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June 12th, 2020

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Savannah Maher
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Listen to the full show here.

Listening To The Voices Of Black Wyomingites

It's been three weeks since George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. Floyd's killing has sparked unrest across America, including in parts of Wyoming that aren't used to seeing protests. From Laramie and Casper to Gillette, Riverton, and even small towns like Dubois and Pinedale, people in our state are speaking out against racism and police violence against Black people. At many of these vigils, marches and demonstrations, Black Wyomingites are leading the way.

Elevated Voices: Listening In The Mountain West

Wyoming Public Radio’s Maggie Mullen reported from several nights of the protests in Laramie, and brings us the voices of some of the young, Black Wyomingites leading the marches.

Black Lives Matter Protests Continue Amidst Opposition, Altercations

Black Lives Matter protests have picked up steam across Wyoming as citizens speak out against pervasive police violence and systemic racism against Black people. A near constant presence at the events, though, have been small bands of gun-wielding counter-protesters. Wyoming Public Radio's Cooper McKim reports. A warning, this story contains racist language.

Cody Police Chief Reflects On Police Culture And Training

As the protests erupt, some law enforcement officials have come out speaking against the way George Floyd was killed. Cody Police Chief Chuck Baker released a joint statement with the Powell Police and Park County Sheriff departments describing themselves appalled by the use of force. Wyoming Public Radio's Kamila Kudelska sat down with the Cody police chief to hear what he learned from being present at the rally.

Wyoming Senators Express Concern Over Popular Public Lands Bill

Wyoming's senators spent the week fighting a bill that would permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, along with funding a portion of the maintenance backlog at national parks across the nation. Correspondent Matt Laslo has the story from Washington.

Wyoming Coronavirus Related Deaths Rise As State Reopens, More Deaths Expected

Following more than a month of shuttered businesses and strict social distancing measures, the state began to reopen in May. That shift has been accompanied by a marked increase in COVID-19-related deaths. Wyoming Public Radio's Jeff Victor reports public health experts are saying the two are likely related.

"We Couldn't Have Half A Rodeo:" The Sheridan WYO's 90th Birthday Put On Hold

Governor Mark Gordon and leaders from some of the top rodeos in the state this month announced that 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, who head the Sheridan WYO Rodeo. First, Craft explains why they came to the decision to put the 90th anniversary celebration on hold this year.

State Health Officer Expresses Optimism About Wyoming's COVID-19 Response

In early 2020, very few people had ever heard of Dr. Alexia Harrist. Since that time, the State Health officer has become a well-known and important figure as she tries to guide the state through the COVID-19 pandemic. Harrist has lately been opening things up. She told Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck that she's optimistic as the state deals with tourists and other challenges.

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.
In addition to reporting daily on the happenings in Northwest Wyoming, Kamila is also the producer of the Kids Ask WhY Podcast and the History Unloaded Podcast.Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.
Maggie Mullen is Wyoming Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. Her work has aired on NPR, Marketplace, Science Friday, and Here and Now. She was awarded a 2019 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for her story on the Black 14.
Based on Capitol Hill, Matt Laslo is a reporter who has been covering campaigns and every aspect of federal policy since 2006. While he has filed stories for NPR and more than 40 of its affiliates, he has also written for Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, Campaigns and Elections Magazine, The Daily Beast, The Chattanooga Times Free Press, The Guardian, The Omaha World-Herald, VICE News and Washingtonian Magazine.
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.