September was National Mortgage Professional Month, and First Northern Bank of Wyoming celebrated by introducing each of their mortgage lenders on Facebook.
One such real estate expert is Ashley Jastren, one of our Chamber Energizers and a 2018 graduate of our Gillette Area Leadership Institute.
"I have two wonderful boys, Joshua (7 years old) and Landon (3 years old). We also have two dogs, Brudus and Buddie," Ashley writes. "When I'm not working, I enjoy spending time with my family. We all enjoy camping, fishing, and anything outdoors."
Ashley also volunteers in community food drives and for the Salvation Army.
A comment and a like on Ashley's bio (or one of their other three home lenders) earned you a chance at winning a $1200 mortgage payment for October. The winner was Ashley Musselman Kolb. Congrats to both Ashleys!
The Wyoming Farmers' Market Association is heading in to their twelfth year hosting an annual conference for local farmer's markets.
This year the program will kick off with "Foodpreneur" Marty Butts, owner of Small Potatoes, a national marketing, advocacy and consulting firm that specializes in working with small scale and start-up food product companies seeking to launch and grow their businesses. Marty will discuss how to start production, market and SELL your food products.
The conference will also feature specialists from the University of Wyoming like Cole Ehmke, and presenters like Tate Belden, founder of the Natrona County Beekeeper's Association. For those of you interested in greenhouses, a "Dome Greenhouse Building Workshop" will be offered starting Friday afternoon. The conference is September 28 - 29 in Casper, and you can find a schedule and more information at WyomingFarmersMarkets.org. Registration for the conference is $50 for both days, and includes lunches.
Where can you learn web design, hone your Microsoft skills, and get tips on succession planning for your business?
The Campbell County Public Library System, specifically Campbell County Public Library and Wright Branch Library, is the correct answer.
The learning opportunities offered by your libraries now extend beyond the buildings themselves to online. They are accessible from office and home, and it’s free to cardholders.
Lynda.com is a website with more than 3,000 courses and more than 130,000 videos from web design, marketing and media production, to business essentials. It typically costs $24.99 a month to subscribe to the site. But cardholders at any county library can get all of Lynda’s content for free. The idea is to give patrons another way to continue learning when the libraries are closed or when they cannot make a visit.
“You can learn things from online marketing to word processing skills. There's a boatload of information there in the database,” says Adult Program Coordinator Genevieve Schlekeway.
Patrons can get to Lynda.com by logging in through the library’s website with their library card and pin numbers. After creating an account – which only requires a name and e-mail address – users are set. They can watch any videos, create playlists, download course files and bookmark pages.
Once signed up, library members can get access to Lynda at the library, on their desktop computers or on their mobile devices. The only caveat is that they must use a web browser, not the Lynda app.
“We’re excited to be able to offer the opportunity to use the library’s services without necessarily being in the building,” said CCPLS Executive Director Terri Lesley. “We want to be accessible to patrons on their own time and at their own pace.”
The Lynda.com videos are more in-depth and have higher production values than many tutorials on YouTube, library Lesley said. The website is owned by LinkedIn.
To get free Lynda.com access as a Campbell County Public Library System cardholder, visit: ccpls.info/Lynda
The Bureau of Land Management High Plains District Office is releasing the Wright Area Coal Leasing 10th Circuit Court Remand Draft Environmental Assessment for a 30-day public comment period. The BLM values input from stakeholders and the communities we serve, and we will consider input we receive during this comment period as we finalize the EA.
BLM Wyoming is preparing this EA in response to a 2017 District Court order requiring the BLM to revise its original environmental analysis of leasing coal in the North Hilight and South Hilight fields in Campbell County, Wyoming, in the Powder River Basin.
The BLM issued a decision in 2012 approving leasing in both areas, and subsequently leased the South Hilight Field. The North Hilight Field remains unleased. A 10th Circuit District Court decision determined that in its analysis, the BLM did not properly consider the decision’s impacts to carbon dioxide emissions, so the BLM is reviewing and revising its analysis to account for the market effect and carbon impacts of leasing the coal. Through its multiple-use mission, the BLM strives to support economic growth and responsible energy development in balance with other important uses of public lands.
The Draft EA is available for review at the following link: https://go.usa.gov/xntFJ. The BLM is accepting comments on the Draft EA for 30 days, through Sept. 1, 2018. Comments may be submitted by mail to Bureau of Land Management, High Plains District Office, Attn: Sarah Bucklin, 2987 Prospector Drive, Casper, WY 82604; or online at https://go.usa.gov/xntFJ.
All comments, including personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. The BLM will not consider anonymous comments.
Questions may be directed to Sarah Bucklin, Project Coordinator, at 307-261-7541.
(Via the Wyoming Taxpayers Association) The co-chairmen of the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG) released their quarterly update on Friday, July 27, highlighting the state's revenue collections by major source. The report provides a comparison of revenue collections received from July 1, 2017 through June 2018 to the annual projections made in the January 2018 Wyoming State Government Revenue Forecast.
The report indicates actual General Fund (GF) and Budget Reserve Account (BRA) revenue collections are exceeding the forecasted pace by $56.5 million or 4.4 percent through June 2018 ($315.7 million, or 24.7 percent, ahead when including capital gains and losses).
Sales and use taxes directed to the GF are ahead of the forecast pace by $27.1 million, or 6.1 percent. This is especially important since sales and use tax revenue is both the largest revenue category for the GF and a vital revenue source for cities, towns, and counties. Year-over-year statewide sales and use tax collections are up across the majority of the state, with only four counties (Crook, Goshen, Washakie, and Weston), as well as a handful of municipalities, recording year-over-year declines for FY 2018.
You can read the entire report here.
According to the Wyoming Department of Administration & Information, total taxable sales in Wyoming grew 17.9 percent to $3.9 billion in the first quarter of 2018, based on sales and use tax collections.
"Increases occurred in most economic industries, with the largest boost in mining (including oil & gas extraction),
which accounted for over one-third of the total increase. The mining sector experienced a year-over-year expansion of 45.1 percent due to increased sales of equipment, supplies, and services from new energy exploration and production activity (Wyoming does not impose sales tax on the production of minerals)."
The sales tax figures for this quarter are still 45.3% less than the first quarter of 2014, which was before the overall energy production downturn. Because more than 1/6 of collections come from mining, changes in sales and use tax collections have greatly fluctuated due to changes in mineral activities. Construction was an industry that experienced a decline, however.
"Manufacturing, wholesale trade, and machinery & equipment leasing, and other services sectors, which are closely related to mineral extraction, each increased around 20.0 percent. The public administration sector, which reflects automobile sales, showed an increase of 7.1 percent over the year. The retail trade industry, the largest in terms of sales tax contribution, grew 15.5 percent. Across the state, 21 out of 23 counties experienced increases in taxable sales, led by Converse County (64.2%). Two other counties, Sublette and Platte, demonstrated over 30.0 percent expansions, respectively. Counties with large numbers of mineral activities generally experienced faster growth due to increased drilling. "
You can read the entire report for the first quarter of 2018 by clicking here.
The Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Division is proposing changes that will affect the Division’s rules, regulations and fee schedule. These proposals include modifications to the Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Rules, Regulations and Fee Schedules.The Department proposes to update Chapter 13 (Presumption of Disability for Certain Diseases), due to a new statute change.
This chapter addresses the authority and hearing requirements for firefighters applying for workers’ compensation benefits. In 2017, the Wyoming Legislature passed a new statute that provides specifics regarding firefighters seeking disability or compensation for job-related injuries or diseases.
The Workers Comp rule states that hearings for firefighters applying for workers' compensation benefits will proceed under the Wyoming Administrative Procedure Act. The statute that passed last year was very specific and detailed in the sorts of diseases that firefighters in Wyoming are covered for, and the procedures with which they can seek compensation, therefore the Workforce rules are very brief.
Nonetheless, the Department is seeking the public's input on these changes. The public comment period will end at close of business on August 15, 2018.
Via traditional mail, send comments to:
Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Division
1510 East Pershing Boulevard
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Or via email to: email@example.com.
The proposed rules may be downloaded, free of charge, by clicking here.
Mike Wandler, president of L&H Industrial, has a lot he can say about his family business. The company has grown from a six-man welding shop in Gillette, Wyoming to a global manufacturer of heavy industrial equipment with over 500 employees worldwide. Changing the direction of L&H from servicing just oil fields to manufacturing machinery is what catapulted the company in to international notoriety.
When NASA realized it needed to bring its shuttle transport system out of the 1960s, it was Wandler, L&H, and a subcontractor called Vencore that they turned to.
"The task that NASA tasked Vencore and us with is to increase the carrying capacity of that machine by six million pounds," Wandler told Forward Sheridan about the project last year.
The NASA Crawler Transporter is the biggest land vehicle on Earth, capable of hauling 20 million pounds of rocket to the launchpad. L&H's design increases carrying capacity by 30 percent, relying on the strength of the undercarriages they can build almost entirely in-house.
In his upcoming presentation brought to you by the Rockpile Museum and the Campbell County Public Library, Wandler will discuss L&H’s current work in the fields of mining, oil and gas, and railroads, and what the future might hold for these industries in Wyoming. This program is held in conjunction with the traveling Smithsonian exhibit, The Way We Worked, which is currently open at the Rockpile Museum.
"Past, Present, and Future" will take place July 12th at 7 p.m. at the Campbell County Public Library. You can see the full series event list here.
This year's class of the Gillette Area Leadership Institute graduated at the Gillette College Tech Center on June 13. Guest speaker Jillian Balow, the Wyoming Department of Education's Superintendent, addressed the graduates and encouraged them to always be looking for opportunities to lead.
"It's not always glamorous to be a leader," she said. "It's about being a part of something much bigger than ourselves, every single day."
Balow graduated high school from Campbell County, and was a teacher here and in Hulett for ten years before being elected to the State Superintendent position in 2014. She spoke about the importance of local government, and how it's critical for those who want to be community leaders to talk to their school board, city councilors and county commissioners about the decisions that may affect their future.
"It's really important that you're connected to those folks," she said. "Come to the table with some kind of solution to offer up, because we truly care about hearing from you, and you do make an impact."
Balow is one of five statewide elected positions (along with the Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, and Auditor), and stated that even though she's an educator, she sits on many different sorts of boards, like the State Loan and Investment Board, which is part of the Wyoming Business Council.
"I know more about water towers and sewer systems than I ever thought I would need to know as an educator. But what makes a difference is when we hear from you all in the community."
She stressed that it's very important that all five state elected positions be accessible to Wyoming residents, because hearing what is important to you is a responsibility she feels they have to have, in order to make our communities stronger.
"Don't ever discredit yourself or your worth in sharing what you're passionate about."
If you're interested in applying for the next G.A.L.I. class (which starts in September,) applications are available on our website and are due to be returned to the Chamber by July 16.
You can see more photos from today's graduation on our Facebook page.
The Q2 MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index (Index) released May 30 recorded an overall score of 68.7, up 2.4 points from the Q1 score of 66.3, driven in part by the strongest local economic outlook on record, a firmer hiring environment, and a stronger backdrop for investing. Two out of every three small business owners are optimistic about their company and the small business environment in the United States, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Metlife.