Maggie Mullen

Reporter

Phone: 307-766-5086
Email: mmullen5@uwyo.edu

Maggie Mullen is a fifth generation Wyomingite, born and raised in Casper. Before coming to Wyoming Public Radio, she was a Master’s student in American Studies at the University of Wyoming, where she also earned a BA in English and French. Maggie enjoys writing, cooking, riding bikes, swimming in rivers and lakes, and her Labrador, Jane. She’s also a fervent believer that no meal is complete without hot sauce.

Wyoming Department of Corrections

In Wyoming, first-time offenders under the age of 25 can qualify for a six-month boot camp, but the program is only available to men. In a lawsuit against the Wyoming Department of Corrections, the American Civil Liberties Union allege the male-exclusive program is gender discrimination. 

Maggie Mullen

The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public input on a proposed wild horse gather in southwest Wyoming — they want to hear what people think about a recent environmental assessment. 

A wild horse gather is a herd management technique meant to remove the animal from the land, before entering them into the agencies wild horse and burro program, where they can be adopted.

Maggie Mullen

This summer, a University of Wyoming trail building program launched a work crew specifically for veterans in need of a job. The crew is the first of its kind in the country. 

At Curt Gowdy State Park, the Wyoming Veterans Trail Crew was hard at work on a trail called “Cliffhanger”— a narrow singletrack with rocky ledges along the edge of a reservoir. 

Near one of Cliffhanger’s sharp curves stands a twenty-foot tall dead tree. Crew member Mickey Finnell said it needs to be cut down before it falls on the trail.  

Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office

A dedication ceremony is set for Saturday, July 8 at the Ames Monument in southeastern Wyoming. It was listed as a National Historic Landmark last November. 

Bobbie Barrasso will act as Master of Ceremonies, while her husband U.S. Senator John Barrasso will be in attendance alongside Governor Matt Mead and U.S. Representative Liz Cheney.

Completed in 1880, the monument was built in honor of Oaks and Oliver Ames—two brothers who helped to finance the Union Pacific Railroad.

By United_States_Capitol_-_west_front.jpg: Architect of the Capitolderivative work: O.J. - United_States_Capitol_-_west_front.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17800708
Maggie Mullen

Throughout the month of June, the National Park Service asks visitors to refrain from climbing Devils Tower to respect American Indian ceremonies. However, the closure is voluntary and the number of climbers in June has been on a steady rise in recent years.

 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Last week, four undocumented immigrants were arrested in Jackson, and two in Cody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. Since then, some Wyomingites are concerned that immigration raids are taking place, despite Teton County Sheriff’s Jim Whalen saying earlier this year that would not be happening. 

Maggie Mullen / 1989

The Casper Police Department will host the second and final public panel on sexual assault Wednesday, June 21. The series began after 30 women told the Casper City Council they believed the police neglected or mishandled their cases.

Max Pixel freely distributed with a Creative Commons Zero - CC0.

  

When it comes to sexual assault in the U.S., the majority of victims will not make a report, and Wyoming is not much different than the rest of the country.

    

    

Albany County Sheriff Dave O’Malley has been involved in sexual assault investigations since 1974. He said he’s come across many cases where he knew a rape took place, but he wasn’t able to move forward with it

    

    

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

In President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, arrests and deportations more than doubled in Wyoming and Colorado. That’s compared to the same time in 2016. 

That figure includes both undocumented immigrants with and without criminal records. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, does not provide data by state, but by “area of responsibility,” so it is unknown how many of those individuals were in Wyoming at the time.

City of Gillette website

Gillette’s city administrator will soon take over the position as city manager in Casper. Carter Napier will replace V.H. McDonald, who announced his retirement in April amidst controversy surrounding his office and the police department. The appointment is subject to city council approval. 

University of Wyoming Art Museum Facebook Page

Contemporary art programming at the University of Wyoming Art Museum is certain to see a boost, after receiving an anonymous gift of $2.27 million. 

U.S. FOREST SERVICE-BRIDGER-TETON NATIONAL FOREST FACEBOOK PAGE

With wildfire season just around the corner, Wyoming is predicted to have a slightly below average or up to an average year. 

Bill Crapser is the state forester for Wyoming and he said moisture from the unusually high snow pack in the western half could stave off the flames, but the wet spring will also mean high grass and a lot of fine fuels.

The Black Hills in the northeastern corner is a lot drier, and Crapser said they could see a lot of flare ups in July and August since significant lightning activity is predicted for that area.

Senator Mike Enzi (R)

U.S. Senator Mike Enzi is recovering in a Gillette hospital after undergoing an emergency gallbladder surgery on Sunday night. Enzi was in the area for a Memorial Day ceremony. 

After a few days of feeling poorly, Senator Enzi visited Campbell County Memorial Hospital. Enzi’s spokesman Max D’Onofrio said doctors were able to quickly identify the problem and removed Enzi’s gallbladder that same day.

D'Onofrio said Enzi was relieved to be in Gillette when he fell ill.

Photo by Sarah Mirk with use under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Following the presidential election, family planning centers in Wyoming experienced a sharp increase in women seeking long-term contraceptives. Recently, that’s begun to slow down. Now, concern from the centers is about around funding and healthcare access.

 

Planned Parenthood clinics across the country saw an unprecedented rise in donations following the election, mainly because of threats to its future funding.

 

Photo by Erik (HASH) Hersman via CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Wyoming Secretary of State’s office recently certified a proposed ballot initiative to limit the influence of money on politics. But getting an initiative on the Wyoming ballot isn’t easy. 

The proposed initiative, sponsored by Wyoming Promise, would regulate political contributions and spending. But before it can get on the ballot, it requires 15 percent of registered Wyoming voters in two-thirds of the state’s counties to sign a petition. Lander Senator Cale Case said that kind of robust requirement in signatures can make things difficult, but not impossible.

Planned Parenthood

Wyoming’s one and only Planned Parenthood branch in Casper will be closing its doors in July. The health center is among five others in the Rocky Mountain region that will be shutting down this summer. 

The decision to close the clinic was not entirely a financial one. That’s according to Adrienne Mansanares, a leader of Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood which oversees the Casper branch.

pixabay.com, CC0 Public Domain

Wildlife in the far western portion of Wyoming did not fare so well this winter. The harsh weather was especially hard on deer.  

Doug Brimeyer with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department said the combination of heavy snow accumulation and extreme temperatures took a toll on deer and antelope in the western outreaches of the state. Those conditions ultimately kept animals from accessing good forage, and as a result, Brimeyer said, wildlife quickly used up their fat reserves.

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.

Casper Police Department website

The Casper City Manager's office says Police Chief Jim Wetzel will not be retained. The change in leadership comes in the midst of multiple investigations of the department. 

In April, a third party survey of 84 employees at the Casper Police department revealed a hostile work environment and an ineffective chain of command that prevented officers from proper investigations. The survey also pointed to the city’s administration for ignoring these concerns. Two days after the survey was made public, Casper City Manager V.H. McDonald announced his retirement.

Casper Police Department’s Facebook

UPDATE: Shortly after this story originally aired, Interim City Manager Liz Becher announced that Police Chief Jim Wetzel will no longer serve in that role. According to the press release, “the City of Casper has decided to go in a new direction in the leadership of the Casper Police department.”

Wikipedia Creative Commons

A ballot initiative in Casper is aiming to give residents the ability to choose what form of local government their city operates under. Right now, Casper’s city council hires a city manager to handle employees and daily operations. The council also selects a mayor from within their ranks, but the position has little power. 

If the ballot initiative gets 3,700 signatures, voters could begin a new system where voters would elect the mayor position. The new mayoral role would oversee daily operations in place of a city manager.

GARY KRAMER - U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

Wyoming’s management plan for wolves is back in effect, after a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals reaffirmed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 decision to delist wolves. 

Under Wyoming law, wolves fall under a dual-classification system. The first is as trophy game for those wolves living in the northwestern corner of the state. That's where most of them live and where the most suitable habitat is. Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Renny MacKay said in that area, they receive extra protections.

Brian Harrington

In response to Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi’s comments earlier this week, many Wyomingites are planning to wear tutus to school, work, while running errands and to the bar Friday.  

While visiting middle and high school students in Greybull, Enzi was asked by a student about federal protections for LGBT people and what he has done to support Wyomingites.

Enzi replied with Wyoming’s live and let live mantra, but also said a man wearing a tutu to a bar shouldn’t be surprised when he gets into a fight because he’s asking for it.

Wikimedia Commons

Each year, Wyoming is given Federal Housing and Urban Development funds to pay for various services and infrastructure improvements across the state. The Wyoming Business Council is surveying the public to help decide how to spend $3 million over the next five years.

Federal Housing and Urban Development dollars can be used towards building affordable housing, fixing streets and sewers, as well as public services like childcare, transportation, and mental health. 

Listen to the full show here. 

School Funding Is A Tricky Political Equation

Earlier this month, legislators met to take another look at the school funding model and possibly change it. That’s called recalibration. But changing school funding is a tricky business because politics is a big variable in the spending equation. 

twitter.com/Uber

Uber has been operating in the state for just over a month now. Their launch followed Governor Matt Mead’s signing of a bill to legally authorize ride-sharing companies in Wyoming. However, while some consumers have been taking advantage of the service, others are less excited.

Branden French was one of the very first drivers to start working for Uber in March. Right now, he’s a university student in Laramie. He said Mead signed the bill on a Friday, and he was on the road that weekend.

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