Open Spaces

Open Spaces
4:21 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Governor Matt Mead defends his opposition to Medicaid expansion and other topics

Last week Wyoming governor Matt Mead released his proposed budget for the next two years.  The governor joins us to discuss something he did not recommend and discusses other topics, such as whether he will run for re-election. 

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Open Spaces
4:18 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Bark beetles turn forest into carbon source

Pine and spruce beetles have killed millions of trees across Wyoming and the West. To many, the dying forests are visually unattractive. But there’s a bigger issue. Researchers in the Medicine Bow National Forest are finding that beetle kill has had a major impact on how the forest processes carbon dioxide. Wyoming Public radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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Open Spaces
4:11 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Beetle-kill logging project raises questions about value of dead trees

The project's industry partner, Cool Planet Energy Systems, has developed technology for producing biofuels that it says is carbon negative.
Credit Cool Planet Energy Systems

More than 40 million acres of trees have been killed by bark beetles in the Rocky Mountain West over the last two decades. Those trees are an eyesore, and as we heard in the last story, a source of carbon dioxide. But a new project is trying to find an upside to the epidemic. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has given researchers at five western universities, including the University of Wyoming, $10 million to see if those dead trees can be converted into gasoline.

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Open Spaces
4:06 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Governor proposes budget increase for local government

Credit The photo is courtesy of the Cody chamber of Commerce.

In the governor’s budget last week, one area that didn’t get a lot of attention is a proposal to increase funding to communities and counties by $175 million.  That would be a $40 million increase over his previous proposal.  40 percent of that money would go for infrastructure, such as roads, but the rest would go into operations.  If approved, it would come at a time when most local governments are dealing with less revenue.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

BOB BECK: Governor Matt Mead says he’s tried to make local government funding a priority since he took office.

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Open Spaces
3:52 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Jackson gallery offers views of protected private lands

Ladd Property. Bill Sawczuk. 16 x 20. Oil on linen.
Credit Trio Fine Art

A new exhibit offers three painters’ views of protected private lands in Jackson Hole. Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer reports on the first-ever collaboration between the Jackson Hole Land Trust and artists, called View 22.

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Open Spaces
10:29 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Wyoming Stories: Marine tells story from his Iraq tour

Jason Williams
Credit Micah Schweizer

Jason Williams is an Iraq War veteran from Lander. In 2004, he was part of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit deployed to Najaf.

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Open Spaces
4:16 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

November 15th, 2013

UW Board of Trustees President talks about Dr. Sternberg’s resignation

The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees announced UW President Bob Sternberg’s resignation on Thursday. The Trustees spent Thursday and Friday in meetings, but President of the Board David Bostrom sat down to talk with Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov about what comes next. Bostrom says the Trustees didn’t try to convince Dr. Sternberg to stay.

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Open Spaces
4:04 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

UW Board of Trustees President talks about Dr. Sternberg’s resignation

David Bostrom
Credit www.beaumontenterprise.com

The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees announced UW President Bob Sternberg’s resignation on Thursday. The Trustees spent Thursday and Friday in meetings, but President of the Board David Bostrom sat down to talk with Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov about what comes next. Bostrom says the Trustees didn’t try to convince Dr. Sternberg to stay.

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Open Spaces
3:52 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Historian offers perspective on Sternberg resignation

Bob Sternberg
Credit trib.com

It’s not often that a president leaves a university as quickly as Bob Sternberg, but it has happened before at UW. Phil Roberts spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden. He says there are often times that people are just not the right fit for a particular position.

For more on UW President Bob Sternberg’s resignation, click here.

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Open Spaces
3:46 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

In Laramie, those in the drug court are finding the benefits of yoga

Hot Power Yoga
Credit Bob Beck

Lots of people enjoy the calming and relaxing benefits of yoga, but in Laramie a group is trying to use yoga to help those in the drug court program.  And the early returns are good.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck has more. 

BOB BECK:  It’s Friday night at Laramie’s Hot Power Yoga.  The lights are down and the room is lit with candles.  Nine people connected with the Albany County Drug Court program are here holding various poses in an effort to relax and focus. 

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Open Spaces
3:42 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Guatemalan genocide survivor visits UW

Anselmo Roldan

Anselmo Roldan Aguilar is from Guatemala. He was a young man when the Guatemalan military attacked his town and killed more than 400 people. This was in 1982, in the midst of Guatemala’s internal armed conflict, during which thousands were massacred.

Roldan Aguilar is now president of the Association for Justice and Reconciliation, an organization seeking justice for the survivors and perpetrators. He visited the University of Wyoming to meet with students and talk about his experience and AJR’s work and stopped by the studio to talk with Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov.

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Open Spaces
3:40 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

The Budget Committee Sen. Enzi Disdains

Republican Senator Mike Enzi

Wyoming’s senior Republican Senator Mike Enzi is on a special budget conference committee that he says has already become a moot point. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on why he’s given up on the group before its really gotten to work.

MATT LASLO: Senator Mike Enzi, along with seventeen Senate Republicans, voted against the final deal to reopen the federal government and avoid a potential default on the nation’s debt.

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Open Spaces
3:36 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Pollution spikes in Converse County spark concerns over oil and gas expansion

Energy development in Converse County has led to concerns about air quality.
Credit Willow Belden

Converse County is seeing an increasing amount of energy development, and some residents worry that air quality could suffer as a result. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and researchers from the University of Wyoming are now monitoring air quality in the area.

On the whole, they’ve found that the air is pretty clean. But they’ve also documented times when pollution levels have spiked. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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Open Spaces
3:32 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Seismic testing rattles surface owners in Carbon County

Ladder Ranch in Savery, Wyoming
Credit Ladder Ranch

For most of Wyoming's history, mineral rights have clearly taken precedence over surface rights. But in 2005, the Legislature passed a split estate law which, for the first time, gave surface owners some say over how their land could be used to access the minerals below it. It was a big change, but many have argued since that it didn’t go far enough.

As Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports, a case heard by the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission this week tested the limits of the law, and the rights of surface owners.

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Open Spaces
3:28 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

UW Stages Ambitious Performance of Carmina Burana

One of classical music’s most famous pieces is not normally performed the way the composer conceived it. But next week (Nov. 19-24), the University of Wyoming is staging Carmina Burana the way Carl Orff intended—with dancers and actors alongside the orchestra and chorale. That’s 150 performers onstage at once. Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer spoke with UW dance professor and choreographer Lawrence Jackson.

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Open Spaces
3:23 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

“Lessons of the Lost” author Scott Hammond advises readers how to find their way home

“Lessons of the Lost” author Scott Hammond.

Wyoming’s quiet, wild spaces attract adventurers from near and far, but we also hear frequently about adventures gone wrong. Throughout the Mountain West, we hear stories of people who go missing.

By day, Scott Hammond is a management professor at Utah State University, but in his free time, he is a volunteer search-and-rescuer with Rocky Mountain Rescue Dogs. Hammond’s spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez about his new book “Lessons of the Lost,” which details his experiences with the search and rescue organization.

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Open Spaces
4:11 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

UW President Bob Sternberg responds to criticism

University of Wyoming President Bob Sternberg

It’s been a rough week for UW President Bob Sternberg.  He’s been taken to task by several UW faculty on University list serves over his handling of a number of issues, but people have expressed the most concern over the turnover of some U-W administrators. 

Most recently the dismissal of the College of Education Dean and the resignation of the Law School Dean.  Sternberg gives Bob Beck his perspective on the controversy.

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Open Spaces
4:08 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Lawmakers still worried about Wyoming’s revenue picture

Cheyenne Capitol Building
Credit Bob Beck

The main revenue forecasting arm for the state of Wyoming called 2013 a solid year economically.  Thanks to investments it means the state raised almost 350 million dollars over projections.  But the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group or CREG says while this is great news, problems may be on the horizon. The legislative committee tasked with developing the state’s budget wants to be cautious.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports…

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Open Spaces
4:05 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Sinclair’s struggles: A conversation with OSHA

A few weeks ago, the Sinclair Wyoming Refining Company got a $707,000 fine for safety violations. Wyoming’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration, or OSHA, found that Sinclair had willfully violated various safety regulations and failed to fix hazards that could have resulted in death or serious physical harm.

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Open Spaces
4:01 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Converse County wrestles with development planning

An existing natural gas processing facility north of Douglas
Credit Stephanie Joyce

Converse County is one of six counties in Wyoming with no land use regulations. When a proposal to develop zoning came up a decade ago, it went nowhere. But as development associated with the oil and gas boom in the Niobrara explodes, the county is struggling with questions of how to make sure it happens responsibly. And as Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports, some residents are starting to question the costs of not planning.

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Open Spaces
3:50 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Grand Teton Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott leaves her post with issues remaining

Mary Gibson Scott
Credit NPS

In her nine years as Superintendent of Grand Teton National Park, Mary Gibson Scott has overseen a number of park improvements from Transportation to a new Visitors Center.  But issues from funding for Parks to protecting wildlife continue to be a concern.  Gibson Scott retires this weekend, so we asked her about a few key issues, such as reforming the Endangered Species Act.

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Open Spaces
3:46 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

StoryCorps: Vietnam veteran talks about his time as a POW

Ted Gostas
Credit StoryCorps

For Veteran’s Day we have a StoryCorps segment of veteran Ted Gostas telling his wife Jody Gostas about being taken as a prisoner of war in the Vietnam War and his years in solitary confinement. Gostas remained a P-O-W for 5 years, 5 months, and 15 days. Of those captured in Northern Vietnam, he was one of only four POWs to stay in solitary confinement for more than four years. 

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Open Spaces
3:38 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Upstarts: Company revolutionizes process for identifying unknown substances

The devices that Snowy Range Instruments makes are used to identify unknown substances
Credit Willow Belden

In our occasional “Upstarts” series, we’re going to visit a company called Snowy Range Instruments. It’s based in Laramie, and it makes devices that can identify mystery substances. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

WILLOW BELDEN: In a large warehouse-like room, Tony Eads sits hunched over a workbench. He’s holding a soldering iron, and working on the control board for a high-tech instrument. At this stage, the device looks kind of like what you might see if you took apart a computer: basically, a green board with a maze of tiny copper-colored components.

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Open Spaces
3:33 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Historic Laramie dance hall is a unique treasure

Micah Schweizer

Several times a year, Laramie hosts square dances that attract dancers from hundreds of miles around. Part of the draw is the hall, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Wyoming Public Radio's Micah Schweizer has a postcard from Laramie's Quadra Dangle Square Dance Club.

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Open Spaces
4:09 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Yellowstone’s new winter use rule appeases sportsmen and conservationists alike

Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk
Credit Erik Petersen / For The Washington Post

Warm weather tourist traffic is winding down in Yellowstone National Park, and they’re getting ready for winter tourists. The National Park Services bans over-snow vehicles in all national parks, unless individual parks pass rules permitting and regulating them.

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Open Spaces
4:03 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

UW’s WyCEHG program could help Wyoming get the most out of its water

Hydrogeophysicist Steve Holbrook marks the GPS coordinates of points where he and his team will seismically measure the subsurface. Holbrook co-directs the Wyoming Center for Hydrology and Geophysics, which hopes to better understand snowpack and aquifers in the state.
Credit Rebecca Martinez

In such an arid state as Wyoming, water is precious. Last year, the University of Wyoming created the Wyoming Center for Hydrology and Geophysics, combining field experts and state-of-the art technology to better understand where water goes in after it falls from the sky, since much of it ends up in snowpack or underground.

There isn’t too much information available about that, but it’s important to state and local water managers, who need to know just how much water they have to work with. Rebecca Martinez reports.

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Open Spaces
3:59 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

An unlikely pastime: in pursuit of alternative nuclear power

Dave Earnshaw, in front of one of the sites he envisions could house a liquid fluoride thorium reactor someday.
Credit Stephanie Joyce

Many retired people take up a hobby -- knitting, bird watching, bingo. But two Laramie retirees have decided to spend their days in pursuit of a decidedly less mainstream pastime: solving the energy challenges of our time. Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce has the story.

STEPHANIE JOYCE: It’s a sunny fall day, and Dave Earnshaw is standing outside the central energy plant at the University of Wyoming, staring out over the empty field that sits next to it.

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