Mountain West News Bureau | KUER 90.1

Mountain West News Bureau

 

The Mountain West News Bureau team, from left to right: Amanda Peacher, Judy Fahys, Ali Budner, Rae Ellen Bichell, Maggie Mullen, Nate Hegyi and Kate Concannon.

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

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

Image of bernhardt.
U.S. Department of the Interior

Democrats are likely to question acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt over his connections with industry during his senate confirmation hearing Thursday. The former oil and gas lobbyist has been criticized in recent months for appearing to help out clients he used to represent.

A Washington D.C. federal court decision has stopped future leasing on over 300,000 acres of Wyoming public lands. In 2016, several conservation groups raised concerns the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was not reasonably considering the impact of oil and gas lease sales on climate change.

photo of tourists at delicate arch.
iStock.com / claffra

National Park Service officials are reconsidering a plan would require would-be visitors to make reservations to enter Arches National Park after receiving pushback from local businesses.

Photo of posters.
Nate Hegyi / KUER

European authorities are looking into whether the suspect in last week’s terror attack on two mosques in New Zealand was inspired by an emerging, European-based breed of white nationalism.

Bernhardt
The U.S. Interior Department via Twitter

President Trump officially nominated David Bernhardt on Friday to become the nation’s next interior secretary as questions swirl about the nominee’s conflicts of interest.

istock.com / adamgrandprix

Utah’s Republican Gov. Gary Herbert’s request for the Trump administration to rollback restrictions on 4 million acres of national forest land in his state has environmentalists raising flags that it could spur a wave of states in the region to follow suit.

Photo of grand canyon sign.
istock.com / mdmworks

Despite being cleared of unfounded harassment allegations last month, the head of Grand Canyon National Park is refusing to return to her job right away. Park superintendent Chris Lehnertz was hastily reassigned five months ago after the federal investigation was launched.

Renee Bright / KUER

 

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

Coal
oatsy40 / Flickr

As the demand for coal continues to plummet in the United States, state legislatures in the Mountain West are coming up with creative ways to either save the industry or transition away from it.

Mohan Sudabattula, a senior at the University of Utah, shows posters he found on campus from the white nationalist group Patriot Front.
Nate Hegyi / KUER

 


When University of Utah senior Mohan Sudabattula found the posters hanging recently from the side of the art building on campus, the first-generation son of immigrants from southeastern India was surprised but not shocked. He’d seen similar posters – the red, white and blue lettering – popping up all over campus.

Starting March 1, the Idaho Fish and Game is offering a bounty for anglers who hook walleye, also known as yellow pikes. The invasive fish is persistent in lakes across the Mountain West.

 


The closest that Travis Rupp came to getting fired, he says, was the time he tried to make chicha. The recipe for the Peruvian corn-based beer, cobbled together from bits of pre-Incan archaeological evidence, called for chewed corn partially fermented in spit. So, Rupp’s first task had been to convince his colleagues to gather round a bucket and offer up their chompers for the cause.

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."

Renee Bright / KUER

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

 


Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

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.

Photo of Ryan Zinke.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Former U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke might be the first member of President Trump’s cabinet to join a lobbying firm after leaving office.

A new study includes an interactive map that shows how your home will be affected by climate change in the next 50 years. No surprise —Idaho and the Mountain West will get hotter.

 


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.

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.

 


photo of Lenhertz.
Grand Canyon National Park

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.”

Photo of closed road at Arches National Park.
Judy Fahys/KUER News

U.S. House Democrats are holding a hearing Wednesday to look at how the Interior Department paid to keep national parks open during the partial government shutdown.

Flickr Creative Commons / Bureau of Reclamation

Updated 6:36 p.m. MST

President Donald Trump took to Twitter to nominate David Bernhardt as the nation’s next Interior Secretary. The former oil industry lobbyist and longtime government employee has been acting Secretary since Ryan Zinke stepped down last month amid questions about his ethics and conflicts of interest.

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. 

Photo of redacted documents.
Renee Bright / KUER

The U.S. Interior Department’s controversial plan to put new limits on Freedom of Information Act requests has received more than 61,000 public comments in the Federal Register.

Photo of Theda New Breast with missing persons sign.
Nate Hegyi / KUER

Landmark legislation that would address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women was reintroduced in the U.S. Senate on Monday.

Steven Rinella is star of the Netflix series "MeatEater."
MeatEater, Inc.

 

 

Under the Trump administration, hunters and anglers have become a loud voice in the battle over how we use federal public lands. This includes Steven Rinella, who is fast becoming a big name among sportsmen and women.

U.S. Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo. argues that putting states in charge of managing resources will remove excess red tape and make it easier for companies to drill responsibly on federal lands.
zhengzaishuru / istockphoto.com

A group of Western lawmakers have reintroduced legislation that would give states control of oil and gas projects on federal lands.

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

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