Montana Public Radio

Kayla Desroches

Kayla Desroches reports for Yellowstone Public Radio in Billings. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and stayed in the city for college, where she hosted a radio show that featured serialized dramas like the Shadow and Suspense. In her pathway to full employment, she interned at WNYC in New York City and KTOO in Juneau, Alaska. She then spent a few years on the island of Kodiak, Alaska, where she transitioned from reporter to news director before moving to Montana.

An online exhibit from the Western Heritage Center in Billings will show just how locals are feeling about the coronavirus pandemic. It’s called “Art in Isolation: Response to COVID-19.”

Lauren Hunley with the Western Heritage Center says the exhibit has nearly 170 unique and original pieces of art by Montanans expressing such emotions as anger, gratitude, humor and spirituality during the coronavirus pandemic.

Environmental groups allege a southwestern Montana water district is illegally polluting the West Fork of the Gallatin River.

On Wednesday, the groups sent a 60-day notice of intent to sue the Big Sky County Water and Sewer District for violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

Native American tribes are taking varied approaches to Gov. Steve Bullock’s announcement Wednesday that Montana will lift the statewide stay at home order.

Some plan to align local restrictions with the state, while others will forge their own path.

The novel coronavirus has canceled many aspects of regular order, but city and state governments are still making decisions that might outlast the current pandemic.

YPR News’ Kayla Desroches has been reporting on how elected officials are balancing social distancing guidelines with the public’s right to open government. She shared her reporting with Nicky Ouellet.

A federal judge in Montana Thursday heard arguments but made no ruling on tribes’ suit to halt construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The hearing was part of an ongoing lawsuit the Fort Belknap Indian community in Montana and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota brought against developer TC Energy and President Donald Trump.

Editor's Note April 21, 2020: PSC counsel Zack Rogala's name was mispelled in a previous version of this article and has since been corrected.

A Montana regulatory body on Apr. 14 fell victim to an instance of teleconference hijacking, also called “zoombombing,” which interrupted public comment and delayed commissioners’ decision making.

The Montana Public Service Commission turned to remote teleconferencing in late March to maintain social distancing during the coronavirus. The commission has been using the popular Zoom platform to hold public meetings.


A survey released on Apr. 13 shows a majority of Montanans support public lands, even amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

Montana’s largest electric utility says another company is hedging in on its plan to purchase a greater share of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant. 


The commission that regulates energy in Montana shot down a proposal on Apr. 7 to sponsor a forum that would have discussed climate change as a man-made phenomenon.

Like many other essential industries in Montana, the state’s energy sector continues the daily grind amid concerns over the COVID-19 illness. YPR News’s Kayla Desroches has been reporting on oil, gas and coal production and she shares her reporting with us now.

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