CASPER CITY COUNCIL ON TUESDAY UNANIMOUSLY VOTED DOWN A PROPOSED PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE AFTER A COMMUNITY OUTCRY.

COUNCILMEMBER SHAWN JOHNSON WAS AN EARLY OPPONENT OF THE CODE, WHICH WAS APPROVED ON FIRST READING ON JUNE 19.

THIS WAS IN THE INTERNATIONAL CODE COUNCIL THAT PUBLISHES UPDATES EVERY THREE YEARS; WYOMING ADOPTS THOSE CODES, AND REQUIRES CASPER, AS A HOME RULE COMMUNITY, ADOPT BUILDING AND FIRE CODES AT LEAST AS STRINGENT AS THE STATE'S STANDARDS.

CITY MANAGER CARTER NAPIER SAID TWO WEEKS AGO THE CITY RECEIVES COMPLAINTS FROM PEOPLE CONCERNED THAT UNKEMPT AND UNSAFE PROPERTIES DRIVE DOWN THEIR OWN PROPERTY VALUES.

NAPIER ADDED THE CODE WOULD GIVE THE TOOLS NEEDED TO RESPOND TO THOSE COMPLAINTS AND COMPLAINTS ABOUT CONDITIONS IN RENTAL PROPERTIES.

COUNCILMEMBERS HAD NO OBJECTIONS TO THE BUILDING, RESIDENTIAL, MECHANICAL, PLUMBING, FUEL GAS, EXISTING BUILDING, AND FIRE CODES.

BUT TWO WEEKS AGO, JOHNSON, JESSE MORGAN AND CHRIS WALSH BALKED AT THE PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE, AND THE REST OF COUNCIL AGREED TUESDAY.

MORGAN SAID ENFORCEMENT WOULD BE NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE, AND IT WOULD HURT PROPERTY OWNERS WHO COULD NOT AFFORD TO PAY FOR REPAIRS.

MORGAN ADDED ITS MOST ONEROUS ASPECT WOULD AUTHORIZE CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS TO ENTER BUILDINGS TO PERFORM INSPECTIONS.

TUESDAY, DOZENS OF RESIDENTS DENOUNCED THE PROPOSED CODE, ECHOING JOHNSON'S AND MORGAN'S CONCERNS

AFTER THE MEETING, MAYOR RAY PACHECO SAID THE COUNCIL NOW WILL INSTRUCT CITY STAFF TO CRAFT AN ORDINANCE DEALING WITH LIFE AND SAFETY ISSUES ABOUT PROPERTIES.
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NO INJURIES WERE REPORTED AS THE RESULT OF A STRUCTURE FIRE IN CASPER LATE MONDAY, BUT FIREFIGHTERS SAY THE BUILDING IS A TOTAL LOSS.

PATRICK MCJUNKIN OF THE CASPER FIRE-EMS DEPARTMENT SAYS FIREFIGHTERS RESPONDED TO THE AREA OF JEFFERSON AND C STREETS AT ABOUT 11 P.M. MONDAY AFTER MULTIPLE CALLERS INDICATED THAT A BUILDING WAS "WELL INVOLVED" IN FLAMES.

THE BLAZE WAS ALSO REPORTED BY THE CREW OF A WYOMING LIFE FLIGHT HELICOPTER, WHO SPOTTED FLAMES AS THEY FLEW TOWARD WYOMING MEDICAL CENTER.

THE BUILDING WAS "FULLY INVOLVED" WHEN FIRE CREWS ARRIVED, BUT THE BLAZE HAD NOT SPREAD TO AN ATTACHED BUILDING.

FIREFIGHTERS WERE ABLE TO ACCESS THE BUILDING AND EXTINGUISH THE FIRE, BUT THEY WERE HAMPERED BY POWERLINES WHICH WERE DAMAGED BY THE FLAMES AND FELL. THE FIRE WAS CONTAINED TO THE BUILDING IN WHICH IT BEGAN.

BOTH BUILDINGS WERE UNOCCUPIED AT THE TIME OF THE BLAZE, AND MCJUNKIN SAYS NO INJURIES HAVE BEEN REPORTED.

THE BUILDING WHICH BURNED HAD EVIDENTLY BEEN USED FOR STORAGE. THE STRUCTURE AND ITS CONTENTS ARE A TOTAL LOSS, THOUGH A VALUE OF LOSS HAS NOT BEEN DETERMINED.

A TOTAL OF 18 CASPER FIRE-EMS PERSONNEL RESPONDED TO THE BLAZE. THEY WERE ASSISTED BY WYOMING MEDICAL CENTER, THE CASPER POLICE DEPARTMENT AND ROCKY MOUNTAIN POWER.

MCJUNKIN SAYS ADDITIONAL DETAILS WILL BE RELEASED AS THEY BECOME AVAILABLE.
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A LAND CONSERVATION GROUP AND TWO ENERGY COMPANIES SAY THEY'VE BOUGHT AND PLAN TO RETIRE OIL AND GAS LEASES WITHIN AN AREA OF WESTERN WYOMING THAT'S BEEN THE FOCUS OF OTHER RECENT CONSERVATION EFFORTS.
THE TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND, STANLEY ENERGY, AND MOUNTAIN ENERGY ANNOUNCED THE FEDERAL LEASE PURCHASES TUESDAY.

THE LEASES COVER SOME 40 SQUARE MILES OF THE WYOMING RANGE LEGACY AREA IN WESTERN SUBLETTE COUNTY.

FEDERAL LAW PROHIBITS NEW OIL AND GAS LEASING IN THE AREA, THOUGH OLDER LEASES COULD STILL BE DRILLED.

THE LEASE PURCHASES ASSISTED WITH A GRANT FROM THE WYSS FOUNDATION HELPS ENSURE THAT WON'T HAPPEN ON THE LAND IN QUESTION.

GOVERNOR MATT MEAD SAYS THE U.S. BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT WORKED WITH THE COMPANIES TO BALANCE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT WITH ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS.
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DEMOCRATIC SECRETARY OF STATE CANDIDATE JAMES BYRD SAYS SAYS THE KEY TO DIVERSIFYING WYOMING;S ECONOMY MAY BE FINDING ''VALUE ADDED'' PRODUCTS THAT USE WYOMING ENERGY PRODUCTS..

HE SAYS SIMILAR VALUE ADDED PRODUCTS COULD USE WYOMING OIL AND NATURAL GAS.