Maggie Mullen

Reporter

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

Maggie Mullen is a fifth generation Wyomingite, born and raised in Casper. She is currently a Masters candidate in American Studies and will defend her thesis on female body hair in contemporary American culture this May. Before graduate school, she earned her BA in English and French from the University of Wyoming. Maggie enjoys writing, cooking, her bicycle, swimming in rivers and lakes, and most any dog.

Western Wyoming Fire Prevention and Education Team

A campaign led by the Western Wyoming Fire Prevention and Education Team is working to remind residents and tourists of things they can do to prepare for wildfires. The team is a joint effort of the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Wyoming’s Forestry Division, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Aaron Schrank

A poll commissioned by the Casper Star-Tribune and Wyoming PBS says 52 percent of Wyoming’s Republican voters are undecided in the race for the state’s lone U.S. House seat. The seat is being vacated by Representative Cynthia Lummis, who has decided not to seek a fifth term.

The poll shows that Liz Cheney is supported by 21 percent of those contacted, while 9 percent support State Representative Tim Stubson and 4 percent support State Senator Leland Christensen. But with 52 percent of the voters undecided, Cheney’s lead is not as firm as it could be.

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

The Cliff Creek Fire north of Bondurant in Sublette County has increased to 21,483 acres. Almost 700 firefighters are fighting the blaze on the ground, in the air, as well as with some controlled burning. Crews have been working to protect about 23 summer homes and the Granite Creek drainage area.

Flickr via Creative Commons

Despite the major layoffs in the coal industry this year, the unemployment rate in Wyoming rose slightly in June, up by .1% to 5.7% since May. Although that rise isn’t significant, it is a serious increase from last June when it was only 4.2%.

A report from the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services says almost every county in Wyoming has seen increases in unemployment since last summer. Senior Economist David Ballard says the largest of these increases were seen in the more energy dependent counties. Natrona, Converse, and Campbell County all increased by over 3%.

U.S. Forest Service-Bridger-Teton National Forest Facebook Page

Bondurant residents who were evacuated due to the Cliff Creek Fire have been allowed to return home, although some residents in the Granite Creek area remained displaced as firefighters are still working to prevent damage to about 30 structures in that area.

Some Granite Creek Residents were escorted to their homes to collect valuables and perishables.

Casper College's Facebook

Casper College will open a student-run kitchen this fall in order to provide meals to local residents who are food insecure. That means, they don’t always know where their next meal will come from. The college’s nutrition students plan to make healthy meals from food that would otherwise have gone to waste.

Lance Madzey

Natrona County High School’s film and television program, NCTV, is hoping to raise about $15,000 to cover the costs of equipment for a new studio space in the high school’s renovated building.

Recent renovations of the school did not include a new studio space, so Lance Madzey, who has taught the program for twenty-years and his students, began fundraising in order to retrofit a classroom into a studio with editing bays. He says he is hoping his students will be able to continue to produce their usual weekly live television show.

gargene.com

  

On Tuesday, Governor Matt Mead named Eugene Gagliano the 8th poet laureate of Wyoming. Gagliano is a retired elementary school teacher and is known for his collaborative and entertaining presentations for schools and libraries across the state. Wyoming Public Radio’s Maggie Mullen spoke with him about the honor.

Maggie Mullen

Bright Agrotech, an indoor farming technology company based in Laramie, introduced a first-of-its-kind lighting system on Thursday.

CEO Nate Storey says indoor farmers depend on artificial light in the grow houses. But where there is light, there is also heat.

Wikipedia Creative Commons

The City Council in Casper voted to cut the city’s budget by more than a third on Tuesday.

While the cuts do not include any layoffs, Casper City Council member, Bob Hopkins, says there will be a reduction in capital spending, elimination of 23 vacant positions and early retirement for some city employees.

Hopkins says the primary goal of the cuts is to keep public services, like street maintenance and snow plowing, going during the economic downturn.

University of Wyoming Facebook

Wyoming is facing difficult economic times. Last year, the state lost 6,500 jobs, mostly in oil and gas, and things haven’t much better this year. The state government is making major reductions and even Wyoming Medical Center in Casper cut 58 positions. For that reason, right now is a tough time for University of Wyoming’s graduates to enter the job force, particularly if they want to stay in the state.

Wyoming Medical Center Facebook

Wyoming’s current economic decline is beginning to effect the financial wellness of hospitals across the state. Earlier this week, Wyoming Medical Center in Casper announced they would cut 58 positions in order to balance their budget.

Wyoming State Legislature

It’s up to a legislative task force to decide how Wyoming should deal with structural issues at the state penitentiary building in Rawlins. They can either make repairs or construct an entirely new building.

The 13-member task force includes five senators. Senator Stephen Pappas, an architect from Cheyenne, is among five other senators on the task force.  

gosarforgovernor.com

The Wyoming State Board of Education reviewed and approved new science standards at their meeting in Laramie last week. The vote was unanimous. The standards will be sent to Governor Matt Mead for a 10-day review. 

The last time the Wyoming State Board of Education revised science standards was in 2003. Board Chairman, Pete Gosar, says since the standards haven't been revised in so long, Wyoming is behind, but he imagines that the new standards will help Wyoming students better compete with others.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming has identified the three finalists for the position of provost of academic affairs. All three finalists for the position will give public presentations on UW’s campus beginning Friday.

University of Wyoming professor, Tucker Readdy, is the chair-elect of the faculty senate. He says he is interested to hear their plans.

“I think the person needs to be a visionary, in terms of being able to see across campus and really providing some strategic initiatives for how we are going to continue to move the academic mission of the university forward.”

CC0 Public Domain, Pixabay

The University of Wyoming will host a two-day symposium on drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, this Tuesday and Wednesday.

Jeff Hamerlinck is the director of UW’s Geographic Information Science Center. He says the symposium will be the first of its kind and he is hoping it will be an opportunity to raise awareness in the state about drones. Hamerlinck says drones’ data-collecting abilities are unmatched. The data collection is timelier, the quality of the data is much higher, and the cost of drones is relatively affordable.

Denali National Park and Preserve

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved the newest draft of its Grizzly Bear Management Plan at a public meeting in Casper on Wednesday.

The approval by the commission was unanimous. The plan outlines how Wyoming would manage grizzly bears once they are removed from the endangered species list—perhaps later this year. While the plan addresses hunting as a potential management tool, Wyoming Game and Fish will still have to decide what a grizzly bear hunting season would look like, or if there would even be one.

Denali National Park and Preserve

Grizzly bears in Wyoming may soon be removed from the Endangered Species list. That means management of the animal would be given back to the state. The newest draft of the management plan will be discussed at an upcoming meeting in Casper and will give the public an additional opportunity to provide feedback.

CC0 Public Domain, Pixabay

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has approved a new regulation that will restrict the use of aircrafts or drones during hunting season.  

Mike Choma is the Law Enforcement Supervisor for the Wyoming Game and Fish. He says “fair chase” means something different to everyone. In Wyoming, that definition now excludes using an aircraft or drone with the intention to spot, locate and aid in the taking of wildlife. The new regulation came after an increase in public concern and a number of complaints received by the department.

The Fifth Vital Sign

The Fifth Vital Sign, a traveling reproductive healthcare team, will be speaking on the University of Wyoming’s campus Wednesday night.

Irina Zhorov

The University of Wyoming canceled classes and business services Tuesday after heavy snowfall and a continued power outage.

Despite what some consider harsh winter conditions, it is unusual for the University of Wyoming to cancel its operations. Chad Baldwin, a UW spokesman, says the University originally decided on a delayed start to operations, but after the power outage continued along with the snowfall, the decision was made to close for the remainder of the day.

TAMRA WATTS

Pinedale’s Wind River Brewing Company will be opening a new brewing facility and restaurant at the Roundhouse in Evanston. This comes after the company fought for years to build that facility in Pinedale.

Wind River Brewing owners Tamra and Shawn Watts have lived in Pinedale all their lives. The couple wanted to build their new brewery and tasting room there, but Pinedale’s mayor halted the expansion when he stopped the city from changing some zoning rules. So, they’re building it away from their hometown—150 miles South to Evanston.

HARVEY BARRISON VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

The Teton County School District canceled presentations by a Christian abstinence speaker this week after some in the community objected. Shelly Donahue was scheduled to speak with 8th to 12th graders in Jackson. Donahue identifies as Christian and promotes abstinence in her approach to sex education. That upset some students and parents.

Turning Point Pregnancy Resource Center in Jackson approached the school district with the opportunity to have Donahue speak with students.

Maggie Mullen

The Albany County Democrats are asking Wyoming’s superdelegates to reconsider their commitments to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in order to more accurately reflect the popular presidential vote that favored Senator Bernie Sanders at last week’s statewide caucus.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The Cheyenne City Council has been debating a proposed ordinance that would allow those living in certain residential zones in Cheyenne to raise chickens in their backyard. Right now, it is illegal to so do.

What has come to be known as the “chicken ordinance” would allow up to five chickens in a backyard within certain residential zones in Cheyenne. This week the ordinance was tweaked during second reading discussion.

The state of Wyoming was amongst the locations revealed in the data leak of the Panama Papers, that involved the large offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. The leak included 11.5 million confidential files and pointed to millionaires and others that may be hiding their money in Wyoming based shell companies.

Flickr Creative Commons, by 401kcalculator.org

Wyoming has consistently ranked poorly among states when it comes to equal pay, but new research reveals the state as having the third largest lifetime wage gap in the country. Because of that gap, an average Wyoming woman makes about 651,000-dollars less than a man over the course of a 40-year-career.

Wyoming Democratic Party

Democratic county caucuses will be held at 11 a.m. on April 9th and the number of registered democrats has seen a recent increase. 

   

Wyoming is a distinctly red state, but that hasn’t stopped both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders from setting up statewide offices and running recent TV ads.

Wikimedia Commons

Seven dead elk were found in the Great Divide Basin of the Red Desert last week. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department in Green River suspect the deaths were a result of the elk ingesting toxic lichen.

Wyoming Game and Fish Wildlife Supervisor Steve DeCecco said this is not the first time elk have died from lichen toxicosis in Wyoming. During the winters of 2004 and 2008, more than 500 elk died in the Red Rim area south of Rawlins from eating the stuff. DeCecco said the lichen itself doesn’t kill the elk.

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