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, daughters, and dog. He is also considered a pioneer in the art form abstract expressionist origami.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The road is still closed to a Boise foothills subdivision where the land is slowly sliding beneath some high-end houses. We wanted to get a better understanding of what's happening underground. So, we spoke with a long-time Boise geologist. Not many people know as much as Spencer Wood about what’s happening under the grass of the foothills. The now emeritus Boise State University geosciences professor has been writing about the land here for decades.

What are the foothills?

The Boise foothills are soft. They’re almost entirely sand and silt.

Jeff Turner / Flickr Creative Commons

Fire trucks with red, white and blue bunting, kids on their parents' shoulders waving little flags: what’s more emblematic of American patriotism than a Fourth of July parade? Now the volunteer group that has organized Boise’s parade for the last 20 years is concerned about paying for it in the future.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Boise State University and Concordia Law School have created an arrangement aimed at undergrads who want to go to law school. Students can start at Concordia after three years at Boise State. For students in the “three plus three” program, the first year at Concordia will also count as the fourth year at Boise State. So students could get a bachelor's and a law degree in six years, rather than seven.

Concordia Law dean Cathy Silak says the program will help students minimize debt and get to the workforce quicker. She says it was a natural partnership.

WaterArchives / Flickr Creative Commons

The Army Corps of Engineers Wednesday told the Idaho Department of Water Resources it could not recommend raising the height of Arrowrock Dam on the Boise River. The announcement was a disappointment to the state and the Corps.

The water resources board thought raising the height of the hundred-year-old dam would be the best way to reduce flood risk and increase water storage in the Treasure Valley. So it commissioned the Army Corps to study it. After a seven-year study costing nearly $3 million, the Corps agreed.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Agricultural exports, a major segment of Idaho’s economy, took a 22 percent drop last year. That’s a decline of more than $200 million. Domestic ag sales were down in 2015 as well, as were the state’s non-ag exports, but neither saw as steep a drop as agricultural exports.

Roughly a quarter of Idaho ag products go overseas. And the going over the sea part was some of the problem according to Laura Johnson, market development manager at Idaho’s Department of Agriculture. Issues at west coast ports hurt sales to Asia.

Mike Gifford / Flickr Creative Commons

We’ve heard from some southwest Idaho school districts in the last few days about how they’re reacting to new federal guidelines about transgender students. The Obama administration Friday sent a letter to all public schools that take federal money saying the law that bans gender discrimination also applies to transgender students.

Wayan Vota / Flickr Creative Commons

The Obama administration Friday issued new guidelines about transgender students in the nation’s schools. A letter sent to schools firms up already existing policies that the Title IX law banning gender discrimination in schools taking federal money also applies to transgender students in K-12 schools.

Idaho Housing and Finance Association Facebook page

The City of Boise Thursday celebrated the opening of a new apartment complex for low-income seniors. It’s called the Vineyard at Eagle Promenade, though it’s actually in Boise just across the road from Eagle. The City of Boise helped pay for the 30-unit project along with several partners, including the Idaho Housing and Finance association and New Beginnings Housing which has other low-income housing in Nampa, Caldwell and Hailey.

Adam Cotterell

In the role of defense attorney, Leah March begins to interrogate her witness. It starts off establishing the basic facts. He says he’s a 42-year-old ranch hand. He lives in Picabo, Idaho. Yes, he knows the plaintiff. He’s actually a high school junior named Eric Wilford and the Basque accent he’s using isn’t real.

snakeriveralliance.org

The clean energy advocacy group the Snake River Alliance today launched a campaign called Solarize the Valley. For the next 10 weeks the group will be trying to get as many people as possible in Ada and Canyon Counties to install solar panels on their homes and businesses.

screengrab google.com/maps

The ground under the Boise foothills neighborhood called Terra Nativa has been sliding for weeks, possibly months. One house has been deemed unsafe to live in. At least one other has damage. And late last week the highway district closed two roads in the subdivision due to buckling streets and sidewalks and fear of landslides. 

We wanted to know how the city determines if a site in the foothills is safe to build on. Here’s what we learned.

Erin Pass / Flickr Creative Commons

After nine years, a beloved arts event in downtown Boise is coming to an end. Modern Art (which takes over the Modern Hotel Thursday evening for the last time) began at the height of the Great Recession. Now, the hotel staff says it’s time to retire the event – but not without one big final party.

Lacey Daley / Boise State Public Radio

Two Idaho Universities have exemptions from a federal law that bans discrimination against transgender students.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Two Ada County sheriff’s deputies last week shot and killed 53-year-old Lee Easter in his southwest Boise home. Easter was, at the time, reportedly suicidal. The deputies say they tried to talk to him but that Easter pointed a handgun at them and they fired. That shooting is being investigated by the Ada County Critical Incident Task Force and being led by the Boise Police Department.

courtesy Snake River Alliance

Idaho’s first commercial solar power project won’t be operational this month as predicted. But one of the companies involved in the project says it should come online by the end of May.

The state’s first solar power farm is on about 500 acres just southwest of Boise. When the project, known as Boise City Solar, is finished it will produce enough megawatts to power 29,000 homes during good solar exposure. That’s more homes than a city the size of Idaho Falls.

Who owns it?

Discover McCall Facebook page

Update on April 27, 2016:  Valley County officials learned Wednesday that they will advance to the top eight in the America’s Best Communities competition. They’ll bring home $100,000 to begin implementing an economic development plan. In 11 months the contest sponsors Frontier Communications, DISH Network and the Weather Channel will assess how well the eight communities are implementing their plans. They’ll then choose three winners who will receive $1 million, $2 million and $3 million.

TASER International / Facebook

A Wall Street Journal investigation this week highlights some possibly shady business practices by Taser, the maker of the eponymous shock device and other police hardware. It uses the Boise Police Department’s nearly $1.5 million body camera deal with Taser last year as an example.

According to the Journal, Taser convinces police departments it is the only company that can provide services in order to secure contracts without having to go through an open bidding process. That’s done, the Journal says, by giving free trips to decision makers.

St Luke's Hospital Sign
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

A U.S. Department of Labor investigation found that one of Idaho’s largest employers was systematically violating the Family and Medical Leave Act.

The Labor Department says St Luke’s Medical Center failed to ensure that employees received FMLA protections.

Wikimedia Commons

Members of Boise State’s Osher Institute Tuesday heard lectures linking Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Communist witch-hunts of the 1950s to Idaho. History writer Marc Johnson connected the dots between McCarthy and two Idaho elections.

AP

Anyone who knows 20th century American history knows about Senator Joseph McCarthy and his hunt for Communists in the U.S. And anyone who knows about Idaho history and politics knows about Democratic Senator Frank Church. But what you may not know is that McCarthy's fall contributed to Church's rise.

That’s the theory Marc Johnson is presenting during two lectures Tuesday at Boise State’s Osher Institute. Johnson is a former journalist, adviser to Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus and a long-time behind-the-scenes political player. Now he writes about Idaho and U.S. history.

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