Open Spaces

Open Spaces
6:58 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Increase in coal exports on the horizon

There are more new ports designed for coal export being proposed in the U.S. and Wyoming’s Powder River Basin coal producers are training their eye on the developments. With some of the most efficient economies of scale in the world, a larger percentage of PRB coal could be making its way across the ocean soon. What would that mean for Wyoming and the global community? Irina Zhorov reports.  

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Open Spaces
6:55 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Game and Fish closes sage grouse hunting in northeast Wyoming

The Game and Fish Department plans to ban sage grouse hunting in most of northeast Wyoming. Parts of eastern Wyoming are already off limits, and now, sage grouse hunting will be prohibited in Sheridan, Johnson, Campbell and Weston counties as well. I spoke with Tom Christiansen, the sage grouse coordinator for Game and Fish. He says the agency is making the change in large part because of public concern over dwindling sage grouse populations. But he also says stopping hunting won’t solve the problem, because hunting doesn’t actually affect sage grouse populations that much.

Open Spaces
6:53 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Natrona County plans to revolutionize education system

Bob Beck

As most know, school reform is far from novel.  It has been a catch word for many years.  But at a time when Casper was looking a building a new high school, school officials thought that a new approach in education should be part of new construction.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports…

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Open Spaces
6:51 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

A look at sexual assault in Wyoming

April is sexual assault awareness month, and Becca Fisher from SAFE Project, a group that provides services to victims, joins us to talk about the problem. She says nearly half of Wyoming women are sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. The incidents can range from unwanted touching to all-out rape, and Fisher says common scenarios are a little different than you might expect.

Open Spaces
6:49 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

STDs on the rise in Wyoming

It’s Sexually Transmitted Disease awareness month and in Wyoming this is a serious issue.  Statistics show that STDs in the state are on the rise.  A number of health care organizations are trying to get sexually active people tested for STDs and to check their HIV status.  Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is engaged in a campaign called GYT – get yourself tested.   Melody Meanor is the Manager of Planned Parenthood’s Casper Health Center.  She says the sharp increase in STD’s in Wyoming is alarming.


 

Open Spaces
6:48 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

New push underway to get free diapers to poor families

For those living below or anywhere near the poverty line, the list of daily struggles is long – and mostly familiar:  food, housing, medical care...  Over the last decade, diaper banks have emerged in some 40 spots throughout the country; Wyoming is not yet one of them.  In the meantime, a new nationwide effort is underway to bring awareness and unprecedented resources to the problem of “diaper need.”  From Washington, Elizabeth Wynne Johnson reports.

ELIZABETH WYNNE JOHNSON: This is a story about connecting dots… and about little things that make a big difference.

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Open Spaces
6:44 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

New push underway to get free diapers to poor families

For those living below or anywhere near the poverty line, the list of daily struggles is long – and mostly familiar:  food, housing, medical care...  Over the last decade, diaper banks have emerged in some 40 spots throughout the country; Wyoming is not yet one of them.  In the meantime, a new nationwide effort is underway to bring awareness and unprecedented resources to the problem of “diaper need.”  From Washington, Elizabeth Wynne Johnson reports.

ELIZABETH WYNNE JOHNSON: This is a story about connecting dots… and about little things that make a big difference.

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Open Spaces
6:42 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Laramie program offers theater experience for those with disabilities

For the last several years ARK regional services in Laramie has run a program called the Cooper Center for Creative Arts.  It offers a multitude of experiences for those with disabilities.  Next month those in the program will be putting on a performance where students will be involved in all aspects from performing to set design.  Cheyenne Christian is the Creative Arts Coordinator for the Center and she explains the program…

Open Spaces
6:39 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Wyoming experiences jackalope shortage

Wyoming has been home to the jackalope since it was “accidently” invented by a taxidermist in Douglas. But over the last two years, jackalopes have been on the decline… at least according to some taxidermists around the state. Wyoming Public Radio’s Tristan Ahtone volunteered to investigate.

Open Spaces
6:35 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

UW students design and build mock lunar rovers

Willow Belden

A team of UW engineering students recently traveled to Alabama to compete in NASA’s annual moon buggy race. The race is for high school and college students who have designed and built non-motorized vehicles that resemble lunar rovers. Teams from all over the world participated, on a race course meant to resemble the surface of the moon. The winning moon buggies aren’t actually going to space, but as Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports, the project is a major learning experience for the students.

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Open Spaces
3:35 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Buford, Wyoming auctioned off to foreign bidders; after 30 years, Population: 1 retires to CO

The Buford Trading Post closed in December, when owner Don Sammons – the lone resident of Buford – decided to retire. The 10-acre “town” was auctioned off Thursday for $900,000.
Rebecca Martinez

 

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An Oklahoma-based company auctioned off Buford, Wyoming Thursday afternoon. For a winning bid of $900,000, the property will move to the control of two unnamed businessmen from Vietnam. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez has more.

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Open Spaces
1:47 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Wyoming Weather Modification Projects Still Waiting for Results

View from the plane used in cloud seeding research.
Irina Zhorov

Wyoming is host to two of the world’s most comprehensive weather modification studies. The studies are unique due to our geography, but they’re also more comprehensive than past research has been. And the water-hungry world is waiting for results. Irina Zhorov reports. 

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Open Spaces
1:39 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

UW student seeks to revolutionize crop growing

Nate Storey tends a tower of lettuce in his greenhouse in Laramie
Willow Belden

A doctoral student at the University of Wyoming has developed a new method for producing and selling vegetables. The student’s name is Nate Storey, and he’s designed a growing system in one of the university’s greenhouses that requires no fertilizer, produces virtually no waste and yields four times as much produce as traditional greenhouse setups. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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Open Spaces
1:36 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Regulators to collect feedback on wolf management plan

Next week the Wyoming Game and Fish Department will begin a series of public meetings. They’ll gather public input on the rules and regulations the department will use to manage wolves in the state.   The rules will be finalized by the Game and Fish Commission in April. Chief Game Warden Brian Nesbit and the Department Director Scott Talbott talk with Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck.

Open Spaces
1:33 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Sheep shearers travel further, work harder to meet rising demand

Rindy Harkness, 30, runs Top Notch Shearing and Fitting, a contractor that shears sheep in seven states, including Wyoming. In the off season, Harkness shears in Australia and New Zealand
Rebecca Martinez

The American sheep industry has exploded in recent years, causing many producers to expand their operations. But more sheep means more people are needed to shear them, and the number of professional shearers has declined over the decades. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez tagged along with a Wyoming-based shearer during a gig in Douglas and filed this report.

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Open Spaces
1:29 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Study warns Powder River Basin sage grouse could die out

A new report by researchers at the University of Montana warns that unless energy development slows down, sage grouse populations in the Powder River Basin could die out. The study, which was commissioned by the BLM, was meant to determine whether the sage grouse population there can survive, given current oil and gas drilling activities, and what would happen to the birds if more drilling occurred or if there were new West Nile Virus outbreaks. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with Dave Naugle, who co-authored the report. He says the sage grouse population in the Powder River Basin has already declined by 82 percent as a result of energy development.

Open Spaces
1:17 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Northern Arapaho Tribe Wins Right To Capture Two Bald Eagles

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.

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Open Spaces
1:11 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

What’s next with Wyoming’s Health Care?

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.

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Open Spaces
1:08 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis praises water quality dialogue

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.

Open Spaces
4:42 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

Wyoming anticipates arrival of supercomputer in Cheyenne

The NCAR supercomputing center is located on the western outskirts of Cheyenne
Willow Belden

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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.

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Open Spaces
4:39 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

Wyoming’s wolf management plan is law

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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.

Open Spaces
4:37 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

Legislature cuts funding for Healthy Frontiers

Wyoming House of Representatives
Irina Zhorov

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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.

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Open Spaces
4:34 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

Tribes demand action and oversight for uranium clean-up

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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.

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Open Spaces
4:31 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

Flaming Gorge film goes on tour

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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.

Open Spaces
4:29 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

Wyoming has big plans for the state’s film industry

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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.

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Open Spaces
4:24 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

Nonprofit seeks to make it easier to shop local

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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.

Open Spaces
4:19 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

Wyoming Basketball legend Kenny Sailors to be inducted into Collegiate Hall of Fame

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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.

Open Spaces
4:15 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

Ag program seeks to teach kids about origins of food

Irina Zhorov

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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. 

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