The Modern West

The Modern West is a rich collection of news and cultural stories from the Mountain West. Features, interviews, oral history, readings, and more offer a snapshot of Western life. Catch our monthly digest of stories on The Modern West podcast.  

Supported in part by a grant from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, a program of the Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources.

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Anna Rader

As part of our series, “I Respectfully Disagree,” Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards journeyed into the heart of Wyoming’s coal country to the city of Gillette up in the northeast corner. Recently, it’s become an intensely divided community. In the last election, Wyoming went in greater percentage to Donald Trump than any other state, but Campbell County supported Trump more than any other county in Wyoming.

endowyo.biz

  

  

  

On Monday the group ENDOW, which stands for Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming, will release its preliminary findings on ways to diversify the state’s economy. 

ENDOW has been working while many have been quietly skeptical, but those involved in the effort think they will finally break through.

Tom Koerner, USFWS Mountain-Plains

 

Last winter, protestors packed committee meetings after lawmakers proposed a constitutional amendment to allow the state of Wyoming to take over management of federal lands. Republican Senator Larry Hicks supported the idea, but he was open to other options. So, he reached out to Shane Cross and the Wyoming Wildlife Federation and challenged them to come with a compromise.

University of Oklahoma Press

When you think of the American West, you don’t often think of Europe. But William F. Cody, widely known as Buffalo Bill, did. The American frontiersman, army scout and eventual showman was the founder of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West exhibition, a popular traveling show in the late 19th and early 20th century. When he first created the show, Cody’s ultimate goal was to make it to Europe.

 

 

The new podcast and photography series Women in Wyoming profiles accomplished women living in the Equality State. Its creator photographer Lindsay Linton Buk grew up in Powell thinking that in order to be successful in life she would eventually have to leave the state.

Madelyn Beck/Inside Energy

Clean coal is a term President Donald Trump has used a lot, both before and after he was elected.

But what is clean coal? Congress first used the term in the late 70’s early 80’s when discussions about acid rain became a bit more heated. Along came some big changes to the Clean Air Act in 1990 which cracked down on the emissions that cause acid rain, such as sulfur dioxide and nitric oxide.

Public Domain

  

The longtime President of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Jerry Blann is stepping down next year. He has overseen major changes at the resort since 1995. He joins Bob Beck to discuss how his vision to make the ski area a destination spot became a reality.

Meghan Chapman Twitter: @mrs_chapman3

Teachers and educators globally are beginning to incorporate technology more in their classrooms. Microsoft’s Skype in the Classroom breaks the walls of classrooms, allowing students to take virtual field trips to museums, zoos, and other institutions. One of the facilities is the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody. The museum has situated itself to be one of the program’s most prolific partners.

David Blank

For the past three years, the Whitney Western Art Museum of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody lent over eighty works of art from their main collection for a traveling exhibition: Go West! Art of the American Frontier

Since 2013, the Western American art exhibit traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, Omaha, Nebraska and Palms Springs, California. But on December third, Go West! Will open its’ doors for the last time at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City.

The Modern West 29: Home On The Range

Nov 21, 2017
Theo Stein / USFWS

There’s a reason the cowboy hat is a symbol of Wyoming: ranching is woven into the state’s cultural fabric. On this episode, we’ll take you out on the wide open Wyoming range.

Cooper McKim/WPR

On an overcast day, an old golden retriever named Ruby walks around the edge of a warehouse in Casper. She’s stops and looks out, standing in the square light where a truck might pull in. Behind her is a large room stacked high with boxes full of rock, some of which have gold inside.

This warehouse is home to GFG (Go For Gold) Resources, a Canadian company that set up camp in Casper back in 2015. They explore and drill for gold out in the Rattlesnake Hills – a unique geologic region in the center of Wyoming. The company’s project area is 33,500 acres.

Charles Preston

Seven grizzlies have been shot and killed by hunters in Wyoming, since the state took over grizzly bear management. That compares to two grizzlies killed last fall.

Four grizzlies were killed in Park County alone this year, including one that Game and Fish put down, after it was shot. And, four people were injured in bear attacks. The question is how can those conflicts be reduced?

Boulder Basin Outfitter Carl Sauerwein described what happened when a grizzly mauled his guide and client this October, as they field dressed an elk south of Cody.

Tony Webster from Portland, OR

Rocky Mountain Power is one of many around the country turning up their investment in wind.

 

The Department of the Interior is outlining steps aimed at increasing energy production on federal lands. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says boosting production of resources like oil and gas creates jobs and enhances the nation’s energy security.

Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum

Comic books get kids reading and thinking about complex issues. That's definitely the case for an art show now up at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum. All the comic book art in this show is by Native American artists.

 

The museum's marketing director Morgan Marks gave Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards a tour that started with the illustrated robe of the great Eastern Shoshone Chief Washakie, showing just how deeply ingrained picture storytelling is in Native American cultures.

centerofthewest.org

  

The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is in the midst of a major upgrade of the Cody Firearms Museum. The Museum’s Robert W. Woodruff curator Ashley Hlebinsky says it’s more than just a western firearms museum. She discusses the museum with Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck.

Peter Fitzgerald, Wikimedia

A draft of the Interior Department’s five-year strategic plan has been leaked - it was first obtained by The Nation. The 50-page document draws a road map for how the federal agency intends to prioritize energy dominance.

Creative Commons Zero - CC0 via maxpixel

It's almost Halloween. Plastic tombstones and dancing skeletons are everywhere you look. But how does Wyoming handle actual death? Wyoming Public Radio's Annie Osburn spoke with someone whose job it was to be in presence of the dead.  

Joe Riis

It’s only been in the last few years that scientists have realized that pronghorn, elk and mule deer are migrating rugged terrain over hundreds of miles to reach the best grazing around Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.

It’s almost impossible to conceive what these animals endure on those journeys. But that’s what wildlife photographer Joe Riis set out to document through pictures.

Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards talked to him about his new book, Yellowstone Migrations…and how he got into photography in the first place.

Peabody Energy

At the University of Wyoming’s College of Law, Professor Sam Kalen was looking through old case files. His office had law books and binders of cases strewn on chairs and tables as well as computer miscellany, like keyboards and old monitors, sitting on top of them.

At his desk, he rifled through a thick law book, co-authored by him, then switched to his dual-monitor computer screens. He was looking for any mention of climate assessments in old federal leasing cases back to the 1990s. It didn’t take long.

“So for example, here’s an earlier one,” Kalen said.

Wyoming Department of Education

When lawmakers created the Hathaway Scholarship in 2005, it was meant to encourage all Wyoming high school students to go to college by making it easier to afford.

However, there is one group of Wyoming students that will never qualify for the Hathaway Scholarship: those without U.S. citizenship.

Isabel Perez entered the Wyoming public school system when she was ten years old, shortly after her family left Mexico City for Green River. Perez came to the U.S. without documentation, but said she grew up to be a regular American teenager.

Melodie Edwards

We drive for hours on a terrible dirt road to reach the ice patch, but Colorado State University archeology professor emeritus Larry Todd says, heck, this is nothing.

“Today we'll be able to get in the truck and drive for an hour and a half to an ice patch. That's about as close as we can get,” he says. “More often it's, go to the trailhead, load up the horses and pack mules and ride for six to eight hours to get into the area where you can start studying those.”

The Modern West 28: Tiny Town, Big Bands

Oct 17, 2017
elkmountainhotel.com

In the mid-20th century, the little town of Elk Mountain, Wyoming drew crowds from miles and miles away to its summer dances on the bouncy floor at the Garden Spot Pavilion.

Madelyn Beck/Inside Energy

 

It’s a mixture you wouldn’t usually think of: black suits, pop country music, Japanese officials and the slight smell of manure. All these things came together at the CAM-PLEX event center in Gillette, Wyo., on Sept. 21 for a discussion about coal.

U.S. Forest Service

Forest fires have dominated headlines in much of the west this summer. Wyoming Senator John Barrasso chairs the Senate Environment Committee and this week held a hearing on a string of bills that proponents say will help keep those catastrophic wildfires at bay.

To Barrasso and a bipartisan group of senators, the problem is clear: Catastrophic wildfires are manmade, well more precisely, made by the inaction of man and all the red tape of environmentalists.

Ghost of the Mountains, Brian Leith Productions with Disneynature Productions and Chuan Films

The Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival attracted an international audience this week for what many call the Oscars of nature film. Finalists included Wyoming filmmaker Shane Moore. Moore started making films when he was just 12 and growing up in Granite Creek, 30 miles southeast of Jackson. He met pioneers of nature shows, including the Wild Kingdom and Walt Disney, on his family ranch where they came to film. Moore was a finalist for two films, Born in China and Ghost of the Mountains. Both feature the rarely seen and rarely filmed snow leopard.

Melodie Edwards

On the Wind River Reservation, on the far edge of a wind-swept cemetery filled with white crosses and colorful flowers, a fresh mound blended in with all the others. It was surrounded with stones and gifts. 

“[A] little buckskin horse, I believe that's a bracelet and some tobacco pouches,” said Olivia Washington as she bent down and arranged the gifts around a metal plaque with the name Horse.

 

The Equality State Policy Center has launched a new effort called The People’s Review. It’s intended to let the public know how their legislators voted on key legislation supported by social justice, conservation, and labor groups in Wyoming. The Director of the ESPC is Phoebe Stoner. She tells Bob Beck that the effort is focused on increasing transparency.

 

Bob Beck

Earlier this month Callie Mae Bishop was crowned Miss Wyoming USA. The Casper native had sought the title for a number of years.

In real life, Bishop is a yoga instructor, rock climber, and serves beer, in other words the perfect Miss Wyoming. She told Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that the victory is a dream come true. 

The Modern West 27: Dark Side Of The Moon

Sep 19, 2017
GreatAmericanEclipse.com

August’s total solar eclipse drew hundreds of thousands of people to Wyoming for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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