Caroline Ballard

Morning Edition Host

Phone: 307-766-2241
Email: cballar2@uwyo.edu

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.

Ways To Connect

Wyoming Pathways

The Transportation, Recreation, Wildlife, and Cultural Resources Committee has agreed to draft a bill that would help fund more walking and bike paths in communities around the state.

Tim Young, executive director for the recreation advocacy group Wyoming Pathways, recently testified before the committee, asking them to consider investing $10 million in the “Active Wyoming” initiative. He says the benefits go far beyond the initial cost.

The Antelope Butte Ski Area in the Big Horn Mountains is getting closer to reopening. The Antelope Butte Foundation is preparing to make the first down payment on the site next month.

The community ski area closed in 2004 after decades of operation. The foundation was created to re-open the area to skiers, and also as a summer recreation area and event space.

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Two Jackson area institutions have announced that they will merge this fall. The Murie Center and Teton Science Schools are both organizations that aims to educate people about the outdoors to encourage conservation.

Kate Gersh is the Associate Director at The Murie Center. She says since there is so much overlap between the two, a merger just made sense.

Wyoming Department of Health

State officials say this has been Wyoming’s worst year on record for human cases of the disease Tularemia, or rabbit fever. Tularemia is a bacterial disease that is passed to humans by animals, insects, untreated water, and even contaminated dust. Once you have the disease, symptoms can include fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, ulcers, and diarrhea.

Wyoming Department of Health spokeswoman Kim Deti says they have not pinpointed any one factor leading to the uptick in reports.

WyoLotto

It’s been one year since lottery tickets went on sale in Wyoming. Between all three games of chance, ticket sales brought in $20 million and $5.2 million of that went back to winners. So far, local and state governments have not seen any of the profits.

The Wyoming Lottery Corporation – or Wyolotto – decided to pay off the bank loan it used to start the company before transferring money to the state’s treasury department. Wyolotto’s CEO Jon Clontz says it looks like the company will be able to pay back the loan by May of 2016, and hitting that milestone is on everyone’s mind.

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Wyoming is the only state in the country without a refugee resettlement program – the office that chooses refugees to bring to the U.S., helps them find jobs, and teaches them English. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t former refugees living in Wyoming.

Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard brings us the story of one former refugee who is trying to change things in Wyoming. Bertine Bahige is a Math teacher who lives in Gillette, but was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Wyoming Game and Fish

Wyoming’s Game and Fish Department has been awarded $1.3 million in grant money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

That money will help fund the state’s Private Lands Public Wildlife program, where landowners partner with the state to lease hunting rights and manage wildlife on their land.

Renny MacKay is a spokesman for Wyoming Game and Fish. He says it’s been easy to find landowners who want to participate.

Members of the Joint Judiciary Committee have agreed to ask permission to study the workload of District Judges in Laramie County. The decision comes after preliminary data was presented by the Wyoming Administrative Office of the Courts and district judges testified at a recent committee meeting. They say that they and other judges like them in the state are overworked and that it’s slowing down their ability to hear cases. They say civil cases often take the worst hit – making the wait time for a civil trial a year or longer.

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The Wyoming Legislature is looking at reforming civil asset forfeiture laws.

Asset forfeiture is when law enforcement takes and keeps property like cash, guns, and cars it believes to be associated with drug crimes. In Wyoming, the law doesn’t require a charge or conviction to seize and hold property, nor does it require the police to actually find drugs. To get the property back, owners have to go to court and prove that it was not tied to a drug crime.

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People from all over the state gathered in Gillette Thursday to weigh in on a controversial new proposal to update the federal coal program. 

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The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company is in Jackson this week, holding master classes and performing the new work “Analogy/Dora: Tramontane” this weekend.

The piece combines spoken word and modern dance and meditates on memory and duty. It’s based on the stories of Dora Amelan , a French-Jewish nurse who survived World War Two. Bill T. Jones, a two-time tony winner and former Macarthur Genius grant recipient, is the choreographer and artistic director. He joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard from Jackson.

Paul B. Goode / newyorklivearts.org

The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company is in residence with the Dancer's Workshop at the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts this week, holding master classes and performing its new work “Analogy/Dora: Tramontane.”

Governor Matt Mead released his plan for Sage Grouse conservation in Wyoming earlier this month, but September’s federal deadline to decide on endangered species listing is rapidly approaching. Scientists across the west are now engaged in a discussion of whether or not states are doing enough to adequately protect the bird’s numbers.

An upcoming panel at the University of Wyoming will attempt to address some of those issues.

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Leaders of the Wyoming Women’s Legislative Caucus have chosen Esther Hobart Morris, America’s first female Justice of the Peace and a Wyoming resident, as their pick to be the face on the redesigned $10 bill.

Earlier this summer, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced the initiative to feature a woman on the $10 note. He invited the public to contribute their picks via social media with the hashtag #thenew10.

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Planned Parenthood came under fire when videos surfaced of its employees discussing the distribution of fetal tissue for research. A bill to cut all federal funding to Planned Parenthood was blocked by the U.S. Senate, but some House Republicans say they will continue the effort to the defund the organization after summer recess.

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As the coal industry faces deep uncertainty over its future, coal-hauling Union Pacific railroad is going full steam ahead in investing in rail infrastructure in Wyoming.

Union Pacific is working on a $13.5 million project to update rail infrastructure between Laramie and Hanna. The railroad is repairing road crossings and replacing ties and rails. Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis says updates like these keep the track in good working condition.

Wyoming Game and Fish

Earlier this month one of Zimbabwe’s best-known animals, a lion named Cecil, was killed by an American hunter, causing outrage to erupt on social media.

Renny MacKay, communications director with Wyoming Game and Fish, says Wyoming’s Stop Poaching program uses social media, the Game and Fish website, and a hotline to report hunting violations. He says sharing images online lets people connect with wildlife and because of that, he says social media is a key tool for reaching the public and spreading the word about hunting violations here in Wyoming.

Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

On Monday, the Obama administration released the centerpiece of its climate change agenda: the Clean Power Plan. The rule aims to reduce carbon emissions from coal and gas-fired power plants and increase the country’s use of renewable energy.

Wyoming Public Radio’s energy reporter Stephanie Joyce joined Morning Edition host Caroline Ballard to talk about the details of the plan and what it means for Wyoming.

 

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Cecil the lion was a favorite and well-known animal in the Zimbabwe Hwange National Park. Earlier this month he was killed by an American hunter and once the internet found out, it wanted justice. Now, a debate is raging on social media over big-game trophy hunting – both illegal and legal. Wyoming doesn’t have African Lions, but it does have mountain lions, elk, moose, bears, and a good number of big-game hunters. Renny MacKay is communications director for Wyoming Game and Fish.

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A low pressure system that moved through Wyoming Monday brought some strange weather, including strong winds statewide and snow in the upper elevations in the Tetons.

Gusts nearing 70 miles per hour were recorded in the Jackson area, and windy conditions fueled wildfires in Natrona and Sweetwater Counties.

Dave Lipson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Riverton, says this kind of weather is more typical of September or October.

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The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is monitoring Sage Grouse for signs of West Nile Virus. The disease, carried by mosquitos, has a high mortality rate for the bird.

Tom Christiansen, the Department’s Sage Grouse Program Director, says keeping tabs on what kills Sage Grouse is always important, but it’s crucial as the September Deadline approaches for federal officials to decide whether to list Sage Grouse as endangered.

Caroline Ballard

Cowboys in Levis, bucking broncos, and raging bulls in a dirt arena are probably the images that come to mind when you think of a rodeo. The events aren’t exactly known for their glamour. But at Cheyenne Frontier Days, two of its most recognizable faces are known just as much for their outfits as they are for their riding. Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard finds out what it’s like to be Miss Frontier and her Lady In Waiting.

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For millennia, humans have watched animals soar above us, hunt beside us, and burrow below us. We have them in our homes as pets and on our plates as food. But the line between animals and humans might be about to shift.

Some scientists are studying how the human body can copy extraordinary traits expressed by animals in what is called biomimicry. Hank Harlow is the director of the University of Wyoming National Park Service Research Station, and he studies animals living in stressful environments.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is opening Disaster Recovery Centers in Niobrara and Johnson Counties this week. The president declared those counties disaster areas after significant flooding destroyed and damaged homes and business there last month.

The Disaster Recovery Centers are places where people can meet face to face with disaster recovery officials to learn about what assistance is available to them and how it can be used.

FEMA Spokesman Brian Hvinden says that they will provide help until everyone is taken care of.

Wyoming became the 44th state on July 10th, 1890. This year marks its 125th anniversary of statehood, and Wyomingites couldn’t let that go by without a little party. Milward Simpson is the Director of the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources. He joins Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard to talk about the celebrations that will mark the 125th anniversary of Wyoming statehood, and to reflect on the state's legacy.

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Smoke is in the air in Northern and Eastern parts of the state. But that haze isn’t from Wyoming, it’s coming from wildfires burning in Alaska and Canada.

Ralph Estell with the National Weather Service in Riverton says Canada’s fire season has started off very differently from Wyoming’s.

"We’ve had a pretty wet end of spring beginning of summer time period. It’s been pretty dry up there and their fire season has kind of exploded because of that," says Estell.

So far, 13,000 residents in Saskatchewan have been evacuated because of the fires.

Wyoming Business Coalition On Health

An upcoming conference in Casper aims to address the high cost of health care for employers. “Victim to Victor – Taking Control of Your Healthcare Spending” is sponsored by the Wyoming Business Coalition on Health, and intends to educate businesses on how they can more efficiently manage health care costs.

Anne Ladd is the CEO of the coalition. She says the conference will elaborate on tools employees can use to make the most of their health care plans. It will also clarify for employers what drives health care costs.

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