May 18th, 2012

Wyoming strives to curb ozone levels to meet federal mandate
Sublette County is home to two of Wyoming’s major oil and gas fields … and emissions from the energy production have caused smog to form – a type of smog called ozone. Ground-level ozone can cause and exacerbate respiratory problems. It’s also a problem for legal reasons: ozone levels in Sublette County have exceeded federal limits several times in the past few years. Now, the Environmental Protection Agency is stepping in. It’s designating Sublette County a “nonattainment area,” which means Wyoming is obligated to fix the problem. But as Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports, there’s no ready solution.

Wyoming ACLU evaluates treatment of inmates statewide
The Wyoming Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has studied those who are in jail or in prison in Wyoming for a number of years.  Wyoming is a state that likes to put people behind bars.  The U.S. Justice Department notes that in 2010 Wyoming’s crime rate was 17-percent lower than the national average… but Wyoming’s incarceration rate is only four percent lower.  Meaning that if you commit a crime, you will probably get some time.  Director Linda Burt of Wyoming’s ACLU tells Bob Beck about how those inmates are being treated.

Two Wyoming hospitals explore a partnership
The Cheyenne Regional Medical center and the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper are considering a partnership that they believe may be necessary to remain financially strong in the future.  They are looking at ways to share things from medical providers to joining together to enhance health care across the state.   Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports that neither hospital CEO is positive the partnership will work, but they both believe they need to give it a shot in order to remain financially viable.

Wyoming Development Authority nudges first-time buyers into real estate
The Wyoming Community Development Authority is encouraging people to buy houses – especially if they’ve never owned a home before. They’re launching a campaign called “Buy Now” – putting up flyers in real estate offices, and offering classes to help first-time buyers navigate the process of purchasing a home. The group’s executive director, David Haney, talks with Willow Belden about the initiative. He says conditions are excellent for buyers at the moment.

NRCS predicts tough, dry summer for farmers and ranchers
Lee Hackleman is a water supply specialist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. He speaks with Willow Belden about what the warm, dry spring means for Wyoming. He says the snowpack has gotten extremely low, which will make for a tough year.

Casper’s yard waste ban could save the city big bucks 
Casper has begun banning grass clippings and other yard waste from the trash that goes into their landfill. Officials expect it to save the city tens of thousands of dollars, but people who are into living green are pretty excited, too. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports.

National Museum of Wildlife Art turns 25
This week, the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole is celebrating its 25th anniversary.  It kicks off a number of events that will be part of the celebration.  The museum was a dream that’s come a long ways from its humble beginnings.  Co-founder Bill Kerr tells Bob Beck that the idea was to feature art that may have been overlooked.

An MFA student reads her “Letter to Wyoming”
During Wyoming Public Radio’s relationship with UW’s Master of Fine Arts program, we have also acquired some people who wanted to learn to be public radio reporters.  Three people have joined us, including this next writer.  Irina Zhorov is an accomplished photographer who wanted to develop her writing skills.  She recently graduated from the M-F-A program.  When Irina came to Wyoming from Philadelphia she had questions about her new state.  Today she tells us about her conclusions in her “Letter to Wyoming.”