Ali Budner | KUER 90.1

Ali Budner

Ali Budner is 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.

 

  

 

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

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.

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. 

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.   

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.

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.

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

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

A new study suggests huge fire blankets can help protect homes during wildfires.

Rapid population growth in the Mountain West means new infrastructure. Under federal law, potential sites for things like road expansions must be surveyed and possibly excavated to see what’s below the ground. That means cultural artifacts can be disturbed and destroyed. 

As the Bureau of Land Management pilots a new livestock grazing initiative on public lands in six Western states, a conservation group is suing to get the agency to release more information about the program.

As thousands in Denver strike for climate action this week, they may notice conspicuous red and black dresses hanging up along a couple city blocks, intended to call strikers’ attention to the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women and children.

For the second time this year, kids around the world are striking from school to demand action around climate change. And it’s happening just before world leaders gather at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City. There were only a handful of strikes in our region last time but this time there are several dozen.

Our region is leading the way on training helicopter pilots to fight fires at night.  There are costs and hazards involved but the move could also help firefighters get the most threatening blazes under control more quickly.

You might not know it but there’s a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture whose job includes killing wild animals – to the tune of millions each year.  It used to be called Animal Damage Control. Now it’s simply called Wildlife Services. Depending on who you talk to, the agency is controversial and secretive or, well-managed and essential.

A congressional watchdog agency has decided that the Interior Department broke the law by using entrance fees to keep national parks open during the government shutdown this past winter. 

Last month, the Trump administration said it would start deporting gravely ill immigrants here temporarily for medical care. This week, it backtracked a little. But 20 Attorneys General sent a letter to the administration saying they’re not satisfied. 

An archaeological dig in the Mountain West has unearthed several giant sites of Native American ruins. The dig is happening in advance of planned highway construction over the area.

Hundreds of men are hoping to sue the Boy Scouts of America over alleged sexual abuse. Many of those claims are coming out of Mormon communities because, until recently, the LDS church was a huge sponsor of the organization. 

It’s no secret that wildfires are getting worse in the West. They’re threatening lives, homes and ecosystems. And they are also threatening our already-precarious watersheds. It’s all becoming a vicious cycle  — especially for the drier parts of our region. 

Several utility companies in the West have announced they will institute power blackouts in areas with high fire risk when conditions are particularly bad. 

The last place you might expect to find a wolf is inside a public library, a place that doesn’t even allow pets in the door. 

But on an early summer day, Shaya, a so-called “wolf ambassador” was pacing the 4th floor of the downtown library in Pueblo, Colorado, surrounded by an enthusiastic crowd.

The Rocky Mountain region continues to face some of the highest suicide rates in the country. A recent panel of experts in Colorado addressed what they said was one of the biggest hurdles to mental health: social stigma. 

The Islamic Society of Colorado Springs meets in a one-story brick building in a residential neighborhood. No domes or minarets. No eye-level windows either.

The group's president, Kamel Elwazeir, says preparations for weekly prayer are key.

"We try to get in early on Friday just to inspect the building on the outside make sure everything is fine," he says. "Nothing has been broken into or nothing suspicious."

The backlog in U.S. immigration courts is now over 850,000 cases long. People can wait years for their hearings. And that can be a long time to pay for a lawyer and to make appearances in court. Both of these things can be much harder for immigrants living in rural and mountainous parts of the West.

New Zealanders just held a national memorial for the victims of the recent terror attacks there.  Muslim communities are still reeling from the tragedy – including here in the Mountain West.  


Soil erosion in the West is getting worse. And that’s creating more dust – which isn’t good for ecosystems, human health or the economy.

A new study out of our region shows that when more women are involved in group-decision making about natural resources, conservation gets a boost.

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

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.

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