For the last several years the Wyoming Department of Corrections has urged lawmakers to implement a number of reforms that could reduce a growing prison population. Some of those ideas involved changing sentencing guidelines and getting non-violent offenders back on the street. But those efforts have failed in the legislature and recently led to the Department shifting 88 inmates to a private prison in Mississippi. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports that the problems seems to center on the lack of treatment.
The University of Wyoming is also in the mood for reform… When the UW trustees met last week the campus was abuzz with concern about proposed changes to the authority of the board. What the administration is calling a routine update to university regulations was seen by some as a power grab that would give trustees the ability to more easily eliminate academic programs and ax faculty. Wyoming Public Radio’s education reporter Tennessee Watson takes a look at what’s behind that sense of insecurity.
Wyoming Attorney Harriet Hageman is seeking the Republican Nomination for Governor. Hageman was raised on a ranch in Goshen county and is the daughter of former State Representative Jim Hageman. She is one of the top private property rights and water rights attorneys in the nation and hopes to bring that background to the governor’s office where she hopes to fight a number of federal regulations and restore power to the state. Bob Beck met with Hageman at her office in Cheyenne and she tells me that she has a number of reforms in mind.
The Integrated Test Center is open for business. This Gillette-based facility is aimed at research and testing new uses for carbon dioxide, say, as a building material, common fuel, or green concrete. Many hope the center will find new, profitable uses for coal -- Governor Matt Mead is one of them. Wyoming Public Radio’s Cooper McKim spoke with the Governor about his expectations for the project and the risks that come with it.
Every summer, it takes a village to fight wildfires. For this upcoming season, we spoke with all kinds of people that lend a hand...from those on the frontlines, to others working a bit further back from the flames. For the Faces Behind the Fire series, Wyoming Public Radio’s Maggie Mullen talked to an archeologist with the U.S. Forest Service who helps decide what needs be preserved and what can be left to burn.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was in Wyoming as part of a tour of the Mountain West. Secretary Perdue told me that he is getting a lot of feedback from producers over tariff and trade issues and how that might hurt Wyoming producers.
As climate change heats up the American West, it’s drying out the habitat of many birds…forcing them to move north where it’s cooler. One such bird is the short-eared owl. It may be not a bird you’ve heard of, but as Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards found out, it’s one that lots of scientists and bird lovers still give a hoot about.
The Draper Natural history museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West will open a new permanent exhibition on June 10th. The exhibition focuses on the last 10 years of research on golden eagle activity in the Bighorn Basin. Golden eagles are a top predator so by studying the top of the food chain, researchers are learning not just about the bird but also about the dynamics of animals they eat and the ecosystem they live in. Wyoming Public Radio’s Kamila Kudelska joins the team on a scouting trip.