A University of Wyoming report found that race was not a factor when University police detained a group of Native American students from St. Stephens High School in the campus bookstore last weekend.

The students were there as part of a campus-visit day for students. A customer in the bookstore told employees there she suspected one student of shoplifting, and described the t-shirt he was wearing.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming said it will follow the governor’s order and implement a hiring freeze, as well as try and find ways to return some money to the state. 

Governor Matt Mead this week said that the state needs to cut up to 200 million dollars from its existing budget due to a revenue shortfall. He hopes to acquire 18 million dollars through leaving unfilled positions vacant. 

Historical horse racing machines will remain shut down in Wyoming for at least weeks, and more likely a few months.


The SHIFT Festival kicks off its second annual conference this week at the Center for the Arts in Jackson.

Director Christian Beckwith says the conference is the first of its kind to bring together outdoor recreationists, land managers and conservation advocates.

"We’re really looking forward to getting everybody into the same room at the same time, cross-pollinating the conversations that we typically just have amongst ourselves, and seeing where it goes from there," says Beckwith.

Wikimedia Commons

Yellowstone is heading for a record tourist season.

At every Yellowstone attraction, there were crowds this summer. There were lines of people with cameras and spotting scopes roadside, and miles long traffic jams when motorists failed to pull over for the iconic park wildlife.

More than 3 million visitors were in the Park by the end of August. Records were set every summer month. Gateway communities like Cody benefited. The owner of the Proud Cut Saloon, Del Nose, said it was busy.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming is looking to find more space for the WWAMI medical program. The program is run by the University of Washington and trains students from Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho to be doctors. 

Wyoming Department of Transportation

The Wyoming Department of Transportation is working with federal officials on a project to make driving safer. The plan is to use interactive technology to tell drivers about road and weather conditions as well as safety information. Wyoming is focusing on making travel safer along Interstate 80. 

University of Wyoming

University of Wyoming President Dick McGinity said that falling energy prices could have a dramatic effect on UW’s budget request. 

Speaking during his annual address to University Faculty and Staff McGinity noted that the revenue picture for the state budget is dire and that could especially impact his number one priority, salary increases for faculty and staff.

“But we may need to face the sobering prospect that tuition increases at UW and the reallocation of resources within the University may be our most likely avenues for compensation increases for faculty and staff.”

Pew Charitable Trusts

Wyoming lawmakers should consider almost doubling the state’s rainy day reserve fund if they want to be assured that the fund would be enough to weather an economic downturn.

That’s one of the main takeaways a presentation from the research arm of the Pew Charitable Trusts to Wyoming’s Joint Revenue Interim Committee Friday in Buffalo.  

Ross Doman, WYDOT

A single-engine plane crashed east of Laramie Friday morning on Interstate 80. Albany County Undersheriff Rob DeBree says 67 year old Steven Stam from Holland, Michigan was traveling eastbound around 8am when he experienced engine trouble and was forced to make an emergency landing on the westbound lane of Interstate 80. 

"He actually started to come down into the median area. May have possibly hit the median itself but not bad. And he was able to put it down and skidded off the highway at that location," says DeBree.

Wikipedia Commons

The familiar bronze bust of Abraham Lincoln that sits atop I-80’s highest point will be getting a makeover.

The statue will be taken down and transported to Eagle Bronze Foundry in Lander to be restored. It will be sandblasted with glass beads, highlighted, and resealed. Monte Paddleford, the owner at Eagle Bronze, says over time the elements take their toll on the statue’s luster. Once the statue is sandblasted, though, Paddleford says he thinks people will notice the difference.

A fire continues to burn at an oil well site near Douglas after a well blow out on Sunday.

The Combs Ranch 29 Chesapeake Oil facility is located about three miles north east of Douglas. After what the company is calling a "well control event" Sunday afternoon, towering flames and plumes of smoke shot into the air.

Chesapeake has brought in well control specialists Boots and Coots to fight the blaze. 

A spokesman for Chesapeake says the company is monitoring air quality at the site and current readings suggest no risk to public health and the environment.

Wikimedia Commons

This month is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and organizations across Wyoming are taking the opportunity to shed light on the issue. One of those is the Natrona County Suicide Prevention Task Force, which is hosting a statewide conference on suicide prevention this week.

Caroline Ballard

The University of Wyoming football team is set to face off against North Dakota Saturday in the season opener. Along with fans and cheerleaders, the University’s bigger-than-ever marching band will be there to cheer the Cowboys on. 

Wyoming Pathways

The Transportation, Recreation, Wildlife, and Cultural Resources Committee has agreed to draft a bill that would help fund more walking and bike paths in communities around the state.

Tim Young, executive director for the recreation advocacy group Wyoming Pathways, recently testified before the committee, asking them to consider investing $10 million in the “Active Wyoming” initiative. He says the benefits go far beyond the initial cost.

The Antelope Butte Ski Area in the Big Horn Mountains is getting closer to reopening. The Antelope Butte Foundation is preparing to make the first down payment on the site next month.

The community ski area closed in 2004 after decades of operation. The foundation was created to re-open the area to skiers, and also as a summer recreation area and event space.

Two Jackson area institutions have announced that they will merge this fall. The Murie Center and Teton Science Schools are both organizations that aims to educate people about the outdoors to encourage conservation.

Kate Gersh is the Associate Director at The Murie Center. She says since there is so much overlap between the two, a merger just made sense.


It’s been one year since lottery tickets went on sale in Wyoming. Between all three games of chance, ticket sales brought in $20 million and $5.2 million of that went back to winners. So far, local and state governments have not seen any of the profits.

The Wyoming Lottery Corporation – or Wyolotto – decided to pay off the bank loan it used to start the company before transferring money to the state’s treasury department. Wyolotto’s CEO Jon Clontz says it looks like the company will be able to pay back the loan by May of 2016, and hitting that milestone is on everyone’s mind.

Members of the Joint Judiciary Committee have agreed to ask permission to study the workload of District Judges in Laramie County. The decision comes after preliminary data was presented by the Wyoming Administrative Office of the Courts and district judges testified at a recent committee meeting. They say that they and other judges like them in the state are overworked and that it’s slowing down their ability to hear cases. They say civil cases often take the worst hit – making the wait time for a civil trial a year or longer.

401(K) 2012

The Wyoming Legislature is looking at reforming civil asset forfeiture laws.

Asset forfeiture is when law enforcement takes and keeps property like cash, guns, and cars it believes to be associated with drug crimes. In Wyoming, the law doesn’t require a charge or conviction to seize and hold property, nor does it require the police to actually find drugs. To get the property back, owners have to go to court and prove that it was not tied to a drug crime.

Courtesy Wyoming NORML

Supporters of legalizing medical marijuana in Wyoming can begin collecting signatures in an effort to put the issue on the ballot. 

The Secretary of State’s office gave the go ahead to the Wyoming National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana laws to collect the nearly 26 thousand signatures it needs to get the issue before voters in 2016. If voters approve it, the legislature will be asked to draft legislation to legalize medical marijuana.  Chris Christian of Wyoming NORML said they want the law to say that people can get cannabis from a doctor. 

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming Trustees have voted to ask Governor Mead for money to continue UW’s medical education program. 

Trustees voted to request almost a million more dollars for the WWAMI Medical Education and the WYDENT Dental Education programs to address tuition increases. Some additional funding for those programs was also requested. 

Governor Matt Mead released his plan for Sage Grouse conservation in Wyoming earlier this month, but September’s federal deadline to decide on endangered species listing is rapidly approaching. Scientists across the west are now engaged in a discussion of whether or not states are doing enough to adequately protect the bird’s numbers.

An upcoming panel at the University of Wyoming will attempt to address some of those issues.

Wikipedia Commons

Leaders of the Wyoming Women’s Legislative Caucus have chosen Esther Hobart Morris, America’s first female Justice of the Peace and a Wyoming resident, as their pick to be the face on the redesigned $10 bill.

Earlier this summer, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced the initiative to feature a woman on the $10 note. He invited the public to contribute their picks via social media with the hashtag #thenew10.

User TumblingRun / Flickr

As the coal industry faces deep uncertainty over its future, coal-hauling Union Pacific railroad is going full steam ahead in investing in rail infrastructure in Wyoming.

Union Pacific is working on a $13.5 million project to update rail infrastructure between Laramie and Hanna. The railroad is repairing road crossings and replacing ties and rails. Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis says updates like these keep the track in good working condition.

Wyoming Game and Fish

Earlier this month one of Zimbabwe’s best-known animals, a lion named Cecil, was killed by an American hunter, causing outrage to erupt on social media.

Renny MacKay, communications director with Wyoming Game and Fish, says Wyoming’s Stop Poaching program uses social media, the Game and Fish website, and a hotline to report hunting violations. He says sharing images online lets people connect with wildlife and because of that, he says social media is a key tool for reaching the public and spreading the word about hunting violations here in Wyoming.

Sturgis Rally Impacts Cody

Aug 3, 2015
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The 75th Sturgis Rally may draw a million bikers to South Dakota the first week of August. Thousands ride through Cody, Wyoming. Why? They like to tour Yellowstone on the way.

Cody city streets are lined with motorcycles. The bikers are spending money in bars, restaurants, hotels, the museum complex and night rodeo. But there are other impacts too.

Phil Farman is the Cody area supervisor of the Wyoming Highway Patrol. He said there’s more traffic, and that leads to accidents.

The Riverton Police Department will soon hire a staff member to investigate claims of race-based discrimination.

The person hired for the position will not be a police officer, but will work closely with police when conducting investigations, says Riverton police chief Mike Broadhead.

“I see this as a position to serve as an educator,” he says. “To help people who have been victims of bias to have an outlet that is healthy and to make them feel like they don’t have to go home frustrated. I want to give them a voice.”

Flickr Creative Commons

You’ve seen them on the side of the road… junker cars with orange tags warning they’ll be towed. But who pays for that towing? Or is it just stored until the owner can pick it up? And what if it never gets picked up?

As many as 2,300 vehicles are abandoned around the state every year. And it’s the towing companies and wrecking yards that often end up paying. A bill proposed by a transportation subcommittee would change the rule to allow vehicles valued under $1500 to get crushed, up from $600 now.

Northeast Wyoming is gearing up for an influx of people next week during the 75th anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle rally.

The event draws motorcycle enthusiasts from around the country. Hulett town clerk Melissa Bears says it means big business for towns in northeast Wyoming.

“For many of our businesses, what they make this week is what they will try and live on for the entire winter,” she says. “That’s what keeps them open so they can sustain their business for another year.”