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.

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. 

Photo of construction.
Brian Albers / KUER

Home sales in the American West tumbled to a three-year low in December, as higher interest rates and rising home prices gave buyers pause, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors.

The trucking industry is facing a record shortage of drivers. However, over the last couple of years, one demographic has been gravitating towards the industry by the thousands: Indian-American Sikhs.

Winter is when the federal government starts spending dollars to prepare for the wildfire season, but the ongoing shutdown has put some of this preparation in limbo.

Photo of Joshua Tree entrance sign.
National Parks Service

As the partial government shutdown stretches toward a third week, both the public and public employees alike are feeling the pain. But there’s another casualty: public information.

Photo of craft beers.
iStock.com / EddieHernandezPhotography

If the impasse over President Trump’s proposed border wall makes it to Saturday morning, this will be the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. And it has an unlikely victim — craft beer.

Photo of old faithful.
Nate Hegyi / KUER

Unlike previous administrations, President Trump’s Interior Department has directed national parks to keep their gates open while furloughing most workers during this latest government shutdown. But as the partial shutdown enters its third week, critics argue the parks are becoming unsafe.

Photo of Lisa Murkowski.
Office of U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, may try to re-introduce landmark legislation that would address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women in the U.S.

There's no doubt skiing can be a very expensive sport, and now there's a concern that mergers and acquisitions could make it even more pricey. So is it increasingly a sport for the wealthy?


Image of redacted FOIA documents.
Renee Bright / KUER

A new rule proposed last week by the U.S. Interior Department could make it harder for news outlets and non-profit organizations to get public information on a range of federal issues.

The ski industry is an important economic driver in our region, but it's facing a lot of changes. Climate change, for one, is transforming ski resort leaders into activists and lobbyists.

The ski industry is one of the most important contributors to the economy in the Mountain West. And it's dealing with some pretty big changes right now. Probably the biggest one is climate. Winters are getting shorter and mountain resorts are having to adapt. 

DPS Skis in Salt Lake City, Utah has created a new product called Phantom. It's a wax replacement that makes your skis go fast season after season.
Oskar Enander / DPS

 

Wearing flannel, sporting beards and donning beanies, many of the workers at the DPS ski factory in Salt Lake City look like ski bums warming up between runs at the local resort. But they are hard at work crafting some of the most advanced skis in the world.

Photo of road on Navajo reservation.
iStock.com / lorcel

The federal government has continually broken treaty promises to tribal nations, according to a damning new report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Photo of duck stamp.
U.S. Department of Interior

The Federal Duck Stamp Program is for the birds, at least when it comes to birdwatchers.

Photo of chekcpoint sign.
iStock.com / aijohn784

Utah will soon impose the country's strictest limits for drunk driving.

Photo of Jon Tester.
U.S. Senate Committee On Indian Affairs

Lawmakers grilled federal law enforcement agencies over their lack of rigorous investigations into missing and murdered indigenous women at a landmark Senate hearing Wednesday.

The U.S. Olympic Committee could decide this week which Mountain West city could host the 2030 Winter Games. But both cities have a complicated history when it comes to the Olympics.

Photo of Ryan Zinke.
Tami Heilemann, U.S. Department of the Interior

Public record requests have played a major role in spurring multiple ethics investigations into U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Photo of Salt Lake City Police Car.
Brett Neilson via Wikimedia Commons

The Salt Lake City Police Department has criticized a landmark report released last month that found that more than 500 indigenous women have either gone missing or were murdered in 71 U.S. cities.

Landscape photo of mining
Flickr/Wild Earth Guardians

A bankrupt coal producer in the Mountain West wants to give $1.5 million worth of bonuses to top managers while potentially cutting retirement benefits for mine workers, according to recent federal court filings.

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