Wyoming’s Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife, and Cultural Resources committee recently voted to sponsor a bill that would transform a former missile alert facility near Cheyenne into a museum and historical site. The bill would provide one-time funding to establish the site’s exhibits, equipment, and other needs, as well as allocate yearly operational funds.
State Parks Director Milward Simpson says while the bill sponsorship is a step forward, it may still be a long road to a functional attraction.
The Ebola virus may be dominating the headlines and conversations about public health, but Wyoming Public Health officials are trying to educate residents about the threat of another, potentially more dangerous virus: the flu.
Reggie McClinton, with the Wyoming Department of Health, says contracting the flu is a more immediate threat to Wyomingites.
"Influenza also can lead to death in individuals and it can be a severe illness in certain populations so we are receiving reports of cases already from all across the state," he says.
Wyoming continues to rank number one in the nation in taxes for business. That’s from a report released by the Tax Foundation on Tuesday. The state’s lack of corporate and individual income tax has kept in in first place since 2012.
Wyoming Director Tony Gagliardi is with the National Federation of Independent Business’. He says the state deserves only a cautious congratulation since some of Wyoming’s taxes are going up. For instance, fuel taxes have increased and that could hurt farmers and hauling companies.
Gas prices around the country have been falling in recent weeks. That's true for Wyoming as well -- but the state hasn't seen quite as big a drop as other places. Gas prices in Wyoming are averaging $3.27 a gallon right now according to analysis from gasbuddy.com. That's $.25 higher than the national average. Gas Buddy analyst Patrick De Haan says that shouldn’t be surprising.
“Gas stations in Wyoming tend to be more rural. They may not have gasoline volumes like other areas. And the changes because of that lag the national average.”
A bill proposed in the Wyoming House of Representatives would redirect funds received from state park permits into a special revenue account. The purpose of the account would be to move a quarter of the funds back into general maintenance of Wyoming State Parks. This would give the state’s parks more control over how that money is spent. Right now roughly $500,000 goes into the general fund for construction projects.
Domenic Bravo is the State Parks administrator and says choosing maintenance over new construction projects can be a challenging ordeal.
Wyoming ranks number one in the nation in gun-related deaths. That’s according to a new report from the Violence Policy Center. While the national average is just over ten deaths per 100,000 people, Wyoming has more than twice that beating out states like Louisiana, Alaska and Mississippi. The report shows that most western nations like the United Kingdom have rates of less than one death 100,000 people.
The Legislature’s Joint Education Interim Committee voted 10 to three Thursday to support providing adjustments to school funding based on inflation.
The state is supposed to account for annual fluctuations in the costs of goods and labor when funding schools, but these inflation adjustments haven’t been made for the past four years. A coalition of school districts who spoke before the Committee Thursday say this has cost Wyoming’s school districts more than $150 million—and led to salary freezes, layoffs and program cuts.
October 24th is the grand opening of the University of Wyoming’s new Gateway Center, which will serve as a "front door" to the university for new students and families.
The thirty-five million dollar facility will house UW’s admissions office, career services, alumni association and the UW Foundation, which secures private donations for the school. The Foundation’s President Ben Blalock says the building has had significant help from many prominent UW alum and other Wyomingites. Blalock says the private funding was crucial.
The 4th annual Local Fest is moving from Pinedale to Lander this year. The festival is a celebration of Wyoming foods. It starts today with a free film festival at the Lander Public Library and runs through this weekend.
Steve Doyle is a Riverton farmer who helped organize the event. He says this year’s event will be longer and more intensive than in the past. He says there are lots of success stories around the state.
As of yesterday morning, same-sex marriage is now legal in Wyoming. Wyoming Public Radio’s Miles Bryan has been following the story, and he joined Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard in the studio to break down what’s been going on.
The gay rights advocacy group that has been fighting Wyoming’s gay marriage ban in state court for the past year celebrated the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state Tuesday.
Wyoming Equality’s executive director Jeran Artery stood outside the Cheyenne court house and watched two couples emerge with marriage licenses--and then tie the knot in brief official ceremonies near the court house entrance.
Artery says this is what his group has been working for.
In a report on the status of Wyoming’s schools released last week, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill says that the Legislature has overstepped its authority when it comes to education issues in the state.
Hill says lawmakers have used their responsibility for funding K-12 education as an excuse to manage it.
“The legislature has the power of the purs
e,” says Hill. “Yes, they’re responsible for funding, but not all of the decisions that are related.”
On Tuesday morning Wyoming county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples for the first time in the state’s history. Wyoming Public Radio’s Miles Bryan was at the Albany County Courthouse for that historic event, while Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank was in Cheyenne, at the Laramie County Courthouse. Together, they have this report.
A federal judge has overturned Wyoming’s ban on same sex marriage.
The court has ordered that Wyoming must begin issuing same sex marriage licenses, but it has stayed that order until next Thursday, or until the State decides not to appeal the ruling.
“I’ve reached out to the State Attorney General’s office and asked them if they would file a notice with the court indicating they don’t intend to appeal,” says James Lyman, an attorney with the plaintiffs. “If they do not appeal the order will go into effect immediately. I have not yet received a response from them.”
Wyoming teen Megan Grassell was listed as one Time’s 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014 this week, joining the ranks of Malia Obama and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai. She spoke with Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard about her success.
With the help of a kickstarter campaign that raised $42-thousand dollars, Grassell created her own company. Yellowberry makes training bras for pre-teen and teenage girls. Grassell, 19, was inspired after taking her younger sister shopping for her first bra. All of the training bras she tried on were padded and mature-looking.
Same-sex marriage will probably soon be legal here in Wyoming. But gay people can still be fired simply for being gay.
While Wyoming has laws that prohibit employment discrimination based on age, sex, race, or national origin, the state has nothing on the books preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation. Laramie Representative Cathy Connolly has been leading the charge to change that. She says Wyoming’s equal employment opportunity office, which deals with workplace discrimination, can’t accept complaints dealing with sexual orientation.
The Wyoming Lottery says its first month of sales went better than expected. Wyoming Lottery CEO Jon Clontz says the group expected to make about $1.2 million, but brought in about $1.8 million in its first month selling tickets, which began August 24th.
The lottery uses no state money for its operation. Clontz says the group has to pay back a $3 million private loan before any money reaches local governments.
The University of Wyoming has seen a rise in the use of social media for stalking purposes. That includes things like using Facebook and Twitter to gather personal information, and track someone’s real life whereabouts.
UW Police Chief Mike Samp says the university has seen around four reported incidents of stalking where victims were threatened or harassed by their online perpetrators since the beginning of September. There were 10 reported stalking incidents during all of last academic year.
Thanks to the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People, Native American tribes now have more legal tools than ever before. That’s according to a speaker at a conference on Monday hosted by the University of Wyoming American Indian Studies Program.
A new report out from the Wyoming Department of Administration and Information shows that the state continues to do well economically, but housing costs are rising in several counties. Converse County has had a twenty percent increase in both apartment rent and house payments. Teton continues to be the most expensive county to live in comparatively.
Amy Bittner is a senior economist with the department and says the state overall is doing well.
A federal court hearing next week could enable same-sex couples to begin getting marriage licenses in Wyoming. Four same-sex couples and a gay-rights advocacy group filed suit Tuesday seeking the right to marry in Wyoming. U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl will consider their request to decide immediately on gay marriage in Wyoming at next Thursday's hearing in Casper.
The Wyoming Women’s annual Antelope Hunt kicks off today. The three day event is sponsored by the Wyoming Women’s Foundation and brings together 40 female hunters, including guest hunter and speaker Ashlee Lundvall. Lundvall is Ms. Wheelchair USA 2013-2014, and helped found the non-profit Wyoming Disabled Hunters.
Student enrollment at the University of Wyoming has increased slightly over the past year, according to data released this week. On its Laramie campus, enrollment grew by about one percent—or 109 students—to more than 10,500.
UW’s Vice President for Student Affairs Sara Axelson says the slight growth is the result of boosted recruitment efforts.
On Monday the United State Supreme Court declined to hear challenges to federal court rulings that had overturned bans on gay marriage in states across the country. One of those federal courts was the 10th circuit court, which is based in Denver and has authority over Wyoming.
A woman working at the Western Sugar Cooperative facility in Torrington was seriously injured after a high fall last week.
This injury comes after another worker died from a fall at Western Sugar’s Lovell facility in January. Wyoming safety inspectors fined the company almost 200 thousand dollars in July for safety violations.
John Ysebaert is with Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, which oversees safety inspectors. He says Western Sugar has recently seen a complete turnover in management.