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.

Boise Police Department City Hall Logo
Lacey Daley / Boise State Public Radio

A Boise Police officer who was shot in November during a manhunt says he is paralyzed from the waist down.

It was November when police tracked down Marco Romero on the Boise Bench after his alleged crime spree that included a Meridian shooting and a carjacking. The manhunt ended in a shootout, leaving Romero dead and two BPD officers and one K9 officer injured.

HighSpeedInternet.com

As the year comes to a close, we wondered what people were thinking about the most during 2016. Turns out, so were the analysts at HighSpeedInternet.com. They’ve come out with a new map that shows what each state googled the most during the year.

For Idaho, the top googled item was … "Finding Dory." The movie apparently was a popular item in 2016 in the Gem State. Utah also found the term at the top of its list.

sage grouse, wildlife
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Flickr Creative Commons

The Obama administration offered five possible plans Thursday for limiting mining on federal land in the West to protect the vulnerable greater sage grouse, but it isn't saying which it prefers.

The options range from banning new mining activity on about 15,000 square miles for up to 20 years to imposing no additional restrictions on mine locations.

The rules would affect sage grouse habitat on federal land in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

Idaho Statesman

Nampa could soon have a fire chief, after the last one was seriously injured in a crash and faces a DUI charge.

Nampa Mayor Bob Henry says he’s picked Fire Marshal Phil Roberts as the city’s next fire chief. Roberts has been fire marshal since June of 2015 and does double duty as Nampa Fire’s public information officer.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

If you drive on Idaho Highway 55, get ready for some construction slowdowns in the New Year.

For anyone traveling north from Boise to Banks, Cascade, Donnelly or beyond, Highway 55 is the main route, and an extremely busy one, especially in the summer months. Any construction project on the highway is of interest to travelers, especially one that will take 10 to 12 months and replace an entire bridge.

The Idaho Transportation Department will hold a meeting next week to talk about their project to replace the Idaho 55/Payette River Bridge.

Amelia Templeton / OPB

As we approach the anniversary of the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, some of the people involved still face charges.

It was Monday January 2, 2016 when an armed group of protestors took over the refuge. Led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy, the occupiers were protesting the jailing of two ranchers and wanted the government to turn over public lands to local control.

Ada County Highway District

Starting next week, the Ada County Highway District will begin work on a major construction project at Cole Road and Fairview Avenue in Boise. That will impact your commute.

Beginning January 3, ACHD will start the project by closing down Cole Road south of Fairview through February. Drivers will be detoured to Milwaukee and Curtis through Emerald.

U.S. Pacific Fleet

A southern Idaho man is the first person to die in the state from the flu this season.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reports the man was over the age of 50 and died from an influenza-related illness. He’s the first person in Idaho to die in the 2016-2017 season.

Last flu season, 26 people died from the flu in Idaho. The average number of deaths in a year in the Gem State is 23. In the 2012-2013 season, 35 people died.

Ed Cannady / edcannadyphotography.com

A new book takes a unique look at Idaho’s wild places. Titled “Idaho Wilderness Considered,” the book is more than a field guide to the state’s backcountry. It includes personal journeys, political stories and historical snapshots of the wilderness character of Idaho.

Co-editor Murray Feldman says the book grew out of the Idaho Humanities Council’s two year-long reading and conversation series on wilderness. The catalyst was the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act in 2014.

Boise State Public Radio

Two internet companies are asking a federal judge to block Attorney General Lawrence Wasden from forcing them to return millions of dollars paid under a canceled state broadband contract.

Education Networks of America Inc. and CenturyLink Communications LLC first filed their lawsuits in federal court in August, where they argued that the state owed them more than $37 million in back payments and damages.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho is picking up close to $4 million in federal money to prevent and end homelessness.

Tuesday the Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the state $3.6 million to fund 32 local projects aimed at helping the homeless.

Programs from all corners of the state will receive awards. CATCH of Ada County Rapid Re-housing will pick up $89,000. Idaho Falls Permanent Housing will get $86,000. And Magic Valley Rapid Re-housing will get $44,000.

AP

Demonstrators have gathered outside Idaho's Capitol hours before Republican electors are expected to back President-elect Donald Trump.

Roughly 40 protesters marched, chanted and waved signs Monday, joining similar efforts around the country in a last-ditch attempt to swing electors from voting for Trump. The efforts aren't expected to work in Idaho, nor are they expected to prevent Trump's selection as president.

One Idaho protester stood on the Idaho Capitol steps and read a letter from a Texas elector Christopher Suprun, who vowed not to vote for Trump.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr

We told you last week that Monday will be the busiest mailing day of the year. But exactly how busy will it get?

In Idaho alone, more than 2.4 million cards, letters and packages are expected to be mailed today. That breaks down to 100,800 pieces per hour, 1,680 per minute or 28 per second.

Across the country, 611 million pieces of mail will be mailed today. That’s 7,000 per second.

Throughout the holiday season, postal carriers across the U.S. will deliver 750 million packages. That’s a 12 percent increase from 2015 and double the number from just four years ago.

Ben Rogers / Flickr

Very cold weather is moving into Idaho and that could mean frozen pipes. Suez, the company that handles water for the Treasure Valley, has some tips for homeowners.

If your pipes freeze, the first person to call is your water company. That’s according to Miguel Castro, a Field Service Technician at Suez. He says they can tell you if the problem is in your pipes, or the meter box that belongs to Suez.

Castro says that call could save you some money.

Traditions of Christmas

During the holidays, you can enjoy choirs, plays and theater from local and national groups – both big and small. Now Nampa has become home to a full-blown Radio City Music Hall-like production, featuring local singers, dancers, and performers. It began with a leap of faith.

Called the Traditions of Christmas, this show is a huge undertaking, with around 65 local cast members, 400 costumes, kick-line dancing, comedic skits and a nativity scene with live animals.

Zondervan/Harper Collins

What happens when you turn off the internet for a year? That’s what author Esther Emery wanted to find out a few years ago when she cut the cord to all electronic devices.

Emery and her husband lived in Idaho, met in the Panhandle, and later moved to southern California. She had a successful career. But marital infidelity, giving up her job to become a stay at home mom and a sudden move to the east coast rocked her life.

She found her video screens became an addiction.

Mark Iocchelli / Flickr

Earlier this year, we reported that two Elmore County cats had died after an outbreak of plague in ground squirrels.

Idaho Department of Education

This adorable penguin was drawn by Sawtooth Elementary fifth-grader Kylee Thiel. It was submitted from Twin Falls along with other pictures from around the state in the Idaho State Department of Education's Holiday Card Contest.

Idaho Schools Superintendent Sherri Ybarra said Thiel's artwork was the winner. It will be featured on the Department's holiday greeting card. Thiel will also get a certificate and copies of the card to share with family and friends.

Idaho Statehouse
Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Secretary of State Lawerence Denney say the state's four Republican electors will meet next week to cast their ballots for the president of the United States.

Otter and Denney in a statement Monday say the electors will meet at noon on Dec. 19 in the Governor's Ceremonial Office.

Several of Idaho's electors say they've been flooded with emails, telephone calls and Facebook messages from strangers urging them to reconsider their vote for President-elect Donald Trump.

Metro Community Services

A group of 10 high school students are learning building techniques as they put together a tiny house in Wilder. As Samantha Wright reports, a partnership designed to teach kids new skills is behind the project.

Pages