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.

John Carricaburu / USGS

The U.S. Geological Survey and the Idaho Department of Water Resources have begun work on a new model that will track how groundwater flows in the Treasure Valley. Underground aquifers store most of the Treasure Valley’s water.

The model is meant to help resource managers understand the aquifer system, at a time when demand for water continues to grow as the valley’s population increases.

Senate Chamber Idaho Capitol
Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Idaho’s four Republican presidential electors will cast their Electoral College vote Monday at noon. Elsewhere in the country there's been speculation on so-called faithless electors -- those refusing to cast their vote for their state's electoral winner. But here in Idaho, the concerns were not about who to vote for but who could vote, creating a last-minute scramble to find replacements for two of the four electors.

Tim Hagen / Flickr Creative Commons

Snow in the mountains this week has Idaho backcountry skiers both excited and on alert. The Sawtooth Avalanche Center put out an extreme avalanche warning Thursday. For Chris Lundi of Sawtooth Mountain Guides, this means he and his guides are staying away from avalanche-prone spots.

Lucy Dacus / Facebook

It's that magical time of year when the NPR Music crew puts out their "best of" lists.

Although there aren't any Idaho bands on the list, Boise music fans may recognize a number of artists featured on the critics' 2016 lists. High on Bob Boilen's list is the first album from Lucy Dacus. She performed a solo set for Boise State Public Radio and Storyfort last March, and then played to an enthusiastic crowd at Treefort Music Fest that night.

Ada County Courthouse Law Court
Lacey Daley / Boise State Public Radio

According to the Ada County Jury Commissioner’s Office, at least one person has fallen victim to a jury duty scam in Boise. County officials say the scam starts with a phone call from someone claiming to be a police officer. The person then is told they’re in contempt of court and owes $1000 for failure to comply and appear for jury duty.

So far, at least one person says they lost $1000 from the scam. He was instructed over the phone to mail a gift card to the person claiming to be an officer.  

Richard Drew / AP Images

According to the Washington Post, Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) has been tapped to lead the Interior Department under Donald Trump. The cabinet position oversees key agencies pertinent to life in the West, including the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Legislative auditors say the Idaho Racing Commission failed to give $72,000 to public schools in 2015, but did give $286,000 to horse breeder associations that year.  

Bowe Bergdahl
Ted Richardson / AP Images

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s lawyers want President Obama to pardon their client. The attorneys filed the request earlier this month, in a last-ditch effort to get Bergdahl off the hook before a new administration takes over.

 

Military law expert Richard Rosen of the Center for Military Law and Policy says the request for a presidential pardon is the equivalent of a Hail Mary pass.  

“So I’ve not heard of a case like this, but this is a highly unusual case,” says Rosen. 

Idaho National Laboratory

A $1.65 billion facility will be built at a nuclear site in eastern Idaho to handle fuel waste from the nation's fleet of nuclear-powered warships, the Navy and U.S. Department of Energy announced Tuesday.

Officials said the new facility is needed to keep nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines deployed.

real estate, home for sale, housing market
Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has increased the price of mortgages they will insure in 2017.

This is the first time since 2009 that HUD has increased the amount for federally backed mortgages. Growing demand for housing in Idaho is a factor.

Lawerence Denney
Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney wants to reform the state’s Sunshine Laws. According to Idaho Reports, Denney plans to introduce new legislation in the upcoming session. Sunshine laws are used to make government agencies more transparent.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The Interior Department has updated a rule that governs activities like ranching, mining and gas drilling on federal land. Obama Administration officials say they aim to simplify the process for land development, while building in more transparency and public input.

Peter Lovera / Treefort Music Fest

Get your headphones ready, Treeforters.

The first bunch of bands set to play Boise's sixth-annual Treefort Music Fest is here, and features a mix of well-established and emerging bands.

Middleton School District

Between 2006 and 2015, Middleton Heights Elementary placed girls and boys in separate classrooms, based on an education theory that the sexes learn differently.

But according to the American Civil Liberties Union, this was a violation of Title IX, and the Department of Education recently agreed.

“Well the issue is definitely not new," says Leo Morales from the ACLU of Idaho, "and it’s an issue that the ACLU across the country has been looking at for years.”

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The migration of sockeye salmon from their birth in Idaho’s Redfish Lake to the Pacific Ocean ties Oregon, Washington and the Gem State together. But that trek is a brutal one that kills many fish each year, and advocates say their journey is made more difficult by four federally run dams on the Snake River in Washington.

Idaho Bureau of Land Management

As President-elect Donald Trump continues to announce his picks for his administration, one cabinet position that could directly affect Idaho remains unfilled.

The Secretary of Interior oversees the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, two agencies that can be the focal point of anger from both the left and the right side of the political spectrum.

sage grouse, in flight, birds
Bryant Olsen / Flickr Creative Commons

Congress has returned to work after the Thanksgiving recess. One of the big items on the docket during the lame duck session is the passage of a $602-billion defense bill. But an amendment by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) has helped to stall its passage, tying the debate over the greater sage grouse to Pentagon funding.

Salmon
Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

In May, a federal judge ordered dam operators in the Northwest to put all options back on the table to save endangered salmon. That means giving a close look at four dams on the lower Snake River. Now, Boiseans will have the chance to weigh in on the proposal.

The debate over the best way to protect salmon has been caught in court battles for the last 20 years.

Holiday shopping, Downtown Boise, Retail
Downtown Boise Association / Instagram

As Black Friday approaches, cities in Idaho are reminding shoppers to think about local stores too.

American Express has popularized Small Business Saturday over the last few years. But in McCall, the idea of shopping local during the holidays is a tradition that pre-dates the credit card company’s initiative. That’s according to Nicole Musgrove of McCall’s Chamber of Commerce.

“I think most people try to buy anything they can from local businesses,” says Musgrove.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Democrats filed a complaint in October alleging an official with the Idaho Republican Party violated the state’s campaign laws. Since then, the Secretary of State’s office looked at the issue – and says no wrongdoing occurred.

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