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6:07 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

September 19th, 2014

Credit Bob Beck

Wyoming Lawmakers Battle The Feds Over Water

There's a water war going on in the nation's capital that has Wyoming lawmakers and land owners worried the federal government is soon going to be regulating most every drop of water that falls from the sky.

37-Year Lawsuit Settles Issue Of Tribal Water Rights

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Open Spaces
6:05 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

37-Year Lawsuit Settles Issue Of Tribal Water Rights

One of 7 new fish ladders on the Wind River Indian Reservation.
Credit Melodie Edwards

Earlier this month in a Worland courthouse, a judge signed a final decree that brought to end what’s probably the longest-running lawsuit in Wyoming history. After 37 years, the lawsuit decided who exactly owns the water rights in and around the Wind River Indian Reservation. Those involved in the suit are now looking to the future.

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News
5:42 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Wyoming Roads Rank First In Nation

Credit jacdupree via Flickr

Wyoming ranks first in the nation for its overall road system. That’s according to a new study from the Reason foundation, a Libertarian-leaning think tank.

David Hartgen is a professor at the University of North Carolina and the author of the study. He says Wyoming ranked so well in part because it budgets wisely. The cowboy state has over 7000 miles of roads to maintain, but spends about half as much as the average state does to do it.

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Open Spaces
5:32 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Wyoming Lawmakers Battle The Feds Over Water

Laramie River
Credit Bob Beck

There's a water war going on in the nation's capital that has Wyoming lawmakers and land owners worried the federal government is soon going to be regulating most every drop of water that falls from the sky.

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Open Spaces
5:22 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Westwood High School Moves To Gillette College Campus

The new Westwood High School building on Gillette College's campus.
Aaron Schrank

Students at Westwood High School—an alternative school in Gillette—are starting out the new school year in a brand new building. That means more space and state-of-the-art technology—but perhaps most important—a new location. That’s because Westwood, where most students don’t see themselves as college-bound, put up its new school building smack dab on a college campus.

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Open Spaces
5:12 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Dark Side Of The Boom: The Takeaway

Credit Blastcube

This week, Wyoming Public Radio aired a series of stories on workplace fatalities in the oil and gas industry. The series looked North Dakota’s high oil and gas fatality rate, Wyoming’s response to its own rising death toll, and whether there are lessons to be learned from the commercial fishing industry in Alaska, which has cut fatalities in half in the last decade. Emily Guerin of Prairie Public Radio and Stephanie Joyce of Wyoming Public Radio share some of their takeaways after reporting the series.

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Open Spaces
5:04 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Wyoming Debates The Future Of The Death Penalty

Defense Attorney Vaughn Neubauer.

Recently a legislative committee gave its support to a bill that would have Wyoming use firing squads for the death penalty as opposed to lethal injection. For a variety of reasons, States are finding it difficult acquire the drugs that have traditionally been used to put people to death. Some states have tried to replace the drugs and it has led to some botched executions. One issue that could come before the legislature this year is whether the state should get rid of the death penalty all together.

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Sports
4:52 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Cowboys Hope To Bounce Back Against Florida Atlantic

The Wyoming Cowboys football team will try and bounce back Saturday. The Cowboys were thrashed by Oregon last week and Saturday/today they play host to Florida Atlantic who is coming off a 50 to 21 win over Tulsa. Head Coach Craig Bohl says the Cowboys will have to stop another solid quarterback in Jaquez  Johnson.

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Open Spaces
4:52 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

In Wyoming, Public Data Is Heading To The Cloud

Engineer Courtney Thompson at the future home of Wyoming's state data.
Credit Miles Bryan

Outsourcing government functions to private companies has long been a popular idea here in Wyoming. Now the state is leading the nation in taking that trend into the digital age. Wyoming will soon transfer much of its public data to the care of private companies, which will host it on the internet. State officials say this so called “cloud” hosting is cheaper and more efficient than state owned data centers. But putting all that public data in corporate hands has some privacy advocates nervous.

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Open Spaces
4:32 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

The Risk That Made Me Happier

Credit Willow Belden

Former Wyoming Public Radio reporter and host Willow Belden left her job this spring to hike the Colorado Trail. That’s a 500-mile path through the Rockies, from Denver to Durango. She did the journey alone.

The Colorado Trail crosses eight mountain ranges, and climbs nearly three times the height of Mount Everest. It’s mostly above 10,000 feet, so the air is thin, there’s significant danger of lightning strikes, and it often freezes at night. About 400 people attempt the trail each year, but only 150 make it to Durango.

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Open Spaces
4:09 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

A Wall To Divide Constructed – And Crumbled – On UW Campus

A bystander takes the first swing at the wall.
Caroline Ballard

The Berlin Wall came down in East Germany 25 years ago, but last week a new wall went up here in Wyoming. Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard finds out why history is repeating itself.

Young adults with spray paint cans stand in front of a colorful canvas. They graffiti the 32-foot long wall with calls for freedom, unity and love.

The structure is topped with barbed wire and is manned by American and East German guards. No, this isn’t Berlin circa 1989. It’s 2014, and this is the south end of the University of Wyoming.

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Open Spaces
4:09 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

"Altitude Adjustment" Author Recounts Adjusting To Wyoming

Credit Mary Beth Baptiste

After her divorce in the early 90s, Mary Beth Baptiste moved to Grand Teton National Park to work as a seasonal employee. Her memoir Altitude Adjustment: A Quest for Love, Home, and Meaning in the Tetons was published this Spring by TwoDot/Globe Pequot Press, and it chronicles her first years at the park.

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Spoken Words
9:00 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Jessica Robinson Reads Essay On Science And The Undead In Horror Movies

Jessica Robinson’s nonfiction book, Undead Obsessed, which explores how undead creatures are a metaphor for society’s fears of science, will be released on Halloween 2014. Under the pen name Pembroke Sinclair, Robinson has written YA novels about zombies and the tough teens who survive the apocalyptic world.  She has also written nonfiction stories for Serial Killer Magazine and published a book about slasher films called Life Lessons from Slasher Films.

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Politics
5:49 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Jose Vargas Speaks At The University Of Wyoming On Immigration

Jose Antonio Vargas

Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas spoke at a symposium on immigration at the University of Wyoming Thursday. Jose Vargas outed himself as an illegal immigrant in a New York Times article three years ago. He came to the U-S from the Philippines when he was 12 but never obtained citizenship. Last July, Vargas was arrested at a Texas airport when he admitted he was not a legal citizen of the U.S.

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News
4:16 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Wyoming Poverty Rate Falls, Income Rises

Credit 401(K) 2012

Wyoming’s poverty rate fell in 2013. That’s according to new numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The national poverty rate remained around 16%, while Wyoming’s rate fell from 12.5% to about 11%.

Wyoming’s median income also climbed by over 5% during that period. State economist Wenlin Liu says that dramatic rise is due to a recovery in natural resource prices, which had fallen in 2012.

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Natural Resources & Energy
3:25 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Delayed Trains Leave Utilities Short On Coal

The coal pile at the Comanche Generating Station outside of Pueblo, Colorado is normally over ten stories tall, but rail delays have shortened it considerably.
Credit Stephanie Joyce

The red smokestacks of the Comanche power plant outside of Pueblo, Colorado can be seen from miles away. The plant supplies power to communities along the Front Range, including Denver, and consumes hundreds of tons of coal an hour in the process. That coal arrives in mile-long trains from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin and is stockpiled at the plant. Normally, that pile would be a hundred feet tall, according to Xcel Energy fuel supply manager Craig Romer. But right now, it’s less than a third of that.

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Natural Resources & Energy
3:20 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Dark Side Of The Boom: The Formula For Alaska’s Safety Success

Rip Carlton has been a Bering Sea crab fisherman for almost 40 years.
Credit Lauren Rosenthal / KUCB

Click here to read Part 3 of the Dark Side Of The Boom series.

The dangers of the Bering Sea crab fishery have been made famous by the reality TV show Deadliest Catch. But, in the last 15 years, that industry has become much safer, in large part thanks to collaboration between industry, scientists and regulators. We wondered: are there lessons that the oil and gas industry could learn from the crab industry’s safety gains?

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Natural Resources & Energy
12:27 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Dark Side Of The Boom: How Dangerous Is Too Dangerous?

Fire and smoke pouring from the Consol No. 9 mine in Farmington, West Virginia following an explosion on November 20, 1968.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

It's no secret that the oil and gas industry is dangerous. As the industry has grown to employ over half a million oil and gas workers nationwide, the number of fatalities has grown as well. Last year, 112 oil and gas workers died on the job; the year before, 142. Nationwide, oil and gas workers are still six times more likely to be killed on the job than the average American.

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Arts
8:42 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Filmmakers Sprint To The Finish In Cheyenne's Fast Filmmaking Festival

Production teams wait for the competition briefs at Cheyenne's Plains Hotel.
Credit fastfilmfestcheyenne.com

Friday is the kickoff for Cheyenne’s Fast Filmmaking Festival. It gives contestants two weeks to film and produce a film highlighting one of the capital city’s historic landmarks. Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer spoke with festival producer Alan O’Hashi.

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News
7:07 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Natrona County High School Principal Resigns After Skit Controversy

In this screenshot from a redacted video released by the district, one of the skit participants suggestively gropes a new teacher.
Credit Screenshot via YouTube

Dean Kelly, the principal at Natrona County High School in Casper resigned Wednesday. The announcement of his resignation followed the news that several staff members were placed on leave for their participation in an inappropriate skit performed at the school.

The Natrona County School District released a video of the incident in question on Tuesday after a records request from the Casper Star-Tribune newspaper. The video and accompanying transcript were redacted to protect privacy.

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Natural Resources & Energy
5:04 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Dark Side Of The Boom: What Makes North Dakota Oil And Gas So Dangerous?

Rig Worker North Dakota.
Credit Flickr user Lindsey G

Click here to read Part 1 of the Dark Side Of The Boom series.

North Dakota is the most dangerous state in the country for oil and gas workers.

But that fact hasn't gotten a lot of attention until now. Governor Jack Dalrymple announced to Inside Energy this week that he's planning to bring together the state’s top safety officials to look into fatalities in the industry, and to see what they can do better.

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Natural Resources & Energy
4:56 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Dark Side Of The Boom: Why Is Wyoming Safer?

Blastcube
Credit An oil and gas worker pours a defoaming agent into the drill string.
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Arts
4:06 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Not Just For Hay: 'Barn Bash' Explores Preservation Of Historic Barns

The Hardiman Barn in Wilson is the centerpiece of Friday's Barn Bash.
Credit JenTen Productions

Barns don’t just hold hay. They hold cultural and architectural meaning. A ‘Barn Bash’ Friday, September 19 at the Center for the Arts in Jackson will explore the value of these agrarian artifacts through the premier of a new documentary, a panel discussion, and a barn dance.

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News
3:22 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Farmer's Markets Provide Growing Economic Benefit

Platte County Farmer's Market
Credit Dan Brecht

Wyoming farmer’s markets aren’t just good for community spirit--they’re also making the state money. That’s according to a new survey by the Wyoming Business Council. 

Agribusiness Manager Cindy Garretson-Weibel says the number of farmers markets has been increasing for several years with 49 now in Wyoming. Weibel says some of them are held twice a week, adding up to significant income.

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Sports
12:28 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Wyoming Looks For Improvement On Defense

The Wyoming Cowboys football team struggled last weekend against Oregon in most facets except one. The Cowboys ran for a surprising 155 yards against the Ducks, a week after having little success against Air Force. Head Coach Craig Bohl said that the coaching staff spent last week focusing on improving the running game and the team made it a priority in the offseason. Oregon featured a very athletic defense, so Bohl was especially pleased with the results.                 

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News
12:19 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Health Official Says Comprehensive Sex-Ed Helps Reduce Teen Birth Rate

A Wyoming Department of Health study says that the state’s teen birth rate has dropped every year for the last six years.

In 2008 Wyoming had about 50 births for every 1000 teen girls. That rate dropped to about 35 births in 2013. Some counties have seen even more dramatic decreases.

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Behind The Scenes
5:00 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Altitude Chophouse And Brewery Is Keeping The Pub In Public Radio

Altitude Head Brewer Jared Long brings out sample beer for the WPM staff to try.
Pamela Ten Eyck

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News
2:54 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Gay Marriage Would Bring Millions To Wyoming, Study Claims

Credit Sushiesque via Flickr

A new study claims that Wyoming is missing out on millions of dollars of lost business by not legalizing same sex marriage.

The study comes from the Williams Institute, a think tank housed at the University of California Los Angeles. It claims that Wyoming would see over two million dollars in new revenues in the first few years after gay marriage is legalized.

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Topic of the Week
11:17 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Is it time for Wyoming to drop the death penalty? Why or why not?

Is it time for Wyoming to drop the death penalty?  Why or why not?

WPM/NPR Community Discussion Rules

By contributing your comment, you consent to the possibility of having it read on the air.

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Natural Resources & Energy
6:58 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Illegal Wastewater Dumping Grows

As oil production continues to boom in the Powder River Basin, illegal wastewater dumping is a growing problem. Kodiak Oilfield in Converse County was recently cited for illegally dumping produced water, one of 14 water violations in the state so far this year.

Oil fields typically produce about twice as much water as they do oil – water that is high in sodium content and contains hydrocarbons. Dumping this water into streams, rivers, or fields could interfere with natural habitat, soil, and water quality.

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