Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment
Panel denies Corrections Dept. records proposal
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - A legislative committee has rejected a proposal that would allow the Wyoming Department of Corrections to deny outright some public requests to inspect records dealing with investigations and security.
The Joint Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted 10-to-3 against sponsoring the bill in next year's legislative session. The committee met Thursday at the University of Wyoming College of Law in Laramie.
Corrections Department Director Bob Lampert says the agency sees frequent requests from inmates seeking information about security measures and investigations at its facilities.
Representatives from the Wyoming ACLU and the Wyoming Press Association told the committee that the state Supreme Court has ruled state agencies must redact security information from documents in response to public records requests, not deny access to entire documents.
More in Wyoming opt for insurance on govt. site
LANDER, Wyo. (AP) - More Wyoming residents are managing to enroll in health insurance through the federal government's troubled Internet site.
Stephen Goldstone is president of WINhealth, one of two companies offering approved insurance coverage through the Web site.
Goldstone addressed Wyoming lawmakers about the status of the site Wednesday in Lander.
The Casper Star-Tribune reports that Goldstone said his company has enrolled nearly 90 customers through the exchange, with almost 40 of those coming in the last week.
Goldstone says the company is now receiving between six and 10 applications a day.
The Barack Obama Administration says it's working to resolve problems with the healthcare.gov Web site.
COLD CASE SLAYINGS
Fremont County intends to search lake for bodies
RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) - The Fremont County Sheriff's Office intends to try to recover the remains of a woman and her two sons from a lake where a man says he dumped them after killing them decades ago.
Gerald Uden of Missouri said in court last week that he placed the bodies of his ex-wife and her two sons in metal barrels and dumped them in Fremont Lake in 1980. A judge sentenced the 71-year-old man to life in prison.
The Riverton Ranger reports that Fremont County Undersheriff Ryan Lee says the department intends to search next year for the victims: 32-year-old Virginia Uden, 11-year-old Richard Uden and 10-year-old Reagan Uden.
The lake is a half-mile wide and 11 miles long and more than 600 feet deep in places.
WYOMING CAPITOL RENOVATION
Wyo. officials approve $4.5M for Capitol designs
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - State officials have agreed to spend $4.5 million to finish designs for the Capitol renovation even though officials haven't decided whether to include an expansion in the project.
State schools Superintendent Cindy Hill was the only member of the state building commission to vote against the proposal Wednesday. She thinks paying for plans now would lead officials to eventually agree to an expansion. She thought there there was some "deception" in the decision.
Gov. Matt Mead, one of the other statewide elected officials on the panel, denied that and says there will be more discussions on the project.
The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that it was one of several strained exchanges between the two during the meeting.
Wyo. nears baseline tests before oil-gas drilling
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is poised to require companies drilling for oil and gas to first test nearby water wells for pollution.
The purpose is to document the condition of the water and help state regulators determine the source of any contamination that turns up later.
State officials posted the latest version of the proposed rules on the commission website Thursday. The commission will discuss and possibly vote on adopting the rules Tuesday.
John Robitaille with the Petroleum Association of Wyoming says the new rules aren't a problem for petroleum companies. He says many of them already are doing such tests.
The Wyoming Outdoor Council also supports the rules. Spokesman Chris Merrill calls it a "first line of defense" against groundwater contamination.
NAEP results released; Wyo. beats national avg
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming's fourth and eighth grade students outscored the national average in reading and math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
The Wyoming Department of Education released assessment results Thursday that showed Wyoming students outscoring the national average in every subject tested.
Wyoming beat the national averages despite little year-to-year gain from 2011 in eighth grade mathematics, fourth grade reading and eighth grade reading scores.
However, over the four-year reporting period from 2009 to 2013, Wyoming posted statistically reliable increases in reading and mathematics for both grades four and eight.
NAEP tests are administered every other year to fourth and eighth grade students in reading and mathematics.
Grizzly bear subcommittee recommends delisting
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) - A subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee is recommending lifting federal protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park area.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports the subcommittee made its conditional recommendation Thursday during a meeting in Bozeman. The recommendation was based on data from a nearly complete report on whitebark pine. Pine nuts are a key food source for grizzlies.
The recommendation is expected to be presented to the full committee next month in Missoula. The committee can then pass it on to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem lost Endangered Species Act protection in 2007. A federal judge restored their threatened status in 2009, in part over concerns that whitebark pine trees were dying due to pine beetles and a fungus.
Wyoming farmers hustle to harvest beets
POWELL, Wyo. (AP) - Farmers in northern Wyoming are fighting muddy conditions as they struggle to bring in the last of this year's beet harvest.
The Powell Tribune reports that some farmers have mounted double back wheels on their tractors so they can keep moving across the muddy fields.
Farmers call the fall beet harvest the "sugar campaign." They work seven days a week this time of year under intense conditions to harvest beets and deliver them to the factory or beet dump.
Willwood farmer Ray Farwell says he's never seen so much rain before. He says this will be a good season to get behind him.
Semi crashes in Montana, 38 tons of coal spilled
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A semitrailer hauling a load of coal collided with a car in southeastern Montana, injuring three people and spilling 38 tons of coal on U.S. Highway 314 near Decker.
The Montana Highway Patrol says the semi tipped over in the collision just before 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Trooper Ben Panas tells The Billings Gazette the three people in the car were taken to a hospital in Sheridan, Wyo., with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening. The driver of the semi drove himself to the hospital.
The Montana Department of Transportation reported the highway was partially blocked by the coal spill and traffic was slowed as crews cleaned it up.
The crash remains under investigation.
Committee recommends reining in UW Foundation fees
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - A legislative committee has endorsed a bill regarding fees the University of Wyoming charges the state to manage an $89 million endowment.
The UW Foundation controls the state-funded endowment. It increased its management fee from 1 percent to 1.25 percent this year.
The Joint Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted to support a bill in next year's legislative session. It would require UW to make a request every two years through the state budget process if it wants to increase the management fee above 1 percent.
Rick Miller is vice president and general counsel for UW. He says the endowment provides matching funds for private grants and gifts to UW and funds UW fundraising efforts.
Midwest, Plains have lowest poverty on new measure
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A new Census report shows that Iowa and several other Midwest and Plains states have the lowest poverty rates when cost of living is factored into the calculation.
The report released Wednesday showed that Iowa had the lowest rate at 8.6 percent. The national rate under the new measure is 16 percent.
Iowa is followed by North Dakota, Wyoming, Minnesota and Nebraska with the lowest rates in the nation.
The states with the highest poverty levels under the new measure were ones with high housing costs and large numbers of immigrants. California topped the list with a 23.8 percent poverty rate followed by Washington D.C.'s 22.7 percent.
This new measure of poverty is designed to provide a better picture of the problem, but it doesn't replace the official rate.
Government of Spain honors UW professor
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - The Spanish government has bestowed one of its highest honors on a University of Wyoming emeritus professor of Spanish and philosophy.
Carlos Mellizo-Cuadrado (MEH-yee-zoh QUAH-draw-doh) was on the UW faculty from 1968 until his retirement in 2010.
He's been granted the Medal of the Order of Elizabeth the Catholic, an award that was inaugurated in 1815 by King Ferdinand VII. The announcement was made by the consulate general of Spain in San Francisco, Calif.
Spanish Ambassador D. Ramón Gil Casares will present the award next week in San Francisco.