Open Spaces

Open Spaces
4:27 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Wyoming’s Oil and Gas Supervisor discusses issues from flaring to fracking

Natural gas, a byproduct of oil extraction, is flared at a well pad near Douglas
Credit Willow Belden

Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck spoke with the new supervisor of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Grant Black.  Since he started the job a few weeks ago, Black has been dealing with issues ranging from the flaring of natural gas to water contamination.  He says the flaring issue is interesting.

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Open Spaces
4:22 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Laramie software company makes a dent in the medical world

Happy Jack employee Spencer Buda
Credit Bob Beck

In our occasional series on upstart businesses we take you to Laramie to tell you about a software company that is making a dent in the world of medicine.  Mona Gamboa started Happy Jack Software in 2004 after she left her software job in Texas to join her husband who took a job at the University of Wyoming.  Gamboa got a Master in Science in E Business from U-W and started Happy Jack software in the U-W Student Union.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

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Open Spaces
4:09 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Historian Phil Roberts discusses his new book, ‘Cody’s Cave’

Historian Phil Roberts at the University of Wyoming recently published a book called “Cody’s Cave,” which tells the story of a vast set of caverns near Cody. The cave was once a national monument, but was then turned over to local control, and Roberts argues that that was a grave mistake, because the site is now just a hole in the ground, off limits to the public. Roberts joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden to talk about the cave, and its demise.

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Open Spaces
4:04 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Author discusses the book Wyoming’s Outlaw Trail

Mac Blewer
Credit Photo courtesy Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site

Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck spoke with author and historian Mac Blewer about his entertaining book called “Wyoming’s Outlaw Trail.”  It’s about the outlaws that frequented Wyoming in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  For instance he says Baggs, Wyoming was a popular hangout.

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Open Spaces
3:59 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Wolf trapping raises concerns about trapping the wrong animals

Dave Pauli runs a workshop to teach dog owners how to keep their pets out of traps
Credit Rebecca Huntington

Since wolves have been taken off the Endangered Species List in Wyoming, they can now be hunted in many parts of the state … and they can also be trapped in areas where they're classified as predators. Rebecca Huntington reports that that's raising concerns that unintended animals could end up in the traps.

DAVE PAULI: So this is the way the device sits, and when an animal, again it could be at any height, when an animal goes in there…

[SNAP of trap]

AUDIENCE: Oh god....

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Open Spaces
3:52 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Study examines reasons behind decline in migratory elk calves

Credit Photo courtesy Arthur Middleton

Since the 1990s, elk that migrate between Yellowstone National Park and Cody have been raising fewer calves. But the elk that stay in the foothills near Cody year round and don’t migrate have been doing very well. A new study looks at why that’s the case. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with the lead author on the report, Arthur Middleton. He says they spent years looking at the elk’s predators and habitat, and how those corresponded to elk pregnancies and overall wellbeing.

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Open Spaces
3:41 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

South Africans strive to limit damage to landscape as elephant populations grow

Elephants at Makalali Game Reserve.
Credit Willow Belden

We’ve reported frequently on efforts to control wildlife numbers in Wyoming, through hunting, contraception, and other means. In southern Africa, wildlife managers face similar challenges, with elephants. In some parts of Africa, elephants are threatened by poaching, but in South Africa they’re flourishing. Some wildlife reserves say they’re multiplying too fast, but others say controlling their numbers is the wrong solution. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden traveled to South Africa and filed this report.

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Open Spaces
5:45 pm
Sat June 1, 2013

Growing sagebrush and other native seed: Crackpot idea or lucrative business venture?

Richard and Claire Dunne grow sagebrush on Absaroka Farm in northcentral Wyoming. The seeds are sold for use in land reclamation.
Credit Luke Hammons

Richard and Claire Dunne grow sagebrush on Absaroka Farm in northcentral Wyoming. The seeds are sold for use in land reclamation. Where some people see a weed, others see a gold mine...  At least that’s the case in Richard and Claire Dunne’s Absaroka Farm in North Central, Wyoming.  A farm that, if you drove past it, you might think was just another stretch of the prairie.

Although sagebrush seed is in demand, growing it commercially is a niche marked… and some people think it’s crazy.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Luke Hammons filed this report.

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Open Spaces
5:09 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

May 31st, 2013

Uranium yellowcake powder

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.

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Open Spaces
4:57 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Wyoming missed out on last uranium boom, but planning for the future

Uranium yellowcake powder

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. 

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Open Spaces
4:50 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Study explores effects of receding glaciers on Wind River streams

Glacier in the Wind River Mountain Range
Credit John Scurlock

Glaciers in the Wind River Mountain Range have been receding for a long time, and a new study looks at how that’s affecting the ecosystems in high alpine streams. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with Craig Thompson, one of the authors of the report. He’s a professor of engineering and applied science at Western Wyoming Community College, and he’s been studying these glaciers for more than two decades.

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Open Spaces
4:47 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Are foreign herders the black sheep of immigration reform?

Antonio Basualdo Solorzano
Sara Hossaini

Debate over the immigration overhaul has found its way to the vast open spaces of Wyoming. Here, Peruvian guest workers on H2-A visas tend thousands of sheep. These shepherds make just $750 a month to be on the job around-the-clock, usually alone for months on end. That's around half of what other agricultural guestworkers make because sheep ranchers receive a special exemption from minimum wage requirements. Ranchers say it’s needed in order to save this small, struggling American industry.

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Open Spaces
4:35 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Cora’s Legacy: Letters allow Sheridan historian to uncover WWII POWs’ stories

Sheridan-based historian Val Burgess is passionate about World War II Prisoners of war. Through her non-profit, Wars’ Voices, she and her husband Jerry are working to record and archive the stories of World War II P-O-Ws.

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Open Spaces
4:31 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Wyoming Trails Summit hopes to improve communities

For the first time, non-motorized trail enthusiasts will gather formally to discuss ways that communities, land managers, and others can improve trails across the state. Tim Young of Wyoming Pathways and Angela Emery, the Director of Casper’s Platte River Trails talk with Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck about the Wyoming Trails Summit.

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Open Spaces
4:07 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Sheridan author discusses “Snow Leopard” fable

Sheridan author Tom McIntyre has a new book out called “The Snow Leopard’s Tale.” It’s a story that takes place on a high Tibetan plateau and is written from the point of view of a snow leopard named Xue Bao. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with McIntyre about the book, and he described it as more of a fable than a novel.

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Open Spaces
4:05 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Zarif Khan: A Wyoming Life

Zarina Khan

Zarina Khan speaks about Sheridan’s Zarif Kahn on Mountain West Voices.

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Open Spaces
4:01 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Poem: “Wild, Wild East: Finding Hints of Asia in the West”

LuLing Osofsky

As a graduate student in UW’s Creative Writing Program, LuLing Osofsky was fascinated by the various ways she saw Indian culture present in Laramie. South Asian students celebrated traditional festivals on campus, and the town had a good place to get curry. She writes about experiencing these pockets of India in her series of vignettes called “Wild Wild East: Finding Hints of Asia in the West.”

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Open Spaces
12:41 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

The Wind River Casino is doing well, but some tribal members expect more

The Northern Arapaho Tribe opened the doors to its full-scale casino in 2005. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that eight years into the venture, the casino is making money but some wonder where it’s going. 


IRINA ZHOROV: The Wind River Casino has been open for almost a decade but it’s still a novelty to walk into; whirring slot machines, dimmed lights, card tables, all on the edge of Riverton on a piece of prairie.


[sound of machines]

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Open Spaces
6:31 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Efforts to grant tribes more authority are met with resistance from non-tribal lawmakers

The extent of sovereignty for Native American tribes has long been like a tug-of-war between tribal and non-tribal governments in the United States. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that the issue of sovereignty trickles down to everything, even the issuance of traffic tickets, and lawmakers are moving nowhere fast to fix problems caused by disagreements over self-government for tribes.  

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Open Spaces
6:27 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

New Northern Arapaho Business Council resolves to fix tribe’s poor financial management

The Northern Arapaho Tribe is a mess, financially. They’re behind on their audits, past audits have not been flattering, and change has been slow to come. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov has been looking into why the audits are less than ideal and the status of the Tribe’s future financial solvency.   


BOB BECK: To start, why is a federal governmental agency even auditing a tribe, if the tribe is supposed to be pretty much sovereign?

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Open Spaces
6:20 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

UW’s Native American graduates are important to the Wind River Reservation

In the mid 1990’s the University of Wyoming made a conscious effort to attract more Native American students to the University. Over the years recruitment and retention of students from the Wind River Reservation has been challenging.  New efforts could change things and many believe that will be important for the long term health of the Reservation.

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Open Spaces
6:16 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Arapahoe School Superintendent leaves after pivotal school year

During Jonathan Braack’s time as superintendent of Fremont School District 38, the Arapahoe School met federal education standards for the first time. Braack Arapahoe this week to become Niobrara County’s School Superintendent. Chantell Denson will take over as superintendent of Fremont #38.
Credit Rebecca Martinez

The once-faltering Fremont School District 38 in Arapahoe turned a complete 180 since Superintendent Jonathan Braack took the helm in January 2012.

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Open Spaces
6:13 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Peer mentoring program aims to prevent substance abuse and keep kids in touch with tribal heritage

Rapper Chief Swagg poses for a photo with students on the Wind River Indian Reservation at the ESCAPE kick-off concert. ESCAPE is a program of the Eastern Shoshone Department of Juvenile Services, and it works to train students to educate their peers about making healthy choices.
Credit windriverescape.org

Substance abuse is a concern for most school districts across the country, but on the Wind River Indian Reservation, it’s a red flag for especially high crime and suicide rates. Tribes have been trying – with mixed success – to keep kids from abusing alcohol and tobacco… But a new program from the Eastern Shoshone Department of Juvenile Services is working to train a league of student mentors to help their peers avoid risky behaviors. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez filed this report.

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Open Spaces
6:02 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Lander native reflects on his family history and relationship with the Eastern Shoshone tribe

Kit Freedman is a graduate of University of Wyoming, who did his thesis research on the Wind River Indian Reservation. In this essay he reflects on his family’s multi-generational history in Lander.   

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Open Spaces
5:22 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

May 10th, 2013

Pollutants including benzene and diesel-range organics have shown up in water wells like this one in the Pinedale Anticline for several years.
Credit 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.

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Open Spaces
5:06 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Pollutants detected in water wells in Sublette County’s gas fields

Pollutants including benzene and diesel-range organics have shown up in water wells like this one in the Pinedale Anticline for several years.
Credit Courtesy Linda Baker
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Open Spaces
5:01 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Wyoming Judicial Branch says there’s nothing left to cut.

Judge Wesley Roberts runs the Riverton Circuit Court. According to a statewide weighted workload study, Roberts does the work of 1.3 judges.
Credit Rebecca Martinez

State agencies worked hard to trim the fat in order to meet an average of 6-percent budget cuts the Wyoming Legislature put into effect this year. The Judicial Branch took a hit of 4-percent budget cut. Because the state revenue forecast is still cloudy, further cuts may be considered. As the state population grows, so does the need for the court system, which makes it next-to-impossible to cut back. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports.

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Open Spaces
4:50 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

The Cheyenne International Film Festival begins May 16th

Next week the Cheyenne International Film festival gets underway. The event begins May 16th and runs through the 19th.  The producer of the event is Alan O’Hashi who’s been active in helping Wyoming movie makers and this venue gives them a chance to showcase their work, but as the title suggests, International films will also be shown.   O’Hashi tells Bob Beck the event was started five years ago and continues to grow.  He says they will be showing a wide range of films.

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Open Spaces
4:46 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

New website features Wyoming history

Former Newspaper reporter and author Tom Rea has a new venture, he is the Editor of WyoHistory.org. It is a history website about Wyoming.  He tells Bob Beck the idea for the website came as he was doing a job for the Natrona County School district.

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