wyoming

The new podcast and photography series Women in Wyoming profiles accomplished women living in the Equality State. Its creator photographer Lindsay Linton Buk grew up in Powell thinking that in order to be successful in life she would eventually have to leave the state.

A male Sage Grouse (also known as the Greater Sage Grouse) in the USA
Pacific Southwest Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from Sacramento, US

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has approved a regulation that would allow captive breeding of greater sage grouse in the state. The law would allow specially licensed private farms to possess, breed, and sell the bird.

Wikimedia Commons-Moore / Flag_of_Wyoming.svg: Caleb Moore (openclipart.org) derivative work: Svgalbertian

In your opinion, what are the most important issues happening now in Wyoming?

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Amy Pearl

Death, sex, and money – three topics that are sure to stop any polite small talk in its tracks.

Death, Sex & Money is also the name of a podcast out of WNYC that explores these difficult topics. The show’s host Anna Sale is currently spending her summer in Cody, and she spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard about why Wyoming is such a special place for her family.

The High Plains wind farm, near McFadden, Wyoming.
Leigh Paterson

One of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers is hosting meetings in Wyoming next month to encourage people to join its free wind turbine technician training.

Goldwind is a Chinese company with an interest in expanding U.S. wind operations. It made an agreement late last year to provide and maintain wind turbines for a Viridis Eolia Corp., which is constructing a wind farm near Medicine Bow, Wyo. 

Now, Goldwind hopes to train locals to become wind turbine technicians.

Travels with Darley

This month the PBS television show called Travels with Darley comes to Wyoming. The episode will air Monday night, April 17th at 10 p.m. on Wyoming PBS. The host Darley Newman joins Bob Beck to discuss the show.

Special Threshold Wyoming Episode: The Human-Bison Connection

Apr 2, 2017
AMY MARTIN - AURICLE PRODUCTIONS

On this special episode produced just for Wyoming Public Radio listeners, we travel back in time 150,000 years to trace the human-bison connection. We'll also hear bison stories from listeners. 

Each season, Threshold podcast explores one story from the natural world, and what it says about us. Season one focuses on the American bison. Dig into the history of the American bison, from their arrival in North America to current controversies surrounding their management today. 

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Wyoming communities are encouraging holiday shoppers to forego Black Friday and visit their local downtowns on Small Business Saturday instead. American Express initiated Small Business Saturday seven years ago to promote shopping locally during the holiday season rather than buying gifts online. Wyoming Business Council member Tom Dixon said small businesses are part of what makes Wyoming special.

PUBLIC DOMAIN PICTURES

Despite the snow that Wyoming received this week, the below average snow fall has caused at least one opening day delay for the state’s ski resorts. Grand Targhee Resort was supposed to begin its winter season November 18, but the mild weather and light snow has caused a delay in opening for the first time since 1999. Resort marketing and social media manager, Jennie White, said that she hopes they get more snow soon.

The Modern West 17: Western Coal On The Rocks

Nov 14, 2016
Stephanie Joyce

It’s been a tough year for the coal industry and the communities that depend on it. Can Wyoming adapt?

Tom Koerner/USFWS / Flickr

A new case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was found in a harvested mule deer buck 12 miles outside of Dubois this week. It was found in hunting area 128 and neighbors area 171 where CWD had been found earlier this year. According to Wyoming Game and Fish Wildlife supervisor in Lander, Jason Hunter, it’s not surprising that the disease has spread. 

The Modern West 14: Children Of The West

Aug 15, 2016
Melodie Edwards

  

The back-to-school episode. Young Wyomingites experience opportunities and challenges.

Peabody Energy / Wikimedia Commons

Peabody Energy has reached a deal with regulators in several states over its outstanding cleanup obligations. 

Peabody declared bankruptcy in April with more than $1 billion in self-bonded reclamation obligations at its mines in Wyoming, Indiana, New Mexico and Illinois. Self-bonding means the company has promised that it will meet its future clean-up obligations, but has not put up any financial guarantees to secure that promise. Peabody has more than $700 million in self-bonded reclamation in Wyoming alone. 

Nathan Martin

 

There are only four places to buy cigarettes in all of Hot Springs County if you don’t count liquor stores or bars. I know because it was my job to know. I was a Synar driver.

Synar drivers scour the state looking for stores that sell tobacco. We don’t use Google or Yelp. We drive the roads. We pound the pavement. We ask questions. It’s good old-fashioned detective work. Except we’re not looking for clues—we’re looking for smokes. 

The largest consumer of Wyoming coal is projecting a shift to solar in the next 15 years.

Texas consumed 58 million tons of Wyoming coal in 2014, more than any other state, but many of that state’s coal fired power plants are headed for retirement, and Texas’ grid operator anticipates those will be replaced with solar power.

Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

  

Environmentalists, lawmakers, coal miners, and advocates of all types gathered to have their say at a public meeting this week, in Casper, Wyo, hosted by the Department of the Interior (DOI). Like most discussions of the future of coal, the debate was passionate and polarized.

“This is a politically motivated sham, pandering to the political allies of the secretary and the administration,” Richard Reavey, an executive at a coal company called Cloud Peak Energy, said in his public remarks.

Wyoming Music Festivals: Summer 2016

May 9, 2016

Brace yourselves, Wyoming. Summer is here. Plan your music schedule now!

This festival season, take a photo of you (and your friends) at a Wyoming music festival, use the hashtag #wyofest and post it to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. We'll collect all of the photos and feature them on our website!

Listen To U.S. Coal Production Fall Off A Cliff

May 6, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

America’s coal industry is hurting: In the past year, thousands of workers have been laid off and a majority of the country’s major coal companies have filed for bankruptcy. Coal production is at 30-year low. Here’s what three decades worth of U.S. coal production looks like:

The drop off in the past year (the orange portion of the graph) is staggering. 

PHOTO CREDIT NORTHWEST COLLEGE VIA FACEBOOK

 

There’s a lot going on at Wyoming’s 7 community colleges. Tuition hikes, a new funding formula, and a budget crunch. The colleges are also poised to play a big role in the state’s economic recovery. Wyoming lost more than 2 percent of its jobs last year. And just last week, nearly 500 coal workers were laid off in the Powder River Basin.

Jim Rose is the executive director of the Wyoming Community College Commission. Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank sat down with Dr. Rose—and started by asking how community colleges will help retrain workers amid the downturn. 

Melodie Edwards

We trek through knee-deep snow along the banks of the Gros Ventre River near Jackson until we come to a heap of bones and grass. It's what remains of an elk calf.

“Here you go,” he says. “This is what it looks like. And I can tell you on Friday, we were standing in a foot of snow. I tracked the whole attack.”

Mark Elbroch is a Wildlife Researcher with Panthera's Puma Project. He tells the story with pride. He’s known this mountain lion, F61, since she was a kitten.

Wikimedia Commons

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem isn’t likely to forget the phone call he got Tuesday night, from a colleague in Washington D.C.

“5pm. It was 5pm exactly,” he recalled in an interview with Inside Energy.

Olly Moss / Campo Santo

Several recent movies have been set in Wyoming. Now, the state stars in a video game, too.

Coal Downturn Makes It Harder To Clean Up Its Dirty Past

Jan 22, 2016
Reid Frazier / Allegheny Front

When she was growing up, Julie Bundy’s parents forbade her from playing on the "slate dumps." That was their shorthand for the hundred-foot-tall pile of loose rubble that sat right in the middle of Fredericktown, the southwestern Pennsylvania coal town where her grandparents lived.

“My grandparents lived in the yellow house on the corner with the slate dumps in the back yard. As long as I can remember, it was there,” Bundy says.

Bundy, 36, now lives across the street from the dumps, a coal-refuse pile left over from a defunct mining operation that ended decades ago.

Craig Johnson is the author of eight novels in the Walt Longmire mystery series, which has garnered popular and critical acclaim. Johnson, whose main character is Sheriff Walt Longmire, said he does base his characters on family, neighbors and his friends on the Cheyenne reservation.

Melodie Edwards

When you think of Wyoming landscape art, it's probably not of fracking sites or abandoned man camps. But two Laramie artists feel it’s time to take a hard look at all of Wyoming’s landscapes. My artist husband and I decided to camp out with painter Pat Kikut and mixed media installation artist David Jones at their desert studio, somewhere north of Wamsutter.

Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Radio

How much coal does a Wyoming coal miner mine? Quite a bit less than he used to, it turns out.

Regulations have received most of the blame for coal’s current downturn but that’s not the whole story; it’s also getting more expensive to mine in the nation’s largest coal producing state.

For the past few months, Cloud Peak Energy, one of the biggest coal miners in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, has been in the process of moving a giant machine called a dragline from one mine to another.

Melodie Edwards

When I was a kid, my dad worked in an oilfield somewhere near Killpecker Sand Dunes in the northern Red Desert near Rock Springs. One day, my brother and I got lost out in the sand. One of my dad’s fellow roughnecks had to come rescue us. So I am a little nervous in the Red Desert. But today I’m conquering my fears. I’m flying in a tiny plane crammed with five others over those very same sand dunes.

Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

For Jim and Lyn Schneider, the decision to invest in $50,000 worth of solar panels and battery storage was easy. There were no power lines near their property. After buying land in a remote area near Alcova, Wyoming, their utility company estimated it would cost the couple around $80,000 to get electricity in their new home.

"It's like wow, we’re gonna have to be really primitive! We're gonna be cooking on a campfire! We're gonna have to really like each other," Lyn Schneider said between bursts of laughter.

The U.S. Census Bureau says Wyoming’s minority population has increased since 2010, but Wyoming is still among the whitest states in the country ranking 41st in minority population. 

Economist Wenlin Liu says Wyoming’s total population increased 3.6 percent, but it was driven by a growth in the number of Hispanics and other minorities coming to the state in an effort to find jobs.

“From 2010 to 2014 the minority population increased 17 percent compared to the white population that only increased 1.4 percent.”

Ana M. Balcarcel

When you think of a Jesus lizard you probably think of the rainforest creature: green crested with big floppy feet zipping across the surface of water.

Now, a new skull fossil shows that a very close relative of that lizard lived in Wyoming 50 million years ago. Anatomy professor Jack Conrad from the New York Institute of Technology just released a paper on the discovery. 

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