The 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.

In addition to a full news department serving just Wyoming, Wyoming Public Media is a founding partner in the Mountain West News Bureau, a partnership of public media stations that serve the Rocky Mountain States of Wyoming, Colorado Idaho, Montana, and Utah. Our mission is to tell stories about the people, places, and issues of the Rocky Mountain West.

Many of these stories and issues are regional and affect all people living in the Mountain West. From land and water management to growth in the expanding West to our unique culture and heritage, the Bureau addresses issues that define us as a region. Part of the Bureau’s charge is to submit stories to NPR and other national and global distributors, thus sharing the Mountain West culture more broadly.

Contributing stations include Boise State Public RadioWyoming Public MediaYellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

The editor for the Mountain West News Bureau is Kate Concannon, a long-time NPR regional editor. Maggie Mullen is the lead Wyoming reporter for this partnership, with contributions from all Wyoming Public Media reporters. The partnership is overseen by news directors in all participating stations and networks.

The Mountain West News Bureau is supported in part by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Regional Journalism Center program. Matching or contributing donations for the support of this initiative or for general WPM reporting are welcome. For more information, contact Christina Kuzmych, Wyoming Public Media General Manager at ckuzmych@uwyo.edu.

Idaho officially joined Utah today as the third state to try to expand Medicaid by ballot initiative.

U.S. Senate committees will hold hearings this week on the Trump administration's plan to reorganize the government. It includes a department that manages millions of acres of public lands in our region.

A bipartisan group of indigenous state lawmakers just published a letter condemning the President’s use of the name “Pocahontas” in a recent Montana rally. They say it hurts the already-wounded image of Native American women.

Parts of the Mountain West region have joined a number of state legislatures introducing tax credits to help low-income Americans. Utah could be the latest.

Four U.S. Senators are objecting to a program that teaches TV weathercasters about the science of climate change. As the Mountain West region deals with record high temperatures, that’s left meteorologists here figuring out how to report on the science of the weather.   

Pikas are fluffy mammals that live at high altitudes across the West. They squeak when danger nears. The squeaky fluff-balls are considered indicators of climate change because they’re so sensitive to heat. Scientists say they have found some of animals in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are behaving strangely.

Jessica Castillo Vardaro, a wildlife biologist with the University of California, Berkeley, studies pika genetics, a field that can involve some unusual data collection methods.

Bureau of Land Management

Earlier this year, Federal Officials in Utah posted the confidential location and description of about 900 artifacts - by mistake. Reveal News reported the Bureau of Land Management’s error this week. Now archaeologists are worried that these artifacts are now vulnerable to looters.  

A controversy over the names of two landmarks in Yellowstone National Park highlight a forgotten genocide in the U.S. and how historical awareness, conflicting narratives and misinformation help muddy the waters.


Hundreds of veterans are calling on Congress to scrap a seemingly unrelated attachment to this year’s defense spending bill.

According to the Western Governors Association, species like the Canada thistle and common carp aren’t just nuisances -- they’re a matter of western biosecurity.

The Bureau of Land Management planned to lease about 18,000 acres of land in southern Colorado for oil and gas drilling. Now, the bureau says it’s holding off so it can consult with the Navajo Nation.

This week President Trump pardoned two Oregon ranchers serving five-year prison terms for arson on federal lands. The two men had become a cause celebre in the ongoing fight between ranchers and the federal government over water and grazing rights.

 


A house subcommittee is focusing on grazing on public lands on Thursday. Republican leaders want to discuss what they call the regulatory burdens on the industry.


Dozens of young children were reunited with their parents yesterday after being separated at the border under the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy. The government is still working to reunite many more children with their parents, some of whom are being held at a detention center in Aurora, Colorado.

Record-breaking temperatures are scorching the United States with parts of our region seeing all-time highs. A number of heat-related deaths are already being reported in the U.S.

One of the world’s biggest firefighting aircraft is based in Colorado Springs. But it's fighting fires in California right now, rather than in the Mountain West.

Bipartisan legislation before the Senate would finally designate congressional funds to take care of about $12 billion of deferred maintenance for national parks. 

 


Oregon Bureau of Land Management

Social media has brought us lots of things - from Instagrammed food pics to the ubiquitous "selfie" and a tweeting president. And "brand ambassadors"? These are people who have huge followings on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For a price, they will highlight certain company brands when they post, but one such ambassador has set off a huge upset in the world of fly fishing, prompting responses from those who might otherwise stay quiet.

  

At Thursday’s Montana rally, President Donald Trump repeatedly called Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.” Montana is home to eight tribal nations and more than 60,000 Native Americans.  

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Scott Pruitt may have resigned but the controversies continue. A recently disclosed collection of emails between the EPA, an oil and gas lobbyist and at least one elected official in Utah are causing concern.

In an open field in Longmont, Colorado, about a dozen people crouched in the tall grass, moving slowly and deliberately through mud that squelched underfoot. Some carried huge, serrated knives called hori-hori, a Japanese tool made specifically for gutting weeds. Others wielded gardening shears, saws or chemical sprays as their weapons of choice.

So far around 60 wildfires are burning on 700,000 acres of land nationwide. Here’s a look at the 2018 fire season in our region and the forecast for the summer.

Jessica Flock

A recent report from a non-profit group aimed at erasing misconceptions about Native Americans says Indigenous people still face discrimination and invisibility.

Utah is the only state in the Mountain West region that offers a bounty for coyotes — a major predator of young mule deer. Now the program is being updated because some people are cheating.

There’s a storm rolling in over the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana. The clouds are low and dark as distant lightning cracks over a green prairie. 

Wade Running Crane is starting to get wet.

“This is like a sign from Ashley that she’s here,” he said.

Grieving Boiseans and members of the refugee community gathered Monday night to pray, hold vigil and deliver white flowers for the victims of Saturday’s mass stabbing.

 


PRICE, UTAH — On a scorching day in mid-June, KOAL Castle Country Radio host Dave Hocanson was taking a break from airing conservative talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to promote a $175 pie.

Update, 1:49 p.m. Monday: The suspect in Saturday night’s mass stabbing is now facing first-degree murder charges after one of the victims died at a Utah hospital.

 


Fires are burning in Colorado, Utah and there’s fire danger in other parts of the Mountain West. Now three U.S. Congressmen from Colorado have introduced legislation that would make it a felony to fly a drone over a wildfire. Drones can make fighting fires more difficult and put lives at risk.

The Senate and House have passed two versions of the Farm Bill. The differences between the two pieces of legislation now have to be hashed out by legislators. The final bill could have a big impact on low-income residents in our region.


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