January 27th, 2012

Listen to the Whole Show

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

The Coal Industry discusses the reasons for its positive safety record
While the Oil and Gas industry has had a number of workplace fatalities, that has not been the case in Wyoming’s Coal Industry. Tim McCreary is Safety Manager for the Thunder Basin Coal Company.  He tells Bob Beck workplace safety is a focus.

Some argue that psychiatric patients are being over-medicated
The number of adults and children disabled by mental illness has doubled in the last 50 years.  Award-winning investigative journalist Robert Whitaker recently explored the issue in his noted book “Anatomy of an Epidemic.”  While psychiatric drugs grew in popularity, Whitaker found that while they were effective in the short term, extended use can lead to problems.  Brett Deacon is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Wyoming and he tells Bob Beck it’s an important issue for those in the mental health field.

Wyoming tries a new education reform approach
A year ago legislators were frustrated by the amount of money they were putting into education and their perceived return.  Wyoming pays teachers some of the highest wages in the country, but lawmakers claimed that too many students had to go through remedial programs in college, that test scores were not high enough, and that the states dropout rate was too high.  In the early part of the legislative session lawmakers took dead aim at teachers, even going so far as to bring a bill to get rid of tenure so that teachers could be more easily dismissed.  But lawmakers backed off on that hard line stance and a year later they are prepared to consider legislation that could bring about what most are calling positive reforms.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck has more.

Restoring the path of the pronghorn
A population of pronghorn antelope have been migrating back and forth between the Red Desert and Bridger-Teton National Park for thousands of years, despite growing development threatening their path. Individual conservation efforts have protected parts of their route, but the Wyoming Department of Transportation is working on a project near Pinedale that might make the trip a whole lot easier. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports.

Research reveals mule deer rest stops are more telling than the journey
Protecting pronghorn migration routes is a big deal in Wyoming. The same goes for mule deer. But making sure the animals have unimpeded routes between their summer and winter ranges is only part of the puzzle. Recent research shows that it’s even more important to protect the places where the animals stop along the way. I spoke with Matt Kauffman, who heads the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, to find out more about the studies that have been done. Kauffman says he and his colleague Hall Sawyer discovered some surprising things about mule deer migration.

The defending champion discusses the 17th Stage Stop Sled Dog Race
The 17th international stage stop sled dog race gets underway this weekend.  The eight stage race travels through Jackson much of western Wyoming and ends in Park City, Utah on February 4th.  It’s the biggest sled dog race in the lower 48 states.  Buddy Streeper has won the last two events and has won it a total of three times.  He joins Bob Beck to explain why this stage stop event is so unique.

UW Forensics lab investigates human history from found remains
It’s been said that dead men tell no tales, but in the forensic anthropology lab at the University of Wyoming, researchers are proving otherwise. Over the winter, Wyoming Public Radio’s Tristan Ahtone paid a visit to the lab, and he brings us this report on what happens when you find a body in the state, and the process on how scientists identify those remains.