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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 85,722

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

'North of 1,700' freshman head to campus, UW dealing with capacity issue in dorms

University of Wyoming spokesman Chad Baldwin said Friday the school is expecting “north of 1,700” freshman to attend classes this fall.

In July, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Kyle Moore predicted the number would be 1,750, a 3 percent increase over fall 2017.

Getting a firm number on a freshman class size is difficult until classes are in full swing. Some students who enroll never show up.

In August 2017, UW estimated the class starting that fall could include 1,750 students. But when the official numbers came in on the 15th day of classes, the freshman class was only 1,696.

Read more: http://www.laramieboomerang.com/news/north-of-freshman-head-to-campus-uw-dealing-with-capacity/article_f571d88c-a82d-11e8-86c6-dbada32fe708.html

Rawlins City Council plans to discuss moving funds from Bank of the West

RAWLINS — Bank of the West could soon lose Rawlins City Council’s support and funds, following the corporate decision to withdraw their own support from oil, gas and tobacco tied companies.

City Council currently has an estimated $9 million at the local branch and next Tuesday plans to discuss moving the money.

BW, which is affiliated with French Company BNP Paribas, released a statement on their website – www.bankofthewest/change – a few weeks ago, saying they want to invest in financially and support the industries that make the most impact in advancing diversity, entrepreneurship programs, small businesses and sustainable energy.

The corporation said they will not finance Arctic oil and gas exploration or production projects, coal mines, and coal fire-powered power plants not actively involved in lowering emission rates. The corporation further said it would no longer do business with companies whose main activity involves shale or tar sand mining.

Read more: https://www.rawlinstimes.com/news/local/city-council-plans-to-discuss-moving-funds-from-bank-of/article_6c11b5a8-d46c-5256-a50b-4facc43628c4.html

Two Elk fraudster Michael J. Ruffatto locked up

Two Elk power plant promoter Michael J. Ruffatto reported to a minimum security federal prison in California this week to begin serving an 18-month sentence for stealing $5.7 million from a 2009-2010 Department of Energy research grant in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.

A spokesperson for the federal Bureau of Prisons said Tuesday Aug. 28 that Ruffatto had been assigned to the United States Penitentiary Lompoc “minimum security satellite prison camp” in Santa Barbara County.

Ruffatto, 72, requested the Lompoc facility at his June 27 sentencing hearing in Pittsburgh. The camp’s 400 inmates live in dormitory style housing in some cases without perimeter fencing. The prison news service PrisonWire describes the Lompoc camp as being “as close as you can get to not feeling like the inmate is incarcerated.” The camp offers programs where selected inmates can work outside the camp in the local community.

In addition to prison time, Ruffatto still owes the federal government more than $8 million in restitution and civil penalties, including $2,019,281.92 that is due before the end of the year.

Read more: https://www.wyofile.com/two-elk-fraudster-michael-j-ruffatto-locked-up/

Senate revenue chairman Peterson ousted over school funding

Sen. Ray Peterson (R-Cowley) lost his reelection bid last week, halting a 13-year Senate career and ensuring the Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee will see new leadership at a critical point in the state’s reluctant consideration of its tax structure.

Peterson, along with Rep. Mike Madden (R-Buffalo), who is retiring at the end of this term, guided the Joint Revenue Committee through nearly two years of contentious discussions about Wyoming’s unbalanced tax structure. Their departure means a lawmaker from each body will have to step into arguably the least politically desirable committee leadership roles in the Wyoming Legislature.

At a June 2017 revenue committee meeting, Peterson, who also served on the Select School Finance Recalibration Committee that examined education funding including teacher salaries, joked about his reelection prospects. “I’m Senator Peterson and I’m the one raising your taxes and cutting your wages,” he said. “Vote for me.”

The quip proved prescient.

Ultimately, it was Peterson’s positions on public education that killed his reelection prospects. Most notably, Peterson shouldered a Senate bill that at one point threatened to reduce funding for K-12 schools by $114 million.

Read more: https://www.wyofile.com/senate-revenue-chair-peterson-ousted-over-school-funding/

Fire near Wheatland grows to nearly 19,000 acres; one residence presumed lost

WHEATLAND — A wildfire burning west of Wheatland has grown to nearly 19,000 acres and is presumed to have destroyed at least one residence, authorities said Tuesday.

Shifting winds and rugged terrain have made fighting the blaze difficult for fire crews. About 200 firefighters are now on scene and approximately a dozen agencies are providing support. Four helicopters and an airplane are also working the fire.

The Britania Fire has destroyed some structures, and authorities believe one home was consumed. However, confirmation has been difficult because the terrain and fire conditions have blocked firefighters from reaching some areas.

Rural structures are being threatened by the fire, but a spokesman could not yet say whether the threatened buildings are cabins or ranch homes.

Read more: https://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/fire-near-wheatland-grows-to-nearly-acres-one-residence-presumed/article_40602ce2-b398-543c-ad39-5ac8c38ee6ca.html

Feds approve 3,500-well gas project in western Wyoming

With a nod from federal regulators Tuesday, Jonah Energy’s 3,500-well natural gas project in Sublette County took a leap forward.

The ambitious scope of the Normally Pressured Lance natural gas project is expected to serve as an long-term economic boon while creating new conservation challenges in western Wyoming.

The project is one of the largest to be approved on public land in Wyoming and could contribute up to $17 billion in revenue over its 40-year lifespan, according to Bureau of Land Management estimates. In federal royalties alone, NPL is projected to bring in $2.2 billion, half of which would go to the state. Development could spur the creation of nearly 1,000 jobs, while up to 7 trillion cubic feet of gas could be tapped over the next four decades.


The Bureau of Land Management approved a version of the company’s original proposal Tuesday complete with an analysis of NPL’s potential environmental effects.

Read more: https://trib.com/business/energy/feds-approve--well-gas-project-in-western-wyoming/article_3e745591-beea-5f4e-ac25-324673be46ce.html#tracking-source=home-top-story

Boulder spinal surgeon pleads guilty to bankruptcy fraud

The Boulder spinal surgeon accused of bankruptcy fraud has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors that could result in more than two years of prison time.

Dr. Cathleen Van Buskirk pleaded guilty to one count of bankruptcy fraud on Friday, according to court documents. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped the remaining charges of concealment of bankruptcy assets, fraudulent transfer and concealment, and money laundering.

According to the plea agreement, prosecutors will not ask for more than 33 months in prison for the bankruptcy fraud charge, which typically can carry up to five years in prison.

But court documents also show that the two sides are in disagreement about the maximum prison sentence a judge can impose on Van Buskirk, given her guilty plea. Prosecutors calculate that Van Buskirk could be sentenced to up 37 months while defense attorneys calculated she could be sentenced to a maximum of 24 months.

Read more: http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-county-news/ci_32098049/boulder-spinal-surgeon-pleads-guilty-bankruptcy-fraud

Colorado State University wins retaliation lawsuit brought by ex-prof

A jury took just over two hours to rule CSU did not violate the law in its dealings with a former professor who sued for retaliation after she complained she was sexually harassed.

The jury of two women and four men unanimously ruled computer science professor Christina Boucher engaged in protected action when she complained about sexual harassment and the culture for women in the computer sciences department and filed a complaint with the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity.

But it found Boucher suffered no adverse actions because of it and awarded no damages. Boucher was seeking more than $500,000 in damages for the emotional distress she said she suffered because of CSU’s action.

Boucher, who now teaches at the University of Florida, was not in the Larimer County District Courtroom when the verdict was read just before 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Read more: https://www.coloradoan.com/story/money/2018/08/28/ex-colorado-state-university-professor-christina-boucher-loses-retaliation-suit/1127563002/

Xcel gets green light from Colorado for $2.5 billion clean energy plan

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission on Monday approved a $2.5 billion plan by Xcel Energy to close coal-fired power plants and add a hefty dose of wind and solar generation so that 55 percent of the utility’s electricity will come from clean energy by 2026.

Xcel, Colorado’s largest electricity provider with 3.2 million customers, got the OK from regulators to close two units at its Comanche Station plant in Pueblo 10 years ahead of schedule as part of its Colorado Energy Plan.

The units, with a total of 660 megawatts, will be closed by 2026. A third Comanche unit will continue to operate.

Switching from coal-fired electricity to cheaper wind and solar will save customers around $200 million by 2054, according to company and Public Utilities Commission estimates.

Read more: https://gazette.com/state-politics/xcel-gets-green-light-from-colorado-for-billion-clean-energy/article_c2078604-aa53-11e8-a0cd-7f990041a45e.html

ACLU sends letters to 31 Colorado cities, demanding repeal of anti-panhandling laws

The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado sent letters to 31 cities across the state on Tuesday demanding a repeal of panhandling restrictions.

Letters challenging ordinances were sent to: Aguilar, Alma, Berthoud, Blue River, Brush, Central City, Columbine Valley, Commerce City, De Beque, Del Norte, Estes Park, Fairplay, Frederick, Garden City, Granby, Idaho Springs, Julesburg, La Jara, Mancos, New Castle, Ouray, Palisade, Paonia, Rangley, Timnath, Victor, Wellington, WIndsor, Wray and Yuma, according to an ACLU Colorado news release.

“These outdated ordinances, which prohibit peaceful, nonintrusive requests for charity, must be taken off the books,” said ACLU of Colorado Staff Attorney Rebecca Wallace. “As courts across the country, and here in Colorado, have recognized, a plea for help is a communication that is protected by the First Amendment. An outstretched hand can convey human suffering, can remind passersby of the gap between rich and poor, and in some cases, can highlight a lack of jobs and social services.”

A federal court in Colorado sided with the state’s ACLU in 2015, striking down a Grand Junction ordinance that restricted how individuals and organizations could ask for charity.

Read more: https://www.denverpost.com/2018/08/28/aclu-panhandling-restrictions-colorado/
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