caucuses are being held around the state, and Wyoming Public Radio's Tristan Ahtone brings us this explanation of what happens before voters head to the polls.

Web-based news service keeps a close eye on Fremont County
There’s a new news service in Fremont County that exists solely on the Internet. County-10-dot-com is powered by a full-time reporter and a Lander software company, and offers hyper-local, to-the-minute reports on its website and social media outlets. The service exploded since its launch in early December – it had 15-thousand views its first month – and it’s still growing. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez visited their Lander office and filed this story.

Researcher says coal-to-gasoline plant could have environmental and economic advantages
We’ve been reporting on a proposed plant that would convert coal into gasoline. Turning Wyoming coal into valuable liquid fuels, synthetic natural gas, chemicals and other products could open up lucrative markets for one of the state's most abundant resources. But building a plant to do that will cost billions. Richard Boardman is part of a team of Idaho National Laboratory researchers who are building computer models to simulate plants like the one that’s been proposed near Medicine Bow. He tells Rebecca Huntington that while very complicated, some designs have real economic and environmental advantages.

Wyomingite and National Geographic writer will speak at UW
Noted Wyoming author Mark Jenkins is currently writing stories for National Geographic.  He will be discussing a recent article called the Healing Fields, the legacy of war and the search for Miss Landmine Cambodia during a lecture in Laramie on February 27ths at five in the UW classroom building.  Jenkins will also make some additional appearances in the state.  He talks with Bob Beck.

Citizens Compromise to Cut Trillions from Federal Deficit
Can citizens do what Congress cannot? That was the challenge put to Teton County residents by the Concord Coalition, a non-partisan group that aims to raise public awareness about the federal deficit. The coalition invited citizens to play Congress for a day to cut the federal deficit and move the nation closer to a balanced budget. Rebecca Huntington has more.