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The overall population of grizzly bears is now at around 1,000. That’s according to a biannual study from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team that has adopted a new method for estimating grizzly populations. Wildlife biologist Frank Van Manen says the higher numbers came as a surprise even to him.

“So far, relatively low conflicts, relatively low mortality, good reproduction.  We already had kind of a peak year last year. So we did not anticipate a lot of females with cubs this year. But we were pleasantly surprised.”

Stories about people who grew up skiing.

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Wyoming Through Listeners’ Eyes!

Congratulations to this year’s Wyoming Public Media Photo Contest winners!

We were lucky to receive over a hundred photo entries from all over Wyoming, making it extremely difficult to not choose all the photos. The winners were chosen by listeners who voted for their favorite in each category, Wyoming’s Nature,  Wyoming's People, and Only in Wyoming. We have posted the Top 4 winners in each category below.

Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck joins Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard to help analyze the races and issues at stake in tomorrow's elections.

WPM 2014 Photo Contest Winners

Nov 3, 2014

Wyoming Through Listeners’ Eyes!

Congratulations to this year’s Wyoming Public Media Photo Contest winners!

Click the arrows on the photo above to see listeners' top pick in each category.

To see more winning pictures, click here. (4 winners in each category)

What do you think of the Wyoming Congressional Delegation's effort to remove federal protection for wolves via legislation?

WPM/NPR Community Discussion Rules

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

Wyoming Has A Shortage Of Women In The Legislature

For years women’s groups in the state have expressed concern about the lack of women in the Wyoming legislature. But it has rarely been this bad. Currently the state ranks 46th with women making up 14 percent. In 2006 the Wyoming women’s legislative caucus was formed to not only support the 14 women serving in the state legislature, but to also recruit female candidates to run for office. It hasn’t gone well.

Aaron Schrank

After the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, schools nationwide increased focus on security. Hundreds of school safety bills were proposed in state houses across the country. Spending on security systems skyrocketed. Wyoming was no exception. Just a few months after Newtown, Governor Matt Mead launched a task force to look at the safety and security of Wyoming’s schools and recommend improvements. More than a year later, Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank reports on where that effort stands.

Wyo Women's Legislative Caucus

For years women’s groups in the state have expressed concern about the lack of women in the Wyoming legislature. But it has rarely been this bad. Currently the state ranks 46th with women making up 14 percent. 

In 2006 the Wyoming women’s legislative caucus was formed to not only support the 14 women serving in the state legislature, but to also recruit female candidates to run for office. It hasn’t gone well. Melissa Turley is the Caucus Coordinator.

healthreformvotes.org/wyoming

Wyoming lawmakers are asking you to put them back in office on November fourth, but how effective have they been? 

You probably won’t be surprised to hear, this Congress is the least active in the nation’s history. In the past two years, they’ve passed only 181 bills that were signed into law by President Obama. Norm Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, doesn’t rate it very highly.

“This is an embarrassing and miserable Congress. Really one of the worst I've ever seen.”  

Wyoming Public Media

This weekend the Powder River Basin Resource Council will hold its 42nd meeting at 4 p.m.at the Sheridan Holiday Inn. The Keynote speaker is Dr. Jeffrey Lockwood, professor of Natural Sciences and Humanities at the University of Wyoming, who discuss the topic “Living Behind the Carbon Curtain: Wyoming, Energy and Censorship.”  

The energy industry can have an impact on politics in Wyoming, but other states as well. In North Dakota political spending is way up, with 17 million spent this year, more than double what was spent in 2010. Inside Energy’s Emily Guerin reports on why the stakes have suddenly gotten so high.

North Dakota has always been a friendly, easy place to vote. It is the only state in the country without voter registration, and precincts are small enough that poll volunteers often recognize people who come through the door.

Tim Hulsen, Flickr Creative Commons

Let’s go back--way back--to 1868. The Northern Arapaho tribe has survived not only the Sand Creek Massacre but decades of war with the US Army. They’re an exhausted people. In the middle of winter, the US Army decides to move them across Shoshone territory to Oklahoma.

“Well, you know Wyoming winters,” says John Washakie, great grandson of Chief Washakie and longtime Shoshone Councilman. He’s also a tribal storyteller. “They’re very cold. The horses were not in the best of shape. Some of the children and women were ill.”

In the last few years demand for public housing assistance across the country has skyrocketed, while congressional funding has stayed flat. Right now federal funds covers less than a fourth of families in the United States eligible for a Section 8 housing voucher. Waitlists for voucher in big cities are often years long, if not closed all together. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Miles Bryan reports that made small cities like Cheyenne more attractive to those seeking housing aid, because of shorter wait times.

Last month, Wyoming’s wolves were put back on the Endangered Species list, after a court ruled that the state’s management plan was inadequate. It’s the latest battle in a long-running conflict over wolf management in the West. Author Nick Jans has been following that conflict for decades and jumped into the fray earlier this year with his new book, titled “A Wolf Called Romeo.” As he told Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard, he wasn’t always a wolf advocate.

stephensonmusic.com

In classical music, there’s a long list of composers who are also conductors. One of them is Chicagoan Jim Stephenson. What sets Stephenson apart is that the audience will help him compose the music the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra will play at its family concert on November 8th. Stephenson has performed the ‘Compose Yourself’ program hundreds of times since 2002, but this performance will only be the second time with a full symphony orchestra.

The U.S. Energy Secretary has appointed a University of Wyoming professor to serve on the National Coal Council.

Dr. Maohong Fan is a UW School of Energy Resources professor who focuses his research on coal conversion. The National Coal Council advises the Department of Energy on coal issues.

Caroline Ballard

If you’re handing out candy to trick-or-treaters tonight, you might see a lot of little girls in the same costume.

Since it came out last December, the Disney movie Frozen has been catching the attention of girls everywhere. It’s ice-queen princess Elsa is a favorite among them, especially for her number one anthem “Let it Go” The song has been everywhere. 

Trey Williams Reads Excerpt From "Dirt"

Oct 31, 2014
Maria Anderson

Trey Williams is an MFA student in Creative Writing at the University of Wyoming.  Originally from Tennessee, Williams has published in Witness and has a forthcoming story in Glimmer Train.  "Dirt" tells the story of Eddie, a minor league catcher whose big-league aspirations threaten to dissolve his relationship with his recently-pregnant girlfriend. 

Anna Rader

As a young man, Richard Garber and his brother served as the grave diggers for the cemetery in Bighorn.  They oversaw the interment of their friends and neighbors when graves were dug by hand, up through the advent of the backhoe. Garber and his friend Elaine Henry recall the importance of this cemetery to their families and the community of Bighorn.

Richard grew up on a ranch in Bighorn, Wyoming.  Because of the large amount of land they ranched, his family owned an airplane.  When Garber learned to fly as a teenager, mischief and misadventure ensued.

Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites & Trails

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.

Flickr user USACE Europe District / Flickr - Creative Commons

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.

A political action committee representing Wyoming teachers announced Monday it has pulled its endorsement of Jillian Balow the Republican candidate for Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The Wyoming Education Association’s Political Action Committee for Education—known as WEA-PACE—endorsed both Balow and her Democratic opponent Mike Ceballos before this year’s primaries.

But Balow’s rhetoric about organized labor in a recent fundraising letter caused concern among the group of educators. In the letter, Balow criticized her opponent for receiving union support.  

uwyo.edu

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.”

Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites & Trails

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.

Kim Via Flickr

The Wyoming League of Women Voters is now providing survey results that will help voters decide about whether to retain judges when they go to the polls next Tuesday.

The problem in the past has been that judges who are up for retention aren’t allowed to campaign like other elected officials.

Holly Frontier

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.

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