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.

USAF Airman Shane Phipps

Idaho health officials say ground squirrels south of Boise have tested positive for plague. They say humans and pets should avoid the area.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in a statement Friday says the bacterial disease can be spread by the bites of fleas or by direct contact with infected animals, including rodents, rabbits and pets.

“We have investigated reported mortalities of ground squirrels in the area southeast of Boise during May,” State Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Mark Drew said.

Idaho Rivers United

The head of Idaho Rivers United (IRU) is stepping down. Bill Sedivy says after 16 years as executive director of the organization, he wants to spend more time on the rivers and less time in the office.

The non-profit Idaho Rivers United is celebrating 25 years as an advocacy group in the state. It works to protect Idaho’s rivers and fish, and has more than 3,400 members.

Sedivy says it was a love of river rafting that got him involved in protecting rivers in the first place.

UGA College of Ag & Environmental Sciences / Flickr

Norovirus has been found in samples from an outbreak at a Nampa Middle School two weeks ago. The Southwest District Health Department confirms two stool samples came back positive for the virus.

It started two weeks ago when children at Lone Star Middle School came down with vomiting and diarrhea. By that Thursday, more than 150 kids stayed home sick. The next day, close to 500 students missed class.

Nicole Mays / Flickr

Federal investigators say that a Tennessee man and his family raised millions of dollars  for cancer patients, then spent the money on cars, luxury cruises, college tuition and to employ family members with six-figure salaries.

Officials say it's one of the largest charity fraud cases ever and involves all 50 states.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

A special session of the Idaho Legislature has passed a bill that brings the state into compliance with federal rules governing child-support payments.

Similar legislation was rejected last month, jeopardizing U.S. involvement in an international treaty that aims to make it easier for parents worldwide to collect child-support payments.

Republican Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter called lawmakers back to Boise recently after nine Republican House members killed a compliance bill, jeopardizing the treaty and state access to federal funds and programs.

ironpoison / Flickr

Farmers and ranchers in the West's worst-hit drought regions will receive an additional $21 million to help them save water and soil despite the long dry spell.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the aid Monday. The assistance will go to areas of the West that are rated in the highest categories of drought. That includes parts of California, Kansas, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Utah.

The aid is meant to help farms and grazing pastures cope with drought through better irrigation, cover crops and other measures.

Kelly DeLay / Flickr

Texas is reeling from a series of storms that have spawned tornadoes and flooding. People from around the country are pitching in to help residents clean up and brace for more rain.

WaterArchives.org / Flickr

Arrowrock Dam is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. “It was a monumental effort,” says Kelsey Doncaster. He’s been studying the dam as a historian with the Bureau of Reclamation Columbia Cascades area office in Yakima, Washington.

He says it’s a marvel of engineering that keeps irrigation canals in the Treasure Valley full, while controlling flooding of the Boise River.

Courtesy of American Center for Law and Justice

The Senate has unanimously passed a resolution calling for Iranian officials to immediately release a Boise pastor and two Americans held in Iran and help locate a fourth.

The lawmakers on Monday called on Iran to free Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati and Jason Rezaian and cooperate with the U.S. government to locate and return former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who is believed to be missing in Iran.

Abedini, a Christian pastor from Idaho, has been in Iranian custody since September 2012 and is serving an eight-year sentence for undermining state security.

The Idaho Statesman

Hay fields, vegetable gardens, and slot machines: There are several milestones that mark the timeline of tiny Garden City. This four mile burg, surrounded by much larger cities like Boise, has had a stop-and-start history.

The early history of Garden City is hard to come by. We do know the land caught the eye of the U.S. Army in 1863; Idaho historian Susan Stacy says that’s when soldiers came to the Treasure Valley to build Fort Boise. And with the Army came hungry horses.

Courtesy Dr. Lauren Fins

You eat it all the time, but how much do you really know about chocolate? One Moscow woman is working to educate Idahoans about this fascinating food and will host a seminar on the subject Wednesday night in Twin Falls.

Chocolate has been used as a form of currency, medicine - even an aphrodisiac. The average American eats 12 pounds of it a year, yet Dr. Lauren Fins says many of us know little about its hundreds of years of history.

Allie Goeckner and April Mantha / College of Western Idaho

Petroglyphs found outside of Melba in Southern Idaho have been around for thousands of years, but these symbols carved into solid rock are fading. Erosion and vandalism have put these pieces of history in jeopardy. Now a student club from the College of Western Idaho is working to preserve them.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

In the last 35 years, Idaho has only had six special legislative sessions. And it's been almost a decade  since the last one.

Idaho's next special session could be just around the corner because the state is out of compliance with changes to federal child support programs. 

Sandor Weisz / Flickr

The Idaho Department of Transportation (ITD) is reminding drivers to remove their studded tires this spring. Idaho law says use of studded tires is only legal between October 1 and April 30, and people caught with them beyond that date could be fined $67.

Studded tires have small metal cleats embedded in the rubber to provide traction on snow and ice.

Robin Bjork

An Idaho woman is studying the migration patterns of a rare bird in Central America. The three-wattled bellbird makes bell-like calls, and those sounds can travel half a mile. Some experts believe it’s the loudest bird in the world.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

A warehouse across from the Boise Public Library is bustling with activity, as dozens and dozens of boxes of books are brought in and unloaded.

“Boxes everywhere, we drown in boxes!” says volunteer Diana Cross. She’s helping set up for the 33rd annual Spring Book Sale, organized by the Friends of the Boise Public Library.

Kevin Martini-Fuller / Baxterblack.com

Much to the lament of his many fans, cowboy poet Baxter Black is taking a break from the stage. Black has been entertaining audiences for more than 25 years, traveling all over the country, including Idaho. One of his last stage shows will be this Saturday in Sun Valley.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The 2015 Treefort Music Fest ramps up Friday with the opening of its main stage in downtown Boise.  By the time the event ends Sunday, more than 400 bands will have entertained thousands of indie music fans.  One of those fans is journalist David Greenwald.  He writes about music for the Oregonian newspaper.

According to Sue Paul, the Executive Director of the Warhawk Air Museum, Vietnam veterans never got the respect they deserved. Paul says it’s time to put things right and look at the war as a military action, without all the politics and the Hollywood myths that have sprung up over time.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the war, Warhawk teamed up with the Department of Defense to host a series of educational talks on the history of Vietnam.

Forty-seven years ago, Boise filmmaker Ken Rodgers found himself in the middle of the longest battle of the Vietnam War. Now, his mission is to make sure no one ever forgets the men he fought with.

Rodgers’ documentary film “Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor” is a look back at the battle of Khe Sanh.

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