Mountain West News Bureau

KUNR Public Radio is a proud partner in the Mountain West News Bureau, a partnership of public media stations that serve Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Utah. The mission is to tell stories about the people, places and issues of the Mountain West. 

Contributing stations include Boise State Public Radio, Wyoming Public Media, KUER in Salt Lake City, KRCC and KUNC in Colorado, and KUNR Public Radio. 

The editor for the Mountain West News Bureau is Kate Concannon, a long-time NPR regional editor. Noah Glick is the KUNR reporter for this partnership. 

The Mountain West News Bureau is supported in part by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Regional Journalism Center program.

Mix gelatin, sand and cyanobacteria and what do you get? A solid building material with a low carbon footprint.

It was a dry start to the year for some mountain ranges in the region, but recent storms brought most Mountain West snowpack levels back to normal.

 


The United States could see tens of thousands more violent crimes per year as climate change causes warmer winters, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

The Interior Department has been trying to tackle a growing backlog of public records requests under the Trump administration, and now the agency is creating a new legal team to help with the effort. 

Flaring natural gas (largely methane) at a well site in North Dakota in 2014. The Bureau of Land Management relaxed rules regulating flared, leaked and vented methane from oil and gas operations on federal and tribal lands.
Jeffrey Peischl / CIRES

Update, Jan. 15 10:11 a.m.: The Department of Interior has provided a statement, which is now included in this story.

The Trump Administration’s Interior Department has largely ignored public comment on proposed rule changes, according to an analysis from the Center for Western Priorities.

The conservation advocacy group looked at ten proposals from Interior, including the easing of offshore drilling regulations and Endangered Species Act protections. What it found was that while more than 95% of public comments were opposed to the changes, the agency still moved forward on most of them.

Recent data shows that the U.S. had more minable oil and natural gas reserves than ever before.

Reno, Nevada was ranked first overall as the top performing metro area in 2019, according to Area Development magazine.
Jana Sayson / KUNR Public Radio

The Mountain West is home to some of the top performing metro economies in 2019, according to a recent report by Area Development magazine, a publication focused on corporate site selection.

Topping the magazine’s overall rankings is Reno, Nevada, which, as the report notes, boasts a total employment rate more than triple the national average.

Exterior of the Nevada State Legislature building in Carson City, Nevada.
Alexa Ard / KUNR Public Radio

As minimum wage goes up, suicide rates go down. That’s according to a new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The study found that increasing minimum wage by a dollar actually decreased the rate of suicide by 3.4% to 5.9% among those with a high school diploma or less. That is, those most likely working minimum-wage jobs.

Many ranchers are applauding President Donald Trump after he announced an overhaul of the nation’s bedrock environmental law on Thursday. 

New research shows that you don’t need a big population to foster innovation.

 


As the Mountain West grows and hunter numbers decline, states are finding ways to bring in more revenue to fund conservation.

The Trump administration’s latest National Preparedness Report is the first of its kind to completely ignore climate change

U.S. Department of Energy

When it comes to greenhouse gases, much of the attention is being paid to energy production. But since 2017, the transportation sector has actually been the biggest emitter nationwide.

A new study casts doubt on the safety of state abortion laws in the Mountain West.

Colorado and Utah are two of just six states nationwide that have laws allowing political campaign funds to be used for childcare expenses. But that number’s likely to climb, potentially freeing up more parents to run for office.

Phoenix Legg interviewing West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.
phoenixrisinginamerica.com

At a rally last November in Las Vegas, a reporter noted Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet’s experience leading Denver Public Schools, and asked the presidential candidate, “With your experience in the education area, [how] would you use that experience as president to help the education system?”

It’s an unremarkable question—except for the fact that it was posed by a 12-year-old.

Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade

Over the last five years, the Mountain West as a whole has experienced a spike in population, while at the same time every state in the region saw a decrease in the number of people living in poverty, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Since the 1960s, the National Park Service has partnered with nonprofit organizations to provide environmental education services to the public. But a recent audit from the U.S. Interior Department’s Office of the Inspector General found that some of these Residential Environmental Learning Centers have strayed from their original mission .

You have to be looking for Juan Pablo Mijares’s violin shop to find it. The storefront is tucked deep behind an alleyway in downtown Colorado Springs. Small details make the place feel decidedly old world, from the carved wooden sign above the entrance to the plink of violin strings that serve as door chimes. On a recent visit to Mijares’s shop, he says some of his customers declare the place is even otherworldly.

Santa Claus hands a candy cane to all riders of the Santa Train in Carson City, Nev.
Noah Glick

Around this time of year, it’s not too hard to find a holiday train ride in the Mountain West, from the North Pole Express in Heber City, Utah to the Santa Express in Horseshoe Bend, Idaho.

To get a sense of how it all works, I visit Carson City, Nev. to take a look at the different options.

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