Best of the West: Wildfires in six states, Western Governors University milestone, best places to live

Wildfires, The West

The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are the western stories for the week starting July 10, 2017, that you don't want to miss.

Wildfires swept through a half-dozen western states this week, including California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Oregon and Montana. While most of these blazes are now under control, the funding for fighting wildfires is an ongoing challenge.

High Country News examined the issue of “fire-borrowing”, a practice that shifts funding from fire suppression efforts to firefighting and results in less funding for wildfire mitigation. The article notes Western Governors’ Association extensive outreach to congressional leaders and goal of a “comprehensive" solution that will "address capacity constraints and allow for a predictable program of work for agencies to fulfill their management responsibilities.”

Read a letter from Western Governors urging Congress to put an end to the current funding situation that allows wildfires to burn through fire prevention funds. 

Cheers to 20 Years: Some of the founders of Western Governors University – including former Western Governors Mike Leavitt of Utah, Roy Romer of Colorado, and Jim Geringer of Wyoming -- are joining the nonprofit, online university as it celebrates its 20th anniversary this week in Salt Lake City. Created by the Western Governors’ Association, the university now boasts more than 82,000 students and 87,000 graduates. Learn more about the governors' vision to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education for busy adults using technology, and tune in to the event livestream at 3 p.m. MDT Friday, July 14.

Good for Business: Eight of the top 20 states for business are in the West, according to a study by CNBC. Washington, Texas, Colorado, Utah, Nebraska, Oregon, North Dakota, and Idaho all scored highly on metrics across 10 categories important to attracting businesses, such as workforce and infrastructure. To learn more about the study’s methodology and how states stack up, read the full rankings. 

No Place Like Home: Outside Magazine released its annual “Best Towns” list, and it’s no surprise that 15 of the 25 selected communities are in western states. Access to outdoor recreation earned high marks for many of the towns, such as Spearfish, South Dakota, which took home the title of “Best Makeover from Pit Stop to Playground.” See if your city made the list, and read how the special advisory council was selected. 

2017 Annual Meeting: Highlights abounded at our recent Annual Meeting in Whitefish, hosted by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock. Listen to keynoter Frank Luntz talk about ‘words that work’, watch a TV report on the meeting’s opening day, and read about the resolutions approved.

Get more news about the West and its governors by following the Western Governors' Association on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.


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