Chelsea Biondolillo

Reporter

Chelsea Biondolillo is originally from Portland, Oregon and comes to Laramie by way of several southern cities, including New Orleans, Austin, and Phoenix. She is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Wyoming in creative nonfiction and environmental studies and her prose has appeared or is forthcoming in Creative Nonfiction, Phoebe, DIAGRAM, Birding, and others. Chelsea loves plants, birds, and rocks, and tries to spend as much time as she can around them.

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News
7:13 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Urban deer still a problem in Thermopolis

Credit USDA photo by Scott Bauer

While deer numbers across the state of Wyoming may be down, Thermopolis has an urban deer population that seems to be holding close to steady and doing a lot of damage to yards and gardens.

For the third year in a row, the city has applied for and received a special permit from Wyoming Game and Fish that allows the police department to shoot a certain number of mule deer who have been calling Thermopolis home.

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News
7:16 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Refuge may open for hunting

Credit recovery.doi.gov

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has released a draft management plan that would allow hunting on the Cokeville-Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, in Lincoln County. 

Project leader Tom Koerner says the plan is an important step toward allowing more public access to the refuge. 

“This particular action is just specifically for hunting. We do have plans for—we’re completing the Comprehensive Conservation Plan now that will allow all six of the priority public uses to take place on Cokeville.”

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Open Spaces
4:49 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

September 20th, 2013

Natural Gas producers are concerned about the future

More than 500 industry people gathered in Jackson this week for the 17th Annual Wyoming Oil and Gas Fair. Wyoming Public Radio’s energy and natural resources reporter, Stephanie Joyce was there, and she joins us now to talk about the event.

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Open Spaces
4:18 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Roller derby offers women of Wyoming and sports fans something new

Derby skaters, including WPR’s own “Tallulah Bankrobber” (Rebecca Martinez) line up at the start of a jam at Cheyenne’s ‘5v5’ Tournament.
Credit Chelsea Biondolillo

Modern roller derby is a contact sport that features two teams roller skating on a track, attempting to score by passing players of the opposing team. While the sport’s origins can be traced back to beginning of the 20th century, it was revived in the early 2000s in Texas…BY women and FOR women.

Since then, teams have started up all over the world. Wyoming has been a late adopter of the sport, but women here are making up for lost time.

[AMBI Sports announcer: “And she makes it through! That is a grand slam folks!]

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Poetry
4:19 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

University of Wyoming will host Navajo poet

Sherwin Bitsui

Sherwin Bitsui, an award winning writer and poet, will hold a reading at the University of Wyoming later this week. Bitsui grew up on the Navajo Reservation, and his poetry features themes of the natural world.

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News
5:46 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Snowy Range Music Festival’s future in Laramie uncertain

Credit Carl Weathersby / Snowyrangemusicfestival.com

The Snowy Range Music Festival organizers are considering moving the festival to another city after low local ticket sales.

While sales for the fifth annual festival were up from last year,  festival director Carl Gustafson says they were still lower than expected. While he would prefer to keep the show in Laramie, he’s not sure if that will be possible.   

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News
8:07 am
Mon September 2, 2013

Slow job growth in Wyoming likely to last

Mining job losses in Wyoming at the end of 2012 have contributed to the lowest job and payroll growth in the state in over two years, despite modest economic growth overall.

David Bullard is a senior economist with the Wyoming Department of Workforce services. He says that the slight increases in tourism-related fields, such as accommodation and food service, are not making up for heavy losses elsewhere.

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News
9:52 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Hay production improves over last year

Wyoming is reporting better hay production numbers than last year, but much of the state is still under-producing.

Last year, 2012, was one of the worst years for hay in Wyoming’s recent history, due to drought and sustained high temperatures. The news is better this year, with producers predicting a 4%increase in yield, thanks to better rainfall early snows.

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News
7:32 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Groups will ask for more time to comment on TransWest

The Bureau of Land Management hosted two meetings this week to collect public comments on the TransWest high-voltage wind power transmission line. That wasn’t enough for some, who say more opportunity for public input is needed.

The Wyoming Outdoor Council’s Richard Garrett says the federally mandated 90 day comment period is not sufficient. “We, together with a number of other conservation groups, are requesting a sixty-day extension to the comment period. We believe that there are a lot of things that need to be taken into account for this project to move forward,” he added.

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News
4:02 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Wyoming ranch wins sustainability award

Credit Roger Wollstadt

A Wyoming ranch has won a Regional Environmental Stewardship Award from the National Cattleman’s Beef Association for the sixth time in the award’s 22 year history. They will now be considered for the national title.

The Padlock Ranch in Sheridan County was already recognized for their environmental sustainability practices earlier this year by a different award.  

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News
6:17 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Teton Port-o-Potty Owl Project gains ground

Owls have been getting stuck inside portable toilets on public lands across the country… But, Grant Teton National Park has found an innovative way to protect them.

The first report of an owl stuck in a “Porta Potty” at Grand Teton National Park came from a land manager who was performing routine maintenance. He took a picture of the owl and sent it to Amy McCarthy, executive director of the Teton Raptor Center.

McCarthy says the photo and all of the anecdotal evidence gathered from across the country since then has been compelling.

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News
5:15 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Luca Technologies files for bankruptcy

Luca Technologies, a Colorado-based biotechnology company focused on extracting natural gas from coal seams in Wyoming, has declared bankruptcy.

Luca began testing their “methane farming” method in the Powder River basin in 2006. Since then, they have faced regulatory and financial difficulties which have resulted in permitting delays, layoffs, and now, finally Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Methane farming generates natural gas by feeding nutrients to microbes in coal beds.

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News
5:22 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Fire danger high in Tetons

Credit U.S. Dept of Agriculture

Fire danger rose to a “high” rating this week for both Bridger-Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park, due to a combination of warm weather, low humidity and strong winds.

Traci Weaver, a spokeswoman for Bridger-Teton, says that dry vegetation and a higher-than-usual number of lightning strikes already posed a fire risk… But campers have abandoned more than 100 campfires this season, compounding the danger. Weaver urges campers to be responsible forest stewards.

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Open Spaces
4:45 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

August 2nd, 2013

Credit Rebecca Martinez

Reviving local saw mills could limit fire danger in the Rocky Mountain Region

Saw mills are re-opening in Wyoming and Colorado after a decade of being shuttered. They’re harvesting and processing trees that have been killed by beetle infestation.  Still, many are suitable for lumber.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports that this uptick in the timber business is helping with forest fire management.

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Open Spaces
4:06 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Laramie’s multiplying rabbits: what’s to blame?

Credit Larry D. Moore

Laramie residents have been noticing more rabbits than usual in town this year. Some experts say it’s because there are fewer predators, but others aren’t so sure. Wyoming Public Radio’s Chelsea Biondolillo reports.

CHELSEA BIONDOLILLO: Melissa Gelwicks has had a backyard garden next to Undine Park for about 7 years. She grows everything from squashes and herbs to cabbages, beets and greens. She’s used to rabbits frequenting her garden, but this year there seem to be more of them.

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News
5:49 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Wyoming Premium Farms employee found guilty of animal cruelty

A Humane Society investigation at a Wheatland pork farm has resulted in one conviction of animal cruelty and one acquittal this week.

An undercover investigator videotaped Wyoming Premium Farms employees hitting, kicking, and punching piglets and sows. Tape was presented in court. Tyson, one of the farm’s largest customers, dropped the supplier shortly after the footage was released.

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News
7:25 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Pavillion Working Group to meet in Aug.

The next Pavillion Working Group meeting has been scheduled for August, in Riverton. The working group includes state agency, landowner, tribal, and industry stakeholders.

The working group will be providing updates to the community on the status of their investigations into pit and well bore integrity, and as much as possible, domestic water wells.  

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Mural Project
5:54 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Community donations fund Laramie Mural Project

The Laramie Mural Project has met its fund raising goal for the next year using the popular online crowd-sourcing website, Kickstarter.

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News
6:47 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Laramie looks to grow public art

Credit Laramie Mural Project

The city of Laramie has just received a 25-thousand-dollar grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to help bring more public art to the area.

The grants are designed to improve the quality of life in communities by encouraging creative activities and beautification projects.

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News
1:04 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

"Scrappy Trees" published by UW extension

Credit Russell Harrison

Wyatt and Bridger Feuz and Hudson Hill didn’t plan to write about trees when they visited an abandoned arbor in Cheyenne, but that’s just what happened. The Horticultural field station hadn’t pruned any of its trees since the 1950s, and the educators were surprised to see many thriving. So they wrote “Scrappy Trees: Raw and Exposed.”

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Natural Resources & Energy
5:31 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Groundwater testing draft rules get support, feedback

Several groups submitted comments Thursday on the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s draft rule for groundwater testing in the state. The rule would require that energy companies test groundwater quality before and after oil and gas drilling.

Richard Garrett is a policy analyst with the Wyoming Outdoor Council, one of the groups that submitted comments. He says his group and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) made recommendations that they hope will close any potential loopholes in the law.

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News
11:29 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Cheyenne Police to help out for Jubilee Days

Credit Irina Zhorov

A new program will allow Laramie and Cheyenne police officers to help one another during the Jubilee and Frontier Days weekends this month.

The arrangement allows an employee of one city to work in another city as needed. The police departments have decided to pilot the program with a focus on preventing drunk driving during the two popular festivals, beginning this weekend.

Commander Mitchell Cushman of the Laramie Police Department says that while the Cheyenne officers will be actively patrolling for impaired drivers, they will be able to enforce all Laramie laws. 

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Flights to Jackson
5:21 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

More flights to Jackson Hole planned for winter

United plane at Jackson Hole Airport
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Jackson Hole Air Improvement Resources has announced expanded flight service into Jackson for the next winter season, including new direct flights to and from New York’s JFK airport and Seattle.

 Last winter, Jackson Hole saw increases in air travelers, skiers, and sales tax revenue, all of which helped Air Improvement Resources negotiate more flights with airlines.

 Mike Gierau, co-chair of Jackson Hole Air Improvement Resources (AIR), says the new and expanded service points will help the area recover from previous years’ lower tourism numbers.

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News
5:18 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Wind River Job Corps pre-bid conference hopes to attract local contractors

On Wednesday, the Riverton City Council Chambers will host a pre-bid conference for the Wind River Job Corps project.  Project administrators want to work with as many local contractors as possible.

The completed Job Corps complex will bring much needed training opportunities to Fremont County, as well as create over 100 permanent jobs.

Sandy Barton is the executive director of Fremont County’s Board of Educational Services. She says this meeting will give local contractors the chance to ask project managers questions about what kind of opportunities will be available.

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News
5:45 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

May 7th is Teacher Appreciation Day

May 7th is Teacher Appreciation Day.

Kathy Vetter, President of the Wyoming Education Association, taught elementary through high school students in Wheatland during her 30 years in the classroom. She says that teachers’ responsibilities have changed as students’ own roles have changed. “When I started teaching,” says Vetter, “going to school was the student’s job. Now, that’s only one of many jobs students have, that they have to divide their time amongst—and so there’s more pressure on the teachers and the students.”

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News
5:00 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Regional conservation effort will benefit trumpter swans

Wildlife interest groups and agencies in Wyoming and Idaho are working to increase the populations of trumpeter swans in the region. Loss of habitat has limited numbers within the species. The Teton Regional Land Trust is working with the Wyoming Wetland Society, local offices of US Fish and Wildlife Services, and the Idaho Fish and Game departments to build a nesting colony in Teton valley.

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News
4:47 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

“Stupid Cancer” chapter to start in Wyoming

The Wyoming Comprehensive Cancer Control Consortium will be starting the first statewide “Stupid Cancer” chapter to support young adult cancer survivors. 

Jessica Perez, an outreach coordinator with the Wyoming Department of Health, says that “Stupid Cancer” events focus on having fun and networking with other survivors between ages 15-39.

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Meth
6:17 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Casper to host 10th annual Methamphetamine Conference

The tenth annual Methamphetamine and Substance Abuse Conference will be held in Casper at the end of April.

  Governor Matt Mead will be the special guest speaker. The conference brings stakeholders from across the state together with national speakers to discuss the impacts of methamphetamines on communities.

  Casper Crime Prevention Officer Jadee Kroeger, says the annual event can benefit a number of community services.

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News
12:24 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Raffle to help former UW football player

Former University of Wyoming football player Weston Johnson is facing mounting medical expenses in his battle against cancer, and football fans across the state are doing what they can to help.

As a senior, Johnson was a captain of Wyoming's 2009 New Mexico Bowl Championship team, and in 2011 he served as a graduate assistant coach. Jared Petrino is events director for UW athletics. He says Johnson was a natural leader who was liked by team mates and admired by fans.

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News
6:51 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Report finds cost of living up across Wyoming

The State’s Economics Division has released a Cost Living Index report for 2012 which shows an overall increase in Wyoming’s cost of living. The Index compares state economics to the National Consumer Price Index, which looks at costs over time in specific consumer goods categories, such as housing and food. For the fourth quarter, Wyoming saw a slightly higher increase than the National Average. Senior State Economist, Amy Bittner, says that counties in Central and Northwest Wyoming have seen the largest cost of living increases from 2011 to 2012.

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