The spread of mountain pine beetles is slowing in Wyoming, according to a survey from the U.S. Forest Service.
Beetles killed 180,000 new acres of trees in 2012, but only 82,000 acres in 2013.
The Forest Service’s Aaron Voos says it’s not surprising.
“They’ve kind of eaten themselves out of house and home,” Voos said. “All of the trees that were susceptible to attack … have been either eaten and are now dead and dying, or they were able to fend off the epidemic and have developed some sort of resiliency.”
Wyoming singer-songwriter Doug Balmain blends genres from Americana, rock, blues, to red dirt country. With a personal fusion of styles and honest lyrics, Doug performs his tune "Home" at the Wyoming Public Media studios.
Wyoming lawmakers killed a number of high profile bills Tuesday that failed to meet the requirement that legislation receive two-thirds support before it can be considered.
One of those bills would have decriminalized marijuana. Casper Representative Steve Harshman strongly opposed the bill.
"What’s going on south of us with an all cash business, and with cartels moving in, this is a real serious issue," Harshman said. "I’d vote no on this, I’d say no on this, I’d send the right message to our kids. "
Governor Matt Mead said that Wyoming is strong and getting stronger. During his annual State of the State address before the legislature, Mead urged lawmakers to invest in Wyoming.
"This investment should include increased support for local government, funding to complete a unified network, increased funding for school and courtroom security, for the elderly and those with developmental disabilities and for upgrading state institutions and facilities. Pay raises for teachers,UW, and other state employees."
Sixteen sled dog teams are racing more than 300 miles this week across western Wyoming and neighboring states. This is the nineteenth year for the International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race. This weekend is the end of the 8-day race that started in Jackson and finished in Evanston. Wyoming Public Radio's Rebecca Huntington caught up with one of the racers, Bruce Magnusson.
Major crimes committed on the Wind River Indian Reservation end up in federal court. But federal courthouses in Wyoming are really far from the reservation, which leads to logistical, constitutional, and social problems. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports.
IRINA ZHOROV: John Crispin’s son was murdered in 2011. He told me about it on a snowy night in the parking lot of a convenience store in Ethete, Wyoming, on the Wind River Indian Reservation.
The common story behind the murder of Matthew Shepard is that he was targeted in Laramie’s fireside bar because he was gay and was the victim of a robbery. Law enforcement authorities say that Shepard was driven to the edge of Laramie and tied to a fence by Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney.
He was then pistol whipped and left for dead. But for years some say there was more to the crime then that and author Steve Jimenez has explored those rumors. His book called “The Book of Matt. Hidden Truths about the murder of Matthew Shepard” paints a different narrative.
The Government Accountability Office released a report earlier this week that outlined problems in the federal coal leasing system. The report called the Bureau of Land Management’s process ‘out of date.’
If you’ve been out snow shoeing or cross country skiing this winter, you may have noticed bicycle tire marks on the trails. That’s because of a new sport called snow biking. It’s gaining popularity fast, and cyclists and bike shops are thrilled. But some skiers feel the bikes present safety risks. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.
Governor Matt Mead talks about his Jackson roots, family influences as the grandson of Senator Cliff Hansen and life in the governors mansion. His conversation is light-hearted as he talks about his Mom and her run for governor in 1990, how he met his wife, Carol and raising their two children.
Governor Matt Mead and other elected officials made the case during a Jackson forum Wednesday that Wyoming's future depends on energy. They said that tapping state's energy resources, from coal to natural gas, is what pays the bills when it comes to building schools and other vital infrastructure.
But the governor said that doesn't mean producing energy should come at the cost of the environment. And that impressed Paul Hansen, who moderated the forum.
Wyoming Republicans aren’t too happy with the vision President Obama laid out in his State of the Union address. The President laid out an ambitious agenda. He wants to invest to increase the minimum wage, spur investments in infrastructure, and continue taking steps to address climate change.
Democrats are cheering on that agenda while Republicans are bristling because the president says he’ll use executive orders whenever possible to bypass G-O-P opposition. Senator John Barrasso says the president missed an opportunity to reach across the aisle.
Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with author Brot Coburn. He lives in Wilson, and his book “The Vast Unknown” is about America’s first expedition up Mount Everest. Coburn says many of the members of the expedition honed their climbing skills in Wyoming.
An Improbable Pioneer is a collection of letters by Edith Sampson Holden Healy. Edith was from a prominent Boston family, but moved to Wyoming in 1911 after she married a sheep rancher from the state. The letters describe daily life in Wyoming in the early 1900s. The book was edited by Edith’s granddaughter, Cathy Healy, who’s a writer and editor. It’s the first imprint of the Washakie Museum’s Legacy Collection, which is an initiative that hopes to encourage the preservation of family archives.
A bluegrass band with Wyoming connections will be holding its breath at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night. That’s because Della Mae’s recording ‘This World Oft Can Be’ is up for Best Bluegrass Album. Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer reports.
MICAH SCHWEIZER: Late last year, late at night, the band was on the road in Tennessee when they heard the news. Shelby Means, who plays bass and sings harmony, says the band was packed into a van with their soundman at the wheel.
We start off today’s show with a look at the agency that’s in charge of protecting the environment in Wyoming. Many of our reporting in the past has led us to conversations with angry landowners, and folks who have concerns about industry’s effects on the environment and human health.
Wyoming’s biggest export is soda ash, which comes from trona mines in Sweetwater County. Last year, the trona industry produced 17 million tons of soda ash for which the state received nearly $90 million in various taxes and royalties. But as Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov report, the industry has a dirty side, too.
IRINA ZHOROV: Wyoming is used to superlatives. The biggest coal bed, the largest mine, the most wind! Here’s another:
[VIDEO PLAYING: The silver retreats of Wyoming, USA is home to the largest reserve of trona. ]
Wyoming regulators recorded hundreds of spills by the oil and gas industry last year, but issued just a handful of fines. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports, that’s actually not unusual.
STEPHANIE JOYCE: ‘Genie McMullan knows when there’s been an oil spill from the production wells on her goat farm in the Big Horn Basin.
'GENIE McMULLAN: When there’s a spill there’s a sharp smell, it’s a burning smell to my senses, my nose, my eyes, my lungs.
For many years, Wyoming lawmakers have been reluctant to impose new regulations on industry. At the national level, the congressional delegation has been highly critical anytime the Environmental Protection Agency proposes new regulations on energy production, saying that it costs jobs.
State leaders have echoed those statements, and over the years many legislators have even expressed concern about adding staff to the Department of Environmental Quality, fearing that it could lead to over regulation.
There are a number of contaminated sites across the state that are expensive to clean up. The contamination comes from a variety of sources including industrial sites and businesses that use chemicals.
Representative Sue Wallis has drafted a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Wyoming. She’s even considering revising it to include recreational marijuana, as well. Wallis toured facilities in Colorado where recreational marijuana is packaged and labeled and says she was impressed with how smoothly everything is going.
Teffany Fegler coordinates the University of Wyoming’s Student Educational Opportunity Center in Ethete, WY. The daughter of two educators, she continues her family's legacy by helping students achieve the dream of going to college.
Bill Sniffin is a journalist and entrepreneur who has lived in Wyoming for 42 years. He has received acclaim far and wide for his work. In his newest book, Wyoming's 7 Greatest Natural Wonders, we discover his love affair with Wyoming's many fascinating places he set out to discover.