Open Spaces

Open Spaces
4:34 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Affordable Care Act means insurance rebates for some residents

David Swift, a commercial photographer, and Colleen Thompson, a computer consultant, are both self-employed and self-insured. Getting health insurance for their family costs $1,500 a month. Looking for relief from the Affordable Care Act, they were pleased to get a rebate from their health insurance company.
Credit Rebecca Taylor

Some Teton County residents have found something surprising in their mailbox - a refund check from their health insurance company. Since when do health insurance companies send refund checks? Since the Affordable Care Act instituted something called the Medical Loss Ratio, or 80/20 rule. Rebecca Huntington explains.

HUNTINGTON: Jackson Hole resident Colleen Thompson manages her family's health insurance bills. A computer consultant, she's scanning bills into a digital archive. She says that she was SHOCKED by the amount of the health insurance refund sent to her family.

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Open Spaces
4:32 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

New DEQ director shares his plans for Wyoming

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has a new director, Todd Parfitt, the agency’s former deputy director. He took over after former director John Corra retired. Parfitt has spent about 20 years with DEQ, and he has also worked for an environmental consulting company in Ohio. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with Parfitt about his plans for tackling some of the environmental issues facing the state.

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Open Spaces
4:28 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Four more years: What a second Obama administration could mean for energy in Wyoming

Many fossil fuel developers campaigned against President Obama this election season, fearing the effect of regulations and other restrictions on their industry, while environmental activists called for four more years. Now that Mr. Obama has won a second term, Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez spoke with some stakeholders about what that could mean for the energy industry in Wyoming.

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Open Spaces
4:22 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Family lawyer discusses custody battles and other effects of domestic violence on children

A few weeks ago, we reported that victims of domestic violence are staying in shelters longer than they used to, in part because it’s gotten harder for them to find jobs and affordable housing. We turn now to a different aspect of domestic violence: children. When a victim decides to leave an abuser, there are often battles over custody. Dona

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Open Spaces
4:18 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Riverton tries again to tackle its drinking problem

For years some in Fremont County have been concerned about the populations rate of alcohol consumption.  In most categories the county ranks at or higher than most counties in the state in areas of concern such as alcohol related arrests or binge drinking.  The county is tops in the state in alcohol related crashes and ranks a solid fifth in alcohol related crimes.   Over the years community leaders in Riverton have periodically tried to address some of these problems.  Since spring a new effort is under way.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck has more.

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Open Spaces
4:15 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Poem: “Devils Tower”

University of Wyoming PhD student, budding ecologist and writer Kristen Gunther reads her poem, “Devils  Tower.”

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Open Spaces
4:11 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

The Importance of Being A Loser

Author Scott Farris can empathize with famous political losers. He was once the Democratic nominee for Congress to Wyoming, but lost to Barbara Cubin in 1998. Farris takes a look at the legacies of some notable-yet-unsuccessful presidential candidates in his book, “Almost President, the men who lost the race but changed the nation.”

This year, Mitt Romney garnered attention for a hard-fought campaign followed by a gracious acceptance speech. Scott Farris tells Rebecca Martinez that speech is a crucial part of every election.      

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Open Spaces
4:10 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

November 2nd, 2012

Riverton House and Senate Debate Recap
On Thursday night, candidates for U-S House and Senate gathered in Riverton for a set of debates. They answered questions ranging from how to address the Medicare shortfall … to their views on climate change and the energy industry. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck was one of the moderators … and he joins Willow Belden from Riverton to talk about the debate.

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Open Spaces
3:59 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Riverton House and Senate Debate Recap

On Thursday night, candidates for U-S House and Senate gathered in Riverton for a set of debates. They answered questions ranging from how to address the Medicare shortfall … to their views on climate change and the energy industry. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck was one of the moderators … and he joins Willow Belden from Riverton to talk about the debate.

Watch the Debates Online Here

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Open Spaces
3:56 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Defeated primary candidates launch write-in campaigns, cause discord in GOP

Wyoming votes overwhelmingly Republican. Republicans have held a majority in the state Senate continuously since 1936 and in the state house since 1964. But the upcoming general election has exposed a rift inside the party challenging its unity, especially where primary losers have mounted write in campaigns.  David Koch of the Big Horn Radio Network reports on one of three write-in campaigns for the state’s legislative body.

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Open Spaces
3:49 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Wyoming one of the reddest states in the U.S

Polls show that nearly 57 percent of Wyomingites identify as Republican, making the state one of the reddest in the nation. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden explores why that’s the case, and what it means to be so red.

WILLOW BELDEN: There’s little doubt that Wyoming will vote for Mitt Romney for president, re-elect both Republican members of Congress who are running this year, and maintain a solidly Republican state legislature.

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Open Spaces
3:42 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

UW Professor Phil Roberts on the WY Democratic Party’s Rise and Fall

University of Wyoming History Professor, Phil Roberts, says Wyoming’s Democratic Party lost many of its constituents when the state lost its large railroad and mining labor unions. But the Party also failed to make up for that loss by not painting itself as the party for the modern cowboy.   

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Open Spaces
3:37 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Journalist reflects on AML cuts to Wyoming

Earlier this year Wyoming learned that its share of Abandoned Mine Land money was cut in a congressional conference committee.  Estimates are that it will cost Wyoming more than 700 million dollars and Governor Matt Mead says the cut hurts as the state will have to find new ways to pay for construction or other 1 time projects.  Wyoming author and WyoFile contributor Samuel Western recently wrote about the cut.  He talks with Bob Beck.

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Open Spaces
3:34 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

St. John’s CEO is optimistic about ACA benefits to women

The fate of the Affordable Care Act has been a sticking point for both presidential candidates. Mitt Romney has said he intends to repeal it, while President Obama has promised to protect the promises it makes to reform parts of the healthcare system. Dr. Louis Hochheiser, CEO of St. John’s Medical Center, has studied the ACA, and says the law is already breaking down barriers, especially for women.

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Open Spaces
3:31 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Technology improves health care in rural hospitals

Deborah Lockman is the informatics coordinator at Platte Valley Community Hospital in Wheatland.
Credit Bob Beck

Figuring out cost effective ways to upgrade rural health care is the goal of all hospitals and medical providers in the state. But it’s especially tough for the smallest rural facilities.  The numbers of doctors are small which can lead to mistakes and specialists are at a premium.  But thanks to electronic records and other forms of telemedicine… things are starting to improve.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

(sound of hospital)

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Open Spaces
3:26 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Simpson family to perform dramatic version of epic Civil War poem

We’re joined now by Pete and Lynne Simpson. They’re doing a production of the play “John Brown’s Body,” which they’ll perform across the state this month. Lynne Simpson tells Willow Belden the play is actually an epic poem, written by Stephen Vincent Benet about 50 years after the end of the Civil War.

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Open Spaces
3:19 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Poem: “Old Carbon, Wyoming”

The Carbon Cemetery today.
Credit Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office

Writer Lori Howe readers her poem, “Old Carbon, Wyoming.”

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Open Spaces
4:33 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

October 26th, 2012

Gov. Mead reflects on GREG report, promises cuts
The Consensus Revenue estimating group came out with projections that lawmakers will have about 85 million more dollars to spend this session.  The CREG report is main tool government officials use to forecast how much money the state will have.  Governor Matt Mead joins Bob Beck to discuss the report and the impact it has on his budget as he prepares to present it in December.

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Open Spaces
3:57 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Tim Chesnut is challenging incumbent Sen. Barrasso in US Congressional race

Longtime Albany County Commissioner Tim Chesnut is running for his first federal office this year.  The 46 year old Laramie native is a Democratic candidate for the U-S Senate seat currently held by John Barrasso.  Chesnut says his years as a local government politician helps him better understand the needs of citizens.  He joins me to discuss some of the issues.

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Open Spaces
3:34 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Gov. Mead reflects on CREG report, promises cuts

The Consensus Revenue estimating group came out with projections that lawmakers will have about 85 million more dollars to spend this session.  The CREG report is main tool government officials use to forecast how much money the state will have.  Governor Matt Mead joins Bob Beck to discuss the report and the impact it has on his budget as he prepares to present it in December.

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Open Spaces
3:31 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Sluggish economy forces domestic violence victims to stay longer at shelters

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and across the state, shelters are reporting that victims are staying for longer periods of time than in the past. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports that the reason has a lot to do with the economy.

WILLOW BELDEN: Jamie Barton was 19 when she met the man who would become her abuser. After her first son was born, the violence started.

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Open Spaces
3:26 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

The GOP relies on youth to win the presidential election

Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election with overwhelming support from young voters. This year, the president and Governor Mitt Romney are neck-and-neck in the polls, in part because many young conservatives have mobilized to support the challenger. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez spoke with some young movers and shakers in the GOP to hear what makes them tick. She filed this report.

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Open Spaces
3:22 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Incumbent Sen. Barrasso is running to keep his seat

We now turn our attention to a couple of political candidates. U-S Senator John Barrasso was originally appointed to the U-S Senate to fill the seat of the late Senator Craig Thomas.  He then was elected to a four year term in 2008.  Senator Barrasso had previously served as a State Senator and was a Casper Orthopedic Surgeon for 24 years.  Barrasso tells Bob Beck that he has been campaigning across the state and says there has been one main topic on citizen’s minds…

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Open Spaces
2:59 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Why Are WY Democrats Few and Far Between?

There are no democratic members of Congress from Wyoming in Washington DC. And though the state’s seen some democratic governors over the years, currently in the state legislature, 50 of the 60 House seats and 26 of the 30 Senate seats are held by Republicans. So why is it so hard to get elected? Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that wasn’t always the case.

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Open Spaces
2:53 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Exhibit showcases National Geographic’s greatest photography of the American West

This photo, “Nebraska Rodeo” by Joel Sartore, is one of 75 that will be on display in Cody, Jackson and eight other cities around the country.
Credit National Geographic

An exhibit of National Geographic’s greatest photographs of the American West is opening in 10 cities across the country this weekend, including Cody and Jackson. It’s an eclectic mix of both historical and modern-day images, which are meant to showcase the nuances and complexity of the West. The National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson spearheaded the show … the museum’s CEO Jim McNutt joins us now to talk about it. He tells Willow Belden that figuring out how to organize the photos intelligently took some creativity.

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Open Spaces
4:38 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

October 5, 2012

Wisconsin hunters set up camp above the Gros Ventre River, where they're pursuing deer but some Wyoming hunters are targeting wolves.
Jennifer Tennican

Wyoming's Wolf Hunt Begins

Nearly 3,000 hunters have purchased permits to target wolves in Wyoming's first regulated wolf hunt, which began on Monday. Conservation groups, meanwhile, are preparing to challenge Wyoming's approach in court. As of Thursday, hunters had reported killing six wolves since opening day. Rebecca Huntington has more.

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Open Spaces
4:05 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Wyoming's Wolf Hunt Begins

Wisconsin hunters set up camp above the Gros Ventre River, where they're pursuing deer but some Wyoming hunters are targeting wolves.
Jennifer Tennican

HOST INTRO: Nearly 3,000 hunters have purchased permits to target wolves in Wyoming's first regulated wolf hunt, which began on Monday. Conservation groups, meanwhile, are preparing to challenge Wyoming's approach in court. As of Thursday, hunters had reported killing six wolves since opening day. Rebecca Huntington has more.

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Open Spaces
3:54 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Forest Service studies the impacts of Beetle killed trees

Clint Dawson
David Koch

INTRO:  Throughout the west a natural process is being witnessed that in some areas has had devastating impacts. The Bark Beetle epidemic has affected millions of acres of forest and caused public officials to ponder what if anything can be done about it. Big Horn Radio Network’s David Koch reports that officials recently looked at the situation in northwest, Wyoming. 

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Open Spaces
3:48 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Incumbent US Rep. Cynthia Lummis talks about Medicare, AML funds

Cynthia Lummis

Rep. Cynthia Lummis is running for her third term in the US House of Representatives.  Lummis is a fiscal conservative who is a member of the appropriations committee.  She joins Bob Beck on the campaign trail.

Open Spaces
3:38 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Conversation with Democratic Congressional Challenger Chris Henrichsen

Chris Henrichsen

Democrat Chris Henrichsen is a political newcomer who teaches Political Science at Casper College.  He is running against incumbent Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis to focus attention on working people and the middle class.  Henrichsen is hoping to be the first Wyoming democrat in Congress since  1978.  He is battling a lack of funding, against one of the wealthiest members of Congress.  But Henrichsen hopes he views will give him a chance.

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