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.

Activists, educators and politicians from a number of North American Indian tribes will speak at the University of Wyoming in April.

UW’s American Indian Studies Program is hosting the Building Tribal Nations Symposium, where speakers will present about energy, the environment, legal and social issues.

Program Director Judith Antell says presenters come from different backgrounds, but many tribes have common needs and goals.

Tens of thousands of acres of land in the Bridger-Teton National Forest have been retired, protecting the land from energy development. But the conservation group leading the effort, Trust for Public Lands, still has some work to do to protect a tract of land in the Upper Hoback Basin.

The group raised $8.75 dollars last year to buy oil and gas leases on 58,000 acres of land from Plains Exploration and Production Company.

Teton county residents are the healthiest in Wyoming. That’s according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute’s County Health Rankings. The least-healthy county was Fremont.

Population Health Institute researcher Kate Konkle says, overall, people in Fremont County died at a younger age, had more sick days, and were less mentally healthy than residents of other counties. Konkle says researchers considered several factors that influence the health of a community, including obesity, access to dentists, and graduation rates.

University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension is working to educate ag producers about how to set up their own Community Supported Agriculture operations, or CSAs.

Willow Belden

DEQ releases ozone strategy for Sublette County
The Department of Environmental Quality has released a plan for tackling the ozone problem in Sublette County. Emissions from the energy industry there have combined to form a type of pollution called ozone, which can be a health hazard. Ozone levels have been so high that they violate federal standards, and the Environmental Protection Agency has given Wyoming three years to fix the problem.

Federal budget cuts are causing schools on the Wind River Indian Reservation to tighten their belts.

Wyoming provides funding to all public schools in the state, but 10 districts – including several on the reservation – also receive money from the federal Impact Aid program.  That supplements funding to school districts that include federal land that is not subject to property taxes.

UW Economist Anne Alexander discusses the potential effects of the federal sequester on Wyoming
One thing everyone is trying to get a grip on is how the federal sequester will impact Wyoming.  Anne Alexander is an economist at the University of Wyoming.  She joined Bob Beck in the studio to discuss this.

This weekend, the University of Wyoming’s Board of Trustees interviewed four candidates to replace President Tom Buchanan, who will retire this summer.

The search for a new UW president was originally confidential, to allow candidates to maintain security in their current jobs, but a judge in Laramie ruled that the University must release the names of its candidates to the public. In order to stay on schedule, the Board of Trustees obliged, but not before telling candidates the search would no longer be confidential.

The 2012 Prevention Needs Assessment shows that fewer Wyoming junior high and high school students are smoking and drinking.

Increased coal exports overseas bring up questions of royalty payments
Coal producers in the U.S. are looking to markets abroad to make up for decreasing demand at home. But a recent investigation by Thomson Reuters news service suggests there might be royalty underpayments on those shipments. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that royalty question is still unresolved.

The Padlock Ranch in Sheridan County is being recognized for using sustainable management practices.
 

The Wyoming Stock Growers Association and the Sand County Foundation have chosen the 500,000-acre cattle ranch to receive the 2013 Leopold Conservation Award.
 

Padlock Ranch COO Trey Patterson says the ranch’s owners, the Scott family, are conservation minded. Patterson says that’s why they rotate the areas where cattle graze to allow grass to recover.
 

Rebecca Martinez

In our occasional series “Upstarts,” we profile Wyoming entrepreneurs. There’s no shortage of self-starters in this state, many of whom build, grow or make things… But until recently, tech start-ups were almost unheard of in the Cowboy State. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez visited with Jason Kintzler, who founded the Pitch Engine software platform in his native Lander and authored the book, “The New American Start-Up.” She filed this report.

Rebecca Martinez

Craft breweries and distilleries are hot right now. Not to be outdone, Wyoming entrepreneurs created a bourbon distillery in Kirby, using local ingredients from the Bighorn Basin and bearing the name Wyoming Whiskey. After four years of aging the first batch, Wyoming Whiskey flew off the shelves when it was released exclusively in Wyoming in early December. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez visited the distillery and explored the hype. She filed this report.

(bar ambi)

The State Senate gave second approval to a bill that would allow the Northern Arapaho Tribe to kill golden eagles for tribal ceremonies as long as it is done in compliance with federal law.  

The Wyoming Senate continued work on a bill that would require companies doing seismic exploration for minerals to post bonds or negotiate a contract with the surface owners.

Proponents say seismic operators sometimes trespass on private property.

BRK Electronics

A health agency is reminding people of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning this winter.

The odorless, colorless gas can leak from heating systems and can be fatally poisonous to humans.

The Nebraska Regional Poison Center’s Joan McVoy says people often mistake the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning for the flu or food poisoning.

Rep. Lummis appointed to US House Subcommittee on Energy
Wyoming’s Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis has been appointed to chair the U.S. House of Representatives’ Science Subcommittee on Energy. The subcommittee will oversee energy research, development and demonstration projects. Lummis spoke with Rebecca Martinez from the Capitol press room in Cheyenne this week.

The Bureau of Land Management has announced new restrictions on the sales of wild horses and burros.  

A recent ProPublica report alleged that thousands of wild horses bought from the BLM were sold to be slaughtered in Mexico.

Previously, buyers were permitted to buy an unlimited number of horses, but now a buyer can only purchase four horses or burros every six months. They must keep the animals for at least six months, describe where they’ll live, and provide safe transportation.

The Department of Environmental Quality has removed five groundwater cleanup systems in Riverton, mostly at former gas stations and car dealerships. They had been set up to remove excess hydrocarbon pollution caused by leaking gas tanks there. Now, the DEQ will continue monitoring the sites to make sure pollution levels weaken on their own, or at least don’t get worse.

The DEQ’s Storage Tank Program has remediated more than one-thousand sites like these since the early 1990s, starting with the worst offenders. There are about 600 left on the to-do list.

Dianne Parker

Chugwater residents are adjusting to the destruction of their community’s cornerstone business. The small town’s only gas station and convenience store burned down Sunday, after a car crashed into the main building.


Authorities have arrested the driver, John Barberini of Casper, and are investigating the incident. Barberini has been charged with reckless driving and not having insurance.


Chugwater Fire Chief Tim Ash says it’s possible that the car was already on fire when it crashed into the building.

Wind River Reservation

The tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation have signed a six-month temporary contract with Fremont County to continue solid waste disposal services there. The previous contract expired earlier this month.

Fremont County residents will have a chance to put their Christmas trees to good use after taking down the ornaments and lights.

Each January, area anglers collect Christmas trees and sink them to the bottom of Ocean Lake to create a better habitat for walleye, crappie and yellow perch living there.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department Fisheries Biologist, Paul Gerrity, says the lake is pretty flat at the bottom.

At the end of the month, Susan Simpson will retire from her post as Albany County Librarian. Simpson has worked in the state for more than three decades, and she says she’s proud of the Wyoming library system’s cooperative network.

“I was on a bus in Boston Massachusetts at a conference and I had my name tag on, and woman said to me, ‘Oh, you’re from Wyoming! I wish we did what you did!’ And I don’t remember where she was from, but it’s a very common response.”

Business has been booming for the Wyoming Liquor Division. The arm of the state Department of Revenue distributes all wine and liquor to retailers across the state. Over the last 7 years, there’s been a huge increase in the amount of alcohol sold… and the revenue going back to the Cowboy State. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports.

(Barroom joke, laughter)

The Natrona County health department is investigating and outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness, often known as the “stomach flu.”

State epidemiologist Tracy Murphy says several people who have reported the problem had eaten at the same Casper restaurant, but he declined to name the restaurant until the county has wrapped up its investigation. Murphy says it it’s premature to blame the outbreak on food poisoning.

Willow Belden

Converse County oil boom draws concerns from residents
In October, we reported that Chesapeake Energy had drilled a series of oil wells near Douglas, very close to people’s houses. Chesapeake says the area will likely continue to be a core drilling region. That has some area residents uneasy. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

The Wyoming Land Trust, a conservation group, has secured a land easement on one of the oldest working ranches in Sublette County.

The Circle Ranch – also known as the “67 Ranch” – has been in the Miller family for more than 130 years. The easement will prohibit building development and subdivision on almost 2-thousand acres of land, which includes elk, moose, pronghorn and sage grouse habitat.

Land Trust spokeswoman Kendall Brunette acknowledges that this easement could limit the case for adding sage grouse to the endangered species list.

 

Slot Machine Word

Gambling addiction in Fremont County could be on rise, but not on radar

There have been rumors that Fremont County is experiencing a rise in gambling addiction amongst its residents. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that whether the rumors are true or not is still unclear, but some services are popping up to address it regardless.

Pages