Mountain West News Bureau | KUNR

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

Contributing stations include KUNR in Nevada, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, Nevada Public Radio, the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana and Wyoming Public Media, 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.

Vaccination rates remain low in many parts of our region, especially Wyoming and Idaho. But public health officials hope the FDA's full approval of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine will encourage residents who are hesitant or unwilling.

Alex Hernandez is talking over Zoom about how hot her apartment in Denver is. But she's not there, because it's too hot. She's across the street at Finley's, where there's air conditioning - and cold beer.

"It's a pub, super teeny weeny, but it's super cute," she says.

This is Alex Hernandez's first summer living in Denver. She moved in the spring from Wyoming, and one of the biggest adjustments has been dealing with the heat.

"I feel like it's just, like, a matter of strategy," she says. "Like you're planning your whole life around these extreme temperatures."

Rex Steninger began his speech with some blunt words.

“I’m at a very sad point in my life right now because I do not believe a single thing our government tells us,” he said to applause. “They have proven themselves to be liars over and over again and the media covers for them.”

A federal judge in Nevada has struck down a law that targets some immigrants who come to the country illegally.

Section 1326 in U.S. law says if you were denied entry to the U.S. or were deported at some point, simply entering the country becomes a crime.

Nevada district court judge Miranda Du struck it down, saying it violates the Constitution because of its racist, anti-Mexican origins in the late 1920’s, even though the law was reenacted under a different name in 1952.

Federal Wildland Firefighters Get Pay Boost

Aug 21, 2021

Starting this week, base wages for federal wildland firefighters will increase to at least $15 an hour, a raise that applies to roughly 15,000 firefighters employed by the U.S. Forest Service and Interior Department. It was previously $13.45.

As of this week, the National Park Service is requiring everyone – regardless of vaccination status – to wear masks in national park facilities, public transport systems and in crowded outside areas.

Denise Germann is with Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. She said that means masks are needed anywhere there’s a tight crowd.

News Brief

Tourists travel from around the world to experience the Mountain West’s dark sky parks and Idaho’s dark sky reserve. From these remote landscapes, you can see stars you couldn’t over bright city lights, and remember how small we are in the grand scheme of things. That is, until wildfire season.

News Brief

Researchers say the Biden administration’s plan to permanently boost the food aid program SNAP, announced this week, is a significant step in addressing the Mountain West's deepening economic inequality.

Beginning in October, people receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits will see an average increase of $36.24 per month, or $1.19 per day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

At least 19 people have died in tribal jails overseen by the federal government since 2016, according to an investigation by NPR and the Mountain West News Bureau. As part of our ongoing coverage of mistreatment of inmates on reservations, the bureau is highlighting some of the victims and the circumstances around their deaths, which reflect decades of mismanagement, neglect and poor training.

At least 19 people have died in tribal jails overseen by the federal government since 2016, according to an investigation by NPR and the Mountain West News Bureau. As part of our ongoing coverage of mistreatment of inmates on reservations, the bureau is highlighting some of the victims and the circumstances around their deaths, which reflect decades of mismanagement, neglect and poor training.

News brief

The Las Vegas Raiders are one of the first NFL teams to require fans to show proof of vaccination if they want to attend home games this season. Unvaccinated people can also get a first shot on site and wear a mask at games until they are fully vaccinated.

“It’s not just about you. It’s about the person sitting next to you,” said Raiders owner Mark Davis at a press conference Tuesday. “That’s who we are trying to protect as well.”

At least 19 people have died in tribal jails overseen by the federal government since 2016, according to an investigation by NPR and the Mountain West News Bureau. As part of our ongoing coverage of mistreatment of inmates on reservations, the bureau is highlighting some of the victims and the circumstances around their deaths, which reflect decades of mismanagement, neglect and poor training.

At least 19 people have died in tribal jails overseen by the federal government since 2016, according to an investigation by NPR and the Mountain West News Bureau. As part of our ongoing coverage of mistreatment of inmates on reservations, the bureau is highlighting some of the victims and the circumstances around their deaths, which reflect decades of mismanagement, neglect and poor training.

Two Western cities registered the poorest air quality in the world over the last week as smoke from wildfires in northern California turned the skies over the Rocky Mountains into a chalky white abyss. On July 7, Denver’s air was the worst among international cities, according to IQAir.com. Salt Lake City was No. 1 the day prior.

University of Utah atmospheric scientist Derek Mallia says such pollution levels in these Mountain West cities is “unprecedented.”

It’s obvious that gun owners and non-gun owners often disagree on gun policy, but recent Pew Research surveys show they share some opinions, too.

The divisions are where you might expect them: Pew found that most gun owners oppose bans on assault-style weapons or on high-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Most non-gun owners support those bans.

If you’re trying to stock up on ice for a backyard get-together or river trip, you may have to plan ahead. Stores in states including Idaho, Colorado and Montana are having ice shortages and capping how many bags you can buy.

Some ice companies are doing just fine. But many others are struggling to keep up with demand.

When you call the national chain Reddy Ice, a robotic voice tells you, “Due to unprecedented demand and nationwide labor shortages, you may experience longer than average hold and delivery times.”

Camping season and wildfire season overlap. But smoke doesn't appear to scare off many campers on public lands, according to a new report from the non-profit research firm Resources for the Future.

By comparing campground data in the West to wildfire, smoke, and air quality data over a ten-year period, the researchers found that campground use declines in response to fire and smoke–but by very little.

News Brief

States around the Mountain West are seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases, and it’s started to affect some tribes, too.

“Of course you’re going to see an uptick in cases when you live all around hotspots,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

The Navajo Nation’s increase in cases is modest compared to surges in states like Arizona, though. There were 25 cases and three deaths across the Navajo Nation on Saturday and 10 more cases on Sunday.

News Brief

As western states battle thousands of acres of wildfires that are degrading air quality across the country, President Biden acknowledged a reality for many living in the Mountain West: the profound costs of fighting fires.

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