News Clips

2001-03-14T23:00:00Z News ClipsThe Associated Press The Associated Press
March 14, 2001 11:00 pm  • 

Wyoming in brief

UW student awarded NASA fellowshipLARAMIE – A University of Wyoming botany student is among 52 students nationwide to receive a NASA research grant.

Christopher Hiemstra received a NASA Earth System Science Graduate Student Fellowship that will support his research of high-elevation plant life in the Libby Flats area west of Laramie, UW officials announced Tuesday.

The fellowship program is offered to train a pool of highly qualified scientists to help analyze and interpret data generated by NASA’s Office of Earth Science programs.

To understand how blowing snow and snowmelt affect plant life, Hiemstra is using computer models, field observations and field experiments in the 11,000-foot elevation Libby Flats of the Snowy Range, where snow drifts up to 22 feet in areas.

“This work provides an interesting forum for discussion of how snow and snow movement can determine landscape patterns,” said Hiemstra, whose research is directed by botany professor William Reiners.

The goal is to better understand how snow, wind and vegetation interact and influence each other.

The research, Hiemstra says, requires measurements of plant species distribution, soil characteristics, effects of pocket gopher activity and decomposition rates.

Gillette hospital full of flu patientsGILLETTE – Campbell County Memorial Hospital has nearly run out of beds because of a high number of flu victims and may have to divert patients to other hospitals.

“We have like 63 beds occupied. We have been walking the edge now for some time,” hospital CEO Dave Crow said. “As soon as we discharge somebody to go home or to the nursing home, we have somebody else coming in to take their bed.”

If the hospital had a larger staff, more beds could possibly be opened, he said.

“We are out trying to recruit more staff. This is our regular staff. But some of them are out sick, too,” he said. “Hopefully, we can just take care of people when they come in.”

Although the hospital has been busy, the numbers are not necessarily worse than previous years, emergency room nurse manager Lorna Thomas said.

“It did start a little bit later, but it certainly hasn’t missed us. It has been about the same as last year.”

Casper man guilty of sending child porn CHEYENNE – A Casper man pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography and faces up to 20 years in prison.

Shane Jay Phelps, 27, took photos of a 16-year-old girl who was living with him and traded the images with computer users on the East Coast and in Europe, authorities said.

Phelps traded more than 30 images over the Internet from his parents’ home in Lander and a cyber cafe in Casper where customers can rent Internet time, an affidavit said.

Phelps was arrested Aug. 30, 2000, when the manager of the cyber cafe found some of the pornography on a computer Phelps had forgotten to log off of the previous night, authorities said.

On Monday, he entered pleas of guilty to possession of material containing child pornography as well as interstate receipt of child pornography.

The combined maximum penalty for the two charges is 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Phelps remains in federal custody pending sentencing.

Fire leads to highway closureLANDER – A fire at a propane business blocked Wyoming Highway 789 and forced neighbors to evacuate Wednesday.

The fire destroyed the office and shop building of WYO LP Gas and prompted the shutdown of the highway from Lander to Hudson, officials said. Firefighters contained the blaze in an hour and kept it away from propane tanks.

The blaze apparently originated in the shop, officials said.

Two people were injured and taken to the hospital. Neither was seriously hurt, officials said.

Evacuees were allowed to return home at about 12:30 p.m., about three hours after the fire was reported.

Officials said the fire remains under investigation.

Space station may be visible from WyomingCHEYENNE – People in Wyoming may be able to catch a glimpse of the Mir space station in the night sky.

Stargazers will probably not confuse the Mir with much else, said Ray Martin, project coordinator of Wyoming’s NASA EPSCOR program at the University of Wyoming.

The Mir looks like an extremely bright, fast-moving dot, Martin said. The space station is brightly lit because of its large array of solar panels.

Russia plans to take the 15-year-old Mir out of orbit on March 21-22. It is expected to plunge into the Pacific between Australia and Chile.

Geringer supports tax on Internet salesGov. Jim Geringer told members of Congress Tuesday that he favors taxing Internet sales for additional state revenue.

Most states receive 27 to 45 percent of their revenue from sales taxes, he told the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

A federal ban on Internet taxation expires in October.

Internet taxation supporters say traditional “bricks and mortar” retailers lose money to online retailers who don’t pay sales taxes.

The National Governors Association supports a plan for all states to have the same sales tax rate and apply it to Internet purchases.

Bridger-Teton drilling ban generates commentsJACKSON – A proposed ban on oil and gas drilling in part of the Bridger-Teton National Forest generated more comments than expected, at about 7,000, a forest planner said.

The volume will delay the agency’s ability to respond to all them quickly, forest planner Rick Anderson said.

The forest agency has proposed banning drilling on 370,000 acres in the Gros Ventre area. The proposal would be one of the largest denials to the oil and gas industry in recent years.

A final decision on the proposal is expected this spring.

The Environmental Protection Agency supports the proposal to preserve wildlife habitat. Industry officials have said the proposal is inconsistent with the forest’s multiple use philosophy and Bridger-Teton management plan.

Dru Bower of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming wrote to the Forest Service that people seeking recreational opportunities in the area build houses that can destroy wildlife habitat.

“Oil and gas development is only a temporary loss of habitat,” he said.

Lovell chamber to meet SaturdayLOVELL – The Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet will begin at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 17, at Kristi’s Big Horn Cafe. The guest speaker is publisher of the Riverton Ranger, State Sen. Robert Peck.

For more information, call Robyn Winland at (307) 548-7552 or 548-7344.

Area students do well at state science fairLARAMIE – Students from Laramie, Greybull, Cheyenne and Casper were the top division winners in the recent Wyoming State Science Fair at the University of Wyoming.

Jason Chiu, Laramie Senior High, was the senior division sweepstakes winner and McKay Smith, Greybull High, was the runner-up.

In the junior division, the sweepstakes winner was Gabriel Nelson, Crest Hill Elementary, Casper, and the runner-up award went to John Belcher, Pioneer Park Elementary, Cheyenne.

Chiu receives UW scholarship assistance for two semesters. Smith and Alyson Hertzog, of Greybull High, plus Drew Blas and Dustin Carruthers, both Cheyenne East High, all received scholarships assistance to attend UW for one semester.

Chiu, Smith, Blas, Carruthers and Virginia Eakin and Andrew Coughlin, Laramie High team division winners, all will represent Wyoming at the International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, Calif., this May.

More than 325 participants from nearly 50 Wyoming schools competed in the annual state science fair competition. Awards were given for first through fourth places in junior (grades 6-8) and senior (grades 9-12) divisions in these categories: behavioral and social sciences, chemistry, engineering, medicine and health, zoology, invention (grades 6-8), biochemistry, computers, environmental sciences, microbiology, botany, earth and space sciences, mathematics, physics and teams.

A panel of more than 100 judges from UW and other organizations evaluated projects based on scientific thought/engineering goals, creative ability, thoroughness, skill and clarity.

Museum plans lecture on Governor RossPOWELL – Homesteader Museum will host a slide and video lecture titled “Nellie Tayloe Ross: America’s First Woman Governor,” by visiting historian, Rick Ewig, from 7 to 8 p.m. Friday.

Nellie Tayloe Ross was the first woman governor in the United States. She was born in St. Joseph, Mo., in 1902, she married William Bradford Ross, an attorney in Cheyenne. William Ross, a Democrat, was elected Wyoming’s governor in 1922. Three weeks before election day in 1924, Ross suddenly died and Nellie Tayloe Ross was elected to complete her husband’s term as governor. She lost her bid for re-election in 1926. Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Nellie to be the director of the U.S. Mint in 1933, a post she held for 20 years. She was the first woman to hold that position. Governor Ross died in 1977 at the age of 101.

For more information, call the museum at 754-9481. It is located at the corner of 1st and Clark in Powell. Admission is free.

Health Fair to open in Powell on SaturdayPOWELL – The Powell Community Health Fair is scheduled for Saturday.

Area health care and wellness organizations will join Health Fair volunteers to provide more than 40 informational and screening booths from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Cabre Gym at Northwest College. The fair includes primary level diagnostics, special activities for children, demonstrations and informative booths for all ages.

Additional attractions include the popular children’s health quiz that lets participants draw for prizes, the Child ID program sponsored by the Powell Kiwanis Club, and tours of the Powell Hospital’s ambulance.

For more information, call Powell Valley Community Education at 307-754-6469 or visit www.northwestcollege.org/area/pvce/hf2001 Admission is free.

Half-term classes open at NWCPOWELL – Registration is open for a variety of half-term credit classes offered this spring through Northwest College.

These short classes start the week of March 19 in six Big Horn Basin communities. The biggest variety is offered on campus in Powell and includes several physical education and computer application classes, plus other areas.

The Northwest College Spring Schedule, available in local libraries, gives class details and other pertinent information. Registrations are accepted in the enrollment services office or by phone at 1-800-560-4NWC (4692) or (307) 754-6113.

For more information, call the NWC Office of Extended Campus at (307) 754-6503.

UW students list areas of satisfactionLARAMIE – In a recent national survey, University of Wyoming students cited knowledgeable faculty and knowledgeable advisers as among their top five areas of both importance and satisfaction.

The “Student Satisfaction Inventory” was administered nationwide last spring by the USA Group Noel-Levitz, Inc. As part of that survey, Noel-Levitz received responses from 818 UW students, 779 of whom were undergraduates, and more than 77 percent of whom were Wyoming residents.

The survey asked students to evaluate the importance of and their satisfaction with 98 UW services and programs on a scale from one to seven. Areas identified as most important were instruction in major field of study; content of courses within the major; knowledgeable advisers; ease of registration; and knowledgeable faculty.

The areas of greatest satisfaction were knowledgeable faculty; well maintained campus; faculty availability; knowledgeable advisers; and safe and secure campus.

Parking continues to be a service where there is a great discrepancy between students’ expectations and their satisfaction. The areas of lowest satisfaction include parking, cafeteria food selection, too much “run around,” activity fees put to good use and availability of weekend activities.

Copyright © 2001, Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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