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.

Ada County Highway District

A new online map is giving Boise bicyclists a break during a time when many of their preferred pathways are closed.

Bikers have faced challenges since much of the Boise Greenbelt closed down due to the flooded Boise River. Though the water is receding, many parts of the 25-mile pathway were damaged by extensive flooding and remain closed.

Finding alternate routes around the handy bike path has been tough, but the Ada County Highway District has a new online map to help.

Adam Pearl / AP Photo

A pet squirrel named Joey who gained fame as a crime fighter might be more of the lover type.

Joey, who police credited with scaring off a burglar trying to break into his home's gun safe, made his long goodbyes earlier this month, then scampered up a backyard apple tree at his Meridian, Idaho home and hasn't been seen since.

"If I had to guess, he found a girlfriend and they're off doing their squirrel thing," said Adam Pearl, who raised Joey in his home for about 10 months.

A University of Idaho scientist said that's probably right for Joey.

The Exploratorium / NASA

Tens of thousands of people will watch the total solar eclipse in Idaho on August 21, and some of them will be taking part in a citizen science experiment.

The Citizen Continental-America Telescope Eclipse Experiment, or CATE for short, is a project by the National Solar Observatory. Using special telescopes, the plan is to record the eclipse at more than 68 different sites, including three in Idaho.

Rebecca Boone / AP Photo

The Idaho Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday on a case that could decide the future of a 6 percent sales tax on groceries.

The Idaho Legislature passed a bill this year removing the tax. They adjourned and went home. Governor Butch Otter vetoed the bill, 11 days after adjournment. And that’s where the controversy started.

Some GOP lawmakers filed suit, arguing the Idaho Constitution says a governor has ten days to veto a bill after adjournment. But in 1978, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled the governor has ten days, starting when he gets the bill.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise River, which has been over flood stage for months, will drop below that level Thursday. The river has dropped dramatically this week.

The Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have been dropping the amount of water released into the river all week. The river started dropping over the weekend, then fell 500 cubic feet per second on Tuesday and 1,000 cfs on Wednesday.

It will drop another 500 cfs Thursday morning. That will drop the river level at the Glenwood Bridge to 6,750 cfs, that brings it below flood stage which is 7,000 cfs.

James Castle (1899-1977) Untitled, n.d. / Copyright 2015 James Castle Collection and Archive L.P. All rights reserved.

Boise is taking the next step in preserving the house where Idaho artist James Castle lived and worked. The city broke ground Tuesday on the next phase of construction on the site.

Castle lived in Boise’s Pierce Park neighborhood for decades, starting in the 1930s. He was born deaf and found that his art was a tool for expression and communication.

The Idaho Statesman

Idaho music icon Rosalie Sorrels passed away Sunday. Known as the “Travelin’ Lady,” she drove around the country for decades, singing folk music and recording more than 20 albums. But she always came home to Idaho.

I met Rosalie in the early 1990s when a friend asked me to help produce a CD of union folk songs. Until then, I only knew her through her songs broadcast on KBSU radio. Many people knew her through her music, which spilled out of her, night after night, as she toured the country constantly.

AP

Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter has created a new health care panel for Idaho, and appointed the retiring head of the Health and Welfare Department to lead it.

It’s called the Governor’s Health Care Advisory Panel, or HCAP, and Otter created it last week by executive order. The group’s main job will be to review new federal or state health care initiatives and report to the governor and the Idaho Legislature.

The panel will provide research and guidance on health care policies. Members will also fine-tune the state's strategy for health care policy.

Zoo Boise

Zoo Boise is worried about the safety of its animals, as flood waters continue to rise along the Boise River. The city, which owns the zoo, is building a "Muscle Wall" to keep the water back. The flood barrier will be 2,000-feet-long and two-to-four feet tall.

City engineers say it will be similar to the flood barrier that was built to protect a gravel pit near Eagle Island.

Diana Landa

An Idaho woman said she discovered a Nazi explosive as she was helping her parents clean out their shed.

Diana Landa identified the artifact by a Nazi insignia and the year 1938 etched on the bottom of it. It still had a propellant on it, she said.

Landa's parents have lived in their Meridian home for 25 years. They said they hardly used the old shed they cleaned out last week. They have no idea where the explosive came from and how it got there.

Boise Police Department

The Boise River is rising again, to what officials say will be the highest levels so far this year.

Flows from the Lucky Peak Dam will go up Friday morning. An additional 500 cubic feet per second of water will be released. That will bring the flow to 9,300 cfs at the Glenwood Bridge gauge. That’s the highest flow this Spring since officials started pushing more and more water through the river to make room for melting snow in the mountains above Boise.

Idaho Governor's Office

Idaho Governor Butch Otter announced Wednesday he has picked a new head of the state’s Health and Welfare Department.

Otter is appointing Russ Barron to head the agency. Barron is deputy director and a longtime administrator at Health and Welfare.

AP Photo

Last week, Terry Branstad of Iowa stepped down, ending more than 22 years in the Governor’s chair. Yes, we said Iowa, not Idaho, but that means Idaho’s governor moved up on a short list of the longest-serving heads of states.

The website Smart Politics keeps track of just how long top leaders in each state have been in office. Branstad takes the top spot, with 8,169 days as Governor.

Mark Davis

As the weather turns toward summer, bee colonies in Idaho are starting to expand. Every year, old colonies split away from the hive and go looking for a new home. It’s called Honey Bee Swarming and it happens from March through August.

Mark Davis says this year’s swarming is getting a late start, because of all the wet weather. Known as Treasure Valley’s “Bee Man,” Davis is the founder of the nonprofit, family-based Treasure Valley Bee Rescue, a group that will relocate swarms rather than exterminating them.

Mary Esch / AP Photo

A new statewide Community Assessment has some dramatic findings, especially for Idaho kids.

The United Way of Treasure Valley released their latest Community Assessment Thursday. Conducted every three years, the research is a snapshot of local issues, from health to education to financial stability.

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