Mountain West News Bureau | KUER 90.1

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, Nevada, 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 Nevada, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

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

Photo of smog over Salt Lake City.
Eltiempo10 / Wikicommons

A new draft proposal by the Trump administration may throw both current and future clean air and water laws into question.

Last year, on a warm Saturday evening in Boise, Idaho, Timmy Earl Kinner Jr. walked into the birthday party of a family. In a random attack, he stabbed nine people, including the birthday girl Ruya Kadir. That little girl died at just three years old.


Bureau of Land Management

Reintroduced legislation incentivizing more renewable energy projects on public lands is getting rare bipartisan support.

Photo of William Perry Pendley on a bike.
Eric Coulter / Bureau of Land Management

A government watchdog on Wednesday filed suit against the Bureau of Land Management to find out why it hired a one-time, anti-public lands advocate to run the agency. 

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.

The Salt Lake Tribune masthead.
Chelsea Naughton / KUER

Kathy Stephenson has worked as a reporter for The Salt Lake Tribune since 1982. She’s taking this fellow journalist on a tour of its downtown newsroom and points to a row of empty, gray cubicles.

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to roll back Obama-era rules governing how coal-fired power plants store and release toxic waste.

State rankings are out for 2019 ACT test scores. For the Mountain West, it’s a mixed bag.

 


After filing trademark protections last year, the Utah-based e-commerce giant Backcountry.com has filed several lawsuits against organizations with the word “backcountry” in their names.

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.

Photo of Interior Inspector General Mark Greenblatt.
U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

The Interior Department’s chief watchdog updated Congress Wednesday on the agency’s efforts to curb a long-term pattern of sexual harassment. 

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.

Photo illustration showing documents.
Renee Bright / KUER

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

Photo of Asylum 49 sign.
Nate Heygi / Mountain West News Bureau

  

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. 

Photo of wild horses.
Bureau of Land Management

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. 

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.

A new report from Congress’s watchdog says employees overseeing public lands are facing hundreds of threats and assaults.

 


Map of U.S. states with laws banning conversion therapy for minors.
Movement Advancement Project

On the heels of Colorado becoming the 18th state to ban “conversion therapy” earlier this year, Utah’s debating the widely discredited practice meant to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender expression.

Photo of members of Montana's Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force.
Tim Fox via Twitter

Tribal representatives in Montana are leaving the state’s new Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force in protest of Attorney General Tim Fox’s support of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

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.

Mountain West states have some of the lowest rates of youth obesity in the country, according to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Utah's rate of 8.7% was found to be the lowest in the country, while Colorado and Montana, with rates of 10.7% and 10.8%, respectively, were also among the six states with obesity rates statistically significantly lower than the national average of 15.3%.

A few months ago, Tricia Shields was having a regular day at work. 

“I think I was daydreaming at my desk,” says Shields, a resident of Parker, Colorado, who was at the time working at a kidney care center in Denver.

Photo of a bison
Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

It's flu season, so public health officials are pushing the flu shot, but many in the Mountain West are particularly bad at taking that advice.

Photo of Kate MacGregor.
U.S. Department of the Interior

President Donald Trump intends to nominate a long-time Republican Hill staffer to help lead the nation’s largest land management agency.

Personal income is on the rise across the country, and some of the biggest increases are in Mountain West states, according to data published last week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

David Vela, the former superintendent of Grand Teton National Park, is now the acting director of the National Park Service.

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.

Off-road vehicles such as ATVs and UTVs will soon be allowed on roads in Utah’s national parks after a controversial policy change last week.

 


Photo of William Perry Pendley.
U.S. Department of the Interior

As the nation’s largest nuclear energy lobbying group pushes the Trump administration to open up lands near Grand Canyon National Park to uranium mining, a government watchdog is raising concerns about potential conflicts of interest. 

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