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.


11:59 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Idaho Congressman Labrador Announces Candidacy For House Majority Leader

Labrador was first elected to Congress in 2010.
Credit Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador could begin his third term in the U.S. House as Majority Leader. Labrador Friday announced he's running for the high-profile post after Rep. Eric Cantor, R-VA, lost his primary election.

Read more
1:25 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Rural Border Town Becomes Idaho's 8th City To Approve Non-Discrimination Ordinance

Victor, Idaho is 25 miles from Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Credit Eric Fredricks / Flickr Creative Commons

A small town on Idaho's border with Wyoming is the latest city to approve employment, housing and public accommodation protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Victor, Idaho is the eighth city to approve a non-discrimination ordinance. It says people can’t be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  

Read more
City Wildlife
3:27 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

'Agitated' Moose Makes Its Way To Boise's Greenbelt Trail

A Boise Fire Department employee took this photo of the young moose on the Greenbelt.
Credit Boise Fire Department

This post was updated at 4:19 p.m. on June 10.

Idaho Fish and Game officials have tranquilized a moose that wandered into the city Tuesday. The moose apparently started its day at east Boise's Warm Springs Golf Course, but ended up closer to downtown on the Greenbelt behind Parkcenter Boulevard.

KTVB.com originally reported the moose is a male, but it turns out to be a female.

Read more
Bowe Bergdahl
3:24 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Hailey, Idaho Cancels Bergdahl Event Citing Safety Concerns

The small town of Hailey is now in the crossfire of a national debate over Bergdahl.
Credit Drew Nash / Times-News

The town of Hailey, Idaho has canceled its June 28 event to celebrate the return of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl who was released from Taliban captivity nearly five years after he was reported missing in Afghanistan.

The Idaho Statesman posted this news release from organizers saying the the event is canceled "in the interest of public safety." 

Read more
4:27 am
Wed May 28, 2014

'Little Bitch Otter' Beer Maker To Give Some Proceeds To Gay Rights Groups

Crooked Fence Brewing's Kelly Knopp created this image for its beer label.
Credit Courtesy Crooked Fence Brewery

The brewery we told you about two weeks ago that's fermenting a batch of political commentary plans to give a portion of its proceeds from "Little Bitch Otter" beer to gay rights groups.

Read more
Election 2014
1:49 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

After Winning Urban Areas, Fulcher Says He Lost Idaho's Governor Primary With Rural Voters

Russ Fulcher, left, and Gov. Otter talked quietly before Wednesday's GOP rally at the state Capitol.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Gov. C.L. 'Butch' Otter won his Republican primary Tuesday night, making him the first GOP governor since 1962 to win his party’s nomination three times in a row. Otter's victory wasn't a landslide, his main primary opponent, state Sen. Russ Fulcher, gave the longtime Republican politician a run for his money.

With all but three of Idaho's precincts reporting, Otter won just over 51 percent of the vote, and lost major counties like Ada and Kootenai to Fulcher.

Read more
Election 2014
8:44 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Former Idaho House Speaker Denney Wins GOP Secretary Of State Nomination

Credit Boise State Public Radio

Former Speaker of the House Lawerence Denney has won the Republican primary in the secretary of state race.

Denney had nearly 36 percent of the vote with 92 percent of precincts reporting from Tuesday's election. He beat second-place finisher Phil McGrane, who had the support of retiring incumbent Ben Ysursa, by more than 10,000 votes.

Denney will face Democrat Holli Woodings in November. Woodings ran unopposed in the primary.

Read more
Gay Rights
11:57 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Pocatello Voters Keep LGBT Protections

The Pocatello City Council heard public testimony on the issue in April 2013.
Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A ballot measure in Pocatello that would have repealed the city's non-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people failed by a narrow margin according to the Idaho State Journal.

Read more
Election 2014
10:09 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Congressman Mike Simpson Easily Defeats Tea Party Challenger In Idaho

Bryan Smith (foreground) is an Idaho Falls attorney who was supported by the national group, Club for Growth. Smith had said Simpson was too liberal for Idaho.
Credit Aaron Kunz / Idaho Public Television

The Associated Press has called Idaho's Republican primary in the 2nd Congressional District for eight-term incumbent Mike Simpson.

Simpson had faced a tough primary challenge from tea party-backed candidate Bryan Smith.

Simpson's opponent, Idaho Falls attorney Bryan Smith, got an endorsement from the Club for Growth. Smith had said Simpson was too liberal for Idaho, citing his October 2013 decision to end the 16-day partial government shutdown Republicans attempted to use to force an end to the federal Affordable Care Act.

Read more
5:54 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Idaho Brewery Gets Political With 'Little Bitch Otter' Beer

Credit Courtesy Crooked Fence Brewery

An Idaho brewery is wading into political commentary with a new beer dubbed "Little Bitch Otter," which appears to take a shot at Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.

The logo, made by Crooked Fence Brewing co-owner and marketing director Kelly Knopp, features an otter wearing a tie and cowboy hat.

"Anyone that is going to try to take away freedoms or not let someone be equal, Crooked Fence is against," says Knopp.

Knopp wouldn't be more specific on why their political cartoon appears to put Gov. Otter in the cross hairs, although the timing seems deliberate.

Read more
Gay Marriage
1:56 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

9th Circuit Court Stops Gay Marriages From Beginning In Idaho

Idaho's governor and attorney general have said they'll continue to uphold the 2006 voter-approved amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

This post was updated at 5:00 p.m. May 15.

Same-sex weddings likely won't begin Friday morning in Idaho. The Idaho Statesman reports the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has granted a temporary stay of a lower court's ruling striking down Idaho's same-sex marriage ban.

Read more
Election 2014
12:44 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Why Idaho's Governor Wouldn't Debate Without 2 Perennial Election Losers

Idaho Public Television aired the debate live on May 14. Boise State Public Radio will air a re-broadcast May 15 at 8 p.m. on KBSX 91.5 FM.
Credit Jim Hadley / Idaho Public Television

Four Republican candidates vying to be Idaho's governor participated Wednesday in a debate that longtime political observers knew had the potential to be...colorful. It certainly was.

The two candidates considered to be the race's only serious contenders, incumbent C.L. "Butch" Otter and state Sen. Russ Fulcher, were joined by two frequent candidates who've never been elected to any statewide office, Harley Brown and Walt Bayes.

Read more
Road To Red
6:45 am
Thu May 15, 2014

What It Means To Be ‘Fiercely Independent’ In Idaho, A State Surrounded By Government

The Baker family's three ranches are in the East Fork valley. That's the snow-capped top of Castle Peak in the background.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

If Hollywood needed a setting for one of its westerns, this spot along the East Fork of the Salmon River just might be it. In fact, one of Clint Eastwood’s famous westerns, Pale Rider, was shot not too far from here.

For the dwindling number of ranchers who still earn their livings on this land, this valley is nothing like a romanticized western – it’s gritty, year-round work.

The Baker family has lived, and ranched here for more than 125 years.

Read more
6:33 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Judge Denies Idaho Gov. Otter's Request To Put Same-Sex Marriages On Hold

Couple Amber Beierle (pink shirt) and Rachael Robertson (green shirt) celebrate Tuesday's court decision. They were joined by friends outside the James A. McClure Federal Building in Boise Tuesday evening.
Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

This story was updated at 11:25 a.m. on May 14, 2014

The Associated Press reports U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale has denied Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's request to put Idaho same-sex marriages on hold.

The Idaho Statesman reports Otter requested that no same-sex marriages be allowed until the appeals process was complete.

Read more
11:34 am
Fri May 9, 2014

#WhyIStay: Show Us Why You Live In Idaho

Mount Borah, within the Challis National Forest, is Idaho's tallest peak at 12,667 feet.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A recent Gallup survey found that 17 percent of Idahoans have made plans to leave the state within a year. Those planning to leave told Gallup it was primarily for work, family, and school-related reasons.

If given the option, 29 percent of Idahoans say they'd leave while 69 percent told Gallup they'd prefer to stay. So, we want to know why you've decided to live in Idaho.

Read more
12:58 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Public Or Private? See The Top 5 Employers In Your Idaho County

Exactly half of Idaho's top employers in each of its 44 counties are private businesses, while the other half are government entities. That's a change from 2012 when we reported on the same data. Then, the top employers in 28 counties were public and 16 were private sector businesses.

Read more
Pop Culture
2:02 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Turns Out, Idaho Is A Really Good Place For 'Nerds'

This map from Estately Blog shows western states are nerd havens.
Credit Estately Blog

Idaho is a good place to be if you're into science fiction, comic books, and LARP-ing (that's live-action role playing). A lighthearted post from the blog Estately, and picked up by CNET, shows Idaho is the fourth 'nerdiest' (their word, not ours) state in the country.

Read more
11:01 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Free Copies Of Controversial Sherman Alexie Novel Available To Meridian Students

Author Sherman Alexie speaking at a 2011 event.
Credit Maryland Gov Pics / Flickr Creative Commons

Students in Meridian will have a chance to get a free copy of Sherman Alexie's book "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" after the school board voted to remove the novel from its curriculum.

Read more
6:53 am
Thu April 17, 2014

What Do Idaho Voters Want? Without Recent Public Opinion Polls, It's Hard To Tell

Election day might be the most consequential poll, but routine public opinion polling can also impact policy.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho voters will soon be inundated with campaign ads and sound bites from political candidates who proclaim to know exactly what Idahoans want. But it's unclear how voters are feeling heading into the May 20 primary election, thanks to a lack of public opinion polling. Without such polling, it's tough to tell if politicians' rhetoric matches the electorate's viewpoint.

Read more
4:09 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Earthquake Swarm Continues To Shake Central Idaho

This intensity map from USGS shows where Monday afternoon's earthquake was felt.
Credit U.S. Geological Survey

The U.S. Geological Survey reports a 4.6-magnitude earthquake occurred Monday afternoon 14.2 miles north of Challis. Early Monday morning, a magnitude 3.0 earthquake was measured 11 miles north northwest of the town.

Mike Stickney is the director of the Earthquake Studies Office at the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology. He says this swarm of earthquakes in central Idaho started on March 24. He says at least 12 have been greater than magnitude 3, and many smaller tremors have also been measured.

Read more