News

Bureau of Land Management

A new rule proposed by the Bureau of Land Management could cut years off of lengthy land use planning debate. The agency said “Planning 2.0” would streamline procedures that have taken up to eight years in the past.

A major component of the initiative includes more opportunities for early public involvement, rather than later on when the agency has already spent years working on a plan.

Tom Rullman

Large drones may soon be flying in and out of the Powell Municipal Airport. The state of Wyoming might help with the cost of a drone manufacturing plant there. If so, it will be one of the first public airports in the nation to allow drones and manned aircraft in the same airspace.

Powell’s Municipal airport, on the top of Polecat Bench, is relatively quiet much of the time.

Henry Mulligan

  

 

Yellowstone National Park officials said at a meeting in Nevada last week that their wild bison population is larger than ever, with over 5,000 animals in the herd. This could be a challenge for the park, which is charged with controlling the numbers that migrate into Montana. The park met with a group of federal and state agencies to discuss updates to their Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP). 

 

Stephanie Joyce

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead is pushing for the expansion of a tax credit that supports carbon capture and enhanced oil recovery. 

University of Wyoming

Wyoming lawmakers will soon be asked to add a University of Wyoming non-voting ex-officio member to the State Board of Education. The legislature’s Joint Education Committee voted to sponsor a bill that would make that possible. Jim Rose currently sits on the board on behalf of the community colleges.  

Board of Education Chair Pete Gosar said it only makes sense to have higher education members on the board.

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Dec 5, 2016

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PETER FRANZ / Flickr

The Wyoming Department of Health is asking for public input on tobacco sales violations, especially businesses selling to people under the age of 18. According to the national standard, each state is expected to keep the number of tobacco venders that have violated the laws below 20 percent.

According Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center’s Laran Despain, Wyoming’s violation rate since 2000 has been well below that with an average of 8 percent.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Cowboys will play for their first conference title in 23 years Saturday when the Pokes host San Diego State in the Mountain West Conference Championship football game. Wyoming beat San Diego State two weeks ago 34 to 33. Cowboys head coach Craig Bohl said he expects another battle.

Bureau of Land Management / Flickr

Wyoming Republicans were dealt a setback in their efforts to keep sage grouse off the federal endangered species list.

House Republicans were able to include a provision in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act that would prohibit the federal government from changing the conservation status of sage grouse for the next decade. But the provision was left out of the final bill when House leaders negotiated a final bill with their Senate counterparts. That didn’t sit well with members of the lower chamber.

Celia Talbot Tobin / Inside Energy

  

Protesters have been camped out on federal land at the Dakota Access construction site in North Dakota for months, and now winter has arrived, dumping almost two feet of snow on the encampment the last week of November. The winter storm hit just before news that president-elect Donald Trump indicated he supports completion of the pipeline.

Bob Beck

  

Over the last several years a number of right leaning activist groups have gotten themselves heavily involved in Republican politics in the state. WyWatch was a group that pushed anti-abortion and family value legislation and Wyoming Gun Owners pushed for expanded gun rights. But the group with perhaps the biggest impact is the Wyoming Liberty Group.  

Wyoming State Archives

In recent years, more and more bills have been introduced in Wyoming’s legislature that would transfer the management of federal public lands into the state control. In fact, legislators will discuss a constitutional amendment to allow state management of public lands in Cheyenne on December 14.

Maggie Mullen

 

It’s an unseasonably warm November day in Wyoming, and a small group of Bureau of Land Management employees is out in the Checkerboard, just east of Rock Springs. Like a lot of Wyoming, it’s arid with wide open spaces. They’re looking for wild horses. Leading the way is Jay D’Ewart, who works with wild horses for the Rock Springs field office.

“Besides the paperwork,” says D’Ewart. “I’m the eyes and ears for the wild horses out here on the range.”

Alexis Bonogofsky

For as long as 75-year-old Dick Baldes can remember, his tribe has tried to bring wild bison back to the Wind River Indian Reservation.

“Some of the old timers would talk about that and how important the bison was. I mean, that’s always been that way,” said Baldes.

Winter Is The Time For The Best Wolf Howling

Dec 2, 2016
NPS / Neal Herbert

Winter in Yellowstone National Park has become a time for people to get a better look at Yellowstone’s wolf population. It’s also a great time to hear the wolves howl. Jennifer Jerrett produced this piece from Yellowstone.  

Associated Press

Northern Arapahoe Schools have launched an iPad application that will help teach both children and teachers the Arapahoe language.

Currently only one percent of Northern Arapaho members speak their language fluently. To grow that number, last May schools gave students in Pre-K through 12th grade 450 iPads installed with a new app that teaches the Arapaho Language.

In our language, our words are strong, they are powerful,” said Wayne C’Hair, an Arapaho elder.

“Sometimes it takes four English words to make one Arapaho word.”

Neltje

The celebrated Wyoming artist Neltje has led a storied life. Her new memoir, North of Crazy, chronicles her journey from high society to the high plains.

As the daughter of famed publisher Nelson Doubleday, Neltje had a privileged upbringing, growing up in her family’s homes in New York, Long Island, and South Carolina.

But as an adult, she left society life and moved to her adopted home near Sheridan, where she still lives. Neltje spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer.

Stephanie Joyce

The federal Department of Energy has awarded the University of Wyoming $2.4 million dollars for two carbon capture studies.

The grants will be used to research the potential for commercial-scale carbon capture and storage at the Jim Bridger power plant near Rock Springs and the Dry Fork Station near Gillette.

Previous studies have identified the Rock Springs uplift as an ideal location for storing large volumes of carbon dioxide. These grants are intended to move beyond the technical specifications. 

Wikipedia

The Wyoming Supreme Court has ruled that government agencies can charge media organizations and individuals for certain costs associated with producing electronic public records.

Mike Hepler, NOLS PR & marketing intern

Outdoor recreation is one of the top three money making industries in Wyoming, and a new organization hopes to help grow that potential even further. The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and Flitner Strategies in Jackson have recently partnered to form the Wyoming Outdoor Business Association. 

Flitner Strategies President Sara Flitner said one thing most Wyomingites agree on is their love for Wyoming’s great outdoors.

WYOMING GAME AND FISH DEPARTMENT

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department are using a new technology this year to track the movement of the non-native burbot fish in the Green River drainage.

PIT tags, or passive integrated transponder, are inserted into the fish’s belly which can be monitored by antennas to record when a fish moves upstream.

According to John Walrath, Green River fisheries biologist, burbot feed mostly on other fish, causing concern for native populations of the river such as smallmouth bass, bluehead, and flannelmouth suckers.

Americana Duo Sally & George On Wyoming Sounds

Dec 1, 2016
Grady Kirkpatrick

Sally & George on 11/23/16 during Wyoming Public Radio's Wyoming Sounds.

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead says the state’s biggest future budget concern is K-12 education funding. During a news conference discussing his current budget request, the governor said school funding could face a shortfall of over $600 million in the next budget cycle.  

To address the issue the governor is once again pushing to create a task force that would focus on school funding issues. He said the task force needs to include parents and educators.              

Bob Beck

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead unveiled a mostly flat supplemental budget that features no new budget cuts.

The governor is proposing limited spending, using only a small portion of the legislature’s rainy day fund for things like Title 25 that addresses those with mental health issues, and a contingency fund for corrections. He put forth bonding as a way to fix problems with the prison in Rawlins.  

Stephanie Joyce

West Virginia has settled a suit with Alpha Natural Resources over inaccurate revenue projections included in the coal company’s bankruptcy plan. In early November the state accused Alpha’s former top executives of fraud after it came to light that the company had $100 million dollars in undisclosed liabilities on its balance sheet. Those executives now work for Contura, which owns Alpha’s former mines in Wyoming.

The Wyoming Legislature's Joint Education committee is drafting two pieces of legislation that could significantly reduce the amount of money that school districts get through the school funding model.  

One would raise the class sizes in the funding model, which would lead to the reduction of millions of dollars that currently flow to school districts. Sweetwater County School District two is based in Green River. 

Flickr creative commons

Following the election, family planning centers in Wyoming say they saw a sharp increase in women seeking long-term contraceptives. But that surge has not been accompanied by increased funding for the cash-strapped clinics.

Nationwide, donations have poured into reproductive health organizations like Planned Parenthood, but in Wyoming, there is only one Planned Parenthood clinic, in Casper.

Wyoming saw higher rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and other sexual transmitted diseases in 2015 compared to reports from the previous year, according to recent data released by the Department of Health.

The report shows a 3 percent increase in chlamydia cases and a 150 percent rise in gonorrhea. Young people aged 15 to 24 accounted for a majority of these infections, which health officials say can have lasting health impacts.

WYDOT

Avalanches can be dangerous and shut down highways on many of the roads going in and out of the Jackson area, especially on Highway 191 through Hoback Canyon. But in the last few years, the Wyoming Department of Transportation has been installing new technology there that’s helped control the problem.

Avalanche technician Jamie Yount said in 2013, they installed the first remotely controlled avalanche exploders in North America. He said the new equipment now allows WYDOT to trigger avalanches on their own schedule and on a closed highway.

USFWS Mountain Prairie

A scientist says more than 6,000 deer are hit and killed on Wyoming roads each year, causing more than $50 million in injuries and damage to cars and wildlife. One scientist is studying the new nighttime speed limits to see if they really work.

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