CASPER CITY COUNCIL MEMBER DALLAS LAIRD EXPLAINED WHY THE COUNCIL DECIDED TO NOT HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING ON A PROPOSED RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT THE NONDISCRIMINATION OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PERSONS.

THE RESOLUTION WAS AMONG A GROUP OF ISSUES THAT WAS BEING SCHEDULED FOR PUBLIC HEARINGS ON FEBRUARY 20TH, BUT THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

SEVERAL PEOPLE OBJECTED DURING THE PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD.

ONE PERSON SAID COUNCIL'S APPROVAL WOULD MEAN IT IS ENDORSING HOMOSEXUALITY.

HILLTOP BAPTIST CHURCH PASTOR ROB PETERSON SAID THE RESOLUTION IS A STEP TOWARDS AN AGENDA THAT COULD CREATE A GROUP THAT IS DISCRIMINATED AGAINST, NAMELY PEOPLE LIKE HIM WHO HOLD A BIBLICAL CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW.

SEVERAL PEOPLE ADDED THAT EXISTING LAW ALREADY PROHIBITS DISCRIMINATION, AND THE RESOLUTION, THEY SAID, WOULD GIVE SPECIAL RIGHTS TO THOSE WHO IDENTIFY AS LGBT.

BUT DEE LUNDBERG, PASTOR OF UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST CRITICIZED THE COMMENTS THAT A RESOLUTION IS UNNECESSARY BECAUSE DISCRIMINATION IS ALREADY ILLEGAL.

SHE SAID THE ISSUE IS THAT DISCRIMINATION IS REAL AND IDENTIFYING IT HELPS MITIGATE IT.

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A MAJORITY OF THE NEWSROOM STAFF OF THE CASPER STAR-TRIBUNE, WYOMING’S STATEWIDE NEWSPAPER, BEGAN THE PROCESS MONDAY OF FORMING A UNION.
THE CASPER NEWS GUILD ANNOUNCED 80 PERCENT OF THE NEWSROOM STAFF SIGNED CARDS THAT WILL BE FORWARDED TO THE DENVER OFFICE OF THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD VOTED TO ASK FOR AN ELECTION.

IF MORE THAN 50 PERCENT OF NEWSROOM STAFF VOTES IN FAVOR OF UNIONIZING, THE CASPER NEWS GUILD WILL BEGIN THE BARGAINING PROCESS WITH LEE ENTERPRISES, WHICH OWNS THE STATE'S LARGEST NEWSPAPER.

THE NEWSROOM STAFF SAID IN A PREPARED STATEMENT THAT IT HOLDS THE LOCAL LEADERSHIP IN INCREDIBLY HIGH ESTEEM, BUT THE LOCAL LEADERSHIP DOES NOT CONTROL HOW MANY JOURNALISTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR NEWS GATHERING OR ITS BUDGET FOR COVERING THE CITY AND STATE.

THE STAFF APPRECIATES SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF BEING PART OF A LARGE MEDIA CORPORATION, BUT LEE ENTERPRISES’ OBLIGATIONS TO ITS SHAREHOLDERS OFTEN CLASH WITH THE INTERESTS OF THE STAR-TRIBUNE'S READERS IN CASPER AND WYOMING, WHO RELY ON THE NEWSPAPER FOR VITAL NEWS AND INFORMATION.

THE NEWS RELEASE SAID NEGOTIATING A COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT FOR THE STAR-TRIBUNE’S NEWS STAFF WILL ALLOW IT TO CREATE MORE STABLE REPORTING JOBS IN WYOMING, ATTRACT MORE EXPERIENCED JOURNALISTS, AND MOTIVATE THEM TO STAY LONGER, AS WELL AS ALLOWING THE STAFF TO HAVE A VOICE IN THE EVENT OF FUTURE LAYOFFS OR COST-CUTTING MEASURES.
NEWSPAPER GENERAL MANAGER DALE BOHREN SAID IN A PREPARED STATEMENT THAT HE'S AWARE OF THE REQUEST AND WILL COMPLY WITH THE LAWS GOVERNING THE ORGANIZING PROCESS.

BUT BOHREN SAID HE HOPES THE EMPLOYEES VOTE AGAINST UNION REPRESENTATION BECAUSE THE STAR-TRIBUNE HAS A TERRIFIC NEWSROOM, AND HE BELIEVES IT IS BETTER SERVED BY DIRECT COMMUNICATION WITH EACH OTHER.
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COAL PRODUCTION IN NORTHEAST WYOMING'S POWDER RIVER BASIN EXCEEDED 300 MILLION TONS (272 MILLION METRIC TONS) FOR THE 17TH TIME IN THE REGION ALSO SAW ITS 7 BILLIONTH TON (6.3 BILLION METRIC TONS) OF COAL MINED DURING LAST YEAR.

THE MILESTONE CAME IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR, WHICH SAW PRODUCTION SLOW SLIGHTLY FROM THE FIRST SIX MONTHS OF THE YEAR.

ACCORDING TO PRODUCTION NUMBERS REPORTED TO THE MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION, THE BASIN'S 12 MINES PRODUCED 305.2 MILLION TONS (276.8 METRIC TONS) OF COAL, WHICH IS A 6.7 PERCENT INCREASE OVER THE 286.6 MILLION TONS (260 MILLION METRIC TONS) PRODUCED IN 2016.

TRAVIS DETI, OF THE WYOMING MINING ASSOCIATION, SAYS THE NUMBERS ARE ENCOURAGING.
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CITY MANAGER J. CARTER NAPIER ANNOUNCED THE THREE FINALISTS FOR THE FIRE CHIEF POSITION TUESDAY.

NAPIER SAID THE CANDIDATES ARE:

ALLEN LEWIS, FIRE CHIEF FOR VIRGINIA, MINN.

JOEY REED, RETIRED FIRE CHIEF FROM KINGSVILLE, TEXAS.

AND THOMAS SOLBERG, FIRE CHIEF FOR PLEASANT HILL, IOWA.

THEY WILL PARTICIPATE IN A SERIES OF ASSESSMENTS AND INTERVIEWS BY A PANEL IN CASPER ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16TH.

THE CITY RECEIVED 28 APPLICATIONS, AND SIX APPLICANTS, INCLUDING ONE INTERNAL CANDIDATE, WERE INTERVIEWED VIA SKYPE LAST WEEK.

JASON SPEISER, WHO HAS WORKED FOR THE FIRE DEPARTMENT SINCE 2001, WAS APPOINTED INTERIM FIRE CHIEF ON DECEMBER 1 AFTER KENNETH KING RESIGNED.

SPEISER HAS PARTICIPATED IN THE CANDIDATE SEARCH.