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.

WCN 24/7 / Flickr

Tis the season when Idahoans will be getting their Christmas trees. For some, that means a trip to the Boise or Payette National Forest; a holiday tradition in some families.

Permits to cut down Christmas trees in Idaho forests went on sale this weekend.

Aaron Brown / Flickr

More people around the country, including in Idaho, will be traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday this week. AAA projects that 4.2 percent more Americans will travel 50 miles or more this week compared to last year.

Dave Carlson, with AAA Idaho, says it will be a busy time on the roads and at the airport.

“We are expecting overall 237,000 Idahoans will be traveling," Carlson says. "That represents about 14 to 15 percent of the population and about 204,000 of those will be doing so by motor vehicle.”

Washington Fish and Game

After giving the OK to a wolf hunting competition on Idaho public land, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has reversed its decision.

Torch Magazine / Flickr

After two years of planning, a snow park will open Saturday for tubing and snowboarding in Eagle.

The City of Eagle and the park’s developer, Ryan Neptune, had been trying to get the park underway for two years. But they clashed with Ada County, which owned the land and said a commercial operation wasn’t allowed under the lease agreement.

The city finally bought the property from the county earlier this year, and gave the green light to the operation.

elections, voting, vote booth
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

This story was updated Nov. 21, 2014 

Idaho's voter participation in this year's general election was the lowest ever.

Secretary of State Ben Ysursa tells the Spokesman Review that nearly 37 percent of Idaho's voting-age population cast a ballot Nov. 4.

Ysursa described the results as "abysmal," and urged the need to turn the number around.

Mia Gant / Flickr

This week's very cold weather in the Treasure Valley hasn't caused a lot of problems when it comes to frozen pipes.

That’s despite Boise setting another record low this morning of 4 degrees, breaking the old record of 7 set back in 1985. It's the third-straight morning of record cold.

United Water Idaho's Mark Snider says the company has had 10 calls from people without water.

US CPSC / Flickr

Idaho's Department of Health and Welfare says more calls are coming in about children being poisoned by bright and colorful laundry detergent packets this year compared to last. Children can mistake the plastic soap tabs for candy.

So far this year, 69 Idaho children in Idaho have been exposed to the packets by eating them or getting the soap in their eyes and nose. That compares to 45 kids during the same time frame last year.

This year, 40 kids went to the emergency room and five of those children ended up being hospitalized.

firetruck, boise, firefighters
Nicholas D. / Flickr Creative Commons

The City of Boise and the Firefighters Union are negotiating a new labor contract. At issue is how much firefighters should be paid.

Last year, the average department employee made $85,000, plus another $50,000 for insurance and retirement, according to the Idaho Statesman. That’s up 24 percent from a decade ago. However, two years ago, firefighters refused a contractual raise.

map, weather
National Weather Service

The first major winter storm of the season is headed for Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, bringing with it the season's first hard freeze and snowfall to the Treasure Valley.

There’s a good chance of snow on Thursday in the Boise area.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Les Colin says an arctic air mass is coming in from central Canada.

“There was a typhoon whose remnants went up into the Bering Sea,” Colin says, “and it created an intense storm there and the consequences spread into North America and then down south into Canada and into the United States.”

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's legislative races are not very competitive, at least that's the opinion of Gary Moncrief, professor emeritus at Boise State University, who studies state legislatures.

While all 105 seats in the Legislature are up for grabs this year, Moncrief sees only five districts where the races could be close.

“In Idaho, usually somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of the seats are not contested,” says Moncrief.

stonebraker
University of Idaho Library

William Allen Stonebraker worked and played in the rugged central Idaho wilderness at the turn of the 20th century and he's left behind a unique legacy of photographs to tell his story. That photo collection has just been released by the University of Idaho Library.

Idaho Public Television

In their last meeting before Tuesday's election, three men running to be Idaho's governor wasted no time in taking shots at each other's policies and ideas. The debate, hosted by Idaho Public Television, featured incumbent Republican Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, Democrat A.J. Balukoff and Libertarian John Bujak.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

It’s no secret that young voters are less likely to vote than older voters. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in every presidential election since 1964, 18-to 24-year-olds voted at lower rates than all other age groups. In the last mid-term election, 21.3 percent of 18-to 24-year-olds voted. The number was almost three times higher for those 65 and over.

Idaho Public Television

The two candidates vying for the job of Idaho's Superintendent of Public Instruction faced off Tuesday night in a debate sponsored by Idaho Public Television. 

Republican Sherri Ybarra and Democrat Jana Jones are competing to replace Tom Luna, who's stepping down at the end of his current term. 

Idaho Air National Guard / Flickr

An Idaho Navy veteran, who wanted to be buried with her late wife, will get her wish.

The Spokesman-Review’s Eye on Boise blog reports the head of the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery says there’s no longer a reason to keep the two apart. Madelynn Taylor has her wife Jean Mixner's ashes. She wanted to set up arrangements to have her ashes interred with Mixner's at the cemetery in Boise.

Courtesy Futuro Media Group

It’s estimated that by 2043, white Americans will no longer be a majority of the U.S. population. But in Coeur d'Alene, Caucasians already make up a whopping 92 percent of the population. Nationally, whites total 63 percent of the population.

Coeur d'Alene has been homogeneous for the last 20 years as nearly 90 percent of new residents were white.

Alex Proimos / Flickr

Idaho is a very charitable state. Idahoans gave more of their income to charity than every surrounding state, except Utah. But low-income Idahoans are giving away more of their hard-earned cash than the wealthy.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy used Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data from 2006 to 2012 to find patterns of giving across the country.

Raul Labrador, Shirley Ringo
Courtesy Idaho Public Television

Immigration reform and gay marriage were just two of the issues on the table Thursday night during the Idaho Public Television debate between candidates running for Idaho's First District Congressional seat.

Republican incumbent Raul Labrador and Democratic challenger Shirley Ringo are vying for a chance to represent Idaho in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The two candidates running to be Idaho's next Secretary of State faced off Tuesday in a debate hosted by Idaho Public Television.  

State Representative Lawerence Denney of Midvale, a Republican, debated state Representative Holli Woodings of Boise, a Democrat.

In a debate Monday, Denney was reported as saying that primaries should not be run by the state government, but by political parties.  

Rock musician Paul Revere, known for his outlandish costumes and enthusiastic stage persona passed away Saturday in Idaho.
 

He was born Paul Revere Dick in 1938 in Nebraska and later came to Boise and Caldwell. He was a teenager in the 50s with a love of music. He started his first band, the Downbeats, which eventually became Paul Revere and the Raiders.

The group became the house band for the Dick Clark TV show “Where the Action Is,” and appeared on Johnny Carson, Ed Sullivan and The Smothers Brothers.

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