Open Spaces

Today on Open Spaces: A transgender Laramie high student is now running for a seat on the school board. Budget cutting is the topic of the day in state government and the latest debate over the management of wolves. Join us Friday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at Noon for Open Spaces from Wyoming Public Radio News. You can listen to archived programs at www.wyomingpublicmedia.org.

Wyoming Public Media

Maybe you’ve heard, or at least heard of, the podcast Serial. Millions of people have downloaded the show, and Serial’s massive success has helped put podcasts on the media map. Because podcasts are so convenient for listeners—you can listen anytime, anywhere—public radio stations are increasingly getting into podcasting. Wyoming Public Media is no exception. Melodie Edwards asked Micah Schweizer to explain the station’s three new online shows: Open Spaces , The Modern West , and HumaNature .

Miles Bryan

When WPR visited Wyoming American Civil Liberties Union Director Linda Burt at her sunny Cheyenne office she was packing boxes in between phone calls. She didn’t seem like someone who had just found out she was losing her job. “A guy who used to be on the [ACLU] board just called me to commiserate,” she said. “He suggested I come visit him in Las Vegas, so I could always do that.” A vacation would only take the edge off of what has been a fairly rough week for Burt and the few other ACLU...

Pamela Ten Eyck

Altitude Chophouse and Brewery is keeping the pub in public radio. You’ve heard Open Spaces the show ; now try Open Spaces the beer! In early September, Head Brewer Jared Long invited Wyoming Public Radio staff to help make this special beer at Altitude Chophouse and Brewery in Laramie. Listen in as we experience the art of brewing and experience one of our state’s treasures: the local brewery, with Jared as our guide. And you can taste the result on tap at Altitude, starting with the Open...

WPM News Department Captures Multiple Awards

Feb 5, 2014

In 2013 WPM’s award-winning news department added several more plaques to its wall of awards. Led by veteran news director Bob Beck, the news team brought home awards in a variety of categories: Best News Program: Open Spaces “The Uranium show.” Best Investigative Story: Carbon Sink Best Writing: Douglas residents fear flaring Soft Feature: Carp can be composted “Over the years we’ve hired some of the finest young journalists in the country and have brought them to Wyoming,” says WPM News...

Fred Williams

Groundwater testing near oil and gas wells: how much data is enough? A proposal to test water quality at oil and gas wells before and after drilling is making its way through the rulemaking process. The governor’s office and industry hope it will answer some of the questions surrounding groundwater contamination near oil and gas development, but as Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports, the rule may not actually be able to answer the question of who’s responsible, if contamination...

The idea for this story came about when I was reporting on efforts to develop a contraceptive for male coyotes. One of scientists I interviewed, a professor of zoology and physiology at the University of Wyoming, mentioned that wildlife managers in many game reserves in South Africa are using birth control to manage burgeoning elephant populations. That piqued my interest. I had assumed African elephants were universally threatened by poaching, their numbers dwindling dangerously low. But...

May 31st, 2013

May 31, 2013

Wyoming missed out on last uranium boom, but planning for the future Wyoming Public Radio has for years reported that the state is on the verge of a uranium boom. It turns out the state missed the peak of that boom, and is now betting on slower, more conservative growth. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports. Study explores effects of receding glaciers on Wind River streams Glaciers in the Wind River Mountain Range have been receding for a long time, and a new study looks at how that’s...

May 10th, 2013

May 10, 2013
Courtesy Linda Baker

Pollutants detected in water wells in Sublette County’s gas fields
Sublette County has been in the news a lot because of its air quality problems, which largely stem from natural gas production. But there’s another issue too: Pollutants have been showing up in water wells . Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports. Wyoming Judicial Branch says there’s nothing left to cut.
State agencies worked hard to trim the fat in order to meet an average of 6-percent budget cuts the Wyoming...

Cost of substance abuse in Wyoming is higher than expected
As it addressed issues concerning substance abuse, one thing the state never had were Wyoming specific numbers on the financial impact of substance abuse. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports that a recent study has found that the cost of alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse is staggering.

Is Wyoming warming to gaming?
For years, Wyoming has been timid when it comes to gambling. But things might be changing. With a...

Wyoming's Senators Help Defeat Gun Control
After weeks of intense lobbying on Capitol Hill gun control advocates suffered a stinging defeat this week…in part because of opposition from Wyoming’s two Republican senators. Matt Laslo reports from Washington. Wyoming develops state-wide suicide prevention initiative
Wyoming has one of the highest rates of suicide in the country … nearly twice the national average. Until recently, efforts at preventing suicide were left up to individual...

Flared natural gas is a loss to the state in taxes and royalties
We recently reported that the federal government – and consequently Wyoming – might be getting shortchanged when it comes to royalty payments on coal going overseas . Turns out, the government is missing out on royalties in other ways, too. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that right here in Wyoming, companies are quite literally burning up both federal and state royalty money when they flare natural gas. Wyo....

Willow Belden

DEQ releases ozone strategy for Sublette County
The Department of Environmental Quality has released a plan for tackling the ozone problem in Sublette County. Emissions from the energy industry there have combined to form a type of pollution called ozone, which can be a health hazard. Ozone levels have been so high that they violate federal standards, and the Environmental Protection Agency has given Wyoming three years to fix the problem. Cody to plow east entrance to Yellowstone
The...

UW Economist Anne Alexander discusses the potential effects of the federal sequester on Wyoming
One thing everyone is trying to get a grip on is how the federal sequester will impact Wyoming. Anne Alexander is an economist at the University of Wyoming. She joined Bob Beck in the studio to discuss this. Wyo. Lawmakers Fear Western Issues Absent in Gun Debate
In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting there’s been an increase in calls for gun control in Washington. Matt...

January 25th, 2013

Jan 25, 2013
Bob Beck

Some Legislators say Superintendent reform is overdue
The Wyoming House of Representatives has joined the State Senate in passing a bill that would strip a number of powers from the State Superintendent and give them to a Governor appointed Director of Education. The Superintendent would remain on state boards and commissions with the other four elected officials. But the new Director would run the State Department of Education. Top lawmakers crafted the legislation right before the...

Rep. Lummis appointed to US House Subcommittee on Energy
Wyoming’s Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis has been appointed to chair the U.S. House of Representatives’ Science Subcommittee on Energy. The subcommittee will oversee energy research, development and demonstration projects. Lummis spoke with Rebecca Martinez from the Capitol press room in Cheyenne this week. In Wyoming, lobbying is not about money.
Thanks to the occasional national scandal those who lobby government officials don’t...

Irina Zhorov

Legislators have mixed reaction to the Governor’s budget proposal
This week Governor Matt Mead told the legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee that he is proposing cutting 60 million dollars out of the current state budget and he wants to eliminate a number of vacant government positions. He also wants to build the legislative savings account up to $3 billion, raise gas taxes by ten cents a gallon and he opposes expanding Medicaid services in the state. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob...

Willow Belden

Converse County oil boom draws concerns from residents
In October, we reported that Chesapeake Energy had drilled a series of oil wells near Douglas, very close to people’s houses. Chesapeake says the area will likely continue to be a core drilling region. That has some area residents uneasy. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports. Legislators consider raising the gas tax
In the last several years, states have received fewer federal dollars for highways. During the energy boom...

Slot Machine Word

HOST: There have been rumors that Fremont County is experiencing a rise in gambling addiction amongst its residents. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that whether the rumors are true or not is still unclear, but some services are popping up to address it regardless. ZHOROV: The Wind River Hotel and Casino in Riverton is full of chirping slot machines, game tables, bright lights, and…gamblers. There are differing opinions regarding how much good gaming has brought to the county and...

WYSAC

Issues that include alcohol, tobacco and suicide are serious problems in Wyoming. In recent months Community prevention specialists in each county in the state have been compiling a needs assessment developed by the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center, or WYSAC. The specialists are trying to identify the extent of the problem in each of the three topic areas and the next step is to try and find some solutions. Rich Lindsey, who represents the Prevention Management Organization of Wyoming says...

A group of parents are trying to get dual-language immersion programs set up in Casper. They’d like two elementary schools to start these programs, and the focus would be on Spanish and Chinese. Thea True-Wells is the parent who’s spearheading the effort. She joins me now to talk about it, along with Ann Tollefson, an outside consultant who has evaluated dual language programs in other states. To listen to the November 30, 2012 Wyoming Open Spaces program, please click here .

Irina Zhorov

J.D. Darnell is a resident of Jeffrey City and has served as Sheriff's Deputy since the 1970s. The town is a lot quieter now than it was during the last uranium boom, which brought miners to the region, and plenty of excitement. That was all over by the mid-80s.Darnell looks back on Jeffrey City then, and now. To listen to the entire November 30, 2012 Wyoming Open Spaces program, please click here .

A poem about Jeffrey City by Lori Howe

Nov 30, 2012

Jeffrey City might look like a lonely area to some, but it can also be inspirational. Laramie writer and poet Lori Howe shares her thoughts in this piece called Jeffrey City, Wyoming. To listen to the entire November 30, 2012 Wyoming Open Spaces program, please click here .

Willow Belden

INTRO: Each year, the Game and Fish Department discovers dozens of wildlife crimes in Wyoming. They range from hunting without a license, to killing an animal from the road. The department takes these infractions very seriously, and runs a cutting-edge wildlife forensics lab to investigate them. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow visited the lab and filed this report. WILLOW BELDEN: Wildlife officials usually find out about poaching when someone discovers a kill that seems fishy. For example,...

Bob Beck

Wyoming Animal Shelters are overcrowded and that means many pets get killed every year. But some organizations are taking an aggressive approach in trying to get more animals adopted and have fewer animals put to death. One of those is the Black Dog Animal Rescue in Cheyenne. The program involves a number of volunteers and a strong on-line and social media effort. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports. BOB BECK: (Nat with Jessie) This is the office of Black dog animal rescue. The executive...

Health Department director proposed new Medicaid Idea
One of the costs that continues to grow in Wyoming’s budget is the cost of Medicaid. Lawmakers were so distressed that they ordered the Department of Health to look for ways to control those costs. Department of Health Director Tom Forslund has proposed a plan to address the issue. But first he explains why those costs have gone up. Obamcare means insurance rebates for some residents
Some Teton County residents have found something...

Riverton House and Senate Debate Recap
On Thursday night, candidates for U-S House and Senate gathered in Riverton for a set of debates. They answered questions ranging from how to address the Medicare shortfall … to their views on climate change and the energy industry. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck was one of the moderators … and he joins Willow Belden from Riverton to talk about the debate. Defeated primary candidates launch write-in campaigns, cause discord in GOP
Wyoming votes...

Jennifer Tennican

Wyoming's Wolf Hunt Begins Nearly 3,000 hunters have purchased permits to target wolves in Wyoming's first regulated wolf hunt, which began on Monday. Conservation groups, meanwhile, are preparing to challenge Wyoming's approach in court. As of Thursday, hunters had reported killing six wolves since opening day. Rebecca Huntington has more. Forest Service studies the impacts of Beetle killed trees Throughout the west a natural process is being witnessed that in some areas has had devastating...

Jennifer Tennican

HOST INTRO: Nearly 3,000 hunters have purchased permits to target wolves in Wyoming's first regulated wolf hunt, which began on Monday. Conservation groups, meanwhile, are preparing to challenge Wyoming's approach in court. As of Thursday, hunters had reported killing six wolves since opening day. Rebecca Huntington has more. REBECCA HUNTINGTON: These Wisconsin hunters are digging lunch out of the cooler while taking a break from hunting mule deer. They're back at camp where their two wall...

David Koch

INTRO: Throughout the west a natural process is being witnessed that in some areas has had devastating impacts. The Bark Beetle epidemic has affected millions of acres of forest and caused public officials to ponder what if anything can be done about it. Big Horn Radio Network’s David Koch reports that officials recently looked at the situation in northwest, Wyoming. DAVID KOCH: Officials with US forest service from across the west gathered for two days in Cody to study the effects of the...

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