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 with hot sauce.

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A new report reveals 29 percent of adults in Wyoming are obese, which puts Wyoming in 30th place nationwide.

The report was released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health. Spokesman Don Schwarz says Wyoming’s numbers have remained stable in the last few years. But when you look at the long term trends, the outlook is more problematic. In the mid-90s only 15 percent of Wyoming adults were overweight. Since then, obesity rates have doubled.

Maggie Mullen

Fighting wildfires increasingly relies on new technology, like drones and a web program that traces every lightning strike in real time. But in the Black Hills of Northeastern Wyoming, the most basic technology is still relied on—the human eye.

Warren Peak Lookout Tower is six miles Northwest of Sundance. It’s at 6,710 feet and it’s breezy. Karen Maloy is the lookout for Warren Peak. It’s her 11th season. She’s worked at towers across the country. Her first assignment was in college.

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On Tuesday, the Jackson Police Department and the Teton County Sheriff’s Office caught three people at a Super 8 Motel using an undercover sting operation and charged them all with prostitution. Two of the individuals were also charged with human trafficking and interference with a police officer. Two women and a man were charged with the crime.

Jeff Gunn, Flickr Creative Commons

Yellowstone National Park celebrates its 100th anniversary of the National Park Service this year, but park officials are also looking to the future. Yellowstone Superintendent, Dan Wenk, says he hopes the next 100 years will continue to see conservation efforts, like working with neighboring areas to provide the best migratory routes for wildlife. 

“The preservation efforts can’t stop at the boundaries of the park,” says Wenk. “Wildlife, for example, does not respect political boundaries and it needs a much greater ecosystem in order to live and to thrive.”

American Cancer Society

According to a report by the American Cancer Society’s Action Network, Wyoming could do much more to reduce cancer rates. Each year, the report evaluates ten different policy areas that deal with prevention and quality of treatment in each state. Out of those ten areas, Wyoming only did well in two—oral chemotherapy fairness and funding for the state tobacco prevention program.

As part of the Wyoming State Fair in Douglas this weekend, the Bureau of Land Management will host a horse show with all wild horses. The seventh annual Mustang Days aims to show the benefits of adopting wild horses.

The Bureau of Land Management has 16 wild horse herd management areas in Wyoming, and tries to keep the number of wild horses in the state to around 3500. When herds become overpopulated, some animals are put up for adoption.

Surdam For Mayor

Whatever the outcome of the general election, Cheyenne’s next mayor will be a woman, for the first time ever. Marian Orr received 28 percent of the vote, while Amy Surdam received 21 percent.

The primary ballot began with 10 candidates, but only Orr and Surdam will move onto the general election. Orr and Surdam both say they are excited to see two female candidates, but both say they are very different candidates.

BHP Imaging

A University of Wyoming trail building program has created a summer work crew specifically for veterans in need of a job. The Wyoming Veterans Trail Crew will be a part of the Wyoming Conservation Corps beginning next May.

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A parasitic amoeba that can cause fatal brain infections has been found in Grand Teton National Park. On Monday, the park announced the presence of the parasite in their recent water samplings taken from some of the park’s geothermal features and run-off streams.

Spokeswoman Denise Germann says the infection risk for humans is low, but the amoeba Naegleria Fowleri can be fatal. The amoeba enters humans through the nose and then uses the brain as a food source. For that reason, the park is discouraging activities like diving and swimming in the infected waters.

Ortegon

  

This week the University of Wyoming hosted a summer institute for an organization that supports women of color in academia. One of the guest speakers was Sarah Ortegon, artist and former Miss Native American USA. Wyoming Public Radio’s Maggie Mullen spoke with Ortegon about her paintings currently exhibited at the UW Art Museum, partly inspired by her childhood on the Wind River Reservation. Her work will be exhibited until September 2.

Caroline Ballard

  

The Cathedral Home for Children just north of Laramie is a boarding school for teens that have had traumatic experiences. Besides providing a safe space, the home helps the kids deal with their emotions. This summer they’re trying something new – drumming circles.

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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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