Open Spaces

Open Spaces

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....

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Zarif Khan: A Wyoming Life

May 31, 2013

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

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.”

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]

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.  

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.   

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.

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.

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.

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.

If you’re looking for big, stately elk antlers to hang on your wall, the National Elk Refuge in Jackson would be a great place to find them… except the public isn’t allowed onto the elk habitat. Instead, the Refuge and the Jackson Boy Scouts are gathering and bundling antlers to sell at the annual Elk Antler Auction in Jackson next weekend to benefit elk habitat projects. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez spoke with the Refuge’s Lori Iverson about it. Iverson says she understands why people want elk antlers, but protecting the wildlife is her first priority.

A US senate committee has introduced an immigration reform plan that includes a path to citizenship for immigrants living illegally in the U.S. Opponents claim that such a path rewards people who have broken the law by giving them amnesty.

Under current law, many immigrants seeking residency have to leave the country. Sometimes for ten years or more.  But this deportation often has side-effects.

Wyoming Public Radio's Luke Hammons has more.

Oliver Walter came to the University of Wyoming in 1970 to teach political science and became dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1989. This summer, he’ll be retiring. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov sat down with him talk about his tenure at UW and the future for both the school and himself. He started out talking about some changes he witnessed in his decades as dean.

Courtesy of University of Wyoming

This weekend a new set of graduates are leaving the University of Wyoming.  For some, they are facing an unknown job situation, but others are ready to jump into their careers.  The graduates also talked about Wyoming’s efforts to keep them in-state. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck sat down with three graduates from U-W’s College of business and found that two are leaving and one thinks he’ll hang around a bit longer.

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