Open Spaces

Open Spaces
4:37 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

A and S Dean Discusses Her Goals

Credit UW News Service

Last summer Paula Lutz from Montana State University was hired to replace longtime University of Wyoming Arts and Sciences Dean Oliver Walter.  She joins us today on Open Spaces to share her vision for the College.  She speaks with Bob Beck.

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Open Spaces
4:35 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Wyoming Legislature Considers Early Childhood Education Bill

Over the years the legislature has not been overly supportive of efforts to fund early childhood education in Wyoming, mostly because of concerns that the state could interfere with private business.  But members of the Joint Education Committee hope that a new proposal can overcome those concerns.  The committee has drafted a bill that will coordinate all the early childhood efforts that currently exist and provide money to improve services.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.                     

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Open Spaces
4:29 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Hospital, Library Navigate Healthcare.gov for the Uninsured

Cheyenne Regional Medical Center is heading a statewide effort called Enroll Wyoming to help people get health insurance through the new online marketplace. The program has trained navigators across the state, including in Jackson where St. John's Medical Center and Teton County Library have teamed up to offer individualized sessions, designed to guide community members through healthcare.gov. Wyoming Public Radio's Rebecca Huntington has more. 

JULIE: I don't have Internet service myself, and so I was concerned about how I'm going to, you know, fill out this Obamacare insurance.

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Open Spaces
4:26 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Author Discusses America’s First Everest Expedition

Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with author Brot Coburn. He lives in Wilson, and his book “The Vast Unknown” is about America’s first expedition up Mount Everest. Coburn says many of the members of the expedition honed their climbing skills in Wyoming.

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Open Spaces
4:22 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

A New Book Of Family Letters Looks At Wyoming Living In The Early 1900s

Cathy Healy
Credit Chris Windhauser

An Improbable Pioneer is a collection of letters by Edith Sampson Holden Healy. Edith was from a prominent Boston family, but moved to Wyoming in 1911 after she married a sheep rancher from the state. The letters describe daily life in Wyoming in the early 1900s. The book was edited by Edith’s granddaughter, Cathy Healy, who’s a writer and editor. It’s the first imprint of the Washakie Museum’s Legacy Collection, which is an initiative that hopes to encourage the preservation of family archives.

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Open Spaces
5:27 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

DEQ Director Todd Parfitt Says Agency Following Its Missions To “Protect, Conserve And Enhance”

Todd Parfitt

We start off today’s show with a look at the agency that’s in charge of protecting the environment in Wyoming. Many of our reporting in the past has led us to conversations with angry landowners, and folks who have concerns about industry’s effects on the environment and human health.

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Open Spaces
5:21 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Growth In Energy Production Prompts Concerns Over Air Monitoring Network

Monitoring stations like this one in Converse County track a range of pollutants in the air.
Credit Willow Belden

We’ve reported often on the effects that energy production can have on air quality. The most obvious example is Pinedale, where federal ambient air quality standards were violated, largely because of emissions from natural gas production. Regulators say the air elsewhere in the state is fine. But some worry that Wyoming doesn’t have a sufficient monitoring network to know for sure. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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Open Spaces
5:15 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Small Emission Sources Could Mean Big Pollution, But No One’s Counting

John Fenton stands outside his house in Pavillion, with a small natural gas well nearby.
Credit Irina Zhorov

Some landowners with oil and gas wells on their property complain about emissions affecting their air quality and health. But though there may be a lot of wells, they’re considered small facilities, so their cumulative effects are never counted up and regulations are more lax than for large emitters. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that that could be a problem since in aggregate, their pollution can be significant.  

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Open Spaces
5:07 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Wyoming’s Little Talked About Pollution Source: Trona Mines

FMC

Wyoming’s biggest export is soda ash, which comes from trona mines in Sweetwater County. Last year, the trona industry produced 17 million tons of soda ash for which the state received nearly $90 million in various taxes and royalties. But as Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov report, the industry has a dirty side, too. 

IRINA ZHOROV: Wyoming is used to superlatives. The biggest coal bed, the largest mine, the most wind! Here’s another:

[VIDEO PLAYING: The silver retreats of Wyoming, USA is home to the largest reserve of trona. ]

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Open Spaces
5:02 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Wyoming Doesn’t Often Fine Industry For Spills

Credit Credit Wyoming Associated Press

Wyoming regulators recorded hundreds of spills by the oil and gas industry last year, but issued just a handful of fines. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports, that’s actually not unusual.

STEPHANIE JOYCE: ‘Genie McMullan knows when there’s been an oil spill from the production wells on her goat farm in the Big Horn Basin.

'GENIE McMULLAN: When there’s a spill there’s a sharp smell, it’s a burning smell to my senses, my nose, my eyes, my lungs.

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Open Spaces
4:58 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Economist Discusses Whether Regulations Scare Off Industry

Credit University of Wyoming

For many years, Wyoming lawmakers have been reluctant to impose new regulations on industry.  At the national level, the congressional delegation has been highly critical anytime the Environmental Protection Agency proposes new regulations on energy production, saying that it costs jobs. 

State leaders have echoed those statements, and over the years many legislators have even expressed concern about adding staff to the Department of Environmental Quality, fearing that it could lead to over regulation. 

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Open Spaces
4:54 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Wyoming Works With Companies To Clean Up Contamination

Evanston Chamber of Commerce
Credit Evanston Chamber of Commerce

There are a number of contaminated sites across the state that are expensive to clean up.  The contamination comes from a variety of sources including industrial sites and businesses that use chemicals. 

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Open Spaces
4:49 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Wyoming’s Workplace Safety Effort Continues

Regulation has been a hot-button topic when it comes to worker safety in Wyoming over the last few years. Despite pressure from worker advocacy groups, legislators have been reluctant to write new laws tackling workplace injuries and fatalities, instead opting for an incentives-based approach.

Dr. Mack Sewell is the state’s occupational epidemiologist. He’s been on the job for about a year and a half, and he recently spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce about his latest report on workplace accidents, released in November, and how the state should move forward.

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Open Spaces
3:02 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

December 27th, 2013

Stephen Watt (right) and Mark Farnham (left) during a recent visit.

A crime victim and perpetrator talk about how their unlikely friendship came to be

Restorative justice is an approach to dealing with crime that put the victim of the crime front and center and considers how the offense affected the community, rather than looking at it as an isolated incident. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov has a three part series about restorative justice efforts in Wyoming, starting with a case study.

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Open Spaces
4:32 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

December 20th, 2013

UW Interim President prepares for the Legislative Session

Following the resignation of Bob Sternberg, Dick McGinity has taken over reins at the University of Wyoming as Interim President.  McGinity was simply a faculty member at UW until Sternberg promoted him to be part of the administration and now he’s running the show.  Among his first duties is getting UW priorities through the legislature.  He tells Bob Beck that includes pay raises.

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Open Spaces
4:20 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

UW Interim President prepares for the Legislative Session

Following the resignation of Bob Sternberg, Dick McGinity has taken over reins at the University of Wyoming as Interim President. 

McGinity was simply a faculty member at UW until Sternberg promoted him to be part of the administration and now he’s running the show.  Among his first duties is getting UW priorities through the legislature.  He tells Bob Beck that includes pay raises.

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Open Spaces
4:13 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

New Institute Runs Business Boot Camp For Entrepreneurs

Teacher Sandy Hessler speaks to participants
Rebecca Huntington

We've all heard stories about businesses that start in a garage or on the back of a cocktail napkin. But it takes a lot more than a great idea and some elbow grease to build a business from scratch. So a new Jackson program, called the Start-Up Institute, is running a business boot camp for entrepreneurs. Wyoming Public Radio's Rebecca Huntington has more. 

REBECCA HUNTINGTON: This is what you might consider finals for sixteen students completing Jackson's first-ever Start-Up Institute.

KELLIE HOTEMA: I'm too tired to be nervous.

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Open Spaces
4:07 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Ranchers produce more meat with fewer animals

Irina Zhorov

The U.S. cow herd is small right now because of the extended drought that’s plagued large swathes of the country. But though dry conditions have driven ranchers to sell off animals they would have otherwise kept, the decreasing size of the national herd is a trend decades in the making. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports on how livestock producers in Wyoming are turning out more meat with fewer animals.

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Open Spaces
4:04 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Skiing faces challenges in warming world

Skiing has been a popular pastime in the West for decades, but with climate change, the future of the sport is in question.

Porter Fox is the features editor at Powder magazine and the author of DEEP: The Story of Skiing and the Future of Snow. Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce spoke with Fox about his new book, and what’s in store for Wyoming.

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Open Spaces
3:59 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Writer Mark Jenkins speaks about a recent assignment in Asia

Mark Jenkins
Credit uwyo.edu

We’re joined now by Mark Jenkins of Laramie. He recently went to a remote area in Asia for a story for National Geographic.  He speaks with Willow Belden. 

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Open Spaces
3:44 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Wyoming’s memory care units are filled to capacity

Over half of Wyoming’s nursing home residents currently have moderate to severe dementia…and that number is expected to rise steeply in coming years.  By 2020, there may be as many as 13,000 people who are experiencing serious memory loss in Wyoming.  And there’s not enough space for all them in Wyoming’s nursing homes.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards reports.

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Open Spaces
3:38 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Wyoming Democratic Party Chairman disappointed in Governor Mead’s Medicaid recommendation

Pete Gosar

Recently Governor Matt Mead made it clear that he does not support using federal dollars to expand Medicaid services for Wyoming’s poor.  State Democratic Party Chairman Pete Gosar tells Bob Beck that’s the wrong move.

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Open Spaces
3:33 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

New fossil prep lab at the geology museum offers opportunity for students and community

University of Wyoming student Mitchell Lukens works in the new preparation lab in the Geology museum.

The geology museum at the University of Wyoming recently re-opened after a long remodel. One of the features unveiled is a new fossil preparation lab. This lab offers U-W students, museum visitors, and the community a variety of opportunities to learn more about fossil prep. Wyoming Public Radio’s Chelsea Biondolillo has more.

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Open Spaces
3:28 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Old Steps Come To Life At Laramie Swing Dance

Kevin and Tamara Bretting and Charles and Jennica Fournier

Classic dances like the Jitterbug, the Charleston, and the Lindy Hop are being revived at a community swing dance series in Laramie. Swingin’ Around Town started this summer as a way to rekindle social dance.

It now happens on the first and third Friday of every month at Blossom Yoga in downtown Laramie, and Lindy Hop lessons start in January at the Laramie Recreation Center. Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer spoke with Swingin’ Around Town co-founders Kevin Bretting and Charles Fournier.

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Open Spaces
4:41 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Study shows Pinedale water contamination mostly unrelated to gas drilling

Pollutants including benzene and diesel-range organics have shown up in water wells like this one in the Pinedale Anticline for several years.
Credit Courtesy Linda Baker

Pollutants have been showing up in water wells in the Pinedale Anticline gas field since 2006. Until recently, no one knew where the contamination was coming from. Now, the Bureau of Land Management and Department of Environmental Quality have released a report indicating that most of the problem was not caused by energy production. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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Open Spaces
4:33 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Wyoming’s little talked about pollution source: trona mines

One of FMC’s processing facilities
FMC Corporation

Wyoming’s biggest export is soda ash, which comes from trona mines in Sweetwater County. Last year, the trona industry produced 17 million tons of soda ash for which the state received nearly $90 million in various taxes and royalties. But as Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov report, the industry has a dirty side, too. 

IRINA ZHOROV: Wyoming is used to superlatives. The biggest coal bed, the largest mine, the most wind! Here’s another:

[VIDEO PLAYING: The silver retreats of Wyoming, USA is home to the largest reserve of trona. ]

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Open Spaces
4:28 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

State Superintendent Cindy Hill discusses her dispute with the legislature

It’s been a long year for State Superintendent Cindy Hill.  After legislators determined that she was undermining some of their education reform efforts, they voted to take away her ability to run the state department of education and assigned her to less essential tasks. 

Later a report suggested mistreatment of employees, possible misuse of the state aircraft, and misuse of Department of Education money.  That last piece is being investigated by a legislative committee who is trying to determine if impeachment charges should be brought against Hill. 

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Open Spaces
4:25 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

New Wyoming Travel App Raises Cash for Conservation

Story Clark

More than half the U.S. population uses smartphones and apps. And as the appetite for mobile information continues to grow, some Wyoming entrepreneurs are poised to cash in, for the sake of conservation. Wyoming Public Radio's Rebecca Huntington has more.

REBECCA HUNTINGTON: When Story Clark gets into her Prius, she doesn't just start her engine. She also revs up a new mobile app that she's developed with her business partner Madi Quissek.

STORY CLARK: So I'm hooking it up. It's TravelStorysGPS. The app is hands-free. And we're going to get going right now.

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