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, Montana, 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 MediaYellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER 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.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

The House of Representatives passed its newest version of the farm bill this week. It includes stricter work requirements for people who get food stamps.

A study in the journal Science says a lot more methane is leaking from oil & gas sites than previously thought -- about 60 percent more than the current estimate from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Ranking U.S. House Democrats are calling for an ethics investigation into Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. They want to know more about a land deal between Zinke’s family foundation and a real estate project with ties to the oil and gas giant Halliburton.


Judy Fahys / KUER

A lawsuit announced this week in Salt Lake City focuses on a contested county commission seat, newly redrawn voting districts and a Navajo candidate well known for his opposition to shrinking the Bears Ears National Monument.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Cancer centers are working to increase HPV vaccinations across the nation, but particularly in Mountain West states, where vaccination rates are low.

Tom Baker, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

A recent study published in Science magazine reports some animals are becoming more nocturnal. The cause is human activity.

Target shooting is a popular activity on public lands across our region. It's also the second leading human cause of wildfires.

A federal watchdog group said the U.S. Interior Department didn’t give an adequate reason for cancelling a study on the health impacts of coal mining last year.

Scientists think there may be as much as twice the amount of magma below Yellowstone's supervolcano than what they once believed. This was discovered using a new way to estimate just how much magma is below the earth's surface. 

In another shuffle of department leadership, the Bureau of Land Management has a new Deputy Director of Operations. The agency, along with the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, still await Senate-confirmed directors. 

Protests and blockades of clinics that perform abortions are up dramatically around the nation, including Colorado, the first state in the union to pass a law legalizing abortion more than fifty years ago.  

Each summer, thousands of firefighters devote long hours to putting out wildfires. At the end of each day, they retreat to camp a safe distance away where they can relax and recharge to be ready for their next shift. And also get fed. For the Mountain West News Bureau’s Faces Behind the Fire series, we talk to the man in charge of the kitchen.

 


This month, Colorado became the first state in the nation to allow school nurses to administer medical marijuana to students. But not all nurses may be on board.

Erik Neumann / KUER

A lot of people may not have heard of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, or that it’s in jeopardy.

The Trump administration is forcing the head of Yellowstone National Park out of his job. Dan Wenk said the National Park Service will replace him with a new superintendent this August.

The fossil skeleton of a carnivorous dinosaur recently found in Wyoming was just auctioned off in Paris. Paleontologists are worried the sale is part of a trend that will keep specimens from our region out of the hands of scientists.

Wildfire season is ramping up in the region. Fire teams are now working to quash one outside Durango, Colorado, and Utah recently stopped another. That state is now doing prescribed burns to reduce the chance of a bigger blaze.

Erik Neumann / KUER

Our region ranks in the top ten for suicide. A new study from the University of Utah shows there may be a reason for that.

Colorado will be the first state in the country to test out so-called "smart pavement" on a stretch of highway this year.  The goal of these high tech roads is to make drivers safer.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is partnering with Integrated Roadways to install a half mile of high-tech road panels on a mountainous stretch of highway just outside of Denver later this year. Peter Kozinski is the director of CDOT’s $2.75 million “smart pavement” pilot project.

Over the last decade or so, states in the Mountain West region have used less and less coal to make electricity. Wind is one of the energy sources replacing it.

Colorado’s biggest wind farm is set to be completed by this fall — and it might even help keep a piece of state history intact.

Springtime in the Mountain West means newborn animals. And with that comes opportunities for some very adorable wildlife viewing and photography. But officials want to remind visitors and locals alike to hold back from interacting with young wildlife.

President Trump has overturned a rule requiring outfitters to pay river and backcountry guides on public lands a minimum wage.


Currently the sage grouse is not listed under the Endangered Species Act. And a bill before Congress  would prevent that from happening anytime in the next decade.

Fire experts say this season could be big for wildfires in our region. Our Mountain West New Bureau takes you behind the scenes with stories about the people who protect our communities, land and wildlife during wildlfire season. 

This story is about the people who rush into the smoke not to save people or structures, but … animals.  

The Interior Department wants to open up a quarter-million acres at national wildlife refuges for hunting and fishing.

The move would impact 21 states. In our region, it would expand hunting at a refuge in Utah  and another in Montana. It would also open Montana’s Swan River refuge to big game hunting for the first time.

istock.com/ikick

Bikes are off limits in the nation's 100 million acres of wilderness. But a few members of Congress want that to change.

Twenty-eight great plains tribes are demanding two different sites in Yellowstone National Park be renamed. The request says Hayden Valley and Mount Doane are offensive because they memorialize a racist and a murderer. But with local government officials opposing the change, it seems unlikely to happen.

The National Park Service has released a report on how sea level rise could impact its sites. The publication was delayed by about a year, and as we’ve reported, there were concerns over possible censorship in earlier drafts.

Maria Caffrey worked for years with the National Park Service researching and writing the report, only to wait for months for its actual release.

A bipartisan group of Colorado lawmakers kicked off an anti-gerrymandering campaign this month. They want to take redistricting decisions out of the hands of state legislators and put it into the hands of twelve voters.

Last weekend, 30 some years of regulars raised a glass to Turner’s Sportsfair, an iconic dive bar and tackle shop on State Street in Boise. Bartender Tammy Wood has worked at Turner's for 35 years. With Boise and many cities across the Mountain West experiencing rapid growth, that means change for some historic neighborhoods and businesses.


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