Amanda Merfeld

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. 

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.

(Flickr/Heather) (https://flic.kr/p/gyrNx1)

The Wyoming Business Council voted unanimously Thursday to declare Washakie, Fremont and Big Horn counties disaster areas. This came in response to last year’s weather that resulted in major crop loss, economically affecting about 60 families that are represented by the Wyoming Sugar Company.

Sugar beets are third largest agricultural revenue driver for Wyoming, and when months of rain muddied farms last winter – followed by a two-week deep freeze, many crops were devastated.

Jackie Yamanaka

Senate Bill 331, like Montana’s existing resort tax, would have allowed larger municipalities to ask their voters whether to impose a sales tax on so-called luxury goods and services purchased by tourists and visitors.  This bill had a twist in that it would sunset after the identified infrastructure project was completed.


Black Violin

Billings will be welcoming a unique musical duo Black Violin, to the Alberta Bair Theater next Thursday. The high-energy group is anything but common, and bridges the divide between hip-hop and classical music.

The Miami Herald says the musical duo Black Violin “upends cultural and musical stereotypes,” and these classically-trained string musicians will bring their inventive style to Billings next week.