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gosarforgovernor.com

The Wyoming State Board of Education reviewed and approved new science standards at their meeting in Laramie last week. The vote was unanimous. 

Wyoming State Board of Education Chairman, Pete Gosar, says although there was a 2008 revision to the state’s science standards, meaningful changes haven’t been made since 1992. Because of that 24 year gap, Gosar says Wyoming is behind, but he imagines that the new standards will help Wyoming students better compete with others.

Bob Beck

 

Due to a massive drop in projected revenues, the Governor is trying to cut spending for the next two-year budget cycle by eight percent. He said he is trying to cut spending levels back to where they were ten years ago.

The University of Wyoming has already started working on a cut of near 40 million dollars and the largest cut will likely come from the Wyoming Department of Health. Tom Forslund is the Director of the Department and Bob Beck met with him in Cheyenne to discuss what that kind of cut means.

Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

  

Environmentalists, lawmakers, coal miners, and advocates of all types gathered to have their say at a public meeting this week, in Casper, Wyo, hosted by the Department of the Interior (DOI). Like most discussions of the future of coal, the debate was passionate and polarized.

“This is a politically motivated sham, pandering to the political allies of the secretary and the administration,” Richard Reavey, an executive at a coal company called Cloud Peak Energy, said in his public remarks.

National Park Service

Yellowstone National Park is closing a popular hillside near the Grand Prismatic Spring this summer. Over the years, unofficial trails have been created on the hill since hikers can look over the spring there.

Jody Lyle, a spokeswoman for the park, says the closure is part of a two-year project.

"This summer we’re going to close that area, begin construction on an official trail that will go to an official overlook, and then restore all of the damage that’s been done on that hillside from people creating social trails on their own," says Lyle.

Budget Cuts Before Taxes

15 hours ago
Bob Beck

  

Wyoming’s revenue picture is dire. Thanks to declining energy and sales tax revenue Governor Mead has already started cutting nearly 300 million dollars from the two-year budget that was approved by the legislature in March.

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park officials are urging tourists to obey park guidelines, after recent incidents of visitors breaking the law garnered widespread attention on social media.

Wyoming Fire Danger Is Low

15 hours ago
U.S. Forest Service

This week federal officials said that a dry spring has them concerned that there could be a serious summer fire season in the western United States. Of course, few of us in Wyoming understand what a dry spring looks like. Bill Crapser is Wyoming’s state forester. He spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck.

Caroline Ballard

  

At the Women in STEM conference, more than 500 middle and high school girls descended on the University of Wyoming campus to learn more about STEM careers. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.  

The girls get to attend three workshops out of a possible 25 options, and choices range from animal husbandry to chemistry and robotics.

Holly Ramseier is a senior in Chemical Engineering at UW, and is helping out today. She says the conference is all about getting your feet wet and seeing what you like. 

Jennifer Becker

Albany County School District was on its way to becoming the first in Wyoming to pass a policy protecting transgender students. Now, amid national debate, school officials are dragging their feet. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank reports, one transgender high-schooler who helped draft that policy is now running for a seat on the school board to try to salvage it.

These reports are part of ‘The American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen’—a public media initiative to address the dropout crisis. Supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Melodie Edwards

  

Everywhere you look on the McNeil elk feed ground west of Bondurant, you see the bones and hides of dead elk. Rancher Steve Robertson says many are left behind from wolf kills. He tells of seeing elk chased by wolves here just this last winter.

“The steams boiling off them, their tongues are hanging out,” he says. “And then two weeks later all those elk were killed on the feed ground. And the elk, they can’t go anywhere they’re snowed in, they’re trapped.”

High Utility Costs Force Hard Decisions For The Poor

May 20, 2016
Andrew Cullen

The poorest among us pay more than they can afford for their utility bills and energy assistance programs struggle to meet the demand.

As Lea Anne Shellberg knows, spring can be the most difficult time.  Spring is when those power bills from the winter start piling up. A broken back and a recurring battle with skin cancer ended her career as an interior designer. When I first tried setting up an interview with her in mid-March, she was in trouble.

“This is gonna be fun,” she said, “we’re literally going to be sitting in the dark.”

Adrienne Vetter

A provocative collection of digitally altered historical photographs has a closing reception in Pinedale this weekend. Artists Colleen Friday and Adrienne Vetter create digitally altered historical images inspired by their own upbringings.

Bob Beck of Wyoming Public Radio

To save money, the Wyoming legislature may meet only 37 out of 40 possible days next year and will make other reductions in travel, staffing, and purchases.  

Due to a downturn in expected revenues, the legislature’s management council voted to reduce the legislature’s upcoming two-year budget by 12 percent. The governor is working with all state agencies and the University of Wyoming to reduce their budgets by an average of eight percent. 

Speaker of the House Kermit Brown said the upcoming session may be difficult and lawmakers may need all 40 days. 

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming has identified the three finalists for the position of provost of academic affairs. All three finalists for the position will give public presentations on UW’s campus beginning Friday.

University of Wyoming professor, Tucker Readdy, is the chair-elect of the faculty senate. He says he is interested to hear their plans.

“I think the person needs to be a visionary, in terms of being able to see across campus and really providing some strategic initiatives for how we are going to continue to move the academic mission of the university forward.”

Wyoming Americana Band The Two Tracks On Morning Music

May 19, 2016
Diana Denison

The Two Tracks recorded live on 5/19/16 during Wyoming Public Radio's Morning Music show.

With three of the four largest American coal companies in bankruptcy, a federal regulator gave a blunt assessment today of potential problems with future coal mine clean up. The Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation, and Enforcement (OSMRE) is asking for public comment on how to make sure that coal mine reclamation is paid for.  

 

The Bureau of Land Management

Coal miners, state lawmakers, environmentalists and land advocates all came together in Casper today to weigh in on coal. 

Wikimedia Commons

The Northern Arapaho tribe last week won a case in a federal court when the U.S. government dropped an appeal over the tribe’s right to occasionally kill eagles for religious purposes.

The tribe challenged the government in 2012 when a young Northern Arapaho man was charged with killing an eagle that he intended to use in a Sun Dance ceremony.

According to a new poll, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead has the third highest approval rating of Governors across the U.S. The survey results were released last week by the non-partisan media and polling organization Morning Consult, which listed Governor Mead’s approval rating at 67 percent. 

Jeff Cartwright is the communications director at Morning Consult. He says even with Wyoming facing a budget crunch, Governor Mead’s approval ratings may not be affected, simply because it’s hard to predict what will hurt a governor’s image.

The Modern West #11: Eats And Drinks

May 16, 2016
Bob Beck

This month we’re putting specialty coffee, locally distilled spirits, and goat meat on the menu. Hear what’s happening in the Western kitchen. 

CC0 Public Domain, Pixabay

The University of Wyoming will host a two-day symposium on drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, this Tuesday and Wednesday.

Jeff Hamerlinck is the director of UW’s Geographic Information Science Center. He says the symposium will be the first of its kind and he is hoping it will be an opportunity to raise awareness in the state about drones. Hamerlinck says drones’ data-collecting abilities are unmatched. The data collection is timelier, the quality of the data is much higher, and the cost of drones is relatively affordable.

uwyo.edu

More than 500 middle and high school girls will explore careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math at the upcoming Women in STEM conference at the University of Wyoming.

At least 26 workshops and activities will be led mostly by women from organizations like the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Tata Chemicals, and the University of Wyoming.

Michele Turner, one of the event’s coordinators, says one of the goals of the conference is to show girls that there are opportunities for them in STEM.

UW Raccoon Project

The University of Wyoming Raccoon Project is gearing up to trap raccoons for further study.

Over the last year, a team of undergraduate and graduate students has been studying where raccoons in Laramie live and congregate. This week, they will set live traps around the city in order to collar, chip, and collect biological samples from the raccoons. This allows the team to track the animals, and ultimately set up puzzles around town to observe and test the raccoons’ intelligence.

MDV via Flickr Creative Commons

The University of Wyoming Police Department reported 14 campus sexual assaults in 2015. That’s up from nine sexual assaults the year before.

Police Chief Mike Samp says this year’s number is just shy of a record 15 sexual assaults at the University in 2013.

“It’s consistent with some of our higher years that we’ve ever had reported,” says Samp. “We think the vast majority of those are possibly due to increased reporting options—making sure that students are aware it’s okay to come forward. We hope that we’re not seeing an increase in the actual number of sexual assaults.”

Bob Beck

For many years, the University of Wyoming choir programs have been recognized as among the best in the country.

Since 2008 Doctor Nicole Lamartine has been the Director of Choral activities and she’s so highly thought of that she conducts and give seminars around the world and she’s a highly regarded singer in her own right. But she also has a hidden talent as a weight lifter.

A power lifter to be exact and a pretty good one, for instance, she currently holds the world back squat record after squatting 265 pounds.

J.J. Anselmi

  

A new memoir tells the story of youthful rebellion in Rock Springs. Writer J.J. Anselmi recalls growing up in the hardscrabble mining town on a steady diet of drugs, vandalism, heavy metal, and tattoos. But this story of teenage angst also explores Rock Springs’ history.

As a teenager, J.J. Anselmi covered his body with tattoos of his favorite bands: Metallica, Pantera, Black Sabbath. They represented the anger he felt growing up. But a few years later, Anselmi began having his tattoos surgically cut from his skin.

Leland Christensen

 

State Senator Leland Christensen is among the Republican candidates hoping to replace Congressman Cynthia Lummis in the U.S. House of Representatives. Lummis announced late last year that she would not seek re-election and it led to a surge of interest in her seat. Christensen has an extensive political background as both a Teton County Commissioner and a State Senator.

Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump wasn’t the first choice of Wyoming’s congressional delegation, but now that he’s presumed Republican nominee, they’re all embracing him in their own way.

Wyoming’s junior senator, John Barrasso, is a part of the Republican leadership team in the Senate, so he was inside Thursday’s meeting in Washington with Donald Trump. That doesn’t mean Barrasso necessarily wants to stop and talk about Trump.

“We had a very good, productive meeting and I’m late for another one right now.”

Caroline Ballard

When University of Wyoming Computer Science Freshman Catherine Clennan sent an email to her professor explaining what she hoped to get out of an upcoming internship, she didn’t think much of it.

“It took about 20 minutes. I sat down and just, you know, word vomited onto the page and I sent it to him. And he was so moved by it that he responded to me saying we should do a blog for the internship, and I was like yeah ok let’s do it. And so I set it up and published it and it just went viral,” says Clennan.

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