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! 

Ways to Connect

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.

Bureau of Land Management Logo
Bureau of Land Management

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.

The Wyoming Oil and Gas Fair has announced that this year the event will be moved from Jackson to Casper.

Fair General Manager Dave Hutton says rising costs in Jackson was a major factor in the change of venue. But even with lower costs, Casper has fewer direct flights than Jackson, potentially making it more difficult for people to attend. Hutton says he does think this year’s turnout will be slightly lower in previous years.

Jackson’s bottleneck traffic may be getting some relief in the form of the Community Streets Plan.

The plan was created by Colorado firm Charlier Associates, and it aims to make walking, biking, and taking public transport more feasible for Jackson’s residents and visitors, which would hopefully make them less likely to use cars to get around. It looks to do this by installing more sidewalks, better bike lanes, and easier access to bus stops.

Western Sugar Cooperative

The Western Sugar Cooperative has announced that it will slowly be phasing out its Torrington sugar beet factory, leaving about 70 people in the area out of work.

Jenny Pragnell is with the Goshen County Economic Development Corporation. She says she has lived in Goshen County her whole life and this is probably the biggest layoff she has seen.

Friends of Nepal at the University of Wyoming

Last month’s earthquake in Nepal dealt a devastating blow to the small country. Almost 8,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed. Nepal is thousands of miles away from Wyoming, but emotional aftershocks are being felt in towns like Laramie and Jackson.

Denver Gay Men's Chorus

On May 10th, the Wyoming premiere of I Am Harvey Milk debuts in Laramie. Created by composer Andrew Lippa, it’s part theater, part choral piece, and it all tells the story of Harvey Milk, the first gay and out non-incumbent politician in the U.S. He was assassinated in 1978, just months after taking office as a city supervisor in San Francisco. James Knapp is the artistic director of the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus, and Out Loud, Colorado Springs Men’s Chorus, the two groups performing the piece. He joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard to talk a little about the show.

Prudential Spirit of Community Awards / spirit.prudential.com

Wyoming’s top two youth volunteers were recognized in the nation’s capital this week. Laura Harris of Green River and Trinity Rich of Douglas are the Prudential Spirit of Community Award winners. Among other things, Rich helps the elderly and neighbors with chores and tasks, and Harris helps raise money to grant the wishes of sick children.

Volunteers in grades 5 through 12 were encouraged to apply, and Wyoming had one of the youngest winners in the country. Trinity Rich is just 11 years old and is in fifth grade at Douglas Upper Elementary School.

 

The super bowl of energy conferences, called CERAWeek, wrapped up in Houston on Friday. Industry executives, analysts, and policy makers were all there to talk about the current state of the industry and where it's headed. Panels and keynote speakers talked about everything from natural gas, to coal, to of course, oil prices.

Leigh Paterson is a Wyoming-based reporter for Inside Energy. That’s a public media collaboration focused on America’s energy issues. She was at the conference all week and joined Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard to talk all about it.

I-80 is closed in both directions between Walcott Junction and Laramie after a second pileup in five days. One death and over twenty injuries are confirmed.

The crash happened around 8am Monday morning about 18 miles west of Laramie, when two semis reportedly collided, causing one to jackknife across both westbound lanes.

Credit National Sexual Violence Resource Center

April is sexual assault awareness month, and here in Wyoming a new law now offers stricter protections for victims. Becca Fisher is the Executive Director of Laramie’s SAFE project – a crisis center for victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. She talked with Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard about the progress and challenges still facing sexual assault awareness in the state.

Wyoming Department of Transportation

At least twenty-seven people are being treated for injuries after three massive pile-ups on Interstate 80 between Laramie and Cheyenne Thursday morning. 

The Wyoming Highway Patrol estimates 45 vehicles were involved in the crashes. Both directions of I-80 have been closed indefinitely while the crashes are investigated.

Six to ten inches of snow fell overnight in the area according to the National Weather Service and the Highway Patrol reports ongoing blizzard conditions.

Erin Jones

On Easter Sunday, six hikers tumble out of cars and gather at the East Trailhead of Turtle Rock, east of Laramie. Chuck Adams, the hike’s organizer, gathers them in a circle.

“This is the fourth High Society hike that’s been in the works," he explains. "The other three have occurred in Oregon, so this is the first in Wyoming so congratulations. You should feel special.”

The Shepard Symposium on Social Justice is underway at the University of Wyoming and will be featuring several spotlight events the rest of this week. Two of the events this weekend are photography sessions for The Self Evident Truths Project. iO Tillett Wright is the founder of and photographer for the project, as well as an LGBT activist. She’s attempting to photograph 10,000 people in all 50 states who identify as anything other than 100% straight in hopes of showing Americans the diverse makeup of the LGBT community.

The University of Wyoming’s annual Shepard Symposium on Social Justice began Wednesday night. The four-day event was named for Matthew Shepard and the activism of his surviving family members. It features panels and presentations focusing on race, sexual orientation, gender, disability, and social justice issues.

Wyoming Game and Fish

State wildlife officials suspect intentional poisoning after a raccoon, a skunk, a coyote, and three domestic dogs died near the Timber Creek Ranger Station west of Meeteetse last week.

Alan Osterland is the wildlife supervisor at Cody’s regional Game and Fish office. He says there are several signs that point to intentional poisoning

Robert Earl Keen is one of Americana's biggest stars. His music career spans three decades, he has released 18 albums, and he even strummed and sang his way into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame. He'll be playing in the Town Square of Jackson Hole on Friday for the Jackson Hole Rendezvous Music Festival. Keen's love of music all started in bars in Houston. But as he told Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard, he wasn't there for the bands - he was there for foosball.

http://www.antelopebuttefoundation.org

Residents in the Big Horn Mountains are looking to breathe new life into an old ski area.

The Antelope Butte Ski Area was a small community ski hill that opened in the 1960s and closed in 2004. In 2010 local residents banded together in an effort to revive the hill and created the Antelope Butte Foundation - a nonprofit group.

This year the Forest Service completed an appraisal of the area, and new employees were brought on board to help fundraise over 4 million dollars to reopen it.

Wyo. Republicans Now Fighting To Preserve Obamacare Funding

One of the biggest Supreme Court cases of this term could wipe away the insurance subsidies that tens of thousands of Wyoming residents now rely on under so-called Obamacare. Matt Laslo has the story from Washington on how Wyoming Senator John Barrasso is now scrambling to find a Plan B for a law he's staked his name as a doctor opposing.  

Caroline Ballard

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, politicians, and energy industry reps gathered at the University of Wyoming Monday to break ground on a state-of-the-art building .

The $53.5 million dollar High-Bay Research Facility was funded mostly by the state government, but over $16 million of that came from energy companies. UW President Dick McGinity says their financial support points to a key partnership between industry, government, and higher education.

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