The Mountain West News Bureau

Left to right: 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, New Mexico, 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.

The Mountain West News Bureau is a collaboration between Wyoming Public MediaBoise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico with support from affiliate stations across the region.

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

The voting process has long disenfranchised Native American communities. With the COVID-19 pandemic and mail-in voting exacerbating the problem, U.S. senators in the Mountain West and across the country are asking the federal government to make sure voters in Indian Country can cast ballots come November.

Between a global pandemic, the economic downtown and civil unrest across the country, Americans are facing high levels of stress and uncertainty, and many are turning to video games for relief.

This reporter happens to be one of them. But can these virtual experiences help in the real world?

Researchers have released a new guide for parents about how to keep their kids from being recruited by extremists online.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

As Black Lives Matter rallies continue across the country, some counter protesters and militia members are giving new life to an old racist myth – that white Irish people were enslaved in the Americas just like Africans and Indigenous people.

 


Dearfield, Colorado, is one of the last standing towns started by Black homesteaders in the Great Plains. Now, property in the ghost town has changed hands, ensuring that key sites will be protected.

Protests are unfolding across the country over the death of Elijah McClain at the hands of police in Aurora, Colo. Now, frustration is also building over local law enforcement’s use of force this past weekend at a vigil in Aurora honoring him — frustration that was visible at a city council meeting Tuesday night dedicated to the response. 

As humans around the world have limited their movement during the coronavirus pandemic, some animals appear to be changing their behavior. Biologist Christian Rutz may have seen one small example for himself.

As the country turned its attention toward the pandemic, something else was creeping into the Mountain West: drought conditions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the nation to figure out something it's tried to do for years: increase access to telehealth.

That’s true across the nation and in rural Western states like Idaho. 


This post was updated June 29, 2020 to include comments from Alexis Kalergis. 

A Colorado team says their work on a COVID-19 vaccine is progressing. Other vaccines are much further down the testing pipeline, but none have crossed the finish line yet. 

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

As Native American tribes across the country struggle to contain the coronavirus, the White House has pressured the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe to remove its COVID-19 checkpoints on highways in South Dakota, according to a recording of White House chief of staff Mark Meadows obtained by the Mountain West News Bureau. 

Two-thirds of Americans think the federal government should be doing more to reduce the impacts of climate change, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.


This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Short-term vacation rental bookings are surging across the Mountain West, even as the region grapples with a growing number of coronavirus cases.

 


The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Colorado has been trending downward. Meanwhile, other states in the region are on the uptick.


Protesting racism and police brutality is nothing new. But large, sustained turnouts, especially in small, mostly white towns, is something we've not seen before. For many of these protesters, it's their first time demonstrating - ever.

As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, a new survey shows that depression is worsening across the nation and the Mountain West.


This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

A surge of out-of-staters are fleeing major cities and purchasing homes in Montana, Wyoming and other parts of the Mountain West, according to real estate agents.

 

"These out-of-state buyers are just coming in droves," said D.J. Smith, president of the Missoula Organization of Realtors. 

The Great American Outdoors Act has passed the Senate with solid bipartisan support – but bipartisan doesn’t mean unanimous. A group of 73 voted yes while 25 voted no, including all of the senators from public land-heavy Idaho, Wyoming and Utah.


Protests against racism and police brutality continue in Colorado, but there are many faces and voices that are missing. Here, four Colorado women who are Black activists and scholars share their thoughts on what this moment means to them. They’ve opted out of protests, due to health complications or because they’re participating in other ways. Scroll down for their full bios. 

Hotel slowdowns alone could cost states in the Mountain West more than $1.7 billion in tax revenue this year, according to an analysis commissioned by the American Hotel and Lodging Association.


According to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the nation has yet to exit the first wave of this pandemic. Cases in the Northeast and Midwest are, in general, trending downward, but the Mountain West continues to experience local surges in COVID-19.

The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and United Steelworkers are now demanding emergency guidelines related to COVID-19 for the country's mines whether it's for coal, trona, gold or silver. They say voluntary guidance is not a substitute for mandatory and legally enforceable COVID-19 protocols.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

This Friday is Juneteenth, a national holiday in most states celebrating the end of slavery. There are planned protests around the Mountain West to keep attention on racial injustice and police brutality, including one on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana. 

This week's Supreme Court ruling shielding LGBTQ employees from discrimination effectively evens out a patchwork of protections in the Mountain West.


This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

There's growing concern about violence at anti-racism protests after an armed man shot a protester at a demonstration on Monday in Albuquerque, with a number of activists across the Mountain West saying they have been harassed.

After a failed attempt last year, Colorado lawmakers have passed a bill that would make it harder to get a vaccine exemption for school children. 

Across the nation, Black babies have some of the highest rates of infant mortalities and birth outcomes such as low birthweight, according to a new report by nonprofit Zero to Three.

 


Most businesses in the outdoor recreation industry are seeing sales decline because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and 88% are reporting that they’ve had to lay off or furlough employees.

Cities and counties across the country are declaring that racism is a public health crisis, including at least one city in the Mountain West.

Scientists at Colorado State University have developed a way to make sure blood transfusions don't transmit the COVID-19 virus, according to a new study.

 


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