News

National Park Service

Yellowstone National Park is closing a popular hillside near the Grand Prismatic Spring this summer. Over the years, unofficial trails have been created on the hill since hikers can look over the spring there.

Jody Lyle, a spokeswoman for the park, says the closure is part of a two-year project.

"This summer we’re going to close that area, begin construction on an official trail that will go to an official overlook, and then restore all of the damage that’s been done on that hillside from people creating social trails on their own," says Lyle.

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park officials are urging tourists to obey park guidelines, after recent incidents of visitors breaking the law garnered widespread attention on social media.

UW Told To Cut $35 Million

May 11, 2016
University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming will have to make massive budget cuts over the next two years. Governor Matt Mead delivered the bad news to the UW trustees Wednesday afternoon.

“The University of Wyoming as it is the second largest user of general fund dollars we are asking for a bit above eight percent…the number is 35 million dollars.”

The cut is on top of six million that UW received in March. University officials say the cuts will involve both programs and personnel. UW Deans are in the process of recommending reductions.

The Local Crowd

Starting this summer, Laramie will help pioneer a new kind of local online crowdfunding called “The Local Crowd.”  Crowdfunding is when an entity raises small amounts of money from a large number of people.

Trey Sherwood is the Executive Director of the Laramie Main Street Alliance, which will take the lead in the platform’s implementation. She says the difference between “The Local Crowd” and other crowd funding sites like "Indiegogo" or "GoFundMe" is that “The Local Crowd” will feature campaigns for projects that will invest back in their community.

Irina Zhorov

Heavy spring snow has boosted the state’s snowpack levels to almost 100 percent of normal.

Lee Hackleman, Wyoming's Water Supply Specialist, says that means the outlook for the state’s water resources and reservoirs is good, and drought conditions are disappearing from most areas.

"Probably the only part that's left [in drought] is some over on the west side of the state and that is liable to persist for a little while," says Hackleman.

TAMRA WATTS

Pinedale’s Wind River Brewing Company will be opening a new brewing facility and restaurant at the Roundhouse in Evanston. This comes after the company fought for years to build that facility in Pinedale.

Wind River Brewing owners Tamra and Shawn Watts have lived in Pinedale all their lives. The couple wanted to build their new brewery and tasting room there, but Pinedale’s mayor halted the expansion when he stopped the city from changing some zoning rules. So, they’re building it away from their hometown—150 miles South to Evanston.

A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation says that nearly one in ten Wyoming children has a parent or guardian who has spent time in prison or jail.  

The report says incarceration can have a negative impact on families and kids. The Wyoming Community Foundation’s Micah Richardson said Wyoming is above the national average when it comes to having a parent in prison.  One reason may be the state’s efforts to be tough on crime. 

istockphoto.com

A viral essay written by a University of Wyoming computer science student is inspiring real change at the university.

Wyoming Public Radio Wins Three 2016 Edward R. Murrow Awards

Apr 19, 2016
rtdna

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) has announced that Wyoming Public Radio is the winner of three regional Edward R. Murrow awards. 

The highly coveted awards recognize the best electronic journalism produced by radio, television and online news organizations around the world.

Democratic voters in Wyoming have decided: Sen. Bernie Sanders has won the state's caucuses, according to The Associated Press. But the victory over Hillary Clinton will not ensure Sanders more delegates. The state's 14 delegates will be split evenly between the two candidates.

​Hillary for America Campaign Manager Robby Mook released the following statement on Clinton's tie in pledged delegates in Wyoming:

The 20th anniversary of the Shepard Symposium on Social Justice kicks off Wednesday, April 6th. The event was started by two members of the College of Education at the University of Wyoming. In 2002, it was renamed in honor of slain UW student Matthew Shepard. Since then, the symposium has grown into a network of organizations and individuals working toward equality. On this milestone, symposium organizer Michelle Jarman says it’s time for a retrospective. 

University of Wyoming Libraries Facebook

The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees has appointed Dr. Ivan Gaetz as the new dean of libraries. He will replace Maggie Farrell, who has accepted a position at Clemson University. Gaetz is currently the library director at Colorado College, and he has also served in positions at the libraries of Regis University, Regent College and Columbia University.

The Wyoming Office of Tourism’s 2016 campaign “That’s WY” is focused on answering why people should visit Wyoming.

One of the biggest changes the campaign has introduced is a new website design and URL at travelwyoming.com. The new site is image based with a so-called responsive design, which means the site looks the same whether viewed on a cell phone or desktop computer.

Diane Shober, executive director of the Wyoming Office of Tourism, says, in addition to the new site, the office is also expanding its reach in radio and television.

A national magazine has given Wyoming’s Board of Medicine low marks for failing to provide easy access to the disciplinary records of doctors in the state. 

Wyoming scored 27 out of a possible 100 points, placing the State Board of Medicine 6th from the bottom. California received the highest score with an 84. Wyoming Board of Medicine Director Kevin Bohenblust said his office has worked hard to make its website more user friendly and provide important information for residents. 

Harvey Barrison via Flickr Creative Commons

About 150 tenants at the Virginian Village apartments in Jackson are struggling to find new places to live after being notified last week that they’re being kicked out of their homes. 

The property owners of Jackson’s Virginian Village apartments say tenants must be out by the end of July—and some must leave as soon as May 1. California-based Bedford Investments plans to remodel and sell the complex’s 56 units.

Wyoming's average personal income of just over $55,000 ranked seventh in the nation in 2015. Wyoming workers earned over $10,000 higher than the average in the region.

However, wages decreased by $37 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared to the third. According to the state's Economic Analysis Division, the construction sector has had the largest impact on income growth, while mining and farming have seen the biggest decline.

Economist Jim Robinson says despite recent downward trends in the energy industry, he expects things to stabilize.

Wikipedia Creative Commons, by Greg Younger

A heavy snowstorm that will bring several inches of snow to western, northern and central Wyoming is heading into the state.

National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Hattings in Riverton is keeping an eye on the storm.

“It looks like the main trouble spot is mostly going to be in the central portion of the state. The most snow will be from Lander-Riverton and running through Casper and Douglas. And also, obviously, in some of the higher elevations from the Wind River range over to Casper Mountain.”

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, or ATF, announced a $10,000 reward for information about the Roberts Mission fire in Fremont County. The fire was reported on March 17th at 5am at the Roberts Mission - a historic parochial school.

ATF has determined that it was human caused, but they can't tell if it was intentional. The building was old and not structurally sound, so investigators had to remove most of the remaining walls for safety. However, the foundation and some of the more recent additions remain. The bricks have been saved for possible rebuilding later on.

Bob Beck

Due to declining revenues and cuts mandated by legislature, the University of Wyoming is preparing for a minimum of $7 million dollars in budget cuts with the expectation that they could be greater than that.

During the UW Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, Vice President for Administration Bill Mai said the state revenue picture continues to decline. And he reported that while the University’s deans and others have been told to prepare for $7 million dollars in cuts, they should probably identify closer to $14 million.           

Conservation groups Wyoming Wildlife Advocates and Defenders of Wildlife filed a legal challenge Wednesday against a 2014 National Park Service decision to give authority over inholdings in Grand Teton National Park to the state of Wyoming. Inholdings are parcels of land that are located inside the park, but are either state or privately owned.

Tim Preso is the attorney representing the conservation groups. Preso says the park service’s decision reversed 60 years of protections for wildlife within the boundaries of the park.

Wyoming Outdoor Council

Longtime conservationist Tom Bell will be awarded an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Wyoming. Bell is 92 years old and founded both the Wyoming Outdoor Council and High Country News.

Bell says when he founded the council in 1967, no one was paying attention to the health of the planet. Over time, he says people have slowly changed their minds about conservation for a few reasons.

Wyoming Humanities Council

The Wyoming Humanities Council and Wyoming PBS are hosting a panel discussion on refugee resettlement next week. It's part of a Humanities Council series exploring the issue in Wyoming, the only state without a refugee resettlement program.

The panel will feature former refugee and teacher Bertine Bahige , UW law professor Suzan Pritchett, and state Representative Tom Reeder.

Matthew Shepard Foundation

The apparent suicide of a 20-year-old Gillette man came after he was bullied for being gay. The family of Trevor O’Brien says his car was vandalized in December and police confirm that an anti-gay slur was painted on his car. 

The fact that these types of incidents continue to occur in Wyoming depresses Jason Marsden. He’s the Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation—and  says it’s time for Wyoming to reconsider a hate crime law.

Wyoming’s unemployment rate continues to rise. The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reports that due to a downturn in the energy sector, unemployment rose from 4.4 percent in December to 4.7 in January. 

State Senior Economist David Bullard said that unemployment saw a significant increase of almost a point from January of 2015. While energy rich areas have been impacted the most, Bullard said the downturn is impacting the entire state.

Rebecca Huntington

Jackson and Teton County officials have decided to let voters decide whether to use 6 million dollars raised from a sales tax to fix a slow moving land slide. 

The slide began about 2 years ago and has cut off access to a neighborhood and a Walgreens. It also threatened underground water pipes and split a home in two.

Jackson Mayor Sara Flitner says if the slide is not completely fixed, natural events like a wet day or an earthquake could put residents in danger.

Wikipedia Commons

2016 has been the worst year for avalanche deaths in Wyoming since 2009. So far this year there have been five avalanche deaths in Wyoming, more than any other state.

Bob Comey is a forecaster with the Bridger Teton Avalanche Center. He says part of the problem is that there are more inexperienced people heading into the backcountry.

"You know we have more people going out taking more risks, and some of them are maybe not as knowledgeable and as experienced or prepared as they could be," says Comey.

The Wyoming legislative session comes to a close today. Wyoming Public Radio News Director Bob Beck joins Morning Edition host Caroline Ballard to look back at this year's budget session.

nps.gov

Wyoming experts were cautiously optimistic Thursday when they learned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing that Yellowstone Grizzly Bears be removed from the endangered species list.

Grizzly bears were listed for decades, before they were removed from the list in 2007. A judge put them back under federal protection in 2009.  Now, just as grizzly bears are starting to emerge from their dens, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it’s recommending delisting again.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

A bill that is intended to be the Wyoming’s alternative to expanding Medicaid was approved by the State Senate Monday. 

The bill is sponsored by Casper Senator Charles Scott, a longtime opponent of Medicaid expansion. If the bill passes, Scott said the legislature will design a program that will provide medical assistance to those who cannot afford health insurance.

Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites & Trails

The Wyoming State Parks division is looking to rebrand itself and fuel more Wyoming tourism.

The division's new media strategy will start with redesigned logos. Research shows visitors often confuse state parks with federal sites like National Parks.

State Parks Administrator Domenic Bravo says the goal is to establish a memorable "look and feel" for the State Parks brand. "We need to tell our story and we need to tell it in a way that lasts for centuries," he says.

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