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Mountain West News Bureau

Support for news stories from Mountain West News Bureau comes from Kalamaya – Goscha, a boutique mountain law firm specializing in family law, criminal law, and personal injury.

Janet Yellen is President Joe Biden's pick to be treasury secretary. And she's been a big proponent of a carbon tax.



Rebecca Travers lives in Casper, Wyo. Until late last year, the 42-year-old had been working at a non-profit that helps volunteer organizations across the state.

This is the fifth story in the Mountain West News Bureau series "Elevated Risk," a project powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Until recently, Logan Dailey was a deputy sheriff in rural Cherry County, Nebraska. But today, he's the managing editor and reporter for four rural news outlets and a farming business publication based in Wyoming.

This is the fourth story in the Mountain West News Bureau series "Elevated Risk," a project powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Moses Lake is a hard-scrabble, working-class community out in the dry, flat scablands of eastern Washington. Ywhna Bin Wahid is taking me on a tour downtown.

This is the third story in the Mountain West News Bureau series "Elevated Risk," a project powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

A windswept valley cuts through the heart of Lethbridge, Alberta, about an hour north of the border. That wind is what the small prairie city has long been known for. The local hockey team is called the Hurricanes.

But these days Lethbridge is known for something else too – crime. The city of 100,000 tops Canada's Crime Severity Index. And as the crime rate has risen, so has the police's use of force.

This is the second story in the Mountain West News Bureau series "Elevated Risk," a project powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Cole Stump was a Montanan, through and through. The 29-year-old citizen of the Chippewa-Cree Tribe was raised on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation in the north-central part of the state and had family ties to the Fort Peck Reservation in the northeast corner. He was a loving father of five and a skilled ranch hand.

This is the first story in the Mountain West News Bureau series "Elevated Risk," a project powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Last summer, parks and streets across the country filled with the sound of violins. They were played by people protesting the death of 23-year-old violinist Elijah McClain. The young black man was walking home from a convenience store in Aurora, Colo. when he was stopped by the police after someone called saying he looked "sketchy."

Matthew Frank / Mountain West News Bureau

The insurrection in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 stunned the nation and the world. Many lawmakers in the Mountain West played a role in this unprecedented moment in history – whether they have decried President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn a free and fair election or supported his baseless claims.

Prominent Republicans in the region including Sen. Mitt Romney from Utah and Rep. Liz Cheney in Wyoming have condemned the president's conspiracy theories.

Lauren Boebert for Congress

Updated 1:50 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 10

A newly elected congresswoman from Colorado says she’ll carry a handgun on Capitol Hill.

"Even though I now live in one of the most liberal cities in America, I refuse to give up my rights – especially my Second Amendment rights," said Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., in a slickly produced video posted to Twitter Sunday.

Courtesy Nevada Public Health

Dulce Leyva is a bilingual contact tracer who lives in Reno, Nevada. Her job is to reach out to people who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and make sure they're self-isolating. And she tries to help them remember who they've been around and could have been exposed to the virus.

 

The Food Bank for Larimer County’s warehouse in Loveland looks like a factory assembly line. People are busy preparing and packing provisions for when the doors open in an hour.

"Cookies, protein bars, coffee – a little of everything," says volunteer Ruben Marez. "I kind of like to mix and match."

Every year Marez travels to volunteer with the Red Cross and help with disaster relief. This year, he decided he was needed close to home and began volunteering at the onset of the pandemic.

The Sony Handycam, of all things, foretold what may soon be a massive mine on public lands in Nevada.

In the early 1990s, the camcorder became the first product to use lithium-ion batteries commercially. Since then, the technology has been used to power our laptops, smartphones, and now electric vehicles and homes.


Soon after she was elected as one of America's first Indigenous congresswomen in 2018, New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland paid a visit to her constituents at the Pueblo of Sandia, just outside of Albuquerque. 

"She came to the Pueblo for one of our feast days," said Stephine Poston, a tribal citizen and advocate for Native women leadership. "And the young girls, a couple of them were following her around and she stopped to talk to them. It was an amazing thing to see and witness." 

Poston said Haaland may as well have been a celebrity to those girls, but she didn't act like one. 

"She's just that person who will stop and see you," Poston said. 

And she said that's how Pueblo people, and Indigenous people across the country, have been feeling since Haaland was nominated to lead the Department of the Interior: Seen.

Panic buying has slowed down considerably since this spring, but one thing still lingering is higher demand for meat that's easier for people to cook themselves.


Indoor dining is allowed across the Mountain West. But new research shows that even with current social distancing guidelines, the coronavirus can spread easily inside restaurants.

The U.S. hit a horrific milestone this week: More than 3,000 COVID-19 fatalities in just one day. But rising deaths do not necessarily translate into rising concern.


On the heels of a federal judge’s ruling to fully restore DACA, advocates in the Mountain West are hearing from an outpouring of young people hoping to apply for the first time.

Adriel Orozco, an immigration attorney and executive director of the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center, says the majority of calls his law office is receiving are from potential first-time applicants.

He says the ruling brings some measure of relief after the uncertainty of the past few years, which have caused “heartache for our community.”

In April, Google and Apple launched software that state health authorities can use to build COVID-19 contact tracing apps. But fewer than half of U.S. states have taken advantage, and most people living in those states aren't putting the apps to use.

In the Mountain West, Colorado's Exposure Notifications app has had the most success, with about 20% of the state's population having downloaded it. But fewer than 3% of Wyoming and Nevada residents have downloaded their states' smartphone apps.

Researchers Draw Link Between Eviction And COVID-19 Cases And Deaths

Dec 9, 2020

Evictions have cascading effects, and researchers have found they could be fatal during the COVID-19 pandemic. A new study draws the connection between a lack of stable housing and an increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Efforts to save a rugged and iconic tree of the American West are in the spotlight after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the whitebark pine as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

The tree is vital to ecosystems around the West. In seven states and Canada, it stretches across more than 80 million acres of land in areas where other conifer trees can't survive.

States only have a few weeks left to spend federal COVID-19 relief funds, which is spurring lawmakers around the Mountain West to pass major aid deals now.


Despite a drop in confirmed COVID-19 cases across the Mountain West last week, public health officials are warning folks not to breathe a sigh of relief.

"Here [in Utah] a lot of the facilities that were doing testing were closed completely on Thanksgiving," said Utah Department of Health spokesperson Charla Haley. "I think that had a big impact on the smaller numbers of people testing positive as well as people just being tested in general."

The Mountain West is facing a hospitalization crisis, and even states that cracked down early are feeling the effects of those that didn't.

In Washington State, the frustration is palpable.


A voting machine company based in the Mountain West has become the center of an unfounded conspiracy theory propagated by the president intended to shed doubt on the presidential election.


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.

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.

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. 

A newly peer-reviewed online tool allows people to assess the risk of going out to a restaurant, a bar or a dinner party during the pandemic. And the numbers across our region don’t look good.

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

  

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.

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