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Red states and blue states are drifting further apart, ideologically. Rural youth are migrating faster and faster to urban centers. Small town newspapers and radio stations are going silent. Families can't even carry on a respectful conversation at the 4th of July potluck! Never has it been more important for the media to step forward and moderate conversations across divides.

To Wind Or Not To Wind: A Civil Discourse On The Rail Tie Wind Project In Southeast Wyoming

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Wyoming Public Media
L-R: Peter Bishop, Kelly Schroeder, and Melodie Edwards

This week, Albany County commissioners held a meeting for public comment on the Rail Tie Wind Project south of Laramie. It lasted five hours. That's because over the last couple years, it's been a controversial subject that's divided the community and even led to hurtful attacks on social media. A decision has yet to be made whether the project will be built, but commissioners say they’ll take the public comment into account.

They now have 45 days to decide. As part of our series "I Respectfully Disagree," Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards sat down with folks on each side of the issue for a civil discourse. They came together in our conference room and started things off by sharing a meal.

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture.
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