Cowboy State Daily Video News: Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Wednesday's headlines include: - $1.2 Billion Solar Farm Project Delayed - Teacher Says He's Banned For Not Using Pronouns - Would Hunting Grizzlies Instill Fear Of Humans In Bears?

Wendy Corr

June 05, 20247 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)
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It’s time to take a look at what’s happening around Wyoming! I’m Wendy Corr, bringing you headlines from the Cowboy State Daily newsroom, for Wednesday, June 5th.

Canadian energy firm Enbridge Inc.’s proposed $1.2 billion solar farm development in South Cheyenne has encountered delays.

Energy reporter Pat Maio says the company is in a dispute with Laramie County officials over who is to pay for a county-maintained road needed for the project that will power nearby social media giant Meta Platforms enterprise data center.

“They're gonna have to widen it and resurface it is because there's going to be three to four hundred cars a day, in the morning and at night. That'd be, what, 600, 800 cars daily going down that road. So it has to be wider. There's going to be trucks going down, they're doing construction work on the solar farm. Remember, this is the one that's 1.2 million solar panels, the largest utility scale solar farm in the state of Wyoming, it's going to produce about close to 800 megawatts of power.

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality issued key permits to Enbridge on May 21 to move forward with the project. However, the county’s planning commission and board of commissioners must still take up the proposal before Enbridge can begin construction.

A substitute teacher says he’s been barred from a Cheyenne-based school district after refusing to use preferred transgender names of students.

Gene Clemetson was escorted out of East High School in Laramie County School District No. 1 while substitute teaching in March, he told Cowboy State Daily’s Clair McFarland. 

“Clementson says that he has been kicked out of these high schools for refusing to use transgender students' preferred names. He told the students, that's not the name on the roster, I don't want to go with it. He told me in an interview a few days ago that if people got their names changed legally, he would go with it. But he said that he doesn't want to humor, ‘whims and frivolity’ are his words… HR officers also referenced Clementson allegedly taking issue with a plastic pollution documentary that he had to show children, and allegedly getting upset about a program at Triumph high school where students are allowed to call teachers by their first names.” 

In the federal U.S. District Court for Wyoming, a judge ruled last year that teachers don’t have a free-speech right to avoid using students’ preferred names, if the school’s policy requires them to do so.

Mogul Capital’s proposed 360,000-square-foot mega hotel at the north end of Jackson has landed in limbo for at least 120 days, after the town council put a moratorium on large development projects.

Cowboy State Daily’s Renee Jean reports that the emergency moratorium put a temporary hold on any new commercial projects greater than 35,000 square feet in Jackson’s downtown or commercial zoning areas.

“That actually puts the mega Mogul hotel proposal in limbo, because the company had asked for vacation of an alley. And that was part of their sketch plan. And since the council didn't approve that alley vacation, that's going to invalidate their sketch plan.”

Critics have said that having such a huge development at the gateway to Jackson would forever change the town’s character. 

Property tax relief in Wyoming was the biggest issue of the last two legislative sessions and continues to be along this year’s campaign trail.

Whether it provides enough relief for Cowboy State residents is at the heart of the debate, but Cowboy State Daily’s Leo Wolfson reports that there is a property tax refund program that’s been available in Wyoming for more than 20 years.

“This property tax rebate program that exists in the state is quite substantial. And it seems that they often gets overlooked at times, and forgotten about that it even exists. The program is eligible to people who make up to 165% of the median household income in their county, or state, whatever is higher… Thousands of people have tapped into it in Wyoming. But it seems that there's still many more who are not participating that might theoretically be able to qualify.” 

People can receive back as much as 75% of their previous year’s tax bill, but no more than 50% of the median residential tax bill for their local county.

Five members of an extended family who lived in a mobile home in the Casper suburb of Mills were still shellshocked Tuesday while standing outside what was left of their home.

A morning fire Monday gutted more than half their house. Cowboy State Daily’s Dale Killingbeck reports that while they are thankful no one was hurt in the blaze, their lives have been radically upended.

“Even though they had been promised a motel and or hotel room, the hotels are booked in Casper because the rodeo’s coming, and other events are happening. So they actually stayed at the property. The patriarch of the family, who works construction actually slept in his truck last night, then went to work this morning. So they could really use some help from the community.” 

An electrical short from an extension cord was determined to be the cause of the fire. 

It’s been a longstanding argument among those who favor delisting grizzlies, that opening hunting seasons for them in Wyoming, as well as possibly in Montana and Idaho, would instill the bears with a healthy fear of humans.

But as outdoors reporter Mark Heinz discovered, there’s really no definitive answer to that theory.

“It's really difficult to quantify whether it would be a direct line between hunting grizzly bears and them becoming more cautious around humans. The answer is maybe, over the long term, it could have some effect. In the short term, really all it does … the bear that ends up being hunted ends up being dead. And of course, that bear can't teach other bears to avoid humans, because they're dead.” 

Whether hunting makes grizzlies fear people is a question that has generated a lot of debate over the years - but there is little scientific evidence that hunting specifically instills fear of humans in bears.

And that’s today’s news. Get your free digital subscription to Wyoming’s only statewide newspaper by hitting the subscribe button on I’m Wendy Corr, for Cowboy State Daily.

Radio Stations

The following radio stations are airing Cowboy State Daily Radio on weekday mornings, afternoons and evenings. More radio stations will be added soon.

KYDT 103.1 FM – Sundance

KBFS 1450 AM — Sundance

KYCN 1340 AM / 92.7 FM — Wheatland

KZEW 101.7 FM — Wheatland

KANT 104.1 FM — Guernsey

KZQL 105.5 FM — Casper

KMXW 92.5 FM — Casper

KBDY 102.1 FM — Saratoga

KTGA 99.3 FM — Saratoga

KJAX 93.5 FM — Jackson

KZWY 106.3 FM — Sheridan

KROE 930 AM / 103.9 FM — Sheridan

KWYO 1410 AM / 106.9 FM  — Sheridan

KYOY 92.3 FM Hillsdale-Cheyenne / 106.9 FM Cheyenne

KRAE 1480 AM — Cheyenne 

KDLY 97.5 FM — Lander

KOVE 1330 AM — Lander

KZMQ 100.3/102.3 FM — Cody, Powell, Medicine Wheel, Greybull, Basin, Meeteetse

KKLX 96.1 FM — Worland, Thermopolis, Ten Sleep, Greybull

KCGL 104.1 FM — Cody, Powell, Basin, Lovell, Clark, Red Lodge, MT

KTAG 97.9 FM — Cody, Powell, Basin

KCWB 92.1 FM — Cody, Powell, Basin

KVGL 105.7 FM — Worland, Thermopolis, Basin, Ten Sleep

KODI 1400 AM / 96.7 FM — Cody, Powell, Lovell, Basin, Clark, Red Lodge

KWOR 1340 AM / 104.7 FM — Worland, Thermopolis, Ten Sleep

KREO 93.5 FM — Sweetwater and Sublette Counties

KGOS 1490 AM — Goshen County

KERM 98.3 FM — Goshen County

Check with individual radio stations for airtime of the newscasts.

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Wendy Corr

Broadcast Media Director