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.

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Boise State University
5:00 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Kustra Optimistic In Face Of State Budget Cuts

Credit Boise State University

Boise State President Bob Kustra says times are changing for colleges and universities, including his own.  In his tenth annual State of the University Address, Kustra reflected on recent funding cuts, and how the university has responded.  

He told a room full of faculty and staff that he’s as challenged and scared as they are. “These are challenging times, they’re scary times, there’s no question about it.” 

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Wildfires
4:51 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Idaho National Guard Members Head To Trinity Ridge Fire

Trinity Ridge Fire
Boise National Forest

Officials on the Trinity Ridge Fire are about to get some help from the Idaho National Guard. The Guard has been activated to help with Idaho wildfires because of a  disaster declaration issued by Governor Butch Otter.  The Idaho Emergency Operations Center is sending Guard members to the fire which is near Pine and Featherville.

Eighty National Guard members will staff 20 checkpoints in the area, 24 hours a day.  The teams will consist of both airmen and soldiers from various Idaho Army and Air Guard units.  They should take over the checkpoints on Sunday.

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Wildfires
2:54 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Pine, Featherville Residents Ready For Evacuations

Boise National Forest

Residents of Pine and Featherville were briefed today on the rapidly moving Trinity Ridge Fire.  The fire expanded yesterday and moved about five miles away from Featherville. 

David Olson with the Boise National Forest says the residents were told to prepare for an evacuation that could come at any time. "The whole focus right now is to inform the community where the fire is, what it potentially might do and have them ready to leave when or if the order comes.”

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Crime
2:48 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Pop Bottle Bombs Found In Boise

Enockson Flickr

Boise police officers found two pop bottle bombs this week in West Boise.  Usually the bottles are designed to make a big bang, but in this case, they injured an officer. 

Soda pop bottle bombs explode and make a loud bang.  That seems to be why they’re so popular, especially among kids.  Lynn Hightower with the Boise Police Department says officers will get a call about them about once a month. "They're unfortunately common in neighborhoods and communities around the country as they’re extremely easy to make.”

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Wildfires
12:14 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Scenes From A Wildfire: Springs Fire Gives Glimpse Into Firefighter's Life

The Springs Fire is burning five miles west of Garden Valley
Kari Greer Boise National Forest

Crews have made progress on the Springs Fire burning five miles west of Garden Valley.  The fire’s price tag is now at $4.1 million, and climbing. 

Boise National Forest spokesman David Olson says crews today will concentrate on protecting the Terrace Lakes Subdivision, which is three miles from the fire.  Windy conditions, including gusts up to 22mph could mean problems for firefighters.   

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Wildfires
3:32 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

Bad Air Day

Smoke from the Trinity Ridge Fire is helping bring down the air quality in the Treasure Valley.
Boise National Forest

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Quality Index says the air today is unhealthy for sensitive groups. 

That’s no surprise to Saint Alphonsus pulmonologist Doctor Kathleen Sutherland.  She can usually see the Boise foothills from her office window, today all she can see is smoke.  And it’s that smoke, from wildfires, that’s affecting her patients. 

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Crime
2:36 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

Apparent Suicide At Idaho Women’s Prison

The Idaho Department of Correction is investigating an apparent inmate suicide.  Cindy R. Jones, 51, was found dead Sunday afternoon in a shower area of the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center.   

In 1994, Jones was found guilty of 2nd degree kidnapping, aggravated assault, and illegal possession of a weapon.  Jones was scheduled to be released in 2018.   

The Department of Correction has asked the Idaho State Police for help in the investigation of Jones’ death. 

Copyright 2012  Boise State Public Radio

Wildfires
9:54 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Fire Restrictions Expand in Southwest, Central Idaho

Trinity Ridge Fire
Boise National Forest

Hot, dry conditions, and high fire danger have prompted more fire restrictions in Southwest and Central Idaho.  Those new restrictions take effect today.

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Military
4:49 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

Idaho Soldier Dies In Afghanistan

Spc. Ethan J. Martin
Idaho National Guard

United States Army Specialist Ethan J. Martin was killed by small-arms fire Tuesday in Afghanistan.

The 22-year-old was assigned to a squadron based out of Alaska. He hailed from Lewiston, Idaho and Bonners Ferry, Idaho.

Martin's family says he loved Idaho and loved to hunt and fish. He had planned to go to nursing school after leaving the Army.

Ethan Martin is survived by his mother and father, one sister, and seven stepbrothers and sisters.

Wildfires
2:01 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

Five Wildfires To Watch In Idaho

Trinity Ridge Fire
Boise National Forest

Several fires are burning around the state.  Here is a roundup of the five largest wildfires right now.

The Flat Top 2 Fire:  Easily the biggest fire burning in Idaho right now.  Flat Top has consumed 135,000 acres of grass and brush.  It's burning ten miles north of Kimama, northeast of Twin Falls.  The fire was sparked by lightning on August 5.  Eighty-nine firefighters are on the blaze , which is 40 percent contained.

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Environment
5:10 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Slickspot Peppergrass No Longer Threatened

Slickspot Peppergrass
Ian Robertson Boise State University

A small flowering plant known as Slickspot Peppergrass won't be listed as a "threatened species" any more under the Endangered Species Act. A U.S. District Court ruled today in favor of the state of Idaho and Governor Butch Otter to remove the plant's designation. There's been a decade long legal battle over whether Slickspot Peppergrass warranted such protection.  

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Wildfires
4:32 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Update: Fire Sparks Evacuations Near Atlanta

Boise National Forest

Updated: 7:45 a.m. August 9, 2012

Evacuations remain in place this morning for people living in Rocky Bar, Dutch Creek and Swanholm. That's due to the Trinity Ridge fire which is now at more than 23,000 acres. At eight percent containment, 406 people are working to build new fire line today. 

Updated: 6:15 p.m. August 8, 2012

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Environment
2:12 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Treasure Valley Residents Face Poor Air Quality

The Springs Fire at Banks is one of many fires pumping smoke into Idaho's atmosphere
Boise National Forest

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality says Treasure Valley air is unhealthy for children and people with asthma.  That’s because of all the smoke from wildfires in the air. 

The Orange air quality alert means those in sensitive groups are most affected.  The DEQ advises avoiding strenuous activity outside, like exercise.  They also suggest limit driving trips and don’t mow the lawn until the air gets better.  Today’s Air Quality Index is 105.  Yesterday it was 106. 

A mandatory burn ban remains in effect for the Treasure Valley. 

Crime
11:45 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Former Corrections Worker Charged With Sexual Contact With Inmate

Stephanie Nicole Klein
Ada County Sheriff's Office

A woman who worked for the Idaho Department of Corrections is in the Ada County Jail on a charge she had sexual contact with an inmate.  Stephanie Nicole Klein was arrested Tuesday. 

Klein was hired by the Department in 2010.  She worked at the South Idaho Correctional Institution.  That’s the minimum security men’s prison south of Boise.  She also worked at the South Boise Women’s Correctional Center. 

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Wildfires
5:45 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Springs Fire Threatens Homes East of Banks

Springs Fire
Boise National Forest

Updated: 5:45 p.m. August 7, 2012 

Highway 55 north of Banks is closed this afternoon. Rock fall caused by the Springs Fire has shut down a section of that highway from milepost 79 to milepost 82.  "The fire has reached the highway in a few locations," said David Olson with the Boise National Forest in an Idaho Transportation Department press release. " Due to the high risk of rocks hitting vehicles, the highway was closed at approximately 4:45 p.m. Tuesday afternoon."

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Arts & Culture
2:35 pm
Mon August 6, 2012

Boys of Boise Author Dies

Author John Gerassi has reportedly died.  Gerassi wrote the book “The Boys of Boise,” about the city's 1955 scandal involving homosexual men. 

The scandal began in late October that year. “On Halloween night, the police in Boise arrested several men on charges of having sex with teenage boys," says Alan Virta, a retired archivist from Boise State University.

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Science
4:30 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

U of I Grad Sends Equipment To Mars

Island Youth Project Flickr

The Mars Rover, Curiosity, lands on the red planet on Sunday. One of the people instrumental to the mission is University of Idaho alum Matt Braley . His resume includes eight years in the Air Force, an Electrical engineering degree from the U of I, and his current work with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA. Braley is in Pasadena, California anxiously awaiting the touchdown of Curiosity on the surface of Mars.

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Environment
11:26 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Baby Porcupine Born At Zoo Boise

This baby porcupine was born on July 27 at Zoo Boise
Zoo Boise

A baby North American porcupine has been born at Zoo Boise.  The male baby, called a “porcupette,” was born July 27 to parents Zeus and Athena.  The baby is now on exhibit at the zoo.

The baby weighed 468 grams when it was born.  Porcupettes are born with soft quills, to give mom a break during the birthing process.  Those quills harden 30 minutes after birth.

Zoo officials say first-time mom Athena has been taking good care of the baby.  He has grown to 538 grams in the last few days.

Health Care
6:30 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Idaho Health Insurance Exchange Task Force To Meet Today

Samantha Wright Boise State Public Radio

Earlier this week, we told you about the work of Idaho's legislative healthcare task force - 14 lawmakers who met Monday to talk about the Affordable Care Act.  Today a task force created by the governor will hold the first in a series of meetings that will help decide the future of health care in Idaho. 

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Economy
4:12 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Budget For Idaho's Largest County Up For Public Comment Today

Ada County Commissioners say they'll hold the line on the budget.  The 2012-2013 proposed budget will be up for public comment tonight.  Every year, the three commissioners have the option to levy a three percent tax increase on current property owners in the county. 

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