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Submitted by Newsroom on May 31, 2011 – 1:00 amNo Comment

Latest Wyoming news, business and entertainment –

     LAND CONSERVATION
     UW institute helps with land conservation guide
     LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP)
– The Ruckelshaus Institute at the University
of Wyoming has partnered with the U.S. Forest Service to develop a
how-to guide for conserving private lands.
The initiative is called the Private Lands Conservation Toolkit
and Training for Wyoming Land Managers.
     It provides specific tools and strategies for innovative
approaches to better conserve private lands.
     The U.S. Forest Service projects that nearly 22 million acres of
private, rural lands adjacent to national forest and grasslands
nationwide will undergo residential development by 2030.
     The American Farmland Trust estimates that more than 2.6 million
acres of “prime” ranchland in Wyoming could be developed by 2020.
     “Prime” ranchland is defined as quality agricultural lands
that also have desirable wildlife characteristics.
    
     CATTLE LOSSES
     Cattle losses in Wyoming were down in 2010    
     GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP)
– Wyoming cattle producers lost an estimated
41,000 head of cattle and calves in 2010.
     The cattle and calves had a total value of about $24 million.
     A recent U.S. Agriculture Department report placed total cattle
losses in the state at 3,900.
     Weather contributed to 26 percent of the cattle and calf losses.
 Predators caused 10 percent
of the losses.
     The USDA report attributed about half of a total predator losses
to coyotes. Wolves were second with 700 and mountain lions were
third, killing an estimated 500 cattle and calves.
    
     LARAMIE-RETIREMENT
     Magazine: Laramie is a great place to retire    
     LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP)
– Laramie has been recognized by Money
magazine as among the top places for retirement.
     Compared to other retirement towns and cities, Laramie scored
high in categories that included state income tax, sales tax,
median property tax, median home price and state bond rating.
     Tim Ernst, of the state Health Department’s Aging Division, says
although services for seniors statewide are top-notch, Laramie is
unique among other towns in Wyoming.
     Laramie is small enough to offer a rural lifestyle for those who
are moving from more populated states and has plenty of outdoors
opportunities.
     On the other hand, the town is
close to the hustle, bustle and culture of the city life in Denver.
Being a university town, Laramie also offers entertainment, diverse
culture and more.
    
     YELLOWSTONE GRIZZLIES
     Yellowstone grizzly population estimated at 1,000
     PINEDALE, Wyo. (AP)
– A Wyoming game official says the
population of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park region
is off by about 40 percent.
      Wyoming Game and Fish Deputy Director John Emmerich
says there’s at least 1,000 grizzlies in the region, 400 more than
the official grizzly bear estimate of 600.
     Emmerich told a state legislative committee last week that a
more detailed study is needed if state officials hope to get the
bear removed from the endangered species list. Such a study would
include DNA testing of hair throughout the tri-state Yellowstone
ecosystem and would cost about $12.9 million.
     Emmerich says a more accurate grizzly bear count may not lead to
its removal from the endangered list. He says a 2009 court ruling
protects the bear.
    
     SUING GOVERNMENT BILL
     Bill would limit attorney fee recovery in suits
     CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP)
– A bill introduced by members of Wyoming’s
congressional delegation would limit the amount of attorneys’ fees
recovered in lawsuits against the government.
    Rep. Cynthia Lummis and Sen. John Barrasso, both R-Wyo.,
introduced the Government Litigation Savings Act in their
respective chambers last week.
     If approved, the measure would cap attorneys’ fees and block
groups whose net worth exceeds $7 million from filing for payment
under the 1980 Equal Access to Justice Act..
     Mike Senatore of the Defenders of Wildlife environmental
organization says passage of the bill would silence groups like his.
     Barrasso’s office says a study by the Cheyenne-based Budd-Falen
Law Offices found 12 environmental groups that filed more than
3,300 lawsuits in the past decade.
    

Memorial Day weekend news —

 
     WYOMING FLOODING
     North Platte River rises near Casper
     CASPER, Wyo. (AP)
– The North Platte River near Casper rose to
“action stage” Sunday morning. But forecasters say the rise is
mostly caused by reservoirs upstream letting out water to make room
for snowmelt.
     The river rose just above 7 feet, which is a foot below flood
stage. Meteorologists define that area as “action stage” where
nearby residents may want to prepare for possible flooding by
sandbagging or moving property away from the water. It does not
mean that residents are being asked to evacuate or that flood stage
is imminent.
     Chuck Baker of the National Weather Service in Riverton says the
river rise near Casper is “90 percent” caused by upstream
reservoirs releasing water to make room for rapid snowmelt
anticipated in coming weeks. Baker says residents across the state
should watch forecasts for flood warnings because waters will
likely rise over the next two weeks.
     
     
     BIG MOUNTAIN WATER
     Rockies runoff good for kayaks, not for fishing
     CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP)
– Fly fishermen might as well keep their
waders dry for the next several weeks instead of trying to tease
trout out of Rocky Mountain streams swollen from what’s expected to
be extremely high runoff.
     But it’s a going to be a good season for whitewater.
     Expert kayakers in the Jackson area say they’re looking forward
to Class 4-plus rapids on the Snake River.
     In Colorado, rafting guides say heavy runoff will help ensure
Class 3 rapids well into this summer. That’s good for beginners
looking for lively water.
     Fly fishermen say they don’t know when mountain streams will be
good for fishing again – possibly by August. But they say high
water is good for trout and stream habitats, and they’re looking
forward to good fishing this fall.
    
     BARRASSO-LAND USE
     Barrasso backs bill on non-wilderness land
     CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP)
– Sen. John Barrasso and others have
introduced a bill that would free up millions of acres of
non-wilderness public land.
     The Wyoming Republican says 43 million acres have been locked up
for decades even though federal land agencies have recommended they
are not suitable for wilderness designation.
     Under current law, agencies must manage the lands under similar
highly restrictive management rules that apply to actual designated
wilderness.
     Released lands would be managed by agency land use plans with
local input.
     Barrasso says it is time to end the cycle of indefinite
wilderness review and allow for local land use planning to work.
     A similar bill has been introduced in the U.S. House.
     
     
     REVENUE FORECAST
     Wyoming tax revenue beating projections
     CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP)
– Wyoming tax revenue is running into state
coffers higher than expected. A new report forecasting state
finances shows Wyoming could collect some $40 million more than
projected.
     The May report from the state’s Consensus Revenue Estimating
Group shows money coming into the general fund is up by 4 percent
through April for fiscal year 2011, which ends June 30. If the
trend holds, the state could take in about $40 million more than
what was projected earlier this year.
     A senior economist with the state’s Economic Analysis Division
says the report shows Wyoming’s economy is seeing “continued
recovery.”
     The gains include a 46.1
percent rebound from the mining industry compared to last year and
sales-and-use tax collections that are 2.3 percent higher than
projected.
    
     RANCHING-FLOODING
     Wyo. ranchers prepare for possible flooding
     MEDICINE BOW, Wyo. (AP)
– Residents along the Medicine Bow River
in south-central Wyoming are preparing for a second year of
possible flooding.
     Rancher Mike McGraw learned from last year’s flooding that
inundated parts of his ranch.
     His cows happened to be on higher ground at the time and
survived the ordeal.
     McGraw says the loss of one or two cattle can make a world of
financial difference to a rancher.
     He says that he’s altered his cattle
rotation this year so if flooding happens the livestock will be on
high ground until the threat passes.
    
     WESTERN FLOODING
     Governor orders National Guard to Crow Reservation
     HELENA, Mont. (AP)
– Gov. Brian Schweitzer has deployed Montana
National Guard soldiers to the Crow Reservation as residents deal
with major flooding.
     The order to send 50 guardsmen to the reservation Saturday came
a day after the governor toured the area and other parts of the
state.
     Crow Tribe officials earlier in the week requested National
Guard aid after heavy rainfall put much of the reservation under
water and left residents stranded.
     A spokesman for the Montana National Guard says soldiers will
provide unarmed security checkpoints to assist Crow personnel.
     Crow emergency officials say water had receded on the
reservation Saturday. But heavy storms and more flooding are
expected this weekend.
     
     
     APARTMENT RESIDENTS SICKENED
     Faulty boiler sickens apartment residents
     CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP)
– Three Cheyenne apartment residents have
been hospitalized over the last two weeks for carbon monoxide
poisoning connected to a faulty boiler in their building.
     The sickened residents have been without heat for more than a
week because of the broken boiler. Two more residents of the
building on Duff Avenue in north-central Cheyenne are without heat.
     Some of the residents without heat are disabled and that
some get public housing assistance, making it difficult for them
 to move out quickly.
     The boiler in the complex has been deemed unsafe because of
carbon monoxide leaks, and a utility company shut it down twice
last month. Landlord Robert Lett told the newspaper a new boiler
should arrive next week.
    
     DEER MORTALITY
     Wyo. Game and Fish: Heavy mule deer fawn mortality
     PINEDALE, Wyo. (AP)
– The Wyoming Game and Fish Department says
winter was hard on mule deer in western Wyoming.
     Preliminary counts show between 45 and 60 percent mortality
among mule deer fawns in the Sublette herd and up to 75 percent
mortality among fawns in the Wyoming Range herd.
     Game and Fish wildlife managers say those are some of the worst
losses in the Wyoming Range herd since 1990, when records started
being kept.
     Mortality could get worse, as some weakened deer will die even
after winter ranges begin to green up.
     Surveys counted more than 400 deer carcasses, the highest number
recorded since the early 1990s.
     Pinedale Wildlife Supervisor John Lund says hunters can expect
to find fewer mule deer in the years ahead because of the losses.
    
     ENZI-BUSINESS BILL
     Enzi proposal would help small businesses
     CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP)
– Sen. Mike Enzi is proposing legislation
that would make it easier for small businesses to do business with
the federal government.
     The Wyoming Republican joined Democrat Bob Casey of Pennsylvania
in introducing the Small Business Fairness Act.
     Enzi says the proposal could save the federal government money
while helping small businesses.
     The legislation would allow government agencies to count
qualified purchases through small business pools toward their
minority and disadvantaged contracting goals. The idea is to
encourage small businesses to pool together as regional marketing
associations to help secure large government procurement contracts.
    
     PARKS-TRAVEL
     Park visitation up but finances weak across US
     HELENA, Mont. (AP)
– Campers and outdoor lovers in parts of the
U.S. will be greeted this summer by closed parks, fewer services
and volunteers filling various roles at their favorite recreation
areas.
     Despite strong visitation, state parks are looking at serious
cuts in services, fee increases or even closures as lawmakers look
for ways to deal with tight budgets.
     The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department closed seven
state parks. In California, a lack of funding has threatened to
force the shutdown of 70 state parks.
     Other states have been creative in their efforts to avoid
reducing services. Montana is exploring deals in which
municipalities or counties take over the management or even
ownership of some parks.
     National Park Service budgets have also been hit, but the
changes shouldn’t be as noticeable.
    
     GOP STAFF
     NM GOP hires Wyoming congressman’s daughter
     ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP)
– The New Mexico Republican Party has
hired the daughter of Wyoming’s GOP congresswoman as its
communications director.
     GOP State Chairman Monty Newman said Friday that Annaliese
Wiederspahn will bring a “keen understanding of Western issues”
to her job.
     Wiederspahn’s mother is U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis, who was
elected in 2008 and re-elected last year. Wiederspahn worked on
Lummis’ statewide congressional campaigns. Wyoming has one
congressional seat.
     With a presidential election looming next year, New Mexico is
again expected to be a swing state in the race. There’s also an
open U.S. Senate seat on the ballot because Democratic incumbent
Jeff Bingaman is retiring. The state’s three congressional seats
and all 112 members of the Legislature are up for election.
    
 
    
     (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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