CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) – One of the biggest uranium mines in Wyoming, the nation’s top producer of the radioactive metal, proposes to more than double in size within the next two years.
Ur-Energy plans to expand its Lost Creek in-situ mine in south-central Wyoming to cover some 15 square miles.
In-situ mining is a process that dissolves uranium underground and pumps uranium-bearing solution to the surface. Facilities elsewhere process the uranium into nuclear fuel.
The proposal must be approved by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which is now taking public comment.
The global uranium market remains weak since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. Prices are about one-third of their 2007 peak.
Steve Hatten with Littleton, Colorado-based Ur-Energy (YOU’-are Energy) says prices could recover as Japan restarts more of its nuclear reactors.
LEAD, S.D. (AP) – The city of Lead over the past year has cut in half the amount of water being lost from the municipal water system each month.
A year ago, as much 10 million gallons of water was being lost each month due to leaks in the century-old water system. The Black Hills Pioneer reports (http://bit.ly/1LxIN5v ) that after 12 months, 25 leak repairs and seven fire hydrant replacements, the loss is down to 4 million gallon monthly.
City Utilities Supervisor Roger Thomas says that with “an antique water system, you’ve got to expect holes.” He says most water lines in the city were installed in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Thomas says some of the remaining lost water might not be lost at all, but attributable to inaccurate water meters.
Information from: Black Hills Pioneer, http://www.bhpioneer.com
Oshkosh, Neb. – A new partnership is demonstrating that conservationists and ranchers are looking at the future with similar hopes.
The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska bought the 840-acre Graves Ranch in Garden County in 1983 because its conservation value was so profound. For years, blowout penstemon was thought to be extinct, until 3,000 plants were discovered in the Sandhills – with a third of them on Graves Ranch.
Nearly four hours away, cattle used in the teaching program at the University of Nebraska’s College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) near in Curtis needed more pasture for the summer, said Ron Rosati, NCTA’s dean. The unique partnership using beef cattle and beginning ranchers began.
“We need large grazers to keep grasslands in good health, and that is especially true when one of your goals is blowout penstemon conservation,” said Jason Skold, director of conservation programs for The Nature Conservancy (TNC).
Since 2007, NCTA and industry partners have been helping young people get started in ranching through the 100 Cow Ownership Advantage Program. Approximately 80 students have enrolled in 100-Cow and nearly a third are ranching today in some ownership capacity.
Three major impediments to becoming established in ranching are lack of capital, lack of technical skills, and lack of assets.
This summer, TNC and NCTA created a partnership attempting to address both “lack of technical skills” and “lack of assets” typically challenging beginning ranchers.
“We appreciate The Nature Conservancy working with NCTA to help students overcome these obstacles,” Rosati said. NCTA students and instructors now have access to a wonderful, educational resource in Garden County.
NCTA has been expanding its successful 100 Cow program by adding a component through which students take ownership of a donated heifer during their academic career, and leave the NCTA campus upon graduation owning a bred heifer through “Heifer Link.”
In this first year, NCTA students are grazing cattle on TNC’s Graves Ranch, and are learning to change fencing/grazing patterns to meet habitat and conservation goals.
Additionally, a second partnership came about with the neighbors at the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge, a unit of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Because of the remote conditions and limited access to the Graves Ranch from campus, NCTA workers are allowed to stay at the refuge’s bunk houses, and use cattle load facilities, plus access across the pastures to the isolated ranch.
“Cultivating conservation values in the next generation of Nebraska ranchers has been a goal of NCTA from the start,” Rosati said. “This effort is an innovative way for students to apply their knowledge on-the-ground, making a real difference in the survival of an endangered species.”
Dr. Doug Smith, NCTA animal science professor, oversees the student programs which will include range management students determining stocking rates, cross fencing and pasture rotations. The students provide the labor and management.
In addition, equine students take NCTA horses on site to hone their trail riding and ranch horse skills, checking perimeter fencing and gathering cattle this fall to truck back to campus.
NCTA students also will use the program for livestock management internships and public education outreach.
Nebraska’s Nature Conservancy leaders and Rosati are fine-tuning the new agreement during a TNC board session this week in western Nebraska.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – The U.S. attorney’s office in Nebraska says it can’t determine whether state officials violated federal law in their efforts to obtain lethal injection drugs, so prosecutors have forwarded key documents to a watchdog agency for further review.
Prosecutors examined the documents at the request of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska. Danielle Conrad, the group’s executive director, said Friday she was pleased that prosecutors took the matter seriously.
The documents obtained by the group show state officials tried to obtain lethal injection drugs after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said they can’t be imported.
U.S. Attorney Deborah Gilg says in a letter that her office sent the documents to the FDA’s Office of the Inspector General, and will decide whether to take action based on that agency’s report.
The Wildcat Hills Nature Center south of Gering is closing for the season today (Friday, Sept. 18) as construction begins on a large addition to the center. Some services will be moved to a different location.
Although the center’s displays and merchandise will be put in storage during the construction, permits for hunting, fishing and park entry will be sold at the Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area’s shop two miles south along Nebraska Highway 71.
The park, including its campground, trails and picnic shelters, will remain open during construction. Park visitors can pay for an $8 camping site or $5 daily park entry permit at the metal cash box near the campground.
The center is undergoing a $2.375 million expansion, more than doubling the size of the existing 5,300-square-foot structure and bringing additional exhibit and multipurpose space. The construction is projected to be completed in late summer or early fall 2016, with the date of the center’s reopening to be determined later.
A wind-driven wildfire in Dawes County east of the village of Whitney burned nearly 1,800 acres of grassland Tuesday while firefighters from five volunteer fire departments, the U.S. Forest Service and two single engine air tankers (SEAT) worked to extinguish the blaze.
Nebraska Emergency Management Agency authorized use of the SEAT to fight what is being called the Lone Tree Fire at the request of Region 23 Emergency Management Director Nan Gould. Due to the size and speed of the fire, the SEAT out of Hot Springs, S.D. was also requested.
Acting Gov. Mike Foley signed an emergency declaration to pay for disaster response out of the Governor’s emergency fund. Gov. Pete Ricketts is out of the country on a trade mission to Japan.
“This was a wind-driven event,” said Chadron Volunteer Fire Department Chief Pat Gould. “The wind was primarily out of the southwest, however it kept switching directions. It pushed the fire northeast through some pretty tall grass.”
Incident Commander Brian Prosser, chief of the Crawford Volunteer Fire Department, reported that a mechanical failure on a hay baler was the likely cause of the fire.
Crawford, Chadron, Rushville, Hay Springs and Olerichs, S.D. volunteer fire departments responded and spent approximately four hours working the fire. The U.S. Forest Service provided additional engines and Dawes County maintenance used maintainers and water tenders to prevent the fire from spreading. The fire was contained by 6 p.m.
The Nebraska SEAT will be on call through at least Oct. 1 to respond to elevated fire risk in the region according to NEMA Assistant Director Bryan Tuma.
The Alliance Public Library Book Club will meet on Tuesday, September 22 at 1:00 p.m. in the back room of the library. The group will review “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. Books are available at the circulation desk for a $3.50 postage fee.
Sky View Golf Course will host the Gerald Bussinger Memorial Member/Member golf tournament on Sunday, September 20beginning at 10:00 a.m. Please call the golf course at 762-1446 for more information.
The City of Alliance currently has vacancies on the Board of Adjustment, A-1 Downtown Improvement Board, ex-officio positions on the Library Board and Hispanic representative on the Police Citizen Advisory Board. Information regarding all City boards is available at www.cityofalliance.net. If you are interested in serving on a board, please contact the City Clerk’s office at 762-5400.
Author Buck Wilder will be the special guest at Story Time at the Alliance Public Library on Tuesday, September 22nd at 10:00 a.m.! Mr. Wilder is the author of “The Small Fry Fishing Guide and The Small Twig Hiking and Camping Guide.” This program is provided by the Western Library System with the aid of a Nebraska Commission Youth Grant for Excellence.
This concludes the Activity Report brought to you by the City of Alliance and KCOW, working together to “Build the Best Hometown in America!”
Find us on the web at www.cityofalliance.net; on Facebook at City of Alliance, Nebraska or on Twitter @CityofAlliance!
Have a great weekend!
The Alliance Municipal Airport reports a total of 1.27 inch of rain fell in the Alliance area from a little before 9pm Thursday night to 6am Friday morning.
The Hemingford High School will dismiss at 1pm on Friday for homecoming. Go Bobcats! Buses will run accordingly.