The Mountain West News Bureau

The first 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 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.

Increased tariffs on Chinese goods will ‘devastate’ outdoor recreation companies, an industry group warned in a letter sent to President Trump Wednesday.

Teacher Pay Gap Reaches New Highs

May 20, 2019

Public school teachers are seeing historically low wages compared to workers with similar education and skills. Noah Glick found our region varies wildly according to a new report.

Last year, the weekly wages for teachers was more than 21 percent lower than those of comparable workers. That’s according to the recent analysis from the Economic Policy Institute.

About 3.8 million babies were born in the U.S. last year. That’s the lowest annual production of babies since 1986, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At the same time, fertility rates have hit record lows.

Amanda Peacher / Boise State Public Radio

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in San Francisco Thursday in the case of transgender inmate in Idaho Adree Edmo, who sued to get sex reassignment surgery. A lower court judge ruled in her favor, but the state of Idaho appealed that decision.

Where’s the beef? Not in China.

President Trump’s escalating trade beef with China has frozen plans to sell more Montana steaks, hamburgers and jerky to Chinese consumers.

Black and Pink / Facebook

On a late afternoon in September 2015, a 27-year-old transgender inmate named Adree Edmo wrote a note in her cinder block prison cell in Idaho. She wanted to be clear that what she was about to do was not an attempt at suicide.

 


Colorado just passed a bill that will create media literacy guidelines for schools. It joins Utah and a growing number of states tackling this issue.

A new report shows that nearly all national parks in the U.S. have poor air quality.

The report from the National Parks Conservation Association says that 96% of our national parks have significant air pollution problems. In fact, it says, 33 of America’s most-visited national parks are as bad as our 20 largest cities.

The Department of the Interior is continuing its push to move some agency headquarters out West by asking Congress to fund the initiative.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is asking Congress for $10.5 million in the next fiscal year for the relocation efforts. The department says it plans to choose a new western location for the Bureau of Land Management headquarters later this year. It has also signaled that it may move the U.S. Geological Survey headquarters to the Denver area.

Utah and Colorado are above the national average in preparing for disasters, according to a new state-by-state analysis released Wednesday.

The law that governs today’s hardrock mines on public lands in the West is nearly 150 years old. New legislation this week from House Democrats would enact significant reforms. 

According to a new report, climate change is now the number one concern for North American insurers.

This story was updated May 3, 2019 at 3:40 p.m.

Measles cases have reached a 19-year high in the U.S., but a bill in Colorado aimed at improving childhood vaccination rates didn’t succeed. It didn’t really fail, either. It just got mired in super-long hearings, pushback from the governor and, ultimately, a legislative schedule that ran out of time before the bill could reach the Senate.

“I’m still today trying to figure out exactly what happened,” says Rep. Kyle Mullica, who sponsored the bill.

A controversial oil and gas advisory committee has been disbanded by the Trump administration, according to an interior department spokesperson.

In a mostly symbolic move, the U.S. House voted Thursday to stop the Trump administration from exiting the Paris Climate Agreement. Meanwhile, many cities and states in the Mountain West are continuing to warm faster than the national average.

This might surprise you, but Americans seem to be losing their taste for beer. Even the dizzy growth we've seen in the microbrew industry is slowing down. Craft beer producers are trying to buck this trend, which involves figuring out how to be competitive with each other as well as the newer kid on the block: craft spirits.

Native communities say there's not enough data about how many Native women disappear or are murdered each year. Now a handful of states have assigned task forces to study the problem. Wyoming is the latest and the first in the Mountain West region, although a bill is working its way through Montana legislature that would do the same.

Wildfire season is around the corner in the Mountain West. Prescribed burns are just one way to reduce wildfire risk. That's because, in the right setting, they reduce built-up dry fuel in a controlled environment.

Plenty of studies have shown how bark beetle infestations have decimated evergreen trees throughout the Rocky Mountain region, but research scientists wanted to figure out how this tree die-off was affecting actual forest animals. Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Forest Service found that some species suffered, while others benefited.

There’s a fungus wiping out a special kind of toad that lives in the Rocky Mountains, but scientists may have a solution: a probiotic skin soak.

The boreal toad is a tough little animal, with a lifespan longer than a decade, about half of which is spent buried underneath a thick layer of snow high up in the mountains.

“They’re really impressive little guys,” says Tim Korpeta, a graduate student in biology at the University of Colorado Boulder who has recently embodied another title: toad-bather.

Last year the nation was shocked when a 9-year-old Colorado boy took his own life. A recent report says youth suicide is a public health crisis in Colorado and the numbers in the Mountain West as a whole are staggering, with some of the highest rates in the nation. At the same time, there’s a significant shortage of mental health professionals -- at crisis levels in some communities. Often, it’s mental health workers in schools who work on the front lines of this crisis.

An organization called ‘500 Women Scientists’ got its start in the Mountain West. Now, it has gone global with a database of experts who are also women.

It all started when members of the group noticed a pattern: an overabundance of something they call ‘manels.’

“They are all-male panels,” says Liz McCullagh, a neuroscientist at the University of Colorado and a member of 500 Women Scientists. “And in particular in fields where we know there’s a lot of representation of women, it’s incredibly frustrating.”

More and more Americans are living in places where the air is dangerous to breath. That's because of smog or smoke from wildfires. A new study says climate change is the culprit.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday over whether the Census may include a question about citizenship.

Dinosaur National Monument is known for its fossils and footprints. But now it could become known for its stargazing.

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