Willow Belden

Reporter

Phone: 307-766-5086
Email: wbelden@uwyo.edu 

Willow Belden joined Wyoming Public Radio after earning her masters degree at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Prior to grad school, Willow spent a year in the Middle East on a Fulbright grant, conducting research in a Palestinian refugee camp, and writing for the Jordan Times and JO Magazine. Upon returning to the U.S., she became a reporter and editor at the Queens Chronicle in New York City and received the Rookie Reporter of the Year award from the New York Press Association. This spring, she received the Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship from Columbia University. When she’s not working on stories, Willow spends her time bicycling, hiking, kayaking and traveling. She can occasionally be spotted on a unicycle. And she has a habit of swimming in the ocean with the Polar Bear Club on New Years Day.

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Open Spaces
4:31 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

Flaming Gorge film goes on tour

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Starting next week, the group Trout Unlimited will be screening its new film “Green with Envy” in towns across Wyoming and Colorado. The film focuses on the proposed Flaming Gorge Pipeline, which would transport 81 billion gallons of water per year from the Flaming Gorge reservoir to the Colorado front range. Recently the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected the proposal for lack of sufficient information … but the developer plans to re-apply and move forward with the project.  Colorado has rights to some of the water that flows through the river … but various agencies and environmental groups in Wyoming are adamantly opposed to the plan. I spoke with Charles Card of Trout Unlimited about the film his group will be showing. He says they oppose the pipeline project because it would lower the water level in the reservoir by about 120 feet.

Open Spaces
4:24 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

Nonprofit seeks to make it easier to shop local

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There’s a new nonprofit in Wyoming called “3-0-7 First,” which is aimed at making it easier for people to support local businesses. I spoke with President Bob Moberly about how it works – and why he thinks people should support Wyoming businesses, even if it’s a little more expensive or less convenient than shopping out-of-state or online. Moberly says the 307 First website will include a directory of Wyoming businesses, so that shoppers can search for products they want, and see if those products are available from stores within the state.

News
6:12 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Mead signs wolf management plan

Gov. Matt Mead has signed a bill creating a wolf management plan for Wyoming.

The new law allows the state to manage wolf populations with hunting seasons in northwest Wyoming, and lets hunters shoot the animals on sight in the rest of the state.

Mead says he’s pleased.

“After 18 years of struggle, I think we’re well on our way to giving the state management of wolves," Mead said. "While all plans – none of them are perfect, a lot of thought and effort went into this.”

Websites
4:50 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Website facilitates shopping at Wyoming businesses

A Casper resident has launched a new website aimed at making it easier to support locally-owned businesses and buy Wyoming products. The site, which is called “307 First,” will include a directory of Wyoming businesses, which will let shoppers find out whether the product they’re looking for is available within the state.

 

President Bob Moberly says buying local is good for the state because it keeps tax revenue and jobs here.

 

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Open Spaces
5:22 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Wyoming tests new method for counting deer, hopes to restore herds

Game and Fish officials tag and collar a mule deer in the Platte Valley.
Willow Belden

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Mule deer have been dying off in parts of Wyoming for some time. But until recently, it was unclear how acute the problem was. That’s because the Game and Fish Department wasn’t getting an accurate count of how many deer there were. Now, the agency is trying out a new method for estimating deer populations. It’s much more expensive … but officials say it’s worth the cost because it will help them maintain a healthy deer population. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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Arts
3:49 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Oscar winner from Cheyenne hopes to bring change in Pakistan

Film maker Daniel Junge, who grew up in Cheyenne, won an Oscar this week for his film “Saving Face.” It’s a documentary about the disturbing trend of Pakistani men throwing acid in the faces of women.

The film follows several victims, and even though some of them face ongoing threats from their attackers, Junge says they were eager to be filmed.

“These women want to be heard,” Junge said. “They’ve had this awful thing happen to them, and I think they saw the chance to tell their stories with our cameras.”

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News
5:57 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Jackson wildlife group seeks to curb moose collisions

The Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation is launching an initiative to keep moose safe along Highway 390. Five moose have died in car crashes there in the past two months – more than any other road in Teton County outside of the national park.

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News
7:26 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Report tracks oil, gas drilling in Rockies

A new report tracks the amount of oil and gas drilling that’s gone on over the past 10 years in different counties across the Rocky Mountains.

Julia Haggerty, one of the authors of the report, says the pace and scale of drilling has a profound effect on local communities – not only during the height of a boom, but in the time right before and after. Haggerty says more research needs to be done on how counties rebound after a bust.

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News
7:14 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Game and Fish unveils new mule deer management plan

The Game and Fish Department has drawn up a new management plan for mule deer in the Platte Valley. The herd there has been declining for some time, and the management plan is aimed at reversing that trend.

 

The plan includes measures to limit mule deer hunting, improve the animals’ habitat and curb predation by bears and lions.

 

Regional Wildlife Supervisor Rick King says currently, an unlimited number of mule deer licenses can be sold.

 

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Open Spaces
5:39 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

February 17th, 2012

County10.com Editor Ernie Over (left) and Pitch Engine CEO Jason Kintzler sit in Over’s office at the Pitch Engine headquarters in Lander. County 10 offers hyper-local, to-the-minute news updates about happenings in Fremont County.
Rebecca Martinez
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News
6:03 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Rescue helicopter crashes

A helicopter on a rescue mission in Teton County crashed yesterday, killing one person on board. The snowmobiler they were trying to help also died.

The Sherriff’s Department says the snowmobiler’s party called and reported an accident just before noon, and Teton Search and Rescue sent a helicopter to help. The chopper landed at the accident scene but left to get additional personnel. It crashed on Togwotee Pass.

Search and Rescue member Ray Shriver was killed. The pilot and second Search and Rescue member were transported to St. John’s Medical Center.

Open Spaces
7:20 pm
Sun February 12, 2012

February 10th, 2012

Engineer Yulong Zhang shows off a vial of pure methanol in the board room at the Western Research Institute, with Vijay Sethi (left) and Thomas Barton (center).
Methanol Vial/ credit: Rebecca Martinez
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Open Spaces
5:58 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

Coal-to-oil raises long-term environmental questions despite plans to capture CO2

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As we’ve just heard, existing coal-to-liquids plants emit a lot of greenhouse gases. But the proposed Medicine Bow plant is being touted as exceptionally green. Still, environmentalists have concerns about the plant’s effect on air quality and water reserves. And even if this plant is comparatively eco-friendly, future facilities may not have any incentive to follow suit.

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Sage-grouse
5:07 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Enviromental group says coal-to-oil plant would decimate sage grouse

A plant that will turn coal into gasoline might be coming to Medicine Bow, and officials from the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance say it could have devastating effects on the area’s sage grouse.

“This big industrial facility is going to get plopped down right in the middle of this sage grouse habitat, and it’s going to wipe out some of the most populous sage grouse leks in the state,” said Erik Molvar, who heads the BCA. “And the sage grouse populations are going to decline.”

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News
5:27 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Wyoming Tourism Nears Pre-Recession Levels

Wyoming Department of Travel and Tourism

Tourism is up in Wyoming after a two-year dip. Visitors also spent more than ever in 2011, generating 116-dollars in tax revenue for the state.

Diane Shober, director of the Wyoming Office of Tourism, says tourism has suffered nationwide because of the recession, but that Wyoming has been doing an intensive advertising campaign to counteract that trend.

“Our job … is to make sure that those who are going to travel – that Wyoming is top of mind as a vacation destination – that it’s in that consideration pool,” Shober said.

News
7:22 am
Tue February 7, 2012

Gillette Republican has drafted a proposed worker safety bill

Representative Tom Lubnau has drafted legislation aimed at improving workplace safety in Wyoming.

The bill would allocate $250,000 dollars in grant money for companies who want to conduct trainings or purchase safety equipment but don’t have the resources to do so. It would also enable the Department of Employment to hire five additional safety consultants, who would do courtesy visits to work sites.

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News
5:43 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Kids Count Report Advocates More Education

Wyoming children need more education about alcohol, drugs and sex. That’s according to Marc Homer of the Wyoming Children’s Action Alliance.

The group released a study last week which found that children in Wyoming are faring worse than they were a decade ago. The report considered factors such as teen alcohol use, child and infant mortality rates, the number of children qualifying for free meals at school, and availability of prenatal care for expectant mothers.

Homer says part of the solution is to warn kids about substance abuse.

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Natural resources
5:18 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Poll: Wyomingites support both environmental protections and energy development

Most Wyoming voters view the state’s national parks, forests and wildlife areas as an essential part of the economy. That’s according to a bipartisan poll conducted at Colorado College.

The survey found that Wyomingites support a broad range of environmental protections but also support energy development on public lands.

Bob Budd with the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust says that’s not a contradiction.

News
5:47 pm
Mon January 30, 2012

Jackson Seeks To Buy 10 Acres From Forest Service

The town of Jackson is looking to buy a piece of property from the U.S. Forest Service.

The Forest Service plans to get rid of the 10-acre parcel on the outskirts of town and would normally auction it off to the highest bidder. But Jackson officials have asked the agency to consider a direct sale, where they would skip the auction and just negotiate a price with the town.

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News
8:15 am
Mon January 30, 2012

Group tries to get more women to run for office

The Wyoming Women’s Foundation and Wyoming Women’s Legislative Caucus want more women to run for public office, and they’re hosting a series of workshops to encourage women to do so.

There are only 13 women in the state legislature, and Richelle Keinath of the Women’s Foundation says that’s not enough.

“The conversation changes if women are involved in decision making,” Keinath said. “We’re half the population, so why wouldn’t we want to be half the people that are making decisions about our communities?”

Open Spaces
5:27 pm
Sat January 28, 2012

Wyoming plans to use carrot, not stick, to reduce workplace deaths

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Wyoming has one of the highest rates of workplace fatalities in the nation. Recently, the state epidemiologist issued a report looking at why that’s the case and making recommendations about what should be done. Workers’ rights advocates are pushing for tougher penalties for companies that violate safety regulations. But for now, it seems the state plans to take a softer approach. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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News
4:33 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

More research needed on migration 'rest stops,' scientists say

Researchers hope to determine how much development mule deer can tolerate on their migration routes.

Biologist Hall Sawyer found in a recent study that when mule deer travel between their summer and winter ranges, they spend 95 percent of their time stopping and eating.

“If we consider these migration routes highways, the stopovers would be like the hotels, where you crash in for the night and grab a bite to eat,” Sawyer said. “And maybe you stay there for a night, maybe you stay for a week.”

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News
6:15 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Business Council Examines Internet Access In Wyoming

The Wyoming Business Council is conducting a survey to determine what parts of the state have inadequate Internet access.

Leah Bruscino is the Council’s northwest regional director. She says some rural areas have nothing but dial-up, and it’s hard to run a business that way.

“Mountain lodges that cater to, say, snowmobilers or summer trade – you know, obviously being tourism businesses, they’d like to have rich, vibrant sites and be able to send clients nice, rich information.,” says Bruscino. “That’s a challenge.”

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OSHA
5:18 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Workplace safety: Gov. Mead calls for more OSHA inspectors

Gov. Matt Mead is hoping to more than double the number of Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors in Wyoming.

Wyoming has one of the highest rates of workplace fatalities in the nation.

In a recent report to the governor, former State Epidemiologist Tim Ryan recommended fixing the problem, in part, by encouraging more OSHA courtesy inspections. That’s where a company invites OSHA to check out their operations and help them comply with safety regulations.

But Ryan says there aren’t enough OSHA employees.

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