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.

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.

 

Flickr Creative Commons

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.

Stephanie Joyce

The $2 million funding for coal workers comes from a U.S. Department of Labor grant meant to aid dislocated workers. Eligible workers can put the money towards training programs in other fields. 

City of Casper

Casper City Manager V.H. McDonald has announced he will retire from the position on June 1. 

McDonald’s decision to retire follows the Casper City Council's request on Tuesday for an investigation into leadership at the Casper Police Department and complaints that city management neglected to address problems in that department.  

A press release from the City of Casper says McDonald was hired in November of 2015. 

Maggie Mullen

The Casper Police Department hosted a community panel on sexual assault Thursday night, following the complaints of over 30 women that claim law enforcement mishandled their sexual assault cases.

The panel included representatives from sexual assault related services, including the Self Help Center, the Casper Police Department's Victim Services, the Child Advocacy Project, Wyoming Medical Center, as well as District Attorney Mike Blonigen and Chief of Police Jim Wetzel who discussed how they try to help victims.

Casper Police Department Facebook page

At Casper’s City Council meeting on Tuesday, Mayor Kenyne Humphrey requested an investigation of the Casper Police Department. The request follows the results of a survey taken by law enforcement officers that point to potential issues with the agency’s leadership.

Mayor Kenyne Humphrey said Casper’s local branch of the Fraternal Order of Police brought her the results of a survey taken by current and former members of the Casper Police Department. She said what she saw was alarming.

Credit Grizzly bear on Swan Lake Flats, Yellowstone National Park; Jim Peaco

Grizzly bears are expanding the range of their habitat in the Greater Yellowstone area, and scientists are predicting an uptick in the number of conflicts between humans and bears.

Maggie Mullen

In the last year, over 30 women have approached the Casper City Council to express their frustration with how the Casper Police Department dealt with their sexual assault cases. The women allege that their cases were either mishandled or neglected by law enforcement.

It’s a quiet afternoon in Casper, shortly before Aimee Kidd will need to leave her house to go pick her children up from school. On her lap, is her 5-month old daughter, Noèmie.

Wikimedia Commons

Two orders were signed Wednesday by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, one of which overturns the Obama administration moratorium on all new coal leases on federal land. 

In a teleconference, Zinke said his agency has not yet decided whether to raise royalty rates, but a federal advisory committee will be re-established to study whether or not Americans get a fair return on natural resources from public land, and will include state, tribal, and other advocacy group members. 

pixabay

The Clean Power Plan may face some serious changes, as President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order this week reversing the Obama administration’s commitment to regulate carbon dioxide produced by coal-burning power plants. 

The long-expected executive order is rumored to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to slash regulations of coal-related carbon dioxide emissions by re-writing and re-enacting the plan. From the beginning, industry groups have criticized Obama’s plan for eliminating jobs.

Maggie Mullen

Like many federal programs across the country, Meals on Wheels is facing possible cuts as part of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget. The program’s Wyoming partners have already experienced cuts at the state level due to the energy downturn, and it’s hard to know when the federal budget will be decided on. In the meantime, many homebound seniors and Wyomingites with disabilities that depend on the program are concerned about the future of their care.

Wikimedia Commons

The Teton County Sheriff’s Office and the Town of Jackson Police Department have released an open letter on immigration. The letter addresses concerns by residents about the threat of potential immigration raids and changes to deportation policies.

Casper Police Department Facebook page

The City of Casper has set up a community panel discussion regarding how police handle sexual assault complaints.

More than 30 women have accused the Casper Police Department of mishandling or neglecting reports of sexual assault.

Casper Police Chief Jim Wetzel announced the panel discussion at Tuesday’s city council meeting and said the hour-long panel is meant to inform and educate the public on the legal, investigative, prosecutorial, and victim services issues of sexual assault.

Rebecca Huntington

President Donald Trump’s first federal budget plan proposes a complete defunding of both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The potential eliminations could hurt many arts organizations across the state.

Melodie Edwards

The Wyoming legislature passed two bills this session to expand the Food Freedom Act. The act was first passed in 2015 to allow local food producers to more easily sell otherwise home grown foods, like raw milk and poultry, directly to consumers.

The act is a unique piece of legislation in the U.S., and Sundance Representative Tyler Lindholm said many states have started to model bills after it.

Public Domain

The Bureau of Land Management is asking for public comment on a proposed removal of wild horses in the Checkerboard area near Rock Springs.

In a press release, the Bureau of Land Management said they expect wild horses in the three herd management areas of the Checkerboard to become overpopulated in 2017, and a removal of more than 1,000 horses may be needed to reach the appropriate population levels.

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