Open Spaces

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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Open Spaces
5:45 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Wyoming legislators to study ways to reduce the increasing costs of Medicaid

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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.

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Open Spaces
5:42 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Legislators demand funding for clean-up and monitoring of former uranium mill site

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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.

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Open Spaces
5:39 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Sen. Enzi is eager to wrangle the national budget, Medicare

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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.

Open Spaces
5:34 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Civic initiative unites leaders across sectors

Leadership Wyoming participants Doran Fluckiger (left) and Dan Ewart (center) interview KOVE-AM broadcaster Joe Kenney of Lander about entrepreneurship.
Rebecca Martinez

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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.

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Open Spaces
5:27 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Chief Justice Kite wants to make young citizens of middle-schoolers

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The Wyoming Supreme Court is endorsing a new program to teach middle school students about Civics.  The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Marilyn Kite joined Bob Beck to explain the program.

Open Spaces
5:22 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Wyoming tests new method for counting deer, hopes to restore herds

Game and Fish officials tag and collar a mule deer in the Platte Valley.
Willow Belden

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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.

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Open Spaces
5:39 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

February 17th, 2012

County10.com Editor Ernie Over (left) and Pitch Engine CEO Jason Kintzler sit in Over’s office at the Pitch Engine headquarters in Lander. County 10 offers hyper-local, to-the-minute news updates about happenings in Fremont County.
Rebecca Martinez
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Open Spaces
4:59 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

Web-based news service keeps a close eye on Fremont County

County10.com Editor Ernie Over (left) and Pitch Engine CEO Jason Kintzler sit in Over’s office at the Pitch Engine headquarters in Lander. County 10 offers hyper-local, to-the-minute news updates about happenings in Fremont County.
Rebecca Martinez
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Open Spaces
4:53 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

Wyomingite and National Geographic writer will speak at UW

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Noted Wyoming author Mark Jenkins is currently writing stories for National Geographic.  He will be discussing a recent article called the Healing Fields, the legacy of war and the search for Miss Landmine Cambodia during a lecture in Laramie on February 27ths at five in the UW classroom building.  Jenkins will also make some additional appearances in the state.  He talks with Bob Beck.

Open Spaces
4:51 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

Citizens Compromise to Cut Trillions from Federal Deficit

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INTRO: Can citizens do what Congress cannot? That was the challenge put to Teton County residents by the Concord Coalition, a non-partisan group that aims to raise public awareness about the federal deficit. The coalition invited citizens to play Congress for a day to cut the federal deficit and move the nation closer to a balanced budget. Rebecca Huntington has more.

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Open Spaces
7:20 pm
Sun February 12, 2012

February 10th, 2012

Engineer Yulong Zhang shows off a vial of pure methanol in the board room at the Western Research Institute, with Vijay Sethi (left) and Thomas Barton (center).
Methanol Vial/ credit: Rebecca Martinez
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Open Spaces
6:06 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

Company proposes boosting Wyoming’s energy economy with coal-to-oil plant

Methanol Vial/ credit: Rebecca MartinezCaption: Engineer Yulong Zhang shows off a vial of pure methanol in the board room at the Western Research Institute, with Vijay Sethi (left) and Thomas Barton (center).
Irina Zhorov

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The town of Medicine Bow is currently planning for a DKRW proposed coal to liquids conversion facility. The plant would be a financial boom for the state and bring jobs to the county. But this isn’t the first time Wyoming is looking into a project that would add value to its coal so it’s undergoing close scrutiny.

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Open Spaces
6:03 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

The science of Syngas

The Western Research Institute in Laramie allows scientists to experiment with turning fossil fuels into synthetic liquid fuel
Western Research Institute/credit: Rebecca Martinez

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DKRW Advanced Fuels has licensed technology from GE and Exxon-Mobil to transform coal into gasoline at a proposed plant in Medicine Bow. But theirs is just one system of creating liquid fuel. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez spoke with some experts about how synthetic gas, or syngas, is made.

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