News

Maggie Mullen

Women’s March Wyoming organizers are working to ensure safety after a potentially threatening comment was left on a Facebook post about the Cheyenne march. The comment referenced “claymores” and “c4” – types of explosives – saying they would come in handy at a march.

APA Consulting

Education is underfunded in Wyoming, according to a new report from consultants contracted by the Select Committee on School Finance to take an in-depth look at the state’s educational program.

 

UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING

New research at the University of Wyoming shows that allowing hunters to kill more female bighorn sheep produces larger trophy rams. The study looks at data from hunting seasons in 12 states and Canada.

Holly Copeland / The Nature Conservancy

In the first quarter of 2018, the Bureau of Land Management will place seven times more acres of sage grouse habitat on sale in Wyoming for oil and gas drilling than it did during the same time last year. Holly Copeland, conservation scientist with The Nature Conservancy, crunched the numbers.

Wyoming Department of Education

In the final hours of the 120 day review period, the U.S. Department of Education notified Wyoming officials that the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act Plan had been approved.

AMY MARTIN

The Yellowstone National Park has initiated a criminal investigation into the release of bison from a quarantine facility. Early Tuesday morning, park officials discovered 52 bison missing. Park officials said the bison were able to leave the containment area through a cut fence, suggesting someone explicitly freed the bison.

 

Willow Belden

Last year, the Wyoming Range mule deer herd died in incredibly high numbers because of record-breaking snow depths. That same snow, however, meant extra deep grasses for the surviving deer, according to Wyoming Game and Fish Department biologist Gary Fralick.

Fralick is part of the Wyoming Range Mule Deer Project’s effort to understand why the population has been declining there. He said the 2017 winterkill was the worst since the 1980s, but the hope is that this year’s (so-far) mild winter might mean the start of a recovery.

commons.wikimedia.org

A proposal to increase the recommended average class size in Wyoming schools is part of what lawmakers are reviewing in preparation for the 2018 Legislative Budget Session. Increasing class size has been discussed by policy makers as way to reduce costs.

 

The Park County School District #6 school board in Cody voted Tuesday to table the first reading of a policy which would allow employees to carry firearms. The decision to postpone further action comes with the condition that the board send out a survey to teachers and the community within the next month.

During the meeting, board members expressed concern that budget and insurance questions posed by the public were still unanswered.

Town of Thayne's website

A lawsuit against the town of Thayne accuses its Mayor and town council members of discriminating against a married gay couple because of their sexual orientation.

According to the lawsuit, Rusty and Marc Andrus bought “Rustlers Restaurant and Saloon” in 2015, and brought the building back up to the proper electrical and fire codes, and added restrooms, handicap accessibility, and a full commercial kitchen.

But when the couple approached the town of Thayne to get a liquor license, the suit says they were the focus of discrimination. 

POWDER RIVER BASIN RESOURCE COUNCIL

Mineral extraction companies owe Wyoming counties more than $42 million in back taxes, fees, and penalties, according to a new report from the Powder River Basin Resource Council. The publication looked at 12 counties in Wyoming from 2006 to 2016.

Bob Beck

Last year the governor set up the Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming Council, better known as ENDOW.

After a few months of touring the state and meetings, ENDOW has developed a list of recommendations to start setting the stage for diversifying the economy. Greg Hill is the Chairman of Endow and he tells Bob Beck why ENDOW is different from past economic development efforts. 

Bob Beck

Last year Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke infuriated Democrats when he announced intentions to cut about one third or about 4,000 people from his department. When Congress mostly rejected that plan in its funding bills, Zinke then focused more on a plan to reshape the department by moving key offices out West, to places like Denver. New Mexico Democratic Senator Tom Udall is dubious.

“It looks to me more like a dismantling rather than a reorganization, so I’m very worried about it.”

Courtesy FlorenceWilliams. com

For her popular book, The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative, Florence Williams traveled the world talking to researchers, practitioners and real people who rely on nature to thrive.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

  

Back in November, conservative radio talk show host Dennis Prager spoke to a packed audience at the University of Wyoming. After the applause died down a bit, he said, “I’m sure not all of you feel that enthusiastic about seeing me but nevertheless…”

And it was true. Many students weren’t enthusiastic for him to come, calling some of his talks racist and sexist. In fact, they argued university money shouldn’t be used to pay for such controversial speakers.

Tennessee Watson

The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act was one of the bipartisan triumphs of 2017. Referred to as the “Forever GI Bill,” it makes significant changes to education benefits for service members and veterans, like no longer requiring them to use their benefits within 15 years of active-duty service. But supporting veterans in higher education is more complicated than just giving them more time.

 

Marty Martinez spent 29 years in the military before coming to the University of Wyoming.

 

DXR

A coal company and an oil and gas company are stuck in legal limbo over who has superior rights on overlapping federal leases in the Powder River Basin. The case has been bandied back and forth in federal court, state court, district court… but in the end, who should settle this debate? Cheyenne oil and gas attorney Kris Koski, who is not involved in the case, helps give deeper analysis about what the controversy and potential resolution means for Wyoming.

 

University of Wyoming

After years of going without one, the University of Wyoming has hired a new Native American Program Advisor. President Laurie Nichols has said the goal is to try to increase the Native student enrollment so that it better reflects the Native population in the state.

Photo by Wally Gobetz via Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Cheyenne Capital Chorale is accustomed to performing at 6,000 feet; they've been doing it for sixty years. But this winter, they'll have the benefit of a little more oxygen. On January 15, nine members of the Chorale will be performing the works of Sir Karl Jenkins at Carnegie Hall in New York City. 

Barb Boyer is a board member of the Chorale and one of the representatives headed to New York. She told Wyoming Public Radio's Annie Osburn that this performance will be a bit different for the Chorale.   

Tennessee Watson

As Wyoming policymakers prepare for the 2018 Budget Session, in which education will be a big topic, teachers are stepping up efforts to make their voices heard.

On Thursday evening, teachers and community members gathered in the backroom of a Laramie restaurant for a postcard writing party.

 

A male Sage Grouse (also known as the Greater Sage Grouse) in the USA
Pacific Southwest Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from Sacramento, US

Three environmental organizations joined together to file an administrative appeal Thursday to protest against an oil and gas lease sale proposed by the Bureau of Land Management.

The federal public land up for auction in March is located along the Yellowstone River and borders the Yellowstone National Park gateway community of Livingston, Montana. The Wilderness Society, Montana Wilderness Association, and Park County Environmental Council believe leases in the region threaten the outdoor economy.

Yellowstone National Park, public domain

Wyoming Game and Fish plans to capture wolves for monitoring purposes beginning this month and continuing throughout the year.

The state took over wolf management in April of 2017 after the animals were removed from the Endangered Species List. Now, Wyoming Game and Fish is following the same management plan that was put in place the last time wolves were briefly taken off the list, in 2012.

Graphics from SANS. Altered by Tennessee Watson

Jobs in cybersecurity are in high demand, and Governor Matt Mead is encouraging young people in Wyoming to explore the field, especially young women.

 

The governor has announced Wyoming will now participate in the “High School Girls CyberStart Challenge” — a cybersecurity competition for junior and seniors in the form of an online game. In the simulation, players are cyber agents responsible for protecting a base. The idea is to get girls interested in the cybersecurity field, where women are generally underrepresented.

 

Supreme Court, State of Wyoming

The Wyoming Supreme Court says a mineral rights case involving overlapping federal leases in the Powder River Basin cannot be resolved without intervention from a federal agency. The court is now sending it back to a Wyoming district court.

Wyoming Humanities Council

The artwork of 31 of the Middle East's premier contemporary women artists is coming to Jackson. “I AM” is an international traveling exhibit focusing on the contributions that Middle Eastern women make to local and global culture, and movements for peace and harmony.  

It’s already made stops in Jordan, London and Washington DC, and will open at the Center for the Arts in Jackson on Friday evening.

 

Ryan Stanley

Quick recovery is key to avalanche survival. Experts say that 93 percent of avalanche victims can be recovered alive if they are dug out within the first 15 minutes, but after that, the likelihood of survival declines drastically. That’s why wearing avalanche beacons and knowing how to use them is an absolute must for backcountry enthusiasts.

 

Downtown Development Authority of Casper, Wyoming

When Casper’s City Council members consider a non-discrimination resolution at their next work session in January, it will be the second time they’ve discussed it. They first saw it in November, and Dee Lundberg said it went over well with most council members. Lundberg is with the local chapter of PFLAG, an LGBT advocacy group.

Yellowstone National Park Emblem Sticker
National Park Service

A coalition of tribal and conservation groups is asking a judge to restore federal protections for Greater Yellowstone grizzly bears, as it also asks the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), to restore federal protections on their own.

Kamila Kudelska

Most of those who spoke at a public hearing Monday night in Cody told the Park County District #6 school board that they did not support a proposal to allow armed personnel in public schools.

Two-thirds of those testifying said that guns should be the last, not first security measure. Instead, money should go into introducing smarter security technologies in school buildings. Yetzi Daren Jobaner said even in Wyoming there are places guns don't belong.

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