Miles Bryan

Reporter

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

Miles previously worked at American Public Media’s Marketplace and National Public Radio’s Los Angeles bureau. His work has appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and on public radio stations across the Northwest. Miles grew up in Minneapolis. He moonlights as a rock guitarist.

Ways To Connect

The Boom: Short Term Gain, Long Term Pain

In case you hadn’t heard, the United States has been experiencing an oil boom for the last five years. The boom has helped the country’s economic recovery and created thousands of jobs for people in states like North Dakota, Wyoming and Texas. But although booms are often heralded for the economic opportunities they provide…they also have a darker side.

Miles Bryan

For a little shop like the Bill Store an energy boom can be a blessing. Nothing is better for a small business than lots of customers with cash to burn. But when wells close and energy workers head out of town the businesses that remain have to figure out how to survive.

Verne Waldner bought the Conoco Service Station in Wamsutter Wyoming back in 1973. There wasn’t much to the town then, and there still isn’t. Wamsutter sits off Interstate 80 and has a current population of just under 500.

Miles Bryan

If you move to Wyoming to work in oil or gas you probably know to expect long hours and a big paycheck. You might even know to expect to be sleeping in your car. Housing is a perennial issue in boomtowns, one that pits the needs of energy workers against the interests of long term residents and there’s no easy fix. 

Airports in Cheyenne and Riverton are on track to fall short of a Federal target for traffic this year. That means they’ll lose almost a million dollars each in federal funding. Jim Schell is the manager of Cheyenne’s regional airport. He says the level of traffic at the airport this year is the lowest it has been in almost three decades.

“Our passenger numbers are down to about 6,000 enplanements this year. Typically they would average 12,000 to 14,000.”

Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

Relationships 101: Oil And Gas Looks For A Social License To Operate

A month ago, something happened that many never imagined possible: Voters in Denton, Texas passed a ban on fracking.

INSIDE ENERGY: Energy Job Corps Focus On Safety

Wikimedia Commons

If you work in Wyoming, chances are you’re in energy, agriculture, or tourism. For decades those three industries have been the backbone of Wyoming’s economy. But more recently Governor Mead’s administration has been working to add a new industry to that list: tech. A big part of that effort is the state’s multimillion-dollar project to upgrade Internet infrastructure.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol issues quotas for the number of stops and citations its troopers need to make in a given year.

An internal document obtained by the Wyoming Tribune Eagle newspaper shows troopers in Southeast Wyoming’s District One need to make at least 732 traffic stops and issue at least 55 seat belt violations per year to be considered “competent.”

Those ratings directly affect troopers, as they play a role in determining state worker’s salaries.

Tyler Peters

If you're in Casper and you’ve too drunk too much to drive home, you now have options. You can call a cab, or you can call Hammered Helper: a car service that will ferry you around town free of charge--although they do take tips. Hammered Helper is the brainchild of Tyler Peters, a 24 year old Casper native. Peters started the service in selling pot. Now clean and sober, Peters dedicates five nights a week to Hammered Helper. Wyoming Public Radio’s Miles Bryan spent a Friday night with him, and has this postcard.

Jordan Cooper via Flickr

Construction of new affordable housing units in Riverton, Casper, and the Wind River Reservation will begin in next few months: courtesy of 2.8 million dollars in new funding for affordable housing recently allocated by the Wyoming Community Development Authority. The federal funds are distributed to developers as an incentive to build units that rent for less than two thirds of market price in the respective counties. Community Development Authority Director Gayle Brownlee says all kinds of people need housing help.

Stephanie Joyce

Low Gas Prices Double-Edge Sword For Wyoming

It’s lunchtime in Douglas, Wyoming and the line of cars at the McDonald’s drive-thru wraps around the building. A hiring poster hangs in the window and the parking lot is full. Leaning out the window of his black pick-up truck, Troy Hilbish says he had no idea oil prices have fallen more than a quarter in recent months. But he knows what falling oil prices mean.

Miles Bryan

Josh Kronberg-Rasner was the only openly gay person in his office while he worked for a food service company in Casper. But his sexual orientation never held him back, he says. "I had filled every position from general manager to executive chef," he says. "You name it, I'd done all of it."

That changed in the summer of 2012 when Kronberg-Rasner got a new manager, whom Kronberg-Rasner says was uncomfortable working with a gay person. A few weeks after he arrived, the manager went through Kronberg-Rasner's personal phone and found pictures of a male gymnast.

istockphoto.com

The 2014 Wyoming Forum kicked off yesterday with a discussion of Wyoming’s tech scene between Governor Matt Mead and two prominent California entrepreneurs. One big topic was whether the Cheyenne-Laramie area or Jackson was the most promising for growth. 

Miguel Ariel Contreras Drake McLaughlin / Flickr

Journalist Bob Woodward, famous for exposing the Watergate Scandal, was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Wyoming Forum in Cheyenne yesterday.

He talked about the work he did with Carl Bernstein at the Washington Post that contributed to President Nixon’s resignation. He also discussed the presidency of Obama, who he characterized as failing to connect with Congress or convey strength abroad, despite his admirable goals.

Woodward says he’s concerned about growing polarization in American society.

Flickr Creative Commons

Six of Wyoming’s ten airports have seen declines in traffic this past year, according to a new Wyoming Department of Transportation report. But full flights at Jackson’s airport, by far Wyoming’s biggest, means that the state’s overall air traffic is actually up slightly from 2013.

Governor Mead handily beat Democratic Challenger Pete Gosar. A strong economy generally favors the incumbent, and Mead undercut one of Gosar’s main criticisms when he came out in favor of Medicaid expansion earlier this year. Governor Mead says this term he wants to expand Medicaid in Wyoming.

“We are going to present an expansion plan to the Legislature for their consideration,” he says. “It's going to be a better plan than we had last year going into session.”

Wyoming Has A Shortage Of Women In The Legislature

For years women’s groups in the state have expressed concern about the lack of women in the Wyoming legislature. But it has rarely been this bad. Currently the state ranks 46th with women making up 14 percent. In 2006 the Wyoming women’s legislative caucus was formed to not only support the 14 women serving in the state legislature, but to also recruit female candidates to run for office. It hasn’t gone well.

In the last few years demand for public housing assistance across the country has skyrocketed, while congressional funding has stayed flat. Right now federal funds covers less than a fourth of families in the United States eligible for a Section 8 housing voucher. Waitlists for voucher in big cities are often years long, if not closed all together. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Miles Bryan reports that made small cities like Cheyenne more attractive to those seeking housing aid, because of shorter wait times.

Gas prices around the country have been falling in recent weeks. That's true for Wyoming as well -- but the state hasn't seen quite as big a drop as other places. Gas prices in Wyoming are averaging $3.27 a gallon right now according to analysis from gasbuddy.com. That's $.25 higher than the national average. Gas Buddy analyst Patrick De Haan says that shouldn’t be surprising.

“Gas stations in Wyoming tend to be more rural. They may not have gasoline volumes like other areas. And the changes because of that lag the national average.”

Miles Bryan

Same sex marriage is now legal in Wyoming, which means same sex couples now have access to all the legal rights that come with marriage. Even so, some disparities remain. For one, Wyoming lacks any legal protection for LGBT people in employment. That means gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the Cowboy State may be able to be legally married, but they may also be legally fired.

Sushiesque via Flickr

As of yesterday morning, same-sex marriage is now legal in Wyoming. Wyoming Public Radio’s Miles Bryan has been following the story, and he joined Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard in the studio to break down what’s been going on.

  

Aaron Schrank/WPR

On Tuesday morning Wyoming county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples for the first time in the state’s history. Wyoming Public Radio’s Miles Bryan was at the Albany County Courthouse for that historic event, while Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank was in Cheyenne, at the Laramie County Courthouse. Together, they have this report.

County clerks all across Wyoming should begin issuing same sex marriage licenses Tuesday morning.

This comes after Wyoming’s Attorney General said the state would not appeal last week’s federal court ruling that overturned Wyoming’s same sex marriage ban.

Cheyenne resident AJ McDaniel plans to get his marriage license as soon as he can. He says he had a wedding party last week.

“And we did the whole wedding ceremony and the church and reception for all our friends and family. So now we are just really excited to make it legal.”

A federal judge has overturned Wyoming’s ban on same sex marriage.

The court has ordered that Wyoming must begin issuing same sex marriage licenses, but it has stayed that order until next Thursday, or until the State decides not to appeal the ruling.

“I’ve reached out to the State Attorney General’s office and asked them if they would file a notice with the court indicating they don’t intend to appeal,” says James Lyman, an attorney with the plaintiffs. “If they do not appeal the order will go into effect immediately. I have not yet received a response from them.”

Sushiesque via Flickr

On Thursday, a federal court in Casper heard arguments on whether Wyoming needed to start issuing same sex marriage licenses. The courtroom was packed, but the hearing only went on for about an hour.

Federal Judge Scott Skavdahl heard same sex marriage advocates argue that because the 10th circuit court in Denver ruled earlier that same sex marriage bans were unconstitutional Wyoming needed to allow same sex marriage immediately.

Same-sex marriage will probably soon be legal here in Wyoming. But gay people can still be fired simply for being gay.

While Wyoming has laws that prohibit employment discrimination based on age, sex, race, or national origin, the state has nothing on the books preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation. Laramie Representative Cathy Connolly has been leading the charge to change that. She says Wyoming’s equal employment opportunity office, which deals with workplace discrimination, can’t accept complaints dealing with sexual orientation.

Miles Bryan

Building a stable life without much money or job skills is hard by yourself. Doing it with kids is much, much harder. State governments across the country recognize this fact, and have responded with assistance programs for single and low income parents. But they’re almost always just for moms. Since 2008 Wyoming has been bucking that trend with Dads Making a Difference, a Cheyenne program that teaches dads job skills, and parenting skills too. I visited a class during orientation week.

Mark Fischer via Flickr

On Monday the United State Supreme Court declined to hear challenges to federal court rulings that had overturned bans on gay marriage in states across the country. One of those federal courts was the 10th circuit court, which is based in Denver and has authority over Wyoming.

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