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News
7:54 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Study Finds Forest Growth Dictated By Bedrock, Not Just Climate

A study by UW scientists finds that bedrock plays as big of a role as climate in determining how much vegetation grows in an area.

Bedrock is the layer of rock beneath the soil.

Lead author Jesse Hahm says he did the research because he was puzzled by the patchiness of forest cover.

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News
5:21 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Wyoming Youth Fishing Challenge Growing In Popularity

The Game and Fish Department says its Youth Fishing Challenge program is growing quickly and gaining popularity statewide.

The program sets up goals for kids to expand their fishing skills.  Challenges center on catching native species of fish and learning about types of habitat. 

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Legislative
4:23 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Senate Agrees To Debate Medicaid Expansion Bill

After defeating a series of Medicaid expansion bills earlier this week, the Wyoming Senate voted to introduce a compromise measure.

Laramie Democrat Chris Rothfuss is the sponsor.  The bill would enable the state to expand Medicaid for one year, during which time it could ask the federal government for the ability to devise its own expansion plan for the next three years.

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Legislative
4:21 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

State Senate Begins Debate On Suicide Prevention Bill

The Wyoming Senate has given initial approval to a bill that would require each teacher and school administrator to undergo eight hours of suicide training every four years.  Wyoming has one of the nation’s highest rates of suicide, and Senate Education Chairman Hank Coe says they want school officials to look for possible signs in an effort to prevent suicide.

“It is a serious problem," Coe said. "If we can go out with something like this and recognize a couple of…I mean just one…prevent one and its worthwhile.

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Open Spaces
4:16 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Medicaid Expansion Faces Challenges In Wyoming

Chris Rothfuss in the Wyoming Senate.
Credit Bob Beck

For over a decade the state has struggled with making sure all citizens had access to health care.  Much of this had to do with the fact that many Wyoming citizens can’t afford health insurance.  The federal affordable care act was supposed to help.

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Open Spaces
4:12 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Bill Rekindles Debate Over Split Estate

Senator Jim D Anderson

There’s a fight brewing in Wyoming over the rights of landowners who don’t own the minerals below their properties. In 2005, the legislature passed a Split Estate law, but now, one lawmaker is saying it may be time to revisit the issue, in light of changes in drilling technology and intensity.

Senator Jim Anderson introduced a bill this week that would increase bonding on split-estate properties. Wyoming Public Radio energy reporter Stephanie Joyce joins us to discuss the bill, and its implications.

WILLOW BELDEN: So, what does this bill do?

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Open Spaces
4:06 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

New Grand Teton Superintendent Says Collaboration Is Key

The National Park Service named a new superintendent for Grand Teton National Park this week. David Vela will replace former superintendent Mary Gibson Scott, who retired last year.

Vela is currently an associate director for the Park Service in Washington DC. He has worked at parks and historic sites in Texas, Virginia, and Pennsylvania and directed the Park Service’s southeast region for four years. He says one of his goals is to listen to visitor feedback.

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News
4:04 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

WY Appeals EPA Decision On Wind River Borders

Wyoming has filed an appeal in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals for the Environmental Protection Agency decision that drew the borders of the Wind River Indian Reservation to include Riverton.

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Open Spaces
4:02 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Author Discusses What He’s Learned Raising Bear Cubs

Author Ben Kilham has studied black bears for decades and has also raised orphan bear cubs. His new book is called “Out on a Limb: What Black Bears Have Taught Me about Intelligence and Intuition.” He spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck, and said his interest in bears came by accident.

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Open Spaces
3:58 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Negotiation Vs. Litigation: A Look At The Reservation Borders Decision

The governments of Riverton, Fremont County, the state, and of the two tribes who share the Wind River Indian Reservation are arguing, again, over the reservation’s borders.

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Open Spaces
3:49 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Marion Loomis Reflects On 40 Years As Mining Lobbyist

Marion Loomis has been with the Wyoming Mining Association, one of the state’s most influential interest groups, for almost 40 years. Earlier this week, he announced that he would be retiring that post in April. Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce caught up with Loomis at the Capitol to discuss his career and what the future holds for the state’s mining industry.

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Open Spaces
3:00 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

12-Year-Old Piano Prodigy Competes In Paris

James Wilson in recital at the University of Wyoming in 2012.
Credit AP Photo/Casper Star-Tribune, Dan Cepeda

12-year-old Laramie pianist James Wilson was one of only two Americans to compete in the prestigious Lagny-sur-Marne piano competition in Paris last month.

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News
8:53 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Coal Export Review To Include Powder River Basin

Port facilities that would export Powder River Basin coal through the Pacific Northwest are continuing to move towards construction.

In separate decisions this week, Washington and Oregon both announced progress on permitting for coal export terminals in their respective states.

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Legislative
6:21 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Bill To Take Back Federal Lands Moves Forward

A bill that would set up a committee to look into the possibility of the state transferring, acquiring, and managing federal lands has been given initial approval in the Wyoming Senate.

That's despite questions about the goal of the committee and whether the effort is worthwhile.   Senator John Schiffer wanted more clarification on what the committee is supposed to actually accomplish.

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Legislative
6:14 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Legislature Defeats Another Medicaid Expansion Bill

The Wyoming House of Representatives failed to introduce the second of two committee-sponsored Medicaid Expansion bills, essentially ending the chance that lawmakers will approve an expansion this session.

The bill was based on the Medicaid fit program that was created by the Wyoming Department of Health. Cheyenne Republican Sue Wilson urged the House to debate it.

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Legislative
6:10 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Wyoming House Debates Gun Bills

The Wyoming House of Representatives failed to introduce a bill that would have lifted restrictions on carrying guns in school zones, while agreeing to introduce another bill that would leave it up to school districts to decide whether employees with a concealed carry permit can have guns in schools.

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Legislative
5:58 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Senate Defeats And Reconsiders Hill Legislation

Credit Cindy Hill Superintendent

The Wyoming Senate reconsidered and passed a bill that would set up a special committee to review the recent Supreme Court decision about Superintendent Cindy Hill.

The court ruled that removing Hill's responsibility to run the Department of Education was unconstitutional. The committee would be tasked with coming up with legislation to respond to the ruling, possibly in a special legislative session.  

The Senate at first rejected the bill, but reconsidered after lunch and passed it.  Senator Chris Rothfuss says that some education took place during the lunch break.

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News
5:14 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Pine Beetle Spread Slows Dramatically

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.”

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News
4:54 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

EPA Puts Hold On Wind River Border Decision

The Environmental Protection Agency has decided to put a hold on its decision to grant the tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation status as a state for the purpose of air monitoring.

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Legislative
6:02 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Early Education Bill Defeated

A bill that many people called the most important education measure this session has died after failing to get the necessary two thirds support for introduction in the Wyoming House of Representatives.

The bill would have empowered the Wyoming Department of Education to coordinate early childhood learning in the state and would have made money available to help enhance pre-school and day care programs in the state.  But state involvement in the program made many nervous, including House Education Committee Chairman Matt Teeters who's committee studied the issue last year.

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News
5:56 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

UW’s Public Art Policy Formalized

The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees has formalized a public art policy that's been informally in effect since 2012. The policy creates the President’s Public Art Committee, which is made up of five members from art and non-art departments on campus. The Committee is responsible for reviewing art works proposed for installation on and around campus, and providing recommendations. The UW President, in consultation with the President of the Trustees makes the final call.

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Legislative
5:51 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Native American Medicaid Demonstration Fails Introduction

A plan to expand Medicaid for Wyoming’s Native American population has failed in the Wyoming House of Representatives. 

A proposed bill would have allowed the state to go ahead with a demonstration program that was intended to help improve the health care of Native Americans.

Democrat Patrick Goggles of Fort Washakie was disappointed that the bill failed to get the 40 votes needed for it to move forward.  But Goggles adds that 32 people voted for it which tells him that it could pass in the future.

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Legislative
5:30 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Senate Kills Health Insurance Expansion Bill

A bill that would use federal money to help poor people buy insurance was soundly defeated in the Wyoming Senate.

The so-called Arkansas Plan would use federal Medicaid expansion money to help those who need insurance to buy it through the state.  Instead of people being on Medicaid, they would have actual insurance. 

The Senate Labor, Health, and Social Services Committee recommended passing the bill last month, but Senator Charles Scott who chairs the committee voted against the bill because he says it's a long way from being workable for Wyoming.

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Single Shot Live
4:48 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Doug Balmain: Home

Credit Anna Rader

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.

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Topic of the Week
12:22 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

What education reforms would you like to see from the Wyoming Legislature?

What education reforms would you like to see from the Wyoming Legislature?

WPM/NPR Community Discussion Rules

News
8:46 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Wyoming Feels Propane Pinch

Along with much of the country, Wyoming has seen a dramatic spike in propane prices over the last six months, but industry observers say it should be short-lived. Baron Glassgow is executive director of the Rocky Mountain Propane Association.

“You know, in the U-S, we’re actually making more propane than we ever have before. So it’s not like we have a shortage of production. It’s just a combination of factors this year that have been kind of like the perfect storm,” Glassgow says. 

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News
6:14 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Grand Teton Gets New Superintendent

The National Park Service has picked a new superintendent for Grand Teton National Park. David Vela will replace former Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott, who retired in November.

Vela is currently an associate director for the Park Service in Washington D.C. and has overseen several other parks and historic sites. He also served as director of the National Park Service’s southeast region.

Vela says he will place a major emphasis on working with park employees and the community.

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Arts
6:11 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Yellowjackets Take Stage With UW Jazz Ensemble

Grammy-award winning jazz group, the Yellowjackets, will perform with the University of Wyoming Jazz Ensemble Thursday night. The Yellowjackets will also conduct workshops with UW musicians.  UW Jazz Ensemble director Scott Turpen says the Yellowjackets’ visit is part of the music department’s Eminent Artist-in-Residence program.

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Legislative
6:09 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Wyoming House Defeats State Minimum Wage Increase

Efforts to raise the state minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to nine dollars an hour failed to gain traction in the Wyoming House of Representatives. They voted down the bill Tuesday, 51 to 9.  The wage mainly impacts service workers.

Cheyenne Democrat Jim Byrd was the sponsor.  He said that he was attempting to help people earn a living wage.  He also said that it wouldn’t hurt business owners, but it would help the local economy.

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