Frankie Barnhill

News Reporter

Frankie Barnhill is a general assignment reporter for Boise State Public Radio. She joined the newsroom fulltime in January, 2015.

She earned her production chops at American Public Media, where she interned for Marketplace Tech Report and American RadioWorks. Frankie was also a researcher in Minnesota Public Radio's newsroom for an investigative report on bullying.

As a freelance reporter in 2014, Frankie won a grant to profile five emerging artists for Boise State Public Radio's audience. The project, entitled "Artist Statement," was an exploration of Boise's burgeoning artistic scene.

Frankie was a fellow with the Institute for Journalism & Natural Resources in 2013 and again in 2015, where she began to hone her environmental reporting skills.

Frankie graduated from the College of St. Catherine with a degree in English literature. The Missoula native spends most of her free time riding her left-handed bike, quoting "30 Rock," and going to concerts.

Otto Kitsinger / AP Images

Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke removed Republican Rep. Heather Scott from her three legislative committee assignments last week, causing a stir in the statehouse. Bedke made the announcement after Scott commented to another female lawmaker that women only move up in the capitol by trading sexual favors.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Images

President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to head the Interior Department was questioned by a senate committee Tuesday. Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke was pushed on several hot button land use issues -- issues he’s well acquainted with as a Montana congressman.

 

When it comes to questions about how he would manage the relationship between states and federal land managers, the greater sage grouse inevitably came up. The imperiled bird narrowly avoided landing on the Endangered Species List, but the debate over how to save the bird remains contentious.  

Kate Haake / AP Images

On Friday, Boise State University released a survey that examined the attitudes of Idahoans on key policy issues. The second-annual survey included views from 1,000 Idahoans.

 

Boise State political science professor Justin Vaughn directed the research team for the survey. Vaughn says they were careful to poll people from different parts of the state, evenly polling both cell and landline phone users.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

UPDATE: 3:24 p.m.: Five Idaho lawmakers surprised the House floor Monday by asking Speaker Scott Bedke to remove them from their committee assignments in a defiant act of solidarity with a female colleague recently admonished for comments on the mobility of women.

Republican Reps. Ron Nate, Priscilla Giddings, Dorothy Moon, Christy Zito, and Karey Hanks made their requests one-by-one on the House floor, sparking murmurs of surprise and criticism among some members on the floor but getting no response from Bedke.

Kay Ledbetter / AgriLife

A lawsuit filed in district court in Boise earlier this month pits an Idaho dairy against former employees from Mexico. 

Six veterinarians are suing Funk Dairy southeast of Twin Falls for human trafficking and breach of contract, among other charges. The vets are from Mexico, and say they were hired to work at the dairy in 2014 under false pretenses.

Peter Lovera / Treefort Music Fest

Brace yourself, nerds.

The tech portion of Treefort Music Fest has dropped their lineup of all-things-nerdy coming to Hackfort March 24-25. The top billing will be familiar to those who love podcasts and/or data journalism: host Nate Silver is set to record a live FiveThirtyEight podcast on stage at the Boise festival.  The podcast follows national and local politics, using data to dissect elections and policy. It's regularly in top 100 podcast lists and has a devoted listenership.

Purple Sage Farms

If you visit the Boise Farmers Market in the summer, you’ve probably seen Tim Sommer and his family selling greens. They’ve owned Purple Sage Farms in Middleton since 1988, and sell to local restaurants in the Treasure and Wood River Valleys.

Aidan Wakely-Mulroney / Flickr Creative Commons

Many schools throughout the Treasure Valley have been closed since last week’s snow storm. For high school students, the extra days off after the holiday break have been both good and bad.

Boise High science teacher Alison Ward says in her 11 years at the school she’s never experienced so many snow days. She says she and her colleagues are doing what they can to adapt.

“I think most of us are handling it with a sense of humor," says Ward. "Definitely we appreciate that our district has everyone’s safety in mind.”

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter’s 11th State of the State address Monday focused on a number of key issues in the state. But one area the governor spent little time discussing was what’s known as the Medicaid gap, which impacts an estimated 78,000 Idahoans.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

In his Monday State of the State address, Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter says he’s hopeful President-elect Donald Trump will give Idaho more leeway when it comes to public land management. He says he recently gave Trump’s transition team advice about sage grouse protection and removing federal protections for grizzlies.

 

Sally Jewell, sage grouse
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

A federal district court judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter against the Obama administration.

In September 2015, Otter’s office filed suit against the Interior Department, arguing the federal agency illegally imposed land-use restrictions to protect the imperiled sage grouse. Now – a year and a half later – U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan dismissed the lawsuit.

Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

UPDATE: 4:55p.m. - Ada County has announced a local disaster emergency because of hazardous winter weather. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning in effect from Saturday morning to Sunday night, with a chance of 6-10 inches of snow to accumulate over the weekend. The county declaration means state resources are freed up to help clear roads in the Treasure Valley.

Frankie Barnhil / Boise State Public Radio

Six-and-a-half inches of snow fell Tuesday in Boise, bringing the total snow depth to 15 inches so far this year – a new record. The snow storm prompted the closure of area schools and some businesses, and caused almost 100 car accidents.

 

“The last 29 years I guess the district looks wise for not investing in plow trucks that they didn’t need," says Ada County Highway District President Paul Woods. "Now on this 30th year I guess one could say: ‘Well how come you don’t have more trucks?’”

The latest announcement from Treefort Music Fest adds some powerhouse female voices to the five-day Boise event, including that of Minneapolis rapper Lizzo. Her song “Good As Hell” was something of a summertime anthem, and landed on NPR Music’s best of list for 2016.

Rick Bowmer / AP Images

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell made her final stop in Boise Tuesday during her last month as an Obama administration official. Jewell was briefed by wildfire officials at the National Interagency Fire Center about a landmark policy she put in place during her tenure.

Keith Ridler / AP Images

Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell will make a visit to Idaho Tuesday. The Obama Administration official is on a final tour highlighting environmental initiatives taken on by her department since 2013.

 

Andrew Selsky / AP Images

Earlier this week, President Obama created two national monuments. The newly preserved land is in Utah and Nevada. But before the transfer of power to President-elect Trump January 20, Obama could also designate 2.5 million acres of land near the Idaho border. 

 

Steve Helber / AP Images

Earlier this month, the Navy announced plans to build a $1.6 billion facility in Idaho to handle fuel waste from the nation’s nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers over the next forty years. The new structure will be built on the Idaho National Laboratory site about 50 miles from Idaho Falls.

Keith Ridler with the Associated Press has been following this story, and says Idaho officials are in favor of the facility. 

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Most people leave their childhood hobbies behind them when they grow up. (It’s hard to justify your Beanie Baby collection in college, for example.) But for members of the Old Boise N-Scale Model Railroad Club, their passion has only gotten stronger with age.

“We just love trains, and this is great therapy from our day jobs," says club member Jim Brostmeyer.

Rachel La Corte / AP Images

Between July 2015 and July 2016 the state grew by more than 30,000 people. That's according to the latest census data, and is the biggest increase since 2008.

The 1.8 percent gain comes from people who moved to the Gem State from other parts of the country, and from babies born in Idaho. The state is fifth when it comes to in-migration and seventh for births. Utah topped the list for growth by percentage, followed by Nevada. Other western states like Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Arizona also made it in the top-10 list.  

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