Open Spaces

Open Spaces
4:51 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Montana Crude Rail Routes Revealed

Credit insideenergy.org

A dozen or more trains carrying crude oil from the Bakken region are moving across northern Montana every week, skirting the edge of Glacier National Park. More trains -- far fewer in number - pass through populated regions farther south.

Governor Steve Bullock released the route information this week, making Montana the latest state after Washington to buck railroads’ requests to keep the information out of public hands.

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Open Spaces
4:49 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Yellowstone Celebrates The Renovation Of Its Oldest Lodge

Yellowstone's Lake Hotel
Credit yellowstonenationalparklodges.com

Yellowstone Park is celebrating completion of a two year, 29 million dollar renovation of its oldest lodge: Lake Hotel. Now all of the Lake Hotel’s redecorated rooms are ready for guest now. Penny Preston reports people worked through two bitter winters to complete the project.

In 1889, 27 years before there was a National Park Service, construction began on Lake Hotel.  It is Yellowstone’s oldest.  Two years ago, reconstruction started.

“The old hotel had been touched pretty harshly over the years.

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Open Spaces
3:48 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Rare Mammoth Site Excavated In Douglas

Mammoth Rib Bone.
Melodie Edwards

In 1986, a large mammoth rib bone was found jutting out of the bank of a creek a few miles from Douglas.  The state archaeologist, Dr. George Frison, did a hasty 4-day excavation at the time.  But a thorough excavation has never been done because the land owners weren’t interested in hosting an archaeology dig on their property.  That left archaeologists with a big question--was LaPrele Creek a mammoth kill site?  But recently the land sold and archaeologists have finally been allowed to dig. 

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Open Spaces
5:08 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Laramie County Sees Surge In Oil And Gas Development

A Patterson drilling rig set alone against the Wind River Mountain range.
Credit Robert Flaherty

For years, southeastern Wyoming has been expecting an oil boom that’s never arrived. Just across the border in Colorado, drilling has reached breakneck pace, but Wyoming has been relatively quiet -- until now. The discovery of a new, more promising oil reserve has led to a surge of interest in oil and gas development in Laramie County over the last few months.

In May of 2013, oil and gas companies applied for nine permits to drill in Laramie County. In May of 2014, companies applied for 132.

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Open Spaces
4:58 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Crude Oil By Rail: On The Rise In Colorado And Everywhere

Workers are in the midst of clean-up efforts at the site of a train derailment and crude oil spill located south of Greeley, Colorado on May 12, 2014.
Credit Grace Hood / KUNC

The transport of crude oil by rail has spiked dramatically in recent years. From 2012 to 2013 the amount carried by the country's major freight railroads increased nearly 75 percent, according to the American Association of Railroads.  Even though crude oil accounted for just over 1 percent of overall rail traffic last year, there's growing public concern about the potential oil spills and other hazards.

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Open Spaces
4:50 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Rep. Lummis Says It Has Been An Interesting Week In The U.S. House

Representative Cynthia Lummis.
Credit Cynthia Lummis

If you think having candidates stopping by your home can get annoying, Wyoming U-S Representative Cynthia Lummis feels your pain. Following the primary election loss of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Lummis is being bombarded by those interested in that job and other leadership jobs that may come free after Cantor's replacement is chosen. Lummis told Bob Beck that the internal campaigning is something to watch.

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Open Spaces
4:41 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Floods On Rise: Earlier Run-Offs Present Challenge To Water Storage

Rawlins' neighbors used a boat to reach their car.
Melodie Edwards

This spring, rivers were overflowing banks all over the state.  Some rivers saw record—or near-record—flood stages.  The Laramie River hit its second highest flood level on record, and that’s only four years after its highest on record in 2010.  But floods aren’t all sandbagging and property damage: they also mean plenty of water for the long dry summer ahead. 

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Open Spaces
4:33 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Social Service Providers Provide Care To A Growing Population Of Military Vets

Sheridan VA.
Credit Bob Beck

Returning from military service back into so called normal society continues to be a challenge for many veterans.  It doesn’t help if they have difficulty getting Veterans Administration Services.  In Wyoming, the two VA hospitals have been criticized for the amount of time veterans need to wait to get care.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports that social service providers say they are trying to provide adequate services to a growing population of vets. 

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Open Spaces
4:24 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Wyoming Colleges Look To Increase Support For Student Veterans

Marty Martinez inside the University of Wyoming’s Veterans Services Center.
Credit Aaron Schrank

Robert Sheetz spent five years in the U.S. Navy, working on a flight deck, fixing fighter jets. When he got out, the Colorado native came to Wyoming—to put his GI Bill benefit toward an anthropology degree.     

“I was a 23-year-old freshman coming into the University of Wyoming, coming from an area where I had a huge structure system around me from being in the military,” Sheetz said.  “So I had to kind of learn to build that system for myself and figure out how to be a college student after not being in school for five years.”

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Open Spaces
4:07 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Author Urges People To Eat Better And Exercise

We're joined now by Kathryn Collins. She's a former emergency room physician from Jackson and author of a book called "How Healthy Is Your Doctor?" The book makes the case that eating healthier foods and getting more exercise, people can avoid a lot of common medical problems. Collins says she decided to write the book because she wanted people to know how much power they have to impact their own health.

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Open Spaces
3:53 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Fifth Annual Hyart Film Festival Promises Laughs

Sunrise at the Hyart Theatre.
Credit Jason Zeller

The fifth annual Hyart Film Festival is scheduled for next weekend, June 19-21, at the historic Hyart Theater in Lovell. The festival has culled 160 entries from around the world down to just under 50 films—comedies, drama, sci-fi, horror, and kids movies. Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer called the festival’s Creative Guru, Jason Zeller, to find out what movies made the cut.

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Open Spaces
6:15 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

June 6th, 2014

Democrats Try To Improve Their Legislative Numbers 

Wyoming Democrats have been in the legislative minority for a long time, but it’s been really tough lately.  Only eight of the 60 Wyoming Representatives are Democrats and only four reside in the Senate.  While the party has hopes of grabbing a few more seats this year, there are not enough candidates to make serious gains.  The problem started back in 1991.

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Open Spaces
6:05 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Democrats Try To Improve Their Legislative Numbers

Credit Bob Beck

Wyoming Democrats have been in the legislative minority for a long time, but it’s been really tough lately. Only eight of the 60 Wyoming Representatives are Democrats and only four reside in the Senate.  While the party has hopes of grabbing a few more seats this year, there are not enough candidates to make serious gains. The problem started back in 1991. 

Former State Representative Matilda Hansen fondly remembers her days as a Democratic Lawmaker. When she entered the House in 1975 she had a lot of friends in the room.

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Open Spaces
6:01 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

New Business Council CEO Is Optimistic

New CEO Shawn Reese.

Wyoming Business Council has hired Shawn Reese to take over as its CEO this month.  Reese replaces Bob Jensen who stepped down in March.  Reese worked for the business council for many years and recently has worked for Governor Matt Mead.  He tells Bob Beck that the state is making headway on diversifying the economy.

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Open Spaces
5:57 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Dropouts Get Second Chance At National Guard’s Cowboy Challenge Academy

Credit Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy

Nearly 1 in 5 Wyoming high school students drop out every year. Today, we take a look at a program that aims to find dropouts and get them back on track before it’s too late. And as Aaron Schrank reports, it’s run not by the state’s Education Department, but it’s Military Department.

SCHRANK: When Francisco Jovel dropped out of Pinedale High School last year, he was three years behind on class credits. He’d been in and out of the Wyoming Boys’ School in Worland for breaking and entering and theft. He was running out of options.

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Open Spaces
5:50 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Interview With Adventure Cyclist Mike McCoy

Credit motherearthnews.com

The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is the longest off-pavement cycling route in the world. It runs from Mexico to Canada, paralleling the Continental Divide. We're joined now by one of the people who created the route and who just published a guide book for it.

His name is Mike McCoy, and he live in Victor, Idaho. McCoy says the idea for the route grew out of the work he was doing with the Adventure Cycling Association.

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Open Spaces
5:38 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Wyoming's Congressional Delegation Believes New EPA Rules Will Devastate The Economy

This week the EPA unveiled a new rule to drastically cut carbon emissions from the nation's power plants. While Wyoming Republicans say it will devastate the economy, Matt Laslo reports from Washington that some experts say their outdated thinking has set the state back in the new energy economy. 

The White House isn't waiting around for this Congress to help it tackle climate change. The new EPA rule will require Wyoming to slash it's carbon emissions by 19 percent. Wyoming Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis says the state's energy producers are worried. 

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Open Spaces
5:28 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

EPA Carbon Regs Leave Wyoming Out In The Cold...Or Do They?

Coal coming from mines like the one pictured here in Gillete, Wyo., have been a significant source of revenue for the state.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

It didn't take long after the Obama administration unveiled new rules this week regulating carbon emissions from power plants for people to start naming winners and losers. Wyoming, the nation’s largest coal-producing state, and a huge coal consumer, was immediately billed as a loser.

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Open Spaces
5:19 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Wheatland Students Recognized For Potentially Lifesaving School Project

Miken Harnish, Christian Moody, Joey Madsen Haiden Moody, and Jacob Stafford pose with their project.
Courtesy Zach Gunter

When four 8th graders at Wheatland Middle School were asked to put their heads together to solve a real problem in their community, they thought back to the biggest crisis in recent memory—the quarter-mile-wide twister that touched down near their town in 2012. Jacob Stafford, Joey Madsen, Haiden Moody and Christian Moody remember the day the tornado very hit well. And it made an impression them, because it was just miles from their school.

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Open Spaces
5:07 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

A New Standard? Jackson Singer Adds A New Song To The Jazz Repertoire

Nicole Madison
Credit thejazznetworkworldwide.com

A new album by Jackson Hole jazz singer Nicole Madison jazzes up a '60s pop song and gives it a place among classic jazz standards. The album’s name—‘In My Life’—comes from a song written by the Beatles. Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer reached Nicole Madison at home.

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Open Spaces
5:21 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Wyoming's Bike Friendly Rating Has Dropped

Credit Wyoming Pathways

Wyoming’s ranking as a bike friendly state continues to drop. The state ranks 36th after ranking 33rd last year and 11th in 2010.  The loss of stature has concerned that Director of Wyoming Pathways…Tim Young.  He’s been speaking with the Wyoming Department of Transportation about the issue.  He joins us to discuss the report.

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Open Spaces
4:52 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

New Greenhouse Gas Regulations Target Power Plants

Jim Bridger coal fired power plant, Sweetwater County, Rock Springs Wyoming.
Credit www.wanderlustimages.com

The predicted effects of continuing to pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at current rates range from dramatic sea level rise to extreme weather to famine and drought. Power plants are among the largest carbon dioxide emitters, and on June 2, the Obama administration is scheduled to release new rules regulating those emissions. Utilities and trade groups are already warning those rules will have some dire consequences of their own.

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Open Spaces
4:45 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Texas Coal Plant May Be Environmental Game Changer

Construction on a coal-fired power plant equipped with Carbon Capture and Storage technology, or CCS is expected to begin here in Penwell, Texas this year. One of two such plants in the U.S., the other is in Kemper, Mississippi.
Jason Lewis - U.S. Dep't of Energy

New EPA rules aimed at cutting carbon emissions are expected to be unveiled June 2nd. Coal generates nearly half of this country’s electricity and is the largest source of air pollution. The new rules are expected to spur the use of clean coal technology. At least that’s the hope of both the coal industry and some environmental groups.

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Open Spaces
4:35 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Superintendent Hill On Distance Learning And Graduation Rates

After some legal wrangling, State Superintendent Cindy Hill is back in charge of Wyoming Education.  As the school year wraps up, Superintendent Hill joins us to discuss a number of topics.  The first deals with distance…or online education.  She recently attended a graduation of students who graduated from a virtual school. Hill embraces various uses of technology in the classroom.

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Open Spaces
4:31 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Wyoming Seniors Say ‘So Long’ To High School

Graduates at Riverton High School line up to receive their diplomas.
Credit Aaron Schrank

Graduation season is here. Commencement ceremonies around the state mark the start of a new chapter for many of Wyoming’s high school seniors. Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank caught up with the class of 2014 to see how they feel about the big day—and the future.

It’s the last hurrah for graduating seniors at Casper’s Kelly Walsh High School. The Casper Events Center is packed, and the graduates are in high spirits.

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Open Spaces
4:21 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Xanterra Changes Will Impact Cody Tourism

Canyon Lodge in Yellowstone.
Credit Penny Preston

Yellowstone National Park lost two hundred cabins this spring. They were part of the park’s largest lodging complex. No, it’s not in the Old Faithful area, nor Mammoth. Penny Preston reports it’s in Canyon Village, where the park’s biggest hotel once stood.

PENNY PRESTON:  The Canyon Hotel was Yellowstone’s largest, from 1910, until 1960. It was created by Old Faithful Inn architect Robert Reamer. 

ROBERT REAMER:  “My parents used to like to go up there and have dinner.”

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Open Spaces
4:13 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Shift To Carbon Use Marks New Frontier In Fight Against Climate Change

Scientists at the Western Research Institute in Laramie, Wyoming are looking for new ways to use carbon dioxide.
Stephanie Joyce

The Obama administration wants states to cutback on carbon emissions, but doing that has always been a thorny problem. While carbon is a byproduct of almost everything we do, capturing and storing it is expensive. For years, the goal has been to figure out how to make that process cheaper, but more recent efforts take a different approach, with the focus shifting from storing carbon to using it.

On a recent spring morning, Karen Wawrousek led a tour of her lab at the Western Research Institute, on the outskirts of Laramie.

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Open Spaces
3:56 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Climate Change Effects On Wyoming Agriculture

Credit ncrsresearch.blogspot.com

In the next half century, scientists are predicting more extreme weather for Wyoming with bigger winter storms and hotter, dryer summers.  That’s according to the latest National Climate Assessment out this month. Wyoming’s farmers and ranchers are skeptical about climate change, but some of them have been forced to adjust their methods of production. 

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