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 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.

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The Pros And Cons Of Not Listing The Greater Sage Grouse

You might have heard a strange sound this last Tuesday morning around 10 a.m. It was a sigh of relief from ranchers, oil and gas workers and miners all over the West at the announcement that the greater sage grouse won't be listed as an endangered species. But you probably also heard the slapping of foreheads from wildlife advocates who say the grouse needs full federal protections if it’s going to survive.

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.

Ross Doman, WYDOT

A single-engine plane crashed east of Laramie Friday morning on Interstate 80. Albany County Undersheriff Rob DeBree says 67 year old Steven Stam from Holland, Michigan was traveling eastbound around 8am when he experienced engine trouble and was forced to make an emergency landing on the westbound lane of Interstate 80. 

"He actually started to come down into the median area. May have possibly hit the median itself but not bad. And he was able to put it down and skidded off the highway at that location," says DeBree.

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The familiar bronze bust of Abraham Lincoln that sits atop I-80’s highest point will be getting a makeover.

The statue will be taken down and transported to Eagle Bronze Foundry in Lander to be restored. It will be sandblasted with glass beads, highlighted, and resealed. Monte Paddleford, the owner at Eagle Bronze, says over time the elements take their toll on the statue’s luster. Once the statue is sandblasted, though, Paddleford says he thinks people will notice the difference.

A fire continues to burn at an oil well site near Douglas after a well blow out on Sunday.

The Combs Ranch 29 Chesapeake Oil facility is located about three miles north east of Douglas. After what the company is calling a "well control event" Sunday afternoon, towering flames and plumes of smoke shot into the air.

Chesapeake has brought in well control specialists Boots and Coots to fight the blaze. 

A spokesman for Chesapeake says the company is monitoring air quality at the site and current readings suggest no risk to public health and the environment.

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This month is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and organizations across Wyoming are taking the opportunity to shed light on the issue. One of those is the Natrona County Suicide Prevention Task Force, which is hosting a statewide conference on suicide prevention this week.

Caroline Ballard

The University of Wyoming football team is set to face off against North Dakota Saturday in the season opener. Along with fans and cheerleaders, the University’s bigger-than-ever marching band will be there to cheer the Cowboys on. 

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.

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.


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.

Campbell County High School


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.

401(K) 2012

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 /

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.