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.

joanne johnson / Flickr Creative Commons

Those who follow education and politics in Idaho will probably be hearing the phrase ‘tiered licensure’ a lot in the next few months. The idea is to create different levels of teaching licenses.  Idaho Education News reporter Clark Corbin has been following the issue closely. Corbin says the plan has many teachers worried.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise City Council this week changed its ordinance which makes it illegal to sleep in public places. The council voted not to enforce its “camping” ordinance when homeless shelters are full. That comes after police this summer cracked down on people sleeping on the sidewalk near some of the city’s shelters and homeless advocates and others criticized the move.

Dave Shumaker / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho is famous for its crystal clear rivers. But these days, the Snake River is not one of them.

The Snake is the state’s largest river and it makes southern Idaho’s agriculture economy possible. But that industry is also polluting the Snake

The U.S. Geological Survey uses words like ‘degraded’ and ‘impaired’ to describe parts of the river. Richard Manning calls the Snake “Idaho’s sewer system.”

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

There’s a bill in Congress that would legalize a marijuana extract to treat children with severe epilepsy. We’ve reported previously on plans to introduce a similar bill in Idaho’s Legislature.

Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The Idaho playwright who was awarded a MacArthur 'genius' grant this week has traveled far from his hometown of Moscow, but continues to revisit the state in much of his work.

Samuel Hunter now lives in New York, and has a play opening this weekend in Chicago.

Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Idaho native Samuel Hunter is one of 21 recipients of this year’s MacArthur Fellowship, commonly known as genius grants. Just in his early 30s, the Moscow native has already made a mark on the nation’s theater scene. He’s won numerous awards for his work including the prestigious Obie Award in 2011 for his play “A Bright New Boise.”

census.gov

The percentage of Idahoans with no health insurance was unchanged between 2012 and 2013. A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau says 16.2 percent of the state’s residents lacked health coverage in 2013. That’s about 257,000 people.

The nation as a whole saw a slight decline in the uninsured in that time, from 14.8 percent in 2012 to 14.5 percent in 2013.

art.thewalters.org

A Boise State University professor is trying to solve a historical mystery.

Darryl Butt is trying to figure out who was buried in an Egyptian sarcophagus.  Butt, however, is not an archeologist or historian. He’s a materials scientist and associate director of Idaho’s Center for Advanced Energy Studies. He mostly works with nuclear fuels. Butt says his involvement started with a chance meeting with someone from the Walters Museum in Maryland.

rickotto62 / Flickr Creative Commons

A new report from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) finds that ground water levels have dropped in parts of the Wood River Valley.

USGS hydrologist Jim Bartolino’s team looked at changes in ground water and surface water between 2006 and 2012.

Bartolino says there are two distinct parts to the aquifer under the valley.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Do you ever wonder where your poop goes when you flush the toilet? If you live in Boise, it ends up somewhere a little out of the ordinary. It goes to a place called 20 Mile South Farm, so named because it's 20 miles south of Boise.

“Everybody who flushes the toilet contributes to this fertilizer right here,” Says Ben Nydegger, Boise's biosolids program manager.

Biosolids is the industry term for the stuff he’s standing next to. It’s a dark-brown pile about three-feet-tall and roughly twice the area of an Olympic swimming pool.

ca9.uscourts.gov

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Monday afternoon in California on Idaho’s gay marriage lawsuit. A  lower federal court ruled in May that Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional

Gay marriage, couples, lawsuit
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

A three judge panel in San Francisco Monday will hear arguments for and against Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage. A lower federal court has already ruled the law unconstitutional, but Idaho is challenging that decision and now the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will weigh in.

A federal judge in Idaho Thursday refused to toss out a challenge to the state's “ag-gag” law that was passed by Idaho legislators earlier this year at the urging of the state’s $2.5 billion dairy industry. The law spells out stiff punishments for people who secretly tape agricultural operations.

facebook.com/pages/Lapwai-School-District

A school superintendent in northern Idaho says the reason his district hasn't had music classes in more than a year, and will soon switch to virtual gym classes, is as much about the difficulty of attracting and retaining qualified teachers in rural areas as it is about funding.

The story of Lapwai School District's  funding problems has been picked up by just about every news outlet in the state.

roger wilkins / Flickr Creative Commons

If you’ve noticed an increase in the number of flies buzzing around you’re not imagining things. In fact, you could call this time of year “fly season” in southern Idaho.

Part of the reason you're noticing more flies is because there simply are more of them says Ian Robertson, a biology professor and insect ecologist at Boise State University.

census.gov

Idaho is one of only six states that saw a decrease in the number of people on public assistance, or welfare, in 2012, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

school lunch, cafeteria, students
Lance Cheung / USDA | Flickr Creative Commons

Most Idaho kids went back to school this week, meaning for many, a return to school lunches. Food in public schools has changed significantly since new federal nutrition guidelines were passed in 2010.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

It has been a tense few weeks at Boise's Concordia School of Law. Faculty and students had hoped to hear earlier this month if the American Bar Association (ABA) would grant it provisional accreditation. Instead, the ABA decided it needed more time to consider and would send someone to Boise for a closer look at Concordia.

But the ABA didn’t tell school administrators why it wanted closer scrutiny or give a timeline for when things might move forward. But now Concordia dean Cathy Silak says the ABA told her Tuesday it will send a fact-finder in September. 

The Treasure Valley has seen a handful of wildfire-induced hazy days this summer, but it's been nothing like 2012 or 2013 when big wildfires around the region brought smoke into Boise and surrounding communities, settling in the valleys and making it hard to breathe.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Fifty new first year students will start classes next week at Boise’s Concordia Law School. That’s the largest incoming class since the school opened in the fall of 2012. Concordia’s third year class is almost as large but many of them won’t be taking classes this fall.

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