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.

Ways To Connect

Kurt Wilson / Missoulian

Missoula, Mont.-based Neptune Aviation is considering launching a private charter service for direct flights to Boise, Seattle and Billings.

Neptune is known for its firefighting airplanes.

This week, Neptune’s CEO Ron Hooper outlined his idea to launch roundtrip flights from Missoula to Billings and Boise twice a week.

Allegiant Air

Low-cost airline Allegiant announced Tuesday morning it will offer a nonstop flight from Boise to Los Angeles beginning June 5.

Allegiant already operates direct flights from Boise to Las Vegas.

The airline's new Boise to LA flight will be offered twice each week, with one-way fares starting at $43.

Idaho Capitol Dome
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The non-partisan Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy finds the governor's budget proposal isn't balanced, when taking into account wildfire fighting costs and ongoing expenses. 

The center's analysis shows Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's recommended budget doesn't include money to pay for last year's $27.7 million firefighting bill. The governor's office says it doesn't budget for wildfires because costs vary from year to year. Instead, lawmakers pay for fire costs the year after they're incurred.

"Depending on what the legislature chooses to do with spending and tax cuts, growth in the economy should cover the fire costs," Otter spokesman Jon Hanian says.

Reuters

U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by Reuters show which American counties have the largest share of same-sex households. Based on the 2010 Census, north Idaho's Benewah County has more same-sex households per 1,000 residents than any other Idaho county.

Benewah's 2010 population was 9,285. According to the 2014 Census estimate, total population has actually declined since then by 241 people.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court's ruling that St. Luke's Health System violated antitrust laws when it acquired Nampa-based Saltzer Medical Group back in 2012.

Modern Healthcare reports the ruling is a win for the Federal Trade Commission, "in its first major case challenging a physician deal." 

Gallup

Idaho is the third-most Republican state in the nation, according to a new Gallup survey.

Gallup finds Idaho has a 25.2 percent Republican advantage, only Wyoming and Utah lean more toward the red.

Gallup came to its conclusion by interviewing more than 177,000 Americans during 2014. The results show the upper west-central part of the country is heavily Republican.

Lance McCord / Flickr Creative Commons

The Centers for Disease Control says a measles outbreak that spread from California's Disneyland has now reached 14 states and infected 102 people. No cases have been confirmed in Idaho, but many neighboring states are on the list including Utah, Washington and Oregon.

"We worry that it’s only a matter of time before we do see measles cases in Idaho," says Dr. Christine Hahn, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare's medical director for the division of public health.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

An Idaho State University study has found most high school football players are wearing helmets that don't fit and aren't property maintaining the inflatable lining inside their helmets.

The University’s research finds nearly 98 percent of its participants played football in a helmet that required regular inflation of the liner, 43 percent of those respondents said they’ve never re-inflated their helmet liners.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

President Barack Obama spoke for just over 30 minutes Wednesday at Boise State University, touting the proposals from his Tuesday State of the Union address aimed at helping the middle class.

Jim Max / For Boise State Public Radio

President Barack Obama made a whirlwind stop in Boise Wednesday, touching down at around 1:20 p.m. MST.  Air Force One then departed the Boise airport three hours later.

In between, the president spoke to thousands people at the Caven-Williams Sports Complex on the Boise State University campus. He also visited Boise State's New Product Development Lab.

Idaho Statesman

President Barack Obama will speak at 3:00 p.m. MST at Boise State University.

After last night's State of the Union address, Obama is in Idaho to further his plans laid out in his speech which include tax and education plans aimed at benefiting the middle class.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

An annual accounting of Idaho government payroll shows the state last year paid $1.47 billion in salaries, taxes, healthcare and insurance costs.

The annual report from the Idaho Controller’s Office shows more than a third of the state’s 25,033 workers are earning less than $40,000 each year. About 10 percent earn more than $70,000.

Kaitlyn Farrington
NBC/USOC

Idaho native and Olympic gold medalist Kaitlyn Farrington announced an unexpected retirement Thursday, just a year after winning the halfpipe snowboarding competition in Sochi.

Data: Pew | Chart: Emilie Ritter Saunders

If Idaho had to pay all its bills using just reserves, the state could have funded government for 27 days in fiscal year 2014.  That's according to a report released by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

State reserves, or rainy day accounts, were depleted during the recession as states relied on that money to pay for an increase in welfare costs and unemployment insurance benefits. 

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is kicking off the 2015 legislative session with his annual State of the State address and budget proposal, where he outlines increased spending for schools, boosting state employee pay, cutting income taxes, and leaving some tough decisions up to the Legislature.

An idea Otter returns to repeatedly in his speech is that "Idaho learns."

Young Invincibles

A national group working to engage young people on issues like education and health care gives Idaho a D- when it comes to state support for higher education.

UGA College of Ag / Flickr Creative Commons

The J.R. Simplot Company is partnering with a Texas-based company to build a 300,000-square-foot beef processing facility near Kuna, Idaho, creating up to 600 new jobs.

Simplot and Caviness Beef Packers announced Tuesday it expects to open in the fall of 2016, pending regulatory approval.

In a press release, Simplot officials say the processing plant will be called CS Beef Packers, LLC. The two companies say they're investing $100 million to build the facility.

This story was updated at 5:18 p.m. 

The Kootenai County Sheriff's office confirms a 2-year-old boy shot and killed his mother inside a North Idaho Walmart.

In a press release, officials write the accidental shooting occurred at 10:20 a.m. Tuesday, inside a Hayden, Idaho Walmart.

Five of Idaho's neighboring states will ring in the New Year with an increase in their minimum wage. Idaho, meanwhile, hasn't seen an increase in its minimum wage since 2009.

Idaho's wage is the federal minimum, $7.25 per hour.

Not only is Idaho nearly surrounded by states with a minimum wage above the federal baseline, but it's nearly surrounded by states with the highest minimum wages in the country.

Jeremy Conant / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho is among the top 10 states for estimated population growth between 2013 and 2014, recording the strongest population gain since the recession, according to the Idaho Department of Labor.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows Idaho’s 2014 population is up 1.3 percent from 2013. That’s higher than the national average population growth of 0.7 percent.

Census puts Idaho’s estimated population at 1,634,464 million. That’s an increase of 21,000 people.

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