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.

Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

About 600,000 young spring chinook salmon have died at a northern Idaho fish hatchery after an electrical problem stopped water from circulating.

The Nez Perce Tribe tells the Lewiston Tribune the fish died at the Kooskia National Fish Hatchery on Friday when an electrical circuit breaker tripped and a warning system to alert hatchery workers failed.

The salmon were a few weeks old and scheduled to be released next spring and return as adults in 2020.

Otto Kitsinger / Associated Press

Inspection officials found a live quagga mussel on a boat on the Idaho/Nevada border. It’s the third infested boat found this year trying to enter the state.

The boat was found at the U.S. Highway 93 inspection station. It spent the last three months at Lake Havasu, which is infested with quagga and zebra mussels.

Kevin Rank / Flickr

Bills were flying fast and furious in and out of the Idaho House and Senate this week, as lawmakers try to meet next Friday’s deadline to wrap up the session and go home.

As week ten of the legislature comes to a close, lawmakers still haven’t solved the Medicaid Gap in Idaho. Those are the people who can’t afford health care but make too much to qualify for Medicaid. Transportation funding and a tax cut are also still in the mix.

Boise State University political science professor Gary Moncrief says there are still around 100 bills to be considered in the House and Senate.

Idaho Ed News

Frustrations boiled over this week in the Idaho House, as conservative lawmakers tried to make a stand against their fellow Republicans in the Legislature.

The House came to a standstill not once, but twice this week, as a small group, which includes some north Idaho Republicans, used procedural moves in favor of one bill and against another. Both times, their attempts failed and revealed the cracks in the GOP between the very conservative members and the more mainstream Republican leadership.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise River will hit flood stage this week as officials try to make room in reservoirs for more rain and snowmelt.

The river will go up a little bit Monday, 250 cubic feet per second, and again Tuesday, which will bring flows to 7000 cfs. That’s considered flood stage as measured by the Glenwood Bridge gauge.

That means more sections of the Greenbelt along the river, some of which are already underwater, will be flooded. Minor flooding is expected on Eagle Island and other low spots along the river. And river bank erosion could become an issue.

Films about nature and conservation in Idaho, the West and around the world are the focus of this year’s Les Bois Film Festival.

The Land Trust of the Treasure Valley and the film company Wild Lens are showing 20 films that highlight everything from kestrels to elk to Bogus Basin’s 75th anniversary to black footed ferrets.

Julia Rundberg is with the Land Trust. She says it’s a locally-sourced, homegrown, free-range, family-friendly, nature film festival.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building House Chambers
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Bills have been speeding their way through the Idaho Legislature during week eight of the session.

The budget committee passed a bill to increase the public schools budget. Fish and Game brought a new hunting fees bill to lawmakers. And more of the action is moving out of committees and onto the House and Senate Floors.

Tom Jefferson

Last June we told you the story of an Idaho man trying to save a tiny porpoise species in Mexico. Today we have an update to that story, and a new film that looks at vaquitas and their plight.

Julio Cortez / AP

Gas prices have been flat for a month, except in Idaho. The Gem State’s prices are up.

AAA Idaho says the state’s average price went up seven cents in February to $2.44 a gallon. The national average is $2.30 a gallon.

The price hike began when Plains All American Pipeline had to shut down its Wasatch gas pipeline. That cut off the supply of crude oil from Wyoming to Salt Lake City where it gets refined into gasoline. Without a pipeline, the oil is being sent by truck, which takes time and costs more.

Chris Pawluk / Flickr

Animal-car collisions are a real problem in Idaho. In one short section of Idaho 21 near Boise, 77 deer and elk were hit by cars in 2016. The Idaho Transportation Department will discuss the issue Wednesday and take a cue from how Banff National Park in Canada solved its wildlife mortality problem.

Lacey Daley / Boise State Public Radio

Bonds in Idaho can be hard to pass, in part because a lot of “yes” votes are needed at the polls. So how school districts explain their need and the cost to voters is critical in a bond campaign.

In this installment of our Financing the Future Series, we take a closer look at the Boise District’s bond and why it could be a challenge to pass.

Idaho Fish and Game

Idaho Fish and Game crews are feeding 4,000 elk in eastern Idaho this winter, after a fire burned 22,000 acres of their winter range.

The fire hit the Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area in Bonneville County last year. Without grass, forbs and brush, elk and deer now have nothing to eat. Fish and Game worried they would travel to private property 13 miles away and start eating haystacks and spilling into towns.

Amalgamated Sugar

Employees at a sugar factory in Nampa may have had their personal information stolen by hackers.

Amalgamated Sugar bills itself as the second largest manufacturer of sugar from sugarbeets in the U.S. The factory is a familiar landmark off Interstate 84 in Nampa.

Last Thursday, the company found out it had been hacked. The hacker pretended to be Amalgamated’s CEO and mimicked his company email address. The hacker sent a phishing email to an employee asking for copies of personal information of workers.

AP

As we wrap up week seven of the 2017 Idaho Legislature, lawmakers have passed 37 bills into new laws. That number will increase dramatically in the next four weeks.

One hot button issue this week was a bill that could have had some effect on the types of gaming that Native American tribes in Idaho could offer in their casinos.

In our 2017 Weekly Legislative Update, Boise State University professor Gary Moncrief says the House State Affairs Committee spent a lot of time on this bill. He say that was a little unusual for lawmakers.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

U.S. Representative Raul Labrador spoke to the Idaho House Wednesday about President Donald Trump.

The First District Republican gave a fifteen minute speech to members of Idaho’s House of Representatives. Labrador said he was concerned at the reaction to President Trump’s actions. Labrador said people are acting like Trump’s actions are unusual or illegitimate, when he’s just doing the things he said he would while campaigning.

Randy Watson / Flickr

More than 500 ducks and geese have died near Parma. And the Idaho Department of Fish and Game says it knows why.

Two weeks ago, someone found hundreds of dead birds on private land at Fort Boise. Fish and Game says between 500 and 600 birds were at the site. Canada geese, mallard ducks, even a red-tailed hawk died. Several of the birds were sent to the Department’s Wildlife Health Laboratory to be tested.

Brittney Tatchell

The ancient bones of the Kennewick Man have been returned to the ground.

The Tri-City Herald reports that early Saturday, more than 200 members of five Columbia Plateau tribes and bands gathered at an undisclosed location to lay the remains of the man they call the Ancient One to rest. That's according to an announcement Sunday by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

Robert C. Sims Collection on Minidoka and Japanese Americans / Special Collections and Archives, Boise State University

Sunday was the Day of Remembrance. Each year, organizers look back at a dark period of history in the American West - the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War Two. Monday Idaho remembers the role it played in this history.

February 19, 1942 marks the date President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Japanese people to be interned in the U.S. after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Close to 117,000 Japanese Americans were segregated into government camps, including at the Minidoka center in Idaho. There 10,000 people were held for three years during the war.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Joint Finance Appropriations Committee
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Friday we wrap up week six of the Idaho Legislature. Lawmakers are getting down to the business of passing bills in committees and sending them to the House and Senate floor.

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, or JFAC considered the final budget requests from the state agencies this week. That means this panel of 20 is switching gears and will start to draft bills, in fact, the committee is expected to write close to 100 budget bills.

Robert C. Sims Collection on Minidoka and Japanese Americans / Special Collections and Archives, Boise State University

Sunday marks the 75th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the Executive Order that authorized the internment of Japanese people in America during World War II.

Two months after Pearl Harbor, the order relocated 117,000 Japanese Americans into camps. Idaho’s Minidoka site housed 10,000 Japanese for three years. Once the war was over, no one wanted to talk about the internment.

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