Samantha Wright

News Reporter/On-air Host

Samantha Wright is a news reporter and the local host for Boise State Public Radio's All Things Considered on weekday afternoons.

Her spot reporting, special projects, and audio production have been featured on Voice of America, National Public Radio News, This American Life, National Native News, the Northwest Radio Network and on The New York Times website. Samantha earned a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Use of Sound for her feature “Co-op Cooks.”  She also earned a first place award for Use of Sound for her feature “Canning Makes a Comeback” from PRNDI - Public Radio News Directors Incorporated. Samantha was a co-producer of the Idaho StoryCorps Project. The project was recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Randy Watson / Flickr

More than 500 ducks and geese have died near Parma. And the Idaho Department of Fish and Game says it knows why.

Two weeks ago, someone found hundreds of dead birds on private land at Fort Boise. Fish and Game says between 500 and 600 birds were at the site. Canada geese, mallard ducks, even a red-tailed hawk died. Several of the birds were sent to the Department’s Wildlife Health Laboratory to be tested.

Brittney Tatchell

The ancient bones of the Kennewick Man have been returned to the ground.

The Tri-City Herald reports that early Saturday, more than 200 members of five Columbia Plateau tribes and bands gathered at an undisclosed location to lay the remains of the man they call the Ancient One to rest. That's according to an announcement Sunday by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

Robert C. Sims Collection on Minidoka and Japanese Americans / Special Collections and Archives, Boise State University

Sunday was the Day of Remembrance. Each year, organizers look back at a dark period of history in the American West - the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War Two. Monday Idaho remembers the role it played in this history.

February 19, 1942 marks the date President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Japanese people to be interned in the U.S. after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Close to 117,000 Japanese Americans were segregated into government camps, including at the Minidoka center in Idaho. There 10,000 people were held for three years during the war.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Joint Finance Appropriations Committee
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Friday we wrap up week six of the Idaho Legislature. Lawmakers are getting down to the business of passing bills in committees and sending them to the House and Senate floor.

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, or JFAC considered the final budget requests from the state agencies this week. That means this panel of 20 is switching gears and will start to draft bills, in fact, the committee is expected to write close to 100 budget bills.

Robert C. Sims Collection on Minidoka and Japanese Americans / Special Collections and Archives, Boise State University

Sunday marks the 75th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the Executive Order that authorized the internment of Japanese people in America during World War II.

Two months after Pearl Harbor, the order relocated 117,000 Japanese Americans into camps. Idaho’s Minidoka site housed 10,000 Japanese for three years. Once the war was over, no one wanted to talk about the internment.

Rick Bowmer / AP

Jury selection begins Tuesday in the second trial involving people who took part in last winter's armed takeover of a wildlife refuge in southeastern Oregon.

Jurors last fall acquitted occupation leader Ammon Bundy and six others who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to protest the federal control of Western lands and the imprisonment of two ranchers convicted of setting fires.

capitol, JFAC
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

On Monday, the Idaho Legislature fielded a flurry of bills from committees. That’s by design.

The 36th calendar day of each legislative session is the last day that personal bills can be introduced in most committees. That was Monday, which resulted in a glut of bills popping up in committees.

Boise State University Political Science professor Gary Moncrief says after the deadline, it gets harder to get bills into the Legislature.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Elk and deer continue to struggle this winter and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is adding 27 more feeding sites for the animals.

That brings the number of feed sites around the Southeast Region to 89.

There are 16 elk sites feeding 2,780 animals. There are 71 deer sites, feeding 8,731 of the animals. And two pronghorn sites are getting feed to 215 animals. The sites are in 12 Idaho counties.

Google and www.eclipse2017.org

It’s a big deal. That’s what one Boise State University professor says about this summer’s total solar eclipse. He's raising money online to help towns and cities prepare for an influx of people hoping to see the eclipse.

Physics professor Brian Jackson says campsites and hotels are already booked up for August 21 across the eclipse path in Idaho. He says Idaho is centrally located for prime eclipse watching.

The Spokesman Review

It’s been 25 years since the Ruby Ridge siege in North Idaho. Randy Weaver and his family faced off with federal agents in a shocking stand-off on a mountain top not far from Bonners Ferry.

The siege began on August 21, 1992 and lasted 11 days. In the end, Weaver and a friend were shot and injured, and three people were dead, including Weaver’s wife and young son and a federal agent. Moreover, the incident became a rallying cry for those who felt law enforcement had overstepped its bounds.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building House Chambers
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Week five is just about over for the Idaho Legislature. Lawmakers have debated the definition of casino-style gambling, Fish and Game fees and man-made climate change. And Representatives on the House floor made the rare move to kill a bill about license plates, only the second time this session a bill has gone down to defeat there.

Michael Kappel / Flickr

The ongoing battle over appropriate Indian gambling is once again coming to a head in the Idaho Legislature, with both sides preparing to rip open old wounds.

Rep. Tom Loertscher, a Republican from Iona, introduced legislation Wednesday that would ban lucrative video gambling terminals inside the tribes' casinos. The proposal was tepidly accepted by the House State Affairs Committee, with some lawmakers raising concerns about the ripple effects of the bill.

roberto volterra / Flickr

State auditors say Idaho's child welfare system is overwhelmed, with too few foster parents, too heavy caseloads for social workers and not enough infrastructure to hold it all together.

The study from the Legislature's Office of Performance Evaluations found that the number of foster parents has decreased by 8 percent since 2014, while social workers are dealing with 28 to 38 percent more cases than they can reasonably handle.

daya_devi / Flickr

More than 123,000 people in the country need an organ transplant. And it turns out Idahoans are signing up in big numbers on the donation list.

According to figures released Monday, the Idaho Transportation Department says more Idahoans, 64 percent, sign up to donate their organs, compared to the national average of 51 percent.

In 2016, Idahoans donated 169 organs to those in need. That’s up from 113 in 2015.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Entrance Steps
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

As we wrap up the fourth week of the Idaho Legislature, lawmakers have been bringing forward more bills, covering issues from tax breaks to hunting and fishing fees.

One bill that came up this week was a preemptive move by some state lawmakers who want to keep so-called "Sanctuary Cities" out of Idaho. Boise State University Political Science Professor Gary Moncrief says it’s indicative of the power that some state legislatures have over their largest cities.

FEMA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is holding hearings on proposed flood maps in Ada and Canyon County.

FEMA has come up with new maps that change the outline of the 100-year floodplain. That’s the area that has a 1 percent chance of flooding in any year.

The maps are preliminary and include areas along the Boise River, Nine Mile Creek, Mill Slough and Willow Creek. Hundreds of homes in Boise, Garden City, Eagle and Star fall inside the new floodplain districts proposed by FEMA.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Attorney General says Western Union has agreed to a settlement that involves a series of scams and more than 2,000 Idahoans.

AG Lawrence Wasden says scams are very active in Idaho right now, and especially affect the elderly. Scammers contact their victims and often pose as relatives or officials from the IRS. They demand payment from the victim in the form of a wire transfer, such as through Western Union.

Wasden found more than 2,000 complaints by Idahoans to Western Union between 2004 and 2015. Victims reported losses of $2.4 million dollars.

J. Mc. / Flickr Creative Commons

The City of Boise wants people to move their inaccessible bins from alleys to the street. The request comes after winter storms that have made some alleys with piled-up snow and ice impossible for trucks to navigate.

Here's the full press release from the city:

Idaho residents flocked to the Capitol Friday to urge lawmakers to provide health care to the state's neediest citizens, address Idaho's medical transportation system and reform religious exemptions.

The testimony was part of the annual listening session hosted by the House and Senate Health and Welfare Committees.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Steps
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

North Idaho Representative Heather Scott stood on the House floor Friday and asked to be allowed to return to her committees.

“I respectfully request that I be returned to my committees so I can properly perform my duly elected position and the voice of the citizens in District 1 in North Idaho will no longer be silenced," said Scott.

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