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 ongoing protests over police brutality is highlighting another ongoing issue: the militarization of police departments.

Wildfire season is upon us. As fire crews start heading out, politicians and the Trump administration are at odds over the measures needed to keep firefighters safe and on the job.

At a hearing last weekend about a Colorado bill on vaccination, Dr. Reginald Washington had originally planned to make several urgent points in support of the bill. 

First, that diseases like measles are resurging, and they’re serious. (He’d know. He’s treated patients with complications from measles and pertussis.) Second, due to COVID-19, children are missing well-child visits and skipping vaccinations, putting them at risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. 

The National Bureau of Economic Research announced Monday that the U.S. economy officially entered a recession in February. 

PMJA, Public Media Journalists Association, has named Kate Concannon it’s 2020 Editor of the Year. PMJA is a leading industry group for public media journalism.

Concannon has led the Mountain West News Bureau as its Managing Editor since its launch in 2018. This regional journalism collaboration is made up of reporters at different public radio stations across several Western states. The bureau’s journalism is shared daily with the station partners and affiliates across the region. The bureau was launched with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

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

Justin and his buddies look like they're from a special ops team – they're wearing flak jackets and carrying assault weapons. But they aren't military and they aren't police. 

"I see myself as a concerned citizen who happens to be armed," he says.

 


There have been more than 40,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in prisons and jails across 47 states. Only Idaho and Wyoming, as well as Hawaii, have yet to see a confirmed case within the inmate population in state correctional facilities, according to the nonprofit journalist outlet the Marshall Project

 


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

With protesters taking to the streets nationwide to demand justice for George Floyd and confront police brutality and systemic racism, Mountain West News Bureau reporters are gathering perspectives of people of color from around the region.

Three Nevadans face terrorism-related charges after allegedly plotting to incite violence at recent protests in Las Vegas over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed while in police custody.

As employers continue to lay off workers at unprecedented levels, every state in the Mountain West has some kind of rent assistance program in place. Low-income housing advocates hope those programs, and their funding, can keep up with the ongoing need.

The inaugural #BlackBirdersWeek kicked off on Sunday. The virtual event came about in response to the racist incident in Central Park last week when a white woman called the police after a Black birder asked her to put her dog on a leash.

The pandemic has beef markets on a roller coaster, and Shohone, Idaho's Amie Taber is among the ranchers along for the ride.

 


As the United States prepares for a general election complicated by the coronavirus pandemic, a new national survey finds that most Americans support making it easier to vote by mail in November.

 


A little boy in an orange shirt walks up to a grab-and-go meal site at an elementary school in Salt Lake City, Utah. A school worker wearing a mask uses a bullhorn to let kitchen staff know the boy's there. Then a staffer sets a bag lunch and some extra strawberries on a table and backs away.

 


Weekend protests drew crowds across the country including in the Mountain West, from hundreds in Boise and Reno to thousands in Denver. Some city leaders now worry such gatherings could lead to new outbreaks of COVID-19.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced Sunday that the city will be offering free tests to demonstrators. 

The Mountain West News Bureau is talking to friends and relatives of those who lost their lives to COVID-19.

Luis Frias was an international dancer who took his two daughters wherever he performed on tour. His eldest, Luisa, remembers playing on the beach in Australia and watching packed stadiums from the Superdome in New Orleans to Madison Square Garden.

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

A number of county commissioners have been challenging the constitutionality of statewide stay-at-home orders in recent weeks. The latest opposition comes from North Idaho. 

The Bonner County Board of County Commissioners on Thursday adopted a proclamation calling Idaho's second phase of stay-at-home orders "unconstitutional."

 


Forty-two states are not prepared for a pandemic-induced recession. That’s the finding of a recent analysis from Moody’s Analytics. In the Mountain West, the prognosis isn’t as bad as it might seem at first.

In July, a transgender woman in Idaho will make history. 

Adree Edmo will become the first trans inmate in the nation to receive gender confirmation surgery through a court order. Edmo's legal case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and now, a ruling in her favor stands as precedent in the 9th Circuit. 

The U.S. Census Bureau had just begun field operations when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Now, as the agency is preparing to restart, it’s focusing on rural and tribal communities.

Cheyenne Frontier Days, the world's largest outdoor rodeo, has been cancelled for the first time in its 124-year history.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a virtual town hall Tuesday that the reservation hit its peak number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and emergency room visits a few weeks early thanks to social distancing and mask-wearing.

 


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

Some rural communities in the Mountain West are reopening without the widespread testing and contact tracing needed to identify and isolate outbreaks of COVID-19. Absent federal dollars, local fundraising can help.

 



Sam Sweney said he started to worry about his dad, Bill, when he didn't hear from him for a few days.

"He hadn't called. It was strange - like I texted him and he didn't text back and usually he's a pretty avid text messenger," he said.

Researchers in Utah are in the process of testing about 10,000 people for COVID-19 and antibodies against the virus that causes it.

“People have talked about how we see the tip of the iceberg with the formalized testing that we have,” said Dr. Stephen Alder, a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of Utah and one of the project’s leaders. “We're trying to look at, ‘All right, how much of the iceberg is underwater?’ This is a good way to do that.”

When I was little, my dad and I would walk behind our house in west-central Montana and stare at the ground. And then walk. Stare. Walk. Stare. We'd do this for hours, searching for that tasty, edible and highly prized morel mushroom.


In a 7-2 ruling, the United States Supreme Court has denied Idaho’s appeal to halt the sex reassignment surgery of a transgender inmate.

Typically, grizzly bears give birth to single or twin cubs. But Grizzly 399 is not a typical bear. She's given birth to multiple sets of triplets. And this spring, the Yellowstone region's most famous bear showed up in Grand Teton National Park with four cubs by her side.

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

If you want a hearty breakfast in the small town of Thompson Falls, Montana, Minnie's Montana Cafe has you covered.

 


The Mountain West News Bureau is talking to friends and relatives of those who lost their lives to COVID-19. This memorial is for 67-year-old Nancy Heitz who was likely the first person to die in an assisted living facility in Idaho.


Pages