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.

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News
9:36 am
Thu July 12, 2012

WIC raises income ceiling for eligible women

More low-income women might have more access to better nutrition and health information.  That’s because the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children – or WIC – has raised the annual income ceiling for eligible participants by one-thousand dollars.

WIC participants can receive nutritious food and learn how to make healthy decisions for themselves and their families.

Wyoming WIC program manager Janet Moran says serving at-risk mothers early on can prevent health problems later.

Wildfire
12:05 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

Squirrel Creek Fire is 51-percent contained; evacuation lifted for Jelm, Woods Landing

Incident Command's most recent map of the Squirrel Creek fire, posted in the evacuation center at the Albany County Fairgrounds
Rebecca Martinez Wyoming Public Radio

 

The Squirrel Creek Fire burning in southeast Wyoming is now 51-percent contained.

More than 600 personnel from across the country have been battling the blaze for several days. Incident commander Rocky Opliger says if the weather holds up, he hopes to have the blaze 100-percent contained by Saturday.

“Just those cool temperatures, higher humidities…  A chance for some moisture is allowing us, first of all, to get into the fire direct. With the support from aviation, the helicopters and air tankers will allow us to basically get containment,” Opliger says.

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Wildfire
5:24 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Gov. Mead Pledges to Allocate Adequate Firefighting Funds

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead

With nine large fires consuming thousands of acres across Wyoming, Governor Matt Mead has called for drought designations in all Wyoming counties but Teton County.

He says the damage caused by Wyoming fires is small compared with the devastating blazes in Colorado.

“We have, so far, been relatively fortunate that we haven’t had sort of a huge fire in the wrong place, but that can change overnight."

That said, Mead acknowledges the fires are destroying grasslands and wildlife habitats.

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Wildfire
5:19 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

State forester urges residents to prevent property damage by fires

Although localities have implemented fire restrictions in many parts of the state, the Wyoming State Forestry Division is encouraging residents to protect their homes by creating “defensible space” around them. That means keeping flammable materials away from house so wildfires will be easier to fight if their move into residential areas.

Wildfires in Colorado have destroyed more than 200 homes. While Wyoming fires have caused less property damage, State Forester Bill Crapser says fire season is young, and fires aren’t picky about where they spread.

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Healthcare
5:16 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

House Democrat is glad to resume work on improving Wyoming healthcare

Rep. Bernardine Craft, Democrat, Rock Springs
State of Wyoming Legislature

The Wyoming Legislature decided not to approve or develop plans for a healthcare exchange until the Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

Many Wyoming Republicans were disappointed when the Court upheld that the federal government could require Americans to buy health insurance, but Democratic Representative Bernardine Craft of Rock Springs says she’s just glad the wait is over.

"I guess my first gut reaction was, ‘Thank goodness there’s a decision, and we can maybe move forward and start doing something for Wyoming now.’”

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Wildfire
5:12 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Fire evacuations in Platte County

The Platte County Sheriff’s office is asking all residents of Fletcher Park Road on the Laramie Peak Subdivision west of Wheatland to evacuate, as the Arapaho fire approaches. Residents of Thunderhead Road, Alta Vista Circle, Sheep Mountain Road, and South Point Circle should also pack important documents, medications and a cell phone, and head toward Wheatland. They should call 322-2331 for further instructions.

Healthcare
5:58 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Rep. Harvey says Wyoming needs more time to create ideal healthcare exchange

Rep. Elaine Harvey

 

Republican Rep. Elaine Harvey of Big Horn and Park Counties says she was sure the Supreme Court would deny the constitutionality of the individual mandate requiring people to buy insurance, but was surprised to learn that the Court upheld the mandate by calling it a tax, which Congress is allowed to levy.

 

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Budget cuts
5:46 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

UW will cut budget, freeze hiring early

 

The University of Wyoming has announced that it will freeze hiring to comply with Governor Matt Mead’s prescribed 8-percent budget cuts for all state agencies. This is meant as a measure to deal with a projected natural gas revenue shortfall.

In a memo, UW President Tom Buchanan wrote the university’s general fund appropriation could drop by almost 16-million dollars next fiscal year.

Provost Myron Allen says that, to preemptively soften the blow, U-W will begin cutting spending and freezing open academic and staff positions next month.

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Open Spaces
3:54 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

June 22nd, 2012

Yellowstone National Park is worried that visitors take their safety for granted around wild animals. A passenger of this SUV got out of his car to take a close-up photo of this black bear.
Rebecca Martinez
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Open Spaces
3:42 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

Yellowstone fears visitors are too bold around animals

Yellowstone National Park is worried that visitors take their safety for granted around wild animals. A passenger of this SUV got out of his car to take a close-up photo of this black bear.
Rebecca Martinez

After a peaceful quarter century, bears in Yellowstone National park killed two visitors last summer. Now, park officials are adamantly warning visitors to forget the sense of security they feel at zoos and amusement parks because Yellowstone is a wild place. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports.

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Open Spaces
5:41 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

June 15th, 2012

Wildfires
5:03 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

Forest Service implements fire restrictions

A recent rash of fires in the region have encouraged the U.S. Forest Service to implement fire restrictions throughout the Medicine Bow National Forest and Thunder Basin National Grassland.

 

Limited snow pack and dry weather make for prime fire conditions, so the Forest Service is cracking down on building fires, using explosives, smoking, welding or using external combustion engines except in designated areas away from dry plants.

 

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Open Spaces
5:03 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

Wyoming Cleans Up After Uranium Boom Years

This aerial map shows the Gas Hills in 1978, before major mine and tailings pond remediation efforts began there.
Dean Fitzgerald

HOST: When the Cold War caused a uranium boom in the 1950s, soil and water in the state suffered contamination. Reclamation has improved the landscape, and regulation is catching up with the industry  but it’s not perfect yet. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports.

REBECCA MARTINEZ: Ore from Wyoming’s rich uranium deposits was refined and concentrated into yellowcake at mills in the state before being sent to processing and enrichment facilities elsewhere. The mills produced large amounts of sandy waste called tailings, which still contained uranium.

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News
5:15 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

UW Foundation: Y-Cross Ranch more valuable if liquidated

The University of Wyoming and Colorado State University want to sell jointly-owned ranch land in southeastern Wyoming to supplement agricultural endowments.

In 1997, the Courtenay C. and Lucy Patten Davis Foundation donated the 50-thousand-acre Y-Cross Ranch to the universities for hands-on agricultural education.

UW Foundation President Ben Blalock says the ranch has become more valuable over time, although the property is still being appraised.

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Escaped Inmate
5:31 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Inmate escapes from Wyoming Boot Camp

James Friesen, 24, escaped from the Wyoming Boot Camp today. He was six months into a nine-month sentence for forgery.
Wyoming Department of Corrections

 

 

Authorities are looking for an inmate who escaped from the Wyoming Boot Camp for youth offenders at the Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp in Newcastle this morning.

Twenty-four-year-old James Friesen was six months into a nine-month sentence in boot camp for forgery. While his peers were cleaning up after a welding class, authorities say Friesen climbed over a fence topped with razor ribbon and headed south.

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Wildfire
5:24 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Firefighters making headway with Guernsey State Park blaze

Firefighters work to contain blaze in Guernsey State Park.
Associated Press

 

Firefighters have partially contained a wildfire in Guernsey State Park that threatened the towns of Guernsey and Hartville this weekend.

Deputy Incident Commander Jay Esprance of Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team C says more than 350 firefighters are working to contain the blaze. Five helicopters, including three National Guard Black Hawks, are carrying water from Glendo Lake.

Esprance says the fire consumed 2,500 acres, and is about 30-percent contained. He says heavy wind made that a challenging feat, but winds have died down.

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Rescue
4:49 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Teton Park rangers rescue Las Vegas woman from Albright Peak, first helicopter rescue of 2012 season

Albright Peak, Grant Teton Nation Park
Grand Teton National Park

Rangers in Grand Teton National Park have conducted their first short-haul helicopter rescue of the season.

A Las Vegas woman was injured after slipping on snow while climbing Albright Peak. The woman was wearing sneakers, and was unable to use her ice axe to stop herself from sliding. Rescuers were able to reach her about an hour after she called.

Park spokesperson Jackie Skaggs says the rangers conduct about 65 rescues per year, about 30 of them being major rescues like this one. But Skaggs stresses that the park cannot guarantee sending out rescue teams for every call.

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Waste Management
4:09 pm
Wed June 6, 2012

Fremont County limits hours at some garbage transfer stations

 

This month, Fremont County changed the way it runs several municipal solid waste transfer stations in rural areas.

Previously, residents could drop off their waste any time, day or night, and they paid their fees on the honor system. But Fremont County Solid Waste Disposal District Superintendent Andy Frey says not everyone followed the rules.

“Historically we’ve had a lot of illegal dumping, lack of payment, vandalism, destruction of property.”

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Wages
5:01 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

Wyoming Women's Foundation "disappointed" by wage gap, death of bill

Richelle Keinath, Executive Director of the Wyoming Women's Foundation

 

A Wyoming organizationis unhappy that U.S. Senate killed the Paycheck Fairness Act.  Wyoming’s two Republican Senators helped block the bill which would have given women new tools to combat pay discrimination in the workforce.

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News
7:26 am
Fri June 1, 2012

Pavillion residents share mixed feelings about cistern solution to contaminated wells

Wyoming plans to install water cisterns at the homes of residents in the Pavillion area’s natural gas field. An EPA draft report suggests contaminants in area wells are connected to hydraulic fracturing, but state officials say the cause of the contamination is unknown.
 

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News
5:44 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

The sheep industry is starting to pick up

Riverton rancher Pierre Carricaburu examines sheep before fall shearing.
Rebecca Martinez

A researcher at the University of Wyoming predicts that the state has a bright future in the sheep industry.

Assistant Professor Brenda Alexander says demand for lamb and wool declined for decades as tastes in the U.S. changed, and sheep numbers dropped with them. But growing ethnic populations and newfound popularity of wool blends have caused an up-tick in the U.S. sheep industry.

“Wyoming is really geared to be a part of that, because in Wyoming we don’t have a lot of producers, but our producers have the most number of sheep than any other place in the nation.”

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News
6:08 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Gov. Mead again calls for the delisting of Grizzly Bears

Governor Matt Mead has written to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, asking for his help to expedite the de-listing of grizzly bears as an endangered species.

Mead writes that the grizzly populations has recovered in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and have cause property damage and the deaths of four people in the area in the past couple of years.

Mead says the unchecked grizzlies are also costly in a monetary sense.

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Healthcare
4:25 pm
Mon May 28, 2012

Health Dept. reports rising demand for emergency workers

Wyoming Department of Health

 

Wyoming’s demand for emergency medical services has grown drastically over the recent decades, and the state health department doesn’t expect it to stop.

 

The Wyoming Department of Health says that state EMS personnel have seen a 28-percent increase in emergency calls over the last six years.

 

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Education
9:12 am
Mon May 28, 2012

Laramie 8th grader to represent Wyoming in National Spelling Bee

Lia Eggleston, 12, of Laramie is the sole contestant from Wyoming in this year's Scripp's National Spelling Bee.

 

Although some states are sending 15 contestants or more, 12-year-old Lia Eggleston of Laramie will be the only student to represent Wyoming in the Scripps National Spelling Bee this week.

 

Most states host many qualifying regional bees, but Wyoming almost lost the only one it has, when AARP could no longer host it two years ago.

 

Samin Dadelahi of the Wyoming Community Foundation says her group decided to sponsor the state spelling bee last year to avoid Wyoming losing representation altogether.

 

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News
6:08 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

Game and Fish warns vacationers of bear risks

It’s Memorial Day Weekend, which means National Parks and forests in the state are gearing up for a flood of tourists. But in northwest Wyoming, the Game and Fish Department is urging visitors to be Bear aware while enjoying the outdoors.

Jackson Game and Fish Spokesman Mark Gocke says people should hike in groups, when possible, and make a lot of noise to alert wildlife of their presence. Gocke says some bears seem to ignore visitors, but Gocke warns visitors never to approach a bear, no matter how harmless it seems.

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News
5:47 pm
Thu May 24, 2012

Many vets say a slaughterhouse for horses could be humane

Although controversial, many veterinarians agree that a slaughterhouse could be a humane, efficient way to end the lives of old and unwanted horses.

University of Wyoming Veterinarian Doran  O’Toole says it’s a “sensitive” subject for horse owners, who view the animals as part-pet, part-livestock, and might have difficulty shooting an ailing horse.  He says having a vet administer barbiturates can be costly, and the owner is responsible to bury or incinerate the horse to prevent the carcass from spreading toxins to scavengers.

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News
9:04 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Tribes disagree about right to kill eagles on Reservation

A federal judge will allow Eastern Shoshone Tribe to challenge the Northern Arapaho Tribe’s plan to sue for the right to kill bald eagles on the reservation they share.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a permit to the Northern Arapaho Tribe allowing them to kill two bald eagles annually for religious purposes, as long as they do so outside the reservation they share with the Shoshone. Because Wyoming state law prohibits the killing of eagles on state land, the Northern Arapaho are suing Fish and Wildlife for the right to kill the eagles on the reservation.

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News
7:23 am
Mon May 21, 2012

Riverton adopts drought plan

Concerns about possible water shortages have lead the Riverton City Council to adopt a drought plan and implement mild restrictions. Under the plan’s level green, there are no restrictions. The current yellow level asks residents to conserve water voluntarily. Voluntary water conservation measures include fixing leaks and avoiding watering lawns during the hottest parts of the day.

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