Goshen County representative Matt Teeters lost his legislative seat in Tuesday’s primary election. His challenger, Cheri Steinmetz, says she won because Teeters didn’t recognize how important constitutional rights are to his constituents.
“One of the biggest issues for our country is people want to make sure that their constitutional rights are protected. They see a lot of overreach at the federal level, and some at the state level as well.”
Next year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife will decide whether or not to list the greater sage grouse as an endangered species, and a new scorecard released by a coalition of wildlife advocacy groups says the Bureau of Land Management’s new Lander Resource Plan has failed to do enough to keep the bird off that list.
Policy Advisor Steven Holmer is with the American Bird Conservancy, one of six groups behind the new scorecard. He says a team of national scientists was tasked with setting standards for the best way to protect the grouse.
Wyoming high school students who graduated in 2014 did slightly better on the ACT, on average, than those who graduated last year. Performance results released Wednesday by the Wyoming Department of Education show an average ACT score of 20.1 for this year’s test-takers, compared to 19.8 in 2013.
In Tuesday's legislative primaries, four incumbents lost their seats including House Education Chairman Matt Teeters of Goshen County.
Teeters made headlines in the last budget session when he added a footnote to the budget that blocked the State Board of Education from reviewing the Next Generation Science Standards. He was easily defeated by Cheri Steinmetz who grabbed 59 percent of the vote.
After winning Tuesday's primary, incumbent Republican US Senator Mike Enzi will face off against Democrat Charlie Hardy in the November general election.
The Republican race was once expected to be tight, with Enzi facing a challenge from Liz Cheney, but Enzi won in a landslide after Cheney dropped out earlier this year. His four lesser-known challengers collectively took less than 20 percent of the vote. Going into the general election, Enzi says he won't be campaigning against Democrat Charlie Hardy, but instead promoting his record.
Incumbent Mark Gordon clinched the Republican nomination for Wyoming State Treasurer in yesterday’s primary by a wide margin. He beat out challenger Ron Redo.
Gordon was appointed Wyoming’s State Treasurer in 2012 after the death of former Treasurer Joe Meyer. Gordon says for the last two years he was obligated to carry out the promises of his predecessor.
“But now that, you know, I have a reasonably good chance of proceeding on into office it really feels a lot more like me and I’m more on the line,” said Gordon. “And that’s a good thing, I like that challenge.
Incumbent US Representative Cynthia Lummis easily secured her party’s nomination in Tuesday's primary election, and likely also a fourth term in the House. The AP reports her general election challenger, Democrat Richard Grayson, has not been campaigning.
The Legislature’s Joint Education Committee has extended the deadline for public input in its study of education governance in Wyoming after receiving almost 1,300 responses.
Under direction from the Legislature’s Management Council, the Committee hired a consulting group in June to survey Wyomingites on what changes should be made to how the state runs its public schools. The firm has interviewed stakeholders and solicited input from the public with an online survey.
State investigators have ruled out inadequate maintenance as the cause of an explosion at a natural gas plant in southwestern Wyoming in April, but are still looking into what did happen. The explosion at the Williams Company gas plant forced evacuation of the nearby town of Opal.
John Ysebart heads up Wyoming’s Office of Occupational Safety and Health. He says the state sent two investigators to look into the incident, and so did the U.S. Chemical Safety Board. Ysebart says that agency doesn’t normally get involved.
Wyoming’s Council for Women’s Issues will host its ninth annual career fair next month.
Open to high school girls in 9th and 10th grade, the Go WEST! fair will highlight careers in science, technology, engineering and math – fields largely dominated by men. According to the national science foundation, just 18.6 percent of US undergraduate engineering students were female in 2011.
Carma Corra, chairperson of Wyoming’s Council for Women’s Issues, says knowing the options is the first step to getting girls interested in studying science and math.
A new survey by Bankrate.com ranks Wyoming as the most expensive state in which to own a car. The survey calculated the cost of gasoline, insurance, and repairs to come up with the rankings.
According to the survey, Wyomingites typically spend about $2700 a year on expenses related to their car, with about $1600 of that going to gas – the most of any state. The wide distances between communities in Wyoming, as well as the many opportunities for hiking, camping, and activities outside city limits increases gas consumption.
A paleontology field school in the Bighorn Basin found an incredibly well-preserved fossil of an ancient anteater-like mammal this summer. The fossil is a Palaeanodon, a ground-dwelling insect eater the size of a cat that lived about 53-million years ago. Colorado State University Field School Instructor Kim Nichols discovered the skeleton and says the fossil is a very rare find because so much of the animal’s skeleton was found. Such small creatures are hardly ever discovered intact. Its excellent condition is also unusual, Nichols says.
A proposal to list the wolverine as an endangered species was formally withdrawn by the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service Wednesday. A coalition of wildlife advocacy groups says it's planning to sue the government over the decision. Drew Kerr with Wild Earth Guardians, one of the groups, says the wildlife service’s decision to withdraw the proposal shows they are caving to political pressures.
“Their own biologists and a panel of experts convened to review the matter were unanimous in concluding that climate change is a significant threat warranting listing.”
Candidates disagreed about how much political lobbyists should have to disclose during last night’s Republican Primary Debate for Secretary of State.
The Center for Public Integrity ranks Wyoming as having the second to least rigorous reporting requirements for lobbyists. Ed Buchanan said he would consider tweaking the requirements, but he says there isn’t a problem.
“We really don’t have an issue with lobbyists in Wyoming doing anything that is unethical.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded two grants of $1.4 million and $2 million to Wyoming to prevent homelessness among veterans.
Announced Monday, the grant will fund services provided by the Southwest Wyoming Recovery Access Program, or SW-WRAP, like housing counseling, legal assistance, temporary financial assistance, and childcare for veterans and their families.
Cathie Hughes, founder and CEO of SW-WRAP, said that making these services visible is one of the biggest challenges.
Last week, the state filed a motion to intervene in support of the Wyoming Game and Fish in a lawsuit over five elk feeding grounds in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Attorney Andrea Santarsiere with Western Watersheds Project, the plaintiff in the case, says concentrated numbers of elk at feeding grounds cause severe damage to land and water quality.
But feeding grounds have long been used to keep elk and cattle from mingling, thereby stopping the spread of diseases that the two species are capable of exchanging. But Santarsiere says there’s an easier way—fences.
The Wyoming Department of Education will hold its fifth annual Native American Education Conference this week in Riverton. The goals of the conference including boosting communication between schools and the Native American families they serve—and integrating tribal culture into curriculum.
Last year, the high school graduation rate for Native American students in Wyoming was 42 percent, compared to 78 percent for all students. Conference coordinator Keja Whiteman says that gap signals the need for this event.
Two of the three Republican candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction say it should be left up to local school boards to determine if teachers or others can have guns in schools. Bill Winney was adamant that the issue should be decided locally.
“There’s something in me that says a teacher shouldn’t be standing in front of a classroom with a pistol on their hip…I got that. But that’s not the real point…the real point is the authority and local control of our school boards.”
The Albany County Library received an emergency infusion of over $100,000 this week.
That money was allocated by the Albany County Commissioners to help the library cover a budget deficit of around $70,000 dollars for this fiscal year.
“We would have had to completely gut the programming and materials. No more programming and materials for the year,” says library manager Joey Dingess. “To be quite honest, we wouldn’t be able to pay our bills the rest of the year.”
This week Wyoming Public Radio will broadcast a series of debates from Central Wyoming College in Riverton. The debates will be hosted by Wyoming PBS and are co-sponsored by Wyoming Public Radio and the Wyoming Business Report.
Listen live on Wyoming Public Radio Monday through Thursday, August 11-14.
Monday, August 11 7 p.m. Governor Republican Candidates
An animal rights group has announced plans to erect a billboard in the Laramie area that depicts a dog locked in a cage. This comes after the news that a child was allegedly kept in a cage in Albany County.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, plan to put up a billboard will read quote “no one belongs in a cage. Never crate your dog.” PETA campaigner Matt Bruce says this case is a tragedy.
This weekend, the Northern Arapaho Tribe and Rocky Mountain National Park will celebrate the 100th anniversary of a historic pack trip through Estes Park with presentations and performances in Bond Park.
The 1914 trip was a collaboration between three tribal leaders from the Northern Arapaho and translators and historians from areas around the park. The tribal leaders shared place names, histories and stories with Oliver Toll who compiled them in a pamphlet which is still available at ranger stations today.
There’s no link between gas wells and groundwater contamination near Pavillion, according to a draft study out Wednesday from the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. It’s the first of three reports looking into what caused the contamination, which some blame on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The reviewers looked at the gas wells themselves to determine if they were leaking or otherwise damaged.
A woman struck by lightning in the Vedauwoo Recreation Area near Laramie Tuesday afternoon is currently being hospitalized for injuries. Fire Chief Dan Johnson says the woman was climbing higher on the rocks than her six companions when a fast-moving storm descended. He says after the strike she was able to climb down on her own.
“She was able to come off the rocks to meet our ambulance crew down at the ground level so there was no type of a rock rescue or any kind of a rope rescue that needed to be done.”