Open Spaces

Open Spaces
4:47 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

A conversation with new Democratic Party chair Pete Gosar

Pete Gosar of Laramie is the new chairman of the Wyoming Democratic Party. He says he’s optimistic that the party will be able to gain a better footing in the state in the future.

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Open Spaces
4:43 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

GOP soul-searching after November losses

National Republican leaders are doing some soul searching after suffering losses in November. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on what Wyoming Republican lawmakers think of the new effort.  

MATT LASLO: The Republican National Committee says the GOP has a problem with women and minority voters. In assessing the parties lackluster showing in 20-12, party leaders introduced a 219 point proposal to help soften the party’s image, including doing better outreach in communities that are traditionally Democratic strongholds.

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Open Spaces
4:39 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Sweetwater County looks at sustainable growth

After decades of a boom and bust economy…officials in a town in Southwestern Wyoming believe they may have harnessed the erratic cycle into more sustainable economic growth. Wyoming Public Radio’s Amanda LeClaire has more.

Ambient sound of a shop/ restaurant

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Open Spaces
4:36 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Study says sage grouse have very limited tolerance for development

A study by the U.S. Geological Survey looks at the ecological conditions that sage grouse need in order to survive, and the amount of human disturbance they can tolerate. We’re joined now by Steve Knick, one of the report’s authors. He says the goal was to determine the basic requirements that sage grouse have.

Click here to view the full report.

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Open Spaces
4:28 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Report says oversight of oil and gas development is insufficient; agencies says it’s not that simple

Oil and gas development in Wyoming has burgeoned in the last decade. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality…the Bureau of Land Management…the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission…and sometimes other agencies are all responsible for inspecting the sites. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that some stakeholders say they’re not doing a good enough job monitoring operators. But agencies say it’s not that simple. 

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Open Spaces
4:24 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

State prepares for the fire season

For the last month, state officials have expressed concern about Wyoming’s dry winter and the possibility of another bad fire season.  But with the moisture the state has recently received, the question is whether that concern has been reduced.  Bill Crapser is the state forester and he tells Bob Beck that having more moisture has helped.

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Open Spaces
4:21 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Small movie theaters struggle to switch from film to digital

Edie Rollings holds a 35mm film reel in the projection room at the Ritz Theater in Thermopolis.
Credit Rebecca Martinez

Going to the movies has been a favorite pastime since the dawn of film… but Hollywood studios expect to stop printing movies on actual film before the end of this year. They’re switching over to a digital format, which requires all-new equipment… and the cost of the transition is proving prohibitive for some small Wyoming theaters. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez filed this report.

(struggling to open reel box)

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Open Spaces
4:12 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

April 19th, 2013

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. 

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Open Spaces
4:03 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

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.  

MATT LASLO: After the amendment to put in place near universal background checks failed… families from Newton, Connecticut huddled together…hugging each other as tears streamed down their faces. Erica Lafferty’s mom is Dawn Hochsprung (Hock-sprung) - the principal who was gunned down protecting her students at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

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Open Spaces
3:59 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

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 counties. But now, the state is trying a new tactic which they hope will save more lives. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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Open Spaces
3:56 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Losing two sons to suicide: A conversation with BJ Ayers

We’re joined now by BJ Ayers. Not one, but two of her sons killed themselves … and since then, she’s dedicated her life to trying to prevent suicide. She started the Grace for Two Brothers foundation and is now the suicide prevention coordinator for southeast Wyoming. Her son Brett was 19 when he died in 2005.

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Open Spaces
3:53 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Technical and long-term questions remain about Encana’s aquifer exemption request

The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission recently okayed an aquifer exemption that would permit Encana Oil and Gas to pump waste water from their oil and gas projects in the Moneta Divide into the Madison Aquifer, about 60 miles outside of Casper. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that the exemption isn’t exactly a rarity, but it does bring up some big questions.

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Open Spaces
3:50 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

DEQ’s engine emissions study shows mixed compliance in oil and gas fields

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has been running an Engine Emissions Study for almost two years now. For the most part, Wyoming oil and gas fields are not connected to the grid and so they end up running on engines, which emit pollutants into the air. The study set out to evaluate emissions from these generators around the state. Results from the study show that a large percentage of the engines fail the tests. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov spoke with the DEQ Air Quality Engineer in charge of the study, Jon Walker, about why that is.

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Open Spaces
3:46 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Coal to liquid projects have uphill climb

Over the years, many researchers have looked at a variety of research and economic development projects using Wyoming coal.  The idea is to open up new markets for it and to make it more viable for businesses and the public to use.  Much of this has surrounded coal gasification.   There has been a belief that coal could be used as a form of liquid fuel.  That was especially useful when oil supplies appeared limited in the United States…but as the country entered a technology revolution and opened up more resources…the interest dropped.  Experts say that the other reason interest has waned i

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Open Spaces
3:43 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

The film ‘Gasland’ made ‘fracking’ a household word - ‘Gasland 2’ premiers this weekend

‘Gasland’ is a documentary about the negative effects of natural gas drilling. The narrator in the movie is seeking answers about natural gas development in light of a growing play around his own home in the Delaware River Basin, and his inquiries take him on a road trip to communities around the U.S. that have already been drilled into and have something to say about it. When the movie came out, it made big waves, and ‘Gasland-2’ premiers this weekend. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports on what’s changed since the first movie came out in 2010.

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Open Spaces
3:40 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Acclaimed author and historian David McCullough discusses his work

Credit University of Wyoming Foundation

Author and historian David McCullough is a two time winner of the Pulitzer prize, he has twice won the National Book Award, and has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his books on American History. He spoke about history, education and a number of topics at the University of Wyoming this week. I was able to catch up with him following his talk.

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Open Spaces
4:14 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

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.

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Open Spaces
4:10 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Wyo. Lawmakers Tangle with Obama Over EPA

Wyoming Republican lawmakers are up in arms over efforts by the Obama Administration to regulate carbon emissions through the Executive Branch. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on the energy debate that’s boiling on Capitol Hill.

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Open Spaces
4:08 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

A conversation with BLM paleontologist Brent Breithaupt

Credit Willow Belden

When we think about the Bureau of Land Management, dinosaurs and other ancient creatures aren’t necessarily the first things that come to mind. But the agency has a small team of paleontologists whose job it is to manage fossils on public land. Brent Breithaupt is one of those paleontologists. He’s based here in Wyoming, and he says public land in the west is full of fossils – many of which haven’t been discovered yet.

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Open Spaces
4:05 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

UPSTARTS: Teton inventor patents magnetic twist on water bottles

Credit Rebecca Huntington

In our occasional series “Upstarts,” we profile Wyoming entrepreneurs. Today we take you to Teton County where we meet an entrepreneur who has invented a way to improve your water bottle. Wyoming Public Radio's Rebecca Huntington has more.

REBECCA HUNTINGTON: Like lots of inventions, Steve Kitto's started with a problem that needed fixing.

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Open Spaces
3:59 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Laramie educators want to foster support for LGBT students in the classroom

Schools across the country have embraced sweeping anti-bullying measures in recent years. Universities and schools districts are encouraging teachers to celebrate diversity and discourage exclusionary language, but at the upcoming Shepard Symposium on Social Justice, the University of Wyoming will host a group that say teachers need to beexplicit about their acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning students.

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Open Spaces
3:56 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Cheyenne author discusses the life and death of Wyoming Senator Lester Hunt

A long time Wyoming Public official has written a new book about the suicide of former Wyoming U-S Senator and Governor Lester Hunt.  Hunt was a democrat who was Wyoming’s Governor for six years, before getting elected to the U-S Senate, where he served from 1949 until his death in 1954.  In his book called Dying for Joe McCarthy’s sins, Rodger McDaniel says that Hunt was well thought of in Wyoming…

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Open Spaces
3:53 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Wild horse “ecosanctuary” to allow horses to roam free off public lands

Every year, the Bureau of Land Management removes thousands of horses from public land in Wyoming. They ship most of the horses to long-term holding facilities in the Midwest. But that’s expensive … and they’re running out of space. So now the BLM has partnered with ranchers to create a so-called horse “ecosanctuary” right here in the Cowboy State. It’s the first of its kind in the nation. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

AMBI: Ecosanctuary

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Open Spaces
3:50 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Laramie children learn to relax with yoga

Study after study says that children are not as active as they used to be and many groups and organizations are promoting various ways for children to develop a healthy lifestyle.  In Laramie, a young woman is trying to do this with yoga…for kids.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck has more.        

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Open Spaces
3:54 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

March 15th, 2013

Emissions from drilling rigs and other production equipment can cause ozone to form.
Credit 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.

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Open Spaces
3:34 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

DEQ releases ozone strategy for Sublette County

Emissions from drilling rigs and other production equipment can cause ozone to form.
Credit Willow Belden

BOB BECK: 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.

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Open Spaces
3:30 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Cody to plow east entrance to Yellowstone

Credit David Koch

The effects of automatic spending cuts or sequestration are being felt in the Cowboy State. Because of the automatic spending cuts Yellowstone has been forced to cut 1.75 million dollars from their operating budget. That has caused Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk to delay plowing operations within the park, a move that has upset some gateway communities and caused others to find a solution. Cody officials have been working hard to find a way to open the East Gate on time despite the federal government. From Cody David Koch has more

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Open Spaces
3:27 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

NRCS seeks to save Ogallala Aquifer by convincing farmers to abandon water rights

The irrigation pivots at Mike Poelma's farm are defunct, now that he has given up his water rights and switched to dryland agriculture.
Credit Willow Belden

A small corner of southeast Wyoming sits over the Ogallala Aquifer. The Ogallala is a huge aquifer that stretches from Wyoming and Nebraska all the way to Texas. It’s a key source of water for agriculture, but it’s being depleted faster than it can recharge. So the Natural Resources Conservation Service is trying to help save it. Here in Wyoming, they’re doing that by encouraging farmers to give up their water rights. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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Open Spaces
3:24 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Wyoming Social Workers play an important role

Social workers play a big role in Wyoming and the month of March honors their work. Kimberly Harper is the Executive Director of the National Association of Social workers.  She tells Bob Beck that like a lot of organizations, they are dealing with budget cuts.

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