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.

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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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National Parks may seems like pristine wilderness, but the truth is park visitors produce a lot of trash. Grand Teton National Park is aiming to change that.

It’s one of three national parks piloting an initiative to reduce the amount of park waste that goes to landfills.

Jackie Skaggs is a spokeswoman for Grand Teton National Park. She says while many visitors may think trash is just what gets left behind at a campsite, the full picture of the park’s waste stream is much bigger.

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Wells Fargo has awarded a 100-thousand dollar grant to The Grand Teton National Park Foundation. A quarter of the money will be used for the park’s Youth Conservation Program. The other 75-thousand dollars will be used for restoration work around Jenny Lake.

Kim Mills is a spokeswoman for the foundation. She says Jenny Lake is the most popular destination in the park.

U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service

The Saratoga National Fish Hatchery celebrates its 100th anniversary this weekend.

It is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and attracts around 3-thousand visitors a year. It raises both native and non-native trout species for stocking lakes and rivers and works with conservationists to protect endangered Wyoming Toads.

Ryan Moehring is a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He says the hatchery will be hosting some special events in honor of the centennial.

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After weeks of hot and dry weather, Yellowstone National Park’s fire managers raised the fire danger rating to “high”. The warning comes as the park heads into its busiest season and one of the biggest holiday weekends of the year.

Traci Weaver with Yellowstone National Park says that means visitors to the park this July 4th weekend need to be extra-careful when dealing with fire. She says campfires should be completely put out and cool to the touch, and fireworks are not allowed anywhere in the park. That includes things you might not think of as fireworks.

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Bars are an important part of Wyoming culture and history. That message comes from author Julianne Couch as Wyoming celebrates its 125th anniversary of statehood. Couch and her co-author Ronald Hansen traveled across the state to research Wyoming bars for their book “Jukeboxes and Jackalopes: A Wyoming Bar Journey.”

University of Wyoming

Incoming freshman students at the University of Wyoming will soon have more access to top professors in their first semester. It’s part of the revamped University Studies Program, a core curriculum for all UW undergraduates.

Program coordinator Meg Flanigan Skinner says it aims to go beyond basic coursework.

Wyoming State Museum

The Wyoming State Museum is celebrating the state’s 125th anniversary of statehood with a new exhibit, which takes a look at Wyoming’s history through artifacts from each decade.

It starts with the present and works its way back. Each week a new decade is unveiled. Some of the items on display include an original state line divider on the Lincoln Highway, a football commemorating the 1968 Sugar Bowl, and a 1950s flood light from the state’s first television station KFBC.

National Park Service

Fire Reforms Heat Up Congress

Pine beetles and drought is leaving Wyoming and other states more susceptible to wildfires than at any point in recent memory, yet the federal fire policy doesn’t seem to be keeping up with the new climate. Wyoming lawmakers are trying to solve the problem.

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The electric car company Tesla will soon break ground on a supercharger station in Sheridan.

Sheridan’s supercharger station will be the third of its kind in Wyoming, joining two located in Cheyenne and Lusk. Wyoming also has 2 destination chargers in Jackson and Sheridan. But unlike Destination Chargers which are affiliated with a hotel or restaurant, superchargers are more like self-contained gas stations for Tesla’s electric cars. But instead of filling the tank you plug the car in to a freestanding station, located in a parking lot.

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Like the enormous herds wild of bison that once thundered across the west, in coming years the forests of Yellowstone may, too, become few and far between.

That’s according to the new study The Coming Climate: Ecological Impacts of Climate Change On Teton County, commissioned by the Chartour Institute. Corinna Riginos is a research ecologist and co- authored the report. She tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard the data itself isn’t new – but they’re using it to make predictions about what could happen to the ecosystem and economy in Northwestern Wyoming.

American Heritage Center

The American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming is looking for submissions to its newest archive: “Out West in the Rockies,” which is chronicling the experiences of lesbian, gay bisexual, and transgendered people in the American West.

Rick Ewig is the Associate Director at the American Heritage Center. He says there are other archival institutions with a focus on LGBT people in other parts of the country.

CREDIT STEPHANIE JOYCE / WPM

Wyoming residents are raising concerns about crude oil transport in the state. Last week, the Powder River Basin Resource Council and residents who live near train tracks testified before the Joint Transportation, Highways, and Military Affairs Committee

Megan Taylor with the Powder River Basin Resource Council says improving safety for crude-by-rail is particularly pressing for Wyoming residents.

Buchanan Center For The Arts

Pete and Lynne Simpson have spent many years performing across Wyoming. This summer, they’re in Laramie for what they say is their own version of summer theater camp - the Snowy Range Summer Theater Festival.

The two are starring in the play “On Golden Pond,” which opens Tuesday, June 9th at the Buchanan Center For The Arts, and features an older couple dealing with family, generational divides, and the tribulations of growing older. Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard spoke with the Simpsons, who say they suggested doing the show to director Lee Hodgson years ago. 

Jeff Goetz, WYDOT

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead has called in the National Guard and several other government agencies to help with major flooding in Niobrara County. Several homes in Lusk are flooded, area drinking water has potentially been contaminated, water is over several roads, and portions of US 18-20 and US 85 have washed away.

Pat Kondas with the Wyoming Red Cross says they have set up a shelter at the county fairgrounds, but only people who are in dire need, or whose homes are already flooded should make the trip.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West

A new exhibit featuring the works of American painter John Mix Stanley will open at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody this weekend, thanks in part to a $40,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Peter Hassrick curated the exhibit. He says Stanley’s paintings of life in the American West in the 19th century are distinguished from his contemporaries.

"He approached it as fine art as opposed to documentation, as fine art as opposed to ethnographic studies," he says.

He also says a comprehensive presentation of Stanley’s work is long overdue.

A public protest period is now open for a new resource management plan put forth by the Bureau of Land Management for the Powder River Basin area.

The plan would authorize 10 billion tons of coal production, as well as oil and gas development.

Powder River Basin Resource Council Chair Gillian Malone says the council had hoped there might be limits on energy production.

"Well we would hope that there would be a lot more room to protect Greater Sage Grouse for one thing in the Powder River Basin and they did virtually nothing," says Malone.

According to the Wyoming Office of Tourism, the state is poised for another record-breaking summer tourism season. 

10.1 million visitors came to Wyoming in 2014, and this year the state could see even more. Diane Shober, the Executive Director of the tourism office, says that it is thanks to a combination of strong advance booking numbers for national parks, an ongoing marketing campaign, and low gas prices.

Wyoming Department of Transportation

Portions of US 20 and Wyoming 789 are closed after several mudslides over the weekend in the Wind River Canyon.

Wet weather and storms over Memorial Day Weekend triggered the slides, which damaged roadways, guardrails, railroads, and pipes.

Cody Beers with the Wyoming Department of Transportation says because of the holiday weekend, it was tougher to get the word out via traditional media outlets. So WYDOT got creative.

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