Open Spaces

Open Spaces
3:10 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

New homelessness coordinator takes first steps in creating long-term homelessness plan

Brenda Lyttle

Governor Matt Mead is hoping to create a ten-year plan to address homelessness in Wyoming. As a first step in the process, the Department of Family Services has appointed a homelessness coordinator. Her name is Brenda Lyttle.

Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with her. Lyttle says her first task will be to identify what services are already available to homeless individuals in different communities in Wyoming.

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Open Spaces
3:07 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

UW Field Court to teach students about historical, religious importance of Heart Mountain

This month, the University of Wyoming will host a field course where students will explore the geographic, historical and religious significance of Heart Mountain in northern Wyoming.

Two educators will split the teaching of the course, one focusing on history, and the other on religion. The latter, Mary Keller, is a historian of religions and a lecturer at U-W. She spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez from the Big Horn Radio Network in Cody about what makes Heart Mountain so special.

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Open Spaces
3:00 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Rail transport opens new markets for oil, but draws criticism from some local communities

Rancher Tom Wilson stands at his property line, watching work proceed at the site where the oil loading station will be located.
Credit Willow Belden

A facility is slated to be built in the town of Fort Laramie that would load oil onto rail cars. Assuming the project gets the necessary permits from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, it’s expected to be completed by the end of the year. Transporting oil by train is becoming increasingly popular, and experts say this facility and others like it will help the energy industry thrive. But local residents fear that a new industrial site could bring problems to their community. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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Open Spaces
2:53 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Rock Springs still working to fix sink holes created decades ago by coal mines

John Marushak, in his house on D Street in 1967
Credit Johnson and Fermelia Co., Inc.

More than 50 years ago residents of Rock Springs were shocked to learn that many of their houses, schools, and churches were in danger. The coal mines built underneath the town were beginning to collapse due to neglect and some environmental factors. It’s called subsidence and it’s happening in older mining towns all over the West. Wyoming Public Radio’s Amanda Le Claire has more on how the city is dealing with the problem now.

Ambient driving noise

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Open Spaces
2:49 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Author of Traveling the Power Line talks about her journey in energy self-education

Julianne Couch is the author of Traveling the Power Line, a book about the many energy sources we tap into for our power needs – from oil and gas, to wind, to solar and uranium.

Couch teaches at the University of Wyoming and has also written Jukeboxes and Jackalopes: A Wyoming Bar Journey and Waking Up Western: Collected Essays. She now lives in Iowa but stopped by the studio to talk to Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov about her book.

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Open Spaces
2:44 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Miss Indian America winners reunite in Sheridan

Vivian Arviso's future husband first saw her when she appeared as Miss Indian America in the parade at All American Indian Days in Sheridan, Wyo. in 1961.
Credit Lenz Collection, Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library Wyoming Room

The Sheridan WYO Rodeo in will host the return of some special guests this year. The Miss Indian America pageant was held during the rodeo from 1953 until 1984 and several past winners will reunite this weekend.

ARCHIVAL TAPE: [Drumming] There’s a town out west where the eye can stretch over the plains from mesa to mountains, where the heart warms in the sunshine of friends and the townspeople can see buffalo from their own backyards. Such a place is Sheridan Wyoming!  

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Open Spaces
2:34 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

UPSTARTS: “Fear No Chocolate,” The Meeteetse Chocolatier known for his story and original flavors

Rancher Tim Kellogg uses a variety of local ingredients, including huckleberries, Wyoming Whiskey, and homemade pine needle extract at his chocolate shot. The Meeteetse Chocolatier is celebrating his ninth year in business this month.
Credit Rebecca Martinez

Rancher and former saddle bronc rider, Tim Kellogg of Meeteetse, began selling homemade chocolates on weekends to bankroll his rodeo passion in 2004. Known by many as the “Meeteetse Chocolatier,” Kellogg now runs a shop on the little town’s main street seven days a week, drawing locals and tourists back again and again for his rich and creative flavor pairings. Rebecca Martinez interviewed him and produced this piece.

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Open Spaces
2:21 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

June 28th, 2013

Wyoming Lawmakers Outraged at Obama’s Climate Plan

This week President Obama announced he's going to attempt to combat climate change from the Oval Office. Wyoming's three Republicans in Congress are none too happy with his plan. As Matt Laslo reports, they say it could cripple the state's economy and hit your pocket.

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Open Spaces
2:04 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Wyoming lawmakers outraged at Obama’s climate plan

This week President Obama announced he's going to attempt to combat climate change from the Oval Office. Wyoming's three Republicans in Congress are none too happy with his plan. As Matt Laslo reports, they say it could cripple the state's economy and hit your pocket. 

MATT LASLO: Climate change wasn't really a part of the 20-12 election, so the president surprised many when he promised to deal with global warming in his second inaugural address. Now he's coming out swinging again...charging Republicans with being deaf to the scientific community. 

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Open Spaces
2:00 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Wyoming Education Association President is pleased with where the state is heading

Kathy Vetter
Credit Photo Courtesy of the Wyoming Education Association

Monday the President of the Wyoming Education Association Kathy Vetter will join other colleagues from across the nation in Atlanta for the National Education Association Representative Assembly where they will discuss a number of education issues.  Kathy Vetter joined Bob Beck to discuss some issues that might come up and give us her thoughts on some education issues facing Wyoming.  One issue is on the agenda surrounds school safety and gun safety prevention.

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Open Spaces
1:56 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Wyoming gears up for adventure race

Credit Photo courtesy of Cowboy Tough Adventure Race

In July, Wyoming enters the world of adventure racing when the state hosts the Cameco and City of Casper Cowboy Tough Adventure Race.  It’s a 3 ½-day race across the state that begins on July 18th. 

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Open Spaces
1:51 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Grand Teton Music Festival returns

Credit Photo courtesy of Grand Teton Music Festival

Next week the annual Grand Teton Music Festival gets underway at the Walk Festival Hall in Teton Village.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck spoke with Andrew Palmer Todd, the New Executive Director of the event. He says this event has become well known.

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Open Spaces
4:06 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

June 21st, 2013

Sequester effects less painful than expected, but lawmakers still unhappy

The congressionally mandated budget cuts called sequestration continue to have an impact on Wyoming. And while the state’s Republican lawmakers say those cuts aren’t having as big of an impact as predicted by Democrats, Matt Laslo reports from Washington that the delegation still isn’t happy with the sequester.

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Open Spaces
3:52 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Sequester effects less painful than expected, but lawmakers still unhappy

The congressionally mandated budget cuts called sequestration continue to have an impact on Wyoming. And while the state’s Republican lawmakers say those cuts aren’t having as big of an impact as predicted by Democrats, Matt Laslo reports from Washington that the delegation still isn’t happy with the sequester.

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Open Spaces
3:48 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Efforts to restore sage grouse habitat move forward

Last year, we reported on a new project to restore sage grouse habitat that’s been disturbed by energy development in the Powder River Basin. The Bureau of Land Management, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other agencies are participating in the effort.

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Open Spaces
3:41 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

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

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

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
3:33 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Restorative justice initiatives in WY are just starting

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 has a three part series about restorative justice efforts in Wyoming, starting with a case study. To hear Part 3 of the series, click here.

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Open Spaces
3:30 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Watt and Farnham discuss the benefits of restorative justice in their lives

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

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 has a three part series about restorative justice efforts in Wyoming.

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Open Spaces
3:16 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

With added OSHA personnel, more companies get safety consultations

Wyoming consistently has one of the highest rates of workplace fatalities in the country. Many of these are in the energy industry, though not all. Last year, the state legislature decided to tackle the problem by hiring more safety consultants for Wyoming’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration, or OSHA. Most agree that the change has been positive, but some say more still needs to be done, in order to reduce workplace injuries and deaths. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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Open Spaces
3:08 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

News Director Bob Beck reflects on 25 years at WPR

Wyoming Public Radio News Director Bob Beck hosts Morning Edition at WPR’s studio in Laramie
Credit Willow Belden

Wyoming Public Radio’s news director, Bob Beck, has been with the station for 25 years this month. During that time, the station has received 81 national, regional and state awards. Bob himself is a two-time winner of Edward R. Murrow awards and has contributed to two Emmy-award-winning television projects.

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Open Spaces
4:30 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Data processing failures spur plans to overhaul Wyoming Department of Education

Credit Wyoming Department of Education

Recent leadership and policy changes have caused upheaval in the Wyoming Department of education, but the collection and processing of data has been insufficient for years. An audit of the WDE’s Information Management unit is showing that there are major flaws in the system, and that an overhaul of the department is in order. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports.

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Open Spaces
4:27 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Wyoming’s Oil and Gas Supervisor discusses issues from flaring to fracking

Natural gas, a byproduct of oil extraction, is flared at a well pad near Douglas
Credit Willow Belden

Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck spoke with the new supervisor of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Grant Black.  Since he started the job a few weeks ago, Black has been dealing with issues ranging from the flaring of natural gas to water contamination.  He says the flaring issue is interesting.

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Open Spaces
4:22 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Laramie software company makes a dent in the medical world

Happy Jack employee Spencer Buda
Credit Bob Beck

In our occasional series on upstart businesses we take you to Laramie to tell you about a software company that is making a dent in the world of medicine.  Mona Gamboa started Happy Jack Software in 2004 after she left her software job in Texas to join her husband who took a job at the University of Wyoming.  Gamboa got a Master in Science in E Business from U-W and started Happy Jack software in the U-W Student Union.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

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Open Spaces
4:09 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Historian Phil Roberts discusses his new book, ‘Cody’s Cave’

Historian Phil Roberts at the University of Wyoming recently published a book called “Cody’s Cave,” which tells the story of a vast set of caverns near Cody. The cave was once a national monument, but was then turned over to local control, and Roberts argues that that was a grave mistake, because the site is now just a hole in the ground, off limits to the public. Roberts joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden to talk about the cave, and its demise.

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Open Spaces
4:04 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Author discusses the book Wyoming’s Outlaw Trail

Mac Blewer
Credit Photo courtesy Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site

Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck spoke with author and historian Mac Blewer about his entertaining book called “Wyoming’s Outlaw Trail.”  It’s about the outlaws that frequented Wyoming in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  For instance he says Baggs, Wyoming was a popular hangout.

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Open Spaces
3:59 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Wolf trapping raises concerns about trapping the wrong animals

Dave Pauli runs a workshop to teach dog owners how to keep their pets out of traps
Credit Rebecca Huntington

Since wolves have been taken off the Endangered Species List in Wyoming, they can now be hunted in many parts of the state … and they can also be trapped in areas where they're classified as predators. Rebecca Huntington reports that that's raising concerns that unintended animals could end up in the traps.

DAVE PAULI: So this is the way the device sits, and when an animal, again it could be at any height, when an animal goes in there…

[SNAP of trap]

AUDIENCE: Oh god....

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Open Spaces
3:52 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Study examines reasons behind decline in migratory elk calves

Credit Photo courtesy Arthur Middleton

Since the 1990s, elk that migrate between Yellowstone National Park and Cody have been raising fewer calves. But the elk that stay in the foothills near Cody year round and don’t migrate have been doing very well. A new study looks at why that’s the case. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with the lead author on the report, Arthur Middleton. He says they spent years looking at the elk’s predators and habitat, and how those corresponded to elk pregnancies and overall wellbeing.

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Open Spaces
3:41 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

South Africans strive to limit damage to landscape as elephant populations grow

Elephants at Makalali Game Reserve.
Credit Willow Belden

We’ve reported frequently on efforts to control wildlife numbers in Wyoming, through hunting, contraception, and other means. In southern Africa, wildlife managers face similar challenges, with elephants. In some parts of Africa, elephants are threatened by poaching, but in South Africa they’re flourishing. Some wildlife reserves say they’re multiplying too fast, but others say controlling their numbers is the wrong solution. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden traveled to South Africa and filed this report.

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Open Spaces
5:45 pm
Sat June 1, 2013

Growing sagebrush and other native seed: Crackpot idea or lucrative business venture?

Richard and Claire Dunne grow sagebrush on Absaroka Farm in northcentral Wyoming. The seeds are sold for use in land reclamation.
Credit Luke Hammons

Richard and Claire Dunne grow sagebrush on Absaroka Farm in northcentral Wyoming. The seeds are sold for use in land reclamation. Where some people see a weed, others see a gold mine...  At least that’s the case in Richard and Claire Dunne’s Absaroka Farm in North Central, Wyoming.  A farm that, if you drove past it, you might think was just another stretch of the prairie.

Although sagebrush seed is in demand, growing it commercially is a niche marked… and some people think it’s crazy.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Luke Hammons filed this report.

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