News

The US Census Bureau says Wyoming’s minority population has increased since 2010, but Wyoming is still among the whitest states in the country ranking 41st in minority population. 

Economist Wenlin Liu says Wyoming’s total population increased 3-point-6 percent, but it was driven by a growth in the number of Hispanics and other minorities coming to the state in an effort to find jobs.

“From 2010 to 2014 the minority population increased 17-percent compared to the white population that only increased 1-point-4 percent.”

wikipedia.org

After weeks of hot and dry weather, Yellowstone National Park’s fire managers raised the fire danger rating to “high”. The warning comes as the park heads into its busiest season and one of the biggest holiday weekends of the year.

Traci Weaver with Yellowstone National Park says that means visitors to the park this July 4th weekend need to be extra-careful when dealing with fire. She says campfires should be completely put out and cool to the touch, and fireworks are not allowed anywhere in the park. That includes things you might not think of as fireworks.

University of Wyoming

Incoming freshman students at the University of Wyoming will soon have more access to top professors in their first semester. It’s part of the revamped University Studies Program, a core curriculum for all UW undergraduates.

Program coordinator Meg Flanigan Skinner says it aims to go beyond basic coursework.

Soon, when Wyoming state employees take a state vehicle out on the road, a GPS monitoring system will be along for the ride.

The Wyoming Department of Administration and Information recently announced it’s spending about a quarter of a million dollars installing hardware that can track a vehicle's speed, location, and condition in every vehicle in the state motor pool.

The U.S. Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal nationwide Friday.

That decision means lawmakers in states like Wyoming would have a much harder time challenging the practice.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Wyoming back in October, when the 10th Circuit Court ruled it had no other choice.

Same-sex marriage is now constitutionally guaranteed, here in Wyoming and nationwide.

That’s from Friday’s historic ruling by the Supreme Court.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Wyoming since October, following a ruling by the 10th Circuit court in Denver.

But this high court decision means there is no longer any question of whether it will be permanent.

A legislative task force is looking at how to keep the emails of University of Wyoming students private.

Currently most of UW student’s emails are legally the same as those sent by UW employees and other state workers. Those emails can be released to anyone who wants to take a look at them under Wyoming’s Public Records Act.

The fate of Wyoming’s same-sex couples could be thrown into a legal limbo if the U.S. Supreme Court rules there is no constitutional right to gay marriage.

The Court is expected to issue a long-awaited ruling on gay marriage by early July at the latest, and most legal experts think they will find it is constitutionally guaranteed.

But if the courts find it is not, states like Wyoming that previously did not allow gay marriage may take steps to ban it once again. University of Wyoming law professor Stephen Feldman says legally, it's unknown territory.  

Wyoming State Historical Society

Pioneers, dinosaurs, outlaws: Wyoming’s history includes them all. But the state’s museums are chock full of artifacts that sometimes don’t get the attention they deserve. With the 125 year celebration of statehood coming up, the Wyoming State Historical Society wants to do something about that.

Wyoming State Museum

The Wyoming State Museum is celebrating the state’s 125th anniversary of statehood with a new exhibit, which takes a look at Wyoming’s history through artifacts from each decade.

It starts with the present and works its way back. Each week a new decade is unveiled. Some of the items on display include an original state line divider on the Lincoln Highway, a football commemorating the 1968 Sugar Bowl, and a 1950s flood light from the state’s first television station KFBC.

Flickr

The electric car company Tesla will soon break ground on a supercharger station in Sheridan.

Sheridan’s supercharger station will be the third of its kind in Wyoming, joining two located in Cheyenne and Lusk. Wyoming also has 2 destination chargers in Jackson and Sheridan. But unlike Destination Chargers which are affiliated with a hotel or restaurant, superchargers are more like self-contained gas stations for Tesla’s electric cars. But instead of filling the tank you plug the car in to a freestanding station, located in a parking lot.

Miles Bryan

Chuck Fidroeff runs the Good Samaritan mission in the Jackson. He came with me to a spot a few miles outside of town that, for a few days recently, was one of Jackson’s major attractions: the dump.

"It really hurts your heart," Fidroeff said while watching the crushing machines work. "Walgreens should have known better."

The town of Jackson is preparing to host a major new music festival this weekend.

The first-ever Contour Music Festival features over 50 acts playing back to back at venues throughout Jackson Friday, June 12 to Sunday, June 14.

American Heritage Center

The American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming is looking for submissions to its newest archive: “Out West in the Rockies,” which is chronicling the experiences of lesbian, gay bisexual, and transgendered people in the American West.

Rick Ewig is the Associate Director at the American Heritage Center. He says there are other archival institutions with a focus on LGBT people in other parts of the country.

Jeff Goetz, WYDOT

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead has called in the National Guard and several other government agencies to help with major flooding in Niobrara County. Several homes in Lusk are flooded, area drinking water has potentially been contaminated, water is over several roads, and portions of US 18-20 and US 85 have washed away.

Pat Kondas with the Wyoming Red Cross says they have set up a shelter at the county fairgrounds, but only people who are in dire need, or whose homes are already flooded should make the trip.

The Casper social services organization NOWCAP Casper is struggling to stay open, after Natrona County Commissioners signaled they would not support its bid for a federal contract to house former prisoners.

Flash flooding has damaged homes, businesses and a highway bridge in eastern Wyoming.

Rebecca Martinez / Wyoming Public Radio

The U.S. Department of Labor is considering whether to institute a new rule that would raise the required pay of foreign sheep herders with visas.

The rule would increase pay from $750 dollars a month plus room and board to $24-hundred dollars a month plus room and board. Those in the sheep industry say the increase could put them out of business and they apparently aren’t crying wolf.

A year after it started trying to recruit staff, the juvenile crisis center in  Cheyenne is still nowhere near opening.

Juvenile Crisis Centers provide a short term stay and counseling to youth who are in crisis as an alternative to lockup. Currently there are crisis centers open in most major Wyoming towns, but Cheyenne has been without one since the Attention Homes crisis center closed in 2010.

According to the Wyoming Office of Tourism, the state is poised for another record-breaking summer tourism season. 

10.1 million visitors came to Wyoming in 2014, and this year the state could see even more. Diane Shober, the Executive Director of the tourism office, says that it is thanks to a combination of strong advance booking numbers for national parks, an ongoing marketing campaign, and low gas prices.

Wyoming Department of Transportation

Portions of US 20 and Wyoming 789 are closed after several mudslides over the weekend in the Wind River Canyon.

Wet weather and storms over Memorial Day Weekend triggered the slides, which damaged roadways, guardrails, railroads, and pipes.

Cody Beers with the Wyoming Department of Transportation says because of the holiday weekend, it was tougher to get the word out via traditional media outlets. So WYDOT got creative.

Wyoming has too many children who are in institutionalized care versus foster care. That’s according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation that says 27 percent of kids in state custody end up in group homes of institutions as opposed to foster parents. The national average is 14 percent. 

The report finds that teens in particular are less likely to end up with foster families.  The Casey Foundation’s Tracey Feild says there needs to be a fundamental shift in how the state deals with children who are removed from their homes.

For the first time, Wyoming now has two cities with a population of 60-thousand or more as Casper has gone over the 60-thousand mark. Economist Wenlin Liu says Natrona County is the fastest growing county in the state.

“It grew over eight percent from 2010 to 2014. It was mainly driven by oil exploration in the Powder River Basin. You know Casper has a service center for lots of these training activities, so that’s why they attracted so many workers.”

Jackson’s bottleneck traffic may be getting some relief in the form of the Community Streets Plan.

The plan was created by Colorado firm Charlier Associates, and it aims to make walking, biking, and taking public transport more feasible for Jackson’s residents and visitors, which would hopefully make them less likely to use cars to get around. It looks to do this by installing more sidewalks, better bike lanes, and easier access to bus stops.

A Montana company called Health Management Services will step in and take over operations of a nursing home in Saratoga that was slated to shut down. 

The Deseret Health group had planned to close the nursing home in Saratoga and another one in Rock Springs that was sold last week. Both facilities will remain open after the Wyoming Department of Health stepped in and brokered the deals for both facilities. 

Western Sugar Cooperative

The Western Sugar Cooperative has announced that it will slowly be phasing out its Torrington sugar beet factory, leaving about 70 people in the area out of work.

Jenny Pragnell is with the Goshen County Economic Development Corporation. She says she has lived in Goshen County her whole life and this is probably the biggest layoff she has seen.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees voted Thursday keep the search for the next UW President open.  

The trustees voted to release the names of the finalists and also voted to bring them to campus and possibly other places in the state sometime before March. The goal is to have them meet members of the campus community and the public. 

Aaron Schrank

 

Laramie made history last night when the city council passed Wyoming’s first broad ordinance banning discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

 

The ordinance, which passed by a vote of 7-2,  covers public or private employment, housing, and public accommodations like bars or restaurants. The town of Jackson also has an LGBT anti discrimination ordinance on the books, but it only covers public employees.

 

The Lander-Based media company Pitch Engine will take its community news website platform to at least three new Wyoming cities in the next few months.

 

Cody, Gillette, and Jackson will all get new Pitch Engine backed news sites based on County10.com, which has operated in Fremont County for the last few years.

 

Pitch Engine’s sites publish a stream of press releases, police reports, community, and local ads.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Wyoming’s Department of Workforce Services has unveiled a new program intended to bring former residents back to the state to live and work. Called Wyoming Grown, it allows family members or friends of someone living out of state to refer them the Department of Workforce Services, who will attempt to recruit them back to Wyoming to fill a job. 

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