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March 13th, 2020

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Alissa Eckert, MS, Dan Higgins, MAMS
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Listen to the full show here.

As Coronavirus Hits Wyoming, Healthcare Disparities Come Into Focus

The official recommendation for people who might have COVID-19 — the coronavirus you’ve been hearing about — is to stay home. But that’s easier said than done for many in the state. Wyoming Public Radio’s Jeff Victor reports the lack of paid sick leave could make a coronavirus outbreak spread farther and faster.

 

Lawmakers End Session Worried About The Same Old Things

 

The Wyoming legislature wrapped up its work this week with concerns about the future. A downturn in oil prices and worries about a drop in investment income has lawmakers thinking that they may need to make some difficult decisions in the not too distant future. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports that two topics education and taxes could be discussed quite a bit in coming months.

 

Leery Lawmakers Grapple With Growing Renewables

 

Preserving coal production has been the hot topic this past legislative session. But as the industry fades, some are hoping to diversify. Another energy source is banging at the door for consideration: renewables. The fast growing industry has legislators grappling with how to properly regulate it and receive more tax revenue from it. Wyoming Public Radio’s Cooper McKim reports most efforts fell short.

 

Can A Private ICE Detention Center Save A Rural Town's Economy?

 

Our Mountain West News Bureau is exploring the private prison industry in our region. Across the country, about eight percent of inmates are held in for private prisons and sixty percent of detainees are held in for-profit immigration detention centers. 

 

 

But in many parts of the Mountain West, those numbers are even higher.  And there are competing political narratives on whether that’s good or bad? 

 

With support from the Pulitzer Center Today… we explore whether the private prison industry can help revitalize a rural town’s economy. It's a question that has sparked bitter debate in the small town of Evanston, Wyoming. Our Mountain West News Bureau’s Nate Hegyi reports. 

 

"I Came Here To Be Normal": The Influx Of Billionaires In The American West

 

A book out this month takes an unusual look at the role of the rich in American West…examining it through interviews with the super wealthy living in Teton County. Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards sat down with author and sociologist Justin Ferrell to talk about what he learned while researching Billionaire Wilderness: The Ultra-Wealthy and the Remaking of the American West.

 

Wyoming's First Arapaho Woman Legislator Is "Finding [Her] Voice" In The Capitol

 

The 2018 elections saw a record number of Indigenous women running for office and winning. One of those women was Wyoming’s own Andi Clifford -- who represents much of the Wind River Reservation in the state house of representatives. Wyoming Public Radio’s Savannah Maher spent a day with her during the session, and brings us this story. 

 

VA Art Festival Highlights Effectiveness Of Art Therapy

 

The Sheridan VA Health Care System hosted its annual Creative Arts Festival for veterans across the state. The competition provides the opportunity for the veterans to not only show off their creations, but to potentially move on to the VA’s national competition. Wyoming Public Radio’s Catherine Wheeler reports. 

 

Bob Beck has been News Director of Wyoming Public Radio since 1988. During his time as News Director WPR has won over 100 national, regional and state news awards.
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.
Before Wyoming, Cooper McKim has reported for NPR stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. He's reported breaking news segments and features for several national NPR news programs. Cooper is the host of the limited podcast series Carbon Valley. Cooper studied Environmental Policy and Music. He's an avid jazz piano player, backpacker, and podcast listener.
Jeff is a part-time reporter for Wyoming Public Media, as well as a freelance journalist published in the Laramie Boomerang and WyoFile, among others.
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.
Nate is UM School of Journalism reporter. He reads the news on Montana Public Radio three nights a week.
Savannah comes to Wyoming Public Media from NPR’s midday show Here & Now, where her work explored everything from Native peoples’ fraught relationship with American elections to the erosion of press freedoms for tribal media outlets. A proud citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, she’s excited to get to know the people of the Wind River reservation and dig into the stories that matter to them.