Open Spaces

Open Spaces
3:49 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Sinclair fire the result of failure to train workers and other workplace violations, OSHA finds

The Sinclair Refinery near Rawlins has had four fires or explosions since May, and Wyoming’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has been investigating what went wrong. OSHA has completed its investigation into one of the incidents. It was a fire on May 25, which injured two workers. Wyoming OSHA Administrator John Ysebaert joins us to talk about what they found. He says one of the main problems is that Sinclair wasn’t properly training its workers.

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Open Spaces
3:46 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

A glimpse into the Cheyenne Concert Association’s upcoming season

The Cheyenne Concert Association started in 1935 as a way to bring a variety of music to community.  Funding for the association comes from the Wyoming Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts and other organizations.  Mary Cox with the Concert Association tells us that their new season begins October 16th at the Cheyenne School Administration building with the group New Odyssey.

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Open Spaces
3:36 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Former Rep. Jorgensen pushes for Medicaid expansion

As you may have heard, Governor Matt Mead is struggling with whether to recommend that the state expand Medicaid offerings.  It would provide federal insurance to more people in the state and supporters say it would save the state health care dollars in the long run.  But the Governor says it could cost the state millions of dollars in up-front costs.  Former State Representative Pete Jorgensen, a Democrat from Jackson, says the long term benefits of an expansion make it worth it.  Jorgensen was a long time member of the legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee and is pushing state hea

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Open Spaces
3:31 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

After slow start, ‘green’ building begins to take root in Wyoming

Davey Jackson Elementary in Jackson achieved LEED certification.

Over the past few years, a growing number of people in Wyoming have been constructing buildings with an eye to making them more energy efficient. But Wyoming still lags behind the rest of the country when it comes to “green” building. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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Open Spaces
4:27 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Gov. Mead considers expanding Medicaid

Governor Matt Mead is confronted with the issue of whether or not the state should expand Medicaid services to serve more residents.  It’s a proposal that was included in the Affordable Care Act, but this summer the US Supreme Court ruled that states should be allowed to make this decision.  The argument for doing it is that it would help bring down long term costs of health care, because those who cannot get or afford insurance would be covered under Medicaid.  That should reduce cost shifting.   But there is an expense to the state and a recent study commissioned for the Department of Hea

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Open Spaces
4:24 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Volunteers make EMS possible in rural Wyoming, but numbers are dwindling

An ambulance staffed a team of experienced first-responders can make a world of difference in an emergency. This is especially true in rural Wyoming, where the hospital can be an hour away or more. What many people don’t realize is that most of Wyoming’s Emergency Medical Services – or EMS – workers are volunteers, and their numbers are dwindling. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez filed this report.

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Open Spaces
4:18 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Wyoming State Parks Celebrate 75 Years

This is the 75th year of State Parks in Wyoming.   Dominic Bravo oversees State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails.   He tells Bob Beck that state parks have an interesting history.

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Open Spaces
4:17 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Symphony: Michael Griffith previews the season

The University of Wyoming Symphony opens its season next week.  Director Michael Griffith joins Bob Beck.

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Open Spaces
4:14 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Beetle killed trees are bad for wildlife

More than a million acres of forest in Wyoming and Colorado by the beetle kill epidemic. That means lots of dry fuel for forest fires. But it also might have an impact on wildlife. So the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is conducting a study to figure out how beetle kill is affecting elk, and elk hunters. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with wildlife biologist Tony Mong, who’s heading the study. He says the worry is that dead trees could be restricting access to certain parts of the forests.

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Open Spaces
4:12 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Cheyenne Police Dept. seeks to keep the homeless out of jail

The Cheyenne Police Department has launched an initiative that’s meant to help the homeless get access to shelter and other services, and keep them out of jail. The cops and the one shelter in town are optimistic about the program. But various advocacy groups have major concerns. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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Open Spaces
4:08 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Laramie sets stage to attract tech industry

The City of Laramie has not been famous for its economic development success.  Laramie has seen a growth in technology jobs, but didn’t have the infrastructure to attract at least narrowly two large mega data centers.  In an effort to change that city leaders are going all out to purchase property and develop what will initially be a 160 acre technology park.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports that officials are hoping for a big splash.

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Open Spaces
4:02 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Cowboy Joe IV will pass along the reigns this football season

Cowboy Joe IV makes his way off the field with his handlers during University of Wyoming's first home football game of the 2012 season. He’s retiring this season, and will be replaced by Cowboy Joe V.
Irina Zhorov

With the start of football season, comes the start of Cowboy Joe’s work season. Cowboy Joe, if you don’t know, is one of two University of Wyoming mascots. He’s a pony with a lot of attitude who arguably has more admirers than the football players themselves. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that the current mascot is actually Cowboy Joe four, and he’s passing the reigns to Cowboy Joe five.

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Open Spaces
3:56 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Poem: Kristen Gunther, “Belay”

Laramie poet Kristen Gunther reads her poem, “Belay”.

Open Spaces, Wyoming Public Media
4:12 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

August 31st, 2012

The creeks that Orville Johnson’s cows would normally drink from are dry this year.
Willow Belden

Drought, hay shortage mean tough economic times for Wyoming ag industry
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says this year’s hay crop will be the worst in decades, because of the drought. Hay is already in short supply, and prices have spiked. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports that the hay shortage is forcing ranchers to make tough choices and could have a lingering economic impact on the state’s ag industry.

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Open Spaces
3:57 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Drought, hay shortage mean tough economic times for Wyoming ag industry

The creeks that Orville Johnson’s cows would normally drink from are dry this year.
Willow Belden

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says this year’s hay crop will be the worst in decades, because of the drought. Hay is already in short supply, and prices have spiked. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports that the hay shortage is forcing ranchers to make tough choices and could have a lingering economic impact on the state’s ag industry.

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Open Spaces
3:53 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

DKRW secures contract for coal-to-gas plant

DKRW plans to build a coal-to-gas plant in Medicine Bow.
Bob Beck

Earlier this year we told you about an effort to turn coal into gas in Medicine Bow.  Today DKRW Advanced Fuels has announced that it has secured a contract to its Medicine Bow project with the Sinopec  Engineering Group in based out of China.   Bob Kelly is Executive Chairman and co-founder of DKRW, and he tells Bob Beck that getting an actual bid on the facility puts wheels in motion.  

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Open Spaces
3:51 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Author discusses new book about epic Teton accident

Willow Belden talks with author Jennifer Woodlief. She recently published a new book about a particularly disastrous climbing accident in the Tetons. The book is called “A Bolt from the Blue,” and it describes the accident … and the ensuing rescue operation.

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Open Spaces
3:47 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Cowgirls Volleyball team has high hopes

UW Cowgirls pause during a match
Bob Beck

The University of Wyoming Cowgirls Volleyball team believes that this could be their year.  18 years after their last NCAA tournament appearance and coming off two strong seasons, the Wyoming squad believes it will take a big step forward this year.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck has more.

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Open Spaces
3:45 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Partners In Health co-founder discusses meeting healthcare challenges in the third world before trip

Paul Farmer and Ophelia Dahl, who founded the group Partners in Health, will be speaking in Jackson on September 6th. Partners in Health is a nonprofit that provides healthcare to impoverished people around the world. They started in Haiti in 1987 and now work in 10 different countries. Ophelia Dahl joins us now to talk about their work. She tells Willow Belden, the basic approach is to partner with local governments to accomplish things.

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Open Spaces
3:41 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Gender wage gap persists in Wyoming

The gender wage gap in Wyoming is the largest in the nation. And that’s not news, either…it’s been this way for years. Groups around the state are working to fix it through policy, training programs, and education, but Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that it could be the state’s industries that keep the gap firmly in place.

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Open Spaces
3:37 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

AFL-CIO discussing worker safety in Wyoming

It’s Labor Day weekend, which means there will be a lot of discussion surrounding workers in the state.  Kim Floyd is the Executive Secretary of the Labor Organization the AFL-CIO.  He tells Bob Beck it’s an interesting time for many workers

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Open Spaces
3:31 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Carp are thriving, unpopular in Wyoming waterways; can be composted

Janet “Ogre” Chen stalks common carp with a bow and arrow in Wheatland Reservoir #3.
Rebecca Martinez

Wyoming fisheries no longer stock state waterways with carp, but the species is still alive and well throughout the state. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez filed this end-of-summer postcard about her first experience with the common carp… and with bow-fishing.

(Arrow shot into water)

REBECCA MARTINEZ: For the unskilled archer, shooting a carp – even a massive one – with a bow and arrow is no easy task. I learned that first-hand this summer during an afternoon of bow-fishing at Wheatland Reservoir Number Three.

(Arrow shot into water)

MARTINEZ: Nuts!

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Open Spaces
3:36 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Two Republicans Distance Selves From Anti-Tax-Hike Pledge

Two of Wyoming’s three Republicans in Congress have signed a pledge to never raise taxes. The Taxpayer Protection Pledge is vilified by critics who say its sponsor, Grover Norquist, now controls the Republican Party when it comes to tax policy. Correspondent Matt Laslo reports that those two Wyoming lawmakers are now moving away from the Pledge.  

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Open Spaces
3:33 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Republican Candidates Debate Conservative Values

During Tuesday’s Republican primary election a large number of so called conservative candidates in the state are hoping to make a dent in legislative races.  These are candidates who believe that some office holders have forgotten their Republican values.  Organizations known as WyWatch, Conservative Republicans of Wyoming or Crow and the Tea Party are supporting these candidates who they hope will make changes in how government is run and get more conservative legislation such as anti-abortion measures passed.  A race in Casper appears to be the headliner of this battle between conservat

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Open Spaces
3:30 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Many Women Say Family Responsibilities Keep Them From Public Office

Wyoming’s primary elections are Tuesday, and there are more than three times as many male candidates on the ballot for the state legislature as females. That’s because many women find that serving in office, while also holding down a job and raising a family, is just too difficult. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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Open Spaces
3:26 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Cheyenne Independent Runs for US House of Representatives

One candidate for the US House of Representatives wants your help to get on the ballot.  Cheyenne Resident Charlie Hardy got into the race after he found it difficult to communicate with our current congressional delegation.  He’s also concerned that the country remains at war.  Hardy wants to run as an independent.  He’s long written and spoken about issues surrounding foreign affairs and has served as a Catholic Priest and missionary.  Hardy tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that while he opposes the country’s continued war effort, he is not anti-military.

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Open Spaces
3:24 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Drought Stunted Hay Crop Takes Heavy Toll On Ranchers

The drought this season has taken its toll on farmers growing hay. The U-S Department of Agriculture is predicting that Wyoming’s hay crop this year will be the worst since the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s. Platte County Extension Agent Dallas Mount joins us now to talk about that. He tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden the situation is ALREADY very bad.

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Open Spaces
3:21 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Ag Industry Encourages Producers to Add Value To Businesses

Kelsey Hostetler dyes yarn by hand at Mountain Meadow Wool Mill in Buffalo
Rebecca Martinez

Wyoming agriculture producers raise and lots of cows and sheep… but they’re mostly sold out of state, where they’re processed and sold as beef and lamb, making big money for outside businesses. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports that state agriculture agencies are now encouraging ag producers of all kinds to add-value to the products they already have to keep their businesses competitive, and circulate the money in Wyoming.

REBECCA MARTINEZ: Bessie Zeller and her late husband Clarence took over his father’s Lovell beekeeping operation in the mid-1940s.

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