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After accepting a $15 million dollar loan from the State of Wyoming, Standard Alcohol Inc. is continuing plans for a new facility at Swan Ranch, outside of Cheyenne. The loan is set to be paid back in twenty years, while the rest of the funding for the $76 million dollar plant will come from private investments.

The company will use natural gas, coal, and CO2 to create a gasoline additive that company vice president Robert Johns says is high value.

U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Johansen Laurel

Teton County’s Habitat for Humanity has released design plans for twenty-four low income homes that will help address the housing shortfall in the area.  

Many of the people who work in the Jackson area can’t afford to live there, and a recent study found that a third of the county's residents spend more than thirty percent of their income on housing.

A local group hopes to build the three bedroom units over the next four years, and sell them to people who make less than eighty percent of the county’s average.

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Wyoming’s economy is the most sluggish in the nation, according to a report released by Bloomberg in December. That ranking came from analysis of employment, income, stock and home prices, as well as late mortgage payments around the nation. Bloomberg analysts attributed the state’s poor score to the recent energy downturn, as well as the fact that Wyoming has no urban center, where job growth tends to accelerate.

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A new documentary will air on PBS that tells the biographical story of Clara Brown, a former slave who came west and made a fortune. The film Clara: Angel of the Rockies was a winner of PBS’s “To The Contrary: All About Women” film festival in the women’s U.S. history category.

Its creator Patricia McInroy grew up in Wyoming and went to Casper College. She joined Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard to talk about Clara Brown's life and the upcoming documentary.

Clara: Angel of the Rockies will air on Wyoming PBS Sunday, January 8 at 11 a.m.

Wyoming Highway Patrol Association

The Wyoming Highway Patrol will continue a holiday safety campaign through January 2nd. More troopers will be out on highways, and those troopers will be more visible than usual in hopes of slowing people down.

Sergeant David Wagener with the Wyoming Highway Patrol said the holidays mean holiday parties.

“And also with those come the consumption of alcohol with those celebrations, so an increase in impaired driving typically comes this time of year as well. So we’ll be out looking for impaired drivers,” said Wagener.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the national suicide rate has risen 24 percent since 1999, but Wyoming’s suicide rate has remained essentially unchanged in the same period.

State suicide prevention coordinator Terresa Humphries-Wadsworth chalked up the flat suicide rate here to increased efforts in education. She said they have been working hard over the past few years to train people to recognize the warning signs that someone may be considering suicide, and then how they can bring up the subject and connect a person with resources – and it seems to be working.

Wyoming Highway Patrol

High winds around the state have forced state officials to close several roads to light, high profile vehicles. Some of the road closures include portions of I-25 between Cheyenne and Wheatland, and I-80 between Laramie and Rawlins.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol say it has investigated at least 80 crashes around the state since Monday, many of those involving vehicles that have blown over.

Tom Rullman

Large drones may soon be flying in and out of the Powell Municipal Airport. The state of Wyoming might help with the cost of a drone manufacturing plant there. If so, it will be one of the first public airports in the nation to allow drones and manned aircraft in the same airspace.

Powell’s Municipal airport, on the top of Polecat Bench, is relatively quiet much of the time.

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The Wyoming Supreme Court has ruled that government agencies can charge media organizations and individuals for certain costs associated with producing electronic public records.

University of Wyoming

Backpacker Magazine has ranked the University of Wyoming as the third best college in the country for hikers. The high ranking was earned in part because of the school’s Outdoor Leadership Development Series, which is a competitive yearlong program that teaches students to be leaders through outdoor activities and wilderness training.

Dan McCoy, the assistant director for campus recreation at the University of Wyoming, said the many opportunities to get outside at UW make for a great recruiting tool.

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Beginning next fall, the University of Wyoming will have beer and wine available for purchase at its football and basketball games. UW’s Board of Trustees approved the plan on Thursday.

Wyoming Athletics Department spokesman Bill Sparks said drinks will cost between six and eight dollars each, and sales are estimated to make at least $290,000. Most of the funds will be used to offset the Athletic Department’s one million dollar budget cut, while some will be given to the university’s alcohol awareness program and a designated driver program.

Irina Zhorov

After an extremely mild and dry fall, winter weather is finally making an appearance in Wyoming. Most of the state is under Winter Storm Warnings, Watches, and Winter Weather Advisories through tonight and Thursday, with the heaviest snowfall hitting Thursday morning. 

Daniel Mayer

The man who died in a Yellowstone hot spring last summer was apparently looking for a place to soak in the park. Yellowstone officials released the final report on the accident following a Freedom of Information Act request. The victim’s sister recorded the incident on her cell phone.

The accident happened in Norris Geyser basin on the afternoon of June 7. Deputy Chief Ranger Lorant Veress says it is a very dangerous area with boiling acidic waters.

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Vehicle collisions with bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are up this year. A total of eight grizzlies have been hit by cars in 2016, more than records from 2012 through 2015 combined.

Most recently, a 260 pound grizzly bear was killed on Highway 89 in Grand Teton National Park.

The National Park Service received a call Sunday that a driver had seen the carcass on the side of the road. Park Rangers found the vehicle involved in the crash a mile up the road, and did not cite the driver.

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Construction for a long awaited replacement bridge from the east side of Laramie to the west is about to begin. The current Clark street bridge that runs over Laramie’s train tracks has connected the city the city for 53 years, but faced a number of safety concerns. The new bridge will be located on Harney street.

Wyoming Department of Transportation engineer Steve Cook said the current structure is too weak for rehabilitation and its materials will not be used in the construction of the new bridge.

State of Wyoming

A study from the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services shows that while workplace fatalities have decreased overall, there has not been a significant trend in workplace deaths for almost 25 years.   

State Occupational Epidemiologist Meredith Towle said in 2014 nine oil and gas workers died on the job, while four died in 2015. She suspects that there is a simple reason for that decrease.

Human Rights Campaign

Wyoming’s cities rank below the national average in protections for LGBTQ residents, according to new ratings from the Human Rights Campaign.  

The group scored hundreds of cities across the nation in their Municipal Equality Index, giving points for non-discrimination laws, transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits and other policies.

Despite the low ratings, Sarah Burlingame of the advocacy group Wyoming Equality says there is growing support for LGBTQ rights around the state.

Graeme Maclean / Wikimedia Commons

Laramie High School and Laramie Junior High have received two so-called clown threats this week. Police presence has been increased at the schools, and on Wednesday both buildings were put in lockout, where no one was allowed to enter or leave the schools.

Grizzly bear on Swan Lake Flats, Yellowstone National Park; Jim Peaco

A grizzly bear attacked a hunter Sunday morning in the Shoshone National Forest, near Dubois. The female grizzly and her two cubs were feeding on the carcass of an elk the hunter shot Saturday and was trying to recover. The victim was flown to a hospital in Denver, and is expected to recover.

JACKSON HOLE COMMUNITY HOUSING TRUST

Two new housing proposals in Jackson recommend that the town pay for infrastructure improvements on behalf of private developers, as long as they limit access to those facilities to lower income renters.

Mayor Sara Flitner said private developers are usually responsible for building their infrastructure as needed. But because the cost of housing has eclipsed wages in Jackson, Flitner said the town council is considering an exchange of infrastructure improvements, such as water and sewage, for income restrictions on new development’s housing.

Maggie Mullen

The Undersecretary, Kevin Concannon, was in Cheyenne to learn more about the organization’s approach to helping low-income single moms. Concannon said Climb Wyoming is one of the best programs of its kind in the country.

Brian Scott Gamroth's facebook

Longtime Casper radio morning announcer, Brian Scott Gamroth, known as Brian Scott on the air, died in a motorcycle accident in Montana on Sunday. Gamroth was known for his support of a number of causes including the arts.

Gamroth served on the boards for the Casper College Theatre Program, the Nicolaysen Art Museum, and the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra.

Cheyenne Police Department Facebook Page

A Cheyenne man shot three people Wednesday morning at a senior living home, leaving one person dead. Police identified the gunmen as 77-year-old, Larry Rosenberg, who killed himself.

Rosenberg was a resident of the senior living home, Heritage Court Apartments, where the shooting took place a little after 11 a.m. Two of the victims were shot outside the facility, while the third was shot somewhere inside of the building.

A witness that chose not to be identified told KFBC Radio in Cheyenne what he saw after he heard shots.

Wyoming Public Radio celebrates its fiftieth anniversary Wednesday, September 14th 2016. Station News Director Bob Beck joined Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard to reflect on his time at the station, the changes that have taken place, and what the future might hold.

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The University of Wyoming has suspended legal services for students because of the current hiring freeze. However, students are still paying for the service through their mandatory student fees. 

The program’s longtime attorney Elizabeth Goudey died over the summer after 30 years of service. A temporary attorney was brought in to complete a few remaining cases, but the position was then frozen.

SKYGLOW

 

 

A man who fell into a hot spring and died at Yellowstone National Park earlier this summer is being remembered by the producers of a nature video series. 

Wyoming's largest economic sector has taken a nosedive in recent years with the crash in oil, coal, and natural gas prices, but the August Wyoming Insight report from the Economic Analysis division shows things may be starting to stabilize. 

According to the report, the unemployment rate has stayed at 5.7 percent since June.

“Both natural gas price and oil price have been rising,” said state economist Wenlin Liu. “That’s a good signal. And another sign we have been seeing is that the unemployment insurance claim has been flattening.”

Wyoming Outdoor Council

Tom Bell, founder of the Wyoming Outdoor Council and High Country News, died on Tuesday. He was 92.

Bell was known throughout the West for his conservation work. In an interview with Wyoming Public Radio earlier this year, he explained that when he founded the Wyoming Outdoor Council in 1967, it was a radical undertaking.

“I really believe in clean air, clean water, clean land and taking care of it. And nobody had a thought about that at that time,” said Bell.

Inciweb

Northwest Wyoming continues to struggle with high fire danger as eleven wild fires currently burn in that part of the state.

Bill Swartley, a public information officer for the Yellowstone fire team, said Phase 2 fire restrictions will likely go into effect in Yellowstone National Park on Wednesday. That means any kind of open flame may be banned in the park.

Swartley said preventing any human caused fires is their top priority.

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The fundraising campaign to improve the Jenny Lake area in Grand Teton National Park finished on schedule, just in time for the National Park Service centennial.

The Inspiring Journeys campaign exceeded its goal of $14 million and has already contributed to improvements of backcountry trails, wayfinding paths, and visitor facilities. Construction that began three years ago is scheduled for completion in 2018.

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