March 11th, 2011
A listing of today's stories
An Interview with Governor Matt Mead
Wyoming Governor Matt Mead just wrapped up his first legislative session and is making his first appearance on our program as governor. We asked our listeners on Facebook and Twitter to submit some questions for the governor. Our first is why he signed legislation that strips the ability of the Wyoming Environmental Quality Council to declare areas off limits for non-coal surface mining.
Yellowstone Bison Management is Complicated
Bison once numbered in the millions, roaming the North American plains. Within a century, unregulated hunting and mass slaughters wiped out wild herds. Just twenty five bison remained in Yellowstone National Park in 1901. Thanks to restoration efforts the herd today numbers nearly 4,000 making it the largest, free-roaming wild herd in the country. Wyoming Public Radio's Rebecca Huntington reports that their freedom to roam only goes so far.
Wyoming Fuel Prices Stay Low
Fuel prices are increasing but they're not going up as much in the Northern Rockies as they are elsewhere in the country. And gas prices in Wyoming are rock-bottom, even at an average price of about $3.25 a gallon. So why does Wyoming have the cheapest gas in the country? The answer might surprise you.
New Teacher Performance Evaluations in Wyoming
In the last 15 years when legislators discussed education the focus was on school funding. But now the target is school performance. In the session that concluded earlier this month, legislature approved a couple of major accountability bills that will measure school, teacher and student performance and impose consequences on underperforming schools. It is a major shift for a state that in the past has left academic standards up to local school districts.
Elevated Ozone Levels Plague Western Wyoming
Over the last two weeks, state regulators have issued numerous ozone advisories for western Wyoming's Upper Green River Basin. These are the first advisories issued in the area in more than two years. And in fact ozone levels have spiked, well above federal limits. Local natural gas development is responsible for most of the emissions that contribute to ozone formation, including volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, and oxides of nitrogen, also called NOX. I spoke to the Department of Environmental Quality's Air Quality Administrator, Steven Dietrich. We began by talking about why western Wyoming is seeing high levels now, after a two-year break.
An Interview with the Director of the Upper Green River Alliance
Linda Baker is a longtime Sublette County resident, and she directs the Upper Green River Alliance. She says it's not the easiest thing to stay indoors, as health officials recommend, during ozone advisories.
High School Students Show Off Chef Skills
One of the least known and yet most successful school technical programs in the state is called Pro Start. It trains Wyoming high school students to work in the hospitality industry. They could become hotel administrators or head chefs. Eighteen schools from across the state recently showed off their skills at the annual student invitational.
An Interview with Wyoming Entertainers Pete and Lynne Simpson
Pete and Lynne Simpson grew up across the street from one other in Cody. Pete eventually left town for the Navy, and Lynne went to New York to become an actress. But one Christmas, the two saw each other back home in Cody. That led to a whirlwind thirteen day courtship and 51 years of marriage. The couple talked to Wyoming Public Radio's Tristan Ahtone about falling in love.