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 Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Boise officials have expressed concerns with federal maps that propose adding hundreds of acres to a flood plain in the city, which could increase the cost and difficulty of buying or developing nearby property.

The city disagrees with the Federal Emergency Management Agency over maps predicting the contours of a 100-year flood between Lucky Peak Dam and the Snake River. A 100-year flood is an event FEMA predicts has a 1 percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in a single year, The Idaho Statesman reported.

Tim Bartholomaus / University of Idaho

An Idaho scientist is part of a team looking at Greenland’s ice sheet. It’s the Earth’s second-largest ice sheet and it’s melting, contributing to a rise in sea levels around the globe. The team’s goal was to figure out which glaciers to watch to predict how the sea level will respond in the future.

When University of Idaho geography professor Tim Bartholomaus started studying glaciers in Greenland for NASA, he thought they would be boring.

“That they’d all be the same, they just sit there, maybe they move a little bit, they melt, how interesting could this be?” he asked.

Timelapsed / Flickr

Visitors to National Park Service land in Idaho brought in almost $40 million to the state economy last year.

A new report from National Parks found that almost 629,000 people came to Idaho monuments and historic sites in 2016. They spent $31 million and created 525 jobs. That had a cumulative benefit of almost $40 million to Idaho’s economy.

There are seven facilities in Idaho managed by the National Park Service. That includes the Minidoka National Historical Site and Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Boise Police Department / Twitter

Idaho Governor Butch Otter says residents facing possible springtime flooding aren't taking seriously what he calls a potential disaster.

Otter made a plea Wednesday for people to pay closer attention to the situation on the flooded Boise River.

“We’ve got to get the word out that this is a disaster waiting to happen. We don’t need people to add to it by getting on the river or getting on the river banks,” said Otter.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

You may see some large patches of blue in the Boise Foothills, starting this week. It’s part of a program stop wildfires in the iconic trail system.

The blue dye is an herbicide that crews will apply to manage non-native grasses and problem weeds. Those are the plants that compete with native species and increase the risk of fire.

John Locher / Associated Press

The first of three trials in the case of Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy has gone to the jury. The six defendants include four from Idaho.

Testimony has been going on for two months. The six defendants, from Idaho, Arizona and Oklahoma, are accused of a variety of charges, including conspiracy and assault on a federal agent. They are accused of using guns as they stopped federal agents from rounding up Cliven Bundy’s cattle in 2014. States’ rights supporters say this is really a case about federal control of public land in the West.

Zoo Boise

Zoo Boise reported Thursday that its beloved giraffe, Julius Longfellow, has died.

The 11-year-old male Julius fell early Thursday morning. Zoo workers tried to get him back up but couldn’t, and had to euthanize him. A necropsy is planned.

Julius came to Zoo Boise in 2008 from the African Safari Wildlife Park in Ohio. A private fundraising campaign paid for his purchase and transport to Boise. His first name, Julius, was in honor of a donor to Zoo Boise. His last name, Longfellow, came thanks to Longfellow Elementary School, which raised money for him.

ITD

"This is bad," says an unknown voice on the video. That seems to be an understatement, as 800 cubic yards of hillside slide down onto the roadway south of Bonners Ferry.

The slide was caught on video by Idaho Transportation Department workers on April 7.

Here's what happened: ITD Land Surveyor Mathew Wilson was checking out the stability of the hillside. As he videotaped, he heard popping and cracking coming from the site. Flaggers on the scene stopped traffic as horrified workers watched. Three minutes later, the hill slowly slides right down onto the road.

Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

As dam officials bump up the water flow on the Boise River yet again this week, it’s a good time to take a look at the numbers that matter during this flooding event.

This week, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to raise the water level at the Glenwood Bridge to 8,500 cubic feet per second. As of Wednesday, crews were pushing 9,240 cfs of water out of Lucky Peak Dam. Gina Baltrusch with the Walla Walla District of the Corps says about 1,000 cfs is being diverted into irrigation canals and the rest is flowing down the Boise.

Representative Bryan Zollinger / Facebook

Tuesday, Idaho Governor Butch Otter vetoed a bill to repeal the six percent sales tax on groceries. Wednesday, two lawmakers said that veto was invalid and the repeal now becomes law.

GOP Representatives Ron Nate and Bryan Zollinger say Governor Butch Otter’s veto came too late to be valid.

 

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife / Associated Press

Organizers of a wolf- and coyote-shooting contest in east-central Idaho say they're looking at other parts of the state for similar contests on U.S. Forest Service land following a federal court ruling.

"Having this lawsuit out of the way and having this legal precedent, we will probably consider it a lot greater now," Steve Alder, Idaho for Wildlife's executive director, said Tuesday.

U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Bush in a 20-page ruling late last month said Idaho for Wildlife didn't need a permit from the U.S. Forest Service to hold the contest.

Seth Perlman / Associated Press

If you’re e-filing your taxes as next week’s deadline looms, and your return is rejected, you may be the victim of identity theft. The Idaho Tax Commission has already seen cases of fraudulent returns.

Since January, the Idaho Tax Commission has prevented the theft of close to $300,000 in Idaho refunds that were targeted by criminals.

Tawnya Eldredge is the Commission’s identity theft assistance coordinator.

Interfaith Sanctuary

Homeless people in Boise face many challenges, including where to sleep, where to find food and how to get around. But one homeless advocate found that one of the biggest challenges of being homeless is proving who you are. Getting a legal, photo ID, if you don’t have one, can be almost impossible.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (IPAC)

Scientists from Boise State University and the University of Washington are studying a newly found group of planets around a nearby star. They’ll talk about their research Friday night in Boise. Turns out, these planets are good candidates for hosting life outside Earth.

Interfaith Sanctuary

Boise’s Interfaith Sanctuary is holding a musical benefit Thursday night at the Record Exchange. Its directors say they’ve changed how they look at homelessness and now rely more than ever on the generosity of the community.

Interfaith Co-Director Jodi Peterson says in the past, the Sanctuary had two licensed social workers to serve 164 guests at night at the shelter. But Peterson says that wasn’t enough. So they upped the budget from $650,000 to one million dollars, and now employ 10 case managers.

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