March 21st, 2014
Right before the close of the session, the Wyoming Legislature slipped a small amendment into the budget bill that’s proving to have some big implications. The footnote prohibits the State Board of Education from considering a set of national science education standards that it had been reviewing for more than a year, and as Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports, it raises questions about whose role it is to establish those standards.
Patrick Goggles has been serving in the Wyoming House of Representatives since 2005. But at the end of the recent budget session, he announced that he won’t be seeking reelection in 2014. Goggles is a democrat from House District 33, which includes a piece of the Wind River Indian Reservation in Fremont County. He’s the Legislature’s sole Native American lawmaker and his district is over 65-percent Indian. So far, two republicans have announced their intention to run for his seat, Daniel Cardenas and Jim Allen. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov spoke with Representative Goggles. She started out by asking him about what he saw as his accomplishments at the Capitol.
Governor Matt Mead and a handful of Wyoming legislators are excited about an idea that they hope will create more jobs in the state and finally do something locally with the minerals and other sources of energy that the state harvests. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.
Ice jams in the Bighorn River have caused flooding, which in turn caused damage to several homes and businesses in northern Wyoming. High snowpack could bring more floods this spring. Troy Staples is the business preparedness manager for the Red Cross in Wyoming and Colorado. He teaches business owners how to be prepared in case natural disasters or other catastrophes strike their businesses. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov spoke with him. She asked why it’s so hard to re-open after a disaster.
In many parts of Wyoming, it’s impossible to get mental health care. That means residents with mental conditions either don’t get treated, or they have to drive long distances to get services. But that’s starting to change. Recently, more and more patients have been using telemedicine to get psychiatric care. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.
This week a new statewide public education campaign was launched called Wyoming unites for marriage. The idea is to get support for same sex couples. Earlier this year a lawsuit was filed to try and make same sex marriage legal in Wyoming. Jeran Artery of the group Wyoming Equality tells Bob Beck that the lawsuit seems like the quickest way to get equality.
Wyoming has a long tradition of sheep ranching. The first flocks arrived with Mormon pioneers in the eighteen-eighties. By the early nineteen-hundreds there were six million sheep and Wyoming led the nation in wool production. Now, there are fewer than 400-thousand sheep in the state and competition in the global market is stiff. But Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards visited one family that believes that—against all odds--the life of the flockmaster is worth keeping alive.
We’re joined now by former U.S. Forest Service employee Brian Stout. He was supervisor of the Bridger-Teton National Forest from 1984 to 1994 and held various other positions in the forest service for the 24 years preceding that. Stout recently published a book called “Trees of Life: Our Forests in Peril.” He says he wrote the book because he feels that the current way of managing forests is misguided.