Wyoming’s Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife, and Cultural Resources committee recently voted to sponsor a bill that would transform a former missile alert facility near Cheyenne into a museum and historical site. The bill would provide one-time funding to establish the site’s exhibits, equipment, and other needs, as well as allocate yearly operational funds.
State Parks Director Milward Simpson says while the bill sponsorship is a step forward, it may still be a long road to a functional attraction.
The Ebola virus may be dominating the headlines and conversations about public health, but Wyoming Public Health officials are trying to educate residents about the threat of another, potentially more dangerous virus: the flu.
Reggie McClinton, with the Wyoming Department of Health, says contracting the flu is a more immediate threat to Wyomingites.
"Influenza also can lead to death in individuals and it can be a severe illness in certain populations so we are receiving reports of cases already from all across the state," he says.
Wyoming continues to rank number one in the nation in taxes for business. That’s from a report released by the Tax Foundation on Tuesday. The state’s lack of corporate and individual income tax has kept in in first place since 2012.
Wyoming Director Tony Gagliardi is with the National Federation of Independent Business’. He says the state deserves only a cautious congratulation since some of Wyoming’s taxes are going up. For instance, fuel taxes have increased and that could hurt farmers and hauling companies.
The University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra performs its second concert of the season this week. Music Director Michael Griffith says the concert challenges some common assumptions about classical music.“We’re starting the concert with a Mozart Concerto for Flute and Harp, which is really unusual. You don’t think of harp as a soloist and you certainly don’t think of harp and a flute together as dual soloists.”
Gas prices around the country have been falling in recent weeks. That's true for Wyoming as well -- but the state hasn't seen quite as big a drop as other places. Gas prices in Wyoming are averaging $3.27 a gallon right now according to analysis from gasbuddy.com. That's $.25 higher than the national average. Gas Buddy analyst Patrick De Haan says that shouldn’t be surprising.
“Gas stations in Wyoming tend to be more rural. They may not have gasoline volumes like other areas. And the changes because of that lag the national average.”
A bill proposed in the Wyoming House of Representatives would redirect funds received from state park permits into a special revenue account. The purpose of the account would be to move a quarter of the funds back into general maintenance of Wyoming State Parks. This would give the state’s parks more control over how that money is spent. Right now roughly $500,000 goes into the general fund for construction projects.
Domenic Bravo is the State Parks administrator and says choosing maintenance over new construction projects can be a challenging ordeal.
The Environmental Protection Agency has fined a Cheyenne refinery $153,000 for allegedly violating several federal regulations. The EPA alleges that Frontier Refining wasn’t properly training its employees in safety practices and that it misreported or didn’t report the presence of certain toxic chemicals on-site. David Cobb works with the EPA’s enforcement office. He says that’s important information.
Die-hard skier Ed Bushnell invented his own helmet-mounted video camera long before the device became de rigueur for skiers. He recalls filming clients with his contraption while working for a photo concession at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. He describes how clients developed “Kodak courage” when they hired him. Bushnell later became a Wyoming private eye and shares a funny incident about how being a PI isn’t quite how it’s portrayed on TV. Bushnell also shares a story about performing an impromptu musical concert in India while traveling with the Rotary Club of Jackson Hole.
Wyoming’s Congressional Delegation is drafting legislation that would remove wolves from the endangered species list in the state.
Montana and Idaho had their wolves de-listed via federal legislation and U.S. Senator Mike Enzi says the delegation is gathering support for its own bill. The proposed legislation would put Wyoming’s wolf management plan into law. That plan allows wolves to be shot on sight in most of the state.
Roy Chambers was born to Ida and Andy Chambers in 1924 in a log cabin still standing on Mormon Row in the shadow of the Tetons in what’s now Grand Teton National Park. Roy worked hard on the family’s homestead cattle ranch. He met his wife, Becky, a nurse at St. John’s Hospital, and they married in 1956. Two years later, they bought the Flying V Ranch (today known as the Gros Ventre River Ranch) and went into the dude ranching business. Roy talks about the joys of running a guest ranch with Rob Cheek, who first came to Jackson Hole as teen-age “dude,” or tourist.
Same sex marriage is now legal in Wyoming, which means same sex couples now have access to all the legal rights that come with marriage. Even so, some disparities remain. For one, Wyoming lacks any legal protection for LGBT people in employment. That means gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the Cowboy State may be able to be legally married, but they may also be legally fired.
What would the nation’s energy policy look like if Republicans capture the Senate this November? Matt Laslo caught up with Wyoming lawmakers and energy analysts to find out the potential impact on the state’s energy sector if the GOP gains control of the upper chamber.
Climate change is a controversial topic in this election cycle, especially when it comes to teaching it in school. So far only 12 states have adopted a new set of science education standards that include the human impacts on global warming - and Wyoming is not one of them.
The western edge of Cheyenne’s downtown features older, run down, and in some cases abandoned buildings. The rest of the historic downtown features a mix of remodeled older buildings and some that could use an upgrade. To address all of this Cheyenne has embarked on what’s called the West Edge plan.
Cheyenne Planning Services Director Matt Ashby said the city has an effort that could eventually lead to modernizing the downtown and to make the capitol city a player on the Front Range.
Fort Washakie High School on the Wind River Indian Reservation was a charter high school until a few years ago. Now it’s a public school. Most of its classes used to be online. Now, it’s building a brick-and-mortar building for 150 students.
For now, around 50 kids and a dozen teachers make do in makeshift classrooms. The school’s last reported graduation rate was just 7 percent, but as it morphs into a more traditional high school, the current crop of students has high hopes for the future.
Last week, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell was in Pinedale, taking part in a ceremony to sign up Wyoming ranchers to help protect sage grouse. These conservation agreements are called Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances or CCAA’s. They’re supposed to protect the birds on private lands, but as Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards reports, some wildlife advocates question whether the program really has the teeth to make a difference.
The Wyoming Game and Fish will be reaching out for public input about the future of the state’s Game Bird Farm Program. It will hold public meetings until November 18th and an online survey until the 20th. The program stocks several hunting areas across the state and is now under review to gauge hunter’s willingness to help fund the program.
Wyoming Game and Fish Spokesman Robin Kepple Game and Fish says the results from meetings and survey are crucial to the future of the program.
Wyoming ranks number one in the nation in gun-related deaths. That’s according to a new report from the Violence Policy Center. While the national average is just over ten deaths per 100,000 people, Wyoming has more than twice that beating out states like Louisiana, Alaska and Mississippi. The report shows that most western nations like the United Kingdom have rates of less than one death 100,000 people.
U.S. Senator Mike Enzi is facing Charlie Hardy in the upcoming General Election. In his time in office Senator Enzi has been a key player on issues such as No Child Left Behind and the Affordable Care Act. We begin our conversation by discussing the ACA.
Wind power is a growing part of the energy mix in the United States. And along with that growth, there are new job opportunities for people to install and repair the 30-story-tall wind turbines. But as Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports, a unique skill set is required -- the fearlessness of a pro rock climber along with the know-how of a skilled mechanic.
Nearly 150 years ago, Mormon pioneers set out from the Midwest, bound for Salt Lake City. They walked, pulling their belongings in wooden handcarts. Two groups got a late start and were stranded in Wyoming by a devastating October blizzard. And for the past 20 years, thousands of Mormon teenagers have been returning to that site to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors.
When the blizzard struck on October 19th, 1856, the lagging handcart companies were still weeks from Salt Lake City. More than 200 people died of exhaustion, hunger, and cold.
A Laramie company is testing a device that could help cut the cost of producing shale oil. WellDog announced this month that it’s doing field testing of what’s called a “Raman spectrometer.” The device can help pinpoint oil and gas reservoirs thousands of feet underground. WellDog CEO John Pope says right now, hydraulic fracturing or fracking doesn’t work thirty to fifty percent of the time, but that this technology could dramatically improve that.
Now residents of Buffalo Valley on the border of Grand Teton National Park, BJ and Marius Hanford danced on Broadway in New York City for many years before moving West. Marius recalls what it was like to go from being a military man to learning ballet. The couple shares stories of their love of dance and of one another.
Wyoming’s Consensus Revenue Estimating Group says there is good news and bad news with this year’s revenue forecast. General fund revenue is forecast to increase by over 37 million dollars. CREG Co-Chairman Dan Noble says the forecast looks good for sales and use tax and other things.
“Mineral valuations for oil are excellent, we are actually projecting around a 14 and a half percent increase in oil. Gas is continuing to climb as it relates to production, pricing is pretty stable. Coal, we are down from 400-million tons to 380-million tons.”