Maggie Mullen

Reporter, MOUNTAIN WEST NEWS BUREAU

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

Maggie Mullen reports for the Mountain West News Bureau out of Wyoming Public Radio. She 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.

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Middle and high school aged students in Teton County deal with the usual stresses of growing up, but according to recent research, those pressures are often made worse for some by the area’s income gap and fears about the immigration status of family members.

Bob Beck

In his State of the State message, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead said during the economic downturn some budget cuts went too deep, including those felt by the Department of Health and the Department of Family Services.

Laramie Representative Charles Pelkey, a Democrat, said he agrees.

Casper Star-Tribune's Facebook Page

Newsroom staff at the Casper Star-Tribune are starting the process of forming a union.

https://pxhere.com/en/photo/999795

The final report from the Wyoming Legislature’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force has been released, after two years of studying the benefits and challenges of improving old and creating new pathways and natural trail surfaces.

Among its recommendations, the task force advised the Wyoming Legislature to invest $10 million annually in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, like enhanced walkable main streets and rural cycling routes across the state.

Laramie County Community Partnership

Next fall, the Strong Families Action Team in Laramie County is hoping to open a new homeless shelter for young people. Action Team Co-Chairman Terry Williams said the goal is to provide shelter for K-12 students who either have nowhere to live or have an unsafe home life.

During a recent homeless count in Cheyenne, 39 unaccompanied K-12 students were identified. When surveyed, Williams said they wanted somewhere to live, so that they can complete their education.

Adelphi University

In the world of Paleontology, there’s debate whether or not dinosaurs were warm or cold blooded, and just how quickly they grew up. Dr. Michael D’Emic is a Paleontologist at Adelphi University in New York. He spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Maggie Mullen in anticipation of a talk he will give on the University of Wyoming’s campus about his research and some of the contentious debates surrounding dinosaurs.

Dr. D’Emic’s talk is February 6 at 5:30 p.m. on the University of Wyoming’s Campus in room 216 of the S.H. Knight Geology Building.

Cheyenne Police Department

The Cheyenne Police Department would like to equip its officers with body cameras, and is asking the Cheyenne City Council to approve funds for 75 body cams, as well as 75 dashboard cams to replace the current ones.

Last year, the Wyoming Legislature passed a bill limiting the kind of footage from police body and dashboard cameras that can be requested and viewed by the public. The law limits that footage to incidents involving deadly force and complaints against law enforcement, or if the footage is in the interest of public safety.

Town of Thayne's website

A lawsuit against the town of Thayne accuses its Mayor and town council members of discriminating against a married gay couple because of their sexual orientation.

According to the lawsuit, Rusty and Marc Andrus bought “Rustlers Restaurant and Saloon” in 2015, and brought the building back up to the proper electrical and fire codes, and added restrooms, handicap accessibility, and a full commercial kitchen.

But when the couple approached the town of Thayne to get a liquor license, the suit says they were the focus of discrimination. 

Downtown Development Authority of Casper, Wyoming

When Casper’s City Council members consider a non-discrimination resolution at their next work session in January, it will be the second time they’ve discussed it. They first saw it in November, and Dee Lundberg said it went over well with most council members. Lundberg is with the local chapter of PFLAG, an LGBT advocacy group.

WyoSayNo's Facebook page.

The private company Management Training Corporation is planning to build a detention center for Customs and Immigration Enforcement, or ICE, in Uinta County. Evanston’s city council and the County’s commission unanimously passed resolutions in support of the effort last June.

 

But the proposed facility is facing opposition from private citizens and some organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming and the Immigration Alliance of Casper.

NASA

The University of Wyoming’s Physics and Astronomy Department has received two grants for research related to finding exoplanets, or planets orbiting other stars. Dr. Michael Pierce and Dr. Hannah Jang-Condell received grants from Indiana University and NASA worth almost $1 million. The funds will primarily be used to build a spectrograph, an instrument that can gather detailed information about star movement near planets.

Susie Scott

This holiday season, the Wyoming Public Radio news team is sharing stories about memories and traditions that stand out to them.

 

 

It was our first Christmas at 318 East 13th Street in Casper. That summer, my mom had become a first-time homeowner.  

My brother, Conor, and I were really excited.

State of Wyoming

A former Cheyenne woman claims that Secretary of State Ed Murray sexually assaulted her in 1982 when they worked together at the law firm of Dray, Madison and Thomson in Cheyenne.

Rawlins Police Department

The City of Rawlins is facing a civil rights lawsuit after two of its police officers shot and killed a man in 2015. The suit claims the Rawlins Police Department’s decision not to discipline, retrain, or fire the officers reveals policies that tolerate excessive force.

Flickr User USACE Europe District / Flickr - Creative Commons

Flu numbers are rising in Wyoming, with the highest levels reported in the southwestern corner of the state.

The Wyoming Department of Health’s Kim Deti said people should keep common-sense measures in mind to help slow or prevent spreading the flu.

That includes frequently washing your hands, staying home if you’re sick, and using your sleeve or a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing. Flu season runs from October through May, so Deti said it’s likely not quite peak flu season.

Public Domain

This year, arrests and deportations of undocumented immigrants across the country are down from 2016. However, those numbers have risen in Colorado and Wyoming.

It’s not clear how many arrests or deportations took place just in Wyoming this year, because Immigration and Customs Enforcement does not provide that data state-by-state. Instead, Wyoming is lumped together with Colorado in what ICE calls an “area of responsibility.”

Office of Governor Matt Mead

Governor Matt Mead presented his budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year to the legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee Monday. The budget largely calls for reversing cuts to social services that Mead said have been in effect for long enough to hurt agencies’ ability to deliver services.

Mead wants to increase the Department of Health’s budget by $48 million. But he also rejected some of the department’s recommendations for spending reductions, like privatizing the Wyoming Retirement Center and Pioneer Home, an assisted living facility.

Maggie Mullen

For many women, getting their hair cut means going to the same stylist every six weeks for years, or even decades. In an effort to take advantage of those enduring ties, the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault is training beauticians to recognize the signs of abuse and how to help. Getting the program off the ground, however, has been slow going.

"New Hampshire open carry 2009" by Lucio Eastman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

During the Wyoming Legislature’s most recent session, lawmakers passed a bill to give school boards the option to allow guns in K-12 schools under certain circumstances, and the school board in Lander is beginning to consider what to do with the new option. 

 

University of Wyoming Art Museum Facebook page

The University of Wyoming Art Museum will welcome a new director this January. Marianne Eileen Wardle has spent the last eleven years as Curator of Academic Initiatives at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Her duties at UW begin January 29.

Wardle’s background is in art scholarship and art curation. While at Duke, she also taught courses in art history, women’s studies, and museum studies.

Wikipedia

Students at the University of Wyoming will pay higher fees for academic programs after the Board of Trustees approved the increase. The fees will go towards program supplies and materials, enhanced advising and career preparation, and are meant to offset university-wide funding reductions. 

Starting fall of 2018, students will pay a fee per credit hour for each class they take, and the cost will depend on the course. Fees range from $3 to $25 per credit hour, and students in labs or visual and performing arts classes can expect to pay higher amounts.

Wyoming Department of Corrections

A class-action suit alleging the Wyoming Department of Corrections violated a woman’s constitutional rights faced an unexpected hurdle this week. A federal judge ruled the plaintiff cannot represent all women in similar situations, so the case cannot now move forward as a class-action lawsuit.

When Taylor Blanchard was convicted of drug charges, she was a first-time offender and under the age of 25, making her eligible for boot camp. Instead, she’s serving a six to ten year term at the Women’s Center in Lusk, because there is no women’s boot camp in the state.

Tech Jobs Tour

This Tuesday, November 7, an event in Cheyenne called Tech Jobs Tour will aim to help diverse and non-traditional workers find jobs in the local tech industry.

Casper Police Department

A recently completed outside review of the Casper Police Department reveals morale is up. That’s following controversy that began last year when 30 women accused the department of mishandling their sexual assault cases.

The review, completed by the Center for Public Safety Management, makes 75 specific recommendations for changes at the Casper Police Department, including updating facilities and filling vacancies.
It also recommends more training for officers dealing with crimes like sexual assault, to ensure investigations are not compromised by inexperience.

sheridanwyoming.org

The Sheridan City Council passed a non-discrimination resolution, though it lacked any protections for or language referencing LGBT people.

UW College of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Women engineers face a lot of challenges, some of which begin as early as their college education, where they are highly outnumbered by their male peers in the classroom.

To address this disparity, the University of Wyoming has launched a new mentoring program, that pairs female engineering undergraduates with female alumni working in the field. Wyoming Public Radio’s Maggie Mullen spoke with Teddi Freedman, a Senior Coordinator for UW’s College of Engineering that is heading up the new program.

National Park Service

The National Park Service is considering raising entrance fees at 17 popular parks during peak visitor season in order to pay for improvements to aging infrastructure, including roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, and bathrooms.

 

Right now, that entrance fee per one private, non-commercial vehicle is $30 at both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. If the increase is implemented, the fee would be $70 during peak season—that’s over a 100 percent increase.

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