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1:21 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

University of Wyoming Opens New "Front Door"

One of the several sculptures in the center made with elk horns sourced from Jackson.
Credit Jordan Giese

October 24th is the grand opening of the University of Wyoming’s new Gateway Center, which will serve as a "front door" to the university for new students and families. 

The thirty-five million dollar facility will house UW’s admissions office, career services, alumni association and the UW Foundation, which secures private donations for the school. The Foundation’s President Ben Blalock says the building has had significant help from many prominent UW alum and other Wyomingites. Blalock says the private funding was crucial. 

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12:41 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

4th Annual Local Fest Moves To Lander

The 4th annual Local Fest is moving from Pinedale to Lander this year. The festival is a celebration of Wyoming foods. It starts today with a free film festival at the Lander Public Library and runs through this weekend. 

Steve Doyle is a Riverton farmer who helped organize the event. He says this year’s event will be longer and more intensive than in the past. He says there are lots of success stories around the state.

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9:13 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Same-Sex Marriage In Wyoming: What You Need To Know

Credit Sushiesque via Flickr

As of yesterday morning, same-sex marriage is now legal in Wyoming. Wyoming Public Radio’s Miles Bryan has been following the story, and he joined Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard in the studio to break down what’s been going on.

  

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6:27 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Wyoming Advocacy Group Celebrates Same-Sex Marriage

Tina Johnson and Stacey Maloney were the second same-sex couple to get married just outside the Laramie County Clerk's office. Unitarian Reverend Audette Fulbright officiated.
Credit Aaron Schrank/WPR

The gay rights advocacy group that has been fighting Wyoming’s gay marriage ban in state court for the past year celebrated the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state Tuesday.

Wyoming Equality’s executive director Jeran Artery stood outside the Cheyenne court house and watched two couples emerge with marriage licenses--and then tie the knot in brief official ceremonies near the court house entrance. 

Artery says this is what his group has been working for.

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6:09 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Superintendent Cindy Hill Sounds Off In Schools Report

Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill
Credit Yellowstone Gate via Flickr Creative Commons

In a report on the status of Wyoming’s schools released last week, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill says that the Legislature has overstepped its authority when it comes to education issues in the state.

Hill says lawmakers have used their responsibility for funding K-12 education as an excuse to manage it.

“The legislature has the power of the purs

  e,” says Hill. “Yes, they’re responsible for funding, but not all of the decisions that are related.”

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5:34 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Same-Sex Marriage Arrives In Wyoming

AJ McDaniel and Jennifer Mumaugh become the first same-sex couple in Laramie County to wed. McDaniel is a transgender man, but legally female, so the couple was unable to marry until Tuesday.
Aaron Schrank/WPR

On Tuesday morning Wyoming county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples for the first time in the state’s history. Wyoming Public Radio’s Miles Bryan was at the Albany County Courthouse for that historic event, while Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank was in Cheyenne, at the Laramie County Courthouse. Together, they have this report.

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3:57 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Same Sex Marriage Starts Tomorrow At 10am

County clerks all across Wyoming should begin issuing same sex marriage licenses Tuesday morning.

This comes after Wyoming’s Attorney General said the state would not appeal last week’s federal court ruling that overturned Wyoming’s same sex marriage ban.

Cheyenne resident AJ McDaniel plans to get his marriage license as soon as he can. He says he had a wedding party last week.

“And we did the whole wedding ceremony and the church and reception for all our friends and family. So now we are just really excited to make it legal.”

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3:56 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

UPDATED: Judge Strikes Down Wyoming's Same Sex Marriage Ban, Mead Won't Appeal

A federal judge has overturned Wyoming’s ban on same sex marriage.

The court has ordered that Wyoming must begin issuing same sex marriage licenses, but it has stayed that order until next Thursday, or until the State decides not to appeal the ruling.

“I’ve reached out to the State Attorney General’s office and asked them if they would file a notice with the court indicating they don’t intend to appeal,” says James Lyman, an attorney with the plaintiffs. “If they do not appeal the order will go into effect immediately. I have not yet received a response from them.”

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9:08 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Jackson Entrepreneur Earns Spot On Time's 25 Most Influential Teens Of 2014

Courtesy Megan Grassell.

Wyoming teen Megan Grassell was listed as one Time’s 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014 this week, joining the ranks of Malia Obama and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai. She spoke with Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard about her success.

With the help of a kickstarter campaign that raised $42-thousand dollars, Grassell created her own company. Yellowberry makes training bras for pre-teen and teenage girls. Grassell, 19, was inspired after taking her younger sister shopping for her first bra. All of the training bras she tried on were padded and mature-looking. 

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3:44 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Gay People Can Still Be Legally Fired In Wyoming

Same-sex marriage will probably soon be legal here in Wyoming. But gay people can still be fired simply for being gay.

While Wyoming has laws that prohibit employment discrimination based on age, sex, race, or national origin, the state has nothing on the books preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation. Laramie Representative Cathy Connolly has been leading the charge to change that. She says Wyoming’s equal employment opportunity office, which deals with workplace discrimination, can’t accept complaints dealing with sexual orientation.

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3:39 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Wyoming Lottery Meeting And Beating Expectations

Credit Wyoming Lottery

The Wyoming Lottery says its first month of sales went better than expected. Wyoming Lottery CEO Jon Clontz says the group expected to make about $1.2 million, but brought in about $1.8 million in its first month selling tickets, which began August 24th.

The lottery uses no state money for its operation. Clontz says the group has to pay back a $3 million private loan before any money reaches local governments.

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1:58 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Uptick In Reported Social Media Stalking Cases At UW

Credit Flickr Creative Commons

The University of Wyoming has seen a rise in the use of social media for stalking purposes. That includes things like using Facebook and Twitter to gather personal information, and track someone’s real life whereabouts.

UW Police Chief Mike Samp says the university has seen around four reported incidents of stalking where victims were threatened or harassed by their online perpetrators since the beginning of September. There were 10 reported stalking incidents during all of last academic year.

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10:56 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Speaker Discusses UN Declaration Of The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples

Credit Dawn Ballou

Thanks to the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People, Native American tribes now have more legal tools than ever before. That’s according to a speaker at a conference on Monday hosted by the University of Wyoming American Indian Studies Program.

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12:59 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

State Economic Health Steady But Housing Costs Rise

Credit commons.wikimedia.org

A new report out from the Wyoming Department of Administration and Information shows that the state continues to do well economically, but housing costs are rising in several counties. Converse County has had a twenty percent increase in both apartment rent and house payments. Teton continues to be the most expensive county to live in comparatively.

Amy Bittner is a senior economist with the department and says the state overall is doing well.

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8:16 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Same Sex Marriage Challenge To Be Heard Next Week

A federal court hearing next week could enable same-sex couples to begin getting marriage licenses in Wyoming. Four same-sex couples and a gay-rights advocacy group filed suit Tuesday seeking the right to marry in Wyoming. U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl will consider their request to decide immediately on gay marriage in Wyoming at next Thursday's hearing in Casper.   

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12:53 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Ms. Wheelchair USA Takes Aim At Wyoming Women's Antelope Hunt

Courtesy Ashlee Lundvall

The Wyoming Women’s annual Antelope Hunt kicks off today. The three day event is sponsored by the Wyoming Women’s Foundation and brings together 40 female hunters, including guest hunter and speaker Ashlee Lundvall. Lundvall is Ms. Wheelchair USA 2013-2014, and helped found the non-profit Wyoming Disabled Hunters.

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12:31 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Wyoming Women's Antelope Hunt Kicks Off

Credit Zachary Wheeler

Today marks the first day of the Wyoming Women’s annual Antelope Hunt.

The three-day event is sponsored by the Wyoming Women’s Foundation and brings together 40 women hunters, including guest hunter Ashlee Lundvall, this year’s Ms. Wheelchair USA.

In addition to her pageant title, Lundvall is a stay at home mom and she says that means she contributes to her family’s economic self-sufficiency because it saves them money on childcare.

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10:25 am
Thu October 9, 2014

UW Enrollment Sees Slight Increase

University of Wyoming
Credit Jimmy Emerson via Flickr Creative Commons

Student enrollment at the University of Wyoming has increased slightly over the past year, according to data released this week. On its Laramie campus, enrollment grew by about one percent—or 109 students—to more than 10,500.

UW’s Vice President for Student Affairs Sara Axelson says the slight growth is the result of boosted recruitment efforts.

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9:57 am
Thu October 9, 2014

UW Law Professor: "Gay Marriage Should Be Legal In Wyoming Now"

Credit Mark Fischer via Flickr

On Monday the United State Supreme Court declined to hear challenges to federal court rulings that had overturned bans on gay marriage in states across the country. One of those federal courts was the 10th circuit court, which is based in Denver and has authority over Wyoming.

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3:08 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Another Injury At A Western Sugar Facility

Credit Paul via Flickr

A woman working at the Western Sugar Cooperative facility in Torrington was seriously injured after a high fall last week.

This injury comes after another worker died from a fall at Western Sugar’s Lovell facility in January. Wyoming safety inspectors fined the company almost 200 thousand dollars in July for safety violations.

John Ysebaert is with Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, which oversees safety inspectors. He says Western Sugar has recently seen a complete turnover in management.

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11:32 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Sustainable Food Festival Opens In Jackson

The city of Jackson will host a sustainable food festival this week--which the city claims is the first of its kind worldwide. FoodSHIFT director Annie Fenn says the festival will showcase regional ranchers and farmers. Area chefs and foodies will offer advice on topics including finding the best sustainable seafood and making your own vinegars. Fenn says the festival will spend one day just on the subject of local meats.

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4:25 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Wyoming Equality File Lawsuit To Force State To Comply With Federal Court Ruling On Gay Marriage

Credit David via Flickr

Monday’s Supreme Court decision not to review state gay marriage bans that had been overturned in federal courts means that the highest legal authority in Wyoming recognizes gay marriage. But how soon same sex marriage licenses will be issued in the state remains unclear.

That’s because a state statute defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. Wyoming Equality is an advocacy group challenging that law in state court. Group lawyer Thomas Lyman says regardless of the outcome of his case gay marriage is now legal in Wyoming.

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4:39 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Shepard Foundation Director Says The Country Has Come A Long Way

The Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard foundation is delighted that the Supreme Court appears to have opened the door for gay marriage across the country. Jason Marsden notes that 16 years ago tonight/Monday, Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, tied up, and beaten to within an inch of his life. He died a few days later. 

Marsden believes Shepard's murder helped ignite a new discussion on gay rights that's ultimately led to growing support for same sex marriages.

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1:24 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Wyoming Same Sex Couples Have to Wait Out A State Lawsuit

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear appeals from states seeking to prohibit same sex marriage this term. But a Wyoming lawsuit may still need to go through the system before gay marriage is allowed in this state.

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10:08 am
Mon October 6, 2014

More Clean Up Needed At Cheyenne Missile Site

Credit Alan Fitch via Flickr

The U.S. Corp of Engineer’s efforts to clean up contamination at a missile site near Cheyenne has been inadequate. That’s according to a newly released report commissioned by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.

The report was conducted by the Intera group. It found that the Corp of Engineers, who have been monitoring the abandoned Atlas Missile Site since the early 2000’s, didn’t realize how much of the chemical TCE had leaked into nearby soil and groundwater. TCE can cause cancer and liver damage if consumed, says Wyoming DEQ manager Hannes Stueckler.

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11:54 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Winter Propane Outlook Better Than Last Year

Despite a record crop of corn in the Midwest this summer, there shouldn't be propane shortages this winter, according to industry observers.

Propane is used to dry out the corn crop, to prevent mold, among other things. Last year there was also a record crop of corn AND it was very wet, so harvesters used more propane than usual. Then, an especially harsh winter on the east coast increased demand for propane before the supply could rebound. That resulted in propane price spikes.

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3:24 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

UW Gets Wind Energy Research Grant

Sunset at Royd Moor Wind Farm
Credit Charles Cook via Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a $4.2 million grant to the University of Wyoming for wind energy research.

Six different University departments will collaborate on the project.

UW professor Jonathan Naughton is the director of the Wind Energy Research Center and the principal investigator for the grant. He says the goal is to address barriers to rolling out renewable energy in the state—and research will focus on three key aspects.

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2:50 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Two Wyoming Kid Conservationists Headline Event to Save African Elephants

Alex French, age 9, dressed as an elephant.

Two Wyoming children are leading the charge against African elephant poaching. 

The Tooth Fairy Project is an elephant conservation event in Jackson on Saturday and Sunday. Two Jackson children, 11 year old Lily Marvin and 9 year old Alex French are headlining they event after they caught a filmmaker’s attention because of their passion for saving elephants.  The filmmaker is creating a documentary called Elephant Daze about elephant poaching and plans to incorporate the children into the documentary.

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4:28 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Wyoming Loses Latest Wolf Battle And Could Ponder A Congressional Fix

Despite an emergency rule that put Wyoming’s wolf management plan firmly into law, a federal judge refused to change an earlier ruling that placed Wyoming wolves back on the endangered species list.   

Washington D.C. based U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson sided with environmental groups who argued that Wyoming’s management plan, which allows wolves to be shot on sight in most of the state, failed to adequately protect wolves. 

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3:37 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Judge Rules Against Wyoming On Wolf Status

A federal judge has denied requests from the state of Wyoming, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and pro-hunting groups to change a decision last week that reinstates federal protections for wolves in the state.
 
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday denied requests to change her ruling.

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