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

  

Some Call It A Disappointing Legislative Session

The Wyoming legislative session is coming up on its last week. It’s a session that’s seen the defeat of Medicaid Expansion and some other key issues. Because of that, critics say they really haven’t accomplished much, and some legislators agree.  

Caroline Ballard

Latino influence is growing in America across the board, including in conservation issues and outdoor recreation. One of the people leading this charge is Jose Gonzalez, the founder of Latino Outdoors, an organization that aims to increase the Hispanic community’s contact with the outdoors. He was in Laramie this week to speak at the University of Wyoming, and he joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard in the studio.

Caroline Ballard

Southeastern Wyoming may be seeing heavy snow this weekend, but if you have tried skiing there over the past month or so, you may have run into a problem: dirt. With temperatures consistently in the 40s and 50s and little precipitation, snowpack in this part of the state is well below average. 

Cross country skiing on the icy slush isn't fun. Just ask Matthew Klump, a sophomore at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He’s just finished  skiing a Valentine’s Day weekend race at Happy Jack, and is recounting the race with some of his teammates.

Caroline Ballard.

Protesters gathered Tuesday at an event on the University of Wyoming campus to protest former vice president Dick Cheney. Cheney and his wife Lynne were in Laramie for a discussion of her new book about James Madison.

About 15 protesters from the group Wyoming Citizens Against Torture stood outside the entrance of the University's Gateway Center, holding signs saying "Arrest Cheney Now" and "Torture Is A War Crime."

Laramie Resident Bob Strayer helped organize the protest.

University of Wyoming

Hands-on problem solving is the aim of a new project at the University of Wyoming. “WyoMakers” gives Junior High students in Laramie access to UW students and resources to work on design projects.

Tonia Dousay is the project’s founder, and says students think about problem solving more deeply when they create something, as opposed to simply memorizing information. For example, she says designing model boats with 3D printers gives students an opportunity to look closely at building materials and dimensions in a tangible way.

Wyoming Public Radio's news director Bob Beck checks in with Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard to discuss the session as the state legislature passes the halfway mark.

Even though Medicaid Expansion was killed in the State Senate last week, Wyoming’s free clinics will continue providing primary care to the so-called “working poor.”

Sarah Gorin is the Executive Director of the Downtown Clinic in Laramie, which supported the bill.

"It’s pretty disappointing because it would have benefitted our clients," she said.

Above-average temperatures mean grizzly bears have started to emerge from hibernation in Yellowstone National Park. Over the last five years grizzlies have tended to emerge during the first half of March, which puts Monday’s first sighting of activity 2-4 weeks sooner than usual.

Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash says that could be a problem for visitors who are more used to preparing for potential grizzly encounters in the warm summer months.

University of Wyoming

Jason Collins is a retired NBA player and was the first professional player in a major American sport to come out as gay. Since his announcement in 2013, Collins played briefly for the Brooklyn Nets and is now a public speaker and LGBT advocate. He's visiting the University of Wyoming as the keynote speaker for UW's MLK Days of Dialogue, and he joins Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard to talk about his career.

The event takes place tonight at 7:30 pm in the Wyoming Union Ballroom, and is open to the public.

Patricia Lavin

Scientists at the Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center are analyzing 250 tissue samples of elk, wild bison, and livestock in an effort to better understand how the disease brucellosis spreads.

Brucellosis sickens large mammals like elk and cattle, and can cause them to abort their young.  U.S. Geological Survey ecologist Pauline Kamath says a commonly held theory has been that Yellowstone’s wild animals have been infected with brucellosis by elk on Wyoming feed grounds. But her data shows that may not be as common as previously thought.

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.

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