Adam Cotterell

News Reporter

Adam Cotterell returned to his home town of Boise, Idaho in 2007 after three years teaching university English in China. His plan was to teach high school drama and history, but in a move that almost makes him believe in destiny he took a part time job in Boise State Public Radio’s newsroom. He became a full time general assignments reporter in 2010. Adam's main focus is on covering education, but also enjoys doing all types of stories; from interviewing unique people to reporting on Boise's theatre scene.

Adam lives in Boise with his wife, daughter, and dog. He is also considered a pioneer in the art form abstract expressionist origami.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Every year in late January volunteers around the country, and across Idaho, take to the streets to ask people experiencing homelessness where they slept on a particular night. It's a difficult task because people who sleep in their cars or in parks -- known as unsheltered homeless -- can be hard to find. But the numbers volunteers come up with are important because they're used for things like setting federal funding for local homeless programs.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

During President Barack Obama's speech at Boise State, he bragged about innovation taking place in Boise and on the BSU campus. At least 5,000 people heard his remarks firsthand. But a lot of people who wanted to be there couldn't. The White House limited the number of tickets available. And, as Adam Cotterell reports, those who watched Mr. Obama on TV, may have actually had a better seat than those in attendance.

Castle Peak, Baker Ranch
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

President Barack Obama’s visit to Boise is a rare chance for Idaho groups to get their messages in front of the nation’s leader. Organizations critical of the President are organizing demonstrations outside the Boise State University sports complex where he'll speak Wednesday afternoon. Others will rally for causes and issues hoping to get attention from Obama.

Pew Charitable Trusts

Here’s a new way to measure Idaho’s fiscal health: tax volatility. Idaho is in the top third of most-volatile state tax revenues. That’s according a report released Thursday from the Pew Charitable Trusts, which Pew calls a first-of-its-kind national comparison.

If you haven’t yet clicked away, but you’re about to because reading the phrase ‘tax volatility’ made you think a trip to the dentist or DMV might be pleasant about now, here’s why it’s important.

Kevin Rank / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s annual legislative session starts next week, but some lawmakers are already at work. Each year, just before the session, a group of lawmakers meets to try and get an idea of what Idaho’s economy will be like in the coming year. They use what they hear to inform their budgeting decisions.

Of course, what the state’s economy will do in the future is something that’s important to most everyone in Idaho, not just lawmakers. So here’s a preview of what legislators will hear.

twitter.com/jkaf_foundation

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation has given away about $30 million a year in Idaho since the 1990s. Most of that money has gone to projects involving Idaho’s public schools. But foundation Executive Director Roger Quarles says the board and staff are frustrated with how that's worked out, and are changing the way they give.

“Since 1997 we’ve invested almost $700 million in K-12 and higher ed,” Quarles says. “And to me, it looks the same as it did 17 years ago. School basically looks the same, feels the same as it did a hundred years ago in Idaho.”

Uber
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The city of Boise has issued a cease-and-desist order to Uber, the app-based car service company. City officials say Uber is violating an agreement not to charge passengers until the city gives it the go ahead.

Uber has been operating in Boise since October under a temporary agreement with the city. Boise and Uber were in negotiations for a permanent contract.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Hydrologists from the Natural Resources Conservation Service  measured snow pack Tuesday in the mountains above the Treasure Valley. At the Mores Creek sight near Idaho City, snow pack was 53 inches. But more importantly, says water supply specialist Ron Abramovich, that snow contains 14 inches of water.

“And normally at this time of year we’d have 12 inches of water in the snow pack” he says. “So we’re a little above average, which is good.”

Laura Taylor / Flickr Creative Commons

Imagine you’re a parent and your teenager says ‘I want to have a party and I want to serve alcohol.’ Many parents would answer, not just 'no,' but 'hell no.'

But Blaine County’s sheriff says his officers are called to parent-supervised teen keggers a couple times a year. If the adults supplied booze the officers can write a ticket. Sheriff Gene Ramsey wants to be able to cite parents just for knowing about the drinking.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The school day is over at Boise’s Whitney Elementary but the playground is full of children. About 140 kids each day take part in the afterschool program at the adjacent Whitney Community Center.

It has tutors to help with homework. There’s book clubs, arts and crafts, board games, basketball, outside activities, and pool and computer games for the older kids who walk over from South Junior High. Director Barbara English says some kids stay until the center closes at 7:00, but not because of all the stuff to do.

philanthropy.com

A recent report from the finance website Wallet Hub says Idaho is the third most-generous state (tied with Kansas). Utah and South Dakota topped the list. Wallet Hub looked at volunteer time and money donated using IRS statistics and survey data.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Republican Idaho Sen. Jim Risch says the U.S. Senate should not have released a report on CIA interrogation practices following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The report that became public Tuesday says the CIA tortured prisoners, did not get much valuable information from doing so, and lied to Congress about it.   

Jody MacDonald

A Ketchum resident has received an unusual honor this year. Gavin McClurg is one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year. McClurg is a paraglider who, earlier this year, flew more than 400 miles through the Canadian Rockies.

Paragliding is flying using a parachute. Some people do it as a hobby but it’s also an extreme sport. It’s popular in Europe where the biggest competitions take place.

Luke Malek
Idaho Legislature

A federal appeals court in Seattle hears arguments Monday in a challenge to the National Security Agency’s (NSA) practice of gathering phone records of millions of people not suspected of crimes. North Idaho lawyer Peter Smith will be arguing for the plaintiff, who is his wife.

Park Ranger / Flickr Creative Commons

Leaders of a marijuana advocacy group that was launched two weeks ago say they’ve attracted more than 200 volunteers. New Approach Idaho wants to put a ballot measure before Idaho voters in 2016 to legalize medical marijuana.

Oregon Department of Agriculture

Idaho has the highest share of undocumented immigrants who will benefit from President Barack Obama’s recent executive action on immigration, according to a report from the Pew Research Center.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Saint Alphonsus Festival of Trees is one of the Treasure Valley’s most enduring holiday traditions. This is the 31st year of this celebration of all things Christmas. It’s open to the public from Wednesday through Sunday.

St. Al’s spokesman Josh Schlaich says 20,000 to 30,000 thousand people visit each year.

“It really is a generational thing,” Schlaich says. “We see grandparents, that have been coming for years, come with their grandchildren. We see great grandchildren. ”

facebook.com/boycottblackthursday

For the past few years Brian Rich has been telling everyone who will listen not to go shopping on Thanksgiving. The credit union marketing coordinator from Boise started a social media campaign in 2011 called Boycott Black Thursday.

Google Earth

Meridian will be getting a new YMCA, city park and elementary school. The Treasure Valley YMCA announced Thursday it will build its first new facility since opening the Caldwell Y nine years ago. The new South Y will be built in Meridian south of I-84 near Eagle Road and Amity.

It will be built on 22 acres of donated land. The J.A. and Katherine Albertson Foundation is donating $4 million to start the project.  

bea.gov

In 2013, per capita personal income rose 2.9 percent in Idaho according to a report out Thursday from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Nationally, per capita personal income grew 1.3 percent. Even with the growth, Idaho’s average per capita personal income of $36,146 remains nearly $9,000 below the national average.

Blaine County, home of Sun Valley, had Idaho’s highest personal income in 2013. Here are the top five counties:

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