Nate Hegyi | KUNR

Nate Hegyi

Nate is UM School of Journalism reporter. He reads the news on Montana Public Radio three nights a week.

The Senate confirmation hearing for Deb Haaland, nominated to lead the Interior Department, began Tuesday. If confirmed, she'll be the nation's first Indigenous cabinet secretary and oversee federal public lands management and tribal affairs.

The House Natural Resources Committee is one of the most powerful congressional bodies when it comes to managing the West's public lands. But the committee's first meeting of the year devolved into an argument over guns. 

An image of a Nevada National Guard member in a parking lot.
Lucia Starbuck / This is Reno

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.

The Biden administration is considering an increase in royalty rates on oil, gas and coal development on public lands for the first time in more than a century.

 


This is the fourth story in the Mountain West News Bureau series "Elevated Risk," a project powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Moses Lake is a hard-scrabble, working-class community out in the dry, flat scablands of eastern Washington. Ywhna Bin Wahid is taking me on a tour downtown.

This is the first story in the Mountain West News Bureau series "Elevated Risk," a project powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Last summer, parks and streets across the country filled with the sound of violins. They were played by people protesting the death of 23-year-old violinist Elijah McClain. The young black man was walking home from a convenience store in Aurora, Colo. when he was stopped by the police after someone called saying he looked "sketchy."

The Mountain West is home to dozens of far-right extremist groups. In the wake of the U.S. Capitol riots on January 6, lawmakers are mulling how to protect the nation from domestic terrorism. Some have pushed for Congress to create a new domestic terrorism charge.

 

But this week 135 civil rights organizations came out in opposition to expanding terrorism-related legal authority.

PLSublett / Creative Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Friday, Jan. 22, 2021.

A close-up image of a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021.


Last summer, I met up with Ben Barto outside the small town of Dubois, Wyo. He's a huge Trump supporter and we were having a conversation about where he thought America was headed. 

"Revolution," he said. "I think it's headed there."

Despite a drop in confirmed COVID-19 cases across the Mountain West last week, public health officials are warning folks not to breathe a sigh of relief.

"Here [in Utah] a lot of the facilities that were doing testing were closed completely on Thanksgiving," said Utah Department of Health spokesperson Charla Haley. "I think that had a big impact on the smaller numbers of people testing positive as well as people just being tested in general."

The vaccine developed by the pharmaceutical company Moderna may be easier to distribute in the rural West, according to regional public health experts.

It can survive up to a month in a freezer, is shipped in small doses, and it doesn't need a special, ultra-cold freezer to survive – unlike the vaccine developed by the company Pfizer.


Democrats once again lost ground in much of the rural West. That includes Montana, where Republicans swept the election for the first time in at least two decades. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., will soon be the lone progressive holding federal office in the state. He's also the only working farmer in the U.S. Senate and author of a new book, Grounded: A Senator's Lessons On Winning Back Rural America. He spoke about lessons learned from November's election with reporter Nate Hegyi of the Mountain West News Bureau.

Going to a bar tonight in Boise, Idaho or Reno, Nev.?

There's about a 50-50 chance someone carrying COVID-19 will be there too.

 


While President Donald Trump's accusations of widespread voter fraud are based on no evidence, they are gaining some traction in the region. 

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., is asking his supporters via text to help fund the president's legal fight, saying, "Dems are stealing the election." 

For months it appeared that the Mountain West had COVID-19 somewhat under control. But now the positivity rate is skyrocketing in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Utah.

"I feel despair," says Christine Porter, an associate professor of public health at the University of Wyoming.

Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, is embarking on a 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the continental divide in August and September, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. You can follow along on social media, an online blog and this "Where Is He Now?" map.

Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, is embarking on a 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the continental divide in August and September, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. You can follow along on social media, an online blog and this "Where Is He Now?" map.

Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, is embarking on a 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the continental divide in August and September, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. You can follow along on social media, an online blog and this "Where Is He Now?" map.

Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, is embarking on a 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the continental divide in August and September, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. You can follow along on social media, an online blog and this "Where Is He Now?" map.

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