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

Flickr Creative Commons/Menards Casper

Wyoming's unemployment rate spiked 350 percent in the last few weeks, an unprecedented rate that puts it as one of the hardest hit states in the country.

This week's Wyoming Workforce Services' report shows 4,652 new people have applied for unemployment, 900 more than the week before, and 6,010 continued claims from people who'd already filed them, 1,811 more than the week before.

Flickr Creative Commons/lucas-dtown2

The number of unemployment insurance claims has spiked due to the number of people getting laid off in response to the pandemic, mostly in the leisure and hospitality industry, according to a special report by the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services released last week.

Samira Caamano

On Friday, Governor Mark Gordon and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow extended a recommendation for all Wyoming schools to shut down until at least April 17 in hopes of slowing the spread of coronavirus. Some schools have been on Spring Break and the closures just felt like an extra-long vacation…at first.

But lots of parents were left wondering whether they were now responsible to homeschool.

As the COVID-19 pandemic ramps up, there's concern that health care workers and other essential personnel will have trouble finding reliable childcare. So, the Wyoming Department of Family Services spent last weekend creating a map of all the childcare centers that are still up and running.

Justin Farrell

A book out this month takes an unusual look at the role of the rich in American West, examining it through interviews with the super wealthy living in Teton County.

Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards sat down with author and sociologist Justin Farrell to talk about what he learned while researching Billionaire Wilderness: The Ultra-Wealthy and the Remaking of the American West.

Princeton University Press

Compared to elsewhere in the country, the disparity between the rich and the poor is widest in Teton County, and a new book takes a sociological look at the problem.

Melodie Edwards

The Holy Grail in the fight to stop climate change is reaching a bipartisan solution. To reach that end, the group Citizen Climate Lobby sent their regional director Bill Barron around Wyoming this month to engage in community conversation.

At his stop in Laramie, Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards sat down with Barron to hear about the proposal his organization says is already drawing consensus from many sides: a bipartisan bill proposing a carbon fee and dividend plan. The group is putting together action teams in the state too. You can learn more at their website

CJ Oliver/Flickr Creative Commons

Housing in tribal communities across the country has led to numerous social problems, including those in Wyoming. On the Wind River Reservation, it has led to a severe housing shortage with overcrowding in the homes that are available and to homelessness in the community. Housing stock has grown old and is falling into disrepair and about 600 new housing units are needed to fill the need.

Melodie Edwards

It isn't easy keeping America's folk arts alive, but the Wyoming Arts Council has been doing their best to preserve Wyoming's. Each year, they give out grants to folk artists who pass on their knowledge to the next generation.

Jack Mease braids rawhide to create beautiful horse tack like reins and hackamores, and now has taught numerous students, including Soliana Abernathy. Mease and Abernathy were among last year's recipients of the Wyoming Arts Council's Folk and Traditional Art Mentoring grant. You can see Mease's work at the State Museum in Cheyenne.

Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards visited Mease's workshop in Lander.

U.S. Capitol Building
Public Domain

Listen to the full show here.

Two Wyoming Republicans Are Playing A Role In The Impeachment Debate

Two Wyoming lawmakers are playing key roles in the impeachment saga slowly unfolding in Washington. Correspondent Matt Laslo has the details from the nation’s capital.

Ian Murphy

Writer Alexandra Fuller has penned numerous memoirs about her childhood growing up in war-torn Africa in a family constantly scrambling to find stability, and now Fuller has released a new book called Travel Light, Move Fast. It chronicles both her father's death in a Budapest hospital and the horror of her son's death soon after.

Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards sat down with Fuller at her home in Jackson to talk about how, as she gets older, it's even more necessary to process such trauma by writing about it.

USGS

The Wyoming State Engineer's Office recently heard a proposal to drill eight high-capacity water wells in Laramie County, and now 17 ranchers and farmers in the area are protesting.

Jingerwas/Flickr Creative Commons

This is the last week the public can comment on four options in an amended plan for how prairie dogs are managed on the Thunder Basin National Grasslands. Some wildlife groups hope to build their population in hopes of eventually re-introducing the endangered black footed ferret there since the prairie dogs are their main food source.

Wyoming is once again the state with the highest rate of workplace-related deaths according to a new report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Wyoming's Workforce Services. Last year, it was third. 31 workers died on the job in 2018 compared to 20 the year before. 

Go. See. Do.

Jackson-based writer Alexandra Fuller has released a new memoir that strives to reckon with her grief at the deaths of both her father and her son in close succession. 

United Nations

For the last couple of weeks, world leaders have been convening in Madrid, Spain for the United Nations' summit on climate change. Among them was a delegation of Indigenous youth. Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards caught up with one of the delegates who is there representing the Wind River Reservation. Micah (Big Wind) Lott addressed over 500,000 people on a stage with renowned activist Greta Thunberg, and when the delegation protested at the U.S. Embassy, they were among 75 Indigenous activists, some who were arrested by Spanish police. 

Big Wind begins with an introduction in Arapaho.

Micah Lott

This week, nations are gathering in Madrid for the 25th United Nations summit on climate change and among them is a delegation of Indigenous youth. Northern Arapaho member Micah Lott, who goes by Big Wind, is among them. Over the next week, Big Wind will participate in panels describing how climate change is affecting their life back home.

Wyoming Public Media

If you listen to Wyoming Public Radio, you no doubt have heard the reoccurring promos for The Modern West. Some of you probably have checked the new and improved podcast out, but for the rest of you, podcast producer Melodie Edwards shifts into the guest chair to explain what it's all about.

Wyoming is one of the states with the most surviving glaciers in the lower 48 states. And trapped in the layers of all that ice is an intricate history of life on earth. During a visit to the University of Wyoming this week, Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards sat down to talk with geoscientist Richard Alley about what this history tells us about climate change. Alley shared a Nobel Peace Prize for his work and participated in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Catherine Wheeler

Listen to the full show here.

Cheney And Barrasso Oppose Trump's Plan For Syria

This week Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney rebuked President Trump’s strategy - or lack there of - in Syria. And she’s not alone, as Correspondent Matt Laslo reports from Washington.

Native American Education, Research, and Cultural Center

Students gather in a sunny living room in the bright red house that serves as the Native American Center on the University of Wyoming campus. They lounge on couches, feet up on coffee tables, bemoaning homework and all the usual college kid stuff. They say they don't know what they'd do without the homey-ness of this center.

Steve Johnson via https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The University of Wyoming College of Law will focus on Native American issues during its Law Week, an annual event when faculty, staff and the public share conversations on a theme. 

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