Rebecca Martinez

Reporter

Phone: 307-766-2405
Email:  

Rebecca Martinez is a general assignment reporter and host for Wyoming Public Radio. Recent features include Yellowstone warding visitors off wildlife after four people in the area were killed by grizzly bears (picked up by NPR) and one covering efforts by the Northern Arapaho Tribe to preserve its language on the Wind River Indian Reservation, (part was re-aired on National Native News). She regularly reports on agriculture and environmental issues, focusing especially on waste management and water quality. Rebecca reported a story featured in a PRNDI-award-winning episode of Open Spaces in 2011. She edited other PRNDI-award winning stories.

After earning her B.A. in Journalism and Media Design at James Madison University, Rebecca worked as a production and editorial assistant at NPR headquarters in Washington D.C., where she produced pieces and wrote scripts for Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Tell Me More. She arranged and scripted interviews for ME and ATC during the 2008 Presidential Election Season and helped organized live coverage on Super Tuesday in New York City.

Rebecca has reported pieces for NPR, APM’s Marketplace,  the BBC/PRI’s The World, National Native News, WAMU-FM in Washington, D.C. and the CBC. Before coming to Wyoming Public Radio, Rebecca moved to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, where she covered the agriculture, environment and community beats at the News Leader, a century-old newspaper in Staunton. She continued audio reporting by producing Soundslides videos for the newspaper’s web site. Much of her reporting focused on the cattle industry, water and soil quality issues, and the effects of environmental legislation on farmers.

About 1,600 freshmen began their fall semester at the University of Wyoming this week.  For many of them, it’s their first time away from home, and they’ll be exploring new relationship dynamics.

Megan Selheim is the new STOP Violence program coordinator. Her office works to help people on campus who are affected by sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking.

She says some perpetrators might target young students who seem vulnerable, and try to isolate them. Selheim recommends that students maintain social connections.

The University of Wyoming will kick off a new school year on Monday. It’s an exciting time for incoming freshmen, but the college years bring new freedoms as well as new risks.

UW’s STOP Violence program offers crisis intervention and support for anyone on campus who’s been affected by sexual assault, relationship violence, or stalking, and works to educate students about the issues.

Wyoming Public Radio’s Becky Martinez spoke with UW’s new STOP Violence Coordinator Megan Selheim about what new students should bear in mind for the coming school year.

Rebecca Martinez

Now, for the latest edition in our occasional series, Upstarts, we’ll hear from a stay-at-home mom who launched a multimedia publishing company from her kitchen table in Laramie. Kati Hime is the owner and editor of three high-quality magazines that focus on life in and across the Cowboy State. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports.

(Dog barking. Hime answers door.)

inciweb

The Hardluck Fire in the Shoshone National Forest has been creeping north, toward a few abandoned frontier cabins near Needle Creek.


Forest Spokeswoman Kristie Salzmann says because other wildfires in the West threaten human life and properties, they take precedent.


“There’s only so many people and so many resources that can be utilized within the country to fight fires. And this one, since it doesn’t have the properties at risk, and because it is in such rugged terrain, we are just staying in the monitoring of it right now.”

Unemployment rates have been steadily falling in each Wyoming county for the last year. The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services says this might indicate a modest improvement in Wyoming’s economy.

Carola Cowan works for the Bureau of Labor statistics in Casper. She says even though the unemployment rates for each county are not adjusted to account for seasonal jobs, unemployment has been dropping, and eight out of 13 business sectors have added jobs recently.

Cowan says the trend might reverse at the end of this summer.

Tony Alter / Creative Commons

A new report shows that Wyoming’s obesity rate dropped slightly in the last year.

Wyoming’s fire season is much smaller than last year.

State forester Bill Crapser says there have only been a couple of major forest fires this year, and they’re mostly burning in remote areas. Last year, around 30 large fires ravaged the state, and more than 4,000 firefighters from other states came to Wyoming to help.

Crapser says the damp spring and summer have allowed plants to resist heat, flames, and lightning, and it’s a relief for the state’s budget.  

New custom bike racks will be popping up across Downtown Laramie this fall.

In response to complaints about parked bicycles cluttering up the sidewalks – chained to trees, garbage cans, and sign posts – the Laramie Main Street Alliance began polling residents and business owners, and collecting data about bike traffic.

Executive Director Trey Sherwood says this October, the Alliance will install colorful new bike racks in the high-traffic areas of downtown.

The maternity ward at Wyoming Medical Center in Casper is seeing a baby boom.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported this week that 123 babies were born in July -- the most in a single month in the last 27 years. Nurses said the influx of energy jobs has been drawing young families to the area.

StoryCorps

This summer, StoryCorps set up a booth in Cheyenne to record Wyomingites interviewing one another and sharing their stories.

Today, we’ll hear from 95-year old Pinedale native Guy Decker, better known as “Bud”. Decker tells his longtime-friend Jim Latta about what it was like to grow up on the Wyoming Frontier.

Produced by Rebecca Martinez with interviews recorded at StoryCorps, a na­tional nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. (storycorps.org.)

Wyoming saw a drop in standardized test scores this year.

Third-through-eighth graders saw average scores on the Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students – or PAWS – drop by up to seven points in Reading, Math and Science.

Still, the Wyoming Department of Education’s Director of Assessment, Deb Lindsey, says the drops are not statistically significant.

Lindsey says the state introduced higher testing standards last year, pushing some subject matter to earlier grade levels, and asking more from the students overall.

Rebecca Martinez

Reviving local saw mills could limit fire danger in the Rocky Mountain Region

Saw mills are re-opening in Wyoming and Colorado after a decade of being shuttered. They’re harvesting and processing trees that have been killed by beetle infestation.  Still, many are suitable for lumber.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports that this uptick in the timber business is helping with forest fire management.

Rebecca Martinez

Saw mills are re-opening in Wyoming and Colorado after a decade of being shuttered. They’re harvesting and processing trees that have been killed by beetle infestation.  Still, many are suitable for lumber.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports that this uptick in the timber business is helping with forest fire management.

(Firing up engine)

Rebecca Martinez

Ever since the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, law enforcement agencies across Wyoming have been have been preparing for how they might handle an active shooter situation.  

This summer, authorities from agencies across Albany County gathered in Laramie for some high intensity training… together. Rebecca Martinez reports.

OFFICER: Come out with your hands up.

Foresters say it’s a good thing that Saratoga’s saw mill is back at work.

Saratoga Forest Management opened this January, 10 years after its predecessor, Saratoga Saw Mill, went out of business.

Wyoming State Forestry Division’s Josh Van Vlack says half of the area’s dense forests have been killed by bark beetles, but foresters can’t afford to remove the dead trees. Van Vlack says that the saw mill is paying for the rights to remove the timber, which is turns into two-by-fours.

A Pinedale woman has been convicted of workers' compensation fraud.


A Sublette County detective had been investigating Delaine Davis on suspicion of embezzling from her employer when she indicated that she was also receiving workers comp.


The Department’s Investigations Manager Brian Jacobsen says worker’s comp provides money for people who are injured on the job and therefore can’t work.

National Republican Party Supports Enzi over Cheney

This week Wyoming’s senior senator, Mike Enzi, was surprised to learn he’ll be facing off against Liz Cheney in what’s expected to be one of the most heated Republican primaries in the nation. Matt Laslo reports from Washington that right now, the Republican Party is wrapping its arms around Enzi.

Richard Bernstein is an attorney and triathlete who was born blind. He represents disabled clients pro-bono at his family’s law firm outside Detroit, and is an adjunct professor at Michigan State University.

He’s speaking his weekend at the Chabad Jewish Center of Wyoming in Jackson Hole. Bernstein’s talk, called “Vision is Overrated: A Blind Attorney and Athlete” is part of the Chabad Center’s “Distinguished Lecture Series.” He spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez from his cell phone in Yellowstone National Park.

Although millions of visitors will flock to Yellowstone National Park this summer, Atlantic City-based author and journalist Marjane Ambler is one of the few people who’s lived there when the park is buried in snow.

The former High Country news editor lived with her husband – who drove a snow plow – inside Yellowstone for nine winters during the 1980s and 90s. In her new book, “Yellowstone has Teeth,” Ambler recounts stories of terror and wonder during her time there. She talks with Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez in the studio.

This month, the University of Wyoming will host a field course where students will explore the geographic, historical and religious significance of Heart Mountain in northern Wyoming.

Two educators will split the teaching of the course, one focusing on history, and the other on religion. The latter, Mary Keller, is a historian of religions and a lecturer at U-W. She spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez from the Big Horn Radio Network in Cody about what makes Heart Mountain so special.

Rebecca Martinez

Rancher and former saddle bronc rider, Tim Kellogg of Meeteetse, began selling homemade chocolates on weekends to bankroll his rodeo passion in 2004. Known by many as the “Meeteetse Chocolatier,” Kellogg now runs a shop on the little town’s main street seven days a week, drawing locals and tourists back again and again for his rich and creative flavor pairings. Rebecca Martinez interviewed him and produced this piece.

Laramie was included on a list of America’s 100 Smartest Cities. It was compiled by Lumosity, a company that makes online games meant to measure and improve the user’s mental fitness. Most cities on the list have research universities there.

Lumosity has a database of 40 million users, and ranked them based on various cognitive skills.

Lumosity Data Scientist Daniel Sternberg says people in Laramie performed better on games that challenged logical, working knowledge, compared with those measuring acquired knowledge.

Fire restrictions are popping up across Eastern Wyoming.

Despite the wet spring, weather forecasters are predicting an average fire season in July and August, when plant material is most flammable.  Natrona joins Converse, Johnson and Platte Counties in posting restrictions to prevent wildfires in the region. 

Wyoming Lawmakers Outraged at Obama’s Climate Plan

This week President Obama announced he's going to attempt to combat climate change from the Oval Office. Wyoming's three Republicans in Congress are none too happy with his plan. As Matt Laslo reports, they say it could cripple the state's economy and hit your pocket.

Kabir Bakie / Creative Commons

A wet spring has shortened Wyoming’s fire season, according to Wyoming’s State Forester.


Bill Crapser says decreased fire danger has allowed the Cowboy State to lend 50 people and 15 engines to fight wildfires in Colorado.


Crapser expects much of the state’s plant life to dry out in July and August, which makes wildfires more likely.


“We’re not gonna get through unscathed, but I don’t think we’ll see fires of the number or the size that we saw last year.”

University of Wyoming researchers have found that Wyoming sugar beet producers would stand to lose about 12 percent of profits if they were no longer able to grow genetically modified beets.

Agricultural economics research scientist Brian Lee was the primary investigator for the study.

“There’s research out there that suggests that Roundup Ready Sugar Beets can produce anywhere from five to 15 percent higher yields than conventional beets. So, we kind of used that as a basis for our analysis and changed that to a dollar figure.”

After a harrowing drought and a wet spring, Wyoming’s hay inventory is down and prices are holding steady.

Still, the forage market is a fickle industry, says Wyoming Business Council Crop and Forage Program Manager Donn Randall. He says hay values are not standardized the way other commodities are.

“It’s so subjective to the buyer’s preference,” Randall says. “Horse people, they want it green and leafy, and you know, dairy people, they have to have relatively high feed values.”

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