Caroline Ballard

Morning Edition Host

Phone: 307-766-2241

Caroline comes to Wyoming by way of New York City, where she received her Bachelors in Global Liberal Studies from New York University and her Masters in Journalism from Columbia University. Her work has appeared on WFUV, Brick City Live, the Village Voice, and Uptown Radio. Caroline is an avid world traveler and has lived in France, Portugal, New York, and Virginia.

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The holiday shopping season is off to an official start in Wyoming, with Black Friday sales now taking place almost the entire weekend.

The deals started Thursday night, with big stores like Target and Walmart opening their doors at 6 pm on Thanksgiving. Wyoming shoppers were ready. Jake Pappas works for the Target in Cheyenne. He says it took about 20 minutes to get everyone who was in line inside, and that was just the beginning.

Wyoming Humanities Council

Last week, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead joined other governors in calling on the U.S. to halt the flow of Syrian refugees to the country. Currently, Wyoming accepts no refugees at all, as it’s the only state without a refugee resettlement program. But that won’t stop the Wyoming Humanities Council from going forward with a campaign to hold discussions about refugee resettlement and what it could mean for Wyoming.

As the snow piles up and people across the west begin to break out their skis and snowboards, Wyoming’s biggest ski resort is getting ready to celebrate its 50th winter season. The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort now has 116 ski trails, 13 lifts, an aerial tram, and 2500 acres of terrain, but back in 1965, it saw just a handful of skiers going up on 2 chair lifts.

The resort’s Business Development Director Bill Lewkowitz joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard to talk about the resort’s past, present, and future. 

Caroline Ballard

The recent terror attacks in Paris that killed 129 people also triggered an emergency response protocol at the University of Wyoming. Three UW students are currently studying in France, though only one UW student was in Paris this weekend, but the University reached out to all of them to make sure they were safe.

Anne Alexander is the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs. She says despite fears of more attacks, she does not think the events in Paris will impact enrollment in European study abroad programs for next semester.

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November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and the percentage of Wyoming adults with diabetes has nearly doubled in the last 15 years. That’s causing concern at the Wyoming Department of Health, where Chronic Disease Epidemiologist Joe Grandpre has been watching the situation unfold.

Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard checked in with Grandpre to find out why diabetes is a growing problem.

Wyoming Department of Transportation

Winter weather this week caused I-80 to close across most of the state. The first major closure of the winter driving season was prompted by near zero visibility and blowing snow across much of interstate 80.

Sergeant David Wagener with the Wyoming Highway Patrol says the most important safety tip for winter driving is wearing your seatbelt, something he says everyone should be doing no matter what the weather conditions are.

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November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and Wyoming’s percentage of adults with diabetes continues to cause concern.

Joe Grandpre  is the Chronic Diseases Epidemiologist at the Wyoming Department of Health. Grandpre says higher rates of diabetes in Wyoming can be attributed to the state’s rising rates of obesity, which is the leading cause of Type 2 Diabetes. He says he is also seeing more people being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes at younger ages, and that will cost patients more.

The Jackson area saw its first significant snowfall of the season this week, and the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is busy preparing to open its slopes. The early-season storm brought more than 20 inches to the top of the mountain.

"We are definitely seeing some great traffic from this new snow," said Anna Cole, spokeswoman for the resort. "We are seeing people actively calling and planning vacations. This is our, this is a very busy time of year."

Although the winter storm dropped plenty of snow, Cole says they’re also making snow, to help cover the base of the mountain.

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A new rule that will make it easier to restore black-footed ferret populations.

The 10(j) rule lets private landowners open up their lands to reintroduction in return for looser restrictions. Under the rule, if a landowner accidentally harms or kills a ferret, he or she will not be prosecuted under the Endangered Species Act.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokesman Ryan Moehring, says his agency partnered with Wyoming officials to develop the rule.

Rocky Mountain Power is building a new tower at the Seven Mile Hill Wind Farm in Carbon County, in order to observe bird activity near the farm’s 79 turbines.

Margaret Oler is a spokeswoman for Rocky Mountain Power. She says the tower will be 30 feet tall with a structure at the top for researchers to watch for birds – specifically eagles.

"It will also be equipped with the equipment that the observers will need in order to, in real time, to shut down a turbine if bird activity in the area picks up," says Oler.

Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Radio

Listen to the full show here.  

Wyoming's Revenue Picture Will Lead To A Lean Budget

The Consensus Revenue Estimating group or CREG will release its much-anticipated revenue forecast on Tuesday. Wyoming’s revenues are expected to drop 500 to 600 million dollars, which means legislators will have a lot less money to spend compared to the last budget. 

Willow Belden

Word War 2 ended 70 years ago, and as more time passes, there are fewer and fewer people left who remember the era first hand. Sam Mihara is a survivor of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, a Japanese Internment Camp located between Cody and Powell.

He sat down with Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard to talk about how, after staying away from Wyoming for more than 40 years, he was able to come back. 

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the American Cancer Society has introduced new guidelines for breast cancer screening. It now recommends people get mammograms at age 45 instead of 40.

Morgan Powell is the outreach coordinator for the Wyoming Department of Health’s Integrated Cancer Services. She says Wyoming recommends starting at age 50, the same as the US Preventative Services.

Still, "There are exceptions to every rule," says Powell. "If there are signs and symptoms of Breast Cancer, that absolutely makes you a priority for the program."

Gregory Hinton

Wyoming certainly has its place in LGBT history. Now, it will serve as a place where LGBT history in the West can be chronicled, as well. 

The University of Wyoming's American Heritage Center has a new archive "Out West In The Rockies," which spotlights LGBT history in the American West.

Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard sat down with the co-creator of the archive, Gregory Hinton, who spent his childhood in Wyoming and Montana. Hinton will be speaking about the archive and his own experience growing up in the West at the Sheridan Fulmer Library at 6:30pm Wednesday.

American Heritage Center

The co-creator of the American Heritage Center’s newest archive will visit Sheridan’s library.

Gregory Hinton is an author and filmmaker. He will be speaking about the archive “Out West In The Rockies,” which is focused on the experiences of LGBT people in the American West. Hinton says it’s important that the history of LGBT people be accepted as a part of American and Western history, and he says the archive at the American Heritage Center is a good first step.

Charlie Hamilton James

The National Park Service celebrates its Centennial in 2016. To mark the occasion, National Geographic Magazine is devoting the entire May 2016 issue to the country’s first national park – Yellowstone. Charlie Hamilton James is one of the photographers whose work will be featured in the issue. His niche is aquatic wildlife photography – animals like cutthroat trout, beavers, and otters. James is from the UK and relocated to Jackson for a year to shoot these pictures in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

David Quammen

The National Park Service celebrates its Centennial next year. To mark the occasion, National Geographic Magazine is devoting its May 2016 issue solely to the country’s first national park – Yellowstone. And not only is this issue focused on one place – all of the content has been written by just one author – a first for the publication. David Quammen is the writer and journalist who has been tasked with this feat.

Wyoming Highway Patrol

Hundreds of residents near the Casper suburb of Evansville have been evacuated from their homes due to a grass fire. The blaze started at a landfill Saturday, but high winds have since caused the fire to spread to the surrounding area.

Bob Fawcett is the Fire Marshall for the Natrona County Fire Protection District. He says the department has called up much of its resources, between 80 and 100 people in aerial and ground units, to fight the fire, but the high winds that fanned the flames initially are also making it difficult to fight the fire.

The SHIFT Festival kicks off its second annual conference this week at the Center for the Arts in Jackson.

Director Christian Beckwith says the conference is the first of its kind to bring together outdoor recreationists, land managers and conservation advocates.

"We’re really looking forward to getting everybody into the same room at the same time, cross-pollinating the conversations that we typically just have amongst ourselves, and seeing where it goes from there," says Beckwith.

Caroline Ballard

President Obama has announced the U.S. will accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees. Right now it’s unclear where those refugees will go when they arrive in the in the states, but we do know one place they won’t be heading: Wyoming. It’s the only state without a resettlement program. 

Wyoming does have residents who are former refugees. People like

Bertine Bahige, who came from the Congo. Today he lives in Gillette, a coal mining town in the Northeast part of the state, and he’s a high school Math teacher.



The National Outdoor Leadership School, or NOLS, turns 50 years old this Fall. The organization teaches outdoor safety and wilderness medicine and also has programs for leadership, networking, and general adventure in the outdoors.

NOLS was founded in Wyoming and is still headquartered in Lander, where it serves tens of thousands of students each year. Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard caught up with John Gans, the executive director at NOLS, to hear his take on the school’s 50-year legacy.

The National Outdoor Leadership School, or NOLS, turns 50 years old this fall.

The organization was founded in Wyoming in 1965 and is still headquartered in Lander. But in its fifty-year history, the school has offered courses on all seven continents. NOLS teaches outdoor safety and wilderness medicine, and it also has programs for leadership, networking, and general adventure in the outdoors.

John Gans, the executive director at NOLS, says what sets the school apart from other programs is its staff.

Ladder Ranch

Wyoming Ranchers are among those who are pleased with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s decision not to list the Greater Sage Grouse as an endangered species.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said in her announcement that one of the main reasons the bird wasn’t listed was the cooperation among individuals, industry, and government in conservation efforts.

Pat O’toole runs the Ladder Ranch in Savery, Wyoming. He says his ranch took several steps to help Sage Grouse – from putting land in conservation easements to creating more sage brush habitat.

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Yellowstone is heading for a record tourist season.

At every Yellowstone attraction, there were crowds this summer. There were lines of people with cameras and spotting scopes roadside, and miles long traffic jams when motorists failed to pull over for the iconic park wildlife.

More than 3 million visitors were in the Park by the end of August. Records were set every summer month. Gateway communities like Cody benefited. The owner of the Proud Cut Saloon, Del Nose, said it was busy.

Caroline Ballard

When the Western Thunder Marching Band takes the field at War Memorial Stadium these days, it really takes the field. With 235 members, all 100 yards are practically filled with people in uniforms. It is the biggest band Wyoming has ever seen, it has a new director, and unlike other schools where you have to audition to be a part of the band UW accepts everyone, even those who have never marched in a band before.