Bob Beck

News Director

Phone: 307-766-6626
Email: btwo@uwyo.edu 

Bob Beck has been News Director of Wyoming Public Radio since 1988.  During his time as News Director WPR has won 94 national, regional and state news awards.  Bob has received the WEA School Bell Award for education reporting and was honored by the Governor’s Council on Impaired Driving for his reporting.  He was also the voice of an Emmy award winning documentary on memory.  He has covered the Wyoming Legislature longer than any broadcaster in the state and is a frequent political guest and host on Wyoming PBS.   

Bob also taught broadcast news at the University of Wyoming for 20 years and his 1998 television reporting class won a regional Emmy for reporting excellence.  He also was twice given a Top Prof award by the UW Mortar Board.   Bob is also active in community events and co-chaired the 2009 Albany County United Way Campaign with his wife Debra. 

Prior to coming to WPR, Bob worked as a News and Sportscaster at stations in Wyoming and Illinois.  He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Radio-Television from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and is a native of Wheaton, Illinois in suburban Chicago.  When he is not working he is running, mountain biking, doing CrossFit, walking his dog, or cheering on his beloved Packers, Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs and Salukis.

Ways To Connect

It will be a young and mostly inexperienced University of Wyoming football team that takes the field against North Dakota this weekend. 

Wyoming has only eight seniors on its roster, the second fewest of any team in the country. Head Coach Craig Bohl said that 13 freshmen will see playing time for the Cowboys this year. That is an unusually high number. But Bohl quickly added that they have a huge upside.

Wyoming Public Media

Four years ago Ozone in the Pinedale area was compared to that of Los Angeles. The culprit was enhanced energy development in the Upper Green River basin. The area was listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as a non-attainment area for ozone pollution under the federal Clean Air Act. But this week the EPA said that efforts to reduce those levels to healthier standards have worked. Wyoming Outdoor Council Chief Legal Counsel Bruce Pendery has been closely following the issue. He tells Bob Beck that the response to the problem was excellent.  

University of Wyoming Cultural Programs

 

Late next month the fall 2015 season of Cultural Programs at the University of Wyoming will get underway with a September 29th performance of Huun Huur Tu, Tuvan throat singers. It’s an extremely diverse schedule that wraps up in April. University of Wyoming Director of Cultural Programs and Director of Fine Arts Outreach Janelle Fletcher told Bob Beck that they are doing some new things.  

Bob Beck

For the most part, 2014 was a tough year for the University of Wyoming football team. The Cowboys finished with only four wins and eight losses. But the while the team enters this season with a few question marks, how will its new quarterback fair? Will a revamped defense and offensive line be able to make the necessary improvements? Will the kicking game be better? But one area they feel pretty good about is the fact that they have two amazing running backs in senior Shaun Wick and sophomore Brian Hill. Wick agrees with those who say they are a lot alike. 

Due to falling gas prices and the end of a Wyoming tax credit, the state’s only ethanol plant is closing its doors. 

The tax credit expired in July, but current gas and corn prices also added to the demise of Goshen County business Wyoming Ethanol.

Goshen County Economic Development Director Ashley Harpstreith said 18 workers will be displaced, but she’s hopeful that this is a temporary shutdown. 

A State Senator said an agreement between the United States and China to share advances in Clean Coal technology is probably ten years too late. The deal was reached this week. Gillette Senator Michael Von Flatern said it’s better late than never.                

Bob Beck

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead says it’s time for the state to dip into its rainy day funds to get through some lean economic times. 

Falling oil and gas prices and declining coal revenues are reducing state revenues. He says the state will need to use some of the nearly two billion dollars in savings to get through the next two year budget cycle. While the state can reduce spending, Mead says there are still a lot of needs such as funding for local governments.

Aaron Schrank

Pope's Environmental Message Can Be Challenging For Coal Country Catholics

Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment is getting a thorough reading here in Wyoming—the country’s top coal-producing state. The letter presents a moral framework for approaching issues like global climate change. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank reports, it’s a difficult subject for Catholics in the Cowboy State.   

Bob Beck

In Laramie, the Eppson Center for Seniors is looking at how it should operate in the future. Lynne Simpson is overseeing that effort.  She says the kinds of discussion surrounding independent living that’s taking place in Laramie should occur throughout Wyoming.  

Bob Beck

Lots of people like to run and many have chosen to run marathons. But not that many have decided to run beyond that. One such person is gearing up for an upcoming 100 mile race that she’s running for the second time. There’s lots of ways Jennifer Bartel and her three kids and dog spend time together, but lately a lot of that family time has been spent running. Bartel runs a lot.

“I try to keep it right around 50 miles a week, mostly because when I boost it over that I start to feel really poor from my neck all the way down, so I stick right at 50 miles.  

Courtesy Wyoming NORML

Supporters of legalizing medical marijuana in Wyoming can begin collecting signatures in an effort to put the issue on the ballot. 

The Secretary of State’s office gave the go ahead to the Wyoming National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana laws to collect the nearly 26 thousand signatures it needs to get the issue before voters in 2016. If voters approve it, the legislature will be asked to draft legislation to legalize medical marijuana.  Chris Christian of Wyoming NORML said they want the law to say that people can get cannabis from a doctor. 

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming Trustees have voted to ask Governor Mead for money to continue UW’s medical education program. 

Trustees voted to request almost a million more dollars for the WWAMI Medical Education and the WYDENT Dental Education programs to address tuition increases. Some additional funding for those programs was also requested. 

Courtesy UW Athletics

The Wyoming Cowgirls soccer team just missed an NCAA tournament berth last year and they are out to prove that their success wasn’t a fluke.  

The Cowgirls return eight starters, but lost three key seniors to graduation. Head Coach Pete Cuadrado says for that reason his team needs to use the pre-season to find leaders.

After a four-win and eight loss season, University of Wyoming Football Coach Craig Bohl says the team needs to play better this year. 

The Cowboys opened fall camp Monday with a new quarterback, a highly-regarded pair of running backs, and several questions. The biggest question marks reside on defense. All-America candidate Eddie Yarbrough leads a unit that has been re-vamped since last season. Bohl says three or more freshmen may be asked to either start or play significant minutes. But he remains optimistic that the unit could improve. 

Leigh Paterson

The Wyoming Democratic Party is praising the President’s clean power plan calling it an attempt to slow the effects of climate change. 

Party Vice Chairman Bruce Palmer says he’s hopeful that industry and state policy leaders will stop fighting solutions to climate change and focus on ways to address carbon emissions and develop renewable energy. 

Bob Beck

After years of planning the state of Wyoming is finally going ahead with a multi-year effort to renovate the state capitol building and to completely re-do the neighboring Herschler building. 

Construction Manager Dennis Egge stands outside the building as he watches a variety of people tap on the capitol exterior

“The design team has actually looked at every stone on this building, they have taken a forklift and looked at it. These guys are looking at it from a means and method, what’s the best way budget wise to make this work.”

Forest fire activity has been among the worst on record across much of the West this summer, but it should be a typical fire season here.

State Forester Bill Crapser says that’s because of the unseasonably rainy weather Wyoming saw in June and July.  Crapser says Wyoming’s fire season has started to pick up, but he doesn't expect things to get out of control.

Courtesy Wyoming NORML

  

A Wyoming group has received permission to collect nearly 25 thousand signatures by February in an effort to get an initiative on the ballot. It would legalize the use of medical marijuana among other things. Chris Christian is the Executive Director of the group Wyoming NORML and she says it was time legalization became a topic of discussion in Wyoming. She explains her interest to Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck. 

You can learn more about Wyoming NORML’s effort at wyomingnorml.org

Bob Beck

It’s another day at the bull riding event at the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo and it’s another day of the rodeo announcer thanking bullfighter Darrell Diefenbach for knocking a bull away from a helpless bull rider who’d fallen to the ground. It’s something Diefenbach and his Frontier Days partner Dusty Tuckness do every day.

Courtesy of the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming

Wyoming’s Episcopal Bishop John Smylie wants the state to have a conversation about gun violence following shootings that killed three men and seriously injured another this week.

Smylie says the shooting of two people at a detox center in Riverton and the shooting of two people at a Cheyenne business shows him that gun violence issues across the country have come to Wyoming.  

Two pieces of legislation that could reform the controversial No Child Left Behind law are going to a conference committee. 

The Senate version of the bill allows states to determine how to use federally mandated tests for accountability purposes and lets states decide if they will allow parents to ask to opt out of standardized tests. The House version would just give parents that right. Wyoming Representative Cynthia Lummis hopes that stays in the bill.

Gonorrhea Cases Double

Jul 22, 2015
knowwyo.org

Wyoming health officials say they are seeing a gonorrhea outbreak. They had 61 reported cases earlier this month compared to a total of 31 last year. Half of the cases involve people in their 20’s.

The Director of the state’s communicable disease surveillance program, Courtney Smith, says the problem is that couples are not using condoms. 

Cynthia Lummis

Wyoming Congressman Cynthia Lummis will be the western states co-chair for Senator Rand Paul’s run for President. Lummis, a fiscal conservative, says that she’s been impressed with the Kentucky Senator’s efforts to stop federal spending. 

“The direction we are heading is not sustainable and Rand Paul is the one person that I’m sure will do what he says he’s going to do. We will quit kicking the can down the road and address some of these issues that are going to unleash the American economy.”

University of Wyoming men’s basketball coach Larry Shyatt has signed a contract extension through the 2019-2020 season. 

Shyatt will make a base salary of $210-thousand dollars this season, increasing to $230-thousand in the last year of the contract. Shyatt will also earn extra money if players meet academic goals and he meets performance incentives. The contract also includes extra money for his coaching staff. 

Shyatt says some friends wondered if he would leave Wyoming after appearing in the NCAA tourney last season.

health.wyo.gov

Wyoming residents are being asked to discuss ways cancer can be better detected and treated at a meeting today in Casper. 

Julie Tarbuck oversees Wyoming’s Comprehensive Cancer Control Program. Tarbuck says they are developing the next State Cancer Control plan and they want to develop new ways to address everything from diagnosis to quality of life.

She says overcoming the challenges faced by those in rural parts of the state remains an issue. For instance, Tarbuck says the lack of health care providers makes detection difficult.         

Wyoming NORML

Those wanting medical marijuana legalized in the state will soon be able to collect signatures. The Wyoming Secretary of State’s office has certified the application for ballot initiative concerning the Peggy A. Kelly Cannabis Act of 2016. 

For it to actually get on the ballot the group Wyoming NORML must collect 25,673 signatures. Executive Director Chris Christian says while it’s a first step…it’s a big one.

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