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.


News Contest Entries
4:28 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Election 2012

Grinde's Diner in Mountain Home is a local favorite.
Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Voter’s Voices: Mountain Home Diner Dishes Up Politics

October 10, 2012

By Samantha Wright and Frankie Barnhill

Mountain Home, southeast of Boise is a microcosm of a military town.  Many of the 14,500 people who live there are connected to Mountain Home Air Force Base.  Four-thousand military serve there and some of them come to Grinde's Diner in Mountain Home to eat and talk politics.

The windows at Grinde’s are covered in patriotic paintings like the statue of liberty, a bald eagle and the liberty bell. 

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2013 Legislature
3:45 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

2013 Legislature: Idaho Lawmakers Set For A Busy Week

Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

It’s a busy week for Idaho lawmakers.  Education, budgets, health insurance exchanges – these issues will all come up in the next few days.  Betsy Russell writes the Eye on Boise Blog for the Spokesman Review.  She’s been covering the Legislature, as she does every year.  Samantha Wright caught up with her Monday afternoon after the Senate rejected Governor Butch Otter’s candidate for the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.  We sat in an empty committee room to talk about the week ahead, starting with the Senate Education Committee.

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2013 Legislature
2:40 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Idaho Residents Share Worries Over Medicaid, Mental Health, and Dental Care With Lawmakers

Idaho Statehouse
Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Dental care for low-income adults.  Help for physical and mental disabilities.  Expanding Idaho’s Medicaid.  Those were some of the issues that came up during a public hearing Friday during a joint meeting of the Legislature’s Health and Welfare Committees.   

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6:00 am
Thu February 7, 2013

Ketchum Couple's Experience Living With Wolves Revealed In New Book

Jim Dutcher gets close with a wolf from the Sawtooth Pack.
Credit Jim and Jamie Dutcher / The Hidden Life of Wolves

In the 1990s, Jim and Jamie Dutcher set out to study and film a wolf pack. They camped for years in the Sawtooth Mountains living side by side with wolves in a controlled environment.  The couple now has a book, called “The Hidden Life of Wolves,” that was released this week.  

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Human Trafficking
6:00 am
Wed February 6, 2013

Idaho Lawmakers Will Be Asked To Weigh In On Human Trafficking

Credit Nick/KC7CBF / Flickr

Human trafficking happens in Idaho. But it's unclear how big the problem is. So Sara Thomas is trying to find out. 

She's the state Appellate Public Defender and a member of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Commission.  Thomas says it’s tough to put numbers to human trafficking because most of the crimes are reported as something else.

“What happens is, they’re charged as sex crimes or they’re charged as violent crimes but they’re not necessarily labeled as human trafficking,” says Thomas.

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9:05 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Long Time Idaho Conservationist Steps Down From The Wilderness Society

John McCarthy and Babette Munting at Hummock Lake, Boulder-White Clouds
Credit John McCarthy

Until last week, John McCarthy was the Idaho Forest Program Director at the Wilderness Society.  He’s stepping down after a 30-year career in conservation.  McCarthy made a name for himself at the Society, and before that at the Idaho Conservation League, working to preserve some of Idaho’s most pristine places.  He says he got started in conservation after working in the media.

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Water Quality
7:43 am
Thu January 31, 2013

How Much Fish You Eat Determines Water Quality In Idaho

Credit David Ascher / Flickr

How much fish do you eat every week?  That’s a question Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality wants to answer.  The agency has asked state lawmakers for funding to study that question. 

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2013 Legislature
3:30 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Democratic Lawmakers Reveal Five Part Initiative To Revamp Idaho’s Voting System

Credit rustybrick / Flickr

More polling spots for early voters. Online registration.   These are some of the proposals Idaho democrats in the legislature unveiled today.

It’s called the Voting Opportunity and Trustworthy Elections, or VOTE, initiative.  Sen. Elliot Werk (D-Boise) says it’s time to update the way Idaho holds elections.  “The horse and buggy elections of our founders day simply do not work in today’s society.” 

Here’s how this five-part plan breaks down:

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3:42 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

New Details: Boise Pastor Could Spend 8 Years In Iranian Prison

Pastor Saeed Abedini and family.
Credit Courtesy of American Center for Law and Justice

A pastor from Boise has been sentenced to 8 years in an Iranian prison.  Saeed Abedini was convicted over the weekend of attempting to undermine state security in Iran.

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2013 Legislature
2:11 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Idaho Public Television Celebrates Positives, Despite Equipment Troubles

The head of Idaho Public Television had some good and bad news for budget writers at the Idaho Legislature today. 

General Manager Peter Morrill said IPTV won 53 national and regional awards last year.  One of its premiere programs, Antiques Road Show, is coming to Boise to film several shows.  And…“Late last week we were informed by the good folks at Nielson and Track Media that we are in fact the most watched, most viewed PBS station in the U.S.," Morrill said.  "This is great news.” 

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2013 Legislature
3:15 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Idaho’s “No Call” Law Could Be In For Changes

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Idaho lawmakers will take up a bill to lift the ban placed on telephone companies when it comes to customer cold calls.

Under Idaho's 2000 "No-call" law that halted most unwanted phone solicitation, most businesses were allowed to continue calling existing customers to sell things. But phone companies were forbidden.

Now land-line companies Frontier Communications and Century Link are lobbying for the changes. 

Jim Clark is a former Idaho Representative and is now a lobbyist for Frontier.  He says the old law is crippling their ability to market high-speed internet.

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Ice Storm
3:00 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Ice Storm Slams Idaho's Capitol City

A solid coating of ice on the brick pavement of 8th Street in downtown Boise.
Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The National Weather Service calls this morning an “historic freezing rain event.”  A spokesman says Boise was the hardest hit by the ice.  The conditions closed schools, highways, and caused cars to slip and slide.  The Ada County Sheriff’s Office reports more than 41 crashes this morning and 32 slide offs or stalled cars.   

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2013 Legislature
1:39 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Idaho Lawmakers Want To Honor Cyclist Kristin Armstrong

Kristin Armstrong and son talk with a fan
Credit Sadie Babits / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Legislature wants to honor two-time Olympic gold medal cyclist Kristin Armstrong.  The Boise resident won gold in last year’s London Olympics and in 2008’s Beijing Olympics.

Representative Hy Kloc (D-Boise) introduced the measure today. “We’d like to commend her for her community work, her outstanding attitude, her focus, and her exemplary conduct.” 

Kloc said Armstrong climbed to the top of her profession even in the face of health problems. “In 2001, Kristen was diagnosed with osteoarthritis, and that didn’t stop her.” 

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Occupy Boise
4:46 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Idaho Lawmakers Still Occupied With Occupy Boise

Occupy Boise built a tent city next to the Idaho Statehouse.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The protest group Occupy Boise packed up their encampment last June, seven months after building a tent city next to the Idaho Statehouse.  But Idaho lawmakers are still arguing over rules crafted to regulate any future protests at state-owned buildings.

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Boise State University
1:59 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

The Changing Face Of Boise State University

Credit Boise State University

Over the past decade, the student makeup at Boise State University has changed.  That’s the word from President Bob Kustra, who made his pitch for more money from the Idaho Legislature today.

Kustra showed budget lawmakers a series of statistics about Boise State that have changed from 2001 to now.  He says back then, the school had a different make up of students. 

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10:32 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Flu Season Difficult To Track In Idaho

Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Leslie Tengelsen
Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the flu is now widespread in 47 states, including Idaho.  Doctor Leslie Tengelsen is Idaho’s deputy state epidemiologist.  She says the flu season has arrived early this year.  

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5:01 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Idaho Medicaid Could Grow By 70,000 Recipients In 2014

Whether or not Idaho expands Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act, the state needs to pour more money into the program.

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Flu Season
2:09 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Flu Widespread Across The Nation, Including Idaho

Credit prashant_zi / Flickr

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today said the flu is now widespread in 47 states. That's up from 41 states the week before. 

Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, Idaho’s deputy state epidemiologist, says the Gem state is no exception.  “We’ve seen a steady rise in hospitalizations, doctor’s visits, so flu is here.”

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11:00 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Boise’s New LGBT Liaison Wants To Be a Bridge Between Police And Community

Taylor Thornton, in orange, and Jon Nicholes listen as the Boise City Council takes public testimony on the anti-discrimination measure.
Credit Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

This week, Boise met the police department’s new L-G-B-T Liaison.  The position isn’t new. But it takes on new significance, now that Boise has an anti-discrimination ordinance to protect gays and lesbians when it comes to employment and housing.   

Katie Davey has been part of Victim’s Services at the Boise Police Department for a few months.  Part of her job is helping those who've been victimized because of their sexual orientation.

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12:00 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Nighttime Vigil In Boise Remembers The Homeless Who Died This Year

Credit Interfaith Sanctuary

Tonight marks the longest night of the year.  Advocates chose this night to remember the homeless who have died in 2012.  The National Homeless Person’s Memorial happens in more than 150 cities, including Boise. 

Jayne Sorrels is the Executive Director of Interfaith Sanctuary Housing Services. “We gather together as a community and recognize and honor, remember those who have died in the last year who were homeless, formerly homeless and those who were homeless advocates.”

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