Samantha Wright

News Reporter/Show Producer

Samantha Wright is a news reporter and the host for Boise State Public Radio's new weekly podcast, "Legislative Breakdown".

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, Id – The Walter Reed Army Medical Center closed its doors at a flag-lowering ceremony over the weekend.  The 102-year-old Washington D-C facility will be folded into other medical centers as part of a consolidation effort. Tens of thousands of wounded military men and women have passed through Walter Reed.  Samantha Wright talks to one Idaho Marine who spent time there.


When you first meet Josh Callihan you wouldn’t know that ten years ago he was severely injured in the line of duty.


BOISE, Id – More than 19-thousand Idaho homeowners got a foreclosure notice in the mail last year.  Those notices created some confusion for many homeowners.  A new law, which goes into effect Thursday, gives consumers more tools to try and save their home.

Idaho ranked eighth in the nation last year in foreclosure filings.  As the notices flooded in, so did complaints from homeowners.

Brett Delange “We have a lot of people in foreclosure and it’s not a problem that’s going to go away quickly or easily and it’s gonna be with us for a while.”


BOISE, Id – Idaho is last in the nation when it comes to getting screened for breast cancer.  Emily Simnitt is with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.  Simnitt says more than 120-thousand Idaho women over forty have not had a mammogram in the last two years.  That’s a problem, because early detection can increase the chances of survival.


BOISE, Id – Last Monday, Idaho’s Redistricting Commission was at an impasse.  Members could not agree on a plan to redraw the state’s legislative boundaries.  As their September deadline looms, time is running out.  What happens if Commissioners fail?


BOISE, Id – Five injured military veterans begin a new phase of their life in Boise today.  They’re all going to college, thanks to the Wyakin Warrior Foundation.  Jeff Bacon is the Executive Director.

Jeff Bacon “Whatever they want to do, if they want to be a plumber, we want them to be a good plumber and if they want to be a U-S Congressman someday, we want to give them the tools to be able to do that.”


BOISE, Id – The U-S Military provides rehabilitation when a veteran is severely wounded.  But once they get military, veterans are often left without a support system or plans for the future.   One Idaho group wants to change that.

Jeff Bacon is a retired Naval Officer with 26 years of service.  He works with the USO and on trips to Iraq he met injured warriors who inspired him.

BOISE, ID – Five injured military veterans begin a new phase of their life in Boise today.  They’re all going to college, thanks to the Wyakin Warrior Foundation.

Jeff Bacon is the Executive Director.

Jeff Bacon“Whatever they want to do, if they want to be a plumber, we want them to be a good plumber and if they want to be a U-S Congressman someday, we want to give them the tools to be able to do that.”


BOISE, Id – Scientists can use DNA from hair, saliva, even scat to track a bear or a mountain lion.  But it’s a lot harder to track and study say a frog, until now.

Salamanders are shy so it’s tough for scientists to find them in a lake or stream.  So researchers at the University of Idaho teamed up with the U-S Geological Survey to find a new way to track salamanders and other animals under water.

Lisette Waits “The key thing that’s happening is we’re extracting DNA from cells that the organism has left behind.”


BOISE, id – Last month, we brought you the story of the Boise Front Butterfly Count.  A dedicated group of volunteers counts and catalogues butterflies in Southern Idaho.  The count happens each year in July.  Doctor Paul Castrovillo is the Butterfly Curator at the Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History.  It’s at the College of Idaho.  He directs the Butterfly Count.


BOISE, Id – Over the past few weeks, some storm drains around Boise have been fitted with what look like thick, old-fashioned welcome mats.

Cars zip by along Americana in Boise, between two city parks.  On both sides of the street, light brown fiber mats cover up the storm drains.

Jason Korn “We’re looking at a Blocksom Filter; it is a natural fiber mat that is zip-tied to the storm drain to keep pollutants from entering the storm drain system and ultimately the Boise River.”


BOISE, Id – Women who survive breast cancer are often left with a scar on their body and their self-esteem.  Many turn to prosthetics to recreate what they once had.  But it’s hard to build a prosthetic breast.  New 3D technology will help women in the Treasure Valley with the process.

Tessie VanHoff is a petite 47-year-old woman with spikey dark hair.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago.  At age 43, she was left with a lot of questions.


BOISE, Id –The forecast in Boise Thursday calls for a high of 95.  That’s two degrees above normal.  You hear that a lot from forecasters talking about temperatures, whether they’re above normal, below normal.

Idaho’s new normal temperature has everything to do with the 1970’s.

George Skari “We just came out with new normal that began in 1981 through 2010, we got rid of the ‘70s.”


George Skari is a Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boise.


Labrador Votes No

Aug 3, 2011

Congressman Raul Labrador was the only member of Idaho’s delegation to vote no on the Debt Ceiling bill which passed this week.  He’s now back in the state. Labrador sat down to explain why he voted the way he did.


BOISE, Id – Sherri Wood has been the President of the Idaho Education Association and a teacher.  Now after 34 years as an educator, she’s retiring.

Sherri Wood planned to spend five years teaching first, second and third graders at Van Buren School in Caldwell.

Sherri Wood “After I was there five years, the kids and the families that attended Van Buren School, became very attached to them, very much enjoyed working with them and 28 years later, I was still there.”

Teaching, wood says, is more than just 50 minutes in a classroom.