Wyoming’s Northern Arapaho Tribe is being allowed to capture and kill two bald eagles for religious purposes. The permit comes from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which has issued similar permits for golden eagles in the past, but never before for bald eagles. Wyoming Public Radio’s Tristan Ahtone reports.
Earlier this month the state legislature ended funding for an experimental program called Healthy Frontiers, it was Wyoming’s latest effort to save the state health care money. The idea was also supposed to reduce costs to Wyoming’s Medicaid program and reduce the numbers of those who drive up costs by depending on the more expensive emergency room to cover their health care needs. Some say Wyoming’s problems will be solved by the federal health reform plan known as the Affordable Care Act, but the future of that plan is unknown. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.
State Representative Cynthia Lummis joins us to talk about a number of issues affecting the state. The Wyoming Republican most recently had a discussion with the head of the EPA concerning water pollution in Pavillion. She tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck the good news is that there seems to be a dialogue.
The National Center for Atmospheric Research is building a supercomputing center in Cheyenne, which will house one of the most powerful computers in the world. Scientists are looking forward to the machine’s arrival … and many in Wyoming say its presence here will put the state on the map. The facility where the computer will be located is finished … and the machine itself is set to arrive in May. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden toured the building … and filed this report.
Among the issues the Wyoming legislature dealt with this year is a wolf management plan. Lawmakers approved a compromise crafted between Governor Matt Mead and federal officials that allows Wyoming residents to shoot wolves on sight if they are not in protected areas of the state. While a judge may need to eventually sign off on the plan, many lawmakers believe they are closer than managing wolves than ever before. Senator Bruce Burns chairs the committee the oversees wildlife issues in the state. I spoke with him shortly after the bill passed.
Five years ago the state embarked on an innovative preventive medicine approach called Healthy Frontiers. It offered a version of health insurance to low income people who cannot afford it. The idea was to try and keep people off of Medicaid and out of the emergency room. But as Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports the legislature stripped money from the program essentially killing it.
During this year’s Legislative session, lawmakers proposed a joint resolution known as the Riverton Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action bill. Tailings are waste left over from mining operations. In this case, the tailings in question are from uranium mining on the Wind River Reservation. The tailings have caused groundwater contamination, which many residents believe has led to health problems.
Starting next week, the group Trout Unlimited will be screening its new film “Green with Envy” in towns across Wyoming and Colorado. The film focuses on the proposed Flaming Gorge Pipeline, which would transport 81 billion gallons of water per year from the Flaming Gorge reservoir to the Colorado front range. Recently the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected the proposal for lack of sufficient information … but the developer plans to re-apply and move forward with the project. Colorado has rights to some of the water that flows through the river … but various agencies and environmental groups in Wyoming are adamantly opposed to the plan. I spoke with Charles Card of Trout Unlimited about the film his group will be showing. He says they oppose the pipeline project because it would lower the water level in the reservoir by about 120 feet.
The Wyoming Film Office has grand plans for the state’s film industry, and it’s making progress. A prime-time network sitcom, and a major Hollywood movie have filmed here in the past year, but shooting in the Cowboy State still brings its own challenges. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez filed this report.
There’s a new nonprofit in Wyoming called “3-0-7 First,” which is aimed at making it easier for people to support local businesses. I spoke with President Bob Moberly about how it works – and why he thinks people should support Wyoming businesses, even if it’s a little more expensive or less convenient than shopping out-of-state or online. Moberly says the 307 First website will include a directory of Wyoming businesses, so that shoppers can search for products they want, and see if those products are available from stores within the state.
Former Cowboys Basketball Star and purported creator of the jump shot will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City, Missouri this fall. At age 91, Sailors is the second Cowboy to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez spoke with him this week. He says a lot has changed since his days on the court.
The Wyoming Farm Bureau runs an Ag Books for Kids program to help kids better understand where their food comes from. Young ranchers are going into classrooms to spread the Ag gospel. Irina Zhorov went to a classroom in Laramie for the story.
A major concern in the state budget is the growing cost of Medicaid. Medicaid is matching federal and state funded health coverage for lower income people, children, those with disabilities and elderly nursing home residents. State officials say that Medicaid costs take up a large chunk of the state budget and recently have been growing between 30 and 40 percent a year. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports that has pushed legislators to undertake a major study to find ways to reduce costs.
With only a week to go until the legislative session is over, Wyoming lawmakers are reviewing a number of bills, including a joint resolution requesting Congress to provide for increased monitoring and funding for remediation of the Riverton uranium mill tailings site. Tailings constitute waste left over from mining operations. Last year we brought you a story about the site in which the Department of Energy released data showing that uranium levels in the area had spiked as high as 100 times the legal limit, and while legislative action on the issue may sound good, it’s bringing up a lot of questions, and anger. Wyoming Public Radio’s Tristan Ahtone reports.
Wyoming's Senior US Senator is trying everything to reduce the federal deficit, but in an election year and a partisan Congress, it's hard to do much. During a recent visit to Cheyenne, Bob Beck sat down with Senator Mike Enzi to discuss the budget and health care. On the topic of the budget, he says they must act soon.
Since 1999, civic initiative called Leadership Wyoming has sought to connect the movers and shakers from the private, public and non-profit sectors statewide. Participants leave their jobs for a few days each month to learn about different issues in different communities across Wyoming. Recently, Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez tagged along on the group’s visit to Lander. She filed this report.
Mule deer have been dying off in parts of Wyoming for some time. But until recently, it was unclear how acute the problem was. That’s because the Game and Fish Department wasn’t getting an accurate count of how many deer there were. Now, the agency is trying out a new method for estimating deer populations. It’s much more expensive … but officials say it’s worth the cost because it will help them maintain a healthy deer population. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.