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.

The Trump administration’s latest National Preparedness Report is the first of its kind to completely ignore climate change

When it comes to greenhouse gases, much of the attention is being paid to energy production. But since 2017, the transportation sector has actually been the biggest emitter nationwide.

Diane Renkin / NPS

Herds of mountain goats occupy mountain ranges all around the Mountain West. Not all are native, though, and some of those transplants are causing problems. That's the case in Wyoming's Teton Range.

A new study casts doubt on the safety of state abortion laws in the Mountain West.

Back in mid-December, three children were hospitalized with measles after passing through the Denver airport and the emergency department of Children’s Hospital Colorado. The concern was that others might have picked up the disease at those locations. 

Colorado and Utah are two of just six states nationwide that have laws allowing political campaign funds to be used for childcare expenses. But that number’s likely to climb, potentially freeing up more parents to run for office.

At a rally last November in Las Vegas, a reporter noted Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet’s experience leading Denver Public Schools, and asked the presidential candidate, “With your experience in the education area, [how] would you use that experience as president to help the education system?”

It’s an unremarkable question—except for the fact that it was posed by a 12-year-old.

Over the last five years, the Mountain West as a whole has experienced a spike in population, while at the same time every state in the region saw a decrease in the number of people living in poverty, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Since the 1960s, the National Park Service has partnered with nonprofit organizations to provide environmental education services to the public. But a recent audit from the U.S. Interior Department’s Office of the Inspector General found that some of these Residential Environmental Learning Centers have strayed from their original mission .

Feral pigs cause an estimated $1.5 billion in damage each year, especially to crops. Now concern is mounting they could be at the doorstep in parts of the Mountain West.

The pigs — which an expert at the USDA has called "one of the most destructive and formidable invasive species in the United States" — could come across the Canadian border into Montana, or traipse into Colorado from the feral pig stronghold of Texas.

After a long hiatus, a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s 2017 decision to rescind regulations on hydraulic fracturing on public lands is moving forward. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California is scheduled to hear oral arguments in January after prominent conservation groups, including the Sierra Club, filed suit in 2018.

As we get ready to chow down on holiday foods over the next couple of weeks, a new study has some grim news. It projects half of Americans will be obese and a quarter will be severely obese in the next decade.

Around this time of year, it’s not too hard to find a holiday train ride in the Mountain West, from the North Pole Express in Heber City, Utah to the Santa Express in Horseshoe Bend, Idaho.

To get a sense of how it all works, I visit Carson City, Nev. to take a look at the different options.

A group of chemicals called PFAS are common in firefighting foams, as well as household products like rain jackets, pizza boxes and non-stick pots and pans. They've been in use since the 1940s and have come to be known as "forever chemicals" because they persist in the environment.

PFAS, which stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have made their way into watersheds around the world, and as a recent study found, even into raindrops. Some are considered a threat to human health. 

Researchers including Jens Blotevogel, an environmental engineer at Colorado State University, are studying ways to get rid of the compounds. 

Epi’s is a Basque restaurant in Meridian Idaho, just west of Boise. In mid-morning, things are still pretty quiet, but owner Eric McFarland and a few others are prepping food.


The holidays often mean Christmas hams, mulled wine and potato latkes. But in the Mountain West, our food occasionally comes from the forest and not the grocery store. Tom Healy is a hunter living in the small town of Wisdom, Montana. This holiday season, he tried a gamey twist on traditional, eastern European cabbage rolls, called halupkis. Check out his recipe below. 

Heat pumps offer one of the best ways to cut carbon in homes and commercial buildings, energy and climate experts say in a new report.

Maggie Mullen

On a recent sunny afternoon, I'm loading up my Subaru before heading out to the Snowy Range Mountains in southern Wyoming to cut down a Christmas tree.

Colorado's poised to put the question of wolf reintroduction on the November ballot. One unanswered question is how the predators might affect the spread of chronic wasting disease, if at all.

CWD is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that currently infects deer, elk, moose and reindeer. Critics of wolf reintroduction argue that more predators on the landscape could further spread CWD.

The lack of access to nutritious food is a major issue across Indian Country. One program in Nevada is looking to increase healthy habits among youth on reservations and the rural communities surrounding them.

Three children are being treated at a Denver-area hospital for measles, adding to the more than 1,200 cases of the disease reported this year nationwide. Some Mountain West states have already seen measles cases this year, including Colorado, Idaho, and Nevada.

Measles is very contagious, so when a case is identified, it kicks local health officials into high gear, rapidly searching for anyone the patients may have come into contact with. 

You have to be looking for Juan Pablo Mijares’s violin shop to find it. The storefront is tucked deep behind an alleyway in downtown Colorado Springs. Small details make the place feel decidedly old world, from the carved wooden sign above the entrance to the plink of violin strings that serve as door chimes. On a recent visit to Mijares’s shop, he says some of his customers declare the place is even otherworldly.

This post was updated at 8:30 p.m. with additional information.

About 60 people gathered at the Colorado Capitol Monday for the third and final day of a summit on vaccination. It featured a series of presentations full of reasons why people should not get their children immunized.

Michele Ames says that's a problem.

"The world consensus is that vaccines are safe and effective and they save lives. Period," said Ames, a spokesperson for Colorado Vaccinates, a coalition of groups including Children's Hospital Colorado and the local chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics aimed at increasing vaccination rates in the state.

The first wave of Democratic voters will soon be making their choice for who they think should be the party’s presidential nominee. Nevada is the first state in the West to weigh in. It’s also the most diverse, making the Silver State more of a bellwether than other early voting states.

Students and faculty leaders at the University of Montana are calling for the removal of swastika-like symbols from a historic building, sparking a debate over its use across the West. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a new director. The Senate on Thursday confirmed Aurelia Skipwith, making her the first African American to lead the agency.

As Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso made clear to fellow lawmakers on Thursday, he believes Skipwith is well qualified.

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It's already been a noteworthy season for Steamboat Ski Resort in Northern Colorado. In October alone, the mountain saw 63 inches of snow, a record high. And that's why the resort's Loryn Duke said it was an easy decision to open on November 15—it's earliest opening ever.

The U.S. economy has been growing at a steady pace for years. But on the county level, across the country and especially in the Mountain West, changes in gross domestic product, or GDP, vary widely.

Nationwide, more and more people are surviving childhood. But researchers found those improvements might not be as big in rural areas. 

A report last year found that child mortality rates had improved. In fact, nationally, it looked like the country had met its 2020 goals. But then researchers took a closer look.

The House’s newly passed defense bill will establish a new armed services branch, the United States Space Force, which will be headquartered in Colorado Springs.

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