Open Spaces

Open Spaces
3:48 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Gov. Mead speaks about the Pavillion water study, state revenues, doctors in the state, and more

Governor Matt Mead

Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov caught up with Governor Matt Mead to check in about some big changes in the state in the coming months. Her first question was about the Environmental Protection Agency’s report on contaminated water in Pavillion and the state’s takeover of the study.

Though the entities involved in the study have previously expressed skepticism over the EPA’s findings, Governor Mead says he has no doubts that the state’s study will be unbiased.

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Open Spaces
3:44 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

A blind lawyer and athlete will share his story with Jackson’s Jewish community

Attorney Richard Bernstein

Richard Bernstein is an attorney and triathlete who was born blind. He represents disabled clients pro-bono at his family’s law firm outside Detroit, and is an adjunct professor at Michigan State University.

He’s speaking his weekend at the Chabad Jewish Center of Wyoming in Jackson Hole. Bernstein’s talk, called “Vision is Overrated: A Blind Attorney and Athlete” is part of the Chabad Center’s “Distinguished Lecture Series.” He spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez from his cell phone in Yellowstone National Park.

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Open Spaces
3:41 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Wyoming Education reforms move forward as the Hill debate continues

Unless you are new to the state or have lived under a rock, you are aware that the state legislature passed a law that changed the powers of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and placed a Director in charge of Education.  Now lawmakers are investing a report that suggests possible wrong doing by Superintendent Cindy Hill…charges she denies.  It might lead people to worry about education in the state.  But lawmakers want you to know that they continue to try and make change for the better.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck has the story…

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Open Spaces
3:37 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Wyoming author recounts memories of nine winters in Yellowstone

Although millions of visitors will flock to Yellowstone National Park this summer, Atlantic City-based author and journalist Marjane Ambler is one of the few people who’s lived there when the park is buried in snow.

The former High Country news editor lived with her husband – who drove a snow plow – inside Yellowstone for nine winters during the 1980s and 90s. In her new book, “Yellowstone has Teeth,” Ambler recounts stories of terror and wonder during her time there. She talks with Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez in the studio.

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Open Spaces
3:35 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Wyoming ranching families look to old traditions for modern brandings

The grazing land of Wyoming is currently filled with young calves out to pasture. Calving season lasts through the spring and early summer in Wyoming and once the calves are born ranchers have to brand them to identify which ranch they belong to. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov attended a branding and found that in the 21st Century, some ranchers are happily keeping up old, social customs during their brandings.

IRINA ZHOROV: Scott Sims’ ranch in the Rock Creek Valley in Southeast Wyoming branded a batch of their calves at the end of June.

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Open Spaces
3:24 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Essay: “There’s Nothing Wilder” by Jessie Veeder

Jessie Veeder
Credit prx.org

Writer, musician, and photographer Jessie Veeder reads her essay about visiting a ranch in North Dakota, “There’s Nothing Wilder.”

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Open Spaces
3:14 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

$5 million budget cut concerns Game and Fish supporters

Credit Bob Beck

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved nearly five million dollars in budget cuts that were necessary after the legislature failed to approved an increase in game and fish license fees.  The department is funded 80 percent by license fees and was already dealing with a deficit when the fee hikes were voted down.  But lawmakers wanted the Game and Fish Department to be more efficient.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck has more.

BOB BECK:    The cuts were approved at a recent Game and Fish Commission meeting in Saratoga and many were unhappy. 

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Open Spaces
3:10 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

New homelessness coordinator takes first steps in creating long-term homelessness plan

Brenda Lyttle

Governor Matt Mead is hoping to create a ten-year plan to address homelessness in Wyoming. As a first step in the process, the Department of Family Services has appointed a homelessness coordinator. Her name is Brenda Lyttle.

Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with her. Lyttle says her first task will be to identify what services are already available to homeless individuals in different communities in Wyoming.

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Open Spaces
3:07 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

UW Field Court to teach students about historical, religious importance of Heart Mountain

This month, the University of Wyoming will host a field course where students will explore the geographic, historical and religious significance of Heart Mountain in northern Wyoming.

Two educators will split the teaching of the course, one focusing on history, and the other on religion. The latter, Mary Keller, is a historian of religions and a lecturer at U-W. She spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez from the Big Horn Radio Network in Cody about what makes Heart Mountain so special.

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Open Spaces
3:00 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Rail transport opens new markets for oil, but draws criticism from some local communities

Rancher Tom Wilson stands at his property line, watching work proceed at the site where the oil loading station will be located.
Credit Willow Belden

A facility is slated to be built in the town of Fort Laramie that would load oil onto rail cars. Assuming the project gets the necessary permits from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, it’s expected to be completed by the end of the year. Transporting oil by train is becoming increasingly popular, and experts say this facility and others like it will help the energy industry thrive. But local residents fear that a new industrial site could bring problems to their community. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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Open Spaces
2:53 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Rock Springs still working to fix sink holes created decades ago by coal mines

John Marushak, in his house on D Street in 1967
Credit Johnson and Fermelia Co., Inc.

More than 50 years ago residents of Rock Springs were shocked to learn that many of their houses, schools, and churches were in danger. The coal mines built underneath the town were beginning to collapse due to neglect and some environmental factors. It’s called subsidence and it’s happening in older mining towns all over the West. Wyoming Public Radio’s Amanda Le Claire has more on how the city is dealing with the problem now.

Ambient driving noise

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Open Spaces
2:49 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Author of Traveling the Power Line talks about her journey in energy self-education

Julianne Couch is the author of Traveling the Power Line, a book about the many energy sources we tap into for our power needs – from oil and gas, to wind, to solar and uranium.

Couch teaches at the University of Wyoming and has also written Jukeboxes and Jackalopes: A Wyoming Bar Journey and Waking Up Western: Collected Essays. She now lives in Iowa but stopped by the studio to talk to Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov about her book.

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Open Spaces
2:44 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Miss Indian America winners reunite in Sheridan

Vivian Arviso's future husband first saw her when she appeared as Miss Indian America in the parade at All American Indian Days in Sheridan, Wyo. in 1961.
Credit Lenz Collection, Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library Wyoming Room

The Sheridan WYO Rodeo in will host the return of some special guests this year. The Miss Indian America pageant was held during the rodeo from 1953 until 1984 and several past winners will reunite this weekend.

ARCHIVAL TAPE: [Drumming] There’s a town out west where the eye can stretch over the plains from mesa to mountains, where the heart warms in the sunshine of friends and the townspeople can see buffalo from their own backyards. Such a place is Sheridan Wyoming!  

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Open Spaces
2:34 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

UPSTARTS: “Fear No Chocolate,” The Meeteetse Chocolatier known for his story and original flavors

Rancher Tim Kellogg uses a variety of local ingredients, including huckleberries, Wyoming Whiskey, and homemade pine needle extract at his chocolate shot. The Meeteetse Chocolatier is celebrating his ninth year in business this month.
Credit Rebecca Martinez

Rancher and former saddle bronc rider, Tim Kellogg of Meeteetse, began selling homemade chocolates on weekends to bankroll his rodeo passion in 2004. Known by many as the “Meeteetse Chocolatier,” Kellogg now runs a shop on the little town’s main street seven days a week, drawing locals and tourists back again and again for his rich and creative flavor pairings. Rebecca Martinez interviewed him and produced this piece.

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Open Spaces
2:21 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

June 28th, 2013

Wyoming Lawmakers Outraged at Obama’s Climate Plan

This week President Obama announced he's going to attempt to combat climate change from the Oval Office. Wyoming's three Republicans in Congress are none too happy with his plan. As Matt Laslo reports, they say it could cripple the state's economy and hit your pocket.

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Open Spaces
2:04 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Wyoming lawmakers outraged at Obama’s climate plan

This week President Obama announced he's going to attempt to combat climate change from the Oval Office. Wyoming's three Republicans in Congress are none too happy with his plan. As Matt Laslo reports, they say it could cripple the state's economy and hit your pocket. 

MATT LASLO: Climate change wasn't really a part of the 20-12 election, so the president surprised many when he promised to deal with global warming in his second inaugural address. Now he's coming out swinging again...charging Republicans with being deaf to the scientific community. 

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Open Spaces
2:00 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Wyoming Education Association President is pleased with where the state is heading

Kathy Vetter
Credit Photo Courtesy of the Wyoming Education Association

Monday the President of the Wyoming Education Association Kathy Vetter will join other colleagues from across the nation in Atlanta for the National Education Association Representative Assembly where they will discuss a number of education issues.  Kathy Vetter joined Bob Beck to discuss some issues that might come up and give us her thoughts on some education issues facing Wyoming.  One issue is on the agenda surrounds school safety and gun safety prevention.

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Open Spaces
1:56 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Wyoming gears up for adventure race

Credit Photo courtesy of Cowboy Tough Adventure Race

In July, Wyoming enters the world of adventure racing when the state hosts the Cameco and City of Casper Cowboy Tough Adventure Race.  It’s a 3 ½-day race across the state that begins on July 18th. 

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Open Spaces
1:51 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Grand Teton Music Festival returns

Credit Photo courtesy of Grand Teton Music Festival

Next week the annual Grand Teton Music Festival gets underway at the Walk Festival Hall in Teton Village.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck spoke with Andrew Palmer Todd, the New Executive Director of the event. He says this event has become well known.

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Open Spaces
4:06 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

June 21st, 2013

Sequester effects less painful than expected, but lawmakers still unhappy

The congressionally mandated budget cuts called sequestration continue to have an impact on Wyoming. And while the state’s Republican lawmakers say those cuts aren’t having as big of an impact as predicted by Democrats, Matt Laslo reports from Washington that the delegation still isn’t happy with the sequester.

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Open Spaces
3:52 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Sequester effects less painful than expected, but lawmakers still unhappy

The congressionally mandated budget cuts called sequestration continue to have an impact on Wyoming. And while the state’s Republican lawmakers say those cuts aren’t having as big of an impact as predicted by Democrats, Matt Laslo reports from Washington that the delegation still isn’t happy with the sequester.

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Open Spaces
3:48 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Efforts to restore sage grouse habitat move forward

Last year, we reported on a new project to restore sage grouse habitat that’s been disturbed by energy development in the Powder River Basin. The Bureau of Land Management, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other agencies are participating in the effort.

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Open Spaces
3:41 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

A crime victim and perpetrator talk about how their unlikely friendship came to be

Stephen Watt (right) and Mark Farnham (left) during a recent visit.

Restorative justice is an approach to dealing with crime that put the victim of the crime front and center and considers how the offense affected the community, rather than looking at it as an isolated incident. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov has a three part series about restorative justice efforts in Wyoming, starting with a case study.

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Open Spaces
3:33 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Restorative justice initiatives in WY are just starting

Restorative justice is an approach to dealing with crime that put the victim of the crime front and center and considers how the offense affected the community, rather than looking at it as an isolated incident. Wyoming Public Radio has a three part series about restorative justice efforts in Wyoming, starting with a case study. To hear Part 3 of the series, click here.

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Open Spaces
3:30 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Watt and Farnham discuss the benefits of restorative justice in their lives

Stephen Watt (right) and Mark Farnham (left) during a recent visit.

Restorative justice is an approach to dealing with crime that put the victim of the crime front and center and considers how the offense affected the community, rather than looking at it as an isolated incident. Wyoming Public Radio has a three part series about restorative justice efforts in Wyoming.

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Open Spaces
3:16 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

With added OSHA personnel, more companies get safety consultations

Wyoming consistently has one of the highest rates of workplace fatalities in the country. Many of these are in the energy industry, though not all. Last year, the state legislature decided to tackle the problem by hiring more safety consultants for Wyoming’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration, or OSHA. Most agree that the change has been positive, but some say more still needs to be done, in order to reduce workplace injuries and deaths. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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Open Spaces
3:08 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

News Director Bob Beck reflects on 25 years at WPR

Wyoming Public Radio News Director Bob Beck hosts Morning Edition at WPR’s studio in Laramie
Credit Willow Belden

Wyoming Public Radio’s news director, Bob Beck, has been with the station for 25 years this month. During that time, the station has received 81 national, regional and state awards. Bob himself is a two-time winner of Edward R. Murrow awards and has contributed to two Emmy-award-winning television projects.

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Open Spaces
4:30 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Data processing failures spur plans to overhaul Wyoming Department of Education

Credit Wyoming Department of Education

Recent leadership and policy changes have caused upheaval in the Wyoming Department of education, but the collection and processing of data has been insufficient for years. An audit of the WDE’s Information Management unit is showing that there are major flaws in the system, and that an overhaul of the department is in order. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports.

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