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.

Copyright James Castle Collection and Archive, L.P.

The City of Boise is working to preserve the property where Idaho artist James Castle lived and worked.

Castle is known worldwide for his drawings, many of which he created in Boise from the 1930s until his death in 1977. He was deaf and used his homegrown art to communicate.

Deb Newman

An Idaho artist, who spends much of the year in an RV showing his work, is vying for a $200,000 dollar award in a competition in Michigan.

Ken Newman, his wife Debbie and their dog leave the town of Cambridge every year to travel the U.S. showing off Ken’s art. While on the road, they attend art shows and venues, and Ken spends time creating new works in bronze and wood.

For the last 17 years, the Newman’s have been on the road.

National Weather Service

With rain in the forecast, the National Weather Service in Boise is warning of the possibility of flash flooding and mudslides in the 294 square miles burned by the Pioneer Fire.

A low pressure system could bring up to a half inch of rain Thursday to parts of the Boise National Forest that were burned by the Pioneer Fire. While that could slow the still-burning blaze down, it could also bring flash flooding.

Boise Parks and Recreation

Friday, Boise opened the last section of the Boise Greenbelt. It comes nearly fifty years after the city started gathering up land to create the iconic foot-and-bike-path.

The new .9-mile section is on the south side of the Boise River between Americana Boulevard and Garden City. With this section, Boise says the Greenbelt is complete within city limits. The footpath stretches nearly 26 miles along both sides of the river.

Idaho Department of Water Resources

It’s no secret that Eastern Idaho has a water problem. There is too much demand and too little water in the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer to go around. But how did we get to this point? That’s what this chart is all about.

About 100 years ago, there was roughly 4,000 cubic feet per second of water coming out of the aquifer at Thousand Springs. It’s important to note that’s not how much water was in the aquifer, just how much was flowing out.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

It’s 60 miles across, mostly hidden from view and vital to the economy of Idaho. Much of the time, the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer gets little attention, even from people who rely on it every day. Without it, farmland would disappear and cities from Twin Falls to Rexburg would dry up. As we begin our series on water in Idaho, we take a closer look at the state’s largest “body” of water, hidden underneath the Snake River Plain.

Screenshot from video by Jason Urry / St. Lukes

Last month we told you the story of a Twin Falls doctor, who was once paralyzed, but was able to climb Idaho's tallest mountain. Now you can watch a video of his inspiring climb.

Jonathon Myers broke his neck ten years ago in a car accident. Paralyzed from the neck down, he fought back and learned how to walk again. He went to medical school and specialized in rehabilitation.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

The woman known as Mother Teresa was recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church on Sunday. More than 100,000 people filled St. Peter's Square for the ceremony honoring a person who'd spent much of her life in India, helping the poor, the sick and the dying.

A Boise man who met Mother Teresa and spent time in her ministry says he knew this day would come. Rick Harvey is a local jeweler who also serves as an Archdeacon in the Episcopal Diocese.

Boise National Forest

The Pioneer Fire grew dramatically this week, shooting its way through the Boise National Forest. In just two days, it burned more than 70 square miles. So far it has burned 281 square miles.

Despite more than 1,000 people working the fire, it's only 52 percent contained. And officials say it won't be under control until a major rain or snow event, probably sometime in October.

Why is it burning so fast? And so much? And why can't firefighters surround it? This video, from the Boise National Forest, gives a pretty good snapshot of what crews are facing on this megafire:

ESO/M. Kornmesser

Late last month, scientists announced they had found an Earth-like planet around a nearby star. Faraway planets, known as exoplanets, have been found before but this one is relatively close to our sun and is in what’s called the habitable zone around its own star. A researcher from Washington says that means it could be in a position to support life.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Last year’s massive Soda Fire burned more than 400 square miles of rangeland in southwest Idaho and eastern Oregon. That includes the food source for the area's three wild horse herds.

U.S. Navy

It’s Navy Week in Boise, an event designed to bring the Navy to places that don’t have a port and don’t get a lot of contact with this segment of the Armed Forces.

Every year since 2005, the Navy has picked a small number of cities for Navy Week. This year, fifteen cities have the honor, including Dayton, Des Moines and Boise.

Sailors are in town to show off their skills. That includes sailors from the city’s namesake, the USS Boise.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Three-time gold medal Olympian Kristin Armstrong arrived to a heroine's welcome at the Boise airport Monday afternoon. Since then, the Idaho native says she's been going nonstop.

Since she won the cycling event of time trial, she says she’s been constantly stopped by people calling out “congratulations,” and asking to pose for pictures.

Ian Robertson / Boise State University

A small, flowering plant that grows only in southwest Idaho is about to go back on the Endangered Species List. Slickspot Peppergrass has been there before, in 2009, but its status as “threatened” was challenged by Governor Butch Otter.

After years of legal wrangling, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to put it back on the list next month.

Slickspot Peppergrass is a hairy green plant with white flowers, and is found in just a few areas of southwest Idaho.

Polymorphic Games Studio / University of Idaho

Students at the University of Idaho are using biology to create a new kind of video game. It uses evolutionary principals to make enemies smarter as they reproduce.

It was a summer project for students in the Polymorphic Games studio: Build a video game based on the biology of evolution. The goal was to make a better video game that teaches biology in the background.

CREDIT CANYON COUNTY SHERIFF'S WEBSITE

A special prosecutor has cleared Canyon County’s sheriff of any wrongdoing after a year-long investigation.

KTVB-TV reports that Sheriff Kieran Donahue was accused of misusing public funds.

Special prosecutor Daniel Norris, the Malheur County District Attorney, announced his decision Friday.

Norris said allegations that Donahue used county resources inappropriately for personal benefit were without merit and he broke no laws.

University of Idaho

University of Idaho students and volunteers have finished a three-week dig in front of Officer’s Row on the site of the historical Fort Boise.

U of I teamed up with the Boise Veterans Administration Medical Center to dig into the site’s history. Anthropology professor Mark Warner says they uncovered a variety of small items, including buttons off uniforms and bullets and shell casings.

National Interagency Fire Center/Facebook

When fire activity goes up, MAFFS (Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems) go into action. Right now, two DoD C-130 planes, equipped with this unique fire suppression system, are flying out of Boise.

The planes were called up by the National Interagency Fire Center. You may have seen the giant planes launching over Boise or video from an air drop over a wildfire. We found video of another side of MAFFS: Cleaning out the pipes before bringing on another load of retardant.

Mike McMillan / inciweb.gov

Update Monday at 8:02 a.m.: An evacuation notice for  the town of Lowman that was downgraded yesterday has been raised back up.

The Boise County Sheriff yesterday evening re-implemented a level two evacuation for Lowman after having lowered it to a level one one earlier in the day. Level two is still a voluntary evacuation. The heightened alert comes after winds pushed the Pioneer fire further north.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Rhodes Skateboard Park in downtown Boise officially opens Saturday. The park has been around since the early 90’s, created by Glenn Rhodes, a former Ada County Highway commissioner.

The park recently got an upgrade, paid for by the Albertson Family Foundation and the City of Boise. It’s been open to skateboarders for a while and is packed full of kids every day.

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