Open Spaces

Open Spaces
5:23 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Landowners Connect To Negotiate With Pipeline Companies

Credit Hiland Crude, LLC.

There’s a huge, mostly invisible web of pipelines crisscrossing the country that make it possible for our stoves to light and our cars to turn on. Those pipelines run from oil and gas producing regions to refineries and processing plants, crossing miles of private property along the way. The people whose land they cross don’t often benefit, but a new strategy may help.

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Open Spaces
5:08 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Why Is It So Hard To Study The Public Health Effects Of Oil And Gas Development?

Fracking the Bakken Shale Formation in North Dakota.
Credit Joshua Doubek, Wikimedia Commons

The current oil and gas boom, fueled by a technique called hydraulic fracturing, has opened massive shale gas and oil formations in states like Texas, Colorado, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania.

But unlike past booms, this time drilling is bumping right up against communities. With oil and gas development now at their doorsteps, people are worried about the health impacts.

But the industry has taken off so quickly that scientific research about those impacts - which is timely, costly, and complex - is playing catch up.

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Open Spaces
5:00 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

First-Aid Approach Tackles Mental Health Stigmas

Citizens put together a puzzle to test how well they remember the steps to offering mental health first aid.
Credit Rebecca Huntington

Mental health. It's a topic that can be hard to talk about. So the National Council for Behavioral Health has taken a cue from successful CPR and first aid programs and designed a similar training to help everyday citizens know how to respond in a mental health crisis.

A half dozen Jackson community members are gathered in a classroom in the basement of St. John's Medical Center. Their instructor, Adam Williamson, has handed out poster-sized paper and markers and asked them to draw a picture of anxiety.

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Open Spaces
4:52 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Ukrainian Ballerina Brings Message Of Peace

Olga Aru demonstrates a stretch during a masterclass in Casper.
Caroline Ballard

For the last two weeks, Moscow Ballet soloist Olga Aru has been teaching ballet master classes at studios in Gillette and Casper. She now lives in Italy, but Aru was born in Donetsk, Ukraine – a disputed part of the country that has seen intense fighting. Her international touring has brought her close to conflict, as well. She was performing in Cairo when the 2011 Egyptian Revolution erupted. She sat down with Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard to talk about her experiences.

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Open Spaces
4:40 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Revamped Cowboys Look To Improve

Wyoming Cowboys during football practice.
Credit Bob Beck

The Wyoming Cowboys football season fell apart last year. The Cowboys finished with five wins and seven losses, but lost five of their last six games. After the season ended the Cowboys also lost their Coach, and watched their starting quarterback AND his backup leave the team. New Coach Craig Bohl had a lot of success coaching at North Dakota State where he won three National Championships in a division below Wyoming. The question is whether he and his coaching staff can turn things around in Laramie. 

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Open Spaces
4:20 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Holocaust Survivor To Speak In Jackson

Eva Schloss

On August 28th Eva Schloss who is the step sister and childhood friend of Anne Frank will give a talk about her time in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. She will appear at the Center for the Arts in Jackson at 7 p.m. at an event hosted by the Chabad Jewish Center of Wyoming.  She tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck about how she met Anne Frank.

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Open Spaces
4:05 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

In Cheyenne, Police Adapt Surplus Military Vehicles For Use At Home

Cheyenne SWAT members setting up cones for driver's training.
Miles Bryan

One of the most riveting images that has emerged out of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri is of civilian police officers using military vehicles for crowd control. For years, the Department of Defense has distributed equipment and vehicles to law enforcement offices all across the country, including some in Wyoming. I rode along with the Cheyenne SWAT team as they trained with their new military vehicle.

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Open Spaces
4:03 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Conservation Program Brings Urban Teens to Heart Mountain

Alisa Walton, Alicia Griffin and Angel Carter.
Melodie Edwards

This summer, a Nature Conservancy Program called LEAF offered urban high schoolers the chance to live and work in the shadow of Heart Mountain north of Cody. The hope is to get the kids to love Wyoming so much they’ll come back for its colleges and its jobs in conservation. Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards has more.

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Open Spaces
3:25 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Saints And Sinners: Artist Puts Halos On Drug Dealers In "Street Bible"

"Freeway Rick Ross"; silkscreen with gold leaf; 22 x 30; 2012
Aaron Wallis

It was the Protestant reformer Martin Luther who proposed that we are simultaneously saints and sinners. Jackson artist Aaron Wallis is illustrating the idea by placing drug dealers and gang leaders in the context of Christian iconography: putting halos around criminals' heads. The newest collection of illuminated manuscript prints in his Street Bible series opens August 29th at the Rose and the Pink Garter Theatre in Jackson.

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Open Spaces
5:16 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

August 15th, 2014

In Jackson, Seasonal Workers Struggle To Find Affordable Housing

The town of Jackson has long struggled to find enough affordable housing for its seasonal workers. Right now, the average rental property there is going for 2800 dollars a month.  But lately, the popularity of house sharing websites have transformed the housing problem into a housing crisis. And that’s got local business owners looking in new places for their for seasonal hires.

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Open Spaces
5:04 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

In Jackson, Seasonal Workers Struggle To Find Affordable Housing

Christen Johnson and the van she's living out of a few miles outside Jackson, Wyoming.
Miles Bryan

The town of Jackson has long struggled to find enough affordable housing for its seasonal workers. Right now, the average rental property there is going for 2800 dollars a month. But lately, the popularity of house sharing websites have transformed the housing problem into a housing crisis. And that’s got local business owners looking in new places for their for seasonal hires.

It's midmorning at a campsite just outside of Jackson and Christen Johnson is setting up her camp stove for a cup of coffee before work--”it came with the van,” she tells me.

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Open Spaces
4:56 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Low Turnout Could Be A Concern For Governor Mead

Dr. Jim King

Tuesday is Wyoming’s primary election and while it’s not that unusual for incumbent legislative candidates to have contested races, this year several top elected officials will also have to fend off challengers.

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Open Spaces
4:36 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Wyoming Looks To Exports For Energy Markets

Energy reporter Stephanie Joyce talks with Speaker of the House, Tom Lubnau, Shawn Reese, head of the Wyoming Business Council, and Roger Coupal who’s an economist at the University of Wyoming during the forum on coal and foreign exports.
Credit Leigh Paterson

In the last few years, the United States has undergone a radical transformation, from energy importer to energy exporter. Liquified natural gas terminals that were built to process natural gas from abroad are being converted for export. The first tanker full of unrefined US crude oil to leave our shores in decade set sail from Texas late last month. Coal companies are increasingly relying on foreign markets to pad their balance sheets. Wyoming Public Radio held a forum recently to discuss how increased foreign exports could affect the state.

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Open Spaces
4:12 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Wyoming Educators Look To Meet Demand For STEM Jobs

Ray DeStefano inspects a Lego Mindstorm EV3 robot at an info session on FIRST robotics competitions at WDE’s STEM Education Conference in Laramie.
Aaron Schrank

As Wyoming teachers gear up for another school year, there’s more emphasis than ever on improving so-called STEM education in the state. STEM is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank reports, the number of jobs in these fields is rapidly rising in Wyoming, and the state’s education leaders are working together to prepare.

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Open Spaces
3:59 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

UW Aims To Preserve ‘Then’ And ‘Now’ With New Historic Preservation Plan

Old Main building at the University of Wyoming.
Credit commons.wikimedia.org

Historic sandstone buildings, granite boulders, giant spruce trees: step onto the University of Wyoming campus, and you know where you are. As new construction projects begin, the University wants to make sure the designs adhere to its iconic image. To that end, the University is working with a team of architectural consultants to come up with guidelines for how to preserve its historic character. 

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Open Spaces
3:56 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Yellowstone Super Volcano Even Bigger Than Previously Thought

Dr. Robert Smith.
Credit National Park Service

Millions of people visit Yellowstone each year to see its geysers, fumaroles, hot springs, and mud pots. It's the largest concentration of thermal features in the world. The park sits on top of the world’s largest active volcano. Called the Super Volcano. Its most recent eruption was more than 600,000 years ago. All that remains is the top, or caldera.

When you come into the Park they’ll give you a map and it has an overlay of the caldera. It’s huge.

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Open Spaces
3:18 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Steven Horn Explores Eugenics Movement In New Novel

Wyoming author Steven Horn’s new novel The Pumpkin Eater is creating quite a stir in the world of brainy mystery literature. It recently won the 2014 Benjamin Franklin Gold Award in Mystery and Suspense. Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards sat down with Horn to find out what it was about his plotline that’s keeping readers on the edge of their seat.

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Open Spaces
3:03 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

New Exhibit Presents Mash-up Of Work By 38 Wyoming Artists

One piece created by two artists: “Mandel Station”; oil paint, wood panel, steel, reclaimed truck and tractor sheet metal; 11 ½” x 11 ½”; 2014; J.B. Bond and Linda Lilligraven.
Credit Wyoming Art Party

The Wyoming Art Party is a new arts organization. No, we won’t be seeing Art Party candidates on the November ballot; think party, as in fun and festivities. The Wyoming Art Party’s inaugural event opens with a reception Friday, August 22 at a temporary gallery in Laramie. It’s a collaborative exhibit called ‘A Portrait of Wyoming.’ Laramie artists June Glasson and Meg Thompson are the founders of the Wyoming Art Party. They stopped by to explain the project to Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer.

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Open Spaces
8:13 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

As Pipelines Multiply, Pigs Are Paramount

A "pig launcher" at the Eighty-Eight Oil tank farm in Guernsey, Wyoming.
Credit Stephanie Joyce / WPR

The pipeline tool known as a pig is versatile. In the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever, Bond used a pig to blow up a pipeline. In the 1987 Bond film The Living Daylights, defecting Soviet spy Georgi Koskov used a pig as an escape route. In the 1999 James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, a pig was used to smuggle a nuclear weapon.

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Open Spaces
7:15 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

August 8th, 2014

Credit wypols.com

Washington Gridlock Hurting Educators In Wyoming

This summer there's been a big push by the nation's powerful teacher unions to completely revamp the nation's standardized tests mandated under No Child Left Behind and then revamped with the new Common Core standards. Wyoming Public Radio’s congressional reporter, Matt Laslo, has the story on how the state’s congressional delegation is fighting for the state’s interests on the issue.

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Open Spaces
6:53 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Washington Gridlock Hurting Educators In Wyoming

Credit wypols.com

This summer there's been a big push by the nation's powerful teacher unions to completely revamp the nation's standardized tests mandated under No Child Left Behind and then revamped with the new Common Core standards. Wyoming Public Radio’s congressional reporter, Matt Laslo, has the story on how the state’s congressional delegation is fighting for the state’s interests on the issue.

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Open Spaces
6:45 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Former Educator Seeks State Superintendent Nomination

Jillian Balow is one of three Republican candidates running for the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Balow has worked for late Senator Craig Thomas and current Governor Matt Mead. For ten years she was a classroom teacher, she has worked for the State Department of Education, and currently she is with the Department of Family Services where her duties include early childhood education. She speaks with Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck.

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Open Spaces
4:25 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

High Number Of Tribal Candidates Running In Upcoming Primary

Democratic tribal candidate, Sergio Maldonado.

Over the years it's been a challenge to drum up political engagement on the Wind River Reservation. But things may be different this year with eight tribal members running for office in multiple parties. It's an unusually high number. Democratic Representative Patrick Goggles says it’s his theory that what has inspired so much political gusto is the shifting dynamic in the Republican Party. He says the politicizing of the right wing is happening everywhere, including Wind River.

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Open Spaces
4:13 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Ed Murray Is A Candidate For Secretary Of State

Ed Murray is the last of four Republican candidates for Secretary of State. Murray is a long time Cheyenne businessman who says he is new blood with a lot of passion.

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Open Spaces
3:57 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

In Cheyenne, A Small Change Creates Big Problems For City's Carless

The new WYDOT ID Service building is off the highway, without a sidewalk.
Credit Miles Bryan

Last April Cheyenne’s WYDOT ID Services moved into a new building. Its bigger than the old one, with more staff and faster lines. But it’s also a few miles out of town. There isn’t an easy way to walk there, and, unlike the old building, it’s not connected by bus service. The move probably isn’t a big deal for most Cheyenne residents. But it’s had an outsized effect on some in the city.

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Open Spaces
3:51 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

The US Is A Top Destination For Music Students From China

UW piano student Jason Guo.
Credit University of Wyoming

Every year, nearly half a million Chinese students travel abroad to attend college. The U.S. is the most popular destination for these students—whose parents spend around $165,000 for an American education. Many of these students come to study Western classical music. And for the last decade or so, Chinese musicians have taken center stage in the world of classical music.

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Open Spaces
3:30 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

New Video Game Will Be Set In Wyoming Wilderness

Olly Moss, blog.camposanto.com

Picture this. You're a park ranger living in a watchtower in the Wyoming wilderness. No cellphone, no internet, no co-worker to keep you company. Your only human contact is with your boss on a handheld radio. But when unexpected events occur, you’re faced with exploring a wild and unknown environment…and that's where a new video game set in Wyoming begins.

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Open Spaces
3:08 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Laramie Arts Program Opens A World Of Creativity To Students With Disabilities

Students at the Cooper Center for the Creative Arts participate in a dance class.
Credit Cordelia Zars

Dance class begins at 9 a.m. in the studio. The six students disappear and are replaced by dancing cowboys, swaying and lassoing to the beat of the song.

Instructor Kayc DeMaranville leads. She helps them coordinate their bodies to the rhythm. The students are lost in the music, spinning, kicking, waving their arms. Student Eric Petersen loves to dance. He says it makes his body feel “a little bit of good.”

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Open Spaces
12:28 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

In Wyoming, Coal Culture Runs Deep

Several members of Gillette's roller derby team are real coal miner's daughters.
Credit Leigh Paterson

Girls in clunky roller skates whizz past their coach. They're sweaty, rowdy, and covered in tattoos. Gillette's roller derby team proudly represents coal country, as does their name.

"We’re called the Coal Miner’s Daughters, number one because Loretta Lynn rocks!" Katie Buffington, president of the team, explained. "Number two because coal is the main source of income in the area. And we really wanted to get back to our roots, where we come from."

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