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.

Samantha Martin

For three weeks this winter, Samantha Martin spent her days inside a freezing-cold house ripping apart the walls, doors, and windows. She was salvaging whatever she could because the house was set for demolition.

Martin and her group Buffalo Heart Homes have been trying for two years to save a group of historic homes in downtown Boise.

Michael / Flickr Creative Commons

Avian influenza, or bird flu, is in Idaho. The virus is usually spread by wild waterfowl to domestic birds and has recently been found in Oregon, Washington, Utah, and California.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Mike Masterson's office is almost stripped bare as he puts 10 years of papers into boxes on the floor. Boise’s Police Chief is retiring after 38 years on the force.

Idaho Fish and Game

More than 60 years ago, Idaho Fish and Game dropped beavers out of a plane and parachuted them into the state's backcountry. This little-known piece of Idaho history stars a crafty Fish and Game officer and a plucky male beaver named Geronimo.

Mike Paananen / Ada County Parks and Waterways

It was a photo contest by the people and for the people of Ada County. The goal was to highlight the parks and waterways managed by Ada County, and to encourage people to get out and enjoy that landscape.

"We were blown away" by what people sent in, says Scott Koberg, Director of Ada County Parks and Waterways.

Predicting what lawmakers will focus on during the Idaho legislative session is a bit of a gamble. But after eight terms in office, Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, has a good idea of the Legislature's priorities -- after all, he has a big influence in shaping that agenda. Hill, who is the President Pro-Tem of the Senate, points to education and gay rights issues as topics  front and center for lawmakers this year.

Tony Morris / Flickr Creative Commons

A Boise State University professor will help decide the future of fire management on greater sage grouse habitat.

Political science and public policy professor John Freemuth is part of a national group of experts who will report to the new Rangeland Fire Task Force. This week, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell created the task force.

mangpages / Flickr

Jack works undercover, buying drugs from Boise dealers. He is a Boise Police Department detective, and he's seeing a troubling increase in the number of people overdosing on synthetic drugs.

BPD has found that these new man-made chemicals are replacing better known street drugs, like ecstasy or LSD. And officers are worried that users are being duped into taking the more potent synthetics.

Patrick McKay / Flickr

Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter has filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court making good on his promise to take the fight against gay marriage to the highest court in the land.

Dan Stahler / Yellowstone National Park | Flickr

A hunting derby, with top prizes for wolves and coyotes, is underway in Salmon. It’s the second year in a row for the controversial event.

The group Idaho for Wildlife is handing out a $1,000 each for the most wolves and the most coyotes killed.

A year ago, more than 230 hunters converged near Salmon for the derby. No wolves were shot, and 21 coyotes were killed. Last year, the Humane Society of the United States issued one of the strongest rebukes of the event. It called the contest a “wolf massacre” and labeled organizers as “ruthless.”

Gene Han / Flickr

Idaho’s unemployment rate dropped in November to its lowest rate in nearly seven years, in part because the labor force is shrinking.

Idaho Department of Labor spokesman Bob Fick says November's 3.9 percent jobless rate was down two-tenths of a point from October.

“There’s usually a decline in jobs from October to November and that decline was less than in the past and there continue to be people who left the labor force,” says Fick. “So the combination of steady jobs and lower labor force was responsible for driving down the unemployment rate under four percent.”

Ballet Idaho

Ballet Idaho and the Boise Philharmonic are bringing live music back to the Christmastime favorite “The Nutcracker.

Ballet Idaho’s Artistic Director Peter Anastos is also the choreographer of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker." He says the two organizations have worked together in the past, but a financial crunch last year meant Ballet Idaho had to use a CD for the performance.

Bogus Basin

Bogus Basin will open Friday despite anemic snow accumulation on the mountain north of Boise.

The ski resort plans to open limited terrain to skiers and snowboarders. Bogus reports 13 inches of snow at its base.

"We’re ready and very excited to welcome the community up the mountain to have fun enjoying early-season skiing and boarding,” says Bogus General Manager Alan Moore.

USFWS

The future of the greater sage grouse, already uncertain, may get even murkier because Congress is considering delaying protections for the Western bird.

Congress is considering a $1.1 trillion spending bill that would keep the federal government from shutting down. A legislative rider in the bill would put the brakes on protecting the bird.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

One grizzly bear's incredible 5,000-mile journey across Montana and Idaho has scientists re-thinking what they know about the animals.

Ethyl the grizzly bear walked from Kalispell, Mont. west toward Coeur d’Alene and back east toward Missoula. She covered thousands of miles of mountainous terrain in just two years, and scientists are still trying to figure out why.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grizzly bear recovery coordinator Chris Servheen says Ethyl's story began when she was first captured in 2006 east of Kalispell, Mont.

Mike / Flickr

So far, Boise State has sold just over 22,000 tickets for Saturday's Mountain West Championship football game with Fresno State. That’s about 14,000 short of a sellout.

Max Corbett works in the university's sports information office. He says that’s fewer ticket sales than he’d like. But Corbett says it’s the first time the school has hosted a championship game with just one week’s notice.

Bruce Reichert / Idaho Public Television

Idaho Public Television is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act with a sweeping hour-long look at Idaho's wild places. The program Outdoor Idaho traveled to all seven of Idaho’s wilderness areas -- and two proposed wilderness areas -- to tell the story of the state's protected places.

mor gnar / Flickr

An Idaho charity is giving a million-dollar makeover to a skate park in downtown Boise.

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation is donating $1.25 million for the renovation of the Rhodes Skateboard Park. The park is underneath the connector that joins I-84 to downtown Boise.

Over the summer, a group of homeless people began camping out across the street from the concrete skating area. Boise has tried repeatedly to move the campers out of the makeshift camp.

City spokesman Mike Journee says the camp had no bearing on the gift from the foundation.

swedennewyork / Flickr

A new scam is targeting women in eastern Idaho and the attorney general is warning people not to get involved.

There are reports of two “Women’s Wisdom Circles,” one in Preston and one in Ammon. They're also known as "gifting circles." Deputy Attorney General Brett DeLange says women are recruited to pay, or gift, up to $5,000, with the promise of advancing to the top of the pyramid by recruiting others into the circle. Participants get payments from the people coming into the scheme under them.

Big Ed Beckley's Facebook page

Despite setbacks this year, two different men say they still plan to jump the Snake River Canyon.

Texas stuntman "Big Ed" Beckley tells the Times-News he still plans to make the jump.

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