News

Threshold Episode 06: Territory Folks Should All Be Pals

Mar 26, 2017
Amy Martin

  

Visit the American Prairie Reserve, a conservation project in the heart of Montana that could eventually be home to 10,000 bison. The vision is to stitch together 3.5 million acres of public and private lands to form the largest wildlife park in the lower 48. But some nearby ranchers feel the push to build the APR is pushing them off their land, and they're mounting a resistance. We also try to solve the Great Elk Mystery: why are elk that have been exposed to brucellosis allowed to roam free in Montana, while bison are not?

Threshold Episode 05: Heirs To The Most Glorious Heritage

Mar 26, 2017
Amy Martin

  

In 1908, the National Bison Range was created by carving 18,000 acres out of Montana's Flathead Reservation. Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it is willing to transfer the land back to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. But, a lawsuit has been filed to stop the proposed transfer. In this episode, we meet tribal members who feel they are the rightful stewards of the land and the historic bison herd, and others who are trying to stop the transfer.

University of Wyoming

K-12 education in Wyoming is facing immediate cuts on the state level and President Trump’s federal budget proposes cuts to education too. There’s even talk in Washington of dismantling the U.S. Department of Education. This got me wondering how University of Wyoming education students were feeling about their future in teaching. 

The question prompted a nice spring stroll across the University of Wyoming’s campus. Our studios are just across Prexy’s Pasture from the College of Education.

meddata.com

Despite some recent setbacks, Congress will eventually move to either replace or make serious changes to the affordable care act. Wyoming’s congressional delegation says that should help reduce insurance premiums in the state, but that may not be the case. Wyoming saw a growth in those who have insurance under the affordable care act and current congressional fixes could do more harm than good. 

James Trosper

When University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols was hired, Wyoming’s Native American community was encouraged to see she had a strong record of advocating for tribal students. Earlier this month, Nichols made a visit to Wind River Reservation to visit schools and talk to the business councils about several new initiatives to recruit kids there to attend UW.

Wyoming Department of Transportation

  

After heavy snowfall this winter, mountain snowpack is above average around most of Wyoming. Communities near the Bighorn, Wind River, and Gros Ventre mountain ranges have already seen flooding, and with temperatures continuing to rise more flooding could be in store. Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard spoke with Diana Herrera, FEMA’s senior flood insurance specialist for Region 8 which encompasses the Rocky Mountain west, about how to prepare for potential flooding.

Maggie Mullen

Like many federal programs across the country, Meals on Wheels is facing possible cuts as part of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget. The program’s Wyoming partners have already experienced cuts at the state level due to the energy downturn, and it’s hard to know when the federal budget will be decided on. In the meantime, many homebound seniors and Wyomingites with disabilities that depend on the program are concerned about the future of their care.

Jeff Walker and Sara Flitner

During a campaign stop last year in Jackson, then-mayor Sara Flitner took a question from the audience. It was a challenging one from retired physician and consultant Jeff Walker, a staunch Republican. It was obvious from the get-go that the two didn't agree on much—especially on the election of Donald Trump—but they decided to keep talking anyway. As part of her series “I Respectfully Disagree,” Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards chatted with Flitner and Walker about some of the hard conversations they've been working through.

Willow Belden

Wyoming lawmakers are pushing to repeal an Obama-era rule that would limit methane emissions on federal lands, but they're hitting a snag and this time it's coming from their fellow Republicans.

Mary Rumsey

Moose numbers are down across Wyoming. Now, a woman who lives in what used to be known as moose country is asking Wyoming’s Game and Fish Department to stop hunting near her Wood River home near Meeteetse. A hunter who has been waiting for decades to hunt moose there disagrees and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is caught in the middle.

The Jackson area has been well known for its moose for a long time. When a big bull moose steps out of the willows, tourists are amazed.

A woman exclaims, “Oh my gosh!”

by Max Klingensmith / Flickr

The Wyoming Department of Education is shrinking the data reporting burden on schools in response to changes at the federal level, but school equity advocates caution against shedding too much of the load.  

Amy Martin

The Wyoming Livestock Board is testing cattle around the state for tuberculosis after learning that a herd in South Dakota was exposed to the disease. 86 animals from that herd were shipped to Wyoming in late February.

Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan said TB in cattle is serious since it means producers with exposed cattle must quarantine their herds, and testing the animals requires cattle to do two trips through the shoot for shots three days apart.

And, worst of all, the symptoms of TB aren’t obvious.

Wikimedia Commons

The Teton County Sheriff’s Office and the Town of Jackson Police Department have released an open letter on immigration. The letter addresses concerns by residents about the threat of potential immigration raids and changes to deportation policies.

Casper Police Department Facebook page

The City of Casper has set up a community panel discussion regarding how police handle sexual assault complaints.

More than 30 women have accused the Casper Police Department of mishandling or neglecting reports of sexual assault.

Casper Police Chief Jim Wetzel announced the panel discussion at Tuesday’s city council meeting and said the hour-long panel is meant to inform and educate the public on the legal, investigative, prosecutorial, and victim services issues of sexual assault.

Earlier this month, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead signed a bill that requires doctors to offer ultrasounds to patients seeking abortions, but that law may only apply to one provider in the state.

Dr. Brent Blue of Jackson said he is Wyoming’s only doctor who publicly admits to providing abortions. But he has heard of other doctors in the region who have provided their regular patients with abortions that used medications to end a pregnancy, instead of surgical procedures.

The Modern West #21: Wyoming's Immigrants And Refugees

Mar 23, 2017
Caroline Ballard

Wyoming is home to many immigrants, migrants, and former refugees. It is the only state, however, without a refugee resettlement program. But the current political climate has immigrants questioning their place in Wyoming and the U.S.

publicdomainpictures.net

In Wyoming’s coal-rich Powder River Basin, the city of Sheridan is exploring how renewable sources of energy might fit into its future. The local government applied for a $44,000 research grant that the Wyoming Business Council approved earlier this month.

Now their proposal will go before the governor’s State Land and Investment Board for final approval. The town’s leaders have been looking into wind, solar, and hydropower development since the 1990s, and a recent economic study found that a lack of renewable development in Sheridan could be a deal-breaker for tech companies.

Cody Desorcy

In February, a group of citizen scientists in Jackson trudged out in search of moose and discovered they were much easier to find than most years. The 83 volunteers counted 100 more moose than they did last year during the same “Moose Day” count. That’s good news since the Jackson moose herd has been struggling in recent decades, according to Wyoming Game and Fish wildlife biologist Aly Courtemanch.

Newsday.com

A recent study by the website www.wallethub.com has ranked Wyoming as the second most economically dependent state in the firearms industry.

The study measured several factors, including gun ownership, gun sales per capita, how many people were employed by the firearms industry, and contributions to Congressional members by gun-rights and gun-control groups. Wyoming ranked in the top five in most categories.

Wyoming Department of Transportation

Wyoming has already seen ice jam flooding this winter on the Bighorn River, and flood watches and warnings have been issued for communities around the Western Mountains in the last few weeks. With sustained warm temperatures and high snowpack, flooding could continue to be a problem this spring.

Diana Herrera is the senior flood insurance specialist with FEMA Region 8, which encompasses the Rocky Mountain West. She said people should be aware of their risk for flooding, and that there are a number of things that can reduce that risk.

Photo by Arundathi Nair

With the fossil fuel industry in a decline, policy makers, industry executives, and environmental activists are faced with some hard questions about Wyoming's energy future. The topic captured the attention of Arundathi Nair, a 9th grader at Laramie High School. She recently won C-Span's StudentCam 2017 competition for her film "Fossil Fuels to Renewables," which promotes seeking solutions through discussion rather than debate.

Nair's film can be viewed here.

 

Rebecca Huntington

President Donald Trump’s first federal budget plan proposes a complete defunding of both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The potential eliminations could hurt many arts organizations across the state.

Wyoming Women Rise

At just 11 percent, Wyoming currently has the lowest percentage of female legislators of any state in the country. Now, one woman is trying to improve that ratio.

Samantha Case is the founder of Wyoming Women Rise, a proposed non-profit that would provide non-partisan campaign training for women.

Currently, the Wyoming Women’s Caucus puts on Leap Into Leadership, which provides workshops that encourage women to take on leadership roles in their communities and consider running for office. But Case said there was still a need for an organization that goes a step further.

Wyoming Afterschool Alliance

14,000 kids in Wyoming participate in after-school programs, according to the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance. But if President Trump’s proposed budget is passed, up to 65 programs serving those students would be put at risk of closing unless they can find other sources of funding.  

Melodie Edwards

The Wyoming legislature passed two bills this session to expand the Food Freedom Act. The act was first passed in 2015 to allow local food producers to more easily sell otherwise home grown foods, like raw milk and poultry, directly to consumers.

The act is a unique piece of legislation in the U.S., and Sundance Representative Tyler Lindholm said many states have started to model bills after it.

Public Domain

The Bureau of Land Management is asking for public comment on a proposed removal of wild horses in the Checkerboard area near Rock Springs.

In a press release, the Bureau of Land Management said they expect wild horses in the three herd management areas of the Checkerboard to become overpopulated in 2017, and a removal of more than 1,000 horses may be needed to reach the appropriate population levels.

Last week, Governor Matt Mead signed the Indian Education For All Act that requires the Wyoming Department of Education to teach the history and culture of Wyoming’s two tribes, the Eastern Shoshone and the Northern Arapaho.

University of Wyoming

Earlier this month, University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols made a second visit to the Wind River Reservation to continue discussions about how to improve Native American enrollment at UW.

During Nichols’ previous tenure as University of South Dakota provost she set a goal of increasing Native American enrollment to better reflect the percentage of the state’s native population. Now, she’s set a similar goal at UW.

Dustin Bleizeffer/WyoFile

Higher than usual ozone levels have been detected this winter in the Upper Green River Basin. The area has seen a number of “Ozone Action Days,” when the amount of ozone in the air is high enough to present a danger to those with respiratory problems, the very old, and very young.

In response, the Sublette County Commissioners will host a public meeting Thursday to address the issue, and representatives from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality will be present to give information and hear from the public.

Wikimedia Commons

The Wyoming Department of Education is looking for people to participate in the Math Standards Review Committee.

The math standards are short written descriptions that detail what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade level, and by the time they graduate.

Laurie Hernandez, the Wyoming Department of Education’s Supervisor of Standards, said anyone who is interested is encouraged to apply, as long as you can commit to meeting several times this upcoming summer. 

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