August 25th, 2017

Credit Tennessee Watson

Listen to the full show here.

Teachers Pitch In To Buffer Kids From Budget Cuts

Last year, twenty of Wyoming’s 48 school districts reported they had to reduce their supply budgets, and this year that number jumped to 38, according to survey results compiled by the state legislature. As a result, parents may see a longer list of back-to-school supplies they’re asked to purchase. Wyoming Public Radio’s education reporter Tennessee Watson discovered a lot of teachers are pitching in with their personal funds, too.

Are you a K-12 teacher spending your own money in your classroom? Tweet at @WYPublicRadio using the hashtag #wyoteachersgiveback and let us know how much you spend. And you can send a picture of something special you’ve done in your classroom.  

Interest In Increasing Taxes May Be Waning

Early this summer lawmakers were looking at a massive shortfall in education funding and overall revenue. That pushed lawmakers into a lengthy discussion about possible tax hikes. The idea was to hold a number of hearings over the summer on a variety of proposals and then pass bills that would raise $100 million, $200 million and $300 million. But a funny thing happened on the way to passing tax legislation the state’s revenue picture improved.

Investment Income Is Soaring

One reason some lawmakers have backed off on their support of tax increases is that Wyoming is making a lot of money from investments.

Unrealized gains sit around $900 million and even the energy industry has had a slight uptick.

State Treasurer Mark Gordon says that it’s true, things are good. But he also tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that lawmakers should be careful about using investment money versus a more stable source of revenue. 

Coal Town Works To Rise Above Boom And Bust

If you’ve ever spent time in Rock Springs, you may have had a hard time finding your way around its winding blocks and sudden buttes. The city’s sprawl is a turn-off for some, and the historic downtown area is isolated from Interstate 80. Rock Springs is one of several communities in Wyoming trying to reenergize their downtowns through a program called Main Street. Wyoming Public Radio’s Alanna Elder reports, Rock Springs’ history as a coal town is a benefit and an obstacle to these efforts.

Astronomer Jill Tarter On Eclipses, Carl Sagan's Contact & Succeeding As A Woman In Science

Jill Tarter is a woman who struggled her entire career with a double whammy.

Not only she one of just a handful of women in her scientific field, but that field was the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), something most people consider the stuff of comic books.

Tarter’s daughter works for the National Outdoor Leadership School or NOLS in Lander and, while she was visiting her, she spoke to a sold out audience at the Lander high school the night before the solar eclipse. Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards sat down with her.

Total Solar Eclipse In The Heart Of Wyoming

People have been making preparations for years to travel hundreds of miles to see the 2017 total solar eclipse. In Casper, where thousands of people showed up, skies were clear and views under the path of totality were once in a lifetime. Wyoming Public Radio’s Maggie Mullen has more. 

Watching The Eclipse In Goshen County

Across the state, and in an area even smaller and less-frequented than Casper, Goshen County welcomed more than 100,000 visitors for the eclipse. They came to set up tents and campers in anticipation, and take part in local festivities. Wyoming Public Radio’s Cooper McKim got a feel for the excitement leading up to the solar event. 

UW Presents Kicks Off A Year Long Series Of Programs

With the start of school comes the start of a number of cultural programs at the University of Wyoming. Janelle Fletcher is the Director of UW Presents. She told Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that they have tried to put together a diverse set of programs.