Ali Budner

Reporter, Mountain West Collaborative

Ali Budner is 91.5 KRCC's reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, a journalism collaborative that unites six stations across the Mountain West, including stations in Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Montana to better serve the people of the region.  The project focuses its reporting on topic areas including issues of land and water, growth, politics, and Western culture and heritage.

Ali came to KRCC from the San Francisco Bay Area, where her award-winning reporting covered the state of California on a range of topics from health and the environment to homelessness and immigration. Her resume includes work with The Kitchen Sisters, KPFA radio in Berkeley, California, and KALW radio in San Francisco, where she served as a managing producer for the daily live public affairs call-in show, "Your Call."

Ali also reported and co-produced an hour-long documentary, "The Race To An Emergency," about the 9-1-1 emergency response system in Oakland, California.  It received several national awards, including the Edward R. Murrow award for best radio news documentary in a large market. Her reporting has appeared on PRI's The World, NPR's Latino USA, and WHYY's The Pulse, among other prominent outlets. 

She is excited now to live in Colorado and report on issues important to the Rocky Mountain West.

 

  

 

Joshua Doubek / Creative Commons 3.0

A recent study backs up longstanding research that the oil boom in the Bakken region of Montana and North Dakota contributed to a significant increase in violence in the surrounding communities.

Cory Doctorow / Creative Commons 2.0

Thursday is the one-year anniversary of the Parkland, Florida school shooting. More than a hundred state-level gun laws have been enacted since then, including several in the Mountain West. 

NOAA's National Centers for Environment Information

A recent report from NOAA’s National Centers for Environment Information shows there were 14 severe weather events across the country last year costing a total of $89.4 billion. Five of those affected the Mountain West region.

Marco Verch / Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0

There's currently another measles outbreak, this time in the Pacific Northwest. In the Mountain West, states are below the national average for measles vaccination, which could also put us at risk.

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

Last year the nation was shocked when a 9-year-old Colorado boy took his own life. A recent report says youth suicide is a public health crisis in Colorado and the numbers in the Mountain West as a whole are staggering, with some of the highest rates in the nation. At the same time, there’s a significant shortage of mental health professionals -- at crisis levels in some communities. Often, it’s mental health workers in schools who work on the front lines of this crisis.

National Park Service

The National Park Service may have lost millions of dollars in revenue during the recent government shutdown, and recovering from this setback may take a while.

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

The 2019 State of the Rockies report says 70 percent of western voters identify as "outdoor enthusiasts." The annual bipartisan poll surveys how voters across the Mountain West feel about public lands, water, wildlife, and energy expansion. 

United States Census Bureau

The battle over a controversial citizenship question on the 2020 census may have profound economic implications for the Mountain West.

Creative Commons Zero - CC0 / Pexels

The Mountain West has some of the fastest aging populations in the country, which could have some serious implications for the region's economy. 

Creative Commons Zero - CC0 / Pixabay

Suicide is currently the second leading cause of death for adolescents in the country. And in the Mountain West, youth suicide rates are double, and in some cases triple, the national average. Now, a new study shows parents are often unaware that their kids are struggling.

Public Domain / BLM

A new study shows US greenhouse gas emissions are going up. The natural gas boom is partially to blame. It’s a big industry in our region.

Creative Commons Zero - CC0 / MaxPixel

The Mountain West has some of the highest teen suicide rates in the country. A new report out of the region looks at what conditions contribute to the high rate of youth suicide. 

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

The ski industry is one of the most important contributors to the economy in the Mountain West. And it's dealing with some pretty big changes right now. Probably the biggest one is climate. Winters are getting shorter and mountain resorts are having to adapt. 

Elyse Cosgrove / Protect Our Winters

The ski industry is an important economic driver in our region, but it's facing a lot of changes. Climate change, for one, is transforming ski resort leaders into activists and lobbyists.

David Benbennick / Creative Commons 3.0

The Mountain West region has the first airport in the country to pilot a new kind of security screening machine. The most obvious feature of Denver International’s new body scanner is that it allows travelers to keep their arms down at their sides while being scanned. 

Greg L. Wright / CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], from Wikimedia Commons

There’s some apparent good news for backcountry adventurers in the West this winter: the number of avalanche deaths is declining.

David Shankbone

A Colorado District Judge has ruled it is unconstitutional to detain inmates purely on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Similar cases have been argued throughout our region.

Joseph Wilson

A new study says when the Trump administration shrank Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah late last year, it may have endangered scores of native bee species.

Greg Goebel / Creative Commons 2.0

The EPA is expected to announce a rollback of regulations on coal-fired power plants. Meanwhile, two new reports could cast some doubt on that decision.

Bernie Sanders YouTube

Roughly a third of Americans said climate change played into their voting decisions in the last four years. Other than Colorado, voters in the Mountain West are even less interested in the issue. Bernie Sanders is trying to change that. He hosted an online town hall on the topic Monday night.

Creative Commons Zero - CC0

The outdoor recreation industry makes up an important part of the Mountain West economy and it’s feeling relieved right now after President Trump and President Xi of China have agreed to pause their escalating trade wars for now.  

Gage Skidmore, Flickr / Creative Commons 2.0

Congressman Raúl Grijalva and Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, recently locked horns in a bitter and very public war of accusations. Grijalva called on Zinke to resign in light of several ethics investigations and Zinke in turn took to Twitter to personally attack the Arizona Congressman. Grijalva is set to take over the chairmanship of the House Committee on Natural Resources, the committee that oversees Zinke’s Department and makes critical decisions about public lands, energy and the environment. And it turns out Raúl Grijalva's plans for the committee are quite different from his Republican predecessor.

Creative Commons Zero - CC0 / Pixabay

If you own mineral rights to a piece of private property and an important dinosaur fossil is discovered there, do you own the fossil? A federal district court just ruled you do. 

Creative Commons Zero - CC0 / MaxPixel

At least two states in the Mountain West have opened ski resorts early due to healthy dumps of snow. Many more are scheduled to open next week. This could be a good sign for our region’s economy this winter.

Georgina Owen / Colorado Department of Education

The United States has a grim history when it comes to our indigenous people, from the multiple massacres of native men, women and children to Indian boarding schools where native children were taken from their families and in many cases physically and sexually abused. For the most part, this history isn’t taught in our public schools; neither is indigenous culture. But that’s changing, and the Mountain West is on board.

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

The midterm elections brought ups and downs for both parties in Colorado Tuesday night. Democrats gained a majority across state government, while Republicans saw some ballot propositions veer in favor of fewer taxes and less regulation on the oil and gas industry.

Larry Johnson / Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0

Over the past decade or so, the Mountain West has seen rapid population growth, but there are parts of the region that are slowing down.

Elizabeth Garner, the State Demographer for Colorado, said that for a while the Mountain West has had the advantage of lower costs and more space. But since 2015, Colorado’s growth rate has been declining, which means that “we’re still increasing, just by not as many,” said Garner.

Michael Ogletree / Denver Department of Public Health and Environment

Air quality is a major issue across much of the Mountain West. That’s true in some rural areas - such as Wyoming’s Upper Green River Basin - as well as in cities like Salt Lake City, Missoula and Denver. Now Denver just won a national challenge grant, funded by Bloomberg, to tackle the problem.

Laura Bittner / Flickr/Creative Commons

Ballots are out and drop-off locations and polling centers are open for the 2018 mid-term election. For many voters in Colorado, the ballot is a long one. Here you will find links and information on how to vote, as well as information on the 13 statewide issues. 

Lori Iverson; Creative Commons 2.0 / US Fish and Wildlife Service

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced a grant program Monday that aims to improve the habitat and migration corridors of big game animals in the West. However, some groups are concerned that it’s not enough to mitigate potential harm caused by oil and gas development. The Department of the Interior has leased more than a million acres to oil and gas since President Trump took office.

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