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.
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.
Wyoming population is continuing to grow, increasing by one percent in 2013. That’s according to a new report by the Department of Information and Administration. Senior economist Amy Bittner says migration to cities in the energy-rich central part of the state accounted for most of the growth.
“Several of those towns at the top of the list are in the central part of Wyoming,” she says. “You have Bar Nunn, you have Mills, which is also outside Casper, and then you have Douglas. You know, that’s due to the economic activity with the energy industry.”
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.
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.
In a letter signed by 16 senators and himself, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi has asked the federal Committee on Appropriations to continue funding the Payments in Lieu of Taxes – or PILT - program. The program contributes money to counties with federal lands within their borders. The payments help make up for what counties lose by not being able to collect taxes on those lands.
The Natrona County health department is investigating and outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness, often known as the “stomach flu.”
State epidemiologist Tracy Murphy says several people who have reported the problem had eaten at the same Casper restaurant, but he declined to name the restaurant until the county has wrapped up its investigation. Murphy says it it’s premature to blame the outbreak on food poisoning.
A conservation group is urging Wyoming counties to be cautious with subdivisions, because the overall costs might be more than the county anticipated.
John Heyneman with the Sonoran Institute in Wyoming prepared a report for the Natrona County Commissioners, which says good prior planning and partnerships with city officials can help save counties money.
As most know, school reform is far from novel. It has been a catch word for many years. But at a time when Casper was looking a building a new high school, school officials thought that a new approach in education should be part of new construction. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports…