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.

SamPac / Flickr

City of Boise officials says they're pleased that a judge decided this week to dismiss a lawsuit over a homeless camping ordinance. Bell v. City of Boise has been in the courts since it was filed in 2009.

At issue was a law that said the city could cite people sleeping outside. After the suit was filed, the city changed the law to say citations could only be issued if homeless shelters had empty beds.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Dozens of people in boats, kayaks, and canoes will join a flotilla Saturday on the Snake River to protest four dams that advocates say are killing fish and costing taxpayers money.

Greg Stahl is with Idaho Rivers United, one of the groups putting on the flotilla. He says most people don’t know much about the four dams on the river between Lewiston, Idaho and Pasco, Washington, in part because of their remote location.

Preservation Idaho

This Sunday, hundreds of people will travel to the Kootenai Street Historic Neighborhood on the Bench in Boise for a chance to tour historic homes. The annual Heritage Homes Tour is put on by the group Preservation Idaho.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

A local astronomer has made his crowdfunding goal and Boise will soon have an observatory again.

Elizabeth Haslam / Flickr

Sunday night will offer a chance to see the last total lunar eclipse until 2018.

This eclipse is special, says Brian Jackson, an astronomer who teaches at Boise State. That’s because it will also be what’s known as a “Blood Moon.”

Rob Palmer Photography

Scientists studying the American Kestrel are asking for the public’s help to pay for new research into the bird’s decline. The hope is that people who admire America’s smallest falcon will try to save it.

Diane Ayres / SNIP

Every day unwanted kittens and puppies are born in the Treasure Valley and one nonprofit is trying to help. Spay Neuter Idaho Pets or SNIP wants to reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats in Idaho. Right now, they’re concentrated on the Treasure Valley.

“Spay and neuter your pets. It saves lives,” says Diane Ayres, SNIP’s founder and Executive Director. She says there are simply too many animals being born.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

The preliminary hearing for Idaho Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is set for Thursday. Bergdahl left his Afghanistan post in 2009, was captured by the Taliban, held for five years, and released back to the U.S. in a prisoner trade. He is charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

The military hearing is known as an Article 32. Several media reports, and the Bergdahl Wikipedia page, say his Article 32 is similar to a civilian grand jury. But Brigadier General Walt Donovan says that’s incorrect.

Trevor / Flickr

A traveling exhibit on the Magna Carta is in Boise this week at the Idaho State Archives. The 800-year-old document helped outline America’s system of representative government.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

On top of the tallest academic building on the Boise State campus sits a large metal dome. It is an observatory that has been at the school for more than 35 years. At one point, the dome was a hive of activity, giving students and the public a chance to peer deep into our solar system. Now it sits mostly empty and unused, after years of neglect.

Alan Krakauer / Flickr

This week, we’ve been bringing you our Saving the Sage Grouse series. These reports range across the West and take an in depth look at the bird and its future.

Last year, the University of Idaho McClure Center took a look at the role of science in how the state was working to conserve the bird. A panel of Idahoans talked about how science has not only helped, but also challenged their thinking about the bird.

Gary O. Grimm / Flickr

The Boise City Council is considering changes to the law that deals with guns and parks. Council members had their first look at the new ordinance this week.

Councilman T.J. Thomson is asking for the change.

National Weather Service Boise

If you’re going camping over Labor Day, be sure to take a jacket. It will definitely be cold and forecasters say some mountain areas could even see snow.

Temperatures will also drop in the Treasure Valley, thanks to an anomaly in the Pacific Ocean. Forecasters say for the first time ever, three large hurricanes were recorded east of the International Date Line at the same time.

Sparky / Flickr

If you’re in your car, Boise is the third safest city in America to go driving, according to Allstate Insurance Company.

A Boise teacher in her 70's is helping kids learn outside of the classroom in an usual way: with a tablecloth.

Micky Afnan began her career as an educator in 1958. She taught high school, then elementary students.

While teaching the younger children, she recalled a colorful tablecloth her mother made when Afnan was a child. It included a map of the U.S. with the state capitals. Afnan says the cloth helped her memorize all of the capitals in a few months.

J. Alleman / Bureau of Land Management

The Soda Fire was officially contained this week, at 445 square miles. Now thoughts turn to reclaiming the landscape southwest of Boise.

A team of 40 specialists spent five days in the field, surveying the burned area. Their goal is to find and fight threats to life, property and resources over the next three years.

T.J. Clifford is the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team Leader for the Soda Fire. The team is working for the Bureau of Land Management but is made up of people from multiple agencies.

Soda Fire

Wild horses that survived the Soda Fire now face another threat: starvation, after the fire burned their food supply. The Bureau of Land Management plans to rescue those animals and feed and house them until the landscape can recover.

Nicholas D. / Flickr

Smoke from wildfires continues to plague the Treasure Valley. Forecasters say things will get worse before they get better.

Winds are out of the northwest Friday and expected to be again Saturday. That will actually bring more smoke into the Treasure Valley.

Valerie Mills is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boise.

Boise National Forest

Three firefighters died after their vehicle crashed and was likely caught by flames as they battled a blaze in Washington State yesterday. Four other firefighters were injured.

The National Interagency Fire Center (NFIC) says 13 people have died battling the fires this year.

Driving is one of the leading causes of death for wildland firefighters. That can include driving to or from a fire, as well as on the fire line.

Randy Eardley of NFIC says every death is mourned.

U.S. Forest Service

Smoky skies, from dozens of western wildfires, have prompted the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to issue an air quality advisory for the entire state of Idaho.

Such advisories are typically issued for individual counties or cities.