Casper Star-Tribune from Casper, Wyoming on February 5, 2009 · 3
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Casper Star-Tribune from Casper, Wyoming · 3

Casper, Wyoming
Issue Date:
Thursday, February 5, 2009
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Thursday, February 5, 2009 Managing Editor Ron Gullberg can be reached at l(307) 266-0560, 1-800-559-0583 or A3 1 don't get asked about the smoldng ban' Gov urges lawmakers to focus on econoni; health care By JOAN BARRON Star-Tribune capital bureau , CHEYENNE - While Wyomingites are concerned about the economy and jobs, the Legislature is spending lot of time on such social issues as a smoking ban and gay marriage, Gov. Dave Freudenthal said Wednesday. ' "Apparently those are the most important issues to them," Freudenthal said during a news conference. "They're a people branch of government , and how they spend their time is up to them." Freudenthal went to a judicial robing ceremony in Worland last weekend. He said when he stopped along the way on the return trip, the discussion focused on the economy and people whose children or friends are los -ing their jobs in other states. "I don't get asked about the smoking ban and gay marriage," Freudenthal said. In addition to the economy, he said, people are concerned about health care. And contrac -tors are worried about the low number of contracts to be let for bid in the spring. During his "Stateof the State" message to the Legislature in January, Freudenthal cautioned lawmakers against spending too much time on social issues, , , On Wednesday, he said that while everyone should take the gay marriage bill seriously, he would like to see the Legislature spend as much time on health care "and worrying about the budget." The proposed same-sex marriage constitutional amendment, which will be debated on the House floor, specifies that the state does not recognize gay marriages performed in other states where they are legal. Same - sex marriages are not legal in Wyoming. In answer to a reporter's question, the governor said he wasn't) concerned that the state will draw adverse publicity because of the gay marriage proposal. I As for the budget , he said it is based on a forecast price of $3.75 per thousand cubic feet f or nat -ural gas. The current price has not risen to that level, at a time of year when prices should be high because of demand. "We are learning that we are not immune to what's going on with the economy, and we ought to be mindful of that," Freuden -thai said. I The appropriations committee hasn't cut much from his re -vised budget and, in fact , added money to capital construction. The construction projects will create jobs around the state, Freudenthal noted.' The governor saidhe is nervous about money added to the budget for the developmental disabled, for example, because the increase will become part oi the standard budget next year. Contact reporter Joan Barron 'at 307-632-1244 or at IN BRIEF FROM STAFF & WIRE REPORTS Lummis lands seat on ag committee WASHINGTON -U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis,R-Wyo.,has announced she will serve on the House Agriculture Committee, whichimpacts agriculture, forestry and water coriservationpolicies, accordingto aprepared release. . "Wyominghasalong Lummis said. "Our world-class beef, sheep and acphavehelpedfeedfhis nation for generations. The heart of Wyoming's econ-omyisrjasedinnatural resources and agriculture isa our economic security;' The Agriculture Com-mitteehasjurisdictionover farmpolicy, rural development, disaster assistance, futures market regula-honandanirnalandplant health. Luinmisbecomesthe first Wyoming member of Congress to sit on the House Agriculture Committee since 1941. Congressman Frank O. Horton, who served from 1939 to 1941, was the lastWyomirigrepresentative to serve on me committee. Bank confirms data compromise CHEYENNE - Abankin Cheyenne is warninghun-dreds of its cardholders that their private infonnarjon was cornpromisedfhrough a thiid-partyprocessor. WarrenFederalCredit Union says the security breachhappenedlast year andaffectedabout 1,400 customers. Thebank is asking those customers to eitlier request a new card or wat ch their statements for any " signsof fraudulent activity. MicheUeDawsonisa security and risk specialist with Warren Federal. She saidthe number ofbank customers affected wasa very small percentage of tlie bank's customers. She said r fraud has been reported. ! ThetJiirdrartyprocessoi was Heartland Payment Processing Systems. The rxrnpany says on its Web site that it serves more than 250,000 corrrpanies. Camp seeks - v vandalism info ; j. ALTA-Rewsrdmoney is being offered for informal tion about a vandalism attack at the Darby Girls' Camp in Darby Canyon, rtearAlLa. The camp is owned by theChurdiofJesusairist of Latter-day Saints. Teton County Sheriff's officials say the camp was badly vandalized at theend of December or in eariy Jan -liary. More than 50 windows were smashed, liit fixtures were broken and furniture was damaged and burned, j The camp is difficult to reach during tlie winter, iiwestigators suspect tlie vandils eitlier skied or rode snowmobiles into tlie area. The LDS church and Crime Stopper are offering reward money for Informa -tion leading to an arrest . . . .-- M .. Long shadows are cast across the snow in the late afternoon light near Bondurant recently. (Mark GockeStar-Tribune correspondent) House committee recommends wolf bill By MATT JOYCE Associated Press-writer CHEYNNE A legislative committee moved forward a bill Wednesday that would retain tight state control over gray wolves in Wyoming if the federal government removes the animals from the endangered species list. The state is wrestling with how to regain control over wolves amid uncertainty over the federal government's next step in the long-running debate over managing the " species. On Wed- , nesday, the state House . - Committee on Travel, Recre- ' ' . ation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources recommended House Bill 32 and killed foui other wolf bills. The defeated proposals included addressing most federal concerns about the state's wolf management plan and revoking the state's earlier concessions to federal concerns. "If we were to pass House Bill 32 with new regulatory mechanisms in it, and then we would petition (the federal government ) for an earlier review of that new mechanism . .. we might move down the road faster than by doing nothing," said Rep. Dave Bonner, R-Powell, in voting for the bill. House Bill 32 would emphasize protect -ing livestock and wild ungulates from wolves and would continue to classify wolves as predators in most of the state. The bill alsc authorizes the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission to work in cooperation with Idaho and Montana to move wolves as nec -essary to assure genetic interchange among the states' wolf populations. The bill would bind Wyoming to maintaining at least seven breeding pairs of wolves Please see WOLF BILL, A4 Officials extend ozone advisory through today Air fails to reach unsafe conditions Wednesday ByJEFFGEARINO , Southwest Wyoming bureau : GREEN RIVER -Thankfully, ozone levels in the Upper Green River Basin never reached unhealthy status Wednesday around Pinedale as predicted. Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality officials issued an ozone advisory Tuesday warning area residents that conditions were ripe for unhealthy levels of ozone the next day. Those levels never occurred, according to DEQ ozone monitors located in Pinedale, Boulder and Daniel. Tlie agency's Air Quality Division, however, extended the advisory to today, again warning Sublette County residents that ozone levels could hit un- Sublette County residents interested in par-t ticipatinginanozone ' research project can .volunteer by contacting project leader Robert Field at 307-766-2701 or by e-mail at Officials said anyone is welcome to participate in the project, regardless of age or occupation. healthy levels. The highest one-hour average for ozone levels recorded Wednesday around J p.m. at the Daniel monitoring station was 59 parts per billion. Please see ADVISORY, A4 Snowy Range Ski Area back in business Community lends support after bank assumes financial operation By SEAN ANDERSON Star-Tribune correspondent j LARAMIE - A community effort to keep Snowy Range Ski Area in business I appears to be paying of f. 1 "It's a very important lifestyle issue for all of us who live in the area, to keep Snowy Range Ski Area operational," said Dan Furphy, president of First National Bank in Laramie. 1 A 2003 fire left Snowy Range's owners, Rick andTerri Colling, $4 million in debt. First National Bank Incurred the debt and reopened the ski area this winter. "The bank is operating it as a business right now," Furphy said. In order to lure skiers, Snowy Range of fered $125 season passes and daily lift "tickets priced at less than $40. "We almost tripled our season pass jsales from previous years," Snowy Range Skl Area General Manager Jerry Thuente said. "We went from sales of around 650 season passes to almost 1,600." The partnership between First National and Snowy Range has helped attract skiers not only from the local community but also from northern Colorado and Nebraska. Furphy said that for the budget-conscious skier, Snowy Range is an attractive alternative to some of the Contact Snowy Range Ski Area at 307-745-5750 or visit larger Colorado resorts. The ski area also hosted a community service day on Dec. 7. "We did it to make sure everything was up and running, but also to give people some ownership of the ski area. Some pride," Thuente said. Local businesses huve been doing their part to keep Snowy Range Ski Area operating. The Fine Edge ski shop offers discounted lift tickets to its customers. "We want to get people up there," said employee Chris Wedell. "We're doing it to promote the local hill." Several hotels in the area offer discounted room rates and lift ticket prices. Ryan Taylor, an employee at the Hilton Garden Inn in Laramie, said his interest in supporting the ski area goes beyond that of his employer. "It's good to support the local mountain. 1 live In this area for a reason, and it's great not to have to fight crowds to go skiing," he said. "Plus, when people spend money at Snowy Range, money Please see SKI AREA, A4 tWHUMQiA For expanded coverage of the Wyoming Legislature, logon towww.tiib.comlegislature 1

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