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 BA in Global Liberal Studies from New York University and her Masters in Journalism from Columbia University. Her work has appeared on Marketplace, NPR, WFUV, and the Village Voice. Caroline is an avid world traveler and has lived in France, Portugal, New York, and Virginia. In her free time, she likes to cook, knit, and explore all Wyoming has to offer! 

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Vertical Harvest

After seven years, Vertical Harvest - Jackson Hole’s hydroponic greenhouse – celebrates its grand opening this week. A hydroponic greenhouse grows plants without soil, and with less water than traditional methods. Vertical Harvest raises tomatoes, basil, and greens straight up in the air, which means the plants are stacked in several stories worth of growing space.

CEO and co-founder of Vertical Harvest Nona Yehia says the operation has been selling its produce to local restaurants, schools, and the hospital for about a month now.

National Park Service

Yellowstone National Park is closing a popular hillside near the Grand Prismatic Spring this summer. Over the years, unofficial trails have been created on the hill since hikers can look over the spring there.

Jody Lyle, a spokeswoman for the park, says the closure is part of a two-year project.

"This summer we’re going to close that area, begin construction on an official trail that will go to an official overlook, and then restore all of the damage that’s been done on that hillside from people creating social trails on their own," says Lyle.

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park officials are urging tourists to obey park guidelines, after recent incidents of visitors breaking the law garnered widespread attention on social media.

Caroline Ballard

  

At the Women in STEM conference, more than 500 middle and high school girls descended on the University of Wyoming campus to learn more about STEM careers. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.  

The girls get to attend three workshops out of a possible 25 options, and choices range from animal husbandry to chemistry and robotics.

Holly Ramseier is a senior in Chemical Engineering at UW, and is helping out today. She says the conference is all about getting your feet wet and seeing what you like. 

According to a new poll, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead has the third highest approval rating of Governors across the U.S. The survey results were released last week by the non-partisan media and polling organization Morning Consult, which listed Governor Mead’s approval rating at 67 percent. 

Jeff Cartwright is the communications director at Morning Consult. He says even with Wyoming facing a budget crunch, Governor Mead’s approval ratings may not be affected, simply because it’s hard to predict what will hurt a governor’s image.

uwyo.edu

More than 500 middle and high school girls will explore careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math at the upcoming Women in STEM conference at the University of Wyoming.

At least 26 workshops and activities will be led mostly by women from organizations like the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Tata Chemicals, and the University of Wyoming.

Michele Turner, one of the event’s coordinators, says one of the goals of the conference is to show girls that there are opportunities for them in STEM.

UW Raccoon Project

The University of Wyoming Raccoon Project is gearing up to trap raccoons for further study.

Over the last year, a team of undergraduate and graduate students has been studying where raccoons in Laramie live and congregate. This week, they will set live traps around the city in order to collar, chip, and collect biological samples from the raccoons. This allows the team to track the animals, and ultimately set up puzzles around town to observe and test the raccoons’ intelligence.

Caroline Ballard

When University of Wyoming Computer Science Freshman Catherine Clennan sent an email to her professor explaining what she hoped to get out of an upcoming internship, she didn’t think much of it.

“It took about 20 minutes. I sat down and just, you know, word vomited onto the page and I sent it to him. And he was so moved by it that he responded to me saying we should do a blog for the internship, and I was like yeah ok let’s do it. And so I set it up and published it and it just went viral,” says Clennan.

The Local Crowd

Starting this summer, Laramie will help pioneer a new kind of local online crowdfunding called “The Local Crowd.”  Crowdfunding is when an entity raises small amounts of money from a large number of people.

Trey Sherwood is the Executive Director of the Laramie Main Street Alliance, which will take the lead in the platform’s implementation. She says the difference between “The Local Crowd” and other crowd funding sites like "Indiegogo" or "GoFundMe" is that “The Local Crowd” will feature campaigns for projects that will invest back in their community.

Irina Zhorov

Heavy spring snow has boosted the state’s snowpack levels to almost 100 percent of normal.

Lee Hackleman, Wyoming's Water Supply Specialist, says that means the outlook for the state’s water resources and reservoirs is good, and drought conditions are disappearing from most areas.

"Probably the only part that's left [in drought] is some over on the west side of the state and that is liable to persist for a little while," says Hackleman.

Listen to the full show here. 

Energy Bill Could Help Wyoming

The U.S. Senate put its partisan tendencies aside this week and passed a sweeping bill aimed at modernizing the U.S. energy sector. Matt Laslo reports from Washington the bill includes provisions that could help the state’s ailing energy industry.

Uranium miner Cameco has announced it is laying off 85 workers in Wyoming and Nebraska.

Ken Vaughn, a spokesman for Cameco, says the cuts are a result of an ongoing downturn in the uranium market.

“Well there’s just an oversupply on the market at present. Part of that is due to the fact that most of the Japanese nuclear plants have been offline for the Fukushima disaster,” says Vaughn.

istockphoto.com

A viral essay written by a University of Wyoming computer science student is inspiring real change at the university.

In a speech marking National Park Week, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell praised efforts by states like Wyoming to collaborate with private industry and federal agencies to keep the Greater Sage Grouse off the endangered species list.

"That’s the model for the future of conservation. That big picture, roll up your sleeves, get input from all stakeholders kind of planning is how land management agencies should orient themselves in the 21st century," said Jewell.

Wyoming is sometimes called the Equality State — it had the nation's first female governor and was the first territory to give women the right to vote. But that legacy isn't visible on the floor of the state Senate. Just one of the 30 state senators is a woman.

"I am the queen of the Senate. I have my own little tiara," jokes Bernadine Craft, a Democrat who represents the mining town of Rock Springs.

Democratic voters in Wyoming have decided: Sen. Bernie Sanders has won the state's caucuses, according to The Associated Press. But the victory over Hillary Clinton will not ensure Sanders more delegates. The state's 14 delegates will be split evenly between the two candidates.

​Hillary for America Campaign Manager Robby Mook released the following statement on Clinton's tie in pledged delegates in Wyoming:

Casper College

A new musical premieres this month at Casper College. “Mulberry” is set in the late 1990s, and focuses on the patriarch of a family in a small town in Wisconsin. James Olm is a voice and musical theatre instructor at Casper College, and is the writer and composer of the musical.

He tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard that the inspiration to write the show actually came from a difficult time in his own life.

Wikipedia Commons

The Shepard Symposium on Social Justice celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. One of the keynote speakers for the event is Masha Gessen, a Russian-American journalist, author, frequent contributor to the New York Times and New Yorker, and LGBT activist. She joined Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard for a conversation about Russia's anti-gay campaign and LGBT refugees finding new lives in the United States.

The Wyoming Office of Tourism’s 2016 campaign “That’s WY” is focused on answering why people should visit Wyoming.

One of the biggest changes the campaign has introduced is a new website design and URL at travelwyoming.com. The new site is image based with a so-called responsive design, which means the site looks the same whether viewed on a cell phone or desktop computer.

Diane Shober, executive director of the Wyoming Office of Tourism, says, in addition to the new site, the office is also expanding its reach in radio and television.

Conservation groups Wyoming Wildlife Advocates and Defenders of Wildlife filed a legal challenge Wednesday against a 2014 National Park Service decision to give authority over inholdings in Grand Teton National Park to the state of Wyoming. Inholdings are parcels of land that are located inside the park, but are either state or privately owned.

Tim Preso is the attorney representing the conservation groups. Preso says the park service’s decision reversed 60 years of protections for wildlife within the boundaries of the park.

The Bridger-Teton National Forest is changing some of its rules for this year’s antler rush to make it safer by giving people a head start.

Wyoming Outdoor Council

This May, the University of Wyoming will award an honorary doctoral degree to Tom Bell. Bell is 92 years old, a writer, World War II Veteran, and renowned conservationist. In 1967 he founded the Wyoming Outdoor Council and in 1970 started High Country News. He joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard to talk about how conservation has changed since he first came to Wyoming.

Wyoming Outdoor Council

Longtime conservationist Tom Bell will be awarded an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Wyoming. Bell is 92 years old and founded both the Wyoming Outdoor Council and High Country News.

Bell says when he founded the council in 1967, no one was paying attention to the health of the planet. Over time, he says people have slowly changed their minds about conservation for a few reasons.

Wyoming Humanities Council

The Wyoming Humanities Council and Wyoming PBS are hosting a panel discussion on refugee resettlement next week. It's part of a Humanities Council series exploring the issue in Wyoming, the only state without a refugee resettlement program.

The panel will feature former refugee and teacher Bertine Bahige , UW law professor Suzan Pritchett, and state Representative Tom Reeder.

Rebecca Huntington

Jackson and Teton County officials have decided to let voters decide whether to use 6 million dollars raised from a sales tax to fix a slow moving land slide. 

The slide began about 2 years ago and has cut off access to a neighborhood and a Walgreens. It also threatened underground water pipes and split a home in two.

Jackson Mayor Sara Flitner says if the slide is not completely fixed, natural events like a wet day or an earthquake could put residents in danger.

Wikipedia Commons

2016 has been the worst year for avalanche deaths in Wyoming since 2009. So far this year there have been five avalanche deaths in Wyoming, more than any other state.

Bob Comey is a forecaster with the Bridger Teton Avalanche Center. He says part of the problem is that there are more inexperienced people heading into the backcountry.

"You know we have more people going out taking more risks, and some of them are maybe not as knowledgeable and as experienced or prepared as they could be," says Comey.

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