Catherine Wheeler

Phone: 307-222-4208
Email: cwheel11@uwyo.edu

Catherine Wheeler comes to Wyoming from Kansas City, Missouri. She has worked at public media stations in Missouri and on the Vox podcast "Today, Explained." Catherine graduated from Fort Lewis College with a BA in English. She recently received her master in journalism from the University of Missouri. Catherine enjoys cooking, looming, reading and the outdoors.

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Catherine Wheeler

Buffalo, Wyoming is a small Western town with fewer than 5,000 residents. The historic Occidental Hotel still stands on Main Street. Murals of horses paint the sides of old brick buildings. Buffalo's most widely attended event is a four-day long festival that celebrates a fictional sheriff in town based on Buffalo and Johnson County.

U.S. Census Bureau

Every 10 years, the U.S. Constitution mandates the government count the people living in this country. That count helps to shape aspects of our lives at the national, state and local levels, including local funding for our communities. So far, Wyoming's self-response rate is 55 percent. But Wyoming Economic Analysis Division principal economist Amy Bittner said that isn't a reason to worry right now. Bittner spoke to Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler about how Wyoming's response rate is stacking up against the rest of the country.

Catherine Wheeler

Gov. Mark Gordon and leaders from some of the top rodeos in the state this month announced the major events would be canceled this year. That's due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the health safety measures that would have to be put in place for those events. Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler spoke with Billy Craft and Zane Garstad, the president and vice president of the Sheridan WYO Rodeo. First, Craft explained how they came to the decision to put the 90th anniversary celebration on hold this year.

Ryan Shippy/NWCCD

The Northern Wyoming Community College District is offering a new online program that will train high school and middle school teachers how to teach computer science.

In 2018, the state legislature passed a bill requiring schools to offer computer science classes by 2022. That means middle school and high school teachers need to get official endorsement from the state standard's board before they can teach the subject.

WYDOT

The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) is closing 10 rest stops in the state in order to save money. The department's revenue is greatly impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a drop in fuel tax revenue, as well as overall underfunding.

"We took a hard look at all of our rest areas and came up with a list of those that we feel we can close with a minimal amount of impact to our travelers," said WYDOT Director Luke Reiner. "It was a hard decision but one that we came to based on the needs of the public and to ensure we maintain a balanced budget."

Julie Greer

When Kristen Czaban started at the Sheridan Press in June 2008 as a new reporter, she thought she'd stay for a year, get experience and move on.

Wyoming Hunger Initiative

A new program will allow hunters in the state to donate game meat to those in need.

Food From the Field is part of First Lady Jennie Gordon's Wyoming Hunger Initiative, which is aimed at raising awareness for food insecurity in our state and supporting local organizations that do so.

Northern Wyoming Community College District

The Northern Wyoming Community College District will be reopening its campuses this fall, but with some changes. Students will be able to utilize both in-person and online courses for the upcoming academic year.

Classes will begin on August 24, which is a week earlier than usual.

Warner Brothers

As major summer events throughout the state get canceled, one more has been added to the list. The Longmire Days festival in Buffalo has called off its in-person activities this year.

The annual festival celebrates the books and subsequent television show about the fictional Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire. The books' author Craig Johnson based the town of Durant, Wyoming on Buffalo.

Federal Transit Adminstration

The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) is receiving around $28 million from the Federal Transit Administration to distribute to local agencies stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Around $6 million will go to transit systems in Casper and Cheyenne. Forty-one other local transit authorities, like the START bus program in Jackson and the Wind River Transit Authority, will share $12.3 million to help fund their programs for the rest of the year.

Catherine Wheeler

What was supposed to be the 90th celebration of the Sheridan WYO Rodeo has been canceled. The cancelation comes in conjunction with several other major rodeos in the state opting to shut down this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Candace Christofferson

The Riven Country of Senga Munro tells the story of Senga Munro, an herbal simpler or healer, who tragically loses her daughter. Most of the story is set in contemporary Northeast Wyoming, where the book's author, Renee Carrier, has lived for more than 32 years. Her novel takes on themes of place, grief and magic realism. Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler spoke with Carrier about the importance of the story's setting.

The state legislature's Joint Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Committee met this week to discuss revenue issues facing the state's transportation department.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) presented a potential solution to its revenue shortfall: a road user charge. That's when drivers, both commercial and personal, pay a fee for the miles they drive on state roads and highways. Several states, including some in our region, are working on similar ideas.

Surgical Face Mask by NurseTogether is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Gov. Mark Gordon updated the state on the recent legislation lawmakers passed during last week's special session.

Gordon praised the legislature's ability to work effectively in determining how and when to spend federal CARES Act funding. He said he will be signing the three bills that passed.

WYDOT

The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) will be meeting with the legislature's Joint Transportation, Highways and Military Committee this week.

Catherine Wheeler

Listen to the full show here.

Fewer Cars On The Road, Fewer Dollars For Highways: What COVID-19 Means For WYDOT

While many businesses are losing money in the state, so are some Wyoming agencies. One that's getting the hardest hit is the Wyoming Department of Transportation. Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler explains.

Catherine Wheeler

This is the time of year when lots of drivers are typically on Wyoming highways. But like in so many other ways, this spring has been far from usual.

Wyoming Hunger Initiative

Wyoming First Lady Jennie Gordon's hunger initiative has started a new program, Food From the Farm and Ranch, to get local meat to people in need.

The Wyoming Hunger Initiative is partnering with state groups and agencies like the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture to provide ground beef.

Northern Wyoming Community College District

The Northern Wyoming Community College District will receive some federal dollars to go towards expanding its health sciences program.

The district is set to receive $1.5 million from the federal Economic Development Administration. The money will go towards the remodel and expansion of the district's Health Sciences Center at Sheridan College, which helps to train students like nurses and dental hygienists.

Downtown Laramie, Wyoming
Bob Beck

Listen to the full show here.

Local Government Fears Loss Of Tax Revenue

This is a tough financial time for a lot of Wyomingites. But impacts on the general public also impact funding for local governments, which directly impacts a wide variety of services from law enforcement to streets.

Catherine Wheeler

The coronavirus pandemic has upended everyone's lives. But as Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler found out, for high school seniors across the state it's been especially impactful. She collected their voices and brings us this collage.

Public Domain

After submitting a request to the state to allow bars and restaurants to open at half capacity, Campbell County has had to put that on hold.

On Wednesday, May 6, the 16th case of the coronavirus was confirmed in Campbell County. The newest case is a teenage woman who is quarantined at home. However, due to her job as an essential worker, she had close contact with around 80 people, many of whom are considered high-risk, said Campbell County Public Health Executive Director Jane Glaser.

Listen to the full show here. 

Reported COVID-19 Numbers Are The Floor, Not The Ceiling

Wyoming is one of the states with the fewest number of COVID-19 lab confirmed cases. That's good news. But officials say the state still needs to be careful and not fall into a false sense of security that could cause a second wave and end up being disastrous to the health and economy of the state. Wyoming Public Radio's Kamila Kudelska reports.

Donor Alliance

National Donate Life Month just wrapped up. Every April, advocates celebrate and recognize organ, eye and tissue donation, something that anyone can sign up to do at the time of their death. Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler spoke with Donor Alliance's Wyoming Community Relations Coordinator Ryea' O'Neill.  

Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce

The Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce has started a relief fund for employed or recently employed locals who need some additional help.

As of Tuesday afternoon, about $270,000 have been received or pledged to the Sheridan Area Employee Relief Fund. The Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce started the relief fund to help people who live and work in the county and need extra support. The fund opened for applications on April 6.

State of Wyoming

Existing statewide public health orders will remain in effect until April 30, but Gov. Mark Gordon said the state will soon start to ease restrictions brought on due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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