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, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. The mission is to tell stories about the people, places and issues of the Mountain West. 

Contributing stations include 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. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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

An illustration of different medical professionals.
elenabsl / Adobe Stock

Nevada recently hosted its annual rural health conference, with a particular focus on infrastructure as COVID-19 continues to ravage rural America.

Amid America’s racial reckoning spurred by the killing of George Floyd, a number of controversial historical monuments were torn down by protesters or removed by authorities this year, including some in the Mountain West.

As the pandemic surges across the nation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday advised against families and friends gathering for Thanksgiving. But there is one potentially safe way to see relatives and celebrate the holiday – camping.

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.


Hospitals continue to fill up across the Mountain West, and that means some patients may have nowhere to go.


The Interior Department is facing criticism for putting up barriers to conservation projects nationwide funded through the new Great American Outdoors Act.

Park visitors gather to watch the sunset at Delicate Arch in Arches National Park
National Park Service

Allegations of negligence are part of a $270 million wrongful death claim against the National Park Service after an accident in Utah’s Arches National Park earlier this year.

Back in 2018, the U.S. Geological Survey and several Western states formed the Corridor Mapping Team, a first-of-its-kind collaboration among state and federal wildlife biologists to map ungulate migrations.

Last week, the team published its first volume of maps, which document more than 40 big-game migration routes in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

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.

 


As hospitals around the Mountain West run out of space, some patients are fleeing to states that have more health mandates, which further burdens states that have been more aggressive in fighting COVID-19.


President-elect Joe Biden wants to move the U.S. away from fossil fuel development, but he will face some challenges.

  

An image of a big meadow with forests surrounding it.
Cody Reed

Researchers have found that it’s not just forests on the landscape that can help mitigate climate change. Meadows also provide an efficient way to keep carbon out of the atmosphere.

A syringe needle filling with a vaccine
Weyo / Adobe Stock

The news of a promising COVID-19 vaccine from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and the German company BioNTech is generating optimism this week.

But in the Mountain West, there will be significant challenges in storing and distributing this type of vaccine in rural areas.

Solar panels in Nevada desert
andreiorlov / Adobe Stock

The U.S. is now officially out of the Paris climate accord

Climate policy is mixed around the Mountain West, but many states are seeing action and a transition to renewable energy regardless of federal leadership. 

Intermountain Healthcare

COVID-19 is surging across the Mountain West, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America held a briefing Wednesday on the many challenges facing the region as the pandemic surge continues.


Vanessa Chavarriaga loves to be outside, whether it's floating down a river in the desert or ice skating on a frozen alpine lake. And when she posts photos of her adventures, she includes information about where exactly she was.

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." 

Un mapa formado por personas individuales.
Digital Storm / Shutterstock

Read in English.

Un nuevo estudio se suma a la creciente evidencia de que las ciudades con más inmigrantes indocumentados, no experimentan más crimen debido a ellos.

The Mountain West News Bureau is reporting on policing in our region. Data show that, as a whole, our region has a high per capita rate of law enforcement-involved fatalities. But there are big disparities among communities. Montana's Yellowstone County, for example, has one of the highest rates of police-involved fatalities, while Kootenai County, Idaho, has one of the lowest.

Why is that? Is policing in our region different? Are there different challenges in our communities? This year we’ll be reporting on our findings, and we also want to hear from you.

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