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 Matt Bloom / KUNC

The Mountain West News Bureau is a collaboration of public media stations that serve the Rocky Mountain States of Colorado, 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 MediaYellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado. 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.

Idaho may soon follow Colorado's lead and pass legislation banning female genital mutilation. Late last year, a federal ban on female genital mutilation was ruled unconstitutional. The judge for the Eastern District of Michigan said that the practice falls under "local criminal activity" and thus a state responsibility.

 

The details on the lengthy federal investigation exonerating Chris Lehnertz of creating a hostile work environment were released Tuesday.

Tom Arthur / Creative Commons 2.0

At least one state in our region is poised to join the movement to change how we vote for our president. Colorado’s Governor, Jared Polis, is expected to sign legislation soon.

The state of Wyoming is leading the way when it comes to migration corridors for wild game and is poised to designate two more.

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A bacterial infection that infects Canada geese called "new duck disease" has turned up in the Mountain West.

Paleontologists have found a new species of tyrannosaur based on fossils in Emery County, Utah.

Lindsay Zanno found the fossilized leg bone sticking out of a grey hill in a part of Utah where landmarks get names like "Cliffs of Insanity" and "Suicide Hill."

woodley wonderworks / Creative Commons 2.0

Several Mountain West states are considering legislation that would change sex education in their schools and they are all taking very different approaches.

Updated at 1:55 p.m., Feb. 26, 2019:

As a measles outbreak continues in Washington state, a congressional hearing Wednesday will discuss the preventable disease, now considered to be a “growing public health threat.”

Several states are considering legislation to encourage higher rates of childhood vaccines. The response in our region is mixed.

MILFORD, Utah — The San Francisco Mountains in southwestern Utah were once home to one of the richest silver mines in the world. When it comes to mining today, they stand mostly quiet — for now — with only a handful of rock mines operating in the area.

The Trump administration is assembling a panel to take a second look at recent federal climate change reports.

The Trump administration is reducing grazing fees on public lands again. The new rate is the lowest the federal law allows.

In the 2018 midterms voters in the deeply conservative states of Idaho and Utah went against their Republican controlled legislatures on healthcare. They both voted yes on initiatives to expand Medicaid under Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

But it didn’t end there. Republicans in both Capitols pushed back.


It’s a final four of sorts, but it has nothing to do with basketball.

Idaho and Wyoming are now among only four states that do not fund preschool, according to a new report from the Education Commission of the States.

 


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National Parks and public lands in the West are having trouble with cactus poachers. But some park rangers are fighting back by micro-chipping their cacti.

The Office of Government Ethics just released guidelines for federal employees during government shutdowns, about three weeks after the government reopened.

 


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.

The conservative sportsmens’ group Hunter Nation is offering people the chance to go elk hunting in Utah with President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr.

A few months ago, John Parker retired and moved into a salmon-colored log house on a mountain called Tungsten in unincorporated Boulder County.

"Just to get a little piece of heaven, get away from the madding crowd," he says.

Inside, a wood-fired stove fills the house with heat and a low hum. Outside, the snow feels like thick, gritty icing. The wind barrels up a slope, gathering snow into a glittery stream. When the glitter stream meets the house, it curves around and hugs it, piling up around the back steps. It does not feel like the time to think about wildfires. But if that same wind was carrying embers instead of snow, those would follow the same path and instead of glittering, that pile by the back door would be glowing.

Archaeologists studying a prehistoric site in Golden, Colorado, have found that people lived there thousands of years earlier than previously thought.

The site is called “Magic Mountain” after an amusement park that used to own the land back when excavations started in the 1950s.

Archaeologists like Mark Mitchell knew that people, likely nomadic hunter-gatherers, had lived and camped at the site for much of the last 5,000 years. 

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. 

Imagine a swarm of big, black birds flying overhead at dusk. No, it’s not a scene from a Hitchcock film. This is Nampa, Idaho — a small community that’s become the winter home for tens of thousands of crows. They are noisy and messy, and Nampa residents are pushing back.

 


During the partial shutdown, the National Park Service said it was using visitor entrance fees for basic operational costs. That's now changed following a congressional hearing last week by Democratic lawmakers criticizing the use of visitor fees for daily operations. Traditionally, these fees are used for more long-term or major maintenance projects.

When Ryan Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, resigned from his post as U.S. Interior Department secretary on Jan. 2, he was under fire on multiple fronts.

Friday six former African-American football players from the University of Wyoming's team reunited after almost fifty years to be honored on UW's campus.

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.

The head of Grand Canyon National Park is returning to her job after a four-month federal investigation found unspecified allegations against her were “unfounded.”

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.

The American Hospital Association has released a new report on the state of rural hospitals across the country. There’s good and bad news about how the Mountain West stacks up.

First, the bad news. When it comes to the number of mental health professionals, our region looks like a black hole.

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