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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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12:51 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Wyoming Communities May Not Meet Potential New Pollution Standards

Credit Shella via Flickr

The Environmental Protection Agency is considering new air quality standards that, if adopted, would leave many Wyoming communities out of compliance.

The regulations would cut acceptable levels of ozone, a pollutant which can cause health problems.

Keith Guille is a spokesperson with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. He says the state would cooperate with the EPA if standards changed and any Wyoming community was found to have too much ozone, or be in “nonattainment.”

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2:21 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Japanese-American Internee Talks About Camp In Wyoming

Credit Jordan Giese

The University of Wyoming hosted an event Thursday with Sam Mihara, who was one of the nearly fourteen thousand Japanese-American internees at Heart Mountain Relocation Center during the Second World War. Mihara spent three years in the camp in-between Cody and Powell after being forcefully relocated from San Francisco in 1942. 

Mihara recalled the Wyoming winters as being particularly tough.

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4:26 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Two Cases of Enterovirus D68 Confirmed in Wyoming

The Centers for Disease Control have confirmed two cases of Enterovirus D68 in Wyoming.

The cases are in Campbell County and Lincoln County.

Enteroviruses are common, and this subtype is not new.  Recently, though, D68 has spread from the Midwest to other parts of the country. The D68 subtype can be associated with respiratory tract infection. 

It mostly affects children. 

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4:49 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Whitebark Pine Facing Extinction, Report Says

Credit Ron Wolf via Flickr

The Whitebark Pine is a common site in Northwest Wyoming. But a changing climate means it may not be for much longer. That’s according to a new report from the Endangered Species Coalition.

Matt Skoglund is a director with the National Resources Defense Council, which worked on the report. Whitebark Pines only grow elevations above seven thousand feet, and Skoglund says that used to keep them safe from their greatest natural enemy: the Mountain Pine beetle.

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8:41 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Goshen County Grenade Launchers Raise Questions Of Police Militarization

Credit Flickr user nukeit1

Police forces nationwide have been criticized for their increased militarization following this summer’s protests and riots in Ferguson, Missouri. Now, Goshen County is coming under scrutiny for owning two grenade launchers. 

The weapons have never been used, but are kept by the Goshen County Sheriff’s department in case they are needed to immobilize a crowd of people. The county is home to only around 14-thousand people, and its jail houses just 25 inmates.

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4:51 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Sheridan Conference Puts Focus On Early Education

Some participants at the early childhood education conference in Sheridan.
Credit Aaron Schrank/WPR

Educators from across Wyoming gathered in Sheridan over the weekend to discuss the future of early childhood education in the state.  

Wyoming is one of 10 states with no state-funded preschool, but early learning is available—mostly to low-income families—through programs like Head Start—and special education preschools.

The group heard presentations about the latest science on early brain development and looked at studies showing that spending on early education has more impact on learning outcomes than spending later in life.

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News
4:45 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

PAWS Scores Drop With Revamped Test And New Standards

Test results released Monday by the Wyoming Department of Education show huge drops across the board in the percentage of Wyoming students meeting proficiency for end-of-year state assessments.

For example, just 46 percent of third graders scored “proficient or advanced” on the math portion of the Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students—or PAWS test. That’s compared to 84 percent in the previous school year.

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5:42 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Wyoming Roads Rank First In Nation

Credit jacdupree via Flickr

Wyoming ranks first in the nation for its overall road system. That’s according to a new study from the Reason foundation, a Libertarian-leaning think tank.

David Hartgen is a professor at the University of North Carolina and the author of the study. He says Wyoming ranked so well in part because it budgets wisely. The cowboy state has over 7000 miles of roads to maintain, but spends about half as much as the average state does to do it.

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4:16 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Wyoming Poverty Rate Falls, Income Rises

Credit 401(K) 2012

Wyoming’s poverty rate fell in 2013. That’s according to new numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The national poverty rate remained around 16%, while Wyoming’s rate fell from 12.5% to about 11%.

Wyoming’s median income also climbed by over 5% during that period. State economist Wenlin Liu says that dramatic rise is due to a recovery in natural resource prices, which had fallen in 2012.

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7:07 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Natrona County High School Principal Resigns After Skit Controversy

In this screenshot from a redacted video released by the district, one of the skit participants suggestively gropes a new teacher.
Credit Screenshot via YouTube

Dean Kelly, the principal at Natrona County High School in Casper resigned Wednesday. The announcement of his resignation followed the news that several staff members were placed on leave for their participation in an inappropriate skit performed at the school.

The Natrona County School District released a video of the incident in question on Tuesday after a records request from the Casper Star-Tribune newspaper. The video and accompanying transcript were redacted to protect privacy.

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3:22 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Farmer's Markets Provide Growing Economic Benefit

Platte County Farmer's Market
Credit Dan Brecht

Wyoming farmer’s markets aren’t just good for community spirit--they’re also making the state money. That’s according to a new survey by the Wyoming Business Council. 

Agribusiness Manager Cindy Garretson-Weibel says the number of farmers markets has been increasing for several years with 49 now in Wyoming. Weibel says some of them are held twice a week, adding up to significant income.

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12:19 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Health Official Says Comprehensive Sex-Ed Helps Reduce Teen Birth Rate

A Wyoming Department of Health study says that the state’s teen birth rate has dropped every year for the last six years.

In 2008 Wyoming had about 50 births for every 1000 teen girls. That rate dropped to about 35 births in 2013. Some counties have seen even more dramatic decreases.

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2:54 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Gay Marriage Would Bring Millions To Wyoming, Study Claims

Credit Sushiesque via Flickr

A new study claims that Wyoming is missing out on millions of dollars of lost business by not legalizing same sex marriage.

The study comes from the Williams Institute, a think tank housed at the University of California Los Angeles. It claims that Wyoming would see over two million dollars in new revenues in the first few years after gay marriage is legalized.

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2:32 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

University Of Wyoming Celebrates Anniversary Of The Fall Of Berlin Wall

A mock Berlin Wall on the University of Wyoming campus.
Credit Jordan Giese

Students at the University of Wyoming have put up a mock-up of the Berlin Wall on campus to mark the 25th anniversary of its fall. The wall will be ceremoniously torn down on Thursday.

Associate political science professor Stephanie Anderson has been working closely with the German Embassy on the project.

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8:15 am
Fri September 12, 2014

New Financial Agreement Brings Magpul To Cheyenne For Less Money

The Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board just approved a new agreement that brings a gun ammunitions company to Cheyenne for fewer tax dollars.

The previous agreement was a grant/loan combination of $13 million. The new agreement would be an $8.3 million grant, some of which the company would pay back. 

That’s because of a new plan that would house the company in preexisting facilities.

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11:40 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Consultants Say Wyomingites Want Appointed Schools Chief

Most Wyomingites would like to see the State Superintendent of Public Instruction become an appointed position, rather than an elected one. That’s according to a consulting group hired by lawmakers to conduct a statewide survey on education governance.

The Maryland-based consulting group, Cross & Joftus conducted in-depth interviews with education stakeholders and launched an online survey for public input. Nearly 60 percent of survey respondents and 75 percent of interviewees believed a shift to an appointed schools chief would be a good move.

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6:59 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Traffic Deaths Have Driven Workplace Deaths And Injuries

The latest report on workplace death and injuries in Wyoming shows the transportation sector continues to lead in fatalities. Wyoming's overall numbers declined, but that was due to a decrease in traffic fatalities. State Occupational Epidemiologist Mack Sewell  says Wyoming is starting to make progress in reducing workplace deaths and injuries. But in a prepared statement, Sewell says more needs to be done.

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5:18 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Northern Arapaho Dissolve Joint Business Council

Saying that it wants more Tribal Sovereignty, the Northern Arapaho tribe is leaving the Joint Tribal Business Council it had shared with the Eastern Shoshone Tribe. 

Calling it a historic move The Northern Arapaho tribe has dissolved the Joint Business Council, but in a prepared statement, the Eastern Shoshone tribe says they won’t go along with the plan. The main reason is that the decision was never approved by their business council.

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11:01 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Common Core 101: The Lowdown On Controversial Education Standards

Tonight, Wyoming Public Radio and Wyoming PBS will host a panel forum at UW exploring the Common Core State Standards for education. WPR Education Reporter Aaron Schrank will moderate the event, and he joined Morning Edition host Caroline Ballard to talk Common Core and what to expect from the forum.

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3:30 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Wyoming Pathways Asks Legislature To Make Roads Bike Friendly

Credit Ian Britton via Flickr

Correction: an earlier version of this story said that the Wyoming legislature passed a mandatory safe distance bill. It was introduced, but did not pass.  

A series of bicyclist fatalities on Wyoming roads this summer has one state group pushing for new safety laws.

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3:31 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Wyoming Education Forum

Diana Denison

Listen Online! AIRS ON WPR: September 12 at 3:00pm, Repeats September 14 at 12pm. Listen online at wyomingpublicmedia.org.

AIRS ON Wyoming PBS: September 29 at 8:00pm, Repeats Tuesday 30 at 1:00pm and October 5 at 11:00am. wyomingpbs.org

Getting to the Core of the Common Core:

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11:45 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Sheridan County Zoning Amendment Helps Farmers

Brad Holliday's Moveable Chicken Coops
Credit Melodie Edwards

Last week, Sheridan County commissioners approved an amendment to planning and zoning rules that will give local farmers an edge on more direct sales to their customers. It will now be easier for them to put up farm stands and greenhouses on their property, as well as sell jams, salsas and other products made from their produce. Such activities either weren't allowed or required special permits in the past. Director Bill Benzel with Powder River Resource Council worked on the amendment.

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4:48 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Wyoming Board Of Education Wants Schools Chief Selected By Appointment, Not Election

The Wyoming Board of Education supports making the state’s schools chief an appointed position instead of an elected one, as the Wyoming Constitution currently requires.

After hours of deliberation Thursday, all but one Board member voiced support for making such changes to the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Board was split on whether the Governor or the Board itself should be responsible for appointing a state Superintendent.

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3:59 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Wyoming's Obesity Rate Spikes

Obesity rates around the country are rising drastically, and Wyoming  is no different - that’s according to a new study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Around 27.8% of the adult population in Wyoming is obese, nearly double the rate 20 years ago.

Between 2012 and 2013, the state’s obesity rate rose 3.2%. That was one of the biggest spikes in the nation.

Joe Grandpre with the Wyoming Department of Health says the reasons for the state’s growing waistbands are simple.

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12:44 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Missing Hikers Found In Bighorn National Forest

A pair of hikers missing since last week in the Bighorn National Forest were found Wednesday—and have been released from the hospital in stable condition.

The couple didn’t return from their trip on time because one of the hikers had injured her leg.

Many search and rescue operations occur in Wyoming wilderness each year for hikers who get lost or injured.

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8:07 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Controversial Tax Up For Vote In Jackson

Jackson’s 2-percent lodging tax is up for a vote in November, and a new breakdown by Jackson Hole News&Guide shows 40-percent of lodging tax revenues go back to the county. Unlike Jackson’s 60-40 split, most towns only see about 10-percent of revenues from their lodging taxes – the rest going back into tourism.

The tax had been up for a vote ever since 1994, but had been continually struck down over fears it would hinder tourism. The measure finally passed in 2010 after promises of higher returns for the local economy. 

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10:32 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Green River Will Return Train Depot Funds To State

Green River Train Depot.
Credit Jasperdo via Flickr Creative Commons

Green River will return $1 million it got from the state to renovate its historic Union Pacific train depot.

The community received a $1 million grant through the Wyoming Business Council, but those funds were contingent upon the city raising the other $2 million needed to complete the project.

The Business Council denied a two-year extension to come up with the funds. Green River City Councilwoman Lisa Mays says they had little choice but to give the money back.

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3:31 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

WYDOT To Begin Construction On Cheyenne "Quiet Zone"

Construction will begin Wednesday in Cheyenne on a new quiet zone at West Lincolnway and Southwest Drive’s railroad crossing, where train noise will be kept to a minimum. The area around the intersection is home to several hotels and motels. New railroad crossing gates and a barrier wall will block cars from sneaking around the shut gates and across the tracks.

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