When it comes to energy issues, Wyoming's delegates to the Democratic National Convention did not see eye to eye with many Democratic Party leaders or their party's platform. Correspondent Matt Laslo caught up with some of the delegates in Philadelphia and sent us this audio postcard.
On April first, Frank Thompson lost his job as a mechanic at Peabody Energy’s North Antelope Rochelle mine. He was one of almost 500 coal miners laid off that day by Peabody and its competitor, Arch Coal. At the time, Thompson, who is a single dad, was most concerned about what being laid off would mean for his son.
Three months later, Thompson still isn’t sure what the future holds, but he’s trying to stay in Wyoming. Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce caught up with him at a park in his hometown of Douglas.
Due to Wyoming’s economic downturn a number of state agencies have been required to cut their budgets to make up for a revenue shortfall that could reach $300 million dollars. Among the cuts is 1 million dollars that the Department of Corrections uses for Substance abuse treatment. At the same time the Wyoming Department of Health is cutting funding for local substance abuse treatment. Wyoming Public Radio’s Liam Niemeyer reports some worry the cuts could harm those in and out of the prison system.
Earlier this month, the University of Wyoming’s new president Laurie Nichols visited the Wind River Indian Reservation and sat down with business councils from both the Eastern Shoshone and the Northern Arapaho to talk about how to increase the number of Native Americans at UW…and how to make them more welcome. She told me, it’s an issue she’s tackled before in her time as South Dakota State University’s provost.
Wyoming has a growing but mostly unnoticed software industry. The state has also made progress in developing data centers and tech companies, but a group of Cheyenne entrepreneurs noticed that the state lacked web developers and those who are trained to work in the technology industry. The newly created Array, School of Technology and Design is hoping to change that. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck has more.
Sticking with the subject of employment…Wyoming, like other energy producing states, is shedding jobs in coal, oil, and gas. But the renewables industry is growing nationwide, including jobs to make parts like wind turbine blades and towers. Wyoming wants to attract wind manufacturing jobs as part of an effort to diversity its fossil fuel-based economy, but right now the state has none of these jobs. Neighboring Colorado has thousands. Inside Energy’s Leigh Paterson went to find out what’s standing in the way, starting off in Cheyenne.
When the largest coal producer in the world is in your backyard, their every move can cause a ripple effect. That’s what happened when Peabody Energy failed to pay their property taxes in Routt County, Colorado. The lapse left a tiny rural school district scrambling for more than $1 million. Colorado officials swooped in to save the day, but the fact that it happened at all raises questions about the district’s future. From Inside Energy partner KUNC, Education Reporter Ann Marie Awad took a closer look.
For the last five years, a pilot project on the Wind River Indian Reservation has been building backyard vegetable gardens for residents there. But so many people wanted to participate that the organizers applied for funding to get a full-fledged project off the ground with twice as many plots. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards reports, the idea is to study whether gardening improves the many health issues on the reservation.
50 million years ago, Wyoming looked pretty different. It was tropical, with lots of trees and wet, humid conditions. Scientists know this because of the many fossils found from this time period in the Green River Formation in Southwest Wyoming. Now, new research on one particular fossil is allowing scientists to paint an even more detailed picture of that world. Sterling Nesbitt is an assistant professor of geosciences at Virginia Tech, and studied the fossil of Calciavis Grandei – a relative of modern day ground dwelling birds like ostriches and emus. He told Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard why this fossil is so unique.