Amanda Merfeld

Production Assistant

Amanda is a Montana native with an eclectic work experience that includes firefighting and space shuttle recovery with the Forest Service, recycling with Ravalli Services, and coordinator for RSVP. She has also spent 3 years in South Korea as a journalist for the U.S. Army, focusing on print and photojournalism, and public relations.

Currently, she lives in Billings and majors in Public Relations with a minor in Political Science at MSU Billings. She started working part-time for YPR in March 2017 as part of MSU-B’s work-study program.

Yellowstone Public Radio is a natural fit for her, and she hopes to do very similar work after graduation. 

Annie E. Casey Foundation

More Montana children are covered by health insurance according to the latest KIDS COUNT profile. However, the current report has troubling data on child and teen death.

KIDS COUNT is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation that tracks the well-being of children in the United States. Jennifer Calder of Montana KIDS COUNT said the statistics for 2015 are grim.

Jennifer Strickland, USFWS

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed an order to review federal efforts to conserve imperiled sage grouse populations across 11 western states.

The action taken late yesterday. The order is meant to improve sage grouse conservation and collaboration between the federal government, states and local communities.  He told reporters during a conference call he has heard concern from some governors and residents that their suggestions are falling on deaf ears.

Courtesy of Nick Ferrington

For time immemorial, political and social happenings often fuel folks prone to fiery bursts of creativity. For full-time party DJ and producer Nick Ferrington, who's also known as DJ Nick Minaj, the audio of Greg Gianforte assaulting reporter Ben Jacobs sparked the brand new dance track Gianforte (Bodyslam).


Rachel Hergett

*Updated Thurs. 5/25 at 2:30 p.m. 

GOP Candidate Greg Gianforte faces misdemeanor assault charges for "body slamming" a reporter for The Guardian at his campaign headquarters last night, on the eve of today’s special election to fill Montana’s lone U.S. House Seat. He must appear in Gallatin County Justice Court by June 7. 

Crime reporter Whitney Bermes for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle first heard the assault report on a police scanner, as she was packing up to leave the newsroom and go home for the evening.

Anne Helen Petersen/Anne Helen Petersen

Montanans are not the only ones interested in the upcoming special election. BuzzFeed Senior Culture Writer Anne Helen Petersen recently wrote about what the nation ought to learn from the race to fill the state's lone House seat. She’s joined in conversation by YPR’s Brie Ripley.

  

Kay Erickson

The head of the National Governors Associations says there’s bi-partisan consensus that infrastructure has been neglected. Scott Pattison says infrastructure includes everything from broadband to road and bridges.  

“We've neglected it long enough that we were looking at hundreds of billions of needs. You can't just magically come up with the money for that,” said Pattison.

MSU Billings

The microbrew craze is hitting some of the campuses in the Montana University System. Two campuses offer programs to teach brewing and a bill allowing campus’ to have an academic brewer license and to have a small sampling room, is making its way through Montana State Legislature.

The bill currently only includes Flathead Valley Community College after the state Senate amended the bill, striking Montana University System from the language and adding FVCC, because the Senate Business and Labor Committee didn’t know that Montana State University Billings already has a brew program.

(Flickr/https://flic.kr/p/bc5PF8)

U.S. Senator Steve Daines recently returned from a trip to Asia, where he discussed trade, in particular—beef. Daines is hopeful China will soon resume U.S. beef imports the Republican announced during a press call with reporters.

Jackie Yamanaka

Over past legislative sessions, lawmakers have given no love to the proposal to build a new home for the Montana Historical Society no love.

This time, supporters are taking a different tack. Instead of tucking funding into an omnibus bonding bill, supporters have their own bill and their own funding stream.

(WildEarth Guardians)

The Northern Cheyenne tribe, along with a coalition of conservation groups, sued the Trump administration Wednesday for lifting a moratorium on coal leases on public lands.

The southeastern Montana tribe filed the lawsuit in response to Interior Secretary Zinke’s decision to lift the moratorium on coal leasing.

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