Casper's Cory McDaniel (guitar) and Amy Gieske (bass) play one from the new record, The Tremors.

Gretchen Wheeler - Casper WY

Jun 5, 2014

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.

Richard Masoner via Flickr Creative Commons

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.

Aaron Schrank

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.

Micah Schweizer

Steve Frame and his fellow Western Rebel Jim Halsey, aka Jimmy Harper, perform a song written for workers in the western oil fields.

via National Weather Service

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.

Irina Zhorov

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.

Jordan Giese

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.

Casper College

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.

Shane Toven

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. 

Tenors Un Limited

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.

Because this was recorded during WPR’s fall pledge drive, we have thoughtfully edited out the talking. Enjoy the music of Casper-born, New Orleans-residing Spencer Bohren—guilt-free!

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. /

Casper business owners will vote on whether to renew a tax on downtown businesses to fund the Downtown Development Authority.

 The Downtown Development Authority, or DDA, is run by several business owners in Casper with the goal of improving the city’s downtown area and attracting customers to businesses.

 City Councilman Bob Hopkins says the DDA provides important services.

Closari / Flickr - Creative Commons

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.

Dan Cepeda, Casper Star-Tribune / AP Photo

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.

Smoking ban advocates in Casper are suing to demand a recount of a petition challenging the city's new weakened regulations.

The co-leader of Keep Casper Smoke Free, Kim Holloway, filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Natrona County.

The city says the group failed to collect enough signatures on their petition calling for a referendum on the ban. But Holloway says the signatures of up to 95 people were wrongly thrown out.

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.

Conditions are favorable for firefighters trying to corral one of Wyoming's first significant wildfires this year.

The 300-acre wildfire is burning in a remote area 15 miles southeast of Casper, not far from Muddy Mountain. Lighting is believed to have started the fire sometime last weekend.

The fire has burned about 300 acres of mixed pine, grass and sagebrush.

Photo courtesy of Cowboy Tough Adventure Race

In July, Wyoming enters the world of adventure racing when the state hosts the Cameco and City of Casper Cowboy Tough Adventure Race.  It’s a 3 ½-day race across the state that begins on July 18th. 

Casper smoking ban repealed

Jun 19, 2013

The Casper City Council repealed the smoking ban for bars and private clubs yesterday, despite opposition from the mayor and some council members.

The Casper Star Tribune reports that the amended ordinance will likely take effect by the end of next week.

Several bar and club owners had objected to the ban, saying they were losing business to establishments in neighboring communities which don’t have smoking bans.

A survey of registered voters in Casper has found that the majority do not want the city council to overturn the city’s smoking ban. 

When the Casper City Council began to discuss overturning the law, the American Cancer Society Action Network and the American Heart Association hired a firm to survey Casper residents about the efforts. More than 600 Casper voters supported the smoking ban.

Jason Mincer of the Cancer society says the law is popular, with 62-percent of public support.

A dual-language immersion program will be tried in a Casper elementary school this fall. The Natrona County School Board voted to allow a pilot program where enrolled children will be taught in English for half the day and Mandarin for the other half.

Mark Peterson is one of the parents who’s been pushing for dual-language instruction. He says knowing a language like Mandarin is important, because of the opportunities for exporting Wyoming resources to China.

The Department of Environmental Quality has installed air quality monitors in Casper and Rock Springs.

DEQ Spokesman Keith Guille says they want to find out what pollutants are in the air, and whether they’re occurring at levels that are hazardous to public health.

“It’s important to get a baseline of right now what we’re seeing for air quality,” Guille said. “And then also if we do find some issues, obviously we need to start looking into what may be leading into higher levels of certain constituents.”

Wyoming gay marriage supporters are holding a rally in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s hearings on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, and Proposition eight that repealed a gay marriage law in California. 

This Sunday at noon, people from across the state are invited to don red clothing and gather in Casper’s Pioneer Park to rally for marriage equality and the repeal of both the DOMA, and Proposition 8.

The Casper Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) will be unveiling a new 25-year transportation plan for Casper and the surrounding communities, later this month. Plan organizers will be looking for public input from residents and businesses at several public meetings throughout the next year.

MPO planner, Sally Kerpchar, says the plan covers the new highway bill, plus much more. 

“The long range transportation plan looks at absolutely every mode of travel—anything that moves people or goods, it looks at,” said Kerpchar.

Next month the Casper City Council will vote to remove or change the city’s smoking ban.  At the very least, councilors are considering exempting bars, health care facilities, and private clubs from the ban. 

The smoking ban was implanted last summer. 

Anna Edwards of the group Smokefree Natrona County says her group will fight to keep the ban in place.  She says they are trying to protect the health of a lot of people, including employees.