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 welcomed a giant anteater baby in July and that furry pup can now be spotted by visitors at the zoo.  The pup and its mother, Gloria, spent the last few weeks inside their barn and have just now begun to explore their outdoor exhibit.

Anteaters are solitary animals and the father is currently in an exhibit next door to Gloria and her pup.

Screenshot / Idaho Public Television

It’s a multi-million dollar question that now stands before the Idaho Supreme Court: Should a ban on instant horse racing become law? This question was argued before the justices Tuesday.

The case is about instant horse racing machines, which some, like the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, argue are too close to illegal slot machines.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

When a person loses their sight, everyday tasks become a challenge. Walking across the street, reading a book - even hobbies can seem nearly impossible.  But one Idaho man is working to introduce visually impaired individuals to a whole new world of sound. He’s teaching the blind how to identify birds, using only their calls.

Steve Bouffard has his eyes closed and he’s listening intently on the edge of Veterans Memorial Park. He quickly identifies a song sparrow, using only the sound of its call.

Butch Otter
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho had to dip into its bank account Monday to pay for three lawsuits the state has recently lost. The price tag is more than $800,000 dollars.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The City of Boise says the U.S. Department of Justice was incorrect when it accused the city of punishing people for being homeless.

The Department weighed in Thursday on a lawsuit that says homeless people receive tickets for sleeping in public spaces.

Travis Manion Foundation

A group of women from around the U.S. got together last week for a special trip along the Salmon River. They were the survivors of fallen military service members who came together to learn how to cope with the loss of their loved ones.

The trip is the brainchild of the Travis Manion Foundation. It is a non-profit group that helps veterans and families of the fallen. The foundation has led expeditions all over the country for spouses and fiancées of military members.

Macroscopic Solutions / Flickr

Idaho has its first human case of West Nile Virus for 2015. A woman in her 60’s who lives in Washington County got sick in late June.

Raemi Nolevanko is an epidemiologist for Southwest District Health. She says the woman had mild symptoms and did not go to the hospital.

“She was experiencing some pretty decent fatigue and then she mentioned fever, chills and some headache that she was having issues with,” says Nolevanko.

The woman is recovering.

Nolevanko says this first human case is right on schedule, based on last year's timeline.

Idaho National Guard

Idaho native and Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was caught up in a raid on a pot farm in California this week.

The Anderson Valley Advertiser reports Bergdahl was on the scene this week when the Mendocino County drug task force raided a property in Redwood Valley.

“He was visiting old friends when the local dope team arrived on a marijuana raid. Bergdahl, who is awaiting military court martial, had an Army pass allowing him to be in Mendocino County.” – Anderson Valley Advertiser

Kelly Magee / Bureau of Land Management

Horses, trainers and potential owners are gathering Friday and Saturday in Nampa to watch wild mustangs show off in the ring.

The Extreme Mustang Makeover is a chance for wild horses to get a new home. Each horse is hooked up with a trainer before the event. The horses are then taken to the makeover to show what they can learn in a short period of time.

Melinda Shelton / Flickr

A new study says the switch to a four-day school week isn’t saving Idaho school districts the kind of money they had expected. The Rural Opportunities Consortium of Idaho even found that some districts say their costs went up after the change.

Courtesy of American Center for Law and Justice

Iran's deputy foreign minister says Iranian diplomats discussed the case of Americans still held captive by Tehran. That includes Boise pastor Saeed Abedini. The issue was raised on the sidelines of negotiations in Vienna earlier this month that led to the landmark deal on curbing Iran's nuclear program.

Abbas Araghchi told reporters in the Iranian capital on Wednesday that cases of "imprisoned citizens" were discussed with their American counterparts during the nuclear talks.

He says "humanitarian" reasons had motivated the discussion but did not elaborate.

Zoo Boise

Two red panda cubs were born at Zoo Boise this summer. The male and female cubs were born June 18 and are just now being seen in the red panda exhibit.

The cubs were born to parents Dolly and Winston. It’s their third litter of cubs and the fifth litter born at the zoo. Their first litter was born in June 2013.

Marsha Davies

Volunteers are scheduled to break ground Saturday on the rebuilding of the Big Creek Lodge in the Payette National Forest.

For 75 years, Big Creek Lodge was the vacation spot for hundreds of pilots, campers, and firefighters, looking for adventure in the remote Payette National Forest. But seven years ago, the lodge burned to the ground.

Now, the Forest Service and a non-profit group are working to rebuild.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Doctors in America are facing burnout in high numbers. A 2012 national survey published in the Journal of American Medicine found almost 46 percent of doctors reported feeling symptoms of burnout. WebMD reported that same number in a report published this year.

Boise National Forest

The Boise National Forest is reporting an increase of trash and human waste being left behind at campsites.

All ranger districts are reporting more trash, but the Lowman Ranger District has been hit especially hard along Highway 21 and in the Deadwood Reservoir areas.

Fire pits have been loaded with trash. Fecal material has been found near the camps. Toilet paper has been left behind. That’s according to John Kidd, Lowman District Ranger.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

Disappointed. That’s how Naghmeh Abedini describes finding out the release of her husband was not included in the Iran nuclear deal announced Tuesday.

Her husband, Saeed Abedini, is a pastor from Boise. He has been held in prison in Iran since 2012. He was convicted of undermining state security for forming private Christian churches in homes in Iran, and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Ada County Weed, Pest and Mosquito Abatement

Thursday night’s chemical bombardment of mosquitoes from a low-flying plane in Ada County went well before being interrupted by a storm. Weather permitting, the process will continue Friday night.

Brian Wilbur, Director of the Ada County Mosquito Abatement District, says the contracted plane sprayed parts of Star and Eagle around 10 p.m. Thursday. That gave the Dibrom Concentrate, which is a short-lived chemical, time to work before the rain moved in.

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

New allegations of misconduct at the Idaho State Correctional Institution have surfaced in a court case that dates back to 1981.

The accusations include destroying, altering, or falsifying prisoner medical records. The state is also accused of deceiving a special investigator whose job it is to keep the state in line with past rulings in the case.

Alberto Garcia / Flickr

More mosquitoes, carrying the potentially deadly West Nile Virus, have popped up in traps in Canyon County. Two weeks ago, the disease was found between Parma and Notus. Now, mosquitoes at the Roswell Marsh near Parma have tested positive.

Ed Burnett, with the Canyon County Mosquito Abatement District, says they found hundreds of Tule mosquitoes in a trap on the marsh. Tules – which carry the virus – are rare for this area. Burnett says they’ve multiplied because of recent hot weather.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

A visiting Boise State professor has spent this week trying to get Idaho children to connect with refugee children.

The “Quilting to Speak” workshop is the brainchild of Reshmi Mukherjee. She’s a visiting professor at Boise State, and is teaching a course this summer about communication between refugees and non-refugees.

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