The Mountain West News Bureau

The Mountain West News Bureau team, from left to right: Amanda Peacher, Judy Fahys, Ali Budner, Rae Ellen Bichell, Maggie Mullen, Nate Hegyi and Kate Concannon.

In addition to a full news department serving just Wyoming, Wyoming Public Media is a founding partner in the Mountain West News Bureau, a partnership of public media stations that serve the Rocky Mountain States of Wyoming, Colorado Idaho, Montana, and Utah. Our mission is to tell stories about the people, places, and issues of the Rocky Mountain West.

Many of these stories and issues are regional and affect all people living in the Mountain West. From land and water management to growth in the expanding West to our unique culture and heritage, the Bureau addresses issues that define us as a region. Part of the Bureau’s charge is to submit stories to NPR and other national and global distributors, thus sharing the Mountain West culture more broadly.

Contributing stations include Boise State Public RadioWyoming Public MediaYellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

The editor for the Mountain West News Bureau is Kate Concannon, a long-time NPR regional editor. Maggie Mullen is the lead Wyoming reporter for this partnership, with contributions from all Wyoming Public Media reporters. The partnership is overseen by news directors in all participating stations and networks.

The Mountain West News Bureau is supported in part by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Regional Journalism Center program. Matching or contributing donations for the support of this initiative or for general WPM reporting are welcome. For more information, contact Christina Kuzmych, Wyoming Public Media General Manager at ckuzmych@uwyo.edu.

Vicki Christiansen was sworn in this morning as Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. She’s only the second female to serve in this role in its 113-year history.

Areas all across the Mountain West, from Colorado's Front Range to Eastern Idaho, have seen their first real snowfall of the 2018-2019 season in the last week.

A new report from the United Nations says mankind must act fast to slow global warming, a message that is particularly urgent in Utah and throughout a scorched Mountain West that saw a devastating fire season and patches of severe drought.

http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/ycom-us-2018/?est=happening&type=value&geo=state

A new report from a United Nations' committee predicts climate change will wreak major havoc if action isn't taken by 2030. To ward off the catastrophic wildfires, severe weather and the displacement of millions of people, the report calls for an immediate reduction in the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Utah is poised to legalize medical marijuana this fall, and it could be the first state-run distribution program in the country.

A major U.S. coal producer filed for bankruptcy Tuesday morning.

Westmoreland Coal Company operates five mines in Montana, Wyoming and New Mexico. They employ more than a thousand people.

Breastfeeding may help babies control their stress according to new research out of the University of Utah.

A Texas federal judge just has declared unconstitutional a decades-old law that aims to keep Native American children within their own communities.

A class action lawsuit is alleging the U.S. Olympic Committee headquartered in Colorado Springs tolerated sexual abuse, exploitation and forced labor. 

The U.S. Olympic Committee is not specifically named as a defendant in the suit, but that could change as the suit moves forward. 

On Friday, an intergovernmental organization hosted a hearing in Boulder, Colorado on the ongoing crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women in the U.S. That group faces some of the highest violence and sexual assault rates in the nation.

Feb 2018 Conspirare Performance -- Craig Hella Johnson, composer of Considering Matthew Shepard
Marlee Crawford / University of Mississippi

It's been twenty years since the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. One legacy of his hate-motivated death is the wide collection of artistic responses.

Our region is home to some of the hottest housing markets in the country but that trend may slowing down. 

The Environmental Protection Agency is making $20 million available for states and tribes to voluntarily test drinking water for lead at schools and childcare facilities.

The nation’s first commercial oil-shale mine could be built here in our region. The Bureau of Land Management issued a decision that allows a mine in Utah’s Uinta Valley to move forward.

The Department of Interior just released a new science policy that it says will increase transparency. But conservationists are concerned. 

Remnants of a hurricane from the Pacific Ocean are dumping rain throughout the Mountain West region today and tomorrow.

When Idaho's Democratic candidate for governor Paulette Jordan took to the microphone at a recent campaign party, she immediately launched into a story.

 

Claims Of Sexual Abuse Continue To Haunt LDS Church

Oct 1, 2018

This week The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meets in Salt Lake City for its bi-annual conference. Meanwhile a report in the Salt Lake Tribune says a new lawsuit claims the Church turned a blind eye to the sexual abuse of children in one of its programs.

In recent years, President Trump has dismissed climate change as a hoax.

“I think it’s a big scam for a lot of people to make a lot of money,” he said on Fox News in 2015.

But a recent report by the U.S. Department of Transportation predicts global temperature will rise seven degrees by 2100. That’s catastrophic.

An important but little-known public lands fund expired this weekend. 

U.S. Forest Service

Fall might be in the air, but wildfires continue to burn across the country. One of the largest is in Wyoming and has reached over 60,000 acres.

Maggie Mullen

When visiting Yellowstone National Park or any parks in our region, there's a lot to consider. Will traffic be bad? What about the weather? Will I see elk, buffalo, maybe even a grizzly bear? And then there's something more basic. Will I be able to find a toilet that's clean, has toilet paper, and if I'm lucky, somewhere to wash my hands? You could be in for a surprise, since the park recently added squat toilets.

A paper published this week reports that a recent fossil discovery in Central Utah is changing what researchers know about the emergence of large flowering trees both here in the Mountain West, and around the world.

On Wednesday, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing on proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This comes right after a court ruling on Monday that returned federal protections back to the Yellowstone grizzly bear. Republicans have long been pushing for the modernization of the ESA, including Wyoming's U.S. Senator John Barrasso.

Idaho and Utah voters will decide whether to expand Medicaid at the ballot this November. Those voters might want to look at a report out this week that assessed how the expansion of the federal health care program played out. 

Wildfires in the West can destroy homes and create a lot of really nasty smoke. But a new study from the University of Montana says it also helps grow some really great food for elk.

A judge ruled Monday that a federal court in Washington, D.C. — not Salt Lake City — will decide whether it was legal for the Trump administration to shrink two national monuments in southern Utah.

A federal judge has restored Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears living around Yellowstone National Park.

In his ruling, U.S. district court judge Dana Christensen said the federal government didn’t use the best available science when it removed the bears from the threatened species list last year.

The flu epidemic was especially deadly last year. And our region was no exception. Tens of thousands of people are estimated to have died in the U.S. from the flu virus last season, including a record high of 180 children.  

The midterm elections are notorious for low voter turnout. In 2014, it was the lowest since World War II. So this year, companies, celebrities and non-profit organizations are rallying behind get-out-the-vote campaigns.

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