Irina Zhorov

Reporter

Irina Zhorov is a reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She earned her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA from the University of Wyoming. In between, she worked as a photographer and writer for Philadelphia-area and national publications. Her professional interests revolve around environmental and energy reporting and she's reported on mining issues from Wyoming, Mexico, and Bolivia. She's been supported by the Dick and Lynn Cheney Grant for International Study, the Eleanor K. Kambouris Grant, and the Social Justice Research Center Research Grant for her work on Bolivian mining and Uzbek alpinism. Her work has appeared on Voice of America, National Native News, and in Indian Country Today, among other publications. 

In her off time, Irina is pursuing treasure hunters, leafing through photo books, or planning and executing quests.

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News
6:43 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Money Heads To The Wind River Indian Reservation

Long-awaited money from a settlement on the Wind River Indian Reservation is finally on its way. The 157 million dollar settlement between the tribes and the federal government is for underpayment of royalties on oil and gas development…and improper management of royalties that were paid.

Northern Arapaho spokesman Mark Howell says some people don’t have bank accounts…and there were concerns they would not be able to cash their checks.

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News
4:34 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Settlement Money For Tribal Members Finally In Sight

Long-awaited money from a settlement on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming is finally on its way.

The federal government is paying the tribes $157 million for underpayment of royalties on oil and gas development and improper management of royalties that were paid. Northern Arapaho spokesman Mark Howell says some people don’t have bank accounts and there were concerns they would not be able to cash their checks.

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News
5:37 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Linc Energy Charged With Causing Environmental Harm In Australia

A company proposing to open an underground coal gasification demonstration site in Wright has been charged with environmental violations in Australia.  The charges could cost the company over two million dollars per violation.

Underground coal gasification involves igniting coal seams deep underground to produce syngas, which can then be processed into various liquid fuels or other chemicals.     

What exactly the environmental harm is has not yet been revealed.

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Open Spaces
3:39 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Wyoming Courts Adjust To Accommodate Non-English Speaking Clients

Cheyenne Court House

Wyoming is a largely rural state with limited diversity. But as the population grows and the state attracts all sorts of newcomers. Wyoming is learning to accommodate the changing population. One of the areas where the state is making headway is interpretation services in its courts. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports.

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News
5:38 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Groups Disagree On Implications Of New Federal Energy Production Data

Recently released data compiled by the federal government shows oil production on federal lands is up from last year, while natural gas production is down. Overall, the energy sector is booming, but industry analysts say companies are shifting from natural gas to wetter plays because of low natural gas prices. But even though production is up, some industry groups point out that it's increasing more quickly on private lands and blame the trend on slow permitting by the federal government.

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News
10:06 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Eastern Shoshone Business Council Members Voted Out

On Saturday, the Eastern Shoshone Tribe's General Council dismissed two elected tribal officials.

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News
10:52 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Sen. Enzi Drafts Bill To Define Wind River Reservation Border

As Wyoming’s appeal to an Environmental Protection Agency decision about the Wind River Indian Reservation’s borders waits for its day in court, U.S. Senators Enzi and Barrasso have drafted a bill “to clarify” those borders.

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News
10:21 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Indian Housing Block Grant Program Can Be More Efficient, Report Says

Credit Wind River Reservation

A report by the Government Accountability Office says some things need to change in order for Indian tribes to be able to effectively carry out affordable housing activities under the Indian Housing Block Grant program. The program provides grants to tribes to build affordable housing. Remoteness of reservations and lack of infrastructure was one major challenge the report identified. But lack of coordination among federal agencies also delays initiatives and makes it harder to lump funds from various agencies for one project.

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News
10:17 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Oil And Gas Producer Fined For Late Production Reports

The federal Office of Natural Resources Revenue, or ONRR, has fined a Wyoming oil and gas producer $204,362 for not submitting timely production reports for its federal leases. Matrix Production Company was issued two notices of noncompliance before ONRR levied the penalties. ONRR spokesman, Patrick Etchart, says the production reports are used to keep companies in check.   

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News
2:11 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Stakeholders Ask Congress To Address Forest Service Trails Maintenance

A host of recreation and conservation organizations from around the nation, including some local Wyoming groups, have asked Congress to address inadequate trail maintenance in the National Forest system. According to a 2013 study requested by Representative Cynthia Lummis the Forest Service’s trail maintenance backlog was $314 million in 2012. The study said poorly maintained trails inhibit trail use, could harm natural resources, and maintenance costs will only grow the longer the backlog remains unaddressed.

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News
10:20 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Wyoming Wind Could Save California Money, Study Says

A new study says energy generated from Wyoming wind could help California residents save up to one billion dollars annually in electricity costs. California’s renewable portfolio standard – or RPS – requires the state to get 33-percent of its energy from renewables by 2020. The Wyoming Infrastructure Authority commissioned the economic analysis.

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News
2:15 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Report Says Charter School Laws In WY Need Work

A recent report assessing policies on charter schools throughout the nation says Wyoming has a lot of work to do to make charter schools more accessible and successful. The Executive Director of the Wyoming Association of Public Charter Schools is not surprised.  Kari Cline says Wyoming’s rules are bad and stagnant. 

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News
2:10 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Snowy Winter Brings Record Snowpack

Snowpack around the state is above average this year. Tony Bergantino, a climatologist with the Wyoming State Climate Office, says it’s the highest snowpack on record in five of Wyoming's basins. 

“They’re all above normal, and up in the upper northwest and southwest and in the central part of the state, they’re at the lowest,” se says. “And that’s still about 114-115 percent of normal.”

Bergantino says the snowy winter has brought most of the state out of drought conditions.  

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Open Spaces
4:28 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Representative Patrick Goggles Reflects On His Time In The Legislature

Patrick Goggles has been serving in the Wyoming House of Representatives since 2005. But at the end of the recent budget session, he announced that he won’t be seeking reelection in 2014. Goggles is a democrat from House District 33, which includes a piece of the Wind River Indian Reservation in Fremont County.

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Open Spaces
4:19 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Tips For Business Owners To Prepare For Natural Disasters

Ice jams in the Bighorn River have caused flooding, which in turn caused damage to several homes and businesses in northern Wyoming. High snowpack could bring more floods this spring. Troy Staples is the business preparedness manager for the Red Cross in Wyoming and Colorado. He teaches business owners how to be prepared in case natural disasters or other catastrophes strike their businesses. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov spoke with him. She asked why it’s so hard to re-open after a disaster.

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News
6:26 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Red Cross Encourages Businesses To Prepare For Floods

Some businesses have been damaged by the flooding of the Bighorn River in northern Wyoming, and the Red Cross is encouraging other companies to develop plans in case more flooding comes with spring snow melt.

Troy Staples is the Red Cross Business Preparedness Manager for Wyoming and Colorado. He says up to 40-percent of businesses don’t re-open after a disaster.  

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News
4:55 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Tribes To Truck Trash To Casper

Credit Rebecca Martinez

The tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Fremont County will start hauling their waste to a Casper landfill soon. Fremont County has been transporting the reservation's waste to nearby landfills, but an agreement signed between the tribes and the county last summer transferred those duties to the tribes. Executive Director of the Wind River Environmental Quality Commission, Ryan Ortiz says the hold-up has been getting a truck, which is now scheduled to arrive in April.

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News
6:55 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Wyoming Senators Want To Reduce The Time It Takes To Permit Pipelines

U.S. Senators John Barrasso and Mike Enzi have introduced a bill to reduce permitting timelines for natural gas pipelines on federal and Indian lands.

Barrasso says the Natural Gas Gathering Enhancement Act will help reduce flaring of natural gas at well sites not currently connected to pipelines.  He notes that North Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming flare a lot of natural gas because well sites often are not connected to pipelines 

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News
8:23 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Wyoming Air National Guard To Lose Airmen And Aircrafts

The Wyoming Air National Guard's 153rd Airlift Wing could lose approximately 210 airmen and four aircrafts from their active duty associate unit sometime after October of this year.

The associate Air Force unit, the 30th Airlift Squadron, would be closed under the President's 2015 budget proposal.

Adjutant General of the Wyoming National Guard, Luke Reiner, says "the 30th Airlift Squadron is a vital component to our national defense and has made the Wyoming Air National guard stronger by its presence."

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Open Spaces
4:22 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

StoryCorps: CJ Box Talks With His Daughter About Their Favorite Pastime, Fly Fishing

Credit StoryCorps

Wyoming writer CJ Box and his daughter, Molly Donnell, talk about one of their favorite pastimes: fly fishing. Box is a self-taught, avid fly-fisherman and from the time his daughters were very young he was intent on teaching them about the sport, too. He remembers the first time he handed his daughters fishing rods.

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News
7:51 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Laramie Has A Homeless Population But No Shelters

A homeless task force has found that Laramie has 124 homeless people and no homeless shelters. United Way of Albany County Executive Director Paul Heimer says there are programs that address homelessness in the city but they’re targeted to specific populations, for example domestic violence victims.

“But there was no kind of traditional homeless shelter. Our policy seemed to be a bus ticket out of town and a motel room for a short stay if you were lucky,” says Heimer.

He says many people’s need aren’t met.

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News
5:46 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Wyoming Business Council CEO Bob Jensen Steps Down

Wyoming Business Council CEO Bob Jensen is resigning.  Jensen has led the Business Council for over a decade and oversaw projects like the expansion of the rail industry in Evanston, expansion of data centers in the state, and growth of the manufacturing sector in Gillette. Governor Matt Mead has thanked Jensen for his service. Jensen will step down at the end of March to spend more time with his wife, who has multiple sclerosis.

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News
4:57 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

WY Entrepreneurs Bring In $22.6 In Loans For Their Businesses

Small businesses that received help from the University of Wyoming-based Small Business Development Center brought $22.6 million into the state in 2013.The SBDC provides small business owners and people wanting to start a business with free services, including planning expansions, putting together loan requests, and marketing. State Director of the SBDC, Jill Kline, says 2013 was a good year.

“It does vary from year to year, [2013] is a little bit of an exception. We did have some larger loans that individuals received, but they all are from small businesses,” says Kline. 

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News
7:26 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

WY Businessman To Run For Superintendent Of Public Instruction

Wyoming Democrat Mike Ceballos has announced he’ll be running for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Ceballos is a business man without direct experience in education, but he’s been involved in various education foundations and sits on several education-related boards. He says his skill-set is appropriate for the job.   

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News
6:47 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

New Program Will Allow Victims Of Crime To Talk With Perpetrators

Wyoming is now offering a new program to victims of crimes that will allow them to request a facilitated meeting with the offender of the crime. The Victim Offender Dialogue Program is the first of its kind in the state for adults.

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News
5:01 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Coal Mining Jobs Continue To Drop

Employment in Wyoming's coal mining sector has fallen 6 percent in the past year. The latest data from June 2013 shows there were 425 less jobs than in June 2012.

Coal production has slumped nationwide, and taken jobs along with it, but Wyoming is faring better than other coal producing regions. Nationwide the sector has lost significantly more jobs as mines closed or reduced their capacity.

Wyoming Department of Workforce Services senior economist David Bullard, says so far, there haven't been many layoffs in the state.

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Legislative
4:28 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Committee Votes To Let Lawmakers Work On Hill Bill

Credit Cindy Hill Superintendent

The Wyoming Senate Rules Committee has passed a bill that would let a group of legislators work on amending the bill that took away the bulk of powers from the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The Supreme Court declared the so-called Hill bill unconstitutional, and now the legislature must fix it.

Cheri Steinmetz with the Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming testified against the bill, saying it's time the legislature stopped wasting money on the issue. But Senator Chris Rothfuss says the bill is necessary to resolve the management of the state's public school system.

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