Emilie Ritter Saunders

Digital Content Coordinator

Emilie is Boise State Public Radio's digital content coordinator. She helps shape what you see on this website, from original reporting and building data visuals to story planning and social media outreach.

From Sept. 2011-Aug 2013, Emilie was StateImpact Idaho's multimedia journalist. That two  year collaboration between Boise State Public Radio and NPR focused on in-depth reporting on Idaho's economy and state policy.

Emilie has earned local, regional and national awards for her work in radio, online, and television journalism. Her work has been heard on the BBC, CBC, National Native News, and on NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Her work has appeared in Reuters, The Idaho Statesman, and The Missoulian.

Emilie comes to Boise from Montana Public Radio where she was the Capitol Bureau Chief from 2008-2011. Emilie was a Senior Fellow with NPR's Economic Training Project from 2009 until 2010. She graduated from the University of Montana School of Journalism in 2007.

Pages

Healthcare
5:00 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Feds Investigate Idaho Medicaid Mental-Health Contractor For Privacy Violations

Becky diVittorio is the executive director of Optum Idaho, the company Idaho pays $10.5 million each month to manage the mental-health portion of Medicaid.
Credit Idaho Statesman

A federal agency is investigating whether the company Idaho hired to manage part of its Medicaid program has violated patient-privacy laws.

Optum Idaho, a unit of United Behavioral Health, took over insurance management for Idaho Medicaid's mental-health and substance-abuse patients last fall.

Local health-care providers who treat those patients say Optum has erroneously sent them reports meant for other providers. The reports show patient names and mental-health or substance-abuse services the patients received or were authorized by Optum to receive.

Read more
Agriculture
11:25 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Idaho Ag Group Says It Never Meant To Deny Access To Dairies

Credit MHall209 / Flickr Creative Commons

 This post was updated at 11:20 a.m. Aug. 27, 2014.

The Idaho dairy industry group that sent a letter to its members urging them to deny media tours and on-farm interviews now says it never meant to deny access.

Tuesday, after the Associated Press reported the letter was sent to 500 dairies, a public relations firm followed up with this statement from United Dairymen of Idaho CEO Karianne Fallow:

Read more
Environment
4:19 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Winter Or Wildfires? See When Treasure Valley Air Is Most Polluted

See the interactive chart below.

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.

Read more
Healthcare
4:30 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Medicaid Payment Woes Plague Idaho Mental Health Service Providers

Taylor Moore, a 30-year-old Boise resident with a mental-health diagnosis, reads questions on a vocational-rehab services application at the library in Downtown Boise, with assistance from Maegan Wagner, his community-based rehabilitation services worker through Idaho Behavioral Health. The agency has experienced a pattern of problems over several months getting paid for a variety of services, sometimes getting pennies back on a $100 claim. Optum Idaho said it has corrected the problem.
Credit Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

The state’s effort to rein in Medicaid costs has created deep friction between small businesses that deliver behavioral-health services to Medicaid patients and a new contractor hired to manage them.

Service providers across Idaho have raised complaints over the last 11 months that the contractor, Optum Idaho, a unit of United Behavioral Health, has created red tape and cut services needed by at-risk patients.

Read more
Jobs
10:03 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Idaho's Workforce Has Shrunk More Than Most States

Idaho's July jobless rate was 4.8 percent, nationally, it's 6.2 percent.
Credit Nancy / Flickr Creative Commons

Fewer Idahoans, nearly 6 percent, are working today than in 2007 before the Great Recession began.

State-by-state analysis of employment data, from calendar year 2007 to fiscal year 2014, show only two other states have seen a greater workforce decline among 25- to 54-year-olds.

Read more
Events
8:49 am
Tue August 19, 2014

'Slide The City' Inflates Its Giant Waterslide Aug. 30 In Boise

This promotional photo is from a Slide the City event in another town.
Credit Slide the City

Utah-based Slide the City is bringing its giant waterslide to Boise Aug. 30, that's according to details on its event registration page.

We first told you about the 1,000-foot waterslide here.

Read more
Migration
11:35 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Are You A Native Idahoan? Data Show Most Idaho Residents Aren't

This data viz from the New York Times shows how Idaho's population has changed since 1900.
Credit New York Times screengrab

An interesting take on state-to-state migration from The New York Times illustrates what many Idahoans already knew: a lot of California natives now live in Idaho.

The Times created a data visualization of migration to each state going back to 1900. It's no surprise that at the turn of the 20th century, most people moving to Idaho were immigrants from outside of the U.S., the northeast and the midwest.

Read more
Wildfires
9:35 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Idaho's Big Cougar Fire Burns 100 Square Miles Near Lewiston

A firefighter works on the Big Cougar fire near Lewiston.
Credit Idaho Department of Lands

This story was updated at 9:45 a.m. Aug. 11, 2014

The Big Cougar fire burning in northern Idaho has charred 65,000 acres and is 50 percent contained.

The Idaho Department of Lands reports nine structures have now been destroyed by the fire that is burning south of Lewiston. An additional 200 structures are still considered threatened.

Lightning sparked the fire August 2. Mandatory and voluntary evacuations are still in effect for some residents in the area. Click here to find the latest.

Read more
Recreation
12:01 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

This 1,000 Foot Waterslide Could Be Coming To A Boise Street Near You

This is a promotional photo from Slide the City.
Credit Slide the City

How does sliding down a busy Boise street on a 1,000 foot waterslide sound?

Amazing.

Utah-based Slide the City is making plans to bring its giant waterslide to Boise. The event is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 6, and details are contingent on permitting. If approved, you may have the chance to slip-and-slide your way down Americana Boulevard between Ann Morrison Park and Kathryn Albertson Park.

Read more
Road Closure
3:25 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Flooding Closes Boise National Forest Road

Credit map courtesy of the Boise National Forest

A road used by recreationists in the Boise National Forest is closed due to flooding.  A Boise National Forest spokesman says the Middle Fork Boise River road is closed above Arrowrock Reservoir.

Thanks to early morning flash flooding, 15 miles of road from the junction of Slide Gulch and the Middle Fork Boise River Road are closed.

Forest officials say they’re working with the Atlanta Highway District to repair the road, but it could be closed for several days.

Read more
Environment
5:21 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Holy Mackerel (Er, Sturgeon)! Giant Idaho Fish Weighs In At 470 Pounds

This 10-foot-long female sturgeon was caught on the Snake River. She was measured by Idaho Power biologists Clayton Waller and Chad Reininger.
Credit Courtesy Idaho Power

This, folks, is a 470-pound sturgeon that was recently reeled in, tagged, and released by Idaho Power. The 10-foot-long female was caught in Hells Canyon on the Snake River. Did we mention this fish is 75 years old? That means she was born in 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was President.

Read more
Culture
2:37 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Are These 10 Stereotypes About Boise Really True? You Decide

Boise is Idaho's largest city, with 214,237 people.
Credit Charles Knowles / Flickr Creative Commons

A blogger at the real estate site Movoto asserts there are 10 stereotypes that accurately describe the people of Boise. The blogger says Boiseans secretly think they're better than other Idahoans, that Boiseans are music snobs, and Boiseans can't complain enough about the summer heat.

Is he right?

Read more
Wildfires
10:13 am
Thu July 31, 2014

7 Lightning-Caused Fires Spark On The Boise National Forest

Seven small lightning-caused wildfires are burning on the Boise National Forest after Wednesday night's storm. Forest officials say all the fires are small, at less than 5 acres each, and no structures are threatened.

Firefighters already have lines built around most of the new starts.

The largest fire is called the Crooked Fire, burning southeast of Kirkham.

Fire officials say more lightning-caused fires could be detected over the next few days.

Copyright 2014 Boise State Public Radio

Politics
1:06 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Longtime Political Reporter Popkey To Head Idaho Congressman's Press Team

Dan Popkey joined the Idaho Statesman in 1984.
Credit Courtesy Idaho Statesman

Longtime Idaho political reporter Dan Popkey is leaving his job at the Idaho Statesman to be Rep. Raul Labrador's new press secretary.

A press release from the Republican Congressman's office Tuesday says Popkey will be based in Meridian, and coordinate communications for Idaho and Washington, D.C. 

Read more
Politics
11:46 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Judge Rules Peterson Is No Longer Chairman Of Idaho's Republican Party

Peterson, left, talks with Gov. Otter the day after the GOP's May primary.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Barry Peterson is no longer the chairman of the Idaho Republican Party, that's the ruling from 5th District Judge Randy Stoker.

“His term has expired,” Stoker told the court.

The judge’s ruling came after extensive arguments that lasted for more than two hours in court this morning in Twin Falls.

“This is not a question of this court taking any position with regard to what the Republican Party should do in this state,” Stoker said. “I have no dog in this fight, so to speak.” - Spokesman-Review

Read more
Wildfires
10:50 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Idaho's Whiskey, Mack Fires Fully Contained

Mop up work on the fires will continue this week.
Credit Boise National Forest

Idaho's Whiskey Complex and Mack fires burning north of Boise are now fully contained. A Boise National Forest spokesman says mop up and monitoring of the fires will continue Monday.

The Whiskey Complex was a series of fires sparked by lightning on July 13. It has burned 9,446 acres south of Garden Valley on the Boise National Forest. Spokesman David Olson says isolated areas of smoke will still be visible this week as the fire smolders within its containment lines.

The Mack fire was one of 27 fires started by lightning last week. It burned 229 acres.

Read more
Policy
4:16 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Gov. Otter Didn't Know 8 Immigrant Children Have Been Sent To Idaho In Border Surge

Gov. Otter with First Lady Lori Otter at a recent Republican event at the Capitol.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

This post was updated at 10:00 a.m. July 25, 2014.

This week, Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter sent a letter to federal officials telling them not to send any of the unaccompanied young migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border to Idaho.

However, federal officials say they've already sent children from the border to Idaho.

Read more
Culture
3:03 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

What Are The Sounds That Make Your Idaho City Home?

Floaters drift down the Boise River on a July day.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

On a hot summer day, the sounds that echo through Boise State Public Radio's windows along the Boise River are the shrieks and squeals of floaters drifting downstream.

A mini-rapid is right in front of the newsroom, and it's at that spot where floaters tend to get a healthy dose of cold river water. Their giggles, shock-induced screams, and mild expletives mixed with the constant churn of fast-moving water, are a lovely reminder of summer in Boise. It's a sound that likely defines Boise.

Read more
Wildfires
11:20 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Fire Managers Nearing Containment On Most Lightning-Caused Wildfires North Of Boise

Credit Photo Courtesy Boise National Forest

This post was updated at 11:15 a.m. July 25, 2014.

Fire officials say they've nearly contained all 27 of Wednesday's lightning-caused wildfires on the Boise National Forest and state lands north of Boise.

The Mack Fire is still the largest, now estimated at 270 acres. It's now 10 percent contained.

This post was updated at 10:25 a.m. July 24, 2014.

A Boise National Forest spokesman says 14 of 27 lightning-caused fires burning on federal and state lands north of Boise are now contained.

Read more
Wildfires
10:00 am
Thu July 24, 2014

At More Than 9,000 Acres, The Whiskey Complex Fire Is 75 Percent Contained

A firefighter uses a drip torch along the South Fork Payette River Road.
Credit Photo Courtesy Boise National Forest

This story was updated at 10:00 a.m. July 24, 2014. 

The Whiskey Complex Fire burning in the Boise National Forest is now 75 percent contained.

The fire is estimated at 9,446 acres. The Forest Service says 851 people are staffing the fire, which is expected to be fully contained by July 28.

The voluntary evacuation order for 60 homes along the South Fork Road has been lifted, while the closure of the South Fork Payette River Road is still in effect. Access to that road is only available to fire crews and residents.

Read more

Pages