Wyoming News Update

Posted in

UNIVERSITY FUNDING REQUEST

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — The University of Wyoming has requested an additional $31.3 million in state funding.

The Laramie Boomerang reported Sunday that the university's biennial funding request to the Legislature is for its 2021 and 2022 budgets.

Officials say the majority of the funding would be used for standard operations at the university in Laramie.

Officials have requested an increase of $1.3 million for the School of Energy Resources, which is funded separately from the university's block grant.

The university is also requesting $2 million in ongoing funds to pay for a blockchain certificate program, blockchain technology introductory courses and a "fintech" certificate program.

In addition to 2021-2022 request, the school is seeking a one-time appropriation of $16.9 million that is not expected to continue after the biennium.

IRRIGATION EMERGENCY

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — It's still not clear when an irrigation tunnel that collapsed last month will resume handling water, so more than 100,000 acres of farmland in Nebraska and Wyoming remains dry.

Officials have been working to repair the tunnel since it collapsed, but it won't be clear until at least later this week whether it can be repaired soon enough to help this year's crops at all.

Rick Preston with the Gering-Fort Laramie Irrigation District said Monday workers are still removing dirt and shoring up the tunnel.

If the tunnel collapse is confined to the roof, it may be repairable this year. If the walls also collapsed, repairs will take longer.

The 14-foot-wide tunnel that collapsed July 17 is part of a system that delivers water in eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska.

DOCTOR CHARGED-OPIOIDS-SENTENCE

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming doctor and his brother have been sentenced to prison for a drug distribution conspiracy that resulted in a woman's death.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports Shakeel Kahn was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison for writing prescriptions for money. His brother, Nabeel Kahn, was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for his part in distributing opioids and other medications.

Shakeel Kahn was convicted in May of 21 felonies including responsibility for an Arizona woman's 2015 overdose death. The jury found Nabeel Kahn guilty but not criminally liable for the death, while convicting him of drug conspiracy and a firearms charge.

Lyn Kahn, the wife of Shakeel Kahn, was sentenced in July to time served and three years of supervised release for participating in the conspiracy.

PEDESTRIAN KILLED

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Authorities say a pedestrian was hit and killed by a pickup on a highway northwest of Casper.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports 31-year-old Randall Vanfleet was hit on U.S. Highway 26 at about 12:40 a.m. Friday. Investigators with the Wyoming Highway Patrol are trying to determine where on the highway Vanfleet was when he was hit and if he was impaired by drugs or alcohol.

No other information has been released.

CYANIDE TRAPS

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — U.S. wildlife officials have agreed to stop using a certain cyanide trap to help control predators on 10 million acres (4 million hectares) of public lands in Wyoming.

In a court-approved agreement resulting from a lawsuit brought by wildlife advocacy groups, the U.S. Agriculture Department's Wildlife Services agreed to stop using M-44 devices in the state. M-44s are embedded in the ground and look like lawn sprinklers but spray cyanide when triggered by animals attracted by bait.

The federal agency had previously stopped using the devices in other western states.

The Wyoming agreement also requires the federal agency to analyze the environmental impacts of killing coyotes, bobcats and other predators in the state and impose new trapping restrictions. Also it'll adopt additional trapping protections to prevent inadvertent grizzly bear deaths.

LSO STAFFING

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The director of the department that supports the Wyoming Legislature with research, bill drafting and other services says the department's high workload and limited staff is having detrimental effects on its ability to function at peak efficiency.

Legislative Service Office Director Matt Obrecht tells the Casper Star-Tribune that increasing demands on his office have led to the outsourcing of research work that could be done in-house, while creating a backlog on his office for attorneys who are oftentimes working outside their fields of expertise.

Over the past three years, the office's 39-person staff has had to handle an average of 132 numbered bills each interim. That is up from an average of about 100 bills over the previous decade.

Wyoming consistently maintains one of the nation's smallest legislative support staffs.

SheridanWyoming.com

Send us a News Tip!

Have a news tip?
Use our anonymous form to let us know.