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 Springfos CO, Maggie Mullen Reporter, Laramie WY and Amanda Peacher former reporter, Boise ID. Not shown: Madelyn Beck, Reporter, Boise ID
Credit Matt Bloom / KUNC

The Mountain West News Bureau is a collaboration of public media stations that serve the Rocky Mountain States of Colorado, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. Our mission is to tell stories about the people, places and issues of the Rocky Mountain West.

From land and water management to growth in the expanding West to our unique culture and heritage, we’ll explore the issues that define us and the challenges we face. 

Contributing stations include Boise State Public RadioWyoming Public MediaKUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Reno, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado. The O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana is also a collaborator. Ali Budner is the Mountain West News Bureau reporter based at 91.5 KRCC.

Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The Trump Administration is continuing to deploy park rangers at the U.S.-Mexico border to help with enforcement. And while national parks and other public lands in the West are feeling the effects, it’s unclear just how much.

A report published last week graded 506 cities around the U.S. on how inclusive their towns are to the LGBTQ community, and cities in the Mountain West are all over the map.

 


A report out this week found that people seeking mental health treatment go out-of-network more than they do for primary care. Essentially, that means that for consumers, it’s often more expensive to treat mind than body, and the disparity seems to have gotten worse in recent years. 

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

An extraordinary discovery in the backyard of Colorado Springs has created a window into an evolutionary period we previously knew very little about.

A report out this week shows a significant number of Americans don't have access to basic services like running water. And many of the places that lack plumbing are in the Mountain West.

“Small pockets of communities without complete plumbing exist in every state,” write the researchers, who also say the gap isn’t driven by people who choose to live off-the-grid, but instead by a lack of basic infrastructure. 

U.S. Department of Energy

A new study shows that global wind speeds have increased in the last decade, and that may allow wind turbines in the Mountain West to generate more clean energy.

Senators from Colorado and Nevada are among those sponsoring a bill aimed at reducing firefighters’ exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. 

Earlier this month the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously approved the bill, which aims to protect firefighters from being exposed to a group of chemicals known as PFAS that are found in firefighting foams and gear.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will be discussing bills to fund programs that help pay for public schools and infrastructure in rural areas this Thursday.


The 2020 census count is coming, and it will determine where funding goes for things like schools, emergency services and health care. For the last several census counts, though, American Indians and Alaska Natives were the most undercounted ethnic group, limiting their access to funds.

 



If you're anything like me, you've never been on an e-bike before. You might not even know what it looks like. That's why I make a visit to a local bike shop in downtown Laramie to find out what all the fuss is about. Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, as they're known, are having a moment. Right now they're the fastest growing segment of the country's bike market and that market could get even hotter now they're allowed on some public lands.

Chaffee County Family and Youth Initiatives

In response to skyrocketing youth suicide rates, one rural Colorado county is now offering kids two free vouchers to see a counselor at a local mental health center. 

nwxiang / Creative Commons 2.0

Moody’s Analytics just looked at the economic consequences of a report by Blue Cross Blue Shield on millennial health. And it’s not good.   

Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

Are the super wealthy better equipped than the government to save America's disappearing wildlands? An ex-Silicon Valley entrepreneur is trying to build the next Yellowstone — a 3.2 million acre, privately-funded wildlife reserve in eastern Montana. It's called American Prairie Reserve, and the organization is doing it by purchasing ranches, kicking out the cattle and replacing them with wild bison.

There's been a lot of criticism of the Bureau of Land Management’s plan to move hundreds of positions from Washington D.C. to Western states. But the agency’s acting director is giving a new reason for the move.

William Perry Pendley told the Mountain West News Bureau that it’ll be easier to hire people in the West in part because people want to live here.

Erik Wardell, courtesy Aspen Skiing Company

An industry trade group says uphill skiing is one of the fastest growing snow sports in the country, especially in the Mountain West.

Researchers writing in the journal Science found that when kids get measles, it can cause “amnesia” in the immune system. 

In much of the Mountain West, measles vaccination rates are below the recommended 95% level.

Drew Eggers stood at the edge of one of his stubble fields when he plucked a patch of mint left over from harvest.

“You can smell the spearmint,” he said, offering it up for a sniff.


For a long time, ski resorts in the Mountain West were able to reach a full staff just by offering employees a season pass. It was the kind of deal a ski bum couldn't turn down.

  

It’s Saturday night, and I’m in Asylum 49’s basement. It’s actually an old hospital. Heavy metal is blasting from a loudspeaker. The basement’s pitch black except for a single, flickering strobe light. 

A growing number of pharmacists across the country are now offering birth control directly to patients -- no doctor’s visit required. That includes pharmacists at grocery stores in the Kroger chain -- like Fred Meyers, King Soopers, City Market and Smith’s -- in addition to Albertson’s and Safeway stores.

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

A new analysis from the Bozeman-based non-profit Headwaters Economics shows that the outdoor recreation industry is growing more than twice as fast as the overall economy, and the industry has an especially outsized role in the Mountain West.

Wildland firefighters use fire retardant — the red stuff that air tankers drop — to suppress existing blazes. But Stanford researchers have developed a gel-like fluid they say makes fire retardant last longer and could prevent wildfires from igniting in the first place if applied to ignition-prone areas.

Reducing the number of wild horses and burros on Western public lands could take 15 years and cost $5 billion, the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management told reporters during a news conference this week. 

The Interior Department has walked back controversial efforts to curb public records requests in a final rule published Friday

Roger Ottmar / U.S. Forest Service

In the next few weeks, the U.S. Forest Service plans to conduct a massive controlled burn on a remote mountain in Utah, part of the agency’s efforts to better understand the behavior of giant fires that are becoming more common in the West.

EPA

The Environmental Working Group on Wednesday updated its Tap Water Database, which aggregates data from nearly 50,000 water utilities across the country to spotlight dangerous levels of contamination

Most states in the Mountain West allow people to harvest roadkill, and California passed its own “roadkill bill” earlier this week.

But Nevada and Wyoming are holding out. They are the only states in our region that don’t allow the harvesting of meat from animals killed by vehicles.

An Interior Department committee is recommending that the National Park Service privatize campgrounds in national parks and offer services such as WI-FI and food trucks.

Governors of Western states have signed letters supporting a pair of bills that would compensate more people who were exposed to radiation from nuclear weapons testing.

Creative Commons Zero - CC0 / Pixabay

A new report shows youth suicide rates have spiked alarmingly in recent years, especially in the Mountain West.

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