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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The second week of Wyoming's state legislature is wrapping up today. Wyoming Public Radio News Director Bob Beck speaks with Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard about what we've seen so far this session.

A board of former politicians, business leaders, and law enforcement is looking to push for employment protections for LGBT people in Wyoming.

Currently the state has no workplace protections for LGBT people, which means workers can be fired simply for being gay.

Former U.S. Senator Al Simpson is a member of the new board, put together by the advocacy group Compete Wyoming. He says he wants to emphasize this is not about gay marriage. 

The Wyoming legislative session kicked off yesterday and this morning Governor Matt Mead will give the annual state of the state address. Wyoming Public Radio News Director Bob Beck is attending his 31st legislative session and joined Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard for a preview of the action.

Willow Belden

 

A new data analysis by the Casper Star-Tribune shows last year, Wyoming oil companies flared $11 million dollars worth of natural gas. Ben Storrow reports on energy for the Casper Star Tribune and he wrote the story about wasted gas. He joined Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard to talk about it.

A U.S. District Court granted wild horse advocates the right to intervene in a case involving the management of horses on Wyoming land. The State of Wyoming brought the case against the Bureau of Land Management in order to seek management of the state’s wild horses.

As Wyoming welcomes Ed Murray as its new Secretary of State, longtime public official Max Maxfield will leave state government. 

Maxfield was Wyoming’s Secretary of State since 2007 after serving eight years as State Auditor. As Secretary of State, Maxfield was known for combating fraud in Wyoming businesses, and for filing the case that ultimately repealed term limits for the top 5 elected officials in the state.

Maxfield says that even though he did not seek a third term as secretary of state, repealing term limits was a matter of principle. 

county10.com

After a fire destroyed multiple buildings and businesses in downtown Dubois last Tuesday, town residents set up a fundraising page to help those affected.

The money is being raised through the crowd funding website “Go Fund Me.” The organizers are planning to turn over the money to the local non-profit Needs of Dubois, which helps residents financially in times of crisis.

Ellen Jungck  is the president of “Needs of Dubois.” She says the organization will use the money to help pay for things like food, utility bills, and rent bills for victims of the fire.

Serglo Alvarez / Flickr

In the first weeks of December, reported cases of the flu in Wyoming nearly tripled, signaling an early spike in infection rates. Natrona and Laramie counties have seen the highest numbers of reported cases.

Another reason for concern is that since the development of this season’s flu vaccine, the strain of flu virus most commonly contracted has changed slightly. That means the vaccine is less effective than usual in preventing cases of the flu.

CDC Global / Flickr

 

 

This year’s extensive coverage of the Ebola epidemic has raised questions about the U.S healthcare system’s abilities to handle such a disease. A new report by the Trust for America’s Health shows Wyoming’s healthcare system is unprepared for a serious outbreak of that kind.

 

The study graded states in 10 areas of preparedness. Wyoming received 3 out of a possible 10 points.

The Boom: Short Term Gain, Long Term Pain

In case you hadn’t heard, the United States has been experiencing an oil boom for the last five years. The boom has helped the country’s economic recovery and created thousands of jobs for people in states like North Dakota, Wyoming and Texas. But although booms are often heralded for the economic opportunities they provide…they also have a darker side.

Caroline Ballard

Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard sat down with Phil Roberts, a history professor at the University of Wyoming, to understand more about the history of booms and busts in Wyoming. He says it's a cycle the state has gone through many times before.

A proposed measure in Wyoming’s legislature would give terminally ill patients access to drugs not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Patients would be able to access drugs and devices that have already successfully completed clinical trials and shown promise to be effective, but are not yet approved by the FDA. The drug’s manufacturer would then work with patients and doctors to provide the experimental drug.Republican State Senator Bruce Burns is sponsoring the bill. He says this bill could offer hope to patients who have run out of options.

Caroline Ballard

Protesters filled Simpson Plaza in front of the University of Wyoming last Thursday. They were calling for an end to police brutality and racism, following grand jury decisions to not indict police officers in the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York. Protesters and observers had a variety of viewpoints:

Caroline Ballard

 

A protest organized by University of Wyoming Students called for an end to police brutality, following grand jury decisions to not indict police officers in the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner.

Protesters chanted slogans like “hands up, don’t shoot”, “no justice no peace” and “I can’t breathe.” Black armbands dotted the arms of attendees and neon and cardboard signs were dispersed throughout the crowd.

Stephanie Joyce

If there were ever uncertainty about how Wyoming policymakers would feel about the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants, now we can say for sure:  they hate it. The comment period for the so-called Clean Power Plan ended Monday. Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard spoke with energy reporter Stephanie Joyce about what the state had to say and where things go from here.

CAROLINE BALLARD: Stephanie, to start, refresh our memories about what exactly the Clean Power Plan is. 

USFWS Mountain-Prairie / Flickr

The endangered Wyoming Toad’s population numbers could get a boost from a new plan from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Wyoming Toad is the most endangered amphibian in North American, and lives only in Albany County.

The toad’s numbers started decreasing in the 1970s, for reasons mostly unknown. Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed a plan that would allow landowners in key habitat areas to either sell their land to the agency, or forfeit future development rights to their land in return for financial reimbursement and habitat monitoring.

University of Wyoming

For kids who have grown up using smartphones, navigating apps like google maps is second nature to them. But a new initiative from the University of Wyoming is trying to get 5-thousand tangible, paper atlases into the hands of students in every Wyoming school district. Jeff Hamerlinck is the director of the Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center and was one of the co-editors on the atlas project. He joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard to discuss the project.

The struggling coal bed methane company High Plains Gas says it will pay $7 million in overdue well bonding to the State of Wyoming. The company owns more than 3,000 wells in the Powder River Basin that the state had said it would take over and plug if the bond wasn't posted by yesterday. While the bond wasn't posted yesterday, an extension has been provided for the company.

commons.wikimedia.org

Wednesday is the deadline for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to decide whether or not to list the Gunnison Sage Grouse, a sub-species that’s struggling in Colorado and Utah, under the Endangered Species Act.

Hugovk / Flickr

Tuesday’s voter turnout in Wyoming was significantly lower than average. Preliminary data from the Secretary of State’s office shows that just 65% of registered voters and 38% of all voting age adults came to the polls.

Peggy Nighswonger, with the Secretary of State’s office, said voters appear to be fed up with the constant conflict between the two dominant parties.

"Some people are a little bit disillusioned with the parties. We do have quite a few more registered voters on our rolls that are unaffiliated than we used to," she said.

Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck joins Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard to help analyze the races and issues at stake in tomorrow's elections.

Wyoming Has A Shortage Of Women In The Legislature

For years women’s groups in the state have expressed concern about the lack of women in the Wyoming legislature. But it has rarely been this bad. Currently the state ranks 46th with women making up 14 percent. In 2006 the Wyoming women’s legislative caucus was formed to not only support the 14 women serving in the state legislature, but to also recruit female candidates to run for office. It hasn’t gone well.

Last month, Wyoming’s wolves were put back on the Endangered Species list, after a court ruled that the state’s management plan was inadequate. It’s the latest battle in a long-running conflict over wolf management in the West. Author Nick Jans has been following that conflict for decades and jumped into the fray earlier this year with his new book, titled “A Wolf Called Romeo.” As he told Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard, he wasn’t always a wolf advocate.

Caroline Ballard

If you’re handing out candy to trick-or-treaters tonight, you might see a lot of little girls in the same costume.

Since it came out last December, the Disney movie Frozen has been catching the attention of girls everywhere. It’s ice-queen princess Elsa is a favorite among them, especially for her number one anthem “Let it Go” The song has been everywhere. 

Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites & Trails

Wyoming’s Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife, and Cultural Resources committee recently voted to sponsor a bill that would transform a former missile alert facility near Cheyenne into a museum and historical site. The bill would provide one-time funding to establish the site’s exhibits, equipment, and other needs, as well as allocate yearly operational funds.

State Parks Director Milward Simpson says while the bill sponsorship is a step forward, it may still be a long road to a functional attraction.

Flickr user USACE Europe District / Flickr - Creative Commons

The Ebola virus may be dominating the headlines and conversations about public health, but Wyoming Public Health officials are trying to educate residents about the threat of another, potentially more dangerous virus: the flu.

Reggie McClinton, with the Wyoming Department of Health, says contracting the flu is a more immediate threat to Wyomingites.

"Influenza also can lead to death in individuals and it can be a severe illness in certain populations so we are receiving reports of cases already from all across the state," he says.

Sushiesque via Flickr

As of yesterday morning, same-sex marriage is now legal in Wyoming. Wyoming Public Radio’s Miles Bryan has been following the story, and he joined Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard in the studio to break down what’s been going on.

  

Wyoming teen Megan Grassell was listed as one Time’s 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014 this week, joining the ranks of Malia Obama and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai. She spoke with Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard about her success.

With the help of a kickstarter campaign that raised $42-thousand dollars, Grassell created her own company. Yellowberry makes training bras for pre-teen and teenage girls. Grassell, 19, was inspired after taking her younger sister shopping for her first bra. All of the training bras she tried on were padded and mature-looking. 

karenabbott.net

The book “Liar Temptress Soldier Spy” was released last month by Harper Collins. It follows four Civil War spies – and all of them are women. Karen Abbott, the book’s author and historian, spoke yesterday at the Teton County Public Library and will be leading a workshop in Nonfiction writing today. Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard spoke with Abbott about her book, and how she discovered the lives of these women.

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