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.

Ways to Connect

Forward Wyoming

Two organizations the Wyoming Republican party alleged violated campaign finance laws sent official responses to the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office. 

The Wyoming GOP said that mailers sent by Forward Wyoming Advocacy were actually paid for by a progressive political consulting firm, but not marked as such. 

But the Executive Director of Forward Wyoming Advocacy, Sydney Stein said in a press release that while her organization contracts with ELLA Wyoming for data management and web design, they are not one and the same.  

Wikipedia

The Wyoming Republican Party has filed two complaints with the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office, alleging certain mailers broke campaign finance laws. The two complaints were filed on October 20 and 25, and refer to two separate mailers sent to Wyoming residents earlier this month, which expressed support for Democratic candidates in legislative races around the state.

Public Domain

Attitudes toward marijuana use appear to be slightly changing in Wyoming. The Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center’s election year survey revealed an increase in support for legalizing marijuana for both personal and medical use.

However, WYSAC researcher Brian Harnisch said residents view each of those issues differently.

“A majority of Wyoming residents still oppose the recreational use of marijuana,” said Harnish. “While at the same time we have sort of an overwhelming majority of Wyoming residents that support the legalization for medical purposes.”

Wyoming Department of Education

State residents will have the opportunity to give the Wyoming Department of Education input on how they should implement a new federal education law. Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, in December, which gives states more authority over education. 

U.S. Forest Service

A study requested by the Wyoming Legislature has found that transferring management of public lands from the federal government to the state would not be revenue positive. Those who support state management of public lands have argued it would increase revenue for the state by encouraging resource development. 

The state paid the Jackson-based Y-2 Consultants $75,000 to examine land management practices, costs and revenues. Almost half of Wyoming is federal land and resource development and recreation on that land is critical to Wyoming’s economy.

Bob Beck

Candidates for Wyoming’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives met Thursday night at Casper College for this election’s only debate. Like many past elections, candidates argued over the legitimacy of their ties to the state and their abilities to understand its unique challenges.

Wikipedia

The Wyoming Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday in the criminal appeals case of former Albany County prosecutor, Richard Bohling.  

In February, Bohling was found guilty of five charges related to improperly using government money to purchase cameras, photography equipment and other electronics. He was sentenced to two to four years in prison, along with an order to pay $45,000 in fines and more than $3,000 in restitution to Albany County. Bohling’s counsel then filed an appeals case with the Wyoming Supreme Court to overturn all five convictions. 

Keep It Public, Wyoming Facebook Page

The group Keep it Public, Wyoming is hosting a rally November 5 to protest public lands being transferred from the federal government to the state.

University of Wyoming Art Museum Facebook Page

Five paintings and 20 prints by renowned abstract expressionist Harold Garde are now part of the University of Wyoming Art Museum’s permanent collection.

Garde studied at the University of Wyoming during the 1940s under the G.I. Bill, where he learned from professors like George McNeil, Leon Kelly, and Ilya Bolotowsky. UW Art Museum Director Susan Moldenhauer said Garde is now in his 90s but is still painting.

Public Domain

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled on Friday that the Bureau of Land Management broke the law during a wild horse round up in 2014 in an area southeast of Rock Springs known as the Checkerboard. 

The Checkerboard gets its name from its alternating patches of public and private lands. Bill Eubanks, who represented the plaintiff -- mostly wild horse advocacy groups -- explained in a press release that this ruling prevents the BLM from treating public lands as private land in Checkerboard areas, making the wild horse roundup procedure more complicated.

Wyoming Department of Corrections

At the Wyoming Women’s Center in Lusk, there’s an average of four births per year. That’s because some inmates are showing up to prison pregnant. When an inmate does give birth, they’re usually given less than 24 hours with their newborn before handing the child over to family or foster care services, when they return to the prison. Four years ago, plans were put into motion to address the situation by providing a mother-child unit where inmates could raise their children. However, the unit has remained vacant since renovations were completed in 2014.

Wyoming Equality Facebook Page

On Monday, Douglas became the most recent Wyoming town to pass a non-discrimination resolution to support LGBT people. That same night, a similar resolution passed its first reading at the Cheyenne City Council meeting.

Non-discrimination resolutions hold no real legal power. Instead, they are designed to encourage the Wyoming Legislature to pass a non-discrimination state law. Wyoming Equality spokeswoman Sara Burlingame said a state law would hold legal power and would protect LGBT people in Wyoming from discrimination in matters of housing, employment, and accommodations.

Wyoming Center On Aging

An upcoming Laramie workshop will work to empower people dealing with chronic disease. The Wyoming Center on Aging (WyCOA) at the University of Wyoming adopted Stanford University’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program and called the program “Healthy U.”

Wyoming will be the fiftieth state to offer the program.

Dan Hayward

A new study will use GPS transmitters to track the movements of wild horses in the Adobe Town Herd Management area, southwest of Rock Springs. Researchers from the University of Wyoming and the Bureau of Land Management are teaming up to track at least 20 wild horses in a project funded by the Wyoming Department of Agriculture.

There is little currently known about the migration patterns of wild horses. The GPS collars are the latest in wildlife tracking technology and will allow the researchers to get real time information on the animals via a satellite.

Caroline Ballard

University of Wyoming Police said they received a report of a sexual assault in a campus apartment over the weekend. UW Police Chief Michael Samp said the suspect has not been found but was reported as a white male about 20-years-old. 

Wyoming Youth Voter Summit

A Youth Voter Summit planned for Tuesday will be the first of its kind in Wyoming. The summit is being held in response to low voter turnout by young residents.

The summit will include voter registration, panel discussions and a number of speakers, including Governor Matt Mead and Olympic gold medalist Rulon Gardner.

Maggie Mullen

Wyoming’s economic downturn has decreased the amount of money the state gives to local governments at a time when many counties were already facing local revenue losses.

Johnson County Treasurer Carla Faircloth said her county's assessed valuation is down more than anywhere else in the state. Natrona County Sheriff Gus Holbrook said he has had to cut five positions and he predicts that may increase emergency response time.

Natrona County Coroner Connie Jacobson said like most agencies, her department is learning to do more with less.

JACKSON HOLE COMMUNITY HOUSING TRUST

Two new housing proposals in Jackson recommend that the town pay for infrastructure improvements on behalf of private developers, as long as they limit access to those facilities to lower income renters.

Mayor Sara Flitner said private developers are usually responsible for building their infrastructure as needed. But because the cost of housing has eclipsed wages in Jackson, Flitner said the town council is considering an exchange of infrastructure improvements, such as water and sewage, for income restrictions on new development’s housing.

Maggie Mullen

The Undersecretary, Kevin Concannon, was in Cheyenne to learn more about the organization’s approach to helping low-income single moms. Concannon said Climb Wyoming is one of the best programs of its kind in the country.

Pete Gosar For Governor

The Wyoming Board of Education decided on Friday to recommend new science standards to Governor Matt Mead. If approved, school districts will develop new curriculum to follow the standards by the fall of 2020. 

The State Board of Education's vote to approve the new standards was unanimous. It has been 13 years since Wyoming updated science standards. Board Chairman Pete Gosar said he expects the potential change in standards to encourage districts to adopt more experience-based or hands-on curriculum when it comes to science in the classroom. 

Natrona County Restorative Justic

 

Restorative justice programs are on the rise across the country. The practice facilitates meetings between victims, offenders, and community members, in order to repair some of the harm caused by crime. Now, a group of volunteers in Casper is looking for ways to incorporate practices of restorative justice into the legal system.

Wyoming Equality

On Tuesday, the Gillette City Council adopted a non-discrimination resolution in support of greater equality for the LGBT community. The resolution has no real legal power but is designed to encourage the Wyoming Legislature to take action.

Wyoming Equality spokeswoman Sara Burlingame said there was only one dissenting vote and, during the meeting, no one voiced opposition.

Wyoming Equality

Wyoming’s largest LGBT organization, Wyoming Equality, has elected John King as their new Board Chairman. King has been asked to revitalize the organization, since it is currently facing fundraising and membership challenges.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Wyoming in October 2014 and King said since then, support for the organization has declined. King said he believes that is because of the misconception that marriage equality means complete equal rights for the LGBT community in Wyoming.

Wikimedia Commons

The Bureau of Land Management announced it will not accept the recommendation from their National Advisory Board to euthanize the upwards of 46,000 wild horses. The recommendation was followed by a major public outrage, but the BLM says they will continue to seek out other management options.

Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Kristen Lenhardt said those alternatives include the BLM’s already established wild horse and burro adoption program, as well as using birth control to reduce overpopulation.

Brian Scott Gamroth's facebook

Longtime Casper radio morning announcer, Brian Scott Gamroth, known as Brian Scott on the air, died in a motorcycle accident in Montana on Sunday. Gamroth was known for his support of a number of causes including the arts.

Gamroth served on the boards for the Casper College Theatre Program, the Nicolaysen Art Museum, and the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra.

Wikipedia

The oil and gas company Battalion Resources filed for bankruptcy on September 8. The filing included three of its subsidiaries, including Storm Cat Energy, which owns hundreds of oil and gas wells in Wyoming. Court documents show the company has $83 million in debt and only brought in $8.4 million in revenue in 2015.

Laramie County Community College is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights for allegedly discriminating on the basis of sex in its response to a complaint of sexual violence. Representatives from the Office for Civil Rights were scheduled to appear on campus September 13 and 14.

Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities

Cheyenne’s drinking water may see an impact in the coming years due to a fire currently burning in Medicine Bow National Forest. The Snake Fire began September 10 and has burned 2,452 acres. Some of the fire is burning near Hog Park Reservoir, a major provider of Cheyenne’s drinking water.

Dena Egenhoff, a spokeswoman for Cheyenne’s Board of Public Utilities, said the water from Hog Park isn’t directly used as drinking water, but is traded with Rob Roy reservoir since that location is easier to transport water from.

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