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.

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Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

President Barack Obama last week signed a $200 billion Medicare bill that reforms payments to physicians. Tucked inside that massive Medicare bill was a two-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools Act, a federal program that pays rural counties and school districts with a lot of non-taxable forest land.

Courtesy Becca Sayre

Jack White is performing an acoustic show tonight in Boise as part of his five-city surprise concert tour.

Aaron Kunz / Idaho Public Television

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has vetoed a bill that would have legalized a marijuana extract for patients with severe forms of epilepsy.

In his veto letter, Otter said his administration has strongly opposed the legislation because "there were too many questions and problems and too few answers and solutions in this bill to let it become law."

This post was updated at 4:41 p.m.

A grand jury in Ada County has indicted Adam Dees, 22, with three counts of first degree murder in connection with the deaths of 80-year-old Theodore M. Welp, 77-year-old Delores (Elaine) Welp and their son, 52-year-old Thomas P. Welp.

Their bodies were found March 10 inside their home in the Boise foothills.

Ada County prosecutors say  it’s not yet clear if they’ll seek the death penalty.

Images taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor onboard Landsat 5. Source: USGS Landsat Missions Gallery, Long Butte, Idaho Fire. / U.S. Department of the Interior / U.S. Geological Survey

More than 7-million acres have burned in Idaho wildfires since 2004, and NASA satellites have captured how some of those fires have changed the regional landscape. 

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports a former lawmaker and minimum wage increase advocate Anne Nesse has submitted paperwork to get a minimum wage increase on the local ballot. Voters may have the chance to raise the local minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.75 in 2016, then $10.25 in 2017.

friedmud / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho and Montana chapters of the breast cancer organization Susan G. Komen are merging.

MTN reports the Boise-based group is merging with the Helena, Montana-based group in June. The merged foundation will be called Susan G. Komen Idaho Montana.

The merged organization will share leadership and fundraising resources to serve both states.

Transmission tower
TJ.Blackwell / Flickr Creative Commons

This post was updated at 10:28 a.m.

Idaho Power says power has been restored to all 30,000 customers who were affected by the early morning outage.

The power company said in a tweet it still doesn't know the cause of the outage.

The outage was first reported at 7:30 a.m.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's two representatives split their votes on a bill that was overwhelmingly supported in the U.S. House Thursday that reauthorizes timber payments to rural counties with a lot of federal land.

The Secure Rural Schools Act reauthorization was tucked inside a $214 billion bill that blocks cuts in doctors' Medicare payments.

Just 37 House members voted against the bill, while 392 supported it. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, was one of the 'no' votes.

Taliban Propaganda Video Screengrab

Former POW and Idaho native Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl tried to escape captivity 12 times in five years he says.

The New York Times news service reports Bergdahl first tried to escape a few hours after he was captured by a Taliban group in 2009.

Bergdahl’s lawyer provided a page-and-a-half narrative written by the 28-year-old soldier. It’s the first public glimpse into Bergdahl’s own experience as a prisoner of war.

Boise State Public Radio

Idaho lawmakers have directed their staff to spend the next nine months studying the state’s contract with Optum Idaho, the company that manages outpatient behavioral health services for Medicaid patients.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The budget for Idaho’s behavioral health division includes funding for a second mental health crisis center.

The Spokesman-Review's Eye on Boise blog reports the Department of Health and Welfare’s budget plan includes $1.7 million for the 24-hour crisis center.

The crisis centers are meant to keep people out of jail or hospital emergency rooms, and instead connect them with appropriate mental health care services.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

On Monday, two Idaho Republicans will tiptoe into a public preschool debate the state's Legislature hasn't been willing to confront. Idaho is one of 10 states without public preschool.

Reps. Patrick McDonald, R-Boise, and Christy Perry, R-Nampa, are introducing a preschool pilot program they're calling "kindergarten preparedness."

Courtesy: Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce

Alaska Airlines announced Wednesday it's adding a direct flight from Boise to Spokane beginning in August.

Southwest Airlines already operates a Boise to Spokane flight.

Alaska's President and CEO Brad Tilden made the announcement during a Boise Chamber of Commerce event. Tilden says Alaska will add two direct flights each day from Boise to Spokane on a 76-seat Bombardier Q400 plane.

Data: U.S. Census Bureau | Map: Emilie Ritter Saunders

The share of uninsured Idahoans ticked up slightly in 2013, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Small Area Health Insurance Estimate from Census shows 18.8 percent of Idahoans under the age of  65 didn't have health insurance in 2013. That's the year before health insurance subsidies took effect through Idaho's insurance exchange.

Idaho ranked among the top 15 states with the most uninsured people, tying with Arkansas at 11. Census data show Massachusetts had the lowest rate of uninsured people, while Texas had the highest.

According to the Census measure, Idaho's uninsured rate in 2012 was 18.5 percent.

Idaho is among five U.S. states losing the largest amount of federal timber payments aimed at rural counties and school districts.

Congress let the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act expire in the fall of 2014, leaving Idaho counties and school districts with $26 million less than expected.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Basin School District in Idaho City has something most districts in the state don’t, preschool.

On Wednesdays, 12 preschoolers leave their small house-turned-school and walk across the playground to the high school’s music room. The children sit cross-legged in a circle and the music teacher hands out two brightly-colored sticks to each student. Music class for these preschoolers is all about rhythm, following directions, and giggling.

Congress let the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act expire in the fall of 2014, leaving Idaho counties and school districts with $26 million less than expected.

Idaho counties will bear the brunt of this loss. Seventy percent of Secure Rural Schools money goes to counties for things like road maintenance. Thirty percent goes to school districts.

Data from the Idaho Association of Counties shows Idaho County will lose more money than any other county, nearly $7.3 million.

Curtesy City of Boise

Boise City Council President Maryanne Jordan is now a state senator. Jordan was appointed to the body by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter after Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise, resigned to join the Idaho Tax Commission.

Jordan will fill the District 17 seat. 

“I believe Maryanne has proven herself to be a dedicated public servant with a long track record of notable achievement and civic leadership,” said Gov. Otter in a press release. “I have every confidence that she will continue that laudable legacy as the newest member of the Idaho Legislature.”

The president of Idaho's largest business lobby offered to resign this week after a profane email targeting the chairman of the Senate Tax Committee was leaked.

Idaho Public Television reports Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry President Alex LaBeau will keep his job, despite the leaked email.

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