Bridger-Teton National Forest Jackson land under contract (posted 6/23/15)
Bridger Teton National Forest
The Bridger Teton National Forest announced Wednesday, June 3, 2015 that it is under contract with The Jackson Hole Preserve LLC for the sale of its 10-acre parcel in the Town of Jackson. The Jackson Hole Preserve is owned and managed by Jackson resident Mike Halpin and national investor, builder and developer Trident Partners, LLC along with its Managing Partner, John Shelton who also lives in Jackson. Trident has a long track record of success in multiple product types and has owned or developed over 8 million square feet of commercial space. Halpin also brings significant development experience to the table along with deep ties to the community. Trident and Halpin combine to bring a shared ethos that is aligned with the Jackson community’s own sensibility - to ensure quality development and a sense of stewardship of the largest undeveloped parcel in the Town of Jackson. The purchase price for the property is the same as the prior contract at $12 million dollars. "This sale will also allow the Bridger-Teton to continue with our plans for the retained parcel and provide the updated facilities for our administrative needs," said Forest Supervisor Tricia O’Connor.
Halpin expressed concerns about the zoning process and the time it could take to get the zoning necessary for an economically viable development. This concern was cited in part due to the previous buyer’s withdrawal from the transaction; however, given his relationship with Trident and their nationwide development expertise, combined with his prior development experience in Teton and Lincoln Counties and his relationship with the Forest Service, Halpin is hopeful the Town can act quickly and meaningfully. Trident and Halpin both stressed that the Town’s cooperation and expeditious approval of necessary zoning is key to this project’s success. Supporting this optimistic outlook, Halpin noted recent comments from Jackson’s Mayor Flitner, that "we are very interested in working with a potential buyer or any landowner at that site because we view it as a real possibility to put a dent in some of our housing needs."
Halpin noted that Shelton and he view this as an uncommon opportunity for a win-win. Shelton and Halpin both understand Teton County, have deep roots in the valley and national development expertise and sensitivity to the community’s housing needs. They will approach this project not just from the standpoint of financial upside but because it will work for the community and help to chip away at the vexing housing issue. Halpin added: "for us it’s a unique opportunity that checks two key boxes: with proper zoning it’s financially viable but also contributes to the greater good. We’d be able to do what we’re uniquely good at doing and give back to the community at the same time".
Shelton and Halpin look to move forward in collaboration with Teton County, the Town of Jackson and the Forest Service to zone and plan the property to allow for expeditious closure of this important and unique opportunity.
For more information contact Christopher Hawks at the Jackson Hole Preserve at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-733-9437.
Drawings held for resident elk, and resident and nonresident deer and antelope licenses (posted 6/22/15)
Wyoming Game & Fish
The 2015 drawings for resident elk as well as for resident and nonresident deer and antelope licenses are now in the books. Hunters can check their results on the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s website or by calling (307) 777-4600.
Refund warrants for those unsuccessful in the drawings will be mailed in the next several weeks followed by the licenses mailings for those who were successful in the drawings.
As is usually the case, a number of areas have licenses remaining. A total of 4,420 full price antelope licenses are available along with 5,063 reduced price doe/fawn antelope licenses. For deer, 1,178 full price licenses are available and 4,876 doe fawn licenses. Elk hunters who would still like a license should note that 1,818 full price licenses are available as well as 10,220 cow/calf licenses.
A listing of the areas with licenses remaining for each species is found on the Game and Fish website. Hunters can purchase full-price leftover licenses via home computer, automated license agents, or at Game and Fish regional offices beginning at 8 a.m. on July 8. Reduced-price licenses for cow/calf elk and doe/fawn antelope and deer will be available a week later on July 15.
Some of the areas for deer and elk have reasonable public access either through public federal and state lands or the Game and Fish hunter management and walk-in area programs. Most of the antelope licenses remaining are in hunt areas that are predominantly private lands. Hunters are advised to obtain permission from landowners before buying licenses in private land areas.
Hunters who have questions on applying for leftover licenses or public access in the different hunt areas can contact the Game and Fish at (307) 777-4600.
July 1 is deadline to apply for Super Tag raffle (posted 6/22/15)
Wyoming Game & Fish
Hunters who are looking for the opportunity to hunt in the best areas in Wyoming are reminded that less than ten days remain to apply for the Super Tag and Super Tag Trifecta raffles. The deadline to apply is July 1.
This is the second year the Super Tag and Super Tag Trifecta raffles have been held. Winners of the inaugural 2014 raffles bagged trophy class animals including several that made record books. Both residents and nonresidents are eligible to apply. Tickets are sold by species. One winner will be drawn for each of the nine species. The single Trifecta winner will have the chance to buy licenses for three of the nine species offered. There is the potential for 10 different winners, but it is possible for an individual to win more than one of the drawings.
Winners for both raffles will be able to hunt in any open hunt area for the species they select. The winner of a moose license will be able to select any moose hunting area with more than 10 licenses available; for bighorn sheep, eight licenses.
Winners of the Super Tag and Super Tag Trifecta raffles will retain any preference points they may have accumulated. In addition, the five-year waiting period for moose and sheep and the once-in-a-lifetime restrictions on bison and mountain goat licenses will be waived.
In the Super Tag raffle, nine winners will receive the opportunity to buy a hunting license for one of Wyoming’s premier big and trophy game species, including:
• bighorn sheep
• mountain goat
• wild bison
• black bear
• mountain lion
Hunters select the species they wish to hunt when they purchase their raffle tickets. One license will be offered for each species which will be issued through an independent drawing.
The Super Tag Trifecta raffle is similar to the Super Tag, except there will be one winner and the successful applicant will be able to select three of the nine big and trophy game species for license issuance.
Tickets are $10 per entry for the Super Tag and $30 for the Super Tag Trifecta. There is no limit on the number of raffle tickets hunters may buy. Tickets are available through July 1 at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s website. Winners will be notified by July 15 and must buy any applicable licenses and/or stamps before hunting.
Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office warns of resurgent ‘delinquent taxes scam’ (posted 6/22/15)
Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office
The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office issued a warning about a resurgent "delinquent taxes scam" circulating once again throughout the county.
Sheriff Mike Lowell said his office has been contacted by people in Rock Springs and Green River who have received telephone calls from people claiming to be agents of the Internal Revenue Service, demanding payment of delinquent income taxes.
The pattern is for the caller to insist on prompt payment through a credit or debit card or a wire transfer. If the person called refuses or begins asking questions, the caller often threatens a visit from law enforcement, arrest, arrest of a spouse, or a driver’s license revocation.
The callers use fake names and sometimes even provide a bogus IRS badge number. They may even know the last four digits of their intended victim’s Social Security number, all in an effort to make the swindle sound more convincing.
Genuine communications from the IRS begin with a letter, not a phone call. Other tipoffs that such calls are a scam include the following:
- Knowledge of the intended victim’s Social Security number or its last four digits.
- Recitation of the bogus IRS agent’s badge number.
- During the call, the sound of other, similar conversations can be heard in the background.
- The caller becomes rude and hostile and hangs up.
- Follow-up calls from a different person claiming to be an IRS agent.
Sheriff Lowell made the following recommendations to those who receive such calls: If you actually owe on your federal income taxes or think you might owe, contact the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 to speak with a genuine official about your tax issues.
If you know you don’t owe any income taxes, call 1-800-366-4484 to report the caller to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
EPA says aircraft need to be regulated for greenhouse gas emissions changing climate (posted 6/11/15)
Environmental Protection Agency
WASHINGTON (June 10, 2015) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to find under the Clean Air Act that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from commercial aircraft contribute to the pollution that causes climate change, endangering the health and welfare of Americans. At the same time, the agency is releasing information about the international process already underway by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for developing carbon dioxide (CO2) standards for aircraft and EPA’s participation in that process. EPA is now seeking public input to inform future steps by the agency.
For the past five years, ICAO — a specialized body of the United Nations with 191 member states — has been working with the aviation industry and other stakeholders to develop coordinated, international CO2 emissions standards for aircraft. EPA and the Federal Aviation Administration, representing the United States, are participating in ICAO’s process to ensure that any standards achieve meaningful CO2 emissions reductions through policies that are equitable across national boundaries.
The ICAO standards are expected to be adopted in early 2016. The items issued today by EPA lay the necessary foundation for the development and implementation of a domestic aircraft standard, in accordance with U.S. law and the ICAO process.
U.S. aircraft emit roughly 11 percent of GHG emissions from the U.S. transportation sector and 29 percent of GHG emissions from all aircraft globally. In 2009, EPA determined that GHG pollution from cars and light trucks threatens Americans' health and welfare by leading to long-lasting changes in our climate that can have a range of negative effects. Since then, the body of science on human-induced climate change has strengthened, supporting today’s proposed finding — under a different section of the Clean Air Act — that GHGs emitted from aircraft engines contribute to pollution that causes climate change endangering public health and welfare. Today’s action supports the goals of the President’s Climate Action Plan to reduce emissions from large sources of carbon pollution.
Today’s actions do not apply to small piston-engine planes (the type of plane often used for recreational purposes), or to military aircraft.
Once this action is published in the Federal Register, it will be open for a 60-day public comment period. Any future domestic actions toward aircraft engine standards would also be open to public comment and review before they could take effect.
For more information on the proposed contribution finding and the advance notice of proposed rulemaking, visit http://epa.gov/otaq/aviation.htm.
Obamacare health insurance policy rates to increase by 18-60% in 2016 (posted 6/3/15)
Health care insurance policy premium rates are expected to go up by as much as 60% in 2016, according to recent news reports.
In 2014, the average health insurance health care insurance premium rates for a 40-year old non-smoker ranged from $200/month to more than $600/month ($2,400 to $7,200/year), depending on state and individual plans.
The "Affordable Care Act" (ACA), commonly known as "Obamacare" for being President Obama’s signature legislation, went into effect in December, 2009.
Obamacare sticker shock: Big rate hikes proposed for 2016 CNN
Health Insurance Premiums and Increases National Conference of State Legislatures
President Obama: ‘I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family's premium by up to $2,500 a year.’ YouTube video, 2009
President Obama: ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it’YouTube video
President Obama: Your Premiums Will Go Down Under Obamacare Politifact Truth-o-Meter
Health Care Insurance Premium Rate Review healthcare.gov
Enzi’s statement on final WOTUS rule (posted 6/1/15)
Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi
Washington, D.C. – On May 27, 2015, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., issued the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of the final "Waters of the United States" rule.
"What the EPA is doing is more about control than protection. This final rule is another attempt by the EPA to control our water and by extension state sovereignty, property rights, communities and individuals. It is hard to believe the EPA’s claims that it ‘listened to all perspectives’ in its development. Instead it looks like another massive regulatory overreach designed to take control from the American people and transfer it to one of the federal government’s most power-thirsty agencies. I hope there are enough people who believe this rule is more dangerous than helpful so we can make changes to ensure our rights and water are protected."
EPA – WOTUS rule
Short Summary of WOTUS Rule Water Advocacy Coalition
What does the WOTUS actually do? WOTUS Talking Points, Nebraska Cattlemen
Waters of the United States National Association of Counties (NACO)
Barrasso statement on EPA’s final WOTUS rule (posted 6/1/15)
Senator Barrasso media release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On May 27th, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) released the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of the final "waters of the United States" (WOTUS) rule.
"Instead of reaching a reasonable solution, today the EPA has ignored millions of Americans and taken more control over private land in our country. There is bipartisan agreement that Washington bureaucrats have gone beyond their authority and have no business regulating irrigation ditches, isolated ponds and other ‘non-navigable’ waters as waters of the United States. Under this outrageously broad rule, Washington will have control over how family farmers, ranchers and small businesses not only use their water, but also their privately owned land.
"After last week’s news reports, it’s clear that the EPA would rather skew public comments in its favor than acknowledge the real concerns Americans and Congress have with this overreaching rule.
"Instead of moving forward with a rule that fails to represent the interests of many Americans, we should act immediately to pass the bipartisan Federal Water Quality Protection Act. We can protect America’s waterways and our farmers, ranchers and landowners. Today’s action ensures further momentum for our bill that says yes to clean water – and no to extreme bureaucracy."
A May 18th New York Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/19/us/critics-hear-epas-voice-in-public-comments.html?_r=1) reported that the Environmental Protection Agency conducted a "campaign that tests the limits of federal lobbying law" when the agency "orchestrated a drive to counter political opposition from Republicans and enlist public support in concert with liberal environmental groups and a grass-roots organization aligned with President Obama."
On April 30, 2015, Senator Barrasso along with Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), led a bipartisan group of senators in introducing the Federal Water Quality Protection Act S. 1140 (http://www.barrasso.senate.gov/public/Files/Federal_Water_Quality_Protection_Act2015.pdf).
Barrasso’s bill directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers to issue a revised "waters of the United States" (WOTUS) rule that protects traditional navigable water from water pollution, while also protecting farmers, ranchers and private landowners. For more information on the bill, click on this link: (http://www.barrasso.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/news-releases?ID=22374760-17f5-406e-8d30-fa7e9befce54).
Barrasso, Lummis introduce Bill to increase water storage in Fontenelle Reservoir (posted 5/18/15)
Would expand water storage capability in southwest Wyoming
Wyoming delegation media release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, May 12th, U.S. Senator John Barrasso and U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis, both R-Wyo., introduced legislation to approve the expansion of water storage at the Bureau of Reclamation’s (BOR) Fontenelle Reservoir in Lincoln County, Wyoming.
"In Wyoming, farmers and ranchers need a reliable and plentiful supply of water in order to keep their livestock and crops healthy. After years of delay, this bill will finally help move the much needed Fontenelle Reservoir expansion project forward to allow Wyoming to continue to develop its water rights," said Barrasso. "More water storage capacity means more water for farmers, ranchers and local communities. It also provides an economic incentive for new businesses to grow and create jobs in southwestern Wyoming."
"Water is our most precious natural resource and this legislation will help Wyoming develop its water resources and enhance economic opportunities for southwestern Wyoming in the process," said Lummis. "Ranching in Wyoming all my life, I understand the need for water storage since we can’t depend solely on regular rainfall in our high plains desert state. Water storage and other water development projects are what make Wyoming and the arid west bloom, and this legislation will build on that success story with this common-sense, state-led fulfillment of Fontenelle’s storage potential."
The bill allows for the expansion of water storage at the Bureau of Reclamation’s (BOR) Fontenelle Reservoir in Lincoln County. This would be accomplished by completing the "rip rap" around the reservoir. A "rip rap" is a foundation or sustaining wall of stones or chunks of concrete connected together around the reservoir to prevent erosion.
The bill directs the State of Wyoming and the BOR to reach an agreement to allow Wyoming to complete the rip rap around the reservoir. The State of Wyoming would pay for the cost of completing this project. Wyoming would also have a right to the water that would be stored in the reservoir if the reservoir is completed by building the rip rap.
Despite multiple requests by the State of Wyoming in 2011 and 2014, the Bureau of Reclamation has not completed the needed National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance in order to move forward with the expansion of the Fontenelle Reservoir in Lincoln County.
BEWARE OF SPAM: USPS warns of bogus package delivery emails (posted 5//18/15)
U.S. Postal Inspection Service Crime Alert
U.S. Postal Service
Some postal customers are receiving bogus emails about a package delivery or online postage charges. The emails contain a link or attachment that, when opened, installs a malicious virus that can steal personal information from your PC.
The emails claim to be from the U.S. Postal Service and contain fraudulent information about an attempted or intercepted package delivery or online postage charges. You are instructed to click on a link, open the attachment, or print the label.
But Postal Inspectors warn: Don't do it!
Like most viruses sent by email, clicking on the link or opening the attachment will activate a virus that can steal information—such as your user name, password, and financial account information.
What to do? Simply delete the message without taking any further action. The Postal Inspection Service is working hard to resolve the issue and shut down the malicious program.
If you have questions about a delivery or wish to report postal-related spam, please call 1-800-ASK-USPS or email email@example.com.
Scam Alert U.S. Postal Service
Yellowstone National Park announces new entrance fees starting June 1 (posted 5/12/15)
Yellowstone National Park
Starting on June 1, 2015, Yellowstone National Park will increase entrance fees for visitors in order to fund important resource protection and visitor facility projects within the park.
"We use our entrance fees to complete critical projects that benefit park visitors and our natural resources," said Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk. "Eighty percent of the revenue we collect stays right here in Yellowstone and funds projects including road repairs, campground upgrades, rehabilitation of park structures, accessibility improvements for people with disabilities, radio and utility systems improvements, native fish restoration and aquatic invasive species mitigation."
The park estimates that the new entrance fees will generate $11 million of revenue per year, approximately $3 million greater than current entrance fee revenue.
The new fees are summarized here:
• Vehicles: The entrance fee will be $30 per vehicle to visit Yellowstone National Park for 1-7 days. Grand Teton National Park will have a separate pass for $30. People visiting both parks can save $10 by purchasing a $50 two-park vehicle pass, also valid for 1-7 days.
• Motorcycles: Motorcycles can enter Yellowstone for $25 for 1-7 days or both parks for $40.
• Individuals: Per person fees will be $15 for Yellowstone or $20 for both parks.
• Annual Passes: Yellowstone’s annual pass will be $60. This pass offers visitors in the local area an option that is less expensive than the $80 Interagency Pass. The Interagency Pass rates will remain the same: Annual ($80) and Senior ($10). Military passes and Access passes (for people with permanent disabilities) will remain free.
Yellowstone National Park is a strong economic engine for the region and local communities. In 2014, the park generated $543.7 million in economic benefits and directly supported over 6,600 jobs. Previous fee increases have had no effect on visitation levels. The last entrance fee increase in Yellowstone National Park occurred in 2006 when fees were raised from $20 to $25 for private vehicles.
Park managers proposed a new structure for entrance fees and reached out to stakeholders through a public comment period in November and December 2014. The park solicited comments via mail and online, held meetings in Cody, Wyoming, Jackson, Wyoming, and Bozeman, Montana, and held conference calls with Congressional Delegation staff, county commissioners, concessioners, and commercial use authorization holders. The 2014 proposal included a 1-3-day pass that was eliminated based on public comment.