The Mountain West News Bureau

Matt Frank, Digital Editor, Missoula MT, Rae Bichell, Reporter Greeley CO, Nate Hegyi Reporter Salt Lake City UT, Kate Concannon Managing Editor, Seattle, WA Noah Glick Reporter, Reno, NV Ali Budner, Reporter, Colorado Springs CO, Maggie Mullen Reporter, Laramie WY and Amanda Peacher Reporter, Boise ID
Credit CREDIT MATT BLOOM, KUNC

  

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 MediaKUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, 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.

President Donald Trump somewhat misrepresented his administration’s role in the expansion of domestic oil and gas production during his State of the Union address Tuesday. 

Thousands of cases of the coronavirus have been reported worldwide, with most occurring in China. However, the outbreak is sure to have big economic impacts in the U.S.

Nearly 40 hospitals in the Mountain West are being penalized for having high rates of infections, patient injuries or other complications from hospital stays. That’s according to data released last week from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.


New legislation introduced in the U.S. House Thursday would make it easier for conservation groups to remove cattle and sheep from federal lands. 

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr


April Poley is a broker and real estate agent in Gillette, Wyoming. Lately she's been getting a lot of her potential clients through a business called Conservative Move.

A new survey by the philanthropic arm of the Outdoor Industry Association shows that more people are recreating outdoors, but fewer are doing so regularly. And nearly half of Americans surveyed didn’t participate in outdoor recreation at all in 2018.

 


About one-third of Americans live in areas that regularly have unhealthy levels of air pollution, according to a new analysis out this week from Environment America, an organization of state-based environmental advocacy groups throughout the country.

Every year, road crashes injure millions of Americans, killing tens of thousands and costing taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. According to a new analysis, states in the Mountain West could be doing more to curb crashes.

Tech startups have been migrating into cities all around the Mountain West, from Denver to Salt Lake to Boise.


The Trump administration has spent the past month announcing sweeping changes that could benefit ranchers on public lands, including a proposal to overhaul grazing regulations for the first time in 25 years. 

What has sharp teeth, big, recurved claws, and is almost as long as a school bus?

In his latest budget proposal, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis requested $7.2 million to begin transitioning the state away from private prisons. A big part of that plan was to close the Cheyenne Mountain Re-entry Center in Colorado Springs. It’s a medium security facility run by the GEO group, one of the largest prison companies in the country. 

Rural economies could get a massive boost under policies meant to decrease carbon emissions, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank.

 


A new and sweeping partnership is looking at preventing and preparing for worsening wildfires in the West. 

The Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative is a collaboration of 30 partners including utility companies, wildlife nonprofits, hunting groups, the Forest Service, and water management agencies with a mission to “increase the resilience of forests and communities.”

For years during the Cold War, large swaths of land in Nevada were used for atomic weapons testing. Nuclear bombs were dropped just miles from small towns and the people living in them.

Over time, men, women and children started getting sick, and three decades ago, a federal law offered a formal apology and eventually created a program to both reach out to affected communities and pay partial restitution when appropriate. That program is ending soon, but the nuclear tests’ health effects are not.

The number of avalanche fatalities in the U.S. has remained fairly steady over the years, despite more people visiting the backcountry. But one thing that’s changed, according to a recent study, is the median age of victims has gone up.

 


A fight is brewing in eastern Utah over whether the National Park Service should include nearly 200 rock art sites in the National Register of Historic Places.

In March of last year, a group of volunteers and preservationists submitted a proposal to add 199 rock art sites to the Register, an effort that took a decade to complete.

NPS Photo / Stacey Skirvanek

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service faces a pending lawsuit from conservation groups who argue the agency has taken too long to protect wolverines under the Endangered Species Act.

On a frigid Tuesday evening, Brent Yatkeman is scrambling to save an avalanche victim buried in the snow somewhere on a ski hill near Park City, Utah. 

Note: KRCC is a member of the Mountain West News Bureau. In order to avoid a potential conflict of interest, this story was overseen by an outside editor.

Colorado Public Radio has signed a new agreement with Colorado College to help operate one of the state’s largest public radio stations, KRCC, an NPR member station based in Colorado Springs. 

Electric scooters can be a cheaper, more convenient alternative to getting around in cities. You don’t have to pay for parking or sit behind cars in traffic. And in some places you can rent them anywhere you go using your smartphone.  

Mix gelatin, sand and cyanobacteria and what do you get? A solid building material with a low carbon footprint.

Diane Renkin / NPS

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission is calling on the National Park Service to cancel its plans to use aerial gunning to remove invasive mountain goats from Grand Teton National Park.

On Wednesday, the commission passed a resolution condemning the plan, writing, "Having government personnel kill mountain goats from helicopters and leaving them to rot and be wasted is unacceptable."

It was a dry start to the year for some mountain ranges in the region, but recent storms brought most Mountain West snowpack levels back to normal.

 


The United States could see tens of thousands more violent crimes per year as climate change causes warmer winters, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

The Interior Department has been trying to tackle a growing backlog of public records requests under the Trump administration, and now the agency is creating a new legal team to help with the effort. 

Update, Jan. 15 10:11 a.m.: The Department of Interior has provided a statement, which is now included in this story.

The Trump Administration’s Interior Department has largely ignored public comment on proposed rule changes, according to an analysis from the Center for Western Priorities.

The conservation advocacy group looked at ten proposals from Interior, including the easing of offshore drilling regulations and Endangered Species Act protections. What it found was that while more than 95% of public comments were opposed to the changes, the agency still moved forward on most of them.

Recent data shows that the U.S. had more minable oil and natural gas reserves than ever before.

The Mountain West is home to some of the top performing metro economies in 2019, according to a recent report by Area Development magazine, a publication focused on corporate site selection.

Topping the magazine’s overall rankings is Reno, Nevada, which, as the report notes, boasts a total employment rate more than triple the national average.

As minimum wage goes up, suicide rates go down. That’s according to a new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The study found that increasing minimum wage by a dollar actually decreased the rate of suicide by 3.4% to 5.9% among those with a high school diploma or less. That is, those most likely working minimum-wage jobs.

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