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.

Zoo Boise

Zoo Boise reported Thursday that its beloved giraffe, Julius Longfellow, has died.

The 11-year-old male Julius fell early Thursday morning. Zoo workers tried to get him back up but couldn’t, and had to euthanize him. A necropsy is planned.

Julius came to Zoo Boise in 2008 from the African Safari Wildlife Park in Ohio. A private fundraising campaign paid for his purchase and transport to Boise. His first name, Julius, was in honor of a donor to Zoo Boise. His last name, Longfellow, came thanks to Longfellow Elementary School, which raised money for him.

ITD

"This is bad," says an unknown voice on the video. That seems to be an understatement, as 800 cubic yards of hillside slide down onto the roadway south of Bonners Ferry.

The slide was caught on video by Idaho Transportation Department workers on April 7.

Here's what happened: ITD Land Surveyor Mathew Wilson was checking out the stability of the hillside. As he videotaped, he heard popping and cracking coming from the site. Flaggers on the scene stopped traffic as horrified workers watched. Three minutes later, the hill slowly slides right down onto the road.

Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

As dam officials bump up the water flow on the Boise River yet again this week, it’s a good time to take a look at the numbers that matter during this flooding event.

This week, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to raise the water level at the Glenwood Bridge to 8,500 cubic feet per second. As of Wednesday, crews were pushing 9,240 cfs of water out of Lucky Peak Dam. Gina Baltrusch with the Walla Walla District of the Corps says about 1,000 cfs is being diverted into irrigation canals and the rest is flowing down the Boise.

Representative Bryan Zollinger / Facebook

Tuesday, Idaho Governor Butch Otter vetoed a bill to repeal the six percent sales tax on groceries. Wednesday, two lawmakers said that veto was invalid and the repeal now becomes law.

GOP Representatives Ron Nate and Bryan Zollinger say Governor Butch Otter’s veto came too late to be valid.

 

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife / Associated Press

Organizers of a wolf- and coyote-shooting contest in east-central Idaho say they're looking at other parts of the state for similar contests on U.S. Forest Service land following a federal court ruling.

"Having this lawsuit out of the way and having this legal precedent, we will probably consider it a lot greater now," Steve Alder, Idaho for Wildlife's executive director, said Tuesday.

U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Bush in a 20-page ruling late last month said Idaho for Wildlife didn't need a permit from the U.S. Forest Service to hold the contest.

Seth Perlman / Associated Press

If you’re e-filing your taxes as next week’s deadline looms, and your return is rejected, you may be the victim of identity theft. The Idaho Tax Commission has already seen cases of fraudulent returns.

Since January, the Idaho Tax Commission has prevented the theft of close to $300,000 in Idaho refunds that were targeted by criminals.

Tawnya Eldredge is the Commission’s identity theft assistance coordinator.

Interfaith Sanctuary

Homeless people in Boise face many challenges, including where to sleep, where to find food and how to get around. But one homeless advocate found that one of the biggest challenges of being homeless is proving who you are. Getting a legal, photo ID, if you don’t have one, can be almost impossible.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (IPAC)

Scientists from Boise State University and the University of Washington are studying a newly found group of planets around a nearby star. They’ll talk about their research Friday night in Boise. Turns out, these planets are good candidates for hosting life outside Earth.

Interfaith Sanctuary

Boise’s Interfaith Sanctuary is holding a musical benefit Thursday night at the Record Exchange. Its directors say they’ve changed how they look at homelessness and now rely more than ever on the generosity of the community.

Interfaith Co-Director Jodi Peterson says in the past, the Sanctuary had two licensed social workers to serve 164 guests at night at the shelter. But Peterson says that wasn’t enough. So they upped the budget from $650,000 to one million dollars, and now employ 10 case managers.

Jim Jones

Before he was a member of the Idaho Supreme Court, Jim Jones was part of the biggest water fight in the Gem State’s modern history. Jones has a new book out that chronicles that time.

Jones was elected to the first of two terms as Idaho Attorney general in 1982. Not long after he started the job, the Idaho Supreme Court issued a decision that reversed 30 years of policy and essentially gave Idaho Power priority of control over much of the water in the Snake River.

Charlie Litchfield / AP

The Idaho Legislature closed up shop and went home Wednesday. The session went five days longer than leadership had anticipated.

The session was notable for a few bills, including transportation funding and tax cuts, which were sticking points at the end of the session. Lawmakers also didn’t find a solution for the 78,000 Idahoans who fall in the Medicaid gap and don’t have health insurance.

Joy Weese Moll / Flickr

If you’ve filed your state tax return, the Tax Commission says it may need more information before they can send you a refund. That’s due in part to concerns over identity theft and fraud.

The Idaho State Tax Commission says it checks all tax returns for fraud and accuracy. For some, that means getting a letter from the Commission asking you to prove you’re you.

NMID

Water will start flowing through Boise’s irrigation canals starting next Monday. The Treasure Valley’s largest irrigation district says they expect to have plenty of water this season.

For 112 years, the Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District has been providing irrigation water to the Treasure Valley. Next week’s launch of the irrigation season will be the 113th consecutive year for the District.

Otto Kitsinger / Associated Press

As we wrap up the 11th week of the 2017 Idaho Legislative Session, lawmakers have been struggling to finish up their work and go home. For several weeks, the goal has been to end the session Friday. House Speaker Scott Bedke said on Thursday lawmakers will have to come back on Monday.

This week lawmakers struggled with a large transportation funding bill. They tried and failed to pass a bill that would have helped some of the 78,000 people in Idaho who can’t afford health insurance. And tax cuts are still a sticking point.

Travis Olson

Boise’s Treefort Music Fest is well underway and events like Hackfort, Storyfort and Filmfort are just part of the fun. This year, Kidfort will once again bring concerts, crafts and interactive events to a younger audience. New this year is an idea dreamed up by one Boise man who wants kids to put down their electronics and start building things out of cardboard.

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