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 mountain slope with a receding snow line.
Nathan Anderson / Unsplash

In much of the West, snowpack levels have historically been one of the more reliable ways to determine whether a drought was coming. But a new study says climate change could soon make snowpack data much less reliable.


This story is powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

It's a sunny, spring afternoon and Holly Spriggs and her teenage son, Sawyer Michaud, are digging around in her giant garden outside of Lander, Wyo.

"We're working on planting some potatoes and onions before we get some moisture here," she says. 

Spriggs is having a great time, but Sawyer would rather be snowmobiling.

An image of a single oil derrick situated in the open spaces and mountains of Utah.
Bureau of Land Management

A federal report out this week shows that the Bureau of Land Management has more than halved the time spent reviewing oil and gas drilling permits, a reflection of how the agency's priorities have shifted under the Trump administration.

The Mountain West News Bureau is taking questions from listeners across the region about the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have a question, email us at mountainwestnewsbureau@gmail.com or give us a call at 208-352-2079 and leave us a message. This service is powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Hoan Nguyen lives in Salt Lake City and he's concerned his wife may be immunocompromised, making her more vulnerable to COVID-19. So Nguyen and his family have taken self-isolation very seriously.

On Monday, domestic oil prices dropped more than 200 percent, settling at -$14.05 by day's end; the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil price benchmark momentarily hit -$40.32. This marks the first time oil prices have ever dropped into the negatives.

Idaho State University has accepted more students for next year than it did for this year, but that doesn't mean it'll have more students enrolling.


Most national parks around the Mountain West remain closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. And it remains unclear when or if parks will reopen in the coming months. 

An image of a firefighter standing outside of a truck, spraying water, and wearing a facemask.
Bureau of Land Management

How are wildland firefighters expected to battle blazes during a pandemic? That's not entirely clear, but a bipartisan bill proposed by Mountain West lawmakers aims to help ensure firefighters' safety.

Allergy season is here. For many of us, that means lots of sneezing and itchy eyes. So how can you tell the difference between seasonal allergies and something more serious, like COVID-19?

A row of individual mailboxes lined up in front of greenery.
Yannik Mika / Unsplash

The U.S. Postal Service is in trouble. It was already losing billions of dollars every year. Then COVID-19 happened.

As shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders get extended further into the year, some local governments across the Mountain West are threatening jail to enforce those orders. But groups like the American Civil Liberties Union say that's the wrong approach.

An image of the exterior of a large community building.
City of Reno

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Americans have faced world wars, economic recessions, and even other pandemics. Some people have lived through all three. I sought out senior citizens to see how the COVID-19 pandemic compares to other crises – and what we might be able to learn from them.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

A small-town newspaper in the region that lost most of its staff due to the economic impacts of COVID–19 received a helping hand Friday. The Sandpoint Reader in North Idaho, a free weekly, was able to temporarily rehire its employees for the next six weeks using an influx of reader donations and the stimulus package's Paycheck Protection Program.

It’s hard to keep some items stocked in stores these days. We’ve all heard about the toilet paper shortage. But what about eggs?


A sidewalk with Quarantine Day 20 written in chalk.
Stephen A. Wolfe / Flickr Creative Commons

Data sets related to COVID-19 are everywhere. Cases, deaths, tests, hospital admissions, just to name a few. Now, researchers in the Mountain West are collecting personal stories to get a fuller understanding of the virus.

A close up image of several open house signs.
Kent Kanouse / Flickr Creative Commons

Two states in the Mountain West have banned real estate agents from holding open houses to help stem the spread of COVID-19.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak made the announcement on Wednesday, joining Colorado in the region.

A new study has found that long-term air pollution increases COVID-19 mortality rates.

 


Over the next few weeks, the Mountain West News Bureau is taking questions from listeners across the region about the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have a question, email us at mountainwestnewsbureau@gmail.com or give us a call at 208-352-2079 and leave us a message. This service is powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Most states have issued stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19. Wyoming and Utah are two of the very few remaining without statewide orders.

Over the next few weeks, the Mountain West News Bureau is taking questions from listeners across the region about the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have a question, email us at mountainwestnewsbureau@gmail.com or give us a call at 208-352-2079 and leave us a message. This service is powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative. 

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