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.

You may not have noticed, but a few months ago the Trump Administration stopped using a century-old law to fine industries when birds are accidentally killed by oil spills, power lines or wind farms.

The 2018 midterms could be the year of the woman and possibly the independent as well - especially in Colorado.

Utah officials are praising a Draper firefighter who was killed while battling California's biggest wildfire, the first fatality of the massive Mendocino Complex Fire. 

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If there's a fee for either a camping site or a day use area on Forest Service land, there's probably some kind of toilet there. But solving the problem of human waste in vaulted or backcountry toilets is not as easy as flushing it out of the system.

Scorching temperatures are hitting our region’s biggest tourist attractions. On Friday, temperatures at Glacier National Park hit triple digits for the first time in recorded history.

A couple days later, the Howe Ridge fire blew up.

Lodgers and campers awoke late Sunday night to officials telling them to get out as soon as possible.


Some Steamboat Springs, Colorado residents are welcoming the Interior Department Secretary with a protest Friday evening.  Ryan Zinke is the keynote speaker at the Steamboat Institute’s annual ‘Freedom Conference,’ a private event.

The Interior Department is once again facing change in agency leadership. The acting head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has stepped down. 

A new study shows air pollution like soot, dust and smoke is down around the country with one exception: wildfire prone areas like the Mountain West.  

The head of Yellowstone National Park is leaving his post next month after the Trump administration forced him to either take a transfer to D.C. or retire early.

When our Mountain West News Bureau first broke that news in June, Superintendent Dan Wenk said he felt “abused” by the U.S. Interior Department.

But during a press conference Thursday, he mellowed his tone.

This summer, the housing market was expected to be extremely competitive, with lots of buyers vying for a limited number of homes. But it turns out, the housing market, including in our region, may finally be cooling down.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of Realtors, says home prices have been rising too fast -- much faster than people’s incomes.

The Denver Post wasn’t dying, says Larry Ryckman; it was being murdered.

“We were under attack by our own owners,” says Ryckman, who was until recently senior editor of news at the newspaper.

Tennessee Watson / Wyoming Public Radio

President Trump's Commission on School Safety conducted a listening session Tuesday in Cheyenne to gather input from the Mountain West region. Educators, officials and students came from states across the region, as far as Albuquerque, to share diverse perspectives before the commission.

President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration has federal agencies scrambling to create thousands of new beds to hold potentially deportable immigrants, including in the Mountain West region.  

During the 2017 fiscal year, our region received a collective $10 million in grant funding through a federal program called Title X, the brunt of it going to state health departments to support family planning services, especially for low-income and underserved patients.

Now the Trump administration is proposing changes to the program, which has been around for almost 50 years.

A new species of tick, the longhorned tick, has arrived in the U.S.

In other parts of the world it’s been known to carry diseases that can sicken people and livestock. In East Asia the tick can carry a nasty hemorrhagic fever called SFTS. A study in China looking at SFTS cases there found that 16 percent of people who were diagnosed with the disease died of it.

Record-breaking wildfires in California have prompted tweets from President Trump and U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. They blame the fires on “bad environmental laws,” too many dead or dying trees, and not enough logging.

According to The Spokesman-Review, residents in North Idaho are reportedly receiving anti-Semitic robocalls from a prominent neo-Nazi.

City of Laramie

This week, a Nazi flag was raised on a flagpole in a public park in Laramie, Wyoming. There are no hate crime laws in Wyoming so it's not a criminal act. Still, police are investigating the incident.

As record wildfires rage across the West, funding for fire prevention science is in jeopardy. Under President Donald Trump's 2019 budget proposal, cuts to various programs will be significant.

Today’s jobs report that puts unemployment at a low of 3.9%  is not necessarily good news for companies competing for potential workers, especially in rural areas, where it’s already challenging to attract labor. Businesses and governments are coming up with creative solutions.

Starting this fall, our region will host something new: a graduate program in space resources.

“This is the very first program in the world that is focused on space resources,” says Angel Abbud-Madrid, the director of the Center for Space Resources at the Colorado School of Mines.

A Belgian hiker died from apparent heat-related causes earlier this week at the Utah-Arizona border.

Portrait photographers working in the region have been getting reminders lately of a federal rule that they need permits to shoot on forest service land.

Lauren Jaeger

Climate change is causing temperatures to rise, fanning the flames of wildfires across the region. But when it comes to extreme weather in the region, there’s a new kid on the block — tornados.  

A state-by-state analysis of opioid prescriptions for people who visited emergency rooms with a sprained ankle show one in four patients were given opioids for pain.

The study looked at insurance claims for ER visits between 2011 and 2015.

At the low end, prescribing rates were around three percent and at the high end 40. The overall average was 25 percent.

HARVEY BARRISON VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Income inequality has risen in every state since the 1970s. That's according to a new report published by the Economic Policy Institute — a left-leaning non-profit think tank. The most unequal metro area is right here in our region.

Hay prices are spiking this year, driven up by a drought-induced shortage of the crop. It’s affecting ranchers across the board, but horse owners in particular are feeling the pinch. Horses eat higher quality hay, so it’s harder to get. It’s forcing horse owners in Colorado to buy more hay from neighboring states like Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana and that’s driving the cost up even more.  


Simulating The Weather Created By Fire In New Study

Jul 30, 2018

A recent study is helping researchers understand the role of wind in the largest forest fires.


On a recent Tuesday morning at the West Jordan library outside Salt Lake City, Peter Sadler was carefully stabbing an orange with a syringe.

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