CASPER, Wyo. — Good afternoon! It’s warming up out there ahead of what could be a record hot Easter weekend in the Casper area. We found some cool conversation surrounding some hot topics for this week’s Oil City Speaks! Let’s splish-splash right on in!
- Since we’re looking at some warm weather this weekend, let’s begin with a heart-warming comment in response to a story about the Casper College Lady T-Birds completing an undefeated 20-0 regular season:
The #3 nationally ranked Lady T-Birds of Casper College are looking to continue their run in the upcoming Region IX post-season tournament set to begin on April 8.
It sounds like the Lady T-Birds are inspiring some people in the community and that’s producing a positive feedback loop with people like Tim doing their part to highlight the team’s impressive achievements. A community is like a team and we like the way these comments are working together!
- Speaking of teams, the two chambers of the Wyoming Legislature have found some common ground on a number of issues this session. The Wyoming Legislature’s efforts to set aside $1.2 million to sue other states for actions which could harm Wyoming’s coal industry caught the attention of some readers this week. Here are some comments on the issue which we found thought-provoking:
House Bill 207 would set aside $1.2 million for “prosecuting lawsuits against other states and other states’ agencies that enact and enforce laws, regulations or other actions that impermissibly impede Wyoming’s ability to export coal or that cause the early retirement of coal-fired generation facilities located in Wyoming.”
The House of Representatives agreed to Senate changes to the bill in a 36-24 concurrence vote on Thursday. What do you think of Chris and Shawn’s points of view? Should Wyoming seek to protect the coal industry by challenging the actions of other states? Would that funding be better spent elsewhere?
- Let’s get a little more local. Natrona County gave notice this week that the county commissioners intend to adopt new Parks rules and regulations in May. Some of the proposed changes drew attention from members of the public like Josh:
The proposed rules include moving to a reservation-only campsite system for the following campgrounds: Okie Beach, Black Beach, Skunk Hollow, Beartap Meadow and Deer Haven.
Other camping rule changes would include a rule prohibiting music that can be heard outside the campsite from between 10 pm and 7 am. Are you planning any camping trips this summer? How would such rules impact your plans? What do you think of them?
- The weather is getting warm enough to go camping but there are some hot-takes on the minds of some readers in response to legislation that would require Wyoming voters to show photo identification at the polls:
House Bill 75 would require voters to show photo ID in order to vote at the polls. While Rep. Chuck Gray (Natrona County) called the passage of the bill through the Wyoming Legislature a “victory for the citizens of Wyoming,” people like Donna have suggested the legislation is fixing a problem that doesn’t exist.
Here’s another thought-provoking comment in response the the voter ID legislation:
Nancy’s comment stuck out to us for a few reasons. She speaks from the perspective of someone who has served as an election judge and also makes a nuanced point. Wyoming voters are currently required to show ID when registering to vote, though they are not required to do so when they show up at the polls. If House Bill 75 becomes law, voters will have to do so.
Some have argued the legislation is an attempt to create another hurdle for voters while others say it improves the integrity of elections. What do you think?
- The legislative session is getting close to wrapping up. Are you pleased with what you’ve seen happen this year? Do you think the legislature could have spent their time more wisely on other issues? What would you do if you were in their shoes? Let’s take one more pit stop on the topic of the Wyoming Legislature. A bill that would allow people to harvest road killed animal carcasses had a provision stripped out of it with some senators concerned people might intentionally try to hit animals with their vehicles:
House Bill 95 in its original form would have allowed people to obtain “certificates of prior authorization” allowing them to harvest road killed animals they come across along Wyoming’s roadways. The bill’s primary sponsor Rep. Dan Zwonitzer (Laramie County) said this was intended to allow people like taxidermists or scout troops to put the carcasses to a beneficial use.
But when the bill was moving through the Senate, Sen. Bill Landen (Natrona) offered an amendment to remove the “certificates of prior authorization” for harvesting road killed animals. He explained that he was concerned that people might obtain such a certificate and use it as an excuse to intentionally go out and hit animals with their vehicles and harvest them.
While the prior authorization certificates were removed from the bill, it would still allow people to harvest road killed animals they had just hit themselves or had seen be hit by another vehicle by contacting the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for permission on a case-by-case basis.
Kay’s thoughtful comment raises a point which didn’t come up during the Senate’s debate about Landen’s amendment. Would someone really look to obtain a permit to harvest road kill and use it as an excuse to go out an intentionally hit animals? Or is that imagining a problem that wouldn’t occur?
- Warmer weather also means more comfortable fishing weather in Wyoming (unless you’re one of those strange people who love ice fishing). A comment in response to a story about a project to improve fish habitat on the New Fork River south of Pinedale caught our attention:
We thought we’d bring some attention to this comment since some people may not be aware that improving fish habitat is in fact one reason for the Platte River Revival Project. The project to clean up and improve the North Platte River in the Casper area has been underway for several years and part of its aim is to improve not only fish but also bird habitat.
People may need to have some patience in order to see the benefits of the work on the North Platte come to fruition: “This is a legacy project,” Casper Assistant Manager Jolene Martinez, who has been closely involved with the project, said during a discussion of the project in 2019. “The true benefits are 10, 20, 30 years down the road.”
If you keep your eyes open, there are little hints here and there of how something like river restoration inter-weaves with other things happening around the community. A leaning spruce tree that was knocked over amid 60 mph wind gusts in Washington Park will be used in its entirety in the North Platte River restoration project.
We think one of the great things about the ability to comment in response to stories is people’s ability to point out how various issues relate to one another — awareness of what’s happening in the community as a kind of team work! What do you think?
- That’s all from Oil City Speaks for now! Disagree with anything we said? Great! Feel free to get involved with discussion about what’s happening in our community by commenting on stories posted to Oil City’s Facebook page. Have a great day!
Why are we putting together this Oil City Speaks story?
Oil City News is all about offering coverage of the people, places and events that shape the community we love. We strive to provide informative stories for our readers and value dialogue about the Casper area community and the Cowboy State.
What makes for a valuable online discussion? It is no secret that readers are sometimes wary about the “dreaded” comments section (on stories posted to Oil City’s Facebook page). While comments may seem frustrating at times, they can also allow people to voice their perspectives, add more information for readers to consider or give people a way to celebrate their community together.
That’s why we’re bringing you Oil City Speaks, a selection of noteworthy reader comments from our local coverage. We care that you care about your community and we want to take the time to recognize comments that stand out to us. We’ll also offer some fact-checking on comments.
We’re not here to police your comments or your views. Comment Guideline: We welcome comments expressing all points of views on our posts–positive and negative–but reserve the right to remove posts that contain inappropriate language, links to items for sale, hate speech, personal attacks, threats, or are off-topic.