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

Miles Bryan

When you hear “law enforcement” what do you picture? A police officer, a sheriff’s deputy, maybe a highway patrol trooper--but probably not a prison guard. That is a problem for Wyoming’s Department of Corrections recruiting division. Right now they’re 20 percent short of guards system wide. A lot of that shortage is due to recent growth in high paying energy jobs, but Corrections has struggled for many years with recruitment and retention, in Wyoming and across the country.

Miles Bryan

A bill that would protect gay, lesbian, and transgender people from being discriminated against in the workplace and in other locations was approved by the House Health, Labor, and Social Services Committee on Friday.

 

It was standing room only for the entire two hour hearing as people lined up to give testimony. The Wyoming Pastor’s Network came out in force against the bill.

 

February 6th, 2015

Feb 6, 2015
Jeremy Wilburn, Flickr Creative Commons

Climate Change In The Classroom: The Debate Continues In Wyoming

Nearly a year after Wyoming lawmakers blocked the State Board of Education from considering a set of science standards that include climate change, a bill to put the standards back on the table is up for debate. When the dust settles, it could mean a change in classroom conversations about climate.

Miles Bryan

If you receive hospice end of life care in the United States it probably comes to you. Nationally about 60% of hospice care is administered at the patient’s home, or in a nursing home. Only about 7% receive care in a facility designed specifically for hospice patients. But in Wyoming, that number is closer to 30%--and its growing.

Wyoming Lawmakers Spar With Obama On Middle Class Agenda

Republicans now control the gavels on Capitol Hill, but last week they were given a stark reminder of how limited their power is here in the nation’s capital when President Obama delivered his State of the Union address where he touted recent economic gains.

Wikimedia Commons

Wyoming has long had issues with substance abuse. Alcoholism has always been a problem here, and in the 1990s and early 2000s methamphetamine took hold across the state. But one drug you didn’t hear much about was heroin. That is changing. Easy access to prescription pain pills in recent years has helped make heroin a small but growing problem in Wyoming.

Ohio Governor John Kasich was at the Wyoming’s Capitol Building Thursday as part of a national tour promoting a federal balanced budget amendment.

Kasich spoke to a full house of Wyoming legislators, but he directed his remarks to two 11-year-old boys in the audience as a way to make a point about leaving federal debt for the next generation.

“What would you think if we all went to lunch and we spent 40 dollars and gave you the bill. Would that be very good?,” Kasich asked the boys. “Yeah, we gave you the shaft right? Well that is what we are doing [with the deficit].

Key Issues Await The Wyoming Legislature

For the next two months the State’s 90 legislators will gather in Cheyenne to consider a wide range of bills. Some ideas will be dead on arrival while others should generate considerable debate.

Miles Bryan

Correction: a previous version of this web story, as well as the audio story, states that Congress raised the number of flight hours needed for a commercial pilot's license from 250 to 1500. That is wrong. The requirements for a pilot's license was unchanged; the new rule requires co-pilots to hold an Airline Transport Pilot certificate, which requires 1500 hours of flight time.

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.”

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