Casper Star-Tribune from Casper, Wyoming on February 25, 2005 · 16
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Casper Star-Tribune from Casper, Wyoming · 16

Casper, Wyoming
Issue Date:
Friday, February 25, 2005
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62 Casper Star Tribune WYOMING Friday, February 25, 2005 More than 40 bills die in committee at cutoff IN BRIRK rkuM wiki ki runs Panel balks on midwife bill CHEYENNE -A Senate committee failed to deliver a bill that would allow midwifery in Wyoming. The bill was laid back Wednesday in the Senate Labor, Health and Social Services Committee for lack of a motion to move the bill on to the full Senate. Gail Uptain, who has practiced midwifery for 18 years, said she has deliv- ered 200 babies and dealt successfully with complications during deliveries. She never has experienced any legal problems. But opponents of the bill have said allowing midwifery is asking for problems. They point to the fact that obstetricians, who specialize in delivering babies, face a high rate of malpractice lawsuits. Committee Chairman Sen. Charles Scott, R-Casper, said infant deliveries occasionally result in serious and unexpected complications. "I'm afraid sooner or later that bill would result in the death of a mother or a baby or both," Scott said. "I just can't have that on my conscience." The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Bob Brechtel, R-Casper, said the issue may be dead for this session, but he vowed to bring the matter up again in the future. Senate kills mineral bill CHEYENNE The Wyoming Senate Wednesday defeated a bill to provide incentives for hard mineral exploration. House Bill 345, sponsored by Rep. David Miller, R-Riverton, was rejected on a 12-18 vote on third and final reading. It would have allowed companies to obtain a severance tax credit of up to $100,000 to explore for new minerals in counties that are not producing those particular minerals. The state Geological Survey supported the bill because it could attract capital to explore the state's hard rock minerals and would provide data for the agency. Senate backs business school CHEYENNE The full Senate gave its initial blessing Thursday to a bill that would begin study and planning for an executive training center and possible future graduate school of business in Teton County. The measure, House Bill 329, cleared the Senate Committee of the Whole on a voice vote. The bill is scheduled for its second reading in the Senate today. The bill would allocate $1.5 million for planning, crafting a curriculum, and finding a site in Teton County for the training center and subsequent "premier graduate school of business." The center and school would offer reduced tuition to Wyoming business professionals and University of Wyoming graduates. Supporters of the idea say Teton County has business expertise, world-class scenery, and financial resources that could help support the endeavor. Jackalope bill lives CHEYENNE A bill to designate the Jackalope as the state's official mythical creature slid through a Senate committee late Thursday ahead of the cutoff for bills to get out of committee this session. The Senate Agriculture, Public Land and Water Resources voted 3-1 with one member excused to recommend House Bill 4 to the full Senate. The bill previously passed the House. The bill's sponsor, Rep. David Edwards, R-Douglas, recited the legend of the Jackalope and told of its association with the City of Douglas, and its popularity. Without the protection of the designation, another state could try to swipe the Jackalope logo like Texas did with the state's Bucking Horse logo, he said. Edwards said gift shops in Cheyenne have Jackalope displays and sell Jackalope teddy bears and postcards. By JOAN BARRON Star-Tribune capital bureau CHEYENNE - A bill to legitimize the practice of lay midwifery in Wyoming is one of more than 40 bills destined to die in committee this session. Thursday was the deadline for bills to be reported out of committee in the second house in preparation to the wind down of the session next week. One bill that didn't make the cut is House Bill W) to legitimize the practice of lay mid wives. The proposal, sponsored by Rep. Bob Brechtel, R- House and Senate From staff and wire reports CHEYENNE -The House and Senate have locked horns over who should no longer be term-limited. The Senate earlier approved a bill that would remove term limits for state lawmakers to conform with last year's Wyoming Supreme Court ruling that such restrictions were CHILD Continued f rum Rl smiling and crying. Blomquist developed an infection during Leif s birth, and physicians had to perform a Caesarean section delivery. During that procedure the flow of oxygen to the baby was impaired for a time, resulting in brain damage, which in Leif developed into cerebral palsy. Blomquist grew up in the Big Horn and Sheridan area and is proud of how supportive her home is, not only to her family, but to other peo- ELK: This winter Continued from Bl was to manage for 4,000 to 5,000 elk on the National Elk Refuge during the winter generally a reduction in numbers. The decrease would come from a reduction in the Grand Teton National Park elk herd, by putting more hunting pressure on the ani-mals in the early season. There are about 2,600 park elk, and some expect efforts to reduce that number to 1,600. This winter, there are about 4,000 elk on the refuge, which is much less than last year's estimate of 6,300 elk. Shannon, who took over from Don DeLong who left last summer to take a job with the Forest Service confirmed that such as manage HORSES: Kessler spends about Continued from B I hour, but a client isn't necessarily on a horse the entire hour, Suddith said. Sometimes, especially with children, the instructor needs to first make sure the client is comfortable with the horse. That might just mean the child pets the horse or watches the horse. Training volunteers As the newest group of volunteers filtered into the chilly horse arena on Saturday morning, Suddith introduced herself to everyone, assured them that soon the building would be warmer or at least they'd be busier and warm themselves up and thanked them for their willingness to help. The horse to be used in Saturday's training was already inside the arena, and it whinnied constantly, trying to communicate with horses that stayed in the outdoor corral. Suddith talked above and around him. First, volunteers heard the disclaimers that the operation is confidential, and any volunteer who breaches the confidentiality of a client will be asked to leave the program. "We really don't want to ask people to leave," Suddith said. "But that's very important." She also explained the possible risks associated with working with horses and briefed volunteers on "barn etiquette and safety." Among the instructions: no sandals. It seemed somewhat unnecessary for the group of boot-wearing women. Suddith first taught the volunteers how to work as "side- walkers," or to lead the horse when a rider is on board. One of the volunteers filled in as a client as Suddith explained Casper, would have provided an exception to the Wyoming Medical Practice Act to allow direct-entry midwives to provide prenatal care and home delivery. Jt also would have set up a system to certify training for midwives. People testifying when the bill was in the House Labor, Health and Social Services Committee said the lay mid-wives are delivering babies now to mothers who prefer natural, home births. Bechtel called the bill a "free choice" issue. The medical community opposed the bill on grounds that unconstitutional. The court, however, left intact term limits for the top five elected officials because they were not part of the lawsuit. The court ruled that the term limits adopted through a state statute are unconstitutional, meaning the only way to impose term limits is through a constitutional amendment. The Senate, on a 28-2 vote pie with needs. "In my son's eight years we've really experienced all the giving and community support you can imagine," Blomquist said. "It's so incredible that people are so giving of their time and money. "I can't be thankful enough that this community is doing this again," she said. "Caring for the horses and running the program takes a lot of time and work." Star-Tribune correspondent Shelley Ridenour can be reached at or (307) 674-1733, about 4000 elk ment plan was one of the six being considered. But she declined to elaborate on details. Bob Wharff, executive director of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, said his group hopes to see elk objective numbers stay where they are about 11,000 elk in the Jackson Hole herd. Currently there are an estimated 13,000. He said he hopes to see bison numbers reduced to around 300 to 400 down from the more than 800 in the area now. The group also supports habitat projects, increased funding for irrigation on the refuge to provide more natural forage, and a brucellosis vaccination program for elk Want to help? The Children Horses and Adults in Partnership program is continually seeking more groups to sponsor scholarships for clients. "We really welcome community partners who would like to sponsor an adult or a child," CHAPS Director Sue Suddith said. "We find the families of our clients are financially strained. It costs a lot to undergo various therapy programs and medical treatment." Business hours for CHAPS are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. The number is (307) 673-61 61 . the importance of volunteers communicating with a client exactly what the volunteer is doing. "Never touch the clients without their permission," she said, acknowledging that can sometimes be tricky because not all the clients are able to speak. "You figure out how to communicate," Suddith assured the volunteers. No volunteer will ever work solo with a client, therapy instructor LueAnn Kessler said. At a minimum, one instructor and one volunteer work with each client, and sometimes there are as many as three volunteers with the instructor. Kessler is committed to the program. "I would really like to see this grow, to see us get better trained and to get a bigger facility," she said. Kessler, of Buffalo, "grew up riding, training and showing horses." By day she's a speech pathologist in the Johnson County School District and has a bachelor of arts degree in physical education. Kessler spotted a classified ad in The Buffalo Bulletin seeking instructors for the CHAPS program and decided to call Suddith. "I liked Sue's principles and positions," Kessler said. "I have thought about combining my two professions for a while. This is a wonderful op complications can rise quickly in home births and open doctors and hospitals to lawsuits when they have to step in. It was laid back in the Senate Labor, Health and Social Services Committee, It appeared that no major bills were left behind. "I don't see anything really, really big," said Senate President Grant Larson, R-Jackson. Wyoming farmers and ranchers won't get a sales tax exemption this session on their purchases of livestock semen, embryo transplants or fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides. The exemptions contained disagree last month, agreed to leave the elected officials governor, auditor, treasurer, secretary of state and state superintendent of public instruction subject to only two terms. The House voted 41-17 on Thursday for a version that would exempt the five officials from term limits, but late in the day, the Senate failed to go along with the change. PRISON: Law comes from three Continued from 151 he acknowledged that the battles among Torrington, Rawlins and Riverton, which also wanted the prison, have been contentious. "I wasn't sure it would ever get here," Freudenthal said. On the Senate floor on Feb. 15, senators who wanted the prison to go to Rawlins fell two votes short of amending the bill to replace Torrington with Rawlins. Passage of the surface own- ers compensation act, known as the split-estates bill, is an are on the refuge, and bison. "We want to do all the things we can to minimize dependence on feed, but we're going to depend on it in Jackson," Wharff said. Lower elevations where elk typically spend the winter are packed with subdivisions, and snowfall is too deep to allow elk access to food in the mountains. Conservation groups are watching the environmental impact statement closely, too, in hope that it will address the issue of feedgrounds. Meredith Taylor of the Wyoming Outdoor Council said any guess as to the content of the six alternatives would be "speculative." "We've worked very close six hours every Saturday on her instruction tasks portunity to do that." She's excited to have the opportunity "to get my feet wet in combining traditional therapy with equine therapy." Kessler spends about six hours of each Saturday on her instruction tasks. She leaves each week feeling good about the sense of power she is able to help the clients have about themselves. "If we can take clients away from their troubles for a while, it's good," Kessler said. How it came about The concept for CHAPS began in August 2003, Suddith said. "We started talking to people to see if the community thought it was a viable service to offer. The community missed the program." There had been an equine therapy program in Sheridan, but it stopped operating in 2002. So Suddith found about a half-dozen like-minded people, started talking to them, and the idea for CHAPS was formed. People began meeting informally in August 2003, she said, and by January 2004, the effort had been taken public. They found plenty of support and no real opposition, so they persevered, she said, raised money, rented a facility where they could offer their services, spread the news of the project, secured in two bills, House Bills 17 and 18, died in the Senate Rules Committee, headed by Larson. Both bills were sponsored by the Joint Interim Agriculture Committee and previously passed the House. A proposed constitutional amendment to change the recapture limit in the school finance program also died. Sponsored by Sen. Hank Coe, R-Cody, Senate Joint Resolution 6 passed the Senate easily on a 25-4 vote but got stalled totally in the House Education Committee, chaired by Rep. Jeff Wasser-burger, R-Gillette. on term A committee composed of three House members and three senators will be appointed to work out differences. On Tuesday, Rep. Rodney "Pete" Anderson, R-Pine Bluffs, tacked on the amendment to add the five elected officials. On Wednesday, Rep. Lorraine Quarberg, R-Hot Springs, tried to delete the example of the best democracy has to offer, Freudenthal said. The law comes out of three years of meetings and compromises, Freudenthal said. Some landowners on split estates in which one person owns the land, but someone else owns the rights to the minerals beneath it have complained that they are not adequately compensated for surface damage caused by developers drilling for oil or gas. The bill will require oil and gas companies to give a 30-day minimum notice to the surface which is down from last year ly with the folks at the National Elk Refuge and Department of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service to get them to understand that this project is much bigger than the National Elk Refuge," she said. "They need to take into consideration the far-reaching migration of these animals. They said they would try to develop an alternative that would reflect our request for free-ranging wildlife on winter range and their migration corridors." She said the issue of feed-grounds "should be a part" of the impact statement. "That's not to say the National Elk Refuge should be shut down," she said. But implications of feedgrounds, in Teens get Two CHAPS volunteers have been at the arena every weekend since the program began. Sarah Kramer, 17, and Tara Martin, 16, are Sheridan High School students who brought more exuberance to the cold arena than most of the adults seemed ready for early on a Saturday morning. Sarah "blames" Tara for getting her involved in the program, but both say there's no way they'll stop their volunteer work with CHAPS. . "I love horses," Tara said. "And I worked with kids in therapy at school and Sarah knew that, so she told me about this." Tara has raised horses all her life and was tipped horses and found volunteers and clients. Yet to come is an actual office inside the arena, a place that can be heated and kept separate from the horse stalls. Suddith shies away from taking credit for the CHAPS program. Many people have worked hard to see it come together, she said. What's next? "Building our client base" is next, Suddith said. "Making sure we have enough horses and hours for all who need our services." That includes getting a buggy and adding buggy-driving training to the program. Some clients aren't able to ride horses, she said, but The amendment was identical to one rejected by voters in November last year. Supporters said the wording confused voters. The upshot if the amendment passed was loss of $23 million this year money to the wealthy school districts at Pinedale, Big Piney and Gillette. Coe said Wasserburger never brought up the bill in the House committee. Proposed Constitutional Amendment A would have eliminated the current limit on property taxes that may be "recaptured" from the wealthiest school districts. limits bill five elected officials from the bill. She argued that it should be left up to the five elected state officials to challenge the law. Quarberg's motion failed on a standing vote. Gov. Dave Freudenthal, Auditor Max Maxfield and Treasurer Cynthia Lummis have said they will not challenge a term limits law that restricts them to two four-year terms. years of meetings owners before operations begin on their land. The companies will also have to pay fair damages to surface owners for loss of land value. "I believe there is a balance between the oil and gas industry and landowners across Wyoming," Rep. Rosie Berger, R-Sheridan, said. Before the governor put pen to paper during the signing in the Capitol Rotunda, he quoted British philosopher Edmund Burke. "Every prudent act is founded on compromise," he said. cluding the spread of disease, should be closely examined. The need for the overarching study came after the Fund for Animals filed suit in 1998, challenging a 1996 plan to allow public hunting on the National Elk Refuge and on the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The group said more study was needed to determine the effects of the winter elk feeding program on bison populations. Fish and Wildlife and the Park Service determined the closely related issues of bison and elk management should be considered together. Environmental reporter Whitney Royster can be reached at (307) 734-0260 or at involved to CHAPS by her mother. "i thought it would be a good opportunity to help out the horses and the kids." "If we don't come out here and work, we get very cranky," Sarah said. Both girls enjoylhe rewards they get from seeing a client respond to a horse. "I feel good," Tara said. "I know that it's helped them. When the kid is all happy and smiling, it's great." Being a CHAPS volunteer isn't for everyone, Sarah said. "You need a lot of patience," and it means sacrificing "hanging-out" time from the traditional teen weekend schedule. Shelley Ridenour could benefit from driving a buggy pulled by a horse or team of horses. Her short-term goal? To have clients ready to compete in the October Special Olympics. Her long-term goal? "We'd like to own our facility and teach others how to teach horse therapy." Suddith has a bachelor's degree in equine studies and was involved in the horse and jumper industry in Florida for many years before she moved to Sheridan. She's working on a master's degree in nonprofit management, which she expects to receive in June. Star-Tribune correspondent Shelley Ridenour can be reached at or (307) 674-1733. I

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