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

A Wyoming Department of Health study says that the state’s teen birth rate has dropped every year for the last six years.

In 2008 Wyoming had about 50 births for every 1000 teen girls. That rate dropped to about 35 births in 2013. Some counties have seen even more dramatic decreases.

As oil production continues to boom in the Powder River Basin, illegal wastewater dumping is a growing problem. Kodiak Oilfield in Converse County was recently cited for illegally dumping produced water, one of 14 water violations in the state so far this year.

Oil fields typically produce about twice as much water as they do oil – water that is high in sodium content and contains hydrocarbons. Dumping this water into streams, rivers, or fields could interfere with natural habitat, soil, and water quality.

Real Women Real Bodies

An exhibit at UW’s Gallery 234 space is aiming to promote positive body image among young women. The Real Women Real Bodies gallery features 22 black and white silhouettes of nude women – all of whom are volunteers and UW students. Sydney Stein is a sophomore at UW, and the president and founder of Real Women Real Bodies. She sat down with Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard to discuss her vision. 

Tonight, Wyoming Public Radio and Wyoming PBS will host a panel forum at UW exploring the Common Core State Standards for education. WPR Education Reporter Aaron Schrank will moderate the event, and he joined Morning Edition host Caroline Ballard to talk Common Core and what to expect from the forum.

Stephanie Joyce

There's a new pipeline project proposed from North Dakota to Oklahoma that would run through Wyoming. On Friday, Enterprise Product Partners LLC announced an "open season" for the Bakken-to-Cushing pipeline. Open seasons are a way to gauge interest and demand for a pipeline.

If built, the line would run from the Williston Basin in North Dakota, and would pass through oil plays in Eastern Wyoming and Northern Colorado. The line would end in the Cushing hub in Oklahoma, where oil is priced.

Wyoming Lawmakers Fight For Conservative Health Bill

During the last two elections Wyoming Republicans campaigned on repealing and replacing so-called Obamacare – but House Republicans have yet to vote on a replacement. Matt Laslo has a look from Washington on the debate dividing Republicans in Congress. 

Courtesy photo

Nina McConigley is the author of Cowboys and East Indians, and a recent winner of the PEN Open Book award. She joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard to discuss the award and said the news of her win took a little time to reach her.

Obesity rates around the country are rising drastically, and Wyoming  is no different - that’s according to a new study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Around 27.8% of the adult population in Wyoming is obese, nearly double the rate 20 years ago.

Between 2012 and 2013, the state’s obesity rate rose 3.2%. That was one of the biggest spikes in the nation.

Joe Grandpre with the Wyoming Department of Health says the reasons for the state’s growing waistbands are simple.

Jackson’s 2-percent lodging tax is up for a vote in November, and a new breakdown by Jackson Hole News&Guide shows 40-percent of lodging tax revenues go back to the county. Unlike Jackson’s 60-40 split, most towns only see about 10-percent of revenues from their lodging taxes – the rest going back into tourism.

The tax had been up for a vote ever since 1994, but had been continually struck down over fears it would hinder tourism. The measure finally passed in 2010 after promises of higher returns for the local economy. 

Jasperdo via Flickr Creative Commons

Green River will return $1 million it got from the state to renovate its historic Union Pacific train depot.

The community received a $1 million grant through the Wyoming Business Council, but those funds were contingent upon the city raising the other $2 million needed to complete the project.

The Business Council denied a two-year extension to come up with the funds. Green River City Councilwoman Lisa Mays says they had little choice but to give the money back.

Construction will begin Wednesday in Cheyenne on a new quiet zone at West Lincolnway and Southwest Drive’s railroad crossing, where train noise will be kept to a minimum. The area around the intersection is home to several hotels and motels. New railroad crossing gates and a barrier wall will block cars from sneaking around the shut gates and across the tracks.

Glenrock residents are invited to attend a forum next week that will address the impacts of the oil and gas industry on landowners. The two key speakers for the event will be a private property attorney and a Wyoming resident who was evacuated from her land because of an oil blowout. They will discuss the development of the oil industry around Glenrock, as well as risks to nearby landowners such as emissions, spills, evacuations, and the devaluing of property in the area.

UW

The University of Wyoming is looking to upgrade its science programs in an effort to become a top-tier research University.

Last week Governor Matt Mead appointed a task force to look into steps the University of Wyoming can take to raise the caliber of its science programs.

WyoLotto

The first Powerball and MegaMillions tickets were sold in the state Sunday. The Wyoming Lottery Corporation – or WyoLotto - reported nearly $200,000 in sales on its opening day. Natrona County sold the most tickets of any Wyoming county, taking in about $36,000.

Jon Clontz is the CEO of the Lottery Corporation. He said the day’s sales exceeded his expectations.

Caroline Ballard

For the last two weeks, Moscow Ballet soloist Olga Aru has been teaching ballet master classes at studios in Gillette and Casper. She now lives in Italy, but Aru was born in Donetsk, Ukraine – a disputed part of the country that has seen intense fighting. Her international touring has brought her close to conflict, as well. She was performing in Cairo when the 2011 Egyptian Revolution erupted. She sat down with Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard to talk about her experiences.

Wyoming’s unemployment rate rose 0.4 percent in July. It’s a statistically significant jump, but Tom Gallagher, with the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, said this rise in unemployment could actually indicate positive growth for the economy, and may not mean people are losing their jobs.

People who have stopped actively looking for work are not counted in unemployment statistics. Gallagher said a spike in unemployment rates could mean those workers have started up their job searches again.

Caroline Ballard talks to Public Radio News Director Bob Beck to provide some insights on Wyoming's primary elections.

Courtesy Wyoming Council for Women's Issues

Wyoming’s Council for Women’s Issues will host its ninth annual career fair next month.

Open to high school girls in 9th and 10th grade, the Go WEST! fair will highlight careers in science, technology, engineering and math – fields largely dominated by men. According to the national science foundation, just 18.6 percent of US undergraduate engineering students were female in 2011.

Carma Corra, chairperson of Wyoming’s Council for Women’s Issues, says knowing the options is the first step to getting girls interested in studying science and math.

Wikipedia Commons

A new survey by Bankrate.com ranks Wyoming as the most expensive state in which to own a car. The survey calculated the cost of gasoline, insurance, and repairs to come up with the rankings.

According to the survey, Wyomingites typically spend about $2700 a year on expenses related to their car, with about $1600 of that going to gas – the most of any state. The wide distances between communities in Wyoming, as well as the many opportunities for hiking, camping, and activities outside city limits increases gas consumption.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded two grants of $1.4 million and $2 million to Wyoming to prevent homelessness among veterans.

Announced Monday, the grant will fund services provided by the Southwest Wyoming Recovery Access Program, or SW-WRAP, like housing counseling, legal assistance, temporary financial assistance, and childcare for veterans and their families.

Cathie Hughes, founder and CEO of SW-WRAP, said that making these services visible is one of the biggest challenges.  

The state Industrial Siting Commission gave the Power Company of Wyoming its blessing Wednesday to move ahead with plans to build the largest on-shore wind farm in the United States.

A thousand wind turbines would be erected in Carbon County if the Chokecherry-Sierra Madre wind farm is built, covering about 2,000 acres of private and public lands. The turbines would produce enough power for a million homes.

But Kara Choquette, with the Power Company of Wyoming, said none of that power will be used in the state.

Energy Information Administration

According to a recent analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, mining occupied approximately 35 percent of Wyoming’s GDP in 2013, up from around 29 percent in 2003. That makes Wyoming the most mining-dependent state in the country.

The increase comes despite calls from the Wyoming Business Council to diversify the state’s industries.

Wyoming Principal Economist Jim Robinson said that after concentrating on energy for so long, growth in areas outside energy is slow.

Flickr Creative Commons

Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously upheld the Country of Origin Labeling Law.

The law requires that packaged meat and poultry must have a label that clearly states the product’s country of origin. And it must detail how the animal was raised and slaughtered. The law also requires that muscle cuts of meat from animals slaughtered in different countries can’t be mixed in packaging.

umt.edu

The Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife, and Cultural Resources Interim Committee is holding a meeting in Thermopolis tomorrow/Tuesday to discuss two bills that would strengthen state poaching laws. The first bill would make it illegal to knowingly sell, barter, trade, or buy such animals. The second would specify fines based on the economic value of the poached animal.

Bruce Burns is the Committee’s Senate Chair. He said the legislature didn’t come up with the new guidelines on their own, but received input from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

WyoLotto

WyoLotto released its list of the approved retailers on Tuesday. Starting August 24th, people won’t have to travel across state lines to buy tickets. Convenience stores, gas stations, grocery stores, bars and restaurants across the state will sell Powerball and MegaMillions Tickets, making it the 44th state to do so.

Laramie-based Relative Theatrics is raising money for a new production through the crowdfunding website IndieGoGo. Anne Mason is the founder and producer of Relative Theatrics. She tells Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard that many people don't realize the hidden costs that figure into a community theater's budget.

Courtesy: WBT Open Innovation Marketplace

An event that connects businesses with researchers from federal labs and Universities is coming to Denver for the first time next month. The one-day event, called WBT's Open Innovation Forum, aims to show small to mid-size companies and advanced manufacturers in the West how to partner with federal labs.

Amanda Radovic, the CEO of WBT's Innovation Marketplace, said these partnerships can lead to scientific innovation.  

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