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 between Wyoming Public Media, Boise 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.

 

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.

perfectlab / Shutterstock

President Donald Trump says an executive order he signed on Saturday funds a $400 weekly supplement to unemployment benefits. But it likely won't be as helpful as it seems.


Elise Dantzler has been working in restaurants since she was 15. But, like many in her industry, she was laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That forced the 25-year-old Coloradan to rethink her living situation.

Taylar Stagner

Lately I've been spending my Wednesday mornings in Riverton City Park. With COVID-19 cases on the rise, it's safer to interview people outdoors, and I've been asking everyone I run into the same question: Is Riverton, Wyo., on the Wind River Reservation?

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Concerts and music festivals around the Mountain West have been canceled due to COVID-19, but not all of them.


Antwon McMullen / Shutterstock

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

The U.S. Census Bureau has announced it's ending the 2020 count a month early, a move that's likely to have a big impact on Indigenous communities in the West.

 

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Yale School of Public Health researchers created a simulation: a hypothetical campus of 5,000 students where 10 are asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19. They found the safest way to reopen a campus like that was to enforce strict guidelines like distancing and mask-wearing. But that wasn't enough.

Jacob W. Frank / NPS

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

Tourism to Yellowstone and Glacier national parks is humming along this summer despite the pandemic, but it appears that out-of-staters are bringing more than just their money with them.

 

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New leadership is cutting costs at the U.S. Postal Service in a way that's backing up mail around the country, and many are concerned that could impact mail-in ballots ahead of the election on November 3. In the Mountain West, how your ballot could be affected depends on where you live.

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It all started at Dr. Sanjeev Arora's clinic in New Mexico.

"One Friday afternoon, 18 years ago, I walked into my clinic in Albuquerque to see a 42-year-old woman who had driven five hours with her two children," Arora said before a recent Senate committee hearing.


Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

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

For Dr. Lori Drumm, the trouble began after she cancelled a rodeo in rural Deer Lodge, Mont.

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Democrats are pushing to turn the Senate blue this November, needing just four more seats to gain control of the chamber. Two key races are in the Mountain West.


In 2019, there wasn't a single human injury caused by a grizzly bear throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. But the number of injuries has already reached eight in 2020 - a new record for the first half of the year, as the Jackson Hole News&Guide reported last week.

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

Fake news and misinformation about the pandemic run rampant these days. One of the culprits is the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns more than a dozen popular television stations across the Mountain West.

 

Jacob W. Frank / NPS

Three visitors and two concessions employees at Yellowstone National Park have tested positive for COVID-19, the park reported on Tuesday.

"Some of these visitor cases had symptoms prior to entering the park," Superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement. "If you have symptoms as your visit is approaching, do the responsible thing and don't come to the park. You end up putting our employees, health care providers, and other visitors at risk."

 

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Meatpacking plants across the Mountain West and the country are under intense scrutiny as they continue to face COVID-19 outbreaks.


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

A physician based in Missoula, Mont., has a message for libertarian-minded skeptics of the pandemic – cowboy up and mask up.

 

Utah Department of Corrections

Tami Peay's husband is incarcerated in a Utah state prison for an illegal drugs conviction, and she hasn't seen him in more than four months. She used to see him at least once a week. But that was before visitations were nixed due to COVID-19.

Tiffany Tertipes / Unsplash

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is expected to prompt many states to use mail-in ballots this November. Voting by mail is already common in the Mountain West, though President Donald Trump continues to falsely claim it leads to rampant fraud.


Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Nationally, the domestic abuse hotline has seen an uptick in calls since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and that trend is reflected across the Mountain West.

In Idaho, for example, the Women and Children's Alliance saw a 194% increase in calls to its domestic violence hotline in April, according to the group's communications director, Chris Davis.

Tierra Mallorca / Unsplash

The economy may be on life support due to COVID-19, but housing sales across the nation soared in June, according to a report released Wednesday from the National Association of Realtors. It found that housing sales jumped about 20% nationwide compared to sales in May – the largest single-month recovery since the organization began collecting data. 

The U.S. Census is underway, and many communities of color across the nation are vulnerable to being undercounted this year.

According to a new analysis from Headwaters Economics, more than 700,000 people of color are at risk of being undercounted in the Mountain West alone.

Bureau of Land Management

The president’s controversial nominee to head the Bureau of Land Management is facing renewed pushback from Western lawmakers.


A large group of outbreak specialists say there’s been a problematic silencing of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during this pandemic. 

Russell Tate / United Nations COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 cases are still increasing around the Mountain West, and wait times to get test results are getting longer for many.


Bob Keating / CBC

This story is part of a collaboration between the Mountain West News Bureau and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Read about how a U.S. border town is responding to the shutdown here.

Paul Samycia started his fly fishing company two decades ago and has grown it into the largest in Fernie, British Columbia. But these days, Samycia's Elk River Guiding Company is adrift. 

Traditionally more than two-thirds of the company's clients are Americans, and with the border closed, Samycia says the season is almost a write-off.

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