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Madelyn Beck

Madelyn Beck is a regional Illinois reporter, based in Galesburg. On top of her work for Harvest Public Media, she also contributes to WVIK, Tri-States Public Radio and the Illinois Newsroom collaborative.

Beck grew up on a small cattle ranch in Manhattan, Montana. Her previous work was mostly based in the western U.S., but she has covered agriculture, environment and health issues from Alaska to Washington, D.C.

Before joining Harvest and the Illinois Newsroom, she was as an energy reporter based in Wyoming for the public radio collaborative Inside Energy. Other publications include the Idaho Mountain Express, E&E News/EnergyWire, KRBD Rainbird Radio, the Montana Broadcasters Association, Montana Public Radio and the Tioga Tribune.

  • U.S. Senators talked about the West’s drought this week and what more they could be doing to address it. About $8.3 billion from the bipartisan infrastructure package is going to water systems, but as some lawmakers noted, water is drying up faster than some projects can get off the ground.
  • U.S. life expectancy was already lower than other high-income nations and the gap was widening before 2019. Since then, things have gotten worse. New research found that in 2020, life expectancies here dropped disproportionately for marginalized, racialized populations. Especially for Native American and Alaska Native groups
  • Glacier National Park has re-instituted a mask mandate inside federal buildings, like visitor centers. Officials there say they’re following National Park Service and Interior Department guidance. That is, when the CDC reports a high level of COVID-19 community spread around a park, officials re-institute an indoor mask mandate. Other national parks could bring back mask requirements, too, if rates increase around the West.
  • The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for parts of Nevada, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona this weekend. These warnings usually last one to three days, and mean that any new wildfires could exhibit extreme behavior. If you see these warnings, take extra precautions to prevent wildfires, like make sure campfires are completely out and stop smoking.
  • Interior Secretary Deb Haaland is launching an Indian Youth Service Corps with new guidelines. The corps was established in 2019 as part of an amendment to the Public Lands Corps Act. Now, Haaland has published actual guidelines. One of its goals is fostering natural resource and land stewardship skills for young tribal members aged 16 to 30, or 35 if you’re a veteran.
  • State-run psychiatric hospitals have dozens of people coming in and then leaving days, weeks or months later. Surprisingly, most of these facilities in the Mountain West reported having far fewer COVID outbreaks and deaths than other group facilities.
  • A federal contract to investigate deaths at tribal jails went to a man who had oversight of those facilities during 6 of the deaths. Now, watchdog group Project on Government Oversight is calling on the Interior’s Office of Inspector General to investigate that contract and whether it violated rules regarding former federal employees.
  • The National Weather Service released its June outlook today. It doesn’t look great for Utah, Nevada, Colorado or New Mexico. Part of all of those states are expected to have higher than normal temperatures and lower than normal precipitation. Parts of northern Idaho and Wyoming are expected to stay cooler in June with more precipitation, but heat up later in the summer.
  • Federal reports show Memorial Day gas prices are the highest they’ve been in a decade, adjusting for inflation. Still, AAA has found that half of people won’t cancel summer vacations no matter what gas prices do. But about three quarters said they would make some general changes once gas prices hit $5 a gallon.
  • People facing high wildfire risks are more likely to be white, live in pricier homes and have higher incomes. That’s according to new research published in Environmental Research Letters. It suggests that this wealthier group is more likely to face wildfire threats because many of them seek the beautiful views and amenities on the outskirts of bigger cities in the West.