Many people have ideas for small businesses, but not many of them quit their day jobs to try something unique, especially when it’s something they know little about. But that’s exactly what the Pollockfamily of Casper did in starting Backwards Distilling Company.
“My son’s an absinth drinker and absinth is hard to come by and he and she were talking… why don’t we just make some make some… and then we all looked at each other and we all stopped and went hmmm.”
Dick Sedar grew up in Casper, in a working-class neighborhood called “the Sandbar.” His parents emigrated from Croatia in the early 1920’s to seek work in the coal and oil industries. Dick was one of 16 children and tells the story of his childhood in Casper.
One of Dick’s Sedar’s brothers, Mike, worked in the Douglas Prisoner of War camp during World War II. Dick remembers his brother’s experience working with the prisoners, and the lasting friendships he made.
Women in the United States have been fighting for equal wage rights since the early 1900s. In 1963 the government passed the Equal Pay Act, which aimed to abolish wage disparity based on sex. But the act excluded professional careers. Starting in 1971, Marilynn Deiss juggled work as the Executive Director of the Wyoming Board of Pharmacy and as a single mother. She tells her daughter, Debra Swedberg, how gender discrimination affected her life.
Returning from military service back into so called normal society continues to be a challenge for many veterans. It doesn’t help if they have difficulty getting Veterans Administration Services. In Wyoming, the two VA hospitals have been criticized for the amount of time veterans need to wait to get care. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports that social service providers say they are trying to provide adequate services to a growing population of vets.
My name is Gretchen Wheeler, this is Casper Wyoming. I probably really became addicted about four years ago. I listen to it every single morning coming to work and every single evening going home. I just love the special interest stories that they have on it, I love the little tidbits.
Two Wyoming bicyclists have been killed in the past several days, spurring calls from Wyoming’s cycling community for increased rider awareness and safety legislation.
On Friday, Matthew Harker, 39, died of brain trauma—one day after he was struck by an SUV in Casper.
On Saturday, 65-year-old Larry Hurst of Sheridan was killed after he and his wife were struck by a vehicle in on U.S. Highway 87 in Sheridan. His wife, Sarah, was critically injured in the crash and taken to a hospital in Billings.
Graduation season is here. Commencement ceremonies around the state mark the start of a new chapter for many of Wyoming’s high school seniors. Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank caught up with the class of 2014 to see how they feel about the big day—and the future.
It’s the last hurrah for graduating seniors at Casper’s Kelly Walsh High School. The Casper Events Center is packed, and the graduates are in high spirits.
A tornado that touched down on Casper Mountain Friday afternoon caught forecasters by surprise. Trevor LaVoie, with the National Weather Service, says the storm systems moving through Natrona County today didn’t show any signs of producing tornadoes.
“These types of storms are more general thunderstorms in nature," LaVoie says. "We’re not really seeing a lot of heavy rain, they’re short-lived, and their depth is relatively shallow. They’re only about 15,000 feet thick.”
The tornado wasn’t visible on radar, but it was reported by numerous observers.
Sixty years ago a group of women in Casper whose husbands were always leaving them for long shifts out on the oil patch got together to commiserate and lunch. The group became known as the Geowives - wives of geologists - and it’s celebrating its diamond anniversary this spring. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov attended the Geowives’ monthly luncheon and has this story.
IRINA ZHOROV: Bette Faust is one of the charter members of the Geowives, and a Wyoming native who came to Casper in the 1950s.
As the Oil City Casper has seen its fate is closely tied with the energy industry and the recent boom in production is seeing Casper's population expand at an astounding rate. One thing not expanding fast enough however is affordable housing. Wyoming Public Radio's Jordan Giese reports.
JORDAN GIESE: Despite new commercial development one thing in Casper you'll struggle to find are for-sale and rent signs. With all the new energy work, people have poured into Casper, sometimes leaving little for the residents already there.
Gretchen Wheeler grew up in Nebraska and moved to Wyoming to teach in the Communications Department at Casper College. As a “non-native” Wyomingite, Gretchen shares her observations of the cultural differences between Wyoming and Nebraska.
The Wyoming Symphony Orchestra in Casper has teamed up with an illustrator for this weekend’s season finale concert. Igor Stravinsky’s 'Petrouchka' was originally written as a ballet about the story of a young puppet brought to life by a wizard. Wyoming Symphony music director and conductor Matthew Savery will tell the audience the story and have the orchestra demonstrate how the music replicates human movement.
Since 2010, homelessness has gone down in most places in the U.S., but not in Wyoming. A national report found that in 2013 Wyoming had nearly a thousand homeless people, up 64-percent in that time. About a quarter of those people are chronically homeless. Now, Casper wants to try a program focused on helping those individuals. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports.
WPM completed installation of a new transmitter and antenna near Kaycee that bridges the stretch of Interstate 25 between Casper and Buffalo. The new signal provides a good amount of overlap with the 91.3 signal from Casper and fades where the 90.5 Buffalo signal begins. A number of new areas between the 90.5 Buffalo and 90.9 Gillette signals along Interstate 90 are also now covered.
“The new signal, 88.7 KUWK, improves listening in an area that historically has suffered weak coverage” says Shane Toven, WPM Director of Engineering.
The trio Tenors Un Limited bills itself as ‘the Rat Pack of Opera.’ The group is starting the New Year with just four U.S. concerts before continuing the tour in the U.K., where they’re based. Two of those American engagements are in Wyoming, as Paul Martin explains to Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer.
Encana broke ground today on a treatment facility for produced water -- the contaminated water that's pulled up along with oil in the drilling process. The Neptune Water Treatment Facility will sit outside of Casper and serve the Moneta Divide field, which currently has about 300 wells but could eventually have more than 4-thousand. The facility will treat some of the produced water from current wells. A controversial plan to inject wastewater into the Madison Aquifer is another water disposal method Encana plans to use in the field.
Nina McConigley is a lecturer in the University of Wyoming’s English Department. Her new book is a collection of short stories called Cowboys and East Indians.
Her book tells the stories of a variety of Indian characters living in Wyoming, and explores what, often, reads as an unusual combination. McConigley’s father is an Irish-born petroleum geologist, and her mother, Nimi McConigley, was the first Indian-born person to serve in the Wyoming Legislature. Nina tells Rebecca Martinez she grew up in Casper.
The Casper Police Department is using a new approach to get crime tips. The department has added a text message reporting system and smartphone app crime reporting services.
People can now send a text message to a special number with Casper as the first word of their message followed by the information they’d like to report. If the user has an Apple or Android smartphone, they can download the TipSubmit app to report crime. The app offers users the option to send pictures and G.P.S information to police.
Thomas Leighton clears branches and tree limbs from the street in central Casper, Wyo. on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013. A major storm dumped heavy, wet snow over Wyoming, bringing down trees and power lines along the way.
WEB: branches down Casper was hard hit by last week’s early winter storm. The heavy snow felled many branches around the city, causing extensive damage. Assistant Public Services Director for the City of Casper, Peter Meyers, says branch cleanup will likely continue for the next several weeks.
The Metropolitan Planning Committee for the city of Casper and surrounding areas is looking to make roads safer and more accessible for cyclists and pedestrians and is inviting the public to contribute ideas and comments.
The proposed plans include the creation of new walking and biking paths, the extension of existing paths, painting bike lanes on roadways, improving signage, and revising intersection markings. Project analyst, David Hough, says in addition to safety, the project’s goal is to make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to get where they’re going.
The maternity ward at Wyoming Medical Center in Casper is seeing a baby boom.
The Casper Star-Tribune reported this week that 123 babies were born in July -- the most in a single month in the last 27 years. Nurses said the influx of energy jobs has been drawing young families to the area.