Nicky Ouellet

News Director

Nicky Ouellet covered Montana’s Flathead Valley at MTPR for three years before heading east to lead news coverage at Yellowstone Public Radio. She earned her Master’s in environmental and natural resource journalism at the University of Montana and studied English and Russian at Oberlin College. Prior to journalism, Nicky taught high school English on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, spent a year as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Belgorod, Russia, and taught toddlers to shred powder on the Magic Carpet.

Montana Senator Steve Daines delivers opening remarks at the annual GovMatch event in Billings on May 29.
Nicky Ouellet / Yellowstone Public Radio

Montana businesses have been awarded $500 to $700 million annually in federal government contracts over the past few years. On Wednesday companies large and small looking to win work rubbed shoulders with 40 national, state and private contractors at the annual GovMatch event in Billings.

Cows in a field
J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Japan said last week that for the first time in nearly two decades, it will accept a much broader selection of beef imports from the United States. Some producers in Montana say this could re-open a lucrative market, but others say the agreement is too little too late.

Happy news for Montana ranchers Friday as the United States and Japan reached an agreement on beef exports.

The new agreement lifts age restrictions and opens the door to an estimated $200 million annual increase of U.S. beef and beef product exports, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A horse rider overlooks the Missouri Breaks.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management,

A conservation group says the Bureau of Land Management is abandoning an option that would preserve 200,000 acres in Central Montana with wilderness characteristics.

The BLM says that’s not true, and that its new draft management plan for its lands in the area will strike a balance between development and other uses.

Senator Steve Daines
Senator Steve Daines

Montana’s Republican Senator Steve Daines on Wednesday introduced a bill to add a question about citizenship to the federal census in 2020.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, flanked by local law enforcement officials, speaks at a Project Safe Neighborhoods press conference in Billings May 8.
Nicky Ouellet

One year into a federal initiative aimed at reducing violent crime rates, law enforcement officials in Billings say they’ve curbed an upward trend.

Montana’s Democratic Senator Jon Tester spoke on the U.S. Senate floor Tuesday urging his colleagues to pass a handful of federal bills aimed at addressing what’s been called a crisis of missing and murdered Native American women and girls.

Jackie Yamanaka/YPR news

Tuesday marks the first election in Montana under a new ballot collection rule approved by popular vote last year. Some election officials say voters in remote areas and with limited mobility may be impacted.

A border entry sign in a field
m01229 / Flickr

Montana’s Republican representatives in Washington, D.C. are pushing for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to share resources with Canada to maintain current hours of operation at four ports of entry along the Hi Line.

A backcountry skier scales a snowy peak in the Flathead National Forest.
Nicky Ouellet

A coalition of wildlife, conservation and outdoor recreation business groups in Montana has announced it’s launching a survey to determine support and strategies to fund conservation and access projects.