On July 18, two Native American men were shot at an alcohol detox center in Riverton. The man charged with the brutal crime is white. He worked for the city’s parks department and told police he was on a mission to kill homeless people. But the victims’ families and tribal officials say the attack was racially motivated—and they’re pushing for the suspect to be charged with a hate crime. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank reports, the shooting threatens to further divide a community where racial tensions run high.
Cecil the lion was a favorite and well-known animal in the Zimbabwe Hwange National Park. Earlier this month he was killed by an American hunter and once the internet found out, it wanted justice. Now, a debate is raging on social media over big-game trophy hunting – both illegal and legal. Wyoming doesn’t have African Lions, but it does have mountain lions, elk, moose, bears, and a good number of big-game hunters.
Wyoming has long struggled to keep its young people from leaving the state. A post high school or post-college move to bigger cities in Colorado or elsewhere is so common it's practically a tradition. But it's not a happy one for state employers, who struggle to find skilled young workers. The state’s most recent effort to deal with this problem is called Wyoming Grown. It’s a job matchmaking program that tries to convince Wyoming expats to move back home. Wyoming Public Radio’s Miles Bryan reports.
The state is trying to spruce up its image in other ways, too. After years of planning, Wyoming is finally going ahead with a multi-year effort to renovate the state capitol building and to completely re-do the neighboring Herschler building. The 300 million dollar project is called a necessity, but concerns about paying for such a project at a time when energy prices are slumping has some worried. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck says monetary issues will be a work in progress, as the current focus is on getting the project rolling.
Polar bears are one of the species that’s been hardest hit by climate change. But scientists have long thought the bears might be capable of effectively hibernating in summer, to save energy during a longer open water season. New research from the University of Wyoming disproves that hypothesis though. Merav Ben David is a professor of wildlife ecology and one of the authors of the new study. She told Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce that without hibernation, it’s an increasingly long and hungry summer for the bears.
Major power outages have doubled every five years since 2000. That’s according to research from our Inside Energy team. Electric reliability is even a concern in the places often thought of as most secure--our military bases. Dan Boyce tells us the military has been experimenting with small, independent electricity systems as a way to increase reliability, in the name of national security.
Federal regulators are working on new rules that are supposed to protect the electric grid from a threat you’ve probably never considered: solar storms. If you’ve ever seen the Northern Lights, you’ve seen the most visible evidence of this kind of storm. They can be powerful enough to wreak havoc on our electric grid, 93 million miles away. Inside Energy’s Emily Guerin reports, that new protections may not go far enough.
For women, it’s never been easy breaking into male-dominated fields. That was the case for Susan Marsh. She’s the author of a new book called A Hunger For High Country. It’s a memoir about how her childhood love for nature led her to become a landscape architect for the U.S. Forest Service. Marsh is now retired and writing a natural history of Jackson’s Cache Creek. On a wildflower walk along the creek with Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards, she talked about her years of struggle during a time when the Forest Service hired very few women.