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January 7th, 2022

Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay
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  • On this episode, the latest attempt to update the law that deals with providing involuntary mental health treatment to someone in a crisis has failed. Solutions include more facilities. Volunteer rescue teams are all over the Mountain West, and many saw an increase in calls in 2021. The kinds of calls changed, too, becoming recovery operations instead of rescues. In the past year, multiple whistleblower's have come out saying the Wyoming National Air Guard have mishandled sexual assault reports and reporting. Meanwhile, the Wyoming National Army has been part of a pilot sexual assault response training program.
  • Wyoming legislators recently punted on fixes to the state's system for an involuntary treatment called Title 25. That system allows police or mental health officials to detain someone they consider to be a danger to themselves or others, and make them undergo psychiatric treatment. For years the system has been plagued by ballooning costs, the lack of available treatment, and the proper facilities.
  • More and more people headed into the backcountry this year – and many rescue groups have seen an increase in calls. That puts pressure on volunteers who help respond to emergencies.
  • Nancy Caywood’s Pinal County farm should have a full field of alfalfa, but since the irrigation district shut off her water because of drought, her fields are empty and dry.
  • In Arizona, fields of crops and a growing sprawl of suburban homes mean a increased demand for water in the middle of the desert. Meeting that demand includes drawing from massive stores of water in underground aquifers. But some experts say groundwater is overtaxed, and shouldn’t be seen as a long-term solution for a region where the water supply is expected to shrink in the decades to come.
  • For the past two years, South Dakota and Wyoming's National Guards have piloted a new sexual assault response training program. The Buddy Aid training program was developed by a Major of the South Dakota Army National Guard after she witnessed sexual violence in Afghanistan in 2013. Wyoming National Guard Master Sgt. Rebecca Motley brought the pilot program to the state's Army Guard in 2019. Motley told Wyoming Public Radio's Kamila Kudelska that her own experience made her realize the importance of this type of training.
  • 70 years ago, experimenters first proved that nuclear power could be used as more than just a weapon.
  • As soon as the pandemic hit, Native American tribes rolled out tough policies to combat it. The reason for the urgency goes back to a devastating history of disease that once wiped out upwards of half of tribal populations after the arrival of Europeans to the Americas. A new podcast series produced at Wyoming Public Media connects the dots of the current COVID-19 pandemic with those historical ones. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck sat down with The Modern West podcast's host Melodie Edwards and Shoshone and Arapaho descendant Taylar Stagner - one of the reporters on the series - to get behind the scenes on the making of "Shall Furnish Medicine."

Alex Hager
Bob Beck retired from Wyoming Public Media after serving as News Director of Wyoming Public Radio for 34 years. During his time as News Director WPR has won over 100 national, regional and state news awards.
Emma VandenEinde, Cronkite News
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. She has won a regional Murrow award for her reporting on mental health and firearm owners. During her time leading the Wyoming Public Media newsroom, reporters have won multiple PMJA, Murrow and Top of the Rockies Excellence in Journalism Awards. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.
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.
Taylar Dawn Stagner is a central Wyoming rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has degrees in American Studies, a discipline that interrogates the history and culture of America. She was a Native American Journalist Association Fellow in 2019, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her Modern West podcast episode about drag queens in rural spaces in 2021. Stagner is Arapaho and Shoshone.
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