Amanda Peacher

Community Engagement Reporter/Producer

Amanda Peacher works with the Mountain West News Bureau on community engagement and solutions journalism projects. Before moving to San Diego, she was the bureau's Idaho-based reporter. She specializes in investigative and solutions-oriented stories about justice and the environment.

Amanda's work has been recognized with a National Edward R. Murrow award, two national Gracie awards and other honors. She is the lead reporter and host of the podcast LOCKED: a disturbing crime, a desperate act and how one case could change the way prisons treat transgender inmates. The podcast won the national Al Neuharth award for innovation in investigative journalism from the NLGJA.

Ways to Connect

Amanda Peacher / Mountain West News Bureau

When Joyce Fabre 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. Fabre 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. 

Maria Lin Kim / Unsplash

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.

 


Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests / InciWeb

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.

Shutterstock

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.

 

Jacob W. Frank / NPS

Three visitors and two concessions employees at Yellowstone National Park have tested positive for COVID-19, the park reported on Tuesday.

"Some of these visitor cases had symptoms prior to entering the park," Superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement. "If you have symptoms as your visit is approaching, do the responsible thing and don't come to the park. You end up putting our employees, health care providers, and other visitors at risk."

 

Utah Department of Corrections

Tami Peay's husband is incarcerated in a Utah state prison for an illegal drugs conviction, and she hasn't seen him in more than four months. She used to see him at least once a week. But that was before visitations were nixed due to COVID-19.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Nationally, the domestic abuse hotline has seen an uptick in calls since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and that trend is reflected across the Mountain West.

In Idaho, for example, the Women and Children's Alliance saw a 194% increase in calls to its domestic violence hotline in April, according to the group's communications director, Chris Davis.

Sean Pyle / Flickr

The coronavirus pandemic has forced small businesses to deal with a lot of challenges they don’t normally confront.

“We have dealt with everything from HR issues, what to do when there are employee furloughs that are required, how to navigate different loan assistance programs, says Tara Malek, with the Idaho law firm Smith + Malek. “We’ve even talked to folks about contracting issues that they have with vendors. How do they negotiate or deal with vendors if there’s no revenue coming in to business?” 

National Cancer Institute / Unsplash


Dr. Bret Frey is an emergency room physician in Reno, Nevada, and he likens working in health care right now to fighting in a war. 

"I always thought that there was a good chance that World War III would happen in some form in my lifetime, I just didn't appreciate it was going to come in the form of a virus," Frey says.

Amanda Peacher / Boise State Public Radio

Adree Edmo’s legal victory is a huge deal for her, but also for prisons and for transgender inmates like her.


Courtesy Izabela Ragan

Scientists at Colorado State University have developed a way to make sure blood transfusions don't transmit the COVID-19 virus, according to a new study.

 

Evan Wise / Unsplash

The National Bureau of Economic Research announced Monday that the U.S. economy officially entered a recession in February. 

Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio

There have been more than 40,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in prisons and jails across 47 states. Only Idaho and Wyoming, as well as Hawaii, have yet to see a confirmed case within the inmate population in state correctional facilities, according to the nonprofit journalist outlet the Marshall Project

 

Maria Ziegler / Unsplash

As employers continue to lay off workers at unprecedented levels, every state in the Mountain West has some kind of rent assistance program in place. Low-income housing advocates hope those programs, and their funding, can keep up with the ongoing need.

Denver Public Schools / Twitter

A little boy in an orange shirt walks up to a grab-and-go meal site at an elementary school in Salt Lake City, Utah. A school worker wearing a mask uses a bullhorn to let kitchen staff know the boy's there. Then a staffer sets a bag lunch and some extra strawberries on a table and backs away.

 

Black and Pink / Facebook

In July, a transgender woman in Idaho will make history. 

Adree Edmo will become the first trans inmate in the nation to receive gender confirmation surgery through a court order. Edmo's legal case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and now, a ruling in her favor stands as precedent in the 9th Circuit. 

Patrick Semansky / AP Images

The U.S. Supreme Court just denied the state of Idaho’s request to suspend Adree Edmo’s surgery. Here's what that means for the case — and for Adree. 

 


Black and Pink / Facebook

In a 7-2 ruling, the United States Supreme Court has denied Idaho’s appeal to halt the sex reassignment surgery of a transgender inmate.

National Cancer Institute / Unsplash

A few weeks ago, Lesley Dickson, a psychiatrist in Las Vegas, says she started feeling concerned for the hospital workers treating COVID-19 patients. 

Pages