Open Spaces

Open Spaces
4:29 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Coal lease sales potentially undervalued, leading to possible millions lost for government

Credit Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The Bureau of Land Management is responsible for coal on federal lands. That coal makes up about 40 percent of total coal production in the U.S. Of the 314 existing federal coal leases, nearly a quarter of the leases are in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. Companies acquire these leases by bidding on the right to mine the federal coal. It has generated a lot of income, which the federal government splits with states. But not everyone thinks the program is working as it should and that the government might be losing out on money.

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Open Spaces
4:19 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Wyoming’s Congresswoman wants to reform the Endangered Species Act.

In September a Congressional subcommittee will hold a hearing in Casper as Congress takes another crack at reforming the Endangered Species Act. 

Wyoming Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis has for years been supportive of reforming the ESA.  While she is quick to acknowledge that it has been a good law, Lummis is frustrated that once something gets on the endangered species list it rarely comes off.  She joins Bob Beck to discuss this.

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Open Spaces
4:16 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

New Education Director sets sites on improving education in Wyoming

Wyoming’s newly appointed Director of Education Rich Crandall is busy getting acquainted with Wyoming’s Education system.  Crandall began his new duties August first. 

He was heavily involved in education as a politician in Arizona and he’s now running the Wyoming Department of Education and working with legislators to implement education policy in the state. 

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Open Spaces
4:13 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

STOP Violence Fall 2013

The University of Wyoming will kick off a new school year on Monday. It’s an exciting time for incoming freshmen, but the college years bring new freedoms as well as new risks.

UW’s STOP Violence program offers crisis intervention and support for anyone on campus who’s been affected by sexual assault, relationship violence, or stalking, and works to educate students about the issues.

Wyoming Public Radio’s Becky Martinez spoke with UW’s new STOP Violence Coordinator Megan Selheim about what new students should bear in mind for the coming school year.

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Open Spaces
4:10 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Small business owners face challenges

Credit Bob Beck

It has never been easy to start a small business or to keep it going.  Acquiring startup money is always one of the challenges.  In Wyoming, officials say they want to develop more businesses, but unless you are a technology company, it can be difficult to find the necessary support.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

BOB BECK:  Laramie Economic Development Director Dan Furphy says funding small businesses is scary for lenders.

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Open Spaces
4:07 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Group Sees Jackson as Future Silicon Valley of the Rockies

Credit Rebecca Huntington

A new group is convinced that, with a little coaching, Jackson Hole can become the Silicon Valley of the Rockies. In fact, this ad hoc group has even taken the name Silicon Couloir. (Coo-LAR) They're convinced that within the state the investors exist to help grow more startup businesses. But what's lacking is a venue for investors and entrepreneurs to meet. The possible solution is known as Pitch Day.   

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Open Spaces
3:59 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

UPSTARTS: Kati Hime publishes magazines in Wyoming, for Wyoming

Kati Hime and her husband Levi publish Wyoming Weddings, Wyoming Lifestyle, and Wyvore magazines. Their headquarters is based in their Laramie kitchen.
Credit Rebecca Martinez

Now, for the latest edition in our occasional series, Upstarts, we’ll hear from a stay-at-home mom who launched a multimedia publishing company from her kitchen table in Laramie. Kati Hime is the owner and editor of three high-quality magazines that focus on life in and across the Cowboy State. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports.

(Dog barking. Hime answers door.)

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Open Spaces
3:56 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Landscape artist Kathryn Turner reflects on her muse, the Tetons

Credit Kathryn Turner

Wyoming landscape painter Kathryn Turner grew up on Triangle X Ranch in Grand Teton National Park surrounded by dramatic views of her favorite subject, the Tetons.

And in her words, she’s spent the past 20 years trying to do them justice. “And they are challenging! And what makes them challenging is they’re always changing, with the light, with the seasons, with the way the clouds move over them, obscuring them, changing the shadows. So they provide a lifetime of material,” added Turner.

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Open Spaces
3:34 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

New UW President wants to take a holistic approach to admissions

University of Wyoming President Robert Sternberg
Credit www.uwyo.edu

Last month, Bob Sternberg took over as the new president of the University of Wyoming. In recent weeks, has explained that he wants UW to attempt to be an inclusive University that doesn’t focus on things like a student’s ACT scores, and rather looks more at the whole package. 

President Sternberg tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that it’s more important to make sure students are properly prepared for higher education, and their future is much more important than test scores. 

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Open Spaces
3:26 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

College Bound Latinas continues to make strides

From left to right: Aurora, Kelly, Letty, Emmy, Laura
Credit Rebecca Huntington

Roughly three years ago, two women undertook an effort to take a group of middle school girls in Jackson under their wing with the goal of helping them get into college.  The effort is called College Bound Latinas and the program has had some early success.  But a recent interaction with a University of Wyoming Professor is taking the girls even further as Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

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Open Spaces
3:22 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Wyoming Republicans spar with President Obama over jobs

President Barack Obama

With Congress in recess for the month President Obama is preparing to continue pressuring Republicans to work with him on job creation. Matt Laslo reports from Washington that Wyoming’s congressional delegation says that while his speeches rev up his base he still isn’t trying to work with the GOP.  

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Open Spaces
3:17 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Job Corps breaks ground in Fremont County

Today, the long awaited ground breaking for the 41 million dollar Wind River Job Corps took place.  The project was first conceived in 2005 and thanks to support of Senator Mike Enzi it finally received federal approval.  It’s the first Job Corps for Wyoming which is the only state without such a facility. 

Sandy Barton of the Fremont County Board of Cooperative Education Services or BOCES spearheaded the effort from the start.  She told Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that it will have a major impact on Fremont County and the state.

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Open Spaces
3:12 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

When it comes to environmental policy, science isn’t always as helpful as lawmakers hope

Credit Kate St. John

Science has long been something we look to for answers. But when it comes to policy making, science can’t always provide the clear solutions lawmakers and the public want. That has to do with how science works and the politics that sometimes infiltrate. Two issues in Wyoming demonstrate uncannily well the shortcomings of science when it comes to decision making in the environmental sphere.

IRINA ZHOROV: Remember that scene in Ghostbusters, when Bill Murray’s character is pursuing a seemingly irrelevant line of questioning with a laid out woman as a concerned man stands by?

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Open Spaces
3:02 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

As agencies control invasive species to protect diversity, some worry about side effects

Dee Hillberry removed Russian Olives from his riverbank, opening up the view and creating more usable pasture. Across the river, a Russian Olive grove remains.
Credit Willow Belden

Each year, millions of dollars are spent controlling invasive species in Wyoming. Just about every agency you can think of is involved – from local weed and pest districts, to the Department of Game and Fish, and even the Bureau of Land Management. Many people see their efforts as an important way to protect Wyoming’s diversity. But others worry that removing invasives could sometimes do more harm than good. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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Open Spaces
2:56 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

StoryCorps in Wyoming: Bud Decker and Jim Latta

Bud Decker and Jim Latta
Credit StoryCorps

This summer, StoryCorps set up a booth in Cheyenne to record Wyomingites interviewing one another and sharing their stories.

Today, we’ll hear from 95-year old Pinedale native Guy Decker, better known as “Bud”. Decker tells his longtime-friend Jim Latta about what it was like to grow up on the Wyoming Frontier.

Produced by Rebecca Martinez with interviews recorded at StoryCorps, a na­tional nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. (storycorps.org.)

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Open Spaces
2:53 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Mountain West Voices: “On Walkabout”

From Mountain West Voices, Clay Scott tells about Laramie’s Paul Taylor. 

Paul Taylor has been on walkabout for most of his adult life. He is an incredibly gifted storyteller and musician, and I met him as he was travelling from Laramie, Wyoming, to a school in Eureka, Montana to hold a week-long story-telling and art workshop.

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Open Spaces
4:45 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

August 2nd, 2013

Credit Rebecca Martinez

Reviving local saw mills could limit fire danger in the Rocky Mountain Region

Saw mills are re-opening in Wyoming and Colorado after a decade of being shuttered. They’re harvesting and processing trees that have been killed by beetle infestation.  Still, many are suitable for lumber.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports that this uptick in the timber business is helping with forest fire management.

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Open Spaces
4:36 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Reviving local saw mills could limit fire danger in the Rocky Mountain Region

Loggers from Saratoga Forest Management cut down Lodgepole and Ponderosa pine trees. The saw mill can use both live and beetle-killed trees to make two-by-fours.
Rebecca Martinez

Saw mills are re-opening in Wyoming and Colorado after a decade of being shuttered. They’re harvesting and processing trees that have been killed by beetle infestation.  Still, many are suitable for lumber.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports that this uptick in the timber business is helping with forest fire management.

(Firing up engine)

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Open Spaces
4:26 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Researchers try curbing West Nile with fish, to protect sage grouse

One of the main things that threatens sage grouse is human development and fragmentation of their habitat. But another big worry is West Nile Virus.

The disease is carried by mosquitoes, and researchers are now testing a new method for keeping mosquitoes in check. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with Brad Fedy, who’s leading the project. He says West Nile Virus is a major concern for sage grouse.

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Open Spaces
4:23 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Thriving trona industry could face threats from environmental regulations

FMC Corporation
Credit Lee James

Trona mining is a widely forgotten part of the state’s extraction industries. But in Sweetwater County, it’s a big deal. Just west of Green River, there’s a hidden labyrinth of tunnels far below I-80. And the industry is a major part of the county’s economy. But some worry that environmental issues could be a major burden for trona mining. Amanda Le Claire has more.

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Open Spaces
4:20 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Wilson resident authors Yellowstone and Grand Teton field guide

Kurt Johnson

Kurt Johnson of Wilson is the author of a new field guide for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with Johnson about the book. He says that while there were already a lot of field guides for those parks, he felt he could still add something.

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Open Spaces
4:17 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Albany County authorities train together to take on an active shooter

University of Wyoming Police hosted a three-day active shooter training session in the Classroom Building. The purpose was to train law enforcement agencies from across Albany County to collaboratively handle someone who is killing, or trying to kill, people in a confined and populated area.
Credit Rebecca Martinez

Ever since the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, law enforcement agencies across Wyoming have been have been preparing for how they might handle an active shooter situation.  

This summer, authorities from agencies across Albany County gathered in Laramie for some high intensity training… together. Rebecca Martinez reports.

OFFICER: Come out with your hands up.

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Open Spaces
4:14 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

WYOMING STORIES: Former Heart Mountain internees remember life at the camp

View of Heart Mountain from the former internment camp
Credit Willow Belden

During World War II, thousands of Japanese Americans were incarcerated at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, near Cody. Heart Mountain was one of 10 internment camps across the U.S.

There is now a museum on the site, and each year, the Heart Mountain Foundation hosts a pilgrimage. During this year’s pilgrimage, Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden sat down with several former internees and produced this piece.

Click here to listen to other pieces in our Wyoming Stories series.

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Open Spaces
4:09 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Conservationist walks from Mexico to Canada to promote habitat preservation

Erik Molvar

John Davis is a conservationist and co-founder of the Wildlands Network conservation organization. He’s currently on a 5,000 mile international route from Mexico, through the Western US, and up to Canada, mostly on foot. He’s working with various environmental groups as he makes his way across North America. The idea is to promote an international, continuous area where wildlife can move freely. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov caught up with Davis as he made his way across the Red Desert.

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Open Spaces
4:06 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Laramie’s multiplying rabbits: what’s to blame?

Credit Larry D. Moore

Laramie residents have been noticing more rabbits than usual in town this year. Some experts say it’s because there are fewer predators, but others aren’t so sure. Wyoming Public Radio’s Chelsea Biondolillo reports.

CHELSEA BIONDOLILLO: Melissa Gelwicks has had a backyard garden next to Undine Park for about 7 years. She grows everything from squashes and herbs to cabbages, beets and greens. She’s used to rabbits frequenting her garden, but this year there seem to be more of them.

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Open Spaces
4:02 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

July 19th, 2013

National Republican Party Supports Enzi over Cheney

This week Wyoming’s senior senator, Mike Enzi, was surprised to learn he’ll be facing off against Liz Cheney in what’s expected to be one of the most heated Republican primaries in the nation. Matt Laslo reports from Washington that right now, the Republican Party is wrapping its arms around Enzi.

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Open Spaces
3:55 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

National Republican Party Supports Enzi over Cheney

Wyoming’s senior senator, Mike Enzi

This week Wyoming’s senior senator, Mike Enzi, was surprised to learn he’ll be facing off against Liz Cheney in what’s expected to be one of the most heated Republican primaries in the nation. Matt Laslo reports from Washington that right now, the Republican Party is wrapping its arms around Enzi. 

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Open Spaces
3:51 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Wyoming Department of Health administrator discusses Affordable Care Act changes

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, a number of things are changing concerning Medicaid in Wyoming.  Jan Stahl is the eligibility and operations administrator for the Wyoming Department of Health.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck spoke with Stahl, who says the changes will take place January first.

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