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.

Lonnie Hutson

An Idaho artist has immortalized the state’s native fish, in the hopes that his art will encourage people to protect local rivers.

The health of Idaho’s rivers was the catalyst for a new art exhibit of native fish on display at the College of Idaho’s Rosenthal Gallery of Art. Artist Lonnie Hutson lives 25 miles outside of Moscow. When he’s not making art, he’s a river outfitter. He says the two professions are closely linked.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Lions are in trouble and need our help. That’s the message from a lion researcher in Africa and Boise’s own zoo, which together are trying to help lions survive in the wild.

reb / Flickr Creative Commons

Tax identity theft is increasing across the country and Idaho is no exception. The number of cases of people using someone else’s name and social security number to file a false tax return more than quadrupled last year in Idaho.

In 2013, there were 74 cases of tax identity theft. Last year, that number jumped to 352 says Idaho Tax Commission's Doreen Warren.

Courtesy of Frank Aden Jr.

Boise’s skyline has morphed over time, as buildings from early in the last century made way for newer, more modern structures. Those changes were captured in picture postcards and have been published in a new book.

Frank Aden Junior is an amateur Boise historian and a member of the Idaho Historical Society. His interest in Boise history grew out of his hobby of collecting old picture postcards that showed the city from different locations.

Courtesy Robin Rausch

For the fourth-straight year, Meridian chef Rich Brown won the top prize at the Idaho state snow sculpting competition in McCall, creating a 14-foot circus elephant in just three days.

The McCall competition is one of two sculpting contests held at the winter carnival each year. Local businesses host a themed contest, the state competition is later in the week. Brown took part in both and picked up first prize in the state competition.

He and his two teammates chose to sculpt a circus elephant. "It turned out very well," says Brown.

Ryan Wiedmaier / Flickr Creative Commons

A Boise State University professor wants to make it easier to decide whether it's worth it to spend a little more on organic produce, or purchase the cheaper non-organic option.

"Eighty percent of American grocery stores now sell organic food and people have to decide for themselves is this worth it to buy to feed myself and my family?" says Cynthia Curl. "We don't have a lot of guidance to give to those people and so I think it's a really important thing to study."

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

If you’re in a same-sex marriage and you live in Idaho, filing state taxes just got a little simpler.

When the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals legalized gay marriage last year in Idaho, that law change also meant changes at the Idaho Tax Commission and for same-sex couples filing joint tax returns. Now, married same-sex couples will only have to fill out one federal form when they file their taxes, instead of the three that had to be filed under the old rules.

Boise State University

A Boise State professor is looking for clues about Earth's origin by studying planets around distant stars.

Brian Jackson is an assistant professor in Boise State’s Department of Physics. He’s using a $271,000 grant from NASA and data from the Kepler space observatory to study planets that are very close to their host stars.

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.

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