casper

The Department of Environmental Quality has installed air quality monitors in Casper and Rock Springs.

DEQ Spokesman Keith Guille says they want to find out what pollutants are in the air, and whether they’re occurring at levels that are hazardous to public health.

“It’s important to get a baseline of right now what we’re seeing for air quality,” Guille said. “And then also if we do find some issues, obviously we need to start looking into what may be leading into higher levels of certain constituents.”

Wyoming gay marriage supporters are holding a rally in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s hearings on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, and Proposition eight that repealed a gay marriage law in California. 

This Sunday at noon, people from across the state are invited to don red clothing and gather in Casper’s Pioneer Park to rally for marriage equality and the repeal of both the DOMA, and Proposition 8.

The Casper Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) will be unveiling a new 25-year transportation plan for Casper and the surrounding communities, later this month. Plan organizers will be looking for public input from residents and businesses at several public meetings throughout the next year.

MPO planner, Sally Kerpchar, says the plan covers the new highway bill, plus much more. 

“The long range transportation plan looks at absolutely every mode of travel—anything that moves people or goods, it looks at,” said Kerpchar.

Next month the Casper City Council will vote to remove or change the city’s smoking ban.  At the very least, councilors are considering exempting bars, health care facilities, and private clubs from the ban. 

The smoking ban was implanted last summer. 

Anna Edwards of the group Smokefree Natrona County says her group will fight to keep the ban in place.  She says they are trying to protect the health of a lot of people, including employees.

This summer, the State of Wyoming and the City of Casper will sponsor a four-day adventure race, in which participants will hike, bike, and paddle more than 300 miles across the state. At the Governor’s Tourism Conference this week, Governor Matt Mead said the event will draw visitors from across North America and show off the state’s tourist attractions.Rev 3 Adventure, an event and race production company, will organize the Cowboy Tough Adventure Weekend.Company spokesman Michael Spiller described the race as a giant scavenger hunt, inspired by Wyoming attractions and history.

A group of parents are trying to get dual-language immersion programs set up in Casper. They’d like two elementary schools to start these programs, and the focus would be on Spanish and Chinese.

Thea True-Wells is the parent who’s spearheading the effort. She joins me now to talk about it, along with Ann Tollefson, an outside consultant who has evaluated dual language programs in other states.    

To listen to the November 30, 2012 Wyoming Open Spaces program, please click here.

The Sheep Herder Hill fire near Casper remains fifty percent contained. There are currently 354 people fighting the fire and evacuations remain in place.  Public Information Officer, Susan Ford, says that at least 37 homes have been destroyed.

Ford says wet, colder weather has helped fire fighters with the blaze, but this weekend promises hot, dry conditions once again.

Some landowners on the aquifer recharge area east of Laramie object to language in the Albany County Casper Aquifer Protection Plan’s draft resolution.

Rebecca Martinez

Casper has begun banning grass clippings and other yard waste from the trash that goes into their landfill. Officials expect it to save the city tens of thousands of dollars, but people who are into living green are pretty excited, too. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports.

(sound of mulch mower cutting grass)

The city of Casper is considering a ban on smoking in all public places.   It’s an issue that supporters have been pushing for a number of years and next week there will be a public hearing on the issue.  In the past, supporters of the ordinance have been on board with the program, but not everybody is in love with it.   So today we will hear from an opponent.  Former Mayor Mike Reid is the co-owner of Poplar Wine and Spirits in Casper that includes an adjoining smoke free bar.  Reid tells Bob Beck the smoke free approach has worked well.

Casper residents should think twice before tossing yard clippings in the garbage. In May, the city will begin implementing its ban on putting yard waste in dumpsters to be landfilledas a cost cutting measure.

Casper has a composting program that turns yard waste into wood chips and compost for soil, but branches, grass, leaves and other organic matter still make up about 18-percent of what the city pays to put in the landfill.

Sexually transmitted diseases have been on a rapid rise in Wyoming and a number of health organizations want to do something about it.  In Casper, the local chapter of Planned Parenthood is offering ten dollar STD testing this week in an effort to get people to learn their status.

Casper Health Center Manager Melody Meanor says they want all residents to make STD testing part of their regular medical routine.  She says they also want to encourage communication.

A new public art project will be coming to Casper this summer. It will resemble a giant sun dial and will incorporate depictions of Wyoming’s landscape and history.

The piece will be situated outside of an affordable housing complex, across the street from the Nicolaysen Art Museum.

Curator Lisa Hatchadoorian says she hopes this work will become a gathering place for residents from all over town.

“It adds so much to the community experience to have different types of art out there … interacting with weather and nature and life,” Hatchedoorian said.

The Casper City Council has moved forward with an ordinance that would prohibit people from openly carrying guns into city meetings.

Councilmembers passed the measure 5-4 Tuesday in the second of three required readings. A final vote will be taken Dec. 20.

The ordinance, which would ban all dangerous weapons from city meetings, passed an initial vote 6-3 last month. On Tuesday, Councilman Bill Brauer changed his previous vote in support of the ordinance, saying "I think we have enough restrictions on people."

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