Open Spaces

Open Spaces
4:27 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Laramie residents opine on the legislature this session.

The Wyoming State Legislature heard a variety of colorful issues this session—from concealed gun laws, to abortion and gay marriage, to the controversy surrounding the removal of Cindy Hill’s main duties as Superintendent of Education. As the session comes to a close next week, Wyoming Public Radio’s Sara Hossaini talked to people outside of the Albany County Courthouse to see what issues they were following and how their representatives measured up.

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Open Spaces
4:08 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Being Bahá'í in the Cowboy State

Most Wyomingites have long since taken down their Christmas trees and wrapped up their winter holidays… But for people who practice the Bahá'í faith, the Festival of Ayyám-i-Há – where families get together and exchange small gifts, is right around the corner.

The Bahá'í religion is a relatively young one. Founded in Persia in the mid-1800s, it follows the teachings of two prophets – The Báb, and Bahá'u'lláh. They taught about the oneness of God and of religion, and that God continues to reveal truths to humanity throughout time. 

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Open Spaces
4:01 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

UW MFA graduate LuLing Osofsky reads her poem, “The Pines”

LuLing Osofsky is a graduate of U-W’s graduate program in creative writing. She writes poetry and essays on topics as disparate as Jewish boxers who fought during the Holocaust and being Chinese in mostly white Wyoming. She graduated in 2012. This is poem called The Pines. 

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Open Spaces
5:45 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

February 15th, 2013

Increased coal exports overseas bring up questions of royalty payments
Coal producers in the U.S. are looking to markets abroad to make up for decreasing demand at home. But a recent investigation by Thomson Reuters news service suggests there might be royalty underpayments on those shipments. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that royalty question is still unresolved.

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Open Spaces
5:36 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Increased coal exports overseas bring up questions of royalty payments

Coal producers in the U.S. are looking to markets abroad to make up for decreasing demand at home. But a recent investigation by Thomson Reuters news service suggests there might be royalty underpayments on those shipments. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that royalty question is still unresolved.

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Open Spaces
5:33 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

The importance of Wyoming's Permanent Mineral Trust Fund

Credit State Treasurer Mark Gordon from the State Treasurer website.

Frequently during the legislative session you will hear lawmakers refer to Wyoming’s Permanent Mineral Trust fund.  The fund was established in 1974 by then Governor Stan Hathaway and it is funded by a portion of severance taxes or taxes paid by the energy industry and occasional money deposited by the legislature. Income from the fund can be used to pay for government.   It has a market value of roughly 5.6 billion dollars.  It’s viewed as a key part of Wyoming’s funding future. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

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Open Spaces
5:30 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Wyoming Lawmakers Wary of the President’s New Agenda

President Obama laid out a sweeping agenda in his State of the Union address that would have a big impact on Wyoming if enacted. Matt Laslo caught up with Wyoming lawmakers in Washington and reports on their reactions to the controversial plan.

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Open Spaces
5:26 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Cheyenne homeless project reduces recidivism, but transients remain on the streets

Last summer, the Cheyenne Police Department launched the Homeless Empowerment Action Team, or HEAT. Police officers and the director of Cheyenne’s homeless shelter, the COMEA House, went around town and talked with homeless people.

They made sure homeless individuals knew the rules regarding trespassing, panhandling, and public intoxication, and warned them of the penalties for breaking those laws. They also told homeless individuals about services available to them. The goal was to help the homeless get back on their feet, and make them law abiding citizens.

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Open Spaces
5:23 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

NRCS in final stages of soil mapping project

Soil scientists Drew Mather works on the soil survey in Sweetwater County.
Credit Courtesy the NRCS

The Natural Resources Conservation Service is finishing up surveying the soil in Wyoming. They’ve been working on the project for decades, and they’ve completed surveys in most of the counties in the state. We’re joined now by James Bauchert, the acting state soil scientist. He says the survey is part of a national effort to inventory, or map out, all the soils in the U.S.

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Open Spaces
5:21 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Health experts recommend testing for radon in the cold winter months to prevent lung cancer

The Wyoming Department of Health is encouraging Wyomingites to test the concentration of radon in their homes this winter, because it’s the time of year that houses aren’t well-ventilated, and the cancer-causing gas is more likely to rise up to living areas. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon kills about 20,000 people per year. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez spoke with Dr. Wallace Akerley, director of thoracic oncology at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah. She started by asking him what radon is, exactly.

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Open Spaces
5:16 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

UPSTARTS: Lander native’s software company develops far-reaching demand while working close to home.

Jason Kintzler is the founder and CEO of Pitch Engine, a publishing software company in Lander. He’s also the author of “The Great American Startup.
Credit Rebecca Martinez

In our occasional series “Upstarts,” we profile Wyoming entrepreneurs. There’s no shortage of self-starters in this state, many of whom build, grow or make things… But until recently, tech start-ups were almost unheard of in the Cowboy State. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez visited with Jason Kintzler, who founded the Pitch Engine software platform in his native Lander and authored the book, “The New American Start-Up.” She filed this report.

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Open Spaces
5:12 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Author and Wyoming native Muffy Mead-Ferro discusses her memoir "Its Head Came Off By Accident"

Credit Courtesy of the Carol Mann Agency

The Hansen-Mead family has been an important part of Wyoming history.  Not only are they well known ranchers in Teton County, but they are have yielded 2 governors and even a writer.  Muffy Mead Ferro has written a memoir of growing up in that family called Its Head Came Off by Accident.  Much of the book focuses on her view of ranch life and of her mother Mary Mead...

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Open Spaces
4:38 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

February 1st, 2013

Open Spaces
4:26 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Some say Wyoming lawmakers are inconsistent about personal freedoms when it comes to social issues

In recent years the state legislature has seen an increase in conservative Republicans who are focusing more on personal rights and freedoms.  Those rights range from removing federal restrictions on gun laws, to voting against anything that might resemble a tax.  They’ve had mixed success with this approach, but they see their role in the state legislature as important.  But others wonder if they’re consistent.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports from Cheyenne…

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Open Spaces
4:22 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Ambassador to Egypt, Israel to visit Jackson

Credit Courtesy Princeton University

A former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt and Israel will be visiting Jackson next week. Daniel Kurtzer is now a professor at Princeton University and recently edited a book about the Arab-Israeli conflict. During his visit to Wyoming, he’ll be giving a talk entitled “America and the Middle East: Challenges of Change.” He considers it very important for the U.S. to take a leadership role in resolving conflicts in the Middle East and helping countries there transition to Democracy.

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Open Spaces
4:18 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Grizzly Death Triggers Park to Weigh Options for Elk Hunt

Federal and state agencies have been feeding elk for more than a century because human development has taken up the valley floors, curtailing access to natural forage for elk.

The death of a grizzly bear in Grand Teton National Park on Thanksgiving Day of 2012 has triggered calls for ending the park's annual elk hunt. A hunting party shot the grizzly after the hunters said the bear charged them. Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott calls the bear's death a travesty. It's the first hunting-related grizzly death in the park. But Scott says her agency, the National Park Service, can't just end the hunt. Rebecca Huntington has more.

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Open Spaces
4:09 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Another year of drought could spell disaster for ag community

Credit Photo courtesy the National Weather Service

Last year was the driest year Wyoming has seen in more than a century, and the dry spell has not let up. As a result, farmers and ranchers have had to make tough decisions and are deeply concerned about their livelihood for the coming year. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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Open Spaces
4:06 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

UW program will prepare a new generation of landmen for the booming energy industry

University of Wyoming just initiated a new program out of its burgeoning School of Energy Resources. The professional land management concentration will train landmen. Those are people who look for untapped oil and gas and other resources and negotiate contracts between their owners and companies that want to develop them.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that the program is just in time.

[sound from meeting]

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Open Spaces
4:02 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Found Footage Festival showcases goofy clips found in thrift stores

Credit Courtesy the Found Footage Festival

Next week, an event called the Found Footage Festival is coming to Laramie. We’re joined now by Curator Nick Prueher. He describes the festival as a guided tour through his vast collection of old, funny videos.

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Open Spaces
3:59 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Wyoming Whiskey rides the wave of craft distilling popularity, readies for next release

Distiller Steve Nally stands with the still at Wyoming Whiskey in Kirby. Formerly a master distiller at Maker’s Mark in Kentucky, Nally was hired to create and brand the only bourbon made in Wyoming.
Credit Rebecca Martinez

Craft breweries and distilleries are hot right now. Not to be outdone, Wyoming entrepreneurs created a bourbon distillery in Kirby, using local ingredients from the Bighorn Basin and bearing the name Wyoming Whiskey. After four years of aging the first batch, Wyoming Whiskey flew off the shelves when it was released exclusively in Wyoming in early December. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez visited the distillery and explored the hype. She filed this report.

(bar ambi)

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Open Spaces
3:54 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

The La Taifas Quartet brings the music of Moldova to Wyoming

The La Taifas Quartet is celebrated in their home country of Moldova. They’ve been featured in the film The Other Europeans, a documentary highlighting the music of Eastern European communities that have emerged from Soviet domination but which remain relatively unknown to Americans. The nonprofit Worlds of Music is sponsoring the La Taifas Quartet’s tour across Wyoming, and they’ve recently performed in Evanston, Lyman, Thermopolis and Powell with upcoming shows scheduled in Buffalo and Laramie.

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Open Spaces
3:49 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Sonnet: “Dispatches from the Western Front”

In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, University of Wyoming student Zack Anderson began advertising his services around campus. The English and French major is offering customized sonnets for a fee. Wyoming Public Media requested that Anderson write a love poem… for us.

Here, nigh the end of our postmodern age,

the news is bred on free-range server farms

and in the brains of citizenry rage

incertitude, distress, ennui, alarm,

complacency.  These bitter villains leach

the human spirit from our cynic scene.

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Open Spaces
3:47 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

January 25th, 2013

Jackson Republican Keith Gingery speaks against SF 104.
Credit Bob Beck
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Open Spaces
3:37 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Some Legislators say Superintendent reform is overdue

Jackson Republican Keith Gingery speaks against SF 104.
Credit Bob Beck

The Wyoming House of Representatives has joined the State Senate in passing a bill that would strip a number of powers from the State Superintendent and give them to a Governor appointed Director of Education.  The Superintendent would remain on state boards and commissions with the other four elected officials.  But the new Director would run the State Department of Education.  Top lawmakers crafted the legislation right before the legislative session; and many believe that the legislature is moving too quickly.  But some observers say the move is overdue.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck

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Open Spaces
3:34 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Laramie residents react to a bill that would create a governor-appointed Director of Education

As the bill that would take power away from the State Superintendent gains traction in the Legislature, Wyoming Public Radio’s Luke Hammons took to the streets in Laramie to ask the public what they think.

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Open Spaces
3:32 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Wyoming moves ahead with Pediatric Cancer Program

A problem for children who are diagnosed with cancer in Wyoming is finding local care.  Treatment typically requires long drives to cities.  But Wyoming's Comprehensive Cancer Control Program is trying to change that.  The program has hired an Oncologist who specializes in pediatric care to come to Casper once a month to treat children.  Plans are underway to get more doctors involved in the effort.  The Pediatric Oncologist is Doctor John Dr. vanDoorninck. He joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck at the State Capital to discuss the program....              

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Open Spaces
3:29 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Sen. Enzi says Congress needs to make the most of the committee process

Wyoming’s Senior US Senator Mike Enzi is the Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions… and also sits on the budget and finance committees. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez spoke with him about a number of issues the Senate will be facing this year. Enzi says he thinks Congress has been neglecting the role of committees, and that’s why it’s been harder to get things done.

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Open Spaces
3:26 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Wyoming's Delegation reacts to the President

Wyoming’s congressional delegation isn’t happy with what they heard in President Obama’s second inaugural address. Matt Laslo reports from Washington the state’s three Republicans in Congress are already preparing to blunt what’s being both hailed and decried as a liberal second term agenda.

REP. CYNTHIA LUMMIS: I was very surprised by his tone. He was addressing issues that he has not raised as emphatically in the past. It was non-conciliatory in its tone. It was, I thought, an abrasive, in your face, ideological message.

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Open Spaces
3:21 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Air quality research seeks to find answers to Pinedale ozone problem

Sublette County violates federal air quality standards, because of high levels of ozone, or smog. The ozone forms when emissions from oil and gas development mix together, under certain weather conditions. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality is responsible for fixing the problem, but there are a lot of unknowns about how ozone forms. Now, researchers at the University of Wyoming are trying to find some answers. We’re joined now by Rob Field. He’s an atmospheric scientist, and he’s been monitoring air quality in Sublette County for several years. to find some answers.

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Open Spaces
3:18 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

For UW’s School of Energy Resources, transparency about funding is key.

The School of Energy Resources at the University of Wyoming is funded in large part with money from the energy industry. Other universities have gotten heat lately for not being open enough with their funding sources. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that some stakeholders are concerned about too much influence from energy at UW, but SER promises transparency. 

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