Open Spaces
5:45 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

February 15th, 2013

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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 importance of Wyoming's Permanent Mineral Trust Fund
Frequently during the legislative session you will hear lawmakers refer to Wyoming’s Permanent Mineral Trust fund.  The fund was established in 1974 by then Governor Stan Hathaway and it is funded by a portion of severance taxes or taxes paid by the energy industry and occasional money deposited by the legislature. Income from the fund can be used to pay for government.   It has a market value of roughly 5.6 billion dollars.  It’s viewed as a key part of Wyoming’s funding future. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

Wyoming Lawmakers Wary of the President’s New Agenda
President Obama laid out a sweeping agenda in his State of the Union address that would have a big impact on Wyoming if enacted. Matt Laslo caught up with Wyoming lawmakers in Washington and reports on their reactions to the controversial plan.

Cheyenne homeless project reduces recidivism, but transients remain on the streets
Last summer, the Cheyenne Police Department launched the Homeless Empowerment Action Team, or HEAT. Police officers and the director of Cheyenne’s homeless shelter, the COMEA House, went around town and talked with homeless people.

NRCS in final stages of soil mapping project
The Natural Resources Conservation Service is finishing up surveying the soil in Wyoming. They’ve been working on the project for decades, and they’ve completed surveys in most of the counties in the state. We’re joined now by James Bauchert, the acting state soil scientist. He says the survey is part of a national effort to inventory, or map out, all the soils in the U.S.

Health experts recommend testing for radon in the cold winter months to prevent lung cancer
The Wyoming Department of Health is encouraging Wyomingites to test the concentration of radon in their homes this winter, because it’s the time of year that houses aren’t well-ventilated, and the cancer-causing gas is more likely to rise up to living areas. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon kills about 20,000 people per year. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez spoke with Dr. Wallace Akerley, director of thoracic oncology at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah. She started by asking him what radon is, exactly.

UPSTARTS: Lander native’s software company develops far-reaching demand while working close to home.
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.

Author and Wyoming native Muffy Mead-Ferro discusses her memoir "Its Head Came Off By Accident."
The Hansen-Mead family has been an important part of Wyoming history.  Not only are they well known ranchers in Teton County, but they are have yielded 2 governors and even a writer.  Muffy Mead Ferro has written a memoir of growing up in that family called Its Head Came Off by Accident.  Much of the book focuses on her view of ranch life and of her mother Mary Mead...