Erin Jones

Part-Time Broadcast Associate

Erin Jones has a dual MFA in creative writing and environment and natural resources from the University of Wyoming and a BA in geography from the University of Texas at Austin. She has worked as a ranger, teacher, winter camping guide, and waitress. She writes essays and fiction, and grew up in Texas, Utah, and Georgia.

She started at Wyoming Public Radio two years ago as an intern in the newsroom, and has loved audio storytelling ever since.

Ways to Connect

Listen to the full show here. 

Wyoming Lawmakers Still Working On Trumpcare

Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney helped her party pass a historic bill to unwind Obamacare this week, but its chances of passage in the Senate remain far from certain. Matt Laslo has the story from Washington.

University of Wyoming

As the University of Wyoming faces steep budget cuts, the university community is revisiting which programs are core to the land grant mission. To a lot of people, it feels like the humanities are at odds with the sciences, and both of them are at odds with applied disciplines. But one English professor has taken a look at the history of the land grant university and found that none of that is quite true.

Richard Cahan

A new book compiles government photos of Japanese-Americans in World War II incarceration camps, including Heart Mountain in Wyoming. For the first time, some of the people in the photos have been interviewed. 

Those interviews are included in Un-American: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II. Author Richard Cahan joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Erin Jones to talk about the stories of the photos.

Brad Watson

UW creative writing professor Brad Watson is out with a new novel that’s been long-listed for this year’s National Book Award.

As he tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Erin Jones, Miss Jane is about a woman living in rural Mississippi in the early 1900s, with a rare congenital disorder that renders her incontinent and unable to reproduce.

University of Wyoming

A UW professor has co-authored a study that shows a nearly two-million-year-old grinding tool might have actually been used as a weapon.

For years, scientists  have believed round stones, called spheroids, were used by early humans to grind and shape other objects. Spheroids have been found in archaeological sites in South Africa and elsewhere. Archaeologists believe they date back as far as the Early Stone Age, nearly two million years ago.

Pixar

Wyoming’s landscape stars in a new film coming this Thanksgiving. So, the UW Geological Museum and the Wyoming Office of Tourism have teamed up with Disney Pixar to promote the movie.

USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is putting up 235 million dollars in grants for innovative conservation projects around the country.

The grants will support efforts like improving water and soil quality, wildlife habitat, and farmland. The grant was part of last year’s Farm Bill.

Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust director Bob Budd says the grants will tackle big issues.

An Environmental Impact Statement for a proposed transmission line that would carry electricity from Sinclair to the Western U.S. is now available for review. 

Beverly Gorny with the Bureau of Land Management says the company Transwest Express, LLC, first proposed the 730-mile long transmission line in 2007.  Her agency will be accepting written concerns for the next month.

The Wyoming Beef Council—the industry advocacy group for ranchers—says it has cut its budget and will rethink its marketing efforts.

Wyoming cattle numbers have been decreasing since 2001 because of drought, aging beef producers, shrinking grazing lands, and other factors. The Council’s smaller budget means that an administrative assistant position will be cut, and the council will only have one employee.

Wikimedia Commons

Yellowstone National Park is partnering with area businesses to throw an Earth Day celebration on Saturday.

April 22nd was the forty-fifth anniversary of Earth Day. Yellowstone Environmental Coordinating Committee representative Rebecca Owens says the park will celebrate with community cleanups, children’s activities, and environmental education. She says this year there will be local vendors too.

Science and environment writer Emma Marris will give a seminar tonight on the University of Wyoming campus.

Emma Marris is the author of Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World. In the book she says, through climate change and other factors, humans have impacted every spot on the globe, so we may need to rethink what wilderness and nature mean.  

She says her latest project is thinking about whether wolves can still be considered wild.

The Northern Arapahoe Tribe and Wind River Casino have donated ten thousand dollars for the Center of Hope in Riverton.

The Center of Hope offers observation, a detox program, and up to 3 months of transitional living to people with substance abuse problems. Clients experience things like morning meditations, group therapy, and skills for coping with loss.

Center of Hope representative Shelley Mbonu says the money donated by the tribe and casino will go toward things like transporting people to treatment programs or getting assessments.

Ryan Hagerty / USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife is asking people to weigh in on a proposal to designate Wyoming as a special area for the reintroduction of the endangered black-footed ferret.

Fish and Wildlife would work with the Wyoming Department of Game and Fish to release the endangered predator onto the property of landowners who volunteer.

Fish and Wildlife representative Ryan Moehring says that landowners will likely be eager, since the black-footed ferret’s sole diet is prairie dogs.

Willow Belden

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality will replace a mobile air quality monitoring station in Converse County with a permanent one this month. 

The mobile monitor was installed a couple of years ago after heavy oil and gas development occurred in the area, and residents voiced concerns about emissions. Not every county in Wyoming has a monitor. The DEQ uses mobile monitors to check places that don’t have expensive permanent ones, and evaluate whether they need a permanent monitor.

Flickr user slodocents archive

A Canada goose found near Cheyenne has bird flu.

The strain of the disease is H5N2 and is highly contagious among birds. But so far this version of avian influenza has only been found in the one bird in Wyoming.

State veterinarian Jim Logan says that the disease has never affected humans…but it can be very harmful to domestic poultry. He says up to ninety percent of domestic birds with the disease could die. Logan recommends that people who own domestic fowl, like chickens or falcons, should keep them away from wild waterfowl.

Firing Squad Bill Fails

Mar 12, 2015
Newsday.com

A bill that would make death by firing squad an option in Wyoming failed in the legislative session last week.

The bill was introduced and passed in the Senate. The House then amended it to give death row inmates the option of sedation before execution. Back in the Senate, there was disagreement about the language of the sedation clause. The Judiciary Committee then found a compromise. But the bill ultimately failed in the House. 

The Bureau of Land Management will reopen the wild horse facility in Rock Springs at the end of this month with an adoption event.

The agency is looking for people able to give wild horses a good home. The horses range from weanlings to geldings and mares.

The agency manages wild horses and burros on public lands. The animals don’t have any natural predators and are illegal to hunt. So if the number of horses and burros for a grazing area becomes too high, the BLM rounds them up for holding facilities or adoption.

The American public lost out on $850 million dollars in potential coal royalty revenue between 2008 and 2012, according to a new study from Headwaters Economics. 

The study says the federal coal royalty system is in need of reform. The group's analysis shows that coal companies pay a much lower royalty rate on public lands than other extractive industries -- roughly five percent of market price. By comparison, oil and gas companies pay roughly 12 percent. Mark Haggerty says that's partly because of the complex marketing system for coal. 

The National Park Service has released a report that summarizes public comments on Grand Teton’s Moose-Wilson Corridor management strategies.

The corridor is a heavily traveled, single lane road, in the southern area of the park, from Moose toward Teton Village. The management plan would include road alignment, trailhead location, and access, among other considerations. During a 30-day period, the park received over 25-hundred comments.

Park official Andrew White says many of the comments will affect the next draft of the alternatives. One example, he says, is horses.

Newsday.com

The Senate Judiciary Committee will introduce a new bill to the Wyoming Legislature this January that would offer death by firing squad as an execution alternative.

Five legal execution methods exist in the United States: lethal injection, electric chair, hanging, gas chamber, and firing squad. Currently, no one is on Wyoming’s Death Row. But if an inmate were to be executed, the state would use lethal injection with the gas chamber as a backup.

Wikimedia Commons

The Wyoming Farm Bureau is looking to the January legislative session as an entry-point to address issues surrounding trespassing, liability, and transportation.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department says that Sage grouse chick production was unusually high this year.

The agency has discovered that grouse hens had more chicks this year than usual, over two per hen.  That’s over double from last year.

Chief Game Warden Brian Nesnik says hunters submit wings of grouse they harvest to the department for analysis.  That’s how they determine what is happening with the bird.

John Hebberger

Grand Teton National Park is joining up with a National Parks initiative that would raise the cost of entrance fees.

The proposal would double the price of a 7-day entrance fee to access both Grand Teton and Yellowstone. The parks would also have separate 7-day entrance fees. The fifty-dollar annual pass to Grand Teton and Yellowstone would also be eliminated, instead offering a sixty-dollar annual pass to Grand Teton alone.

The U.S. Energy Secretary has appointed a University of Wyoming professor to serve on the National Coal Council.

Dr. Maohong Fan is a UW School of Energy Resources professor who focuses his research on coal conversion. The National Coal Council advises the Department of Energy on coal issues.

Coal companies in the Powder River Basin are hiring, and some of those workers will likely come from Central Appalachia.

Companies there have been laying off miners and shuttering operations in recent years. But in Wyoming, companies like Cloud Peak Energy are hiring.

Despite a record crop of corn in the Midwest this summer, there shouldn't be propane shortages this winter, according to industry observers.

Propane is used to dry out the corn crop, to prevent mold, among other things. Last year there was also a record crop of corn AND it was very wet, so harvesters used more propane than usual. Then, an especially harsh winter on the east coast increased demand for propane before the supply could rebound. That resulted in propane price spikes.

Two Wyoming children are leading the charge against African elephant poaching. 

The Tooth Fairy Project is an elephant conservation event in Jackson on Saturday and Sunday. Two Jackson children, 11 year old Lily Marvin and 9 year old Alex French are headlining they event after they caught a filmmaker’s attention because of their passion for saving elephants.  The filmmaker is creating a documentary called Elephant Daze about elephant poaching and plans to incorporate the children into the documentary.

The Centers for Disease Control have confirmed two cases of Enterovirus D68 in Wyoming.

The cases are in Campbell County and Lincoln County.

Enteroviruses are common, and this subtype is not new.  Recently, though, D68 has spread from the Midwest to other parts of the country. The D68 subtype can be associated with respiratory tract infection. 

It mostly affects children. 

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