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.

The federal agency overseeing the Lake Powell Pipeline license application issued a key ruling on Tuesday which some critics are saying will delay the project. But supporters insist that now they're actually a step closer to getting final approval.

U.S. FOREST SERVICE-BRIDGER-TETON NATIONAL FOREST FACEBOOK PAGE

It may be autumn in a couple of days but wildfire season isn't slowing down. People living in parts of Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah remain evacuated from their homes because of nearby wildfires. And the flames are fueling another thing-private firefighting companies.

The outdoor recreation industry is growing faster than ever, especially in our region. In fact, new statistics show this sector grew faster than the overall U.S. economy.

The Trump administration just relaxed Obama-era industry regulations for methane leaks from oil and gas operations on federal lands. But reactions to the change in the Mountain West are mixed.  

The Mountain West is a pretty conservative place. So when Democrats win here… it’s big news. And now two Democratic governors from the region are mulling a run for president.

Colorado’s John Hickenlooper and Montana’s Steve Bullock are both moderate progressives, both won in fairly conservative places, and both are kind of wonky.

“They’re not that person who can command a crowd,” Lee Banville, a political journalism professor at the University of Montana, says.

The ongoing trade war with China is feeling close to home these days. Mounting tariffs on outdoor recreation gear may hit the wallets of folks in the Mountain West who love going outside.

On Monday, the Trump administration announced $200 billion dollars worth of new tariffs on products from China.

“This is going to include backpacks, sport bags, leather ski gloves, bikes and some camping equipment,” Rich Harper, a trade analyst with the lobbying group Outdoor Industry Association, said.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came out in cautious support of medical marijuana last month but now says the legislature should decide how it’s legalized in Utah, not the voters in a citizen’s initiative this November.

Wildfires are still burning across much of the Mountain West. In Colorado, heat and drought are pushing fires into new areas. In Utah, evacuations are still in place for two blazes.

Meanwhile, new information is out about what caused the death of one Utah firefighter last month during California’s Mendocino Complex Fire.

 

The head of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City has released a public report that details sexual abuse allegations involving Utah priests and nearly three dozen victims since

The sun is just a dim red dot. The nearby Canadian Rockies are shrouded in thick wildfire smoke.

Bob Gray knows we probably shouldn’t be hiking up a mountain right now.

“I have a scratchy throat,” he says. “Physically it effects my breathing. I probably shouldn’t spend a lot of time in it.”

Nearly three hundred names have been added to the Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Colorado Springs. Occupational cancer claimed many of those lives.

Teams of people from the Mountain West, including firefighters and Red Cross volunteers, have already been deployed to the East Coast in preparation for Hurricane Florence.

A federal judge has extended a temporary ban on grizzly bear hunting near Yellowstone National Park while he mulls the animal’s fate.

 


Our region has attracted the attention of the Terminator.

“I’m right now on a campaign to terminate gerrymandering,” said Arnold Schwarzenegger in a video from Budapest, where he’s shooting his latest film.  

Schwarzenegger is raising money for efforts in four states, including two in the Mountain West, to end the political practice.

We hear about gerrymandering a lot these days, but not necessarily an explanation for what it is. It’s complicated, but not impossible to explain.

Newspapers across the Mountain West have faced troubling times recently. There have been layoffs, budget cuts and, on Tuesday morning, Montana’s biggest alternative weekly was abruptly shut down by its parent company.

A leaked memo this week from the Interior Department shows Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to give states more clout over wildlife management on public lands, unless it conflicts with federal law.

 


The National Park Service is giving museums and universities across the country grants to return ancestral artifacts and human remains taken from Native American tribes over the years.

The National Rifle Association has spent nearly $3 million so far in the 2018 election cycle. A big chunk of that change is centered on a race right here in the Mountain West.

A nine-year-old boy in Colorado took his own life on the first week of school this year. The tragedy highlighted a pervasive problem in the state and in the Mountain West region as a whole -- the high suicide rate -- especially among youth. Goal Academy in Pueblo, Colorado is a charter program with high schools around the state that focuses on both academic and mental wellbeing.   

An outbreak of an untreatable viral disease in horses is being blamed on one horse from Colorado. Other horses across the country may have been exposed.    

Monday was World Suicide Prevention Day. Here in the Mountain West, we have some of the highest suicide rates in the country.

If you’re poor and you get really sick in Idaho, your health care options might be really different than say, if you live in Colorado or Montana.

 


Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia

Warmer temperatures across the region from climate change are making insect pests hungrier. That’s according to a new study published in the journal Science.

National Park Service

Yellowstone National Park has seen its visitation skyrocket over the last few years. And with more people comes more traffic. From standstill cars to nowhere to park, it’s an issue all throughout the park. Now, the federal government is putting $50,000 towards a study to figure out how to solve the problem.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife just announced they’ve discovered a species of cutthroat trout previously thought to be extinct. They also said the species was threatened again this summer.

Utah-based hospital system Intermountain Healthcare released new details today about its plan to start manufacturing its own generic drugs. Representatives said it’s a new approach to driving down drug prices.

A federal appeals court is siding with several homeless people in Boise who have sued the city for prosecuting them for sleeping outside.


A congressional committee is focusing on a little known environmental law Thursday.

 


Some Montana farmers are hoping to hear some good news on trade as President Donald Trump brings his campaign to Billings tonight.

A series of small forest fires that started this week in northern Utah and southern Wyoming are being investigated as arsons.

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