Wikipedia Commons

The holiday shopping season is off to an official start in Wyoming, with Black Friday sales now taking place almost the entire weekend.

The deals started Thursday night, with big stores like Target and Walmart opening their doors at 6 pm on Thanksgiving. Wyoming shoppers were ready. Jake Pappas works for the Target in Cheyenne. He says it took about 20 minutes to get everyone who was in line inside, and that was just the beginning.

James Rumminger

Winter weather conditions with snow and strong winds will make Thanksgiving travel difficult.  Most of the snow will fall in central Wyoming, Fremont County could see around 8 inches. 

But Riverton based National Weather Service Meteorologist Paul Skrbac says snow statewide will make driving a challenge.           

Wyoming’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remains at four percent, but those numbers are being questioned.  

David Bullard is a Senior Economist with the Department of Workforce Services research and planning division. While the latest numbers should that unemployment has increase in energy counties, he says seeing that the overall unemployment rate remains steady is surprising, especially when you consider other economic indicators. 

Wyoming Humanities Council

Last week, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead joined other governors in calling on the U.S. to halt the flow of Syrian refugees to the country. Currently, Wyoming accepts no refugees at all, as it’s the only state without a refugee resettlement program. But that won’t stop the Wyoming Humanities Council from going forward with a campaign to hold discussions about refugee resettlement and what it could mean for Wyoming.

Miles Bryan

A group of UW student protestors called “BreakthrUWYO” staged a walkout of a discussion on diversity put on by the school and attended by UW president Dick McGinity Tuesday night.


Governor Matt Mead said that Wyoming can diversify its economy through technology and that the energy industry will bounce back.

During a speech to kick off his annual business forum on Tuesday, Mead said that technology was poised to be Wyoming’s fourth leading industry. He discussed the enhancement of high-speed internet throughout the state and a number of other advances the state has made to attract technology-based business.

Mead said such work is important to the state’s future and it goes beyond economics.

Caroline Ballard

The recent terror attacks in Paris that killed 129 people also triggered an emergency response protocol at the University of Wyoming. Three UW students are currently studying in France, though only one UW student was in Paris this weekend, but the University reached out to all of them to make sure they were safe.

Anne Alexander is the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs. She says despite fears of more attacks, she does not think the events in Paris will impact enrollment in European study abroad programs for next semester.

Wyoming Department of Transportation

Winter weather this week caused I-80 to close across most of the state. The first major closure of the winter driving season was prompted by near zero visibility and blowing snow across much of interstate 80.

Sergeant David Wagener with the Wyoming Highway Patrol says the most important safety tip for winter driving is wearing your seatbelt, something he says everyone should be doing no matter what the weather conditions are.

Wild horses cost American taxpayers 77 million dollars a year. But a man who helps shrink wild horse herds with birth control vaccine hopes to reduce those costs.

A wild horse herd lives on BLM land in the McCullough peaks, just east of Cody. BLM officials used to do gathers here, to reduce the herd size… but it’s not growing anymore, thanks to a contraceptive called PZP 

Senior Scientist of the Science and Conservation Center Jay F. Kirkpatrick said, “They reached zero population growth in three years flat. They’re balancing foal production with mortality.”

The Jackson area saw its first significant snowfall of the season this week, and the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is busy preparing to open its slopes. The early-season storm brought more than 20 inches to the top of the mountain.

"We are definitely seeing some great traffic from this new snow," said Anna Cole, spokeswoman for the resort. "We are seeing people actively calling and planning vacations. This is our, this is a very busy time of year."

Although the winter storm dropped plenty of snow, Cole says they’re also making snow, to help cover the base of the mountain.

Wikipedia Commons

A new rule that will make it easier to restore black-footed ferret populations.

The 10(j) rule lets private landowners open up their lands to reintroduction in return for looser restrictions. Under the rule, if a landowner accidentally harms or kills a ferret, he or she will not be prosecuted under the Endangered Species Act.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokesman Ryan Moehring, says his agency partnered with Wyoming officials to develop the rule.

The National Park Service's draft plan for the Moose-Wilson corridor road in Grand Teton National Park is getting mixed reviews.

The 674-page  plan lays out four alternatives for the road, but endorses “Alternative C.” That plan would limit the number of cars allowed to be on the road, pave the road to provide for better bicycle access, and add a new ranger kiosk, among other things.

The city of Laramie is joining the state of Wyoming in setting a hiring freeze until the state’s financial difficulties get sorted out. 

Laramie City Manager Janine Jordan notes that the state is cutting its current budget by 200 million dollars and state lawmakers will likely cut back on local government spending as energy prices remain low. 

University of Wyoming


The day the Berlin Wall came down and the Unification of Germany is still an important day in the mind of a University of Wyoming graduate. Andrew Denison is a long time German political commentator who came to Laramie to talk about the 25 year anniversary of unification and whether it has met expectations. He spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck.  

American Heritage Center

The co-creator of the American Heritage Center’s newest archive will visit Sheridan’s library.

Gregory Hinton is an author and filmmaker. He will be speaking about the archive “Out West In The Rockies,” which is focused on the experiences of LGBT people in the American West. Hinton says it’s important that the history of LGBT people be accepted as a part of American and Western history, and he says the archive at the American Heritage Center is a good first step.

The Jackson Town Council and Teton County Board of Commissioners agreed to a draft housing action plan for the community this week, following a 3-day summit.

The 80-page plan will need to be approved by a vote at a joint meeting November 2. Under the plan, the county and town will work together on housing issues with a joint Town-County Housing Director.

The Teton County Housing Authority will be restructured to allow for joint control with the town of Jackson. It will remain a quasi-governmental agency, but its scope and focus will be significantly reduced.

Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray says he wants the state’s next Elections Director to focus on improving voter registration and turnout.

This comes after the state’s longtime Elections Director, Peggie Nighswonger, resigned from the post last month, citing philosophical differences with Murray. Nighswonger said in an interview with WPR that Secretary Murray is focusing too much on voter registration programs, and not spending enough time preparing for the 2016 elections.

Wyoming Highway Patrol

State Forester Bill Crapser said that between 15 to 20 structures have been lost in a grass fire that burned some 15 square miles north of Casper. 

Crapser is blaming warm and dry conditions for the fire that he says is unusual for this time of year.  Hundreds of residents had been evacuated. When they return to their homes Red Cross spokeswoman Pat Kondas said they will need more than food and water.

Wyoming Highway Patrol

Hundreds of residents near the Casper suburb of Evansville have been evacuated from their homes due to a grass fire. The blaze started at a landfill Saturday, but high winds have since caused the fire to spread to the surrounding area.

Bob Fawcett is the Fire Marshall for the Natrona County Fire Protection District. He says the department has called up much of its resources, between 80 and 100 people in aerial and ground units, to fight the fire, but the high winds that fanned the flames initially are also making it difficult to fight the fire.

Wikimedia Commons


Many consumers are interested in the benefits of so-called ‘good bacteria’ in curing foods and gardening. That’s why this year’s LocalFest in Lander is offering a film festival, gala dinner and workshops celebrating microbes. LocalFest organizer Stefani Smith says the highlight will be a hands-on composting workshop with author Jeff Lowenfels.


A University of Wyoming report found that race was not a factor when University police detained a group of Native American students from St. Stephens High School in the campus bookstore last weekend.

The students were there as part of a campus-visit day for students. A customer in the bookstore told employees there she suspected one student of shoplifting, and described the t-shirt he was wearing.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming said it will follow the governor’s order and implement a hiring freeze, as well as try and find ways to return some money to the state. 

Governor Matt Mead this week said that the state needs to cut up to 200 million dollars from its existing budget due to a revenue shortfall. He hopes to acquire 18 million dollars through leaving unfilled positions vacant. 

Historical horse racing machines will remain shut down in Wyoming for at least weeks, and more likely a few months.


The SHIFT Festival kicks off its second annual conference this week at the Center for the Arts in Jackson.

Director Christian Beckwith says the conference is the first of its kind to bring together outdoor recreationists, land managers and conservation advocates.

"We’re really looking forward to getting everybody into the same room at the same time, cross-pollinating the conversations that we typically just have amongst ourselves, and seeing where it goes from there," says Beckwith.

Wikimedia Commons

Yellowstone is heading for a record tourist season.

At every Yellowstone attraction, there were crowds this summer. There were lines of people with cameras and spotting scopes roadside, and miles long traffic jams when motorists failed to pull over for the iconic park wildlife.

More than 3 million visitors were in the Park by the end of August. Records were set every summer month. Gateway communities like Cody benefited. The owner of the Proud Cut Saloon, Del Nose, said it was busy.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming is looking to find more space for the WWAMI medical program. The program is run by the University of Washington and trains students from Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho to be doctors. 

Wyoming Department of Transportation

The Wyoming Department of Transportation is working with federal officials on a project to make driving safer. The plan is to use interactive technology to tell drivers about road and weather conditions as well as safety information. Wyoming is focusing on making travel safer along Interstate 80. 

University of Wyoming

University of Wyoming President Dick McGinity said that falling energy prices could have a dramatic effect on UW’s budget request. 

Speaking during his annual address to University Faculty and Staff McGinity noted that the revenue picture for the state budget is dire and that could especially impact his number one priority, salary increases for faculty and staff.

“But we may need to face the sobering prospect that tuition increases at UW and the reallocation of resources within the University may be our most likely avenues for compensation increases for faculty and staff.”

Pew Charitable Trusts

Wyoming lawmakers should consider almost doubling the state’s rainy day reserve fund if they want to be assured that the fund would be enough to weather an economic downturn.

That’s one of the main takeaways a presentation from the research arm of the Pew Charitable Trusts to Wyoming’s Joint Revenue Interim Committee Friday in Buffalo.  

Ross Doman, WYDOT

A single-engine plane crashed east of Laramie Friday morning on Interstate 80. Albany County Undersheriff Rob DeBree says 67 year old Steven Stam from Holland, Michigan was traveling eastbound around 8am when he experienced engine trouble and was forced to make an emergency landing on the westbound lane of Interstate 80. 

"He actually started to come down into the median area. May have possibly hit the median itself but not bad. And he was able to put it down and skidded off the highway at that location," says DeBree.