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12:01 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Wyoming Energy Export Forum

Wyoming Public Media

Stephanie Joyce, Wyoming Public Media's Energy & Natural Resources Reporter, will moderate a discussion on Wyoming's raw commodity exports, primarily focused on coal and natural gas. Speakers with a diversity of perspectives will be invited to participate in the conversation.

Panelists include Dr. Roger Coupal, UW Professor of Agricultural & Applied Economics, Shawn Reese, CEO of the Wyoming Business Council, and Wyoming Representative Thomas Lubnau, House District H31 (tentative).

The forum will take place in Gillette College's Large Lecture Hall at 6 pm.

News
10:30 am
Tue July 22, 2014

UW College Of Education Responds To Criticism

Credit MDV via Flickr Creative Commons

The University of Wyoming’s College of Education is taking issue with complaints made about the quality of its graduates.

Last week, at a UW Trustees’ meeting, Governor Mead’s education policy adviser Mary Kay Hill said that the most qualified K-12 teachers in the state “are not coming from UW.”

She pointed to a 2011 report that shows nearly 70 percent of new school district hires in Wyoming came from institutions outside of the state. That’s up from 50 percent in 2000.

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5:39 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

2015 Appropriations Bill Passes House

Credit Cynthia Lummis

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations has approved a budget for the Interior and Environment for 2015, and Wyoming Representative Cynthia Lummis says, if passed into law, the bill would have a huge impact on Western states like Wyoming. 

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News
9:02 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Wyoming Officials Will Not Oppose Primary Fundraising For Third Parties

Credit Kim Via Flickr

The State of Wyoming will not oppose third party candidates raising money during the primary season.

Current state law says those candidates cannot raise money until after the primary.

That law was challenged in federal court last month by Jennifer Young, Secretary of State Candidate for the Constitution party.

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8:54 am
Mon July 21, 2014

State Fines Denver-Based Sugar Company

Credit J Stephan Conn via Flickr

Wyoming regulatory officials have cited Denver-based Western Sugar Cooperative for hazards at its Torrington and Lovell facilities.

The department of Workforce Services and Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the company almost two hundred thousand dollars. The fines were for inadequate safety standards and failure to guard equipment, among other problems.

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10:49 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Laramie Considers E-smoking Regulations

Credit Steam Vapor Co.

The Laramie City Council is discussing whether or not it wants to regulate e-cigarettes. They have held one informational meeting so far, and are expected to decide in the coming weeks whether or not to add vaporizing and electronic cigarettes to the citywide public smoking ban or to develop a separate ordinance.

The city regulates where smoking can occur.  Councilwoman Vicky Henry says that the council is trying to decide if it wants to regulate electronic cigarettes and how to go about it. E-cigarettes and vaporizers produce a liquid vapor, rather than smoke.

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News
4:56 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Computer Error Means More Hunting Licenses Available For Sale

A computer error has left the Wyoming Game and Fish with nearly 700 leftover hunting licenses. The agency reported today that the error only affected a small percentage of online sales.

Jennifer Doering with Game and Fish says that website visitors who attempted to reserve group licenses didn’t see a confirmation screen after making their purchase. The result was that many people thought their sale had not gone through—so they tried again.

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News
3:41 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Artists Trace U.S.-Mexico Border Through Wyoming

Credit Miles Bryan

A group of artists marking 1821 border between the United States and Mexico traveled through Wyoming over the weekend.

Marcos Ramirez and David Taylor are the artists behind the project, called ‘Delimitations.’ It aims to trace the original, 2,300-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico.

That historic border runs through Medicine Bow National Forest here in Wyoming.

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News
3:23 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Cheyenne Group Seeks To Lift Backyard Chicken Ban

A group in Cheyenne hopes to reverse a city ordinance that bans backyard chickens in the city limits. The group calls itself CLUCK, which stands for Cheyenne Local Urban Chicken Keepers. They have scheduled meetings with Cheyenne city council to write a new ordinance to allow as many as four hens to be kept.  Laramie County horticulturalist Catherine Wissner is working with the group. She says the fresh eggs and garden compost that chickens provide is great.  But they also make wonderful pets.

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News
2:10 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

State Lawmakers Want More Dialogue With UW

University of Wyoming Department of Agriculture
Credit Wyoming_Jackrabbit via Flickr Creative Commons

Wyoming state legislators want more communication and coordination with the University of Wyoming.

The UW Board of Trustees met with several House and Senate members in Casper this week to discuss the relationship between the Legislature and the school. Senate President Tony Ross says the meeting was a good first step, but lawmakers need to play a bigger role in the future.

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News
11:46 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Proposed Fishing Regulations Would Relax Rules

Credit Fishthefly.com

Thanks to a bill passed in the last budget session, it may soon be legal to use artificial light and out-of-state live bait when fishing in Wyoming.  Dave Zafft with Wyoming Game and Fish says its long been against the rules to use lights to draw fish to the lure.  Now it could be allowed for nearly all kinds of fishing.

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News
9:25 am
Wed July 16, 2014

UW Professor Publishes Research On Creative Thinking In Robots

Jeff Clune, a UW associate professor of computer science, and Jingyu Li, a recent Laramie High School graduate, pose with a copy of the paper they wrote that was published in the Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference.
Credit Courtesy UW

University of Wyoming Computer Science Professor Jeff Clune saw his research published this week showing that robots’ problem-solving skills can be improved by encouraging ‘creative thinking’ in artificial intelligence.

The research was accepted in ‘Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference,’ a peer-reviewed publication.

The robots Clune and his team experimented with were rewarded when they ‘had ideas’ they never had before—basically when their simulated neurons displayed new patterns.

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News
6:00 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Wyoming School Discipline Data Shows Racial Disparities

Credit Emory Maiden via Flickr Creative Commons

Students who identified as racial minorities received a greater number of the state’s out-of-school suspensions in the last school year, according to Wyoming Department of Education data.

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9:50 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Proposed Clean Water Act Change Causes Controversy

Rhetoric is heating up in Wyoming over new proposed rule from the Environmental Protection Agency. Governor Matt Mead and Senator John Barrasso both claim it will have a huge impact on Wyoming farmers, ranchers and businesses and will give the EPA jurisdiction over more water than ever before.

But Professor Mark Squillace of the University of Colorado School of Law disagrees.

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News
5:09 pm
Sun July 13, 2014

National Groups Push For Climate Science In Classroom

A coalition of science advocacy groups have launched what they’re calling a Climate Science Bill of Rights to push for climate change to be taught in schools around the country. The campaign says all students deserve to explore the causes and consequences of climate change, free from political interference.

The groups behind the bill include Climate Parents, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the National Center for Science Education and the Alliance for Climate Education. 

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News
1:26 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

State Will Release Draft And Final Pavillion Reports

The state says it will release both the draft and final versions of reports investigating water contamination in Pavillion. The clarification comes after landowners wrote a letter to Governor Matt Mead protesting the state’s plan to release the draft to Encana, the oil and gas company some accuse of polluting the water, before releasing it to the public.

Mead's spokesperson, Renny MacKay, says by releasing both copies, and the comments provided by Encana, the Environmental Protection Agency and an independent expert, the public will be able to see the evolution of the document.

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News
10:56 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Rawlins High School Construction Over Budget

Rawlins High School
Credit Aaron Schrank/WPR

The construction of a new Rawlins High School is delayed—and some in the community are angry—after recent bids by subcontractors put the project $7 million dollars over budget.

The State’s School Facilities Department oversees school construction projects in the state. The Department says the high bid is the result of construction labor shortages and adds that it will work with Rawlins to cut costs.

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News
10:55 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Climb Wyoming Will End Sweetwater Co. Program

Credit Climb Wyoming

Climb Wyoming says it will discontinue its Sweetwater County program due to a decrease in public funding and other considerations.  The non-profit organization trains and places single mothers into career-track jobs. 

Climb Wyoming’s Shannon Brooks Hamby said that the Sweetwater County Operation will shut down on October first despite the fact that the program was very successful. 

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News
4:07 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Jury Awards Injured Oil And Gas Worker $5.1M

A Wyoming jury has awarded $5.1 million dollars in damages to an oil and gas worker who was injured on the job in 2011.

Then 22-year-old Horr was part of a crew working on a Merit Energy oil well when built-up pressure escaped, sending a piece of rubber through his left arm and shattering it. Attorney Bryan Ulmer with the Spence Law Firm says Horr has lost use of his arm as a result.

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News
2:31 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

International Climbers' Festival Highlights Women

The International Climbers' Festival starts Wednesday, July 9 in Lander. Director Mandy Pohja says this is the 21st year for the rock climbing event and this year’s line-up is particularly strong.

"We have probably the most significant number of professional climbing athletes coming to Lander than any other year.  And also more than any other festival in the world.  So that is a really neat collection of professional climbers from the last 40 years of rock climbing that will be in Lander this coming weekend."

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10:57 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Lake Owen Fire Update: 80% Contained

Credit Aaron Voos, U.S. Forest Service

The Lake Owen forest fire, in the Medicine Bow National Forest area, is now 80% contained the U.S. Forest service reports. 

The fire covers approximately 500 acres and has caused the evacuation of nearby campers. Residents along Fox Creek Road and in Woods Landing, Jelm, and Albany are still being urged to shelter in place. Three heavy air tankers and 150 personnel are currently working on the fire.

Favorable weather conditions on Tuesday helped firefighters secure much of the blaze, and today crews expect to continue securing the line as well as assessing spot fires. 

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10:57 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Wyoming Energy Program Wins National Award

Credit Jeremy Buckingham via Flickr

A Wyoming program that incentivizes businesses’ use of green energy has won a national innovation award.

The Wyoming Renewable Energy Credit program was named the 2014 Economic Development Award Recipient by Business Facilities Magazine, a national publication on business expansion.

The initiative is a partnership between the Powder River Energy Corporation and the Wyoming Business Council. It offers a discount on energy costs for Wyoming businesses interested in using green power.

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News
4:37 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Sheridan College Receives $25 Million Donation

A map showing the planned updates to Sheridan College.
Credit Courtesy Sheridan College

Sheridan College announced Tuesday that it has received the largest gift in the history of the school—a $25.3 million commitment from educational foundation Whitney Benefits.

The college says $16 million of the donation will be used to renovate and expand the fine and performing arts wing of Sheridan’s Whitney Academic Center. The funds will also help improve parking and renovate the Technical Education Center.

Whitney Benefits President Tom Kinnison says the updates at Sheridan College are much-needed and have been on the school’s to-do list for decades.

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10:29 am
Tue July 8, 2014

A Slow Start To Wyoming Growing Season

Credit Stereogab / Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0

A cool, wet spring has Wyoming’s growing season off to a sluggish start.  Ken Hamilton with the Wyoming Farm Bureau says some crops—like corn and sugar beets—were planted as much as three weeks later than usual.  He says hay production has also been hurt by all the precipitation.

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5:45 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Forest Fire Burning Near Lake Owen

Fire crews are responding to reports of a forest fire burning in the Southern Snowy Range area near Lake Owen.

Aaron Voos with the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest says little is known at the moment, but many members of the public called to report smoke in the area.

“We’re just trying to figure out an exact location and do a size-up on it," said Voos. "We do have both County and Forest Service crews that are en route as well as a type 3 helicopter.”

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11:40 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Wyoming Worker's Compensation To Adopt Split Plan

Credit Robert Verzo via Flickr

If a proposed plan is adopted, employers in the state could face some significant changes to how worker’s compensation sets its premiums.  Right now, Wyoming only factors in how severe a company’s claims are.   This new system—called a split plan-- would hold companies accountable for both severity and frequency, as is the case in most states. 

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News
5:39 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Teton County To Build Affordable Housing For Teachers

Downtown Jackson Wyoming at dusk.
Credit Alan English CPA via Flickr Creative Commons

Teton County is planning to build affordable housing for local teachers.

The development in Wilson will include 11 homes. Each will have 3 bedrooms and cost no more than $422,500. The median sales price for residential properties in Jackson Hole last year was more than $550,000.

Commissioner Ben Ellis says he hopes the development will keep top teaching talent in Teton County.

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5:23 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Wyoming Among Best States For Job-Seeking Grads

Wyoming ranks among the best states for recent college graduates to live and work. That’s according to a recent analysis of changes in four-year college tuition rates, median household income and unemployment rates since the start of the financial crisis.

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4:30 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Cheyenne Regional To Cut 17 Million In Next Two Years

Credit Credit Raif via Flickr

The Cheyenne Regional Medical Center will try to cut seventeen million dollars from its budget over the next two years.

"We are seeing decreased revenues coming from Medicare," says Jason Schenefield, Chief Operating Officer for Cheyenne Regional, as to why the cuts are necessary. "And things such as that which is really having us, along with hospitals around the country, trying to find ways of saving costs with declined revenues."

Schenefield also says decreased inpatient admissions is causing declining revenues.

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3:53 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Alberta Smoke Creates Wyoming Haze

Credit National Weather Service

Smoke from wildfires in northern Alberta has drifted down into Montana and Wyoming in recent days.

"The smoke has worked pretty hard to reduce visibility in the last couple of days," says Kelly a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Riverton. "It’s not having a whole lot of effects otherwise in terms of particulates in the air or other health effects because the smoke is coming from so far away.”

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