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.


Election 2012
6:00 am
Tue November 6, 2012

Your Election Day Primer

Ballots lined up and ready to ship out to Ada County precincts.
Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

If you haven’t taken advantage of absentee or early in person voting, today’s the big day.  It’s time to get out to the polls and vote.  Here's what you’ll need for a smooth voting experience.

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Election 2012
6:00 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Seven Races To Watch In The Idaho Legislature

All 105 legislative seats are up for grabs on Election Day.
Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

All 35 seats in the Idaho Senate, and 70 in the Idaho House, are up for grabs in the November election.  The lines around the 35 legislative districts were re-drawn last year, creating a brand-new political landscape for incumbents and challengers.  We wanted to know which races were generating the most buzz.

With some help from Boise State Political Science Professor Gary Moncrief, we’ve compiled a list of seven legislative races to watch:

1. House District 2B: Democrat Dan English vs. Republican Ed Morse

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Election 2012
6:00 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Idaho’s Voter ID Law New To Some Voters

Credit Ada County Clerk

Idaho voters who haven't been to the polls in a while may be surprised when they’re asked for photo identification.  Idaho’s voter I-D law is only two years old and infrequent voters haven’t encountered it yet. 

Everyone who wants to cast a vote in Idaho will be asked the same question. 

“When you show up at the polls, you will be asked for photo identification, so don’t be surprised,” says Phil McGrane, Ada County’s Chief Deputy Clerk.

The law recognizes several forms of photo ID.  They include:

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Election 2012
3:28 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Explained: Voting In Idaho's 2012 General Election

Credit VectorPortal / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s 2012 general election statewide ballot consists of three races, two constitutional amendments, and three propositions.  Plus, depending on your legislative district, will include various Idaho House and Senate candidates.

Idaho’s new voter identification law does require photo ID at the polls, but if you don’t have one, you can still vote by signing an affidavit.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6!

Idaho’s Statewide Ballot  United States President

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Election 2012
6:00 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Voter’s Voices: Mountain Home Seniors Weigh Presidential Candidates

Joyce Scott sits at the I and A desk at the Mountain Home Senior Center
Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

More than 50 seniors drop in for a free buffet-style lunch on a recent Friday at the Mountain Home Senior Center.  Everyone signs in with Joyce Scott. “I sit at the I and A desk. That’s information and assistance is what this is about.”

Her husband served at Mountain Home Air Force Base.  She worked there too, as a civilian. “I’ve been here 41 years, almost 42 years. We came here with the military, my husband was military. And we’ve been here ever since."

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Election 2012
6:08 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Large Voter Turnout Expected In Idaho

Counting machines wait for ballots at Ada County Election Headquarters
Samantha Wright Boise State Public Radio

There’s a definite trend with voter turnout in Idaho.  Primaries bring out fewer people. General Elections bring out more. And Presidential years attract the most voters. This year should be no exception.

There were more than 750,000 registered voters in Idaho during this year’s May primary.  But a vast majority of those stayed home.  

Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa says that’s pretty typical. “The primary turnout, and this one was abysmal, the last one we had, but the primary turnouts are in the mid-20’s to 30 percent of registered voters.” 

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Mountain Lion
2:15 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

Pet Dog Attacked By Mountain Lion In Garden City

Anthonut Flickr

A pet dog was injured after an attack by a mountain lion.  The attack occurred in Garden City’s Meadowcreek subdivision Thursday night. 

No one was home at the time of the attack.  The cougar jumped a six foot high fence and attacked the dog.  Two other dogs in the yard were not hurt.

An Urban Wildlife Specialist, Eric Hansen, with USDA Wildlife Services, examined the dog and confirmed its wounds were caused by a mountain lion.

Election 2012
6:00 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Idaho Voters Face Less Mess In November Election When Compared To Primary

Samantha Wright Boise State Public Radio

Ada County’s Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane describes the upcoming November election this way, “It’s a nice, clean, old-fashioned election.”

He says it will be a big change from the May Primary. “Don’t have to pick a party, don’t have to pick a ballot, no other selections that you have to make.”

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Early Voting
6:09 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Record Early Voter Turnout In Idaho's Largest County

Voters line up to cast early ballots in Ada County
Scott Graf Boise State Public Radio

Early voters in Idaho's largest county are turning out in droves this year.  The process started Monday and hasn’t slowed down yet in Ada County.

Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane was expecting a big voter turnout for this election, but not this big.  “Someone said we opened the fire hydrant and it just hasn’t stopped.  People are showing up in record, record volumes for early voting this election.” 

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Fungal Meningitis
12:13 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Eleven Idaho Facilities Received Recalled Drugs

tschoppi Flickr

Saint Luke’s and Saint Alphonsus hospitals are among the Idaho facilities that received drugs from a pharmacy in Massachusetts.  Officials today released the names of nine health providers in Idaho that got injectable drugs from the New England Compounding Center.   

It’s part of a nationwide investigation into a fungal meningitis outbreak that has killed 15 people and sickened 233, including one man in Idaho.   

The first drug recall was for a steroid injection used for back pain.  It was believed that drug may have been contaminated with a fungus. 

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Fungal Meningitis
9:01 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

More Idaho Facilities Linked To Meningitis Outbreak

Walter Knox Memorial Hospital
Emilie Ritter Saunders Boise State Public Radio

A nationwide investigation into contaminated drugs is expanding. The outbreak has already killed 15 and sickened 231, including one man in Idaho, with fungal meningitis.

Two health facilities in Idaho, Walter Knox Memorial Hospital in Emmett and Pain Specialists of Idaho in Idaho Falls, were identified originally in the outbreak.

Now the Food and Drug Administration has expanded its investigation of possibly contaminated drugs produced by a Massachusetts pharmacy. That means as many as nine more medical facilities in Idaho may have received suspect drugs.

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State Controller
2:28 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

Idaho State Controller Retires

Donna Jones
Idaho State Controller's Office

Idaho’s State Controller has stepped down. Donna Jones sent a letter to Idaho Governor Butch Otter over the weekend announcing her retirement. She's been recovering from injuries she received in a car accident in May.  

Otter appointed her replacement today.  Brandon Woolf has been Acting State Controller for several months.   

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6:00 am
Mon October 15, 2012

Wildfire Air Tanker Base In Boise Closes For The Season

A plane makes a drop on the Springs Fire.
Kari Greer Boise National Forest

Wildfires around Idaho kept air tanker bases around the state busy. Airplanes dropped more than a million gallons of fire retardant on fires this year.

The Boise Air Tanker Base is one of seven such bases in Idaho.  Les Dixon manages the Boise base. The job there is to load airplanes up with fire retardant and send them out to the front line of the wildfires.  “Our base alone, we’ve done 1,500,000 gallons for a total, we’ve done 752 loads have been flown out of the Boise base.”

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Foreign Policy
1:59 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Idaho Congressman Takes On State Department Over Libya Attack

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador and his Republican colleagues took on the State Department and the White House Wednesday.   The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing into the attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya last month that killed four American officials, including a U-S Ambassador.  

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Fungal Meningitis
4:12 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Idaho Has Its First Confirmed Case Of Fungal Meningitis

prashant_zi Flickr

An Eastern Idaho man has come down with fungal meningitis that has sickened 138 people across the country. 

Not much is known about the man.  He’s over sixty and he's being treated for his illness.  State Epidemiologist Doctor Christine Hahn says the man is the first in Idaho to get sick from the drug outbreak.  People in 11 states have become ill and 12 have died.  The injectable steroid comes from a company in Massachusetts which has recalled the drug. 

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Election 2012
6:00 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Voter’s Voices: Mountain Home Diner Dishes Up Politics

Grinde's Diner in Mountain Home is a local favorite.
Frankie Barnhill Boise State Public Radio

Mountain Home, southeast of Boise is a microcosm of a military town.  Many of the 14,500 people who live there are connected to Mountain Home Air Force Base.  Four-thousand military serve there and some of them come to Grinde's Diner in Mountain Home to eat and talk politics.

The windows at Grinde’s are covered in patriotic paintings like the statue of liberty, a bald eagle and the liberty bell. 

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Brundage Mountain
6:35 am
Mon October 8, 2012

New Book Highlights History Of Brundage

New book details the history of Brundage Mountain
Credit Spike and Judy Baker

Snow will soon fall in Idaho's mountains, getting skiers excited for the winter. Already ski resorts in Sun Valley are making snow. But it will be at least until Thanksgiving before one of Idaho's popular resorts in McCall opens. Brundage Mountain has roots that go back to the 1920s. 

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Drug Recalled
2:24 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Contaminated Drug That May Cause Meningitis Shipped To Idaho

prashant_zi Flickr

Two Idaho medical facilities received the steroid injections believed to be responsible for a deadly meningitis outbreak.  Nationally, 47 people have been diagnosed with the illness and five people have died.  No one in Idaho has reported getting sick. 

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9:26 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Apparent Mountain Lion Spotted Again Thursday On Boise Greenbelt

UPDATE 10:45a.m.:

The mountain lion’s future is uncertain.  Evin Oneale is with Idaho Fish and Game.  He says it will all depend on the situation.  He says cougars come into the city all the time, but usually they pass through and are never seen by people. 

He says this lion may be young and looking for territory.  It may also have followed deer which have been pushed into the area thanks to a dry summer and fall.

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Zoo Boise
3:47 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Serval Kittens Born At Zoo Boise

Joe Jaszewski The Idaho Statesman

Zoo Boise has two new arrivals, serval kittens.  The kittens, one boy and one girl, were born last week. 

Servals are small cats from Africa with long legs and large ears.  Zoo staff are hand raising the kittens after the mother failed to care for them. 

The kittens will be on display in their incubator starting Saturday.  Visitors can watch them being fed twice each day. 

It will take six to eight weeks to wean the kittens.  Then the Zoo will decide if they will stay in Boise or move to another zoo.