Melodie Edwards

Reporter

Phone: 307-766-2405
Email: medward9@uwyo.edu   

Melodie Edwards covers a wide variety of Wyoming topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture. She is currently working on a civil discourse project called, “I Respectfully Disagree,” interviewing people in the state who are modeling how people find compromise to make change. She is the recipient of a national PRNDI award for her investigation of the reservation housing crisis and several regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, two for "best use of sound."

Melodie grew up in Walden, Colorado where her father worked in the oilfield and timber industries and her mother was the editor of the Jackson County Star. She graduated with an MFA from the University of Michigan on a Colby Fellowship and received two Hopwood Awards there for fiction and nonfiction. She is the recipient of the Doubleday Wyoming Arts Council Award for Women and is the author of Hikes Around Fort Collins published by Pruett Publishing. Melodie and her husband own Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse. She also loves to putz in the garden, and hike and ski in the mountains with her daughters and her dad.

Ways to Connect

Melodie Edwards

The country’s debate over immigration is escalating, and now it’s arrived in Wyoming. A private company wants to build an immigration detention center on the outskirts of Evanston on Wyoming’s western border. This was met with great celebration by many local folks like Uinta  County Commissioner Craig Welling. To him, it means jobs.

Stephanie Joyce

  

Advocates for the Wind River tribes say they were relieved to hear that Wyoming Governor Matt Mead vetoed a bill that would have given stiff fines and jail time to protesters that blocked access to or damaged infrastructure like oil and gas facilities. 

Northern Arapaho Tribe

The Northern Arapaho Tribe has announced it will no longer use the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program but instead will self-insure tribal employees in hopes of moving toward greater tribal sovereignty. Last year, the tribe took over the management of their health clinics, too.

Sam Galeotos Campaign

Travel industry businessman Sam Galeotos, a Republican, grew up in Cheyenne and went on to serve as an executive of an airline company and eventually ran other travel-related companies including CheapTickets.com and Worldspan. 

In Wyoming, recreational use of opioid medications is most common among young adults, according to research at the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center. That’s why an addiction advocacy group is rolling out a new campaign to educate Wyoming’s youth about misinformation they might be getting about these drugs.

Laramie Range where it borders Medicine Bow National Forest
Robert Kirkwood

Five minutes from downtown Laramie, Melanie Arnett unlocks a gate. She pulls a truck through and we’re inside the 5,500-acre parcel of land that Laramie folks have been drooling to explore for years. I’m feeling pretty smug about my VIP pass.

“Right now, we’re looking right at Pilot Peak,” says Melanie Arnett, who was recently hired to serve as the Pilot Hill Land Project’s director. A local businessman, John Pope with Blue Sky Group, volunteered to pay her salary for now.

Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site

Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site near Worland in the Bighorn Mountains has been occupied by people for over 10,000 years and visitors have long flocked there to see panels of ancient rock art.

Wyoming State Parks administrator Domenic Bravo said traffic has also increased there thanks to staff-led programs, like youth hunting camps and a groomed ice rink.

Carissa Rogers / Flickr Creative Commons

More teen suicide threats than average have been reported to the emergency room in Teton County. Normally, there’s only a couple a year, but recently that number rose to 16 in a four-month period.

Previously, the hospital didn’t have an ideal space to handle such cases. It required kids to be held under guard for 24 hours and doctors and nurses weren't equipped to offer therapy.

Jim and Jamie Dutcher

Northern Wyoming might have hundreds of wolves now, but in the early 1990’s there were only a handful. So National Geographic commissioned a husband and wife filmmaking team to take a creative approach: they raised the pack from pups and lived in the wilds of Idaho amongst them.

Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards spoke with Jim and Jamie Dutcher about their new book, The Wisdom of Wolves: Lessons From The Sawtooth Pack, on what they learned from living for six years with the wolves. Jim says his inspiration for the project came from a visit to Wyoming as a kid.

Al Evan / Flickr Creative Commons

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is considering whether it’s fair to allow hunters to use new military-style smart rifles, powerful new crossbows or trail cameras that show hunters where they can find wildlife in real time.  

Department Law Enforcement Coordinator Aaron Kerr said as new technologies hit the market, the question is whether they allow an animal a fair chance to escape. 

Sheridan.edu

Tribal leaders, national policymakers and educators came together last week at Sheridan College to talk about how to decrease racial tensions on their campus. Back in September, racial slurs were written on a whiteboard on the dorm door of two Native American students there, prompting a series of discussions about how to prevent future attacks.

Northern Arapaho Chairman Roy Brown participated in the roundtable and said he commends the college for taking action.

Pennie Hunt

This is the first in a series about prescription opioid drug addiction in Wyoming.

Cheyenne resident Pennie Hunt knew her youngest son JT wasn’t like other kids. As lovable and creative as he was, she said, “He grew up kind of as the daredevil and I always worried about him.”

JT struggled with anxiety.  By the time he was 14, he was addicted to his prescription medication. At 15, he went to his first stint in an out-of-state rehab center.

Yellowstone National Park

Hunters killed the state quota of 44 wolves in Wyoming’s first wolf hunting season since endangered species protections were lifted last April. 

In 2017, under management by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a record number of 113 wolves were killed in the state to control the growing number of livestock predations.

Northern Arapaho Tribe

  

The University of Wyoming has seen a serious decline in enrollment of Native American students. The new university president set a goal to reverse that, opening a Native American Center and hired a Native American program advisor to make the campus more welcoming. And those efforts are working. But now there isn’t enough money to fund all the interested students applying.

Northern Arapaho Chairman Roy Brown said part of that is because his tribe is growing quickly: 10,300 members strong. And he said, 40 percent of those members are kids.

Northern Arapaho Tribe

At a University of Wyoming Board of Trustees meeting last week, the chairman of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, Roy Brown, made the case for giving Wyoming’s tribal students a tuition waiver.

He said, thanks to efforts to recruit more Native Americans, the Northern Arapaho Endowment Scholarship was flooded with more qualified applicants than they could serve for the first time in the scholarship's history.

Loco Steve / Flickr

Last week, lawmakers on the Select Water Committee agreed to put $40 million in their budget to build a new dam in southern Wyoming, but only if all the money for the project is identified first. The total cost of the dam is estimated at $80 million dollars.

Water Development Office Director Harry LaBonde says with more droughts expected in the future, more irrigation water is needed for about 25 different ranches along the West Fork of Battle Creek in south-central Wyoming.

Sydney Pursel

The Ucross Foundation artist residency program in northern Wyoming has announced the winner of its first Native American visual artist fellowship award. Sydney Pursel will spend a month at Ucross, receive a $1,000 stipend and show her work in their gallery.

Pursel is a member of the Iowa Tribe, and said a lot of her early work wrestled with tribal identity.

UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING

New research at the University of Wyoming shows that healthier female bighorn sheep with access to more nutritious food tend to be bigger and to raise bigger rams. The study suggests allowing hunters to kill more female bighorn sheep could reduce competition for such a nutritious diet. The study builds on other research of unhunted bighorns in California.

Willow Belden

Last year, the Wyoming Range mule deer herd died in incredibly high numbers because of record-breaking snow depths. That same snow, however, meant extra deep grasses for the surviving deer, according to Wyoming Game and Fish Department biologist Gary Fralick.

Fralick is part of the Wyoming Range Mule Deer Project’s effort to understand why the population has been declining there. He said the 2017 winterkill was the worst since the 1980s, but the hope is that this year’s (so-far) mild winter might mean the start of a recovery.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Back in November, conservative radio talk show host Dennis Prager spoke to a packed audience at the University of Wyoming. After the applause died down a bit, he said, “I’m sure not all of you feel that enthusiastic about seeing me but nevertheless…”

And it was true. Many students weren’t enthusiastic for him to come, calling some of his talks racist and sexist. In fact, they argued university money shouldn’t be used to pay for such controversial speakers.

University of Wyoming

After years of going without one, the University of Wyoming has hired a new Native American Program Advisor. President Laurie Nichols has said the goal is to try to increase the Native student enrollment so that it better reflects the Native population in the state.

University of Wyoming

At the end of last semester, the University of Wyoming hired Wind River tribal member Reinette Tendore to recruit Native American students and help them feel more welcome on campus.

The Eastern Shoshone tribe is moving to adopt the Violence Against Women Act in an effort to better prosecute sexual assaults of Native women from the Wind River Reservation. The hope is that the law will help overcome a jurisdiction gap between tribal and federal justice systems.

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Very few of the elk that winter every year on the National Elk Refuge outside Jackson are making their traditional long migration all the way to Yellowstone National Park for generations, and wildlife biologists are worried they’ll eventually forget the route altogether.

Carol Edwards

This holiday season, the Wyoming Public Radio news team is sharing stories about memories and traditions that stand out to them.

When I was in fourth grade, my belief in Santa Claus reached a fever pitch. Growing up in the isolated mountain town of Walden on the Colorado/Wyoming border, there wasn’t much else to do in the winter. But I wasn’t the only zealot. In Walden, the Christmas spirit took over like a communal madness.

Pages