Open Spaces

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. 

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

(beeping)

Read more
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.

Read more
Open Spaces
3:55 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Thru hiking the Continental Divide Trail

Marc Koeplin
Credit Marc Koeplin

The Continental Divide Trail is a hiking path that runs from Canada to Mexico, along the great divide. It’s more than 3,000 miles long, and only a handful of people hike the whole thing in a single year. Marc Koeplin of Cheyenne is one of them.

He and his hiking partner finished the trail a few weeks ago, and joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden to talk about the trip. He says his first long-distance hike was the Appelachian Trail, which he did 12 years ago.

Read more
Open Spaces
3:52 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

New conservation tools help WY ranchers stay sustainable

Snake River Ranch
Credit Snake River Ranch

Ranchers have always planned for the next season and the next generation…and as such have been natural conservationists. But new management tools in the conservation toolbox are making it easier for land owners to be successful stewards of their land. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that ranchers are up for the challenge. 

Read more
Open Spaces
3:48 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Wyoming Wine project creates new opportunities for academics and landowners to work together

Undergraduate student Braxton Tyree, professors Dan Bergey and Sadanand Dhekney, and graduate students Ali al Hassan and Raju Kandel check their research grape vines on the edge of Sheridan College.
Chelsea Biondolillo

Wyoming might not be the first choice for grape growers and aspiring vinters, but a group in Sheridan is working to change that. Professors, graduate and undergraduate students at UW and Sheridan College are using advanced techniques to identify traits in different grape varieties that make them well suited to Wyoming. Wyoming Public Radio’s Chelsea Biondolillo reports.

Read more
Open Spaces
3:42 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

UW theatre premier puts philosophy of Ayn Rand on trial

Playwright William Missouri Downs says Ayn Rand’s rational, objective philosophy helped him through college. But in Downs’ newest play, certainty is lacking. Writer and philosopher Ayn Rand is put on trial, and the audience is the jury. Wyoming Public Media’s Micah Schweizer spoke with William Missouri Downs.

Read more
Open Spaces
3:37 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

“Cowboys and East Indians” author Nina McConigley shares about her own life as an Indian American

Nina McConigley

Nina McConigley is a lecturer in the University of Wyoming’s English Department. Her new book is a collection of short stories called Cowboys and East Indians.

Her book tells the stories of a variety of Indian characters living in Wyoming, and explores what, often, reads as an unusual combination. McConigley’s father is an Irish-born petroleum geologist, and her mother, Nimi McConigley, was the first Indian-born person to serve in the Wyoming Legislature.  Nina tells Rebecca Martinez she grew up in Casper.

Read more
Open Spaces
3:32 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Wyoming Stories: Learning to see at age 38

Pat Logan and Dave Stratton
Credit StoryCorps

We’re going to hear now from a woman who was blind for the first 38 years of her life. At that point, a doctor told her he could make her see. After four surgeries, she finally gained her vision.

The woman’s name is Pat Logan, and we’ll hear a conversation she had with Dave Stratton, the chaplain for the Program for All Inclusive Care for the Elderly, in Cheyenne. The interview was recorded as part of StoryCorps, a project that records conversations between loved ones.

Read more
Open Spaces
5:57 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Groundwater testing near oil and gas wells: how much data is enough?

Geologicresources monitoring

A proposal to test water quality at oil and gas wells before and after drilling is making its way through the rulemaking process. The governor’s office and industry hope it will answer some of the questions surrounding groundwater contamination near oil and gas development, but as Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports, the rule may not actually be able to answer the question of who’s responsible, if contamination occurs, and that has some people questioning whether it’s valuable at all.

Read more
Open Spaces
5:49 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Author of “Coal in Campbell County” talks about her motivation for writing about coal

Mary Kelley

Mary Kelley is the author of Coal in Campbell County, a book that traces the lineage of each of Gillette’s major coal companies in the area. It’s her second book about the coal industry in Gillette. She and her husband both worked for the AMAX coal company for many years. Kelley told Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov that she wanted to preserve the history of the coal companies, but also show how they helped create a good life for people like her in Campbell County.

Read more
Open Spaces
5:46 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Inaugural Women’s Antelope Hunt a success, despite snow

Left to right, Tara Heaton, guide Fred Williams, and Crystal Mayfield pose with their antelope on the second day of the hunt.
Fred Williams

Women still only make up a small percentage of all hunters, but that number has increased significantly in recent years. Now, organizations like the Wyoming Women’s Foundation want to encourage more growth through mentorship. The group says hunting is an important way to teach self-sufficiency and economic independence. Wyoming Public Radio's Irina Zhorov tagged along on the state's inaugural Women's Antelope Hunt and filed this report.

Read more
Open Spaces
5:36 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Researchers seek to determine behavioral effects of contraception on coyotes

Marjie MacGregor is researching birth control for coyotes
Willow Belden

Last year, we reported on research that’s being done at the University of Wyoming regarding coyote contraception. The idea is to use birth control to reduce coyote numbers, and in particular, to keep coyotes from killing livestock. The project now has some preliminary results, and Marjie MacGregor, who’s leading the study, joins us now to talk about what they’ve found, and what’s next.

Read more
Open Spaces
5:31 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Fossils on private lands find collectors and critics

JP Cavigelli looks for small fossils on a private ranch, near Lusk.
Irina Zhorov

Wyoming was once wet, balmy, and full of creatures like dinosaurs. Today, their fossils are slowly weathering out of the ground. If the bones happen to be on public land, researchers are granted permits to dig for them and the fossils have to end up in a public repository. But on private land, anyone can dig and they can do whatever they want with the specimens. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that commercial, or independent collectors, are sometimes eyed warily.

Read more
Open Spaces
5:24 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Hot Springs County High School is hoping that technology will lead to better results

As schools look at new ways to improve education, in Thermopolis they are hoping that new technology and the access it brings to data bases, videos, and better access to the outside world will improve learning and teaching.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck has more. 

Read more
Open Spaces
5:20 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Casper school seeks to make students bilingual

Kindergarteners in the dual language immersion program at Paradise Valley Elementary School spend half their day learning in Chinese.
Willow Belden

A school in Casper has started teaching some of its classes in Chinese. The idea is that the students in those classes will grow up bilingual. This is the first Chinese immersion program in a Wyoming school, but data from other states that have similar programs show a wide range of benefits. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

Read more
Open Spaces
5:12 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Wyoming Stories: Myrtle Forney recalls a marriage marred by alcoholism and abuse (StoryCorps)

Myrtle Forney with her grandson, Nate Swinton’
Courtesy Story Corps

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and we’re going to hear a story about abuse that stemmed from alcoholism. This interview was recorded as part of Story Corps, a project that records conversations between loved ones. In this case, 89-year-old Myrtle Forney talks with her grandson, Nate Swinton. After her first husband (Nate’s grandfather) passed away, she married another man, named Ken.

Read more
Open Spaces
4:36 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

October 18th, 2013

Left to right, Tara Heaton, guide Fred Williams, and Crystal Mayfield pose with their antelope on the second day of the hunt.
Credit Fred Williams
Read more
Open Spaces
3:05 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Writer Sherman Alexie challenges Native American stereotypes

Sherman Alexie

Author, poet, and filmmaker Sherman Alexie spent the past several days on the University of Wyoming campus as a guest of the American Indian Studies Program. His visit started with a public lecture--more like an improv comedy sketch about Native American identity--and Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer sat down with Alexie to discuss some of the themes in his talk.

Read more
Open Spaces
4:49 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

September 20th, 2013

Natural Gas producers are concerned about the future

More than 500 industry people gathered in Jackson this week for the 17th Annual Wyoming Oil and Gas Fair. Wyoming Public Radio’s energy and natural resources reporter, Stephanie Joyce was there, and she joins us now to talk about the event.

Read more
Open Spaces
4:40 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Natural Gas producers are concerned about the future

Stephanie Joyce

More than 500 industry people gathered in Jackson this week for the 17th Annual Wyoming Oil and Gas Fair. Wyoming Public Radio’s energy and natural resources reporter, Stephanie Joyce was there, and she joins us now to talk about the event.

BOB BECK: So, what are the biggest issues on the mind of Wyoming’s oil and gas industry right now?

Read more
Open Spaces
4:36 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

State Senator explains the reason for Developmental Disability Waiver cuts

Senator Charles Scott

Last week we ran a story concerning proposed cuts in the Developmental Disability waiver program.  The belief is that there are some in the program getting more money than they need. 

Advocacy groups and those in the program worry that cuts could actually take money away from those who need services.  Senator Charles Scott is the Chairman of the Senate Labor, Health and Social Services Committee.  He joins Bob Beck to explain the legislature’s position on the issue.

Read more
Open Spaces
4:34 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

UW Pharmacy School prepares graduates to be gainfully employed in an unsteady economy

Sarah Pence (’12) graduated from the University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy. Walgreens hired her immediately.
Credit Rebecca Martinez

In this time of job insecurity and a changing medical landscape, the University of Wyoming’s School of Pharmacy Education is graduating dozens of doctoral students who – for the most part – can count on a securing a good-paying job once they get their degree, if not before. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports.

(phone rings, “Thank you for calling Walgreens…”)

REBECCA MARTINEZ: Sarah Pence is a pharmacist at Walgreens in Laramie. She says her store fills hundreds of medications on a daily basis, and there’s a lot she loves about her job.

Read more
Open Spaces
4:30 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Education expert will speak about emotions and learning at the upcoming Ellbogen Symposium

Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang

On October 2nd, the University of Wyoming College of Education will be hosting University of Southern California Professor Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang who will be the keynote speaker at the annual Ellbogen Symposium for teaching and learning. 

She will discuss how emotions shape learning, motivation and self.  Dr. Immordino-Yang is an expert on neuroscience and education.   She tells Bob Beck that emotions and our social experiences are a big part of learning.  

Read more
Open Spaces
4:27 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Stigma of suicide hinders emotional recovery for survivors

September is suicide prevention awareness month. Wyoming consistently has one of the highest rates of suicide in the nation, and the state is working hard to change that.

One of the reasons that suicide prevention efforts are so important is because of what suicide does to the family and friends of the victim. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports that the grief survivors go through can be much more acute than other types of grief.

Read more
Open Spaces
4:23 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Debate over de-listing Wyoming Grizzly bears continues

Credit latimesblogs.latimes.com

The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service wants Grizzly Bears taken off the Endangered Species list, but the agency's effort has been blunted by the courts. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on the battle over Wyoming's Grizzlies. 

MATT LASLO: In 1975 government officials worried the west could one day be grizzly-less. Using the Endangered Species Act the government became a great protector of the Bears that play a vital role in the region's ecosystem. But by 2007 the federal government recorded a massive rebound in the population, so they delisted Grizzly Bears. 

Read more

Pages