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Lovell , Wyoming
December 30, 2010     Lovell Chronicle
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December 30, 2010

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www. LovellChronicle.com December 30, 2010 The Lovell Chronicle I 7 Lovell Middle School sixth-grade band trumpet players Chris Salyer, left, and Kyle Burton perform during the LMS Holiday Concert on Dec. 20 at the Middle School Commons. Lovell Middle School sixth-grader Kade Gifford adds rhythm and harmony to the music with his electric bass during the LMS Holiday Band Concert on Dec. 20 at the Middle School Commons. DAVID PECK PHOTOS Continued from page 1 CORDNER the hole by the end of the (fiscal) year." Peterson said Director B en 'Shert d reported the JAC that ncreasing demands on the program due to the economy have led to the budget shortfall, and he also gave the JAC a refresher course on how the program works. "The Dept. of Family Services is the gate, where applications come in, but the Dept. of Health hands out the dollars," Peterson said. "The Dept. of Health has a $1.6 billion budget for the biennium, and out of that $1.6 billion, $1.2 bil- lion is Medicaid." The cost of the program is shared 50-50 with the federal government, Peter- son said, but because of the federal involvement, the federal government dictates the rules, and he said even Freudenthal has speculat- ed about what it would take for the state to go it alone, without federal input - and dollars. "Our argument is that the gate is too wide. It lets too many people in," Peter- son said. "There's a 'me, too' atmosphere right now. Dr. Sherard attributes it to the unemployment level - too many people down and out. It's like a lifeboat but we're swamping it right now. We have to peek over the side and toss out the people who can swim. "I'm fearful that we're going to lose the whole thing if we don't limit it to people who truly need it We need to get our hands around it and make it more represen- tative of Wyoming's conser- vative ways." Peterson said the gover- nor's supplemental budget recommends putting $66.2 million into the Medicaid budget to cover the short- fall for the remainder of the biennium and $25 mil- lion into the Medicaid Re- serve Account in the State Auditor's Office - bringing that account to $50 million should enrollment continue to grow above projections. AML PROGRAM The Abandoned Mine Lands program has about two years of funding left be- fore the program comes to a close, Peterson said, and he said the JAC received a report on the current status of projects. He said AML money has been used for clean coal projects and oth- er needs, so the JAC was interested in whether there would be sufficient money to perform the program's main function: reclaiming abandoned mines. Peterson said Wyoming Dept. of Environmental Quality Director John Corra assured the JAC that Wyo- ming's abandoned mines have been reclaimed, but he said the state is concerned about how to carry on with mine reclamation once the program goes away. The legislature inject- ed money during the 2010 budget session into the state retirement program to keep it solvent, making up for a sharp loss of as- sets due to the stock mar- ket plunge, Peterson said, and the JAC heard a report on the current status of the fund. "We put money in last session to shore it up," he said, "and it's about where it was before the stock crashed. We're still not out of the woods yet as far as where we'd like it to be. We not only want to meet ob- ligations but also get the kind of investments so we don't so heavily depend on the stock market. We want a portfolio strong enough to meet our obligations. So much of the portfolio was weighted in stock market investments. MONEY FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT Peterson said Gov. Freudenthal's supplemen- tal budget recommends ap- propriating some $52 mil- lion to local governments, with $2.6 million directed toward the local govern- ment payback of the past overpayments of mineral royalty money identified by the State Treasurer - mon- ey cities and towns were initially going to have to pay back. The remaining $49.6 million would be split 50-50 between the current budget's allocation formula for local governments and capital construction fund- ing for local governments through the county consen- sus process. "Gov. Freudenthal likes the county consensus process," Peterson said. "We don't know how much tweaking Gov. Mead will want to do with Gov. Freu- denthal's desires." With Mead coming in, the JAC will spend the first two or three weeks of the session holding depart- ment hearings and giving Gov. Mead the opportunity to present his budget, Pe- terson said, and "beginning markups" to finalize the supplemental budget ap- propriations bill, giving the full legislature time to "look at it and work it over." "We'll be working morning, noon and night on markups and hearings," he said, adding that the governor's recommended budget allocated nearly all of the additional revenue, leaving only $6.9 million in discretionary spending for the legislature to work with. He noted that the pro- posed budget recommends appropriating an addition- al $62 million to the School Facilities Commission for construction projects to take advantage of the cur- rent favorable construction climate. Peterson noted that Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Phil Nicholas (R-Laramie) has warned members of the committee that they will have little time to spon- sor and support individual bills. Peterson said he was working on a bill to enact a pilot project for enhanced teacher evaluations, but he said the bill "may not be ready for prime time yet. It's still rough." Peterson has been the co-chairman, along with Rep. Elaine Harvey (R- Lovell), of the Select Com- mittee on Developmental Disabilities, and two bills will come out of that com- mittee. He is also the co- chairman of the Compen- sation Commission, which deals with state employee compensation issues. The senator will reside at the Holiday Inn while in Cheyenne, though he said he will be home many week- ends to watch his senior son, Kyle, play basketball. He said he can be reached by e-mail at rpeterson@wy- oming.com, noting that he checks his messages fre- quently. Citizens can also call him at the Holiday Inn or leave a message at the Senate chambers at (307) 777-7711. Continued from page 1 learn from them. He said the Department of Audit Website contains useful in- formation about what defi- ciencies other towns had when going through an au- dit and he will use that in- formation to check against Frannie town business. There are also a cou- ple issues that will cost a lot to fix, but are impor- tant for the town. Cordner said those two issues are hiring a law enforcement marshal for the town and improving the town's irri- gation well. There is cur- rently no plan in place to address the two issues, he said. "Those are two things I hope my constituents will bear with me on," Cordner said. However, while looking at improvements, Cordner said he will keep in mind that most Frannie citizens live very modestly, and av- erage home prices hover around $70,000. "I like to think I'm sen- sitive to the fact that the people of Frannie don't have much," he said. Cordner will have his first networking opportu- nity as Frannie's mayor at the Wyoming Association of Municipalities Winter Conference in January in Cheyenne. Found dogs are usually lost dogs. Make someone really happy' place a classified ad in the Lovell Chronicle to find his owner today. The Lovell Chronicle 548-2217 Local classified ads just $2/week Continued from page 1 idents) worked to get the landmark designation be- cause we thought it was something special. It's no longer special," Grant said. Bob Cochran, recreation manager for the Medicine Wheel/Paintrock District, said he had not heard any real conversations about closing the road. From a recreation standpoint, he said, the road provides ac- cess to a large portion of the forest, He said the main con- versation during the an- nual meeting was concerns about ATVs going by dur- ing a Native American cere- mony and there were ideas about stationing someone at either end of the road to stop the ATVs or ask them to go slowly when there was a ceremony. "We were trying to find a solution to staffing and the road closure was one option mentioned. I don't believe it's an option," Co- chran said. District Ranger for the Medicine Wheel/Paintrock District, Dave Hogen, said, "I understand your con- cerns. The Forest Service wants to work with you, but it will be challenging to get it signed by that time." Grant said the Feb. 1 deadline is to give him time to stop the expanded bound- cry from receiving Congres- sional approval. After that date, it will be hard to stop. He added that the coun- ty engineer is researching the status of the road and what work and funding the county has provided over the years. OTHER FOREST NEWS Cochran said he is in- terested in the trail system on the Bighorn National Forest and is looking at im- proving the Porcupine Falls Trail, which is a steep, old 4-wheel drive road: 'There's a lot of erosion. The visit r center people don't recom- mend it because of its con- dition," Cochran said. His proposed plan is to fix the trail in two phases, first completing the NEPA (National Environmen- tal Policy Act) process and then work on the upper half of the trail. The trail would become non-motorized, he said, with the path follow- ing the current two-track through the trees. The bottom half would have stairs built out of nat- ural rock in the area. Esti- mated cost for the project would be about $80,000. He said the project pack- age would be recommended to the Resource Advisory Committee for funding. Cochran also reported on the facility analysis com- pleted on the district. The analysis was to take a look at facilities because the dis- trict is behind on deferred maintenance projects. Based on the analysis, the Cabin Creek Meadows campground will be shut down and the Cabin Creek Campground will be turned into a picnic area. He said the facilities analysis looked at mainte- nance issues and at other facilities in the area. The analysis found that the Shell Creek and Ranger Creek campgrounds that are in the vicinity are un- der utilized, along with the Paintrock and Medicine Lodge Lake campgrounds. The upper Paintrock Campground will be closed based on the analysis and improvements will be made to the lower Paintrock Campground and Medi- cine Lodge Lake Camp- ground. Both areas will be reconstructed to reduce de- ferred maintenance costs, and some additional sites will be built into the sites to accommodate the sites lost from closing the upper campground. Roads will be improved and new tent pads added, along with new picnic tables. The project is in the planning stages. Cochran said he hopes work can begin this sum- mer and has requested that only one campground be closed at a time, which will mean work will take two ,summers to complete. v Regarding winter rec- reation, Cochran said he hopes to improve signage in the district to promote the winter activities. He said last Tuesday that they groomed the An- telope Nordic Ski Trail once and are waiting on more snow. This week he said they are still waiting on more snow with the trail icy and crusty. Once there is enough snow, the trail will be groomed weekly. i i i !i! i ii iiiii!i!ili!i!iiiiiiiiiiiii?iiii!ii iiii ii! i !iiii il i/ iiiii New Introducing Big Horn County's Newest Law Firm: HALLMAN EAGLER & HUNT P.C. Georgia Antley Hunt Timothy A. Eagler James T. 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