Open Spaces

Open Spaces
5:38 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

July 18th, 2014

Governor Mead Seeks Second Term

Governor Matt Mead is seeking his second term in office. The governor is facing Cheyenne Businessman and Doctor Taylor Haynes and Superintendent Cindy Hill in the Republican primary. Mead spoke with Bob Beck. They begin by discussing some of the challenges facing the state.

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Open Spaces
5:31 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Governor Mead Seeks Second Term

Governor Matt Mead is seeking his second term in office. The governor is facing Cheyenne Businessman and Doctor Taylor Haynes and Superintendent Cindy Hill in the Republican primary. Mead spoke with Bob Beck. They begin by discussing some of the challenges facing the state.

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Open Spaces
5:24 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Wyoming Construction Workers Are In Short Supply

The future site of the new Tongue River Elementary.
Credit Miles Bryan

Last week we told you about how the cost of building a new high school in Rawlins is running millions of dollars more than was expected. Costs are up because construction companies can’t find enough workers in Wyoming. And it isn’t easy to bring them in from out of state.

Jeremy Smith is the Business Manager for Sheridan’s School District One in Ranchester. I met him on a beautiful morning in Northern Wyoming, and he’s excited to show me the new Tongue River Elementary school--or at least the the rolling pasture where the school should be.

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Open Spaces
5:07 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Latinos At Higher Risk For Workplace Injury

Construction site in Laramie, WY.
Credit Melodie Edwards

Too many jobs, not enough bodies. That’s the dilemma of many Wyoming construction companies these days that can’t keep up with the building demands of the state’s energy boom. An influx of Latino workers are moving to Wyoming to take up the slack. And national figures show that Hispanics lead the nation in fatal injuries. And with Wyoming having one of the worst records for workplace fatalities, the question is: are Latinos putting themselves in the line of fire? 

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Open Spaces
5:00 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Pete Illoway Is A Candidate For Secretary Of State

Credit www.peteilloway.com

Pete Illoway has a background in working for both the U-S and State Department of Agriculture, Wycon Chemical Company, Coastal Chem, Inc. and the economic development operation Cheyenne Leads. He is currently a consultant and lobbyist. Illoway was a state representative from 1998 to 2012. 

During that time he chaired a committee that worked closely with the Secretary of State’s office. He joins Bob Beck.

Learn more about Pete Illoway.

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Open Spaces
4:49 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Wyoming Music Teachers Find Community At UW Summer Program

Professor Rod Garnett leads his group of graduate students in a gamelan session.
Aaron Schrank

It’s before 8 o’ clock in the morning, and there’s a surprising amount of noise coming from a basement classroom in UW’s library.

Inside is a group of about 25 sitting in a circle, playing instruments or humming along. For most of the year, these people are music educators teaching in schools all over Wyoming. But in the summer, they’re students themselves—in a UW summer master’s program. Today, they’re learning a melody by ear.

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Open Spaces
4:37 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Former Navy Commander Seeks State Superintendent Nomination

Republican candidate for State Superintendent Bill Winney.
Credit Bill Winney

Three Republicans are seeking the nomination for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. One of them is Bill Winney. He is a retired Naval Officer who wants to bring that leadership experience to help run the state department of education. In the Navy he trained a number of people and says training and education were a key part of his career.

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Open Spaces
6:50 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

July 11th, 2014

Federal Highway Money Remains At Risk

The federal pot of money that’s supposed to keep local roads and bridges intact may soon be empty, yet lawmakers on Capitol Hill are miles apart from each other. It remains unclear if they’ll be able to bridge the gulf. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on how the Wyoming delegation is weighing in on the debate that’s sucking the air out of Washington this summer.

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Open Spaces
6:41 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Federal Highway Money Remains At Risk

I-80, Wyoming
Credit Doug Mahugh via Flickr

The federal pot of money that’s supposed to keep local roads and bridges intact may soon be empty, yet lawmakers on Capitol Hill are miles apart from each other. It remains unclear if they’ll be able to bridge the gulf. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on how the Wyoming delegation is weighing in on the debate that’s sucking the air out of Washington this summer.

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Open Spaces
6:18 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Wyoming Highway Patrol Struggles To Attract Recruits

Cadets at the Law Enforcement Academy in Douglas practice a roadside stop.
Credit Miles Bryan

It’s not unusual for some employers in Wyoming to have a hard time finding enough workers. That can be a headache for business owners, but lately it’s the cause of some public safety concern as well. The Wyoming Highway Patrol is down almost twenty percent of its officers, and it is struggling to attract new ones.

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Open Spaces
6:04 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

A Plan of Firsts: Lander Resource Management Plan Tackles Big Picture

Sage Grouse
commons.wikimedia.org

The clock is ticking about whether to list the greater sage grouse as an endangered species.  Such a listing could all but shut down mineral development in the bird’s habitat.  The state has already tackled sage grouse protections.  Now it’s the federal government’s turn.  It’s been 30 years since the Lander Resource Management Plan was revised.  And so the Bureau of Land Management took the opportunity to put more protections in place for the grouse while they were at it. 

The Lander Resource Management Plan is hundreds of pages and covers a lot of ground. 

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Open Spaces
5:53 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Clark Stith Discusses His Run For Secretary Of State

Rock Springs Republican Clark Stith is one of four candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Secretary of State.  Stith practices business law and is on the Rock Springs City Council.  He is also the former chairman of the Sweetwater County Republican Party.  Stith tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that one thing he’d like to do is streamline the office.

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Open Spaces
5:47 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Booming Oil And Gas Production Taxes Pipeline Network

The "pig trap" for a pipeline at a tank farm in Guernsey, Wyoming.
Stephanie Joyce

In the first quarter of 2014, the United States surpassed both Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer. It already hit that mark for natural gas late last year. All of that oil and gas has to be transported from the fields where it’s drilled to refineries and processing plants, and most of that is done by pipeline, but the nation’s pipeline infrastructure isn’t currently up to the task.

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Open Spaces
5:28 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

School Construction Faces Current Labor Shortage, Future Revenue Decline

Aaron Schrank

It’s a tense public meeting in Rawlins. School District officials here recently learned that the latest contractor bid to build a new Rawlins High School is $7 million dollars over budget. Carbon County School District 1 Superintendent Fletcher Turcato says Rawlins isn’t interested in making cuts.

“Four months ago, we were within budget—and because of a bidding climate, now they want us to continue to take money out of this project,” Turcato said. “That’s not going to happen. The Board said it’s not going to happen. We’re not going to do that to the people of Rawlins.”

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Open Spaces
5:09 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

A Casper Family Changes Careers To Make Alcohol

Backwards Distilling bottles.
Bob Beck

Many people have ideas for small businesses, but not many of them quit their day jobs to try something unique, especially when it’s something they know little about. But that’s exactly what the Pollock family of Casper did in starting Backwards Distilling Company

“My son’s an absinth drinker and absinth is hard to come by and he and she were talking… why don’t we just make some make some… and then we all looked at each other and we all stopped and went hmmm.”

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Open Spaces
3:47 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

How America's Original Horse Was Saved By A Wyoming Family

Spanish Mustangs on the Cayuse Ranch running in the late day sunlight.
Dan Hayward

This was almost the year of the thoroughbred horse, with California Chrome's run for the elusive Triple Crown. But here's the story of a smaller, scrappier horse that overcame long odds with the help of a Wyoming family. Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer has this postcard from a visit with the Spanish Mustang.

Living history comes thundering over the ridge. This is America’s original horse.

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Open Spaces
6:15 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

June 27th, 2014

Wyoming Coal Versus The Courts

This week’s Supreme Court ruling on the EPA and its ability to regulate carbon is a mixed bag for Wyoming officials and energy producers. It sets the stakes even higher for Republicans in the state who are determined to derail a pending EPA rule on climate change.

Wyoming Does Not Officially Track Health Impacts From Energy

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Open Spaces
6:05 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Wyoming Coal Versus The Courts

This week’s Supreme Court ruling on the EPA and its ability to regulate carbon is a mixed bag for Wyoming officials and energy producers. It sets the stakes even higher for Republicans in the state who are determined to derail a pending EPA rule on climate change.  

Like most all things here in Washington these days, the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of the EPA is being read along party lines. But Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi says it’s not just partisanship. He says your opinion also hinges on where you’re reading.

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Open Spaces
5:55 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Wyoming Does Not Officially Track Health Impacts From Energy

As energy development increases across the country many states are starting to look into whether or not it would be a good idea to set up data bases to track possible health impacts directly attributed to energy development.  Colorado has developed an extensive system within its Department of Health to track and investigate health care impacts.  The State of Wyoming has not developed such a data base. Doctor Tracy Murphy is the state epidemiologist. He says the Department of Health rare fields calls of that nature.

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Open Spaces
5:46 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Public Opinion On Gay Marriage Shifting In Wyoming

Credit wyomingequality.org

Public opinion in Wyoming has radically shifted toward legalizing same sex marriage in the last decade.  Bills, both legalizing and banning, have been introduced in the state legislature. But nothing has passed.  And lawmakers are slow to acknowledge the shift in public opinion. But as Wyoming Public Radio’s Erin Jones reports, the legislature might not be where the change happens.

ERIN JONES: State Representative Matt Greene grew up without gay marriage on his mind.

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Open Spaces
5:39 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Wyoming Still Has Long Term Care Issues

Tim Lockwood

Wyoming ranks 16th in the nation when it comes to meeting the long term health care needs of older residents.  The ranking comes from a comprehensive state by state scorecard developed by AARP, the Commonwealth fund, and SCAN foundation. 

In Wyoming unpaid family caregivers provide the bulk of care for older Wyoming residents, in part because long term care is unaffordable for most middle income families.  AARP Wyoming’s Associate Director Tim Lockwood says things aren’t all that bad in the state, but they could be better.

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Open Spaces
5:16 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Privacy Concerns Swirl Around Statewide Student Database

A second grade student gets right to work as classes start at Greenwood Elementary School in Des Moines, IA.
Credit Phil Roeder via Flickr Creative Commons

Nationwide, including Wyoming, states are working to build huge databases that can track students from preschool all the way into the workforce. In the brave new world of big data, the thought is—more information means smarter education policy decisions and improved learning. But some parents worry that these systems will go too far.

At Laramie County Community College, a classroom full of people is talking about control groups and independent variables. It’s not as exciting as it sounds, but it is important.

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Open Spaces
4:51 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Montana Crude Rail Routes Revealed

Credit insideenergy.org

A dozen or more trains carrying crude oil from the Bakken region are moving across northern Montana every week, skirting the edge of Glacier National Park. More trains -- far fewer in number - pass through populated regions farther south.

Governor Steve Bullock released the route information this week, making Montana the latest state after Washington to buck railroads’ requests to keep the information out of public hands.

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Open Spaces
4:49 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Yellowstone Celebrates The Renovation Of Its Oldest Lodge

Yellowstone's Lake Hotel
Credit yellowstonenationalparklodges.com

Yellowstone Park is celebrating completion of a two year, 29 million dollar renovation of its oldest lodge: Lake Hotel. Now all of the Lake Hotel’s redecorated rooms are ready for guest now. Penny Preston reports people worked through two bitter winters to complete the project.

In 1889, 27 years before there was a National Park Service, construction began on Lake Hotel.  It is Yellowstone’s oldest.  Two years ago, reconstruction started.

“The old hotel had been touched pretty harshly over the years.

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Open Spaces
3:48 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Rare Mammoth Site Excavated In Douglas

Mammoth Rib Bone.
Melodie Edwards

In 1986, a large mammoth rib bone was found jutting out of the bank of a creek a few miles from Douglas.  The state archaeologist, Dr. George Frison, did a hasty 4-day excavation at the time.  But a thorough excavation has never been done because the land owners weren’t interested in hosting an archaeology dig on their property.  That left archaeologists with a big question--was LaPrele Creek a mammoth kill site?  But recently the land sold and archaeologists have finally been allowed to dig. 

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Open Spaces
5:08 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Laramie County Sees Surge In Oil And Gas Development

A Patterson drilling rig set alone against the Wind River Mountain range.
Credit Robert Flaherty

For years, southeastern Wyoming has been expecting an oil boom that’s never arrived. Just across the border in Colorado, drilling has reached breakneck pace, but Wyoming has been relatively quiet -- until now. The discovery of a new, more promising oil reserve has led to a surge of interest in oil and gas development in Laramie County over the last few months.

In May of 2013, oil and gas companies applied for nine permits to drill in Laramie County. In May of 2014, companies applied for 132.

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Open Spaces
4:58 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Crude Oil By Rail: On The Rise In Colorado And Everywhere

Workers are in the midst of clean-up efforts at the site of a train derailment and crude oil spill located south of Greeley, Colorado on May 12, 2014.
Credit Grace Hood / KUNC

The transport of crude oil by rail has spiked dramatically in recent years. From 2012 to 2013 the amount carried by the country's major freight railroads increased nearly 75 percent, according to the American Association of Railroads.  Even though crude oil accounted for just over 1 percent of overall rail traffic last year, there's growing public concern about the potential oil spills and other hazards.

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Open Spaces
4:50 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Rep. Lummis Says It Has Been An Interesting Week In The U.S. House

Representative Cynthia Lummis.
Credit Cynthia Lummis

If you think having candidates stopping by your home can get annoying, Wyoming U-S Representative Cynthia Lummis feels your pain. Following the primary election loss of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Lummis is being bombarded by those interested in that job and other leadership jobs that may come free after Cantor's replacement is chosen. Lummis told Bob Beck that the internal campaigning is something to watch.

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Open Spaces
4:41 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Floods On Rise: Earlier Run-Offs Present Challenge To Water Storage

Rawlins' neighbors used a boat to reach their car.
Melodie Edwards

This spring, rivers were overflowing banks all over the state.  Some rivers saw record—or near-record—flood stages.  The Laramie River hit its second highest flood level on record, and that’s only four years after its highest on record in 2010.  But floods aren’t all sandbagging and property damage: they also mean plenty of water for the long dry summer ahead. 

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