Features

An interim legislative committee is planning to study Wyoming's beer and liquor tax this summer.

Wyoming's 2-cents-per-gallon tax on malt beverages is the lowest in the nation. It has remained unchanged since it was first passed in 1935, about a year after Prohibition was repealed.

The study is among several tax studies assigned to the Joint Interim Revenue Committee this summer and fall.

LuLing Osofsky graduated from UW’s Master of Fine Arts program in writing. She frequently wrote about feeling displaced – both culturally and geographically – when she came to Wyoming. In this essay, she writes about international students celebrating the Hindu festival of Holi on UW’s campus. Holi celebrates the coming of spring and the colors that it spring brings. This year it will be celebrated on March 27th.

Rebecca Martinez

The University of Wyoming invites thinkers and doers from all corners of academia to visit and work at the university and add some perspective to the curriculum. The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program has invited poet and labor activist Mark Nowak to serve as its Eminent Writer in Residence for a few weeks this year.

Gary Small and the Coyote Bros. have been nominated for ‘Artist of the Year’ and ‘Best World Music Album’ for the Native American Music Awards. Small is a Northern Cheyenne Indian, living in Sheridan, Wyoming. He says he plays everything from surf and rockabilly, to blues and zydeco, but he says this album is dedicated to telling Native American stories.

A documentary about the construction of the transcontinental railroad is set to air on Wyoming PBS this weekend. The film will show how the building of the railroad shaped Wyoming into the place it is today. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with the film’s producer, Tom Manning. He says before the railroad was built, there was no Wyoming. The film, “End of Track,” premieres on PBS on March 10th at 7 p.m.

Being Bahá'í in the Cowboy State

Feb 22, 2013

Most Wyomingites have long since taken down their Christmas trees and wrapped up their winter holidays… But for people who practice the Bahá'í faith, the Festival of Ayyám-i-Há – where families get together and exchange small gifts, is right around the corner.

The Bahá'í religion is a relatively young one. Founded in Persia in the mid-1800s, it follows the teachings of two prophets – The Báb, and Bahá'u'lláh. They taught about the oneness of God and of religion, and that God continues to reveal truths to humanity throughout time. 

LuLing Osofsky is a graduate of U-W’s graduate program in creative writing. She writes poetry and essays on topics as disparate as Jewish boxers who fought during the Holocaust and being Chinese in mostly white Wyoming. She graduated in 2012. This is poem called The Pines. 

Wyoming native, Jeff Troxel, is a  guitarist, composer, and songwriter from Cody.  Jeff Troxel has released three albums, his newest Spirit of Our Time, was released in 2011. Troxel became the National Flatpicking Champion at the Walnut Valley Festival after winning state championships in both Wyoming and Utah.

A new report from the Outdoor Industry Association quantifies the economic benefits of outdoor recreation in all fifty states. The study looked at direct spending, jobs, salaries and tax revenue. 

Spokesperson Avery Stonich says the data demonstrates the value of outdoor recreation beyond the obvious – natural beauty and fun.

“Wyoming has a lot of really great recreation opportunities,” says Stonich, “this produces consumer spending to the tune of four and a half billion dollars every year that’s going directly into the state economy.”

Rebecca Martinez

In our occasional series “Upstarts,” we profile Wyoming entrepreneurs. There’s no shortage of self-starters in this state, many of whom build, grow or make things… But until recently, tech start-ups were almost unheard of in the Cowboy State. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez visited with Jason Kintzler, who founded the Pitch Engine software platform in his native Lander and authored the book, “The New American Start-Up.” She filed this report.

Courtesy of the Carol Mann Agency

The Hansen-Mead family has been an important part of Wyoming history.  Not only are they well known ranchers in Teton County, but they are have yielded 2 governors and even a writer.  Muffy Mead Ferro has written a memoir of growing up in that family called Its Head Came Off by Accident.  Much of the book focuses on her view of ranch life and of her mother Mary Mead...

The Found Footage Festival, which is a collection of film clips acquired by donation or found at thrift stores around the country, is coming to Wyoming this week.

Curator Nick Prueher says many of the films are old instructional videos, like how to train your ferret, or how to learn Japanese.

“They’re all really silly, and I guess the litmus test for us is whether they’re unintentionally funny,” Prueher said. “Whatever the video was trying to do, it has to fail at in some entertaining way.”

Elk Attack performed live on WPR’s Morning Music

Courtesy the Found Footage Festival

Next week, an event called the Found Footage Festival is coming to Laramie. We’re joined now by Curator Nick Prueher. He describes the festival as a guided tour through his vast collection of old, funny videos.

Rebecca Martinez

Craft breweries and distilleries are hot right now. Not to be outdone, Wyoming entrepreneurs created a bourbon distillery in Kirby, using local ingredients from the Bighorn Basin and bearing the name Wyoming Whiskey. After four years of aging the first batch, Wyoming Whiskey flew off the shelves when it was released exclusively in Wyoming in early December. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez visited the distillery and explored the hype. She filed this report.

(bar ambi)

The La Taifas Quartet is celebrated in their home country of Moldova. They’ve been featured in the film The Other Europeans, a documentary highlighting the music of Eastern European communities that have emerged from Soviet domination but which remain relatively unknown to Americans. The nonprofit Worlds of Music is sponsoring the La Taifas Quartet’s tour across Wyoming, and they’ve recently performed in Evanston, Lyman, Thermopolis and Powell with upcoming shows scheduled in Buffalo and Laramie.

Sonnet: “Dispatches from the Western Front”

Feb 1, 2013

In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, University of Wyoming student Zack Anderson began advertising his services around campus. The English and French major is offering customized sonnets for a fee. Wyoming Public Media requested that Anderson write a love poem… for us.

Here, nigh the end of our postmodern age,

the news is bred on free-range server farms

and in the brains of citizenry rage

incertitude, distress, ennui, alarm,

complacency.  These bitter villains leach

the human spirit from our cynic scene.

A new report released by the State Tourism Office shows that tourism in Wyoming generated $128 million in tax revenues in 2012. That’s a 7.6% increase over taxes generated by tourism in 2011.

The number of visitors to the state also grew by 4% from 8.34 million in 2011 to 8.67 million in 2012.

Diane Shober, Director of the Wyoming Office of Tourism, says that this higher tax revenue might be coming from more focused marketing techniques and increased cooperation between state, local, and private tourism groups.

Jerry Bath

One of the world’s most competitive dog sled races is starting in Jackson tonight. The International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog race will cover more than 400 miles, over the course of eight days. Joining us now to talk about the race – and about dog sledding in Wyoming – is Jerry Bath from Lander. He’s doing the race for the fifth year in a row. Bath says his dogs are bred for just this kind of event.

Annual dog sled race expands to four states

Jan 24, 2013

One of the world’s top sled dog races kicks off on January 25th in Jackson. The International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race is in its 18th year, and for the first time, contestants will travel through four states: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Utah. It will take them more than a week to cover the 425-mile course.

Race Director Frank Teasley says it’s one of the most competitive races in the world.

The Wyoming Film Office is taking submissions for the annual Wyoming Short Film Contest.  To be eligible, films must be under fifteen minutes, shot in Wyoming, set in Wyoming, or include Wyoming as a character.  The winner will receive a $25,000 prize, for use on their next film shot in Wyoming.      

Irina Zhorov

For our occasional series, Upstarts, we’re featuring entrepreneurs around the state. Our second featured businessman is Eugene Gerow-Mathew, of Eugene’s Tasty Teas, who makes organic teas and proves that you’re never too young to be an upstart.  

EUGENE GEROW-MATHEW: My name is Eugene, I’m currently the manager and owner of Eugene’s Tasty Tea Company.

ZHOROV: Eugene has been in business for about three years now. He makes specialty, organic teas.

UW Geology Museum reopening

Jan 11, 2013

The University of Wyoming Geology Museum is reopening Saturday  after undergoing improvements and renovations. Most of the work was in the internal infrastructure, but Museum Manager Kelli Trujillo says some of the exhibits have been updated as well.    

“A brand new exhibit on the cretaceous of Wyoming, with some of our existing dinosaurs, some of the cast skulls, in new places and in new interpretations, and some murals and some new ways to look at some old stuff that we already had.”  

A grand opening ceremony is set for next Thursday at 3:30.

The Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund has announced two new deadlines for grants to nonprofit and governmental organizations in Wyoming, the earlier of which is April 1st.

Fund Administrator Renee Bobee says the fund supports groups that enrich the state by providing essential cultural opportunities for residents in a variety of ways, including fairs and exhibitions, archaeological research, musical performances and historical preservation projects. Bobee says the grant can also help organizations to grow and develop.

Jackson tourism officials are expecting a busy New Year’s holiday. 

The lodging barometer, which measures lodging bookings for the valley shows occupancy at 72-percent of full for the Saturday before New Year’s.  That’s up significantly from last year’s 59-percent and the 49-percent that was recorded in 2010.

Kate Foster of the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce says the turnaround is based on a couple of things.

At the end of the month, Susan Simpson will retire from her post as Albany County Librarian. Simpson has worked in the state for more than three decades, and she says she’s proud of the Wyoming library system’s cooperative network.

“I was on a bus in Boston Massachusetts at a conference and I had my name tag on, and woman said to me, ‘Oh, you’re from Wyoming! I wish we did what you did!’ And I don’t remember where she was from, but it’s a very common response.”

Hub Whitt

Wyoming is still a frontier of sorts, a place where many continue to hunt in wide open spaces. And sometimes they sing about it, too. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that Julian Saporiti is collecting those cowboy poets’ songs to share with others.

ZHOROV: Julian Saporiti is not from Wyoming…

JULIAN SAPORITI: Like this how not-Wyoming or Western I am. I’ve never ridden a horse in my life. I’ve been on a pony ride going around in a circle in a grocery store parking lot when I was 6. That’s the extent of my cowboyisms.

Sara Hossaini

A Wyoming Archaeologist’s work in Mongolia is shedding new light on the prehistoric people of the Rocky

Mountains. Wyoming Public Radio’s Sara Hossaini reports.

SARA HOSSAINI: University of Wyoming archaeologist Todd Surovell spends a lot of time thinking about how humans organize the space around us. In particular, our junk.

TODD SUROVELL: I don’t think archaeologists commonly portray themselves as studiers of trash, but that’s what we do. Ninety-nine percent of what we find in the archaeological record is refuse.

Author Steve Horn lives between Laramie and Cheyenne. Earlier this year he published a novel called “Another Man’s Life.” The book tells the story of a Vietnam veteran from Wyoming after he returns home from the war. So Steve, without giving too much away, tell us about the story.

“The Hitching Post Inn: Wyoming’s Second Capital” is the story about an iconic hotel in Cheyenne that was home to legislators, lobbyists and others over the years.  That includes big name entertainers.  The main portion of the facility burned to the ground in 2010.  Sue Castaneda is the author and she says it was more than just a hotel.

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