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. Noah Glick is the KUNR reporter for this partnership.

An image of a saliva collection tube
Noah Glick

Researchers in the Mountain West are hoping to pioneer a new type of COVID-19 test that requires only a person’s saliva and can easily be done at home.

The Healthy Nevada Project is a community-based population health study, the largest of its kind in the world. Researchers behind the public-private partnership have collected DNA samples from the saliva of 50,000 Nevadans, with the goal of reaching a million samples statewide.

An image of a hospital tower run by Intermountain Healthcare.
Andy D. / Flickr Creative Commons

As hospitals continue to fill up with COVID-19 patients, one major health care provider in the Mountain West announced it’s cutting pay for some of its medical staff.

Just being homeless puts you at greater risk for getting and spreading COVID-19. And several homeless residents have tested positive for the disease around the Mountain West, from Denver to Las Vegas. That’s forcing community leaders and shelter owners to take precautions.

 


Some of the nation's top polluters are now running on the honor system after the Environmental Protection Agency last week announced relaxed enforcement of environmental regulations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

You probably got a letter in the mail recently from the U.S. Census Bureau asking you to fill out its survey. And maybe you're thinking, I don't have time for this! I just lost my job and I don't know how I'm going to pay my mortgage in the next couple of months! My kids are home and they're driving me crazy!

The U.S. sport climbing team’s hopes and aspirations are on pause after the Tokyo Olympics were postponed for a year due to the COVID–19 pandemic. 

As the U.S. Forest Service prepares for the wildfire season, it must also confront COVID-19.

Already the agency's put a stop to prescribed burning. And it says it will continue fire suppression and other activities with guidance from the CDC.

Your Questions About COVID-19, Answered 

Our reporters are working hard to answer your questions about COVID-19. These responses are curated by the Mountain West News Bureau and our public media partners at America Amplified

A proposed wind farm in southern Idaho could become one of the largest in the nation.

 


Recreation-based counties are seeing higher rates of COVID-19 than other rural counties, according to an analysis from the Daily Yonder, a non-profit publication that focuses on rural issues.

Support for our series Private Prisons: Locking Down The Facts came from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting and education around the globe.

Ethel Branch is the former attorney general of the Navajo Nation. A few weeks ago, when she went grocery shopping in Flagstaff, Arizona, she noticed that the shelves were already pretty bare. That worried her. For shoppers from the nearby Navajo Nation, a grocery store can be hours away.

An image showing the entrance of the Nevada Southern Detention Center.
Google Maps

Support for our series Private Prison: Locking Down The Facts came from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting and education around the globe.

¿Qué Necesita Saber Acerca Del Coronavirus? Tenemos Respuestas

Mar 26, 2020
Una renderización del virus COVID-19.
ILUSTRACIÓN DEL CDC

Mientras los casos del coronavirus se siguen propagando por el Medio Oeste, sabemos que hay muchas preguntas acerca del virus — incluyendo cómo evitar contagiarse. También sabemos que hay mucha información incorrecta acerca del virus, así que queremos ayudarte a separar los hechos de la ficción. Envíe sus preguntas a health@wfyi.org o envíe un mensaje de texto con la palabra “eleccion” al 73224, y encontraremos las respuestas.

“The snow’s going sideways, it’s swirling,” said Billy Barr, from the abandoned silver mine he lives in almost 10,000 feet up in the Rocky Mountains.

We’re all social distancing these days, and it’s unclear when exactly that will end. But Barr has been doing this for almost 50 years. He’s the only full-time resident of Gothic, Colorado. 

“I'm the mayor and chief of police,” he said. “I hold elections every year but I don't tell anybody when they are, so it works out really well.”

Support for our series Private Prisons: Locking Down The Facts came from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting and education around the globe.

Around when I was setting up a trip to Australia to report on a private prison there, things were not looking good for the industry in my home state of Colorado. Politicians were talking about phasing them out entirely. And the GEO Group, a private prison company, announced it would close its one Colorado prison, amid concerns about staff shortages and lack of services for inmates. The state’s head of corrections was talking about the need to move away from prisons that are “stark and idle places without purpose [or] hope.”

But over on the other side of the world, there was Ravenhall, a prison run by the Australian subsidiary of that very same company, GEO. And everything about it flew in the face of the narrative I was hearing. 

Support for our series Private Prisons: Locking Down The Facts came from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting and education around the globe.

When architect Kavan Applegate was designing Ravenhall, he made sure to include things like native plants, a playground, meeting rooms with nooks to display local artifacts — even an outdoor fire pit where people could gather on special occasions. The goal, he says, was to help people “feel positive” and “embrace the opportunity for change.” 

But Ravenhall is not a yoga retreat. It’s a prison — Australia’s largest, in fact. And it’s run by the GEO Group, a private prison company based in the U.S.

COVID-19 fears have forced a lot of bars and restaurants to close across the Mountain West. That leaves workers in a tough spot. But some communities have found a creative way for would-be customers to chip in.


Support for our series Private Prison: Locking Down The Facts came from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a nonprofit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting and education around the globe.

It was the early 2000s, and the largest prison in Idaho was run by the private company Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA. The state had also started sending prisoners to a private facility in Texas run by GEO Group.


Support for our series Private Prison: Locking Down The Facts came from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting and education around the globe.

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