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Amanda Peacher

Amanda Peacher is an Arthur F. Burns fellow reporting and producing in Berlin in 2013. Amanda is from Portland, Oregon, where she works as the public insight journalist for Oregon Public Broadcasting. She produces radio and online stories, data visualizations, multimedia projects, and facilitates community engagement opportunities for OPB's newsroom.

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When Joyce Farbe saw how many cars were parked at the Iron Creek Trailhead when she pulled in, she knew it would be a busy day. It was a warm, late summer morning, and her destination – Sawtooth Lake – is one of the most popular day hikes in Central Idaho. Cars were spilling out of the parking lot and lined the dirt road for a quarter mile. Farbe tightened her boot laces and pulled her backpack onto her shoulders. Before she could get going, her work began: She approached two men as they printed their name on a wilderness permit at the trailhead. 

A federal program called Pandemic EBT has been a lifeline for many low-income families recently. But unless Congress acts, it’ll expire at the end of the month.

 


The Mountain West has seen plenty of wildfires this year, but nothing like the catastrophic large fires still burning along the West Coast. That's largely thanks to a relatively wet spring.

A new report shows that the COVID-19 recession has households in the Mountain West facing high hardship rates, especially when it comes to rent and food security.

 


For days now, wildfire smoke has degraded the air quality in much of the Mountain West, and that unhealthy air is forcing tough decisions for schools that are trying to reopen.

 


Most of us have never experienced anything like the coronavirus pandemic in our lifetime, and that's especially true for children. The Mountain West News Bureau spoke with five kids about what's on their minds: 6-year-old Emerson, 10-year-old Eleanor, 11-year-old Wren, 11-year-old Brennan, and 10-year-old Olivia. Amanda Peacher shares their voices in this audio postcard.


Sound Wave Events in Boise, Idaho, is usually busy with weddings and graduation parties this time of year. But with most gatherings now canceled, the business has pivoted to block parties.

"If you told me a month ago that we would be DJing out of the back of a truck I would not have believed you," said Sound Wave owner Kristin Cole.

As the U.S. Forest Service prepares for the wildfire season, it must also confront COVID-19.

Already the agency's put a stop to prescribed burning. And it says it will continue fire suppression and other activities with guidance from the CDC.

Updated at 4:34 p.m. ET

Editor's note: This story includes accounts of self-harm.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the state of Idaho must provide gender confirmation surgery to inmate Adree Edmo.

The panel of judges agreed with U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill's ruling in Edmo's favor last December, writing that his findings were "logical and well-supported" and that "responsible prison officials were deliberately indifferent to Edmo's gender dysphoria, in violation of the Eighth Amendment."

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Forest managers are turning to video technology to help them spot wildfires before they get out of control. That means that they're turning away from fire lookouts who sit atop towers. Oregon Public Broadcasting's Amanda Peacher reports.