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.

U.S Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke explained the abrupt departure of Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk on the radio show Montana Talks Wednesday. The incoming superintendent is military veteran Cameron Sholly.

Nuclear testing during the Cold War sent radioactive fallout far away from the actual test sites. Politicians are moving to expand who can be compensated by the government for getting sick after exposure to that fallout.

Every day, about 19 people move to Boise. And that growth is creating a housing crunch in the valley.

Public Domain / Richard Spencer

A U.S. District Court sided with wildlife advocates this week. It ruled that a federal agency ignored scientific studies that did not support its justification for killing animals.

The Supreme Court ruled today that so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” do not have to make it clear to clients that they are not licensed medical facilities.

The House of Representatives passed its newest version of the farm bill this week. It includes stricter work requirements for people who get food stamps.

A study in the journal Science says a lot more methane is leaking from oil & gas sites than previously thought -- about 60 percent more than the current estimate from the Environmental Protection Agency.

A lawsuit announced this week in Salt Lake City focuses on a contested county commission seat, newly redrawn voting districts and a Navajo candidate well known for his opposition to shrinking the Bears Ears National Monument.

Ranking U.S. House Democrats are calling for an ethics investigation into Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. They want to know more about a land deal between Zinke’s family foundation and a real estate project with ties to the oil and gas giant Halliburton.


Each year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asks high schoolers about their risky behavior - anything from drug use to bringing weapons to school. For at least one behavior our region’s youth has a high score.

 


Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is nothing fancy when you first drive in. No towering cliffs or dramatic canyons. It’s a calm, sunny valley – 6,000 acres all totaled -- of meadow and ponderosa pine forest.

The Great Salt Lake is vast — around 1,700 square miles of state and federal public lands.

Cancer centers are working to increase HPV vaccinations across the nation, but particularly in Mountain West states, where vaccination rates are low.

Maggie Mullen

Over the next few weeks, we're going to take you on a tour of some of our favorite public lands.  

Most people visit Curt Gowdy State Park in Southeastern Wyoming for the world-class mountain biking, reservoirs filled with rainbow trout, and hikes through steep granite formations.

But entomologist Christy Bell comes for the bees.

As more people move into the West, interactions between humans and bears have increased. Now Yellowstone National Park is asking visitors to help save bears by honking at them.

This year’s federal firefunding fix brought a sigh of relief among many in the Mountain West.

It will pump billions of dollars into firefighting efforts over the next decade. But not all wildfires are fought by the federal government.  

Many are fought at the state level with dwindling state funds.  

6:30 a.m. is one of the best times to watch wildlife in Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Valley.

Everything smells like sage. It’s really cold and there are a bunch of retirees staring through hire-powered telescopes at a lush, verdant hill.

When is the last time you’ve had a clear view of the Milky Way? Chances are you’re among the 99 percent of Americans who can’t see all that much of the night sky from where you live.

 


U.S. Marine Corps

Target shooting is a popular activity on public lands across our region. It's also the second leading human cause of wildfires.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may seem like an unlikely champion for an illegal substance, but the Kentucky Republican just added the legalization of marijuana’s non-psychoactive cousin, hemp, to the Senate farm bill. The industrial hemp business is increasingly seen as an economic savior and substitute for vulnerable industries like mining, especially in Colorado, one of the first states in the nation to make hemp legal at the state level.

A new study published in Science magazine found that many of the world’s trout species are facing extinction due to climate change, overfishing and pollution.

A federal watchdog group said the U.S. Interior Department didn’t give an adequate reason for cancelling a study on the health impacts of coal mining last year.

Public Domain/Kevin Casper

Scientists think there may be as much as twice the amount of magma below Yellowstone's supervolcano than what they once believed. This was discovered using a new way to estimate just how much magma is below the earth's surface. 

In another shuffle of department leadership, the Bureau of Land Management has a new Deputy Director of Operations. The agency, along with the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, still await Senate-confirmed directors. 

Public Domain / Jean Beaufort

The House did not pass its version of a farm bill last month, but the Senate may have a better shot this week when they consider the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

Public lands facilities around the nation are cutting budgets and staff. But in the Mountain West region, cutbacks at Montana's National Bison Refuge are prompting accusations of a political vendetta by regional U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service managers. 

This month, Colorado became the first state in the nation to allow school nurses to administer medical marijuana to students. But not all nurses may be on board.

A lot of people may not have heard of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, or that it’s in jeopardy.

It's officially Hemp History Week. The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution that recognizes the “full growth potential of the industrial hemp industry.” But at the state level, real progress for the hemp industry is still all over the map.

NPS photo by Neal Herbert

The Trump administration is forcing the head of Yellowstone National Park out of his job. Dan Wenk said the National Park Service will replace him with a new superintendent this August.

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