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 is from a small cow 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.

Support for our series Private Prison: Locking Down The Facts came from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a nonprofit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting and education around the globe.

It was the early 2000s, and the largest prison in Idaho was run by the private company Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA. The state had also started sending prisoners to a private facility in Texas run by GEO Group.


The Bureau of Land Management’s plan to move its headquarters out west is costing the agency around half the employees asked to make the move, according to a new report from federal watchdog Government Accountability Office.


It’s no secret that Michael Bloomberg is spending a lot on his Democratic presidential campaign, from Super Bowl ads to social media influencers. But he’s also spending a lot of that money to hire staff in the Mountain West. 


Light pollution is usually associated with big towns and cities. But a new kind of light pollution map shows it’s also a problem in rural areas, including in the Mountain West.

 


Nearly 40 hospitals in the Mountain West are being penalized for having high rates of infections, patient injuries or other complications from hospital stays. That’s according to data released last week from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.


A new survey by the philanthropic arm of the Outdoor Industry Association shows that more people are recreating outdoors, but fewer are doing so regularly. And nearly half of Americans surveyed didn’t participate in outdoor recreation at all in 2018.

 


Rural economies could get a massive boost under policies meant to decrease carbon emissions, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank.

 


Mix gelatin, sand and cyanobacteria and what do you get? A solid building material with a low carbon footprint.

It was a dry start to the year for some mountain ranges in the region, but recent storms brought most Mountain West snowpack levels back to normal.

 


New research shows that you don’t need a big population to foster innovation.

 


A new study casts doubt on the safety of state abortion laws in the Mountain West.

Epi’s is a Basque restaurant in Meridian Idaho, just west of Boise. In mid-morning, things are still pretty quiet, but owner Eric McFarland and a few others are prepping food.


It’s nearly Thanksgiving, which means extra food — and extra food waste. But one man’s garbage is another’s renewable energy.


A report published last week graded 506 cities around the U.S. on how inclusive their towns are to the LGBTQ community, and cities in the Mountain West are all over the map.

 


The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will be discussing bills to fund programs that help pay for public schools and infrastructure in rural areas this Thursday.


The 2020 census count is coming, and it will determine where funding goes for things like schools, emergency services and health care. For the last several census counts, though, American Indians and Alaska Natives were the most undercounted ethnic group, limiting their access to funds.

 


Drew Eggers stood at the edge of one of his stubble fields when he plucked a patch of mint left over from harvest.

“You can smell the spearmint,” he said, offering it up for a sniff.


Ski and snowboard season is already here.

 


Researchers out of Colorado are hoping to map the entire earth with a new type of laser technology, and climate change is driving the effort. 

A study published this week in the journal Science found that the bird population in the U.S. and Canada has fallen by nearly 30%, or 3 billion birds, over the past 48 years.

 


California is king of U.S. agriculture. But on a per capita basis, no state brings in more farm revenue than Idaho.


Pharmaceutical companies are facing scrutiny over the opioid crisis, but that hasn’t stopped them from giving millions of dollars to members of Congress, including many in the Mountain West.

Federal agencies are trying to tackle the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women after years of extremely limited record-keeping and uncoordinated attempts to address these crimes. 


Wildfires are still burning across the Mountain West, but far fewer than in the last few years.


A standard river barge can hold about the same amount as 60 semitrucks. In early June, 642 of them had floated to a standstill near American Commercial Barge Line's office outside Cairo, Ill.

"That's just me. That's not the other fleets in the area," said Mark Glaab, facility manager there. "That's just ACBL."

It’s been five years since the last ag census. Since 2012, the U.S. has lost about 70,000 farms, saw the average age of farmers go up and prices for certain commodities go down.

Updated at 3 p.m. Dec. 20 with Trump signing legislation — The long-awaited final version of the farm bill was unveiled Monday night, and it hews somewhat closely to the previous piece of massive legislation — aside from legalizing hemp on a national level. 

Pesticides are all over, from backyard gardens to cornfields. While their use doesn’t appear to be slowing, concern over drift and the resulting effects on health is driving research — and more worries.

Those concerns are bringing pesticides to a different venue: courtrooms.