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.

Jeff Youngstrom / Flickr

In the span of a week, lawmakers in the Idaho House voted to ban cities and counties from banning plastic grocery bags and took up a bill that could ban cities from increasing the minimum wage.

That’s after Hailey residents voted five years ago on a bag ban, and McCall residents voted last year on a higher minimum wage.

Supporters of both pieces of legislation say they're business friendly bills that would keep laws the same across the state.

Jeffrey Johnson

There’s a volcano in Guatemala that erupts on a regular basis, so regular that some scientists call it the “Old Faithful” of volcanoes. That makes it very popular with people who study volcanoes, like Boise State Professor Jeffrey Johnson.

Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, Johnson recently led 60 researchers from Mexico, France, Italy and the United Kingdom to conduct different studies on the volcano. He returned last month and says the work being done in Guatemala could someday help scientists better predict how other volcanoes will behave.

USGS

Just ten miles from downtown Boise, scientists are studying golden eagle migration in southwest Idaho. And they’re using roadkill to do it.

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, Boise State University and Idaho Fish and Game created a series of motion-sensitive camera traps. They drag a 250-pound road-killed elk through the snow to the trap and leave. The cameras do the work, snapping pictures of whatever scavenger comes by for a snack.

Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management says it’s close to releasing its Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, on the last two segments of the Gateway West Project. That means the creation of the 990 mile long power line across Idaho and Wyoming is one step closer to construction.

Wildlife Conservation Society

The future of grizzly bears could change this year, if the animals who frequent Yellowstone National Park are taken off the Endangered Species List. As more animals move outside the park, groups like the Wildlife Conservation Society, or WCS, are looking at where the bears go.

A new study looks at how black and grizzly bears are expanding into habitat in Idaho outside of Yellowstone National Park and how they may interact with humans.

Courtesy of American Center for Law and Justice

Update, 3:42: Naghmeh Abedini filed court documents to legally separate from him the same day he returned home to Idaho.

An American pastor who was imprisoned for nearly four years in Iran returned home to Boise on Tuesday. And his wife has filed legal papers to keep her children in Idaho.

KBOI-TV reports that Saeed Abedini landed around 4:40 p.m. on a private plane.

Ryan Zehm / NurFace Games

It’s a rags to riches story, starring a Boise man who lost it all, then found his way back through video games. Now Ryan Zehm owns and operates a thriving gaming company called NurFace Games.

A few years ago, Zehm went from working at a top tech company to living at a Boise homeless shelter. Now, he’s telling his story of how his perseverance and a little help from the Boise Public Library brought him back from the brink.

Rich Brown

One of the signature events of the annual McCall Winter Carnival is the giant images carved in blocks of snow. But many people don’t know that the Carnival hosts two separate snow sculpting competitions. One is sponsored by local businesses and teams can use power tools and chicken wire to build their masterpieces.

Courtesy of University of Idaho Photographic Services

Exercise is something we often talk about in January, usually in the context of getting healthier.

But here in Idaho, biologists and engineers are looking for ways to get fish more exercise. Specifically - trout, salmon, and steelhead raised in hatcheries. The idea is to force fish to work out so they're in better shape - and more likely to live - once they're released.

Right now, hatchery fish are raised in long, rectangular tanks called raceways. The tanks are hard to clean and sweeping out fish waste is expensive.

Idaho Transportation Department

From the streets around the Broadway Bridge replacement project in Boise, you can just catch a glimpse of a construction vehicle or a crane. The Idaho Transportation Department has given us a different view, right over the top of the construction site.

Idaho Transportation Department

Replacing the Broadway Bridge is about to get very noisy. The Idaho Transportation Department says crews will start pile driving Wednesday morning.

Pile driving is when steel beams are mounted on a crane and driven into the ground. Each pile is 65-feet long. A total of 168 piles will be hammered deep into the river bed to support the bridge foundation.

Bryce W. Robinson

What can the world’s largest falcon tell us about climate change? That’s the question one Boise researcher is asking in an article published this month in Audubon Magazine.

Bryce Robinson is a Gyrfalcon field researcher and a graduate student at Boise State University. Working with the Peregrine Fund, he’s been studying Gyrfalcons in western Alaska for two years. Robinson studied the birds for his Master’s thesis.

Butch Otter
Idaho Statesman

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced a new proposal Thursday that he says would help low income Idahoans get health care.

The Primary Care Access Program (PCAP) still needs to be approved by the Idaho Legislature. It is designed to help adults 19-64 who don’t have health insurance.

Otter says Idaho doesn’t want to expand Medicaid and PCAP will help the 78,000 people who fall through the cracks of the current system.

S. Hellstrom / Bureau of Land Management

As tensions mount over the occupation of a federal building in an Oregon wildlife refuge by an armed group, some are asking the question: Could it happen in Idaho? The Gem State has had its own arguments over the use of federal land, including the Legislature considering taking control of all the federal land within Idaho’s borders.

Bob Dodson

Earlier this year, we told you the story of Idaho Fish and Game parachuting beavers into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in the late 1940’s. Back then, the idea was to trap problem beavers, put them in special boxes and parachute them from a plane. They were sent to remote areas where they could find a new home.

Declutter

Idaho really sucks, when it comes to playing the video game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. That’s according to new research from Decluttr, a company that buys used CDs, DVDs and games over the internet.

The site created a map of “The Video Game That Each State Sucks At The Most.” For Idaho, that was Skyrim, an adventure game where players can fight dragons, among other things.

Leah Acevez / College of Western Idaho

Students at the College of Western Idaho are entering the next phase of their project of documenting rock art in the Snake River Basin outside of Melba. The Anthropology Club is going from the field to cyberspace to bring petroglyphs to researchers around the world.

Jon Preuss / Sawtooth Avalanche Center

This week, an avalanche on Bald Mountain injured a skier who was out of bounds at the Sun Valley ski resort. When it happened, the avalanche danger in the area was “high,” which means human-triggered avalanches were likely.

Every day, snow science experts from the Sawtooth Avalanche Center head out into the backcountry to figure out the severity of avalanche danger.

Gary Lane / Wapiti River Guides

This picture has been popping up on social media. It’s an unusual phenomenon known as an “ice circle.” And this one was spotted by an Idaho river guide who snapped this picture while heading out for a hunting trip several years ago.

Gary Lane is a river guide and photographer. He and his wife Barb run Wapiti River Guides out of Riggins. He took the photo in 2009.

“I was driving up the road along the Salmon River above Riggins and I saw that ice circle, so of course I had to get out and take a picture of it,” Lane says.

Jerry Mathes

A writer from Idaho has won a North American Book Award. Author Jerry Mathes won the best memoir award for his book “Ahead of the Flaming Front: A Life on Fire.”

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