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.

Indiana Stan / Flickr

Gas prices in Idaho are falling fast, compared to the rest of the country. Idaho’s prices have dropped 30 cents in the last 30 days, while the U.S. average price has dropped just a nickel over the last month.

Triple A Idaho’s Dave Carlson says Idaho’s gas prices were well above where they should have been. A month ago, they were 46 cents higher than the national average.

Carlson says there are five refineries that serve the southwestern part of the state and they may not have been able to keep up with the need in this part of the country.

Idaho Department of Lands

A wildfire burning 40 miles northeast of Boise is moving away from structures, but continues to pour smoke into the Treasure Valley.

The 2,500-acre Walker Fire started Saturday on private property near Grimes Creek and Mack Creek. The fire is suspected to be human caused.

Burning eight miles southwest of Idaho City in Boise County, the fire has destroyed four structures, including three cabins.

The Idaho Department of Lands says some areas are still under evacuation:

The Meeting Place North / Flickr

A Boise State professor is looking into whether an organic diet makes people healthier, and she’s crowdfunding to help pay for her research.

“This is a pretty new way, as far as I can tell, to raise research dollars,” says Cynthia Curl, an Assistant Professor of Community and Environmental Health at the university. She wants to find out if eating organic food has measurable health effects.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Constitutional Defense Council will meet Wednesday. The members will be asked to spend money to pay for a lost legal case. Recent court cases have drained the fund considerably this year.

Idaho Transportation Department

You may have noticed higher registration fees when you’ve paid for new stickers for your car or truck. That’s part of a new law, and a new revenue stream for the Idaho Transportation Department’s (ITD) backlog in road restoration and preservation. Now ITD says it is already wrapping up the first projects using the new influx of cash.

thinkpanama / Flickr

A two-day conference that starts Tuesday in Boise will address everything from housing trends to homelessness. The Idaho Housing and Finance Association’s Conference on Housing and Economic Development is the largest of its kind in Idaho.

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.