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.


Education Spending
11:07 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Idaho Schools Chief Asks For Big Funding Increase, But Lawmakers Rarely Oblige

Luna unveiled his budget proposal Tuesday in a speech to the Meridian Chamber of Commerce. Here he is talking with audience members afterwards.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s school superintendent Tom Luna released his budget request for next year Tuesday. Luna is asking for a $77.8 million bump in state spending for education. That would be a 5.9 percent increase. That’s how much the Legislature increased education spending in 2007, the year before the financial crisis. Since then, the education budget has seen big cuts, and more recently, modest increases.

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Idaho News
9:30 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Body Of Idaho's Longest Serving Politician Will Lie In State At Capitol

Credit Boise State University, Albertsons Library

The body of Pete Cenarrusa will lie in state at Idaho’s capitol building Thursday from noon to 7:00 p.m. Cenarrusa, who held state office in Idaho uninterrupted for more than five decades, died Sunday at age 95 with his wife Freda at his side.

Cenarrusa served nine terms in Idaho’s House of Representatives, including three terms as Speaker. He served as Idaho’s Secretary of State from 1967 to 2003. He was also well known for his work to preserve Basque history and culture in Idaho.

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Higher Education
2:51 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

And Then There Were Five…Finalists For University Of Idaho President


The University of Idaho has five finalists for its top job. Four hold administration jobs at public universities and one is listed as a higher education consultant.

The U of I has been searching for a president since Duane Nellis left to take a job at Texas Tech last March. Law school dean Don Burnett has been filling in as interim president at a salary of $240,000 a year. He did not apply for the full time job.

Idaho’s State Board of Education will interview the candidates in October and hopes to announce the new president in November.

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1:02 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

How A Government Shutdown Could Impact Idaho

Boise's McClure Federal Building

It looks like the federal government will shut down Tuesday since Congress hasn’t passed a spending bill.

It’s hard to gauge how that might impact Idaho, but the federal government is the second largest employer here, after the state itself.

About 11,750 Idahoans get paychecks from Uncle Sam and those checks total about $800 million a year. That breaks down to more than $2 million per day flowing into Idaho. But we don’t know how much of that will stop flowing for each day of a government shutdown.

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9:10 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Idaho’s Only Native Quail Is Almost Gone

Mountain quail
Credit USFWS / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s quail hunting season started over the weekend. There are four quail species in Idaho, but only one is native to the state.

You can’t hunt Idaho’s native mountain quail because in the last few decades they’ve nearly disappeared. Now, Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game wants your help to find the ones that are left. But habitat biologist Tom Hemker says don’t bother looking in Boise.

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6:45 am
Fri September 20, 2013

New One Woman Play Finds The Humor In Boise

Lauren Weedman in a previous Boise Contemporary Theater performance, possibly thinking "I can't believe I got this tattoo on the inside of my wrist."
Credit Andy Lawless / Boise Contemporary Theater

Los Angeles actress Lauren Weedman is thinking about moving to Boise. At least that’s the premise of her new one-woman play that opens Saturday at Boise Contemporary Theater (BCT.) It’s called Boise: You Don’t Look A Day Over 149 and it’s part of Boise’s 150th anniversary celebrations this year.

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Higher Education
1:01 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

College Of Southern Idaho Gets $2.5 Million Grant To Create New Degree

Credit RDECOM / Flickr Creative Commons

The College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls is getting a $2.5 million federal grant to create a new degree program in food processing management.  

It’s part of $474.5 million awarded to community colleges nationally to expand demand-driven skills. The CSI program was the only Idaho grant in this round of a program called Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training, which will eventually give out $2 billion.

The U.S. Department of Education says the new CSI degree will meet the needs of the area’s major employers.

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11:23 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Mandatory Gym Class And Cursive Writing? Idaho Seeks Public Input

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Department of Education is proposing several new rules that would affect what kids learn. But creating a new education rule in Idaho is a bit like a soccer game. There’s a long period of passing back and forth before the goal is reached. Take this one: a proposal to require elementary students learn cursive handwriting.

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6:35 am
Wed September 18, 2013

FBI Statistics Show Tiny Town Is Idaho’s Crime Capital

Ponderay's police chief says just last week they had two instances of someone going into a store, loading a cart with non-grocery items and walking out without paying.

Idaho's crime rates, like the nation's, are on the decline according to the FBI's annual crime statistics report. But a closer look at the recently released data show it's not Idaho's population centers that are posting the highest rates of violent and non-violent crimes -- it's small towns.

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12:05 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Southwest Idaho Remains In "Extreme Drought" Despite Recent Rainfall


Despite recent rainfall, southwest Idaho's Treasure Valley is currently experiencing "extreme" drought conditions with most of the state in a "severe" drought. The entire state of Idaho is experiencing some level of drought, with the exception of a sliver of the northern panhandle.

An online project called U.S. Drought Monitor maps the nation's drought conditions on a weekly basis using multiple indices.

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Education Improvement
3:50 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Why Data Collection Might Be Idaho's Next Big Education Debate

Credit Beraldo Leal / Flickr Creative Commons

The education data Idaho collects on its students should be used to improve teaching, not just report things like graduation rates, according to an out-of-state analyst. But for Idaho legislators serving on an education interim committee, and in the 2014 Legislature, safeguarding this data will likely be of equal importance.

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School Nutrition
4:20 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Beef Mixed With Plastic Sold To 78 Idaho Public School Districts And Charter Schools

Credit I Believe I Can Fry / Flickr Creative Commons

Update 11:00 a.m: Idaho’s Department of Education has issued a correction saying the removal of the ground beef from schools is technically not a “recall” but a “product retrieval.” According to a USDA spokesman the difference is who bought it. Legally speaking, a recall is issued by a company on retail products. Because the beef was not sold to the public it can’t be recalled. 

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Higher Education
3:33 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Idaho's Lewis-Clark State College Drops Its Application Fee While Others Increase

Historic marker for Lewis-Clark College perched above Lewiston Idaho
Credit J. Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s Lewis-Clark State College announced Monday it will stop charging an application fee for students sending in the paper form and drop the online application fee to $5.25.

The Lewiston school was already the application-fee bargain for Idaho’s four-year state schools at $35.

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College Readiness
8:08 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

Idaho 2013 SAT Scores Nearly Unchanged From 2012

Credit Melissa Hincha-Ownby / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho high school juniors who took the SAT last spring scored nearly the same compared to those who took the college entrance exam the year before. The College Board, the company that administers the SAT, says 500 is the benchmark which indicates students are ready for college. The 2013 juniors scored 452 in reading, 452 in math and 446 in writing. The 2012 group got 448 in reading, 454 in math and 447 in writing.

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6:40 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Idaho Educator Featured In CBS Documentary "Teach"

Shelby Harris and her seventh graders are using Khan Academy, an online learning program.
Credit Don Holtz

Idaho teacher Shelby Harris is featured in a documentary by Academy Award winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim that premieres Friday on CBS.

"Teach" features four educators from around the country, each trying different strategies to teach and inspire their students.

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School Safety
6:50 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Report: Idaho One Of Four States Without School Disaster Plan Requirements

This Bureau of Reclamation photo shows the Teton Dam collapse on June 5, 1976 near Newdale, Idaho.
Credit Bureau of Reclamation / | Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho doesn’t require schools or daycares to have disaster plans. According to a report out this week from the nonprofit Save the Children, Idaho is one of four states that have no requirement.

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1:00 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

48 Idaho Schools "Flip The Classroom" And Pilot Khan Academy Online Learning

Shelby Harris' work with Khan Academy will be featured in a documentary called "Teach" airing Sept. 6 on CBS.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Shelby Harris’s first period is not a typical seventh grade class. The students come in, get laptops and go to work.

“Without any instruction from me,” Harris says. “They know exactly what path they’re on. And they just work. It’s amazing.”

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9:39 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Idaho's Wolf Hunting Season Starts Friday

Credit Washington Fish and Game

Idaho’s wolf hunting season begins Friday and runs through the end of March in parts of the state, and through the end of June in others. It’s Idaho’s longest hunting season. A few spots in Idaho’s panhandle have year-round wolf hunting. Trapping season starts in November for most of the state.

Hunters and trappers killed more than 300 wolves in Idaho during the 2012-2013 season. 

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1:43 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Treasure Hunters Destroy Idaho’s Historic Oregon Trail Ruts

documenting the damage
Credit Zeke Robinson

The Oregon Trail passed through Idaho for hundreds of miles 150 years ago. In some places you can still see the ruts from the wagons that brought people west.

Last week archaeologist Suzann Henrikson drove a local historian and a local Boy Scout leader out to see a well-preserved part of the trail near the Snake River. Henrikson works for the Bureau of Land Management in Burley. She and her guests found something unexpected.

“Hundreds and hundreds of holes dug directly in the corridor of the trail, the ruts themselves. It’s just ghastly,” Henrikson says.

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2:43 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Why The Mormon Church Is Sending So Many Missionaries To Idaho

Since we met Colby Denton (right) two months ago he finished his two year stint as a missionary and went home to Arizona. He immediately started back in his old sales job for the month of August. Now he's starting his final year of college. Davis Jones (left) has two months left in Boise.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The typical image of Mormon missionaries going door-to-door with pamphlets is antiquated. Colby Denton says in Boise they only do it if they have a few minutes to kill between appointments. Denton is serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Boise mission.

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