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.


12:21 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Idaho's 2013 Medicaid Rolls At Highest Level Yet

Credit Data: Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare | Chart: Emilie Ritter Saunders

The number of low-income Idahoans on Medicaid increased 3.5 percent in 2013, a figure the Idaho Department of  Health and Welfare says marks a slow-down in growth of the program.

On average, 236,352 Idahoans were signed up for Medicaid each month of 2013. That's the highest average monthly enrollment the state has ever recorded.

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6:45 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Why It's Tough To Track What Lobbyists Give To Idaho Lawmakers

Tim Hurst is Idaho's Chief Deputy Secretary of State. Part of his job is to ensure lobbyist disclosure reports are above board.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Late last year, St. Louis Public Radio and NPR launched an interactive data project that lets Missouri voters see just how much money their state representative has accepted from lobbyists. It's an easy-to-navigate visual that gives people a sense of the kinds of relationships that have developed under their Capitol dome. A similar one-stop-shop of lobbying disclosure info wouldn't be possible in Idaho.

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Bucket List
12:46 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Idaho 'Bucket List' Readers Add 35 More Must-Dos To The List

This is Upper Mesa Falls near Ashton, Idaho off Highway 47.
Credit Pete Char / Flickr Creative Commons

Of the hundreds of comments we've received on the Idaho Bucket List we published last week, two things are abundantly clear: Idahoans are passionate about their state, and 75 simply isn't enough to create a complete bucket list.

In all honesty, we knew both of those things going into the project.

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Bowe Bergdahl
11:50 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Idaho POW's Family Reacts To New 'Proof Of Life' Video

Bowe Bergdahl has been a prisoner of war since 2009.
Credit Idaho National Guard

Here's the latest update from The Associated Press, 5:20 p.m. 

The Idaho family of captured U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is renewing their call for his release after the seeing a new video of him.

U.S. officials say they believe the video was taken within the last month, showing that the soldier is alive after nearly five years of captivity.

A senior defense official said the video came to light several days ago. Another official said that Bergdahl appeared in poorer health than previous videos.

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Bucket List
7:00 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Idaho Bucket List: The 75 Things All Idahoans Should Try (At Least Once)

Fly-fishing the Henry's Fork near Island Park, Idaho is #7 on the bucket list.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's nearly 84,000 square miles of breathtaking views, rugged terrain, and unique landmarks mean the Gem State is rife with recreation and site-seeing options. It could take a lifetime to see it all. In the spirit of the new year, we've compiled a list of the 75 things you must experience in Idaho -- at least once.

Consider this list a starting place for your own Idaho bucket list. By no means is this a definitive list. Send us more Idaho must-dos using the hashtag #IDbucketlist.

75. Bike the Hiawatha Trail.

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Idaho News
8:29 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Missing California Airplane Found Near McCall, Idaho

This still photo taken from Idaho Transportation Department video shows the steep, snowy terrain searchers were combing for the missing aircraft.
Credit Idaho Department of Transportation

The Valley County, Idaho Sheriff's Department says a single-engine airplane that's been missing since December has been found near McCall. Lt. Dan Smith says it appears none of the five people aboard the Beech Bonanza aircraft survived.

On Dec. 1, 51-year-old California software executive Dale Smith departed from eastern Oregon with four family members en route to Butte, Mont. The Associated Press wrote in December that Smith reported engine trouble during his flight and asked for coordinates for the Yellow Pine air strip in Idaho's backcountry.

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1:40 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Idaho Falls Teacher, Democrat Announces Her Second Bid For Superintendent Of Schools

Jana Jones ran for the office in 2006.
Credit Courtesy Jana Jones

Longtime educator, consultant and Democrat Jana Jones is the first candidate to announce a run for Idaho's Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Jones ran for the office in 2006 and narrowly lost to current Superintendent Tom Luna by just 2.5 percent.

Jones says the public has lost trust in Luna after his battles with teachers groups and others over his Students Come First laws. Voters repealed those laws in 2012.

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2014 Legislature
1:01 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Read: Idaho Gov. Otter Delivers His 2014 State Of The State Address

Idaho lawmakers listen to Gov. Otter's State of the State speech.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter kicks off the 2014 legislative session with his annual State of the State speech at this hour.

Otter's speech is heavy on education, and increasing education funding. He's also using the speech to coin a new idea, instead of K-12 education, Otter says the state needs to think of public education as K-Career. "It is a formula that emphasizes local autonomy and accountability as the keys to success not only for our schools but also for our communities, our economy, and most importantly for our students," Otter says.

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Idaho Prisons
11:33 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Gov. Otter Orders Idaho To Take Over Management Of Privately-Run Prison

Credit Idaho Statesman

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter Friday told lawmakers and media the state will take over management of a prison that's been operated by Corrections Corporation of America for several years.

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State Revenue
4:06 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Idaho's Rainy Day Account Could Fund State Government For 15 Days

Idaho state lawmakers return to session Jan. 6.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

If forced to pay its bills using reserves, Idaho could've funded state government for 14.7 days last fiscal year. That data has been collected and analyzed by The Pew Charitable Trusts for all 50 states, going back to fiscal year 2000.

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3:36 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Expect Travel Delays, Idaho Issues Megaload Permit For Southern Route

The massive shipment will cross 84 bridges in Idaho and travel mostly on backroads.
Credit Idaho Department of Transportation

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

Snow has delayed a 450-ton shipment of oilfield equipment from moving into Idaho as it rumbles toward the tar sands oil development in Canada.

The company hauling the megaload had expected to cross the border from Vale, Ore., into Idaho on Friday night.

Spokeswoman Holly Zander says they will have to wait for better weather, and hope to try again Saturday night.

Meanwhile, the state of Idaho has issued a permit for the megaload to use highways crossing the southern part of the state on its way to Montana.

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Idaho Legislature
3:15 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Gov. Otter Appoints Boise Representative To Fill Vacant State Senate Seat

Ward-Engelking was a teacher for more than 30 years.
Credit Idaho Legislature

Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter has selected Boise Rep. Janie Ward-Engelking, a Democrat, to fill the Idaho Senate seat vacated by Sen. Branden Durst.

Ward-Engelking is a freshman lawmaker who was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2012.

Here's the press release issued by Gov. Otter's office.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced the appointment today of freshman Representative Janie Ward-Engelking to the Idaho Senate vacancy left by last month’s resignation of first-term Senator Branden Durst of Boise.

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11:50 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Idaho Lands On Top 10 List For Increase In Homeless Students

More than 6,000 Idaho students were homeless during the 2011/2012 school year. That's .5 percent of all public school kids.
Credit BionicTeaching / Flickr Creative Commons

Student homelessness in Idaho has grown by 27 percent, putting the state in a list of 10 that have seen the largest increase in the number of kids without stable, reliable homes. That data from the U.S. Department of Education measured growth from the 2010/2011 school year to 2011/2012.

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10:51 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Rocky Mountain Power Says Service Fully Restored In SE Idaho

Update, 4:26 p.m.: Rocky Mountain Power says service has been restored to all customers affected by the precautionary outage in southeastern Idaho.

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Election 2014
11:13 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Democrat A.J. Balukoff Announces Bid For Idaho Governor

Balukoff made his in-person announcement at Hillcrest Elementary flanked by Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and members of his family.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

As expected, Boise School District trustee and businessman A.J. Balukoff officially announced Tuesday he's running for governor of Idaho. He becomes the first Democrat to enter the race.

Balukoff's campaign website went live mid-Tuesday morning and features this announcement video.

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7:45 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Idaho Void Of "Super Zips," State's Most Elite Zip Codes Are Near Boise

Three of Idaho's four most elite Zip codes, shaded in green, are in the Boise-metro area.
Credit Washington Post

A Washington Post analysis of elite Zip codes in the United States shows Idaho doesn’t have a so-called Super Zip. These are high-end neighborhoods where the median annual household income is $120,000 and 7 in 10 adults have a college degree.

The Post analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data and plotted their findings on this interactive map. There are 650 Super Zips in the country, with the largest concentration of wealth and education in Washington, D.C.

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Election 2014
4:39 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Boise School Board Chairman, Democrat Expected To Announce Bid For Idaho Governor

Balukoff campaign logo found at AJForIdaho.com
Credit AJForIdaho.com

Boise School Board Chairman and businessman A.J. Balukoff is expected to announce Tuesday he's running for governor of Idaho. The Idaho Democratic Party says Balukoff will make his announcement at Hillcrest Elementary School Tuesday at 11:00 a.m., however, a press release was leaked from at least two Facebook pages that confirmed Balukoff's gubernatorial bid.

Democratic Party spokesman Dean Ferguson says he is aware of that leaked information, but says it's an internal issue he can't comment on. Ferguson says Balukoff has made no official announcement yet.

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9:10 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Map: Proposed Megaload Route Will Wind Across Southern Idaho's Backroads

This is a similar over-sized shipment that traveled through Idaho earlier in 2013.
Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Giant pieces of equipment headed for Canada's oil sands are expected to travel through southern Idaho once the oversized gear makes its way across Oregon.

Omega Morgan, a trucking company hired, was forced to choose a new route for moving its so-called 'megaloads' through Idaho after a judge blocked plans to ship the loads over U.S. Highway 12.

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12:22 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Data: Personal Income Growth Slows In Idaho

Credit Bureau of Economic Analysis

Personal income growth slowed between 2011 and 2012 across Idaho's metro areas. That’s according to data released Thursday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

On average, incomes grew by 4.2 percent across the nation’s metro areas. None of Idaho’s metro areas met or exceeded that average.

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Idaho Legislature
1:15 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Idaho State Senator From Boise Resigns From Legislature

Credit State of Idaho

An Idaho state senator representing Boise announced Wednesday he's resigning from the Legislature as of Dec. 1. District 18 Sen. Branden Durst, a Democrat, is vacating the seat he won in 2012.

In a press release from the Idaho Democratic Party, Durst says he's resigning "to focus on his family’s needs."

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