Samuel Sanders

News Intern

Samuel Sanders attends the University of Wyoming where he is working on a BA degree in English. He grew up in Sheridan, WY where he graduated from high school in 2014. Sam plays violin in the University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra, and he plans on keeping playing for the rest of his life. Sam’s passions include listening to music of almost all types and reading classic literature. Some of Sam’s hobbies include gourmet cooking and trying to write poetry. He has listened to NPR and WPR for his entire life and has in part taken on his internship with WPR in order to pay tribute to this element which has helped to shape his life.

Wyoming Medical Center

This February, the email accounts of two Wyoming Medical Center employees were compromised in a phishing scam. A phishing scam is an email that looks like it came from a credible source, and tricks the recipient into providing passwords and usernames in an attempt to access sensitive information. The scam won't work if the recipient ignores the email, and doesn't open any links.

When the two Wyoming Medical Center employees opened the email in a phishing scam, they potentially compromised the information of nearly 3,200 patients.

Susan Patla / Wyoming Game and Fish Department

This spring, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department reported an increase in bald eagle and trumpeter swan populations. Non-game Biologist Susan Patla conducted an aerial survey of the Jackson and Pinedale area last month to estimate the birds' populations.

Patla says the surveys showed that bald eagle numbers have grown stronger, even since they were removed from the Endangered Species List in 2007.

Wyoming Department of Health

The Wyoming Department of Health has received a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to help expand treatment for prescription drug and heroin abuse in the state. The administration has flagged Wyoming as an at-risk state due to recent increases in heroin and other opioid use among the state's residents.

Spence Law Firm Historical Production

The University of Wyoming College of Law will hold  the second annual Spencer Law Firm Historical Trial Production. This year, it's a mock trial of John Wilkes Booth, who famously murdered President Lincoln. The objective of the mock trial is to apply modern evidence law standards to a trial that would have taken place in the 19th century.

University of Wyoming Libraries Facebook

The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees has appointed Dr. Ivan Gaetz as the new dean of libraries. He will replace Maggie Farrell, who has accepted a position at Clemson University. Gaetz is currently the library director at Colorado College, and he has also served in positions at the libraries of Regis University, Regent College and Columbia University.

Wyoming's average personal income of just over $55,000 ranked seventh in the nation in 2015. Wyoming workers earned over $10,000 higher than the average in the region.

However, wages decreased by $37 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared to the third. According to the state's Economic Analysis Division, the construction sector has had the largest impact on income growth, while mining and farming have seen the biggest decline.

Economist Jim Robinson says despite recent downward trends in the energy industry, he expects things to stabilize.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, or ATF, announced a $10,000 reward for information about the Roberts Mission fire in Fremont County. The fire was reported on March 17th at 5am at the Roberts Mission - a historic parochial school.

ATF has determined that it was human caused, but they can't tell if it was intentional. The building was old and not structurally sound, so investigators had to remove most of the remaining walls for safety. However, the foundation and some of the more recent additions remain. The bricks have been saved for possible rebuilding later on.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

A new report, released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, says Wyoming's urban counties are far healthier than its rural ones. The annual report shows that people in Teton County are Wyoming's healthiest while its least healthy are in Fremont County. The report ranks health by rates of premature death.

Wyoming State Science Fair

This weekend, students in grades 6-12 will compete in the Wyoming State Science Fair. The Science Fair is a competition where students conduct original scientific research - and collect and analyze data. The students present their findings on a poster and are interviewed by judges in their respective fields. The earlier rounds include individual school competitions, followed by regionals. About 900 students enter in the earlier rounds, but only a third advance to the final round, the State Science Fair.

Wyoming Wildlife Federation

The U.S. House of Representatives is currently considering two bills that could put up millions of acres of National Forest lands for state control. The bills are being debated by the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands.

Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites & Trails

The Wyoming State Parks division is looking to rebrand itself and fuel more Wyoming tourism.

The division's new media strategy will start with redesigned logos. Research shows visitors often confuse state parks with federal sites like National Parks.

State Parks Administrator Domenic Bravo says the goal is to establish a memorable "look and feel" for the State Parks brand. "We need to tell our story and we need to tell it in a way that lasts for centuries," he says.

Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation

Seventy-four years ago as of last Friday, President Franklin Roosevelt signed an executive order to imprison thousands of Japanese Americans in internment camps nationwide. One of those camps was the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in northwest Wyoming, which operated for three years - from June 1942 to November 1945. More than 14,000 Japanese Americans passed through the complex.

In a $1.9 billion deal, Black Hills Energy has purchased SourceGas, expanding the company's utility operations in Wyoming. The companies agreed to the sale last summer, but were waiting on regulatory approval. Shirley Welte is the new vice president of operations for Black Hills Energy in Wyoming. She says the merger was a logical business move.

"The combination fits our overall strategy to create value for our customers and shareholders by growing our business," says Welte.

Wyoming Department of Transportation

The Wyoming Department of Transportation has released a new smartphone app to provide users with travel information and road conditions. Users of the app can plan their trip according to road conditions through WYDOT's map feature. The app, called 'Wyoming 511,' can read aloud updates about conditions via text message.

Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites & Trails

For the third straight year, the Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails division reported record-breaking numbers. Visitors to recreation sites increased 8 percent, and revenue increased 10 percent.

State Parks Administrator Domenic Bravo sys because of customer feedback, the agency was able to implement a lot of the amenities people had been asking for, like RV hook-ups, yurts and camping cabins.

Wyoming State Historical Society

This spring, the Wyoming State Historical Society plans to launch a new online database of oral histories from around the state. 

The database will be a catalog of Wyoming’s oral histories, categorized by criteria such as historical events, as well as where to find the recordings. 

Project Director Barbara Bogart spent over a year tracking down the stories from the state’s museums, private collections and libraries.

With energy prices in a slump, oil and gas employment in Wyoming was down 30% in December from the same time in 2014, to just under 13,000 jobs. Economist David Bullard says oil prices have nose dived over the last year.

“So it's not surprising to see job loss in oil and gas here in Wyoming," Bullard says.

Oil prices are currently hovering around $30 a barrel. 

Lander Art Center

Friday, November 6, the third annual Native American Art Show opens in Lander. This year, the exhibit is breaking new ground by featuring the works of contemporary performance artists alongside traditional art.

At the opening, performance artists will showcase spoken word, hip hop, music, and poetry at the Middle Fork restaurant in downtown Lander.

At the Lander Art Center gallery, artists will collaborate on a painting.

This weekend and next, Laramie-based theater company Relative Theatrics is debuting seven new plays by Western playwrights. Earlier this year, director Anne Mason requested submissions, expecting to receive only a handful of applicants. Instead, she was sent over 20 scripts. Seven made the cut.

StoryCorps

Lynn Carlson and Laura Griffith-Carlson talk about Laura’s problem with alcohol. Laura is now ten years sober, and Lynn recounts the difficulties she had with caring for her sister while they lived in Laramie. This story was recorded by StoryCorps in Cheyenne.