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Wyoming Stories
3:50 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Wyoming Stories: Handicap Ramp Opens Doors

Nancy Casner

On July 26, 1990 President George H W Bush signed into law the Americans With Disabilities Act. Among other things, the ADA has accessibility requirements for public places—such as stores or restaurants. But the Elk Mountain Trading Company was built 1895, long before the idea of handicap accessibility. Nancy Casner, who owns the Crossing Café housed in the building, recalls what it meant to add a ramp to the historic building.

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News
2:48 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Rangeland Fire In Sage Grouse Core Area

With winds and low precipitation causing fire danger to escalate in rangelands around the state, the Bureau of Land Management is keeping a close eye on sage grouse habitat. Senior Resource Advisor Pam Murdock says they’re working hard to control the fires.

"I know that there are a few going on currently," she says. "We have one, I was just informed of yesterday, that did get ignited over the weekend that was in sage grouse core area up in the Bighorn Basin."

She says it isn't easy juggling conflicting priorities. 

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News
1:55 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

School Districts Request Inflation-Adjusted Funding

Teacher in classroom
Credit Audio Luci Store via Flickr Creative Commons

Seven school districts in Wyoming are arguing that the state has underfunded K-12 schools in the past several years by failing to adjust for inflation.

The coalition says the state owes Wyoming’s school districts $151 million dollars for the last three years.

State Representative Tim Stubson of Casper is on the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee. He says the Legislature does account for inflation in school funding—and granted an external cost adjustment—or ECA—this year.

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News
7:10 am
Thu July 24, 2014

New Rules Target Crude Train Safety

An oil train waits to be loaded at the Upton Logistics Center, in Upton, WY.
Credit Stephanie Joyce / WPM

The federal government has released new rules for trains transporting crude oil. They come in response to a number of dramatic crude train derailments over the last year, including one that destroyed the town of Lac Megantic, Quebec. 

The draft rules make a number of recommendations, the biggest of which is phasing out a type of tank car called DOT-111s over the next two years. Those cars have been disparagingly called "Coke cans" because they're thin-walled and often rip open in derailments, but they're the most common way to transport crude oil by rail.

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News
4:24 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Missing Hiker's Body Recovered In Grand Teton National Park

Credit Teton Park

On Tuesday, park personnel recovered the body of Will Cornyn, a hiker in Grand Teton National Park who had been reported missing on Monday. Cornyn was found at the foot of a steep drop near Inspiration Hill after a six-hour search. He is the fifth visitor to die in the park this year.

Most fatalities that occur in the park are caused by risky activities such as rock climbing, white-water rafting, and hiking in the backcountry.

Park official Jackie Skaggs says that planning ahead, understanding one’s own physical limitations, and being prepared makes for a safer trip.

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News
3:56 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Wyoming Becoming More Ethnically Diverse...Slowly

The face of Wyoming is changing, slowly but steadily, according to Wyoming’s Principal Economist Wenlin Liu, who says the state will continue to see ethnic diversity as people move here to work. There has been a 17-percent increase in all ethnic groups between 2010 and 2013. Meanwhile, white population growth was only a little over one percent.

Liu says minority populations are also keeping the median age lower than the national average by as much as a year.

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News
2:31 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Legislative Committee Releases Final Cindy Hill Report

The special legislative committee investigating Wyoming schools Superintendent Cindy Hill has released a final report sharply criticizing her performance. 

The report released Wednesday concludes Hill failed to follow legislative budget directives and intentionally violated the law by requiring permanent Education Department employees to certify she could fire them at any time.

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Arts
1:27 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

A New Perspective: Courage And Passion In Photography

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News
11:15 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Whooping Cough Cases On The Rise In Wyoming

Credit Wyoming Department of Health

Wyoming is seeing an increase in cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, according to numbers released by the state Department of Health.

Pertussis begins with cold-like symptoms but then progresses to a violent, uncontrollable cough within a few weeks. So far this year 43 cases have been reported, which is higher than this time in any of the last four years. 

Kim Deti with the Department of Health says the agency is particularly concerned with several cases in and around Gillette.

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News
10:55 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Wyoming National Guard Sends Air Tankers To Fight NW Wildfires

A MAFF equipped C-130 drops fire retardant on a California fire
Credit Wikipedia

The Wyoming Air National Guard will send two military air tankers to Boise, Idaho to help fight wildfires burning in the Pacific Northwest.

The planes are equipped with a special fire-fighting device called a MAFF –which stands for Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System and can drop up to 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds.

Deidre Forster with the Wyoming Military department says that sending the planes to the northwest will not impact Wyoming’s own fire-fighting abilities.

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News
9:56 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Wyoming Falls In Child Well-Being Rankings

Young girl at school
Credit Elizabeth Albert via Flickr Creative Commons

Wyoming has dropped several spots in its ranking in a national report on children’s well-being.

The 2014 Kids Count Index ranked Wyoming 19th in the country, down from 15th last year. The report weighs several factors. Wyoming earned a sixth place ranking for children’s economic well-being, but ranked 45th in health.

Some of the factors contributing to that low ranking include rates of teen alcohol abuse, the number of children without health insurance, and the number of babies born underweight.

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News
9:22 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Wyoming Town Up For Sale

Credit J Stephan Conn via Flickr

A small town in northeastern Wyoming is now on the market.

The town of Aladdin is home to 15 people, and sits on thirty acres near Devil’s Tower. Judy Brengle and her husband Rick bought the town in 1986.

She says being the mayor, store manager, chief of police, and cleaning person over the years has been tough, but rewarding.

‘There are a lot of people who don’t understand how much work it is to keep everything going. But it is a great place to live and a great place to raise kids and living in Wyoming is pretty wonderful.”

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News
12:01 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Wyoming Energy Export Forum

Wyoming Public Media

Stephanie Joyce, Wyoming Public Media's Energy & Natural Resources Reporter, will moderate a discussion on Wyoming's raw commodity exports, primarily focused on coal and natural gas. Speakers with a diversity of perspectives will be invited to participate in the conversation.

Panelists include Dr. Roger Coupal, UW Professor of Agricultural & Applied Economics, Shawn Reese, CEO of the Wyoming Business Council, and Wyoming Representative Thomas Lubnau, House District H31 (tentative).

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News
10:30 am
Tue July 22, 2014

UW College Of Education Responds To Criticism

Credit MDV via Flickr Creative Commons

The University of Wyoming’s College of Education is taking issue with complaints made about the quality of its graduates.

Last week, at a UW Trustees’ meeting, Governor Mead’s education policy adviser Mary Kay Hill said that the most qualified K-12 teachers in the state “are not coming from UW.”

She pointed to a 2011 report that shows nearly 70 percent of new school district hires in Wyoming came from institutions outside of the state. That’s up from 50 percent in 2000.

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Spoken Words
8:46 am
Tue July 22, 2014

H.L. Hix: The Seasons, In Verse

H.L. Hix

H. L. Hix teaches in the Philosophy Department at the University of Wyoming.  His most recent poetry collection is As Much As, If Not More Than (Etruscan Press, 2014); the poems recorded here are from his book First Fire, Then Birds (Etruscan Press, 2010). Hix has been recognized with an NEA Fellowship, the Grolier Prize, the T. S. Eliot Prize, and the Peregrine Smith Award. His poems have been translated into Spanish, Russian, Urdu, and other languages.

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News
5:39 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

2015 Appropriations Bill Passes House

Credit Cynthia Lummis

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations has approved a budget for the Interior and Environment for 2015, and Wyoming Representative Cynthia Lummis says, if passed into law, the bill would have a huge impact on Western states like Wyoming. 

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Behind The Scenes
3:37 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Family From Staten Island Visits Wyoming Public Media

Andy, Leanna, WPR’s Grady Kirkpatrick and Carole Kass.
Diana Denison

The Kass family from Staten Island, NY are WPR members and part of the "Greater Cowboy Diaspora."

They visited Wyoming Public Media in July on their summer trip.

Single Shot Live
1:27 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Dakota Dave Hull: The Long Drive Home

Guitarist Dakota Dave Hull poses with "Ranch Breakfast" host Tom Wilhelm.
Ben Slater

Dakota Dave Hull is one of America’s premier finger-style guitarists. Based in Minnesota, Dakota Dave logs a lot of miles touring, so here’s a composition that fades out like the highway receding in the rear-view mirror.

Elections
12:00 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Mead Negotiating For Wyoming Medicaid Expansion

Credit Stephanie Joyce

Governor Matt Mead may be changing his mind when it comes to expanding Medicaid services for low income people in the state. After publicly rejecting the notion of Medicaid expansion late last year, the governor says he is negotiating in good faith with the federal department of Health and Human Services to develop a Wyoming specific Medicaid expansion plan. 

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Wyoming Stories
9:05 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Wyoming Stories: She'd Rather Ride A Horse

Alice Fales
Credit Wayne Thomas

Alice Fales lives in Cody, WY. She recalls fond memories of the role horses played in her youth and riding a horse to school.

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News
9:02 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Wyoming Officials Will Not Oppose Primary Fundraising For Third Parties

Credit Kim Via Flickr

The State of Wyoming will not oppose third party candidates raising money during the primary season.

Current state law says those candidates cannot raise money until after the primary.

That law was challenged in federal court last month by Jennifer Young, Secretary of State Candidate for the Constitution party.

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News
8:54 am
Mon July 21, 2014

State Fines Denver-Based Sugar Company

Credit J Stephan Conn via Flickr

Wyoming regulatory officials have cited Denver-based Western Sugar Cooperative for hazards at its Torrington and Lovell facilities.

The department of Workforce Services and Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the company almost two hundred thousand dollars. The fines were for inadequate safety standards and failure to guard equipment, among other problems.

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Open Spaces
5:38 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

July 18th, 2014

Governor Mead Seeks Second Term

Governor Matt Mead is seeking his second term in office. The governor is facing Cheyenne Businessman and Doctor Taylor Haynes and Superintendent Cindy Hill in the Republican primary. Mead spoke with Bob Beck. They begin by discussing some of the challenges facing the state.

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Open Spaces
5:31 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Governor Mead Seeks Second Term

Governor Matt Mead is seeking his second term in office. The governor is facing Cheyenne Businessman and Doctor Taylor Haynes and Superintendent Cindy Hill in the Republican primary. Mead spoke with Bob Beck. They begin by discussing some of the challenges facing the state.

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Open Spaces
5:24 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Wyoming Construction Workers Are In Short Supply

The future site of the new Tongue River Elementary.
Credit Miles Bryan

Last week we told you about how the cost of building a new high school in Rawlins is running millions of dollars more than was expected. Costs are up because construction companies can’t find enough workers in Wyoming. And it isn’t easy to bring them in from out of state.

Jeremy Smith is the Business Manager for Sheridan’s School District One in Ranchester. I met him on a beautiful morning in Northern Wyoming, and he’s excited to show me the new Tongue River Elementary school--or at least the the rolling pasture where the school should be.

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Open Spaces
5:07 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Latinos At Higher Risk For Workplace Injury

Construction site in Laramie, WY.
Credit Melodie Edwards

Too many jobs, not enough bodies. That’s the dilemma of many Wyoming construction companies these days that can’t keep up with the building demands of the state’s energy boom. An influx of Latino workers are moving to Wyoming to take up the slack. And national figures show that Hispanics lead the nation in fatal injuries. And with Wyoming having one of the worst records for workplace fatalities, the question is: are Latinos putting themselves in the line of fire? 

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Open Spaces
5:00 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Pete Illoway Is A Candidate For Secretary Of State

Credit www.peteilloway.com

Pete Illoway has a background in working for both the U-S and State Department of Agriculture, Wycon Chemical Company, Coastal Chem, Inc. and the economic development operation Cheyenne Leads. He is currently a consultant and lobbyist. Illoway was a state representative from 1998 to 2012. 

During that time he chaired a committee that worked closely with the Secretary of State’s office. He joins Bob Beck.

Learn more about Pete Illoway.

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Open Spaces
4:49 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Wyoming Music Teachers Find Community At UW Summer Program

Professor Rod Garnett leads his group of graduate students in a gamelan session.
Aaron Schrank

It’s before 8 o’ clock in the morning, and there’s a surprising amount of noise coming from a basement classroom in UW’s library.

Inside is a group of about 25 sitting in a circle, playing instruments or humming along. For most of the year, these people are music educators teaching in schools all over Wyoming. But in the summer, they’re students themselves—in a UW summer master’s program. Today, they’re learning a melody by ear.

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Open Spaces
4:37 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Former Navy Commander Seeks State Superintendent Nomination

Republican candidate for State Superintendent Bill Winney.
Credit Bill Winney

Three Republicans are seeking the nomination for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. One of them is Bill Winney. He is a retired Naval Officer who wants to bring that leadership experience to help run the state department of education. In the Navy he trained a number of people and says training and education were a key part of his career.

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News
10:49 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Laramie Considers E-smoking Regulations

Credit Steam Vapor Co.

The Laramie City Council is discussing whether or not it wants to regulate e-cigarettes. They have held one informational meeting so far, and are expected to decide in the coming weeks whether or not to add vaporizing and electronic cigarettes to the citywide public smoking ban or to develop a separate ordinance.

The city regulates where smoking can occur.  Councilwoman Vicky Henry says that the council is trying to decide if it wants to regulate electronic cigarettes and how to go about it. E-cigarettes and vaporizers produce a liquid vapor, rather than smoke.

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