Alanna Elder

Part-Time Reporter

Email: aelder2@uwyo.edu

Alanna Elder is studying Agroecology and Environment and Natural Resources. She has lived in Wyoming since you could rent VHS from the grocery store. She counts among her heroes her grandmother, who probably introduced her to WPR, and a bunch of women named Terry and Joan. Like many Laramie-ites before her, she is happiest in the mountains.

Wyoming State Legislature

Wyoming’s House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that would sharpen anti-stalking laws.

House Bill 8 raises the maximum penalty for misdemeanor stalking from six months to one year, with up to three years of probation. The maximum penalty for felony stalking is 10 years under existing state law.

Credit By Paul Rau and the Bureau of Land Management via CC BY 2.0

About 20 years ago, Wyoming acquired a ranch north of Cody that had briefly been the home of a wanted drug smuggler. Now, there’s debate in Park County about what to do with the property.

The Park County Sheriff and another local complained to the County Commissioners that the Beartooth Ranch near the Clark Fork of the Yellowstone River is an eyesore, full of decrepit buildings and weeds. So, the commissioners decided to write a letter to Governor Matt Mead requesting the right to sell the property.

Cqfx at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Jennet Nedirmammedova a senior at the University of Wyoming invited me into her apartment, a couple of blocks from campus. It, is cozy – a couple of rooms with paintings on every wall. She cooks was cooking pasta, and offers me some as we sit down at a wooden table edging her kitchen and the stairway. Nedirmammedova came to Wyoming from Turkmenistan to study environmental science, and she has since added a second major in religious studies, plus two minors. She also works two jobs.

https://torange.biz/27249.html via Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

The 5th Annual High Plains Organic Conference will take place at the end of this month in Cheyenne, with presentations from agricultural producers, scientists, and policy experts.

The first day will provide an overview of programs that pay farmers for using organic practices and the rules for getting certified. On the second day, participants will discuss topics like choosing seeds, improving soil quality, and livestock health.

Wyoming Water Resources Data System;http://www.wrds.uwyo.edu/wrds/nrcs/snowrept/snowrept.html

Wyoming’s snowpack is currently in a better shape to protect against a drought than most other Western states.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service reported this week that statewide, there is more snow in the mountains than the 30-year average. But the agency’s Ken Von Buettner said it is a lot more useful to look at how individual basins are doing.

Alanna Elder

Standing behind a card table filled with stacks of pamphlets, Joy and Duane Koewn greeted people as they walk into the Forest Service’s open house in Laramie. Their mission was to get people to oppose the Landscape Vegetation Analysis, or LaVA – a project that will enable the U.S. Forest Service to cut, thin, or burn up to 360,000 acres of forest land over 10 to 15 years.

coralandtusk.com

A Brooklyn-based design company is moving its inventory and order fulfillment hub to Pinedale. Artist Stephanie Housley creates embroidered home décor under the brand name Coral and Tusk, which is sold around the world. 

About a year and a half ago, she and her husband decided to move from Brooklyn to the western part of Wyoming. Housley said the landscapes she has visited in the state inspired many of her designs. 

By Terry Tollefsbol, NATIONAL CONSERVATION TRAINING CENTER-PUBLICATIONS AND TRAINING MATERIALS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Environmental groups continue to voice alarm after the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission recommended moving forward on a grizzly bear hunting season. At a January meeting, the commissioners instructed the Game and Fish Department to start writing rules for hunting regulations. The first season could open as early as this fall.

If you want to become a licensed dental hygienist or sell insurance in Wyoming, you have to be reviewed by a professional licensing board.

These boards oversee a number of industries in the state, and their rules for admitting people convicted of a crime vary depending on the profession. State lawmakers have introduced two bills that would instruct all licensing boards to look past convictions for some crimes.

krossinspectors.com

Radon is the second most common cause of lung cancer in the state after smoking, according to the Wyoming Department of Health. Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas that exists in nature.

"When uranium breaks down in the soil, radon is a by-product, and radon can get into your home through cracks or your plumbing, or any space that allows air to enter your home," said Integrated Cancer Services Program Outreach Coordinator Allie Bain.

Bureau of Land Management; https://www.flickr.com/photos/mypubliclands/22885798609

U.S. Representative Liz Cheney has proposed an amendment to the Wyoming Wilderness Act to allow recreation in three Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) in northwest Wyoming. But critics say it will hurt a local effort to decide whether the areas should be wilderness or not.

By ProgWork1 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this fall, the University of Wyoming sent emails to law school students with concerns about the 37-year-old man who shot at police officers in Highlands Ranch, Colorado on Sunday morning.  

Matthew Riehl was a UW Law School graduate who at one time practiced law in Wyoming, and a veteran who served in Iraq. Matthew Riehl had been posting threatening and irrational statements about law school faculty, according to UW Police Chief Mike Samp.

National Park Service

On Friday, National Park Service Director Mike Reynolds and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced plans to better protect park service employees from harassment.

Melodie Edwards

Several advocacy groups were vindicated this week when a federal appeals court ruled Wyoming’s data trespass laws unconstitutional. Now, a lower court will reconsider the statutes, which forbid people from trespassing in order to take pictures or data samples from public lands. The laws also restrict agencies from using data they receive from people who got it by crossing private lands.

NASA; https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/13592602893

University of Wyoming veterinary scientists are working on a test that will differentiate two types of brucellosis, a disease that has caused concern among cattle ranchers in Wyoming.

Epidemiologist Brant Schumaker is leading the project. He said the name brucellosis applies to a group of infections caused by different strains of a bacteria called Brucella.

With permission from Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency

Urban Renewal Agency Director Chad Banks was leading a group of Rock Springs residents through a tunnel beneath the train tracks that break the downtown business district in half. The underpass doubles as an art gallery, meant to advertise local artists and lure people to explore both sides of the railroad.

 

The railroad gave Rock Springs its start as a coal town. Local mines fueled the trains that reached the area in the 1860s. Public Services Director Amy Allen said the city’s layout matches the scatter of those original mines.

Heart Mountain Interpretive Center

The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation is spearheading an effort to improve communication between 10 former Japanese American Confinement Sites.

The All Camps Consortium is a group of Japanese-American advocates and people in charge of historic sites like Heart Mountain near Powell.

Several groups are working on a project aimed at representing the cultural importance of elk to the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes.

Public Domain

As national confusion over the future of health care continues, an organization in Wyoming is pressing hospitals to be more transparent.

Twelve hospitals across the state participated in a survey by the Leapfrog Group, which works with the Wyoming Business Coalition on Health to evaluate providers in the state. 

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has released a final version of their State Wildlife Action Plan, or SWAP. This is an update from the 2010 document they have been using to guide management of all non-game species in Wyoming.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/chadh-flickr/2568757313

State veterinarians confirmed that plague is killing prairie dog colonies in the Thunder Basin National Grassland of northeastern Wyoming. Reports of plague have come in from other parts of the state as well.

CGP Grey (2009-09-09T19-50-42 -- DSC_0245 4893627106) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Eighty-three-year-old Ralph Deckett stood outside the Curt Gowdy State Park visitor center, broom in hand. Now retired from the FBI, Deckett spends much of his time looking after museums and recreation sites like Curt Gowdy, where he had been volunteering since the beginning of July.

“We just try to keep it nice, the best we can around here. It’s amazing how people can trash out a place,” Deckett said.

Billy Hathorn; https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kindling_for_starting_a_campfire_IMG_2454.JPG

Visitors to the Jackson area left at least ten campfires burning over the weekend.

Two of the fires had been built illegally inside Teton National Park, and two were south of Jackson, according to Fire Prevention Officer Lesley Williams. She said the rest of the unattended campfires were discovered west of the park near Shadow Mountain where there aren’t many natural sources of water to douse the flames.  Williams recommended packing extra water on camping trips, and checking to make sure the fire is really extinguished.

By USFWS Mountain-Prairie [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Paddling down the Green River, Trout Unlimited project manager Nick Walrath has a fish tale for almost every bend of the Green River below the Fontenelle Dam in southwest Wyoming.

“I drive my wife crazy because I’m like, remember that fish you caught by that big tree?” Walrath says, rowing past the spot where he once made a brown trout “rise” from a patch of grass.

As we crossed into Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge, we spot two young bald eagles perched on the bank, looking past us to the yellow bluffs.

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