March 2nd, 2012

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Wyoming legislators to study ways to reduce the increasing costs of Medicaid
A major concern in the state budget is the growing cost of Medicaid.  Medicaid is  matching federal and state funded health coverage for lower income people, children, those with disabilities and elderly nursing home residents.  State officials say that Medicaid costs take up a large chunk of the state budget and recently have been growing between 30 and 40 percent a year.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports that has pushed legislators to undertake a major study to find ways to reduce costs.

Legislators demand funding for clean-up and monitoring of former uranium mill site
With only a week to go until the legislative session is over, Wyoming lawmakers are reviewing a number of bills, including a joint resolution requesting Congress to provide for increased monitoring and funding for remediation of the Riverton uranium mill tailings site. Tailings constitute waste left over from mining operations. Last year we brought you a story about the site in which the Department of Energy released data showing that uranium levels in the area had spiked as high as 100 times the legal limit, and while legislative action on the issue may sound good, it’s bringing up a lot of questions, and anger. Wyoming Public Radio’s Tristan Ahtone reports.

Sen. Enzi is eager to wrangle the national budget, Medicare
Wyoming's Senior US Senator is trying everything to reduce the federal deficit, but in an election year and a partisan Congress, it's hard to do much.  During a recent visit to Cheyenne, Bob Beck sat down with Senator Mike Enzi to discuss the budget and health care.  On the topic of the budget, he says they must act soon.

Wyoming-born filmmaker wins an Oscar, sheds light on tragedies in Pakistan
Daniel Junge, a film-maker who grew up in Cheyenne, just won an Oscar for his documentary “Saving Face.” This film takes place in Pakistan and focuses on the disturbing phenomenon of men throwing acid on women’s faces. The victims are scarred for life. Their faces are often totally disfigured. And most of them feel that because of that, their lives are ruined. Willow Belden spoke with Junge about the film, and he says the perpetrators of acid attacks are often the women’s husbands, or discouraged suitors.

Civic initiative unites leaders across sectors
Since 1999, civic initiative called Leadership Wyoming has sought to connect the movers and shakers from the private, public and non-profit sectors statewide. Participants leave their jobs for a few days each month to learn about different issues in different communities across Wyoming. Recently, Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez tagged along on the group’s visit to Lander. She filed this report.

Chief Justice Kite wants to make young citizens of middle-schoolers
The Wyoming Supreme Court is endorsing a new program to teach middle school students about Civics.  The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Marilyn Kite joined Bob Beck to explain the program.

Foundation works to reduce moose fatalities on roadways
The Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation is launching an initiative to reduce the number of moose fatalities on Highway 390. The road runs through prime moose habitat and sees more collisions than any other highway in Teton County outside of the national park. Willow Belden spoke with Joan Anzelmo of the Wildlife Foundation to find out what can be done to prevent collisions. She says Grand Teton National Park has had considerable success getting drivers to slow down through a variety of measures … and she hopes to implement some of those measures on 390 as well.

Wyoming tests new method for counting deer, hopes to restore herds
Mule deer have been dying off in parts of Wyoming for some time. But until recently, it was unclear how acute the problem was. That’s because the Game and Fish Department wasn’t getting an accurate count of how many deer there were. Now, the agency is trying out a new method for estimating deer populations. It’s much more expensive … but officials say it’s worth the cost because it will help them maintain a healthy deer population. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.