Open Spaces

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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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. 

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Open Spaces
4:20 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

National AARP President wants sensible discussions about Social Security and Medicare reforms

Rob Romasco

National AARP President Rob Romasco is in the state this week for some activities with the Wyoming Chapter of the organization.  He tells Bob Beck that Social Security and Medicare remain important issues.

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Open Spaces
4:18 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Roller derby offers women of Wyoming and sports fans something new

Derby skaters, including WPR’s own “Tallulah Bankrobber” (Rebecca Martinez) line up at the start of a jam at Cheyenne’s ‘5v5’ Tournament.
Credit Chelsea Biondolillo

Modern roller derby is a contact sport that features two teams roller skating on a track, attempting to score by passing players of the opposing team. While the sport’s origins can be traced back to beginning of the 20th century, it was revived in the early 2000s in Texas…BY women and FOR women.

Since then, teams have started up all over the world. Wyoming has been a late adopter of the sport, but women here are making up for lost time.

[AMBI Sports announcer: “And she makes it through! That is a grand slam folks!]

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Open Spaces
4:03 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Wyoming Stories: Noel Richardson remembers chef who cooked for him, Buffalo Bill Cody

Noel Richardson and Stephanie Reutner.
Credit Micah Schweizer

In this installment of Wyoming Stories, Stephanie Reutner interviews her neighbor Noel Richardson, both residents of Jelm. Richardson worked for the Forest Service in 1957, spraying trees against beetle kill around Cody and Yellowstone. He remembers a chef that cooked for the camp.

The chef, named Phonograph Jones, was in his 80s then and had also cooked for Buffalo Bill Cody and Prince Albert I on his trip to Wyoming 100 years ago. His great great grandson, Prince Albert II, is in Wyoming this week.

 

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Open Spaces
4:54 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Developmental Disability waiver changes cause concern

Credit Ark Regional Services

Two years ago the Wyoming legislature asked the Wyoming Department of Health to look into the high costs of Medicaid services in the state.  The legislature wanted them to find ways to reduce those costs and see if there were also ways to reform Wyoming’s Developmental Disability waiver program, which costs the state 151 million dollars a year.

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Open Spaces
4:51 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Health insurance mandate looming, uninsured Wyomingites worry about federal exchange offerings

Credit jasleen_kaur / Creative Commons

Roughly a quarter of Teton County residents are living without health insurance. It's the worst rate of health coverage in the state. Beginning in October, those uninsured residents will have a new opportunity to get health insurance through a federally-operated exchange, or marketplace. Wyoming Public Radio's Rebecca Huntington has more.

REBECCA HUNTINGTON: Dana Gatt is a massage therapist. She's putting towels in a warmer to get ready for her next client.

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Open Spaces
4:47 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Future of Artist Harry Jackson’s Work Uncertain

Matt Jackson, surrounded by some of his father’s work and archives.

The fate of a major art collection hangs in the balance, as the estate of renowned Cody artist Harry Jackson looks for a benefactor. And unless a donor steps forward, Jackson’s life work will be piecemealed to pay the bills.

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Open Spaces
4:42 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Jackson author discusses his new book Death Canyon

Former lawyer turned fly fishing guide David Riley Bertsch has written a book dealing with both of his passions.  Jake Trent is the main Character in the book called Death Canyon. 

Trent is a former criminal lawyer turned fly fishing guide who runs a bed and breakfast in Jackson, Wyoming.  But some a late season avalanche kills a skier, a French couple may have suffered a bear attack, and Jake himself finds the body of a tourist in fishing gear. 

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Open Spaces
4:37 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Wyoming lawmakers oppose military strike against Syria

Credit rt.com

President Obama's call to postpone a vote on a military strike in Syria is being lauded by Wyoming lawmakers. Matt Laslo reports from Washington that while the administration is leaving a military option on the table as it pursues diplomacy, officials can’t expect much support from the Wyoming delegation.

MATT LASLO: Only a handful of lawmakers in the U.S. Senate have gone on record over authorizing military force in Syria. One of them is Wyoming Republican John Barrasso.

JOHN BARRASSO: “Mr. Barrasso?” “No.”

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Open Spaces
4:25 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Ranches increasingly popular as investments

Credit wsgalt.org

Real estate brokers across Wyoming and the west have been seeing more and more people buying ranches for investment purposes. In many cases, that’s changing the way the ranches function and affecting the communities around them. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

WILLOW BELDEN: Art Sigel is a retired chemical engineer from Chicago. Well, sort of retired. He’s no longer a chemical engineer. But now he and his wife own and operate a ranch in southeast Wyoming.

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Open Spaces
4:20 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Cattle industry depends on keeping ranch land in ag production

Rancher Les Stewart, Ninty-Six Ranch, Paradise Valley, Nevada, 1980
Credit Paradise Valley Folklife Project Collection, Photo by Carl Fleischhauer / loc.gov

As we just heard, many Wyoming ranches are being purchased by out-of-state residents. Many of these ranches are up for sale in the first place because older ranchers don’t have heirs who want  -- or know how to -- run a ranch full-time. Or the kids can’t agree on what to do with the family ranch after their parents pass away.

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Open Spaces
4:14 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

UW study researches link between health and gardening

Christine Porter
Credit University of Wyoming

With help from a five million dollar USDA grant, the University of Wyoming and two local groups are conducting a study of the health benefits of gardening.   They found fourteen volunteers with significant medical issues to start growing food in their own backyards.  The goal is to see if gardening improves their health.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards reports.

[Fade up Ambi of background garden sounds]

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Open Spaces
3:41 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Poems by David Romtvedt

David Romtvedt

David Romtvedt teaches in the MFA program for writers at the University of Wyoming and served as the state's poet laureate from 2003 to 2011.  Today, we’ll hear three of his poems about his daughter.

Sunday Morning Early

My daughter and I paddle red kayaks
across the lake. Pulling hard,
we slip through the water.
Far from either shore,
my daughter is a young woman
and suddenly everything is a metaphor
for how short a time we are granted: 

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Open Spaces
4:28 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Regulatory agencies have weak controls for bad oil and gas operators

Pure Petroleum logo

We recently reported that an oil and gas company operating in Wyoming was fined by the federal Office of Natural Resource Revenue for not submitting production reports. Turns out, the company has a history of poor behavior in the state, fiscally and environmentally. Although Pure Petroleum’s gross neglect of its responsibilities is somewhat of an exception, it does point to big flaws in the oil and gas industry’s reclamation system.

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Open Spaces
4:24 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Institute builds advanced oil recovery savvy in Wyoming

The Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute's new lab
Credit University of Wyoming

Wyoming has been producing oil for more than a hundred years, which means the state has a lot of mature oil fields -- fields that stopped producing a long time ago.

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Open Spaces
4:22 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Workshop aims to help Wyoming scientists communicate with the rest of us

Maize geneticist Anne Sylvester is studying corn to see whether she can control the way it conserves water. Her greenhouse on the University of Wyoming campus is set up to simulate the conditions of an Iowa cornfield.
Credit Rebecca Martinez

Science can be fascinating, even to non-scientists. But when experts use a lot of industry jargon to explain their research, it can be hard to understand.

Now that funding for research is harder to come by, scientists need to do more to win over the public’s hearts and minds to back their work. The National Science Foundation will be hosting a workshop at the University of Wyoming to help scientists, engineers and other academics to communicate with the rest of us about their research.

(fans blowing)

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Open Spaces
4:18 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

New Director of the WY Humanities Council talks funding and programming plans

Shannon Smith

Shannon Smith is the new Executive Director of the Wyoming Humanities Council. Smith comes to the Council after years working at a non-profit focusing on advancing higher education through the use of information technology.

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Open Spaces
4:14 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Wyoming considers increasing the Beer Tax

Alibi Pub in Laramie
Credit Bob Beck

Wyoming is not a big tax state, so it might not be much of surprise to learn that Wyoming’s Beer Taxes are the lowest in the country.  Beer is taxed two cents a gallon and according to the Tax Foundation that amounts to a penny a six pack for a consumer. 

There have been several efforts to raise the tax in recent years, but those proposals are typically dead on arrival.  In a few weeks the Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee will re-vist the issue as Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

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Open Spaces
4:10 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Despite possible revenue loss, coal leasing reforms not likely to be forthcoming

A coal mine in the Powder River Basin
Credit U.S. Geological Survey

Last week, we reported that the federal government might be selling Powder River Basin coal for less than it’s worth. As reform advocate Tom Sanzillo described the sales:

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Open Spaces
4:07 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Ron Carlson’s “Return to Oakpine” is a story of friendship and nostalgia in the West

Author Ron Carlson new novel “Return to Oakpine” tells the story of four high school buddies reuniting in their fictional Wyoming hometown, now that they’ve reached middle age. 

One character, Jimmy Brand, is dying of AIDS, and he and his friends get their high school garage band back together one last time. Carlson tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez that this is a “quieter” book, in which the reader keeps company with these characters.

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Open Spaces
4:03 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

StoryCorps: A career in burlesque

Burlesque performer Stella Fox and her fiancée Jonathan Green
Credit StoryCorps

This summer, StoryCorps set up a booth in Cheyenne to record Wyomingites interviewing one another and sharing their stories. Today, we’ll hear from a burlesque performer. Her stage name is Stella Fox, and she talks with her fiancée, Jonathan Green, about her burlesque career.

The piece was produced by Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden with interviews recorded at StoryCorps. StoryCorps is a na­tional nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.

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