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.

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Homeless
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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Homeless
6:00 am
Fri December 21, 2012

One Boise Woman’s Efforts To Feed The City's Homeless

Volunteers from Mosaic Street Ministry set up a homemade Sunday meal.
Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Sleet falls in Ann Morrison Park on a recent Sunday afternoon.  A few people mill around picnic tables, shivering.

Denie Tackett hauls boxes and bags of food from her car.

Tackett heads up Mosaic Street Ministry, a non-profit group that ministers to the homeless in Boise.  She’s been bringing food to local parks for the last five years. 

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Research
6:00 am
Tue December 18, 2012

Idaho Researchers Study Impact Of Road Noise On Animals In Boise's Foothills

Field biologist Rose Swift examines a red-naped sapsucker.
Samantha Wright Boise State Public Radio

Scientists are trying to understand how road noise affects animals. So they’ve set up a road of sorts in the hills above Boise and they’re capturing birds to find answers.

Heidi Ware holds an angry bird in her hand. “This is a Cassin's Vireo and they’re pretty well-known for being pretty feisty birds in the hand, so you can see he’s biting my finger right now.”

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Health Insurance Exchanges
6:00 am
Thu December 13, 2012

One Idaho Senator Supports Idea of Health Insurance Exchanges But Has Concerns

Mike Crapo
Credit Mike Crapo

Idaho's governor announced yesterday the state should build its own health insurance exchange rather than go with a federally- run model. Exchanges are online marketplaces that allow consumers to assess health insurance plans.  Under the Affordable Care Act, every state must have one by 2014.

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Sustainable Agriculture
4:58 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

More Than 200 Guatemalan Farmers Have Learned About Sustainable Ag From Idaho Non-Profit

Semilla Neuva works teaches Guatemalan farmers sustainable agricultural techniques.
Credit Semilla Neuva

Last year, we introduced you to the Idaho non-profit group Semilla Neuva, or “New Seed” in Spanish.  For almost five years, it’s been teaching sustainable agriculture practices to farmers in Guatemala.  Over the past year, the group helped more farmers than ever before, and won a prestigious award from the Huffington Post.

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Health Insurance Exchanges
3:38 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Some States Making Progress On Health Exchange

Idaho has until the end of the week to decide whether or not to build its own health insurance exchange.  But some northwest states are already well on their way toward creating such an online marketplace. 

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Remembrance
4:08 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Former Idaho Supreme Court Justice And Poet, Byron Johnson Dies At 75

Excerpted from the Idaho Statesman's photo caption: "Byron Johnson pitched for Boise High School, once striking out future Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew. At Harvard, where he earned undergraduate and law degrees, he also made the varsity team."
Idaho Statesman

Sunday we learned that former Idaho Supreme Court Justice Byron Johnson passed away after a battle with cancer.

He was a lawyer and a political mover and shaker.  But in his heart, Byron Johnson was a poet.  “I think that poetry is a vehicle that I have used to deal with feelings I have that are hard to resolve,” he once said.

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Idaho Legislature
3:25 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Idaho House Speaker Denney Loses Top GOP Seat

Idaho Statehouse home of the Idaho Legislature
Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

After three terms in the speaker’s chair, Representative Lawerence Denney lost the top House spot in the Idaho Legislature Wednesday night.  Representative Scott Bedke of Oakley was elected Speaker of the House during a secret vote at a dinner at a Boise country club. 

Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey has been following the ongoing rivalry between these two lawmakers. He says several issues led to Denney losing support from his Republican colleagues.  

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Secretary of State
3:00 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Idaho Senator Crapo Says Susan Rice Would Not Be A Good Choice For Secretary Of State

Ambassador Susan Rice and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack host an event at the United Nations
Credit USDAgov/USUN / Flickr

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, is adding his voice to other Republicans on the chance that UN Ambassador Susan Rice could be nominated for U.S. Secretary of State. “I do not believe she would be a good choice.”

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Fiscal Cliff
2:00 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Idaho Senator Crapo Worried About Falling Off The Fiscal Cliff

Credit Mike Crapo

Republicans are proposing their own plan to avoid the "fiscal cliff" at the end of this month. That's when Bush-era tax cuts will expire and automatic spending cuts begin.

The GOP plan would raise the eligibility age for Medicare, lower cost-of-living hikes for Social Security benefits and add $800 billion in higher tax revenue. The White House unveiled a plan last week. 

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Homeless Shelter
6:00 am
Mon December 3, 2012

Boise Opens Day Shelter For Homeless Families

Credit Boise Parks and Recreation / City of Boise

Boise will open a homeless day shelter for young children and their parents today.  Officials say the shelter will be a warm, safe place to go when families run out of other options this winter.

This is the fourth year in a row Boise Parks and Recreation will operate a temporary day-shelter for homeless families.  Parents with children can visit the Pioneer Neighborhood Community Center seven days a week.   

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AIDS
6:00 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Free HIV Tests In Canyon County For World AIDS Day

Credit Lord Mariser / Flickr

Tomorrow is World AIDS Day.  In response, Southwest District Health will offer free HIV tests today in Caldwell.

The seven Idaho Health districts report more than 1,300 people in Idaho are currently living with HIV or AIDS.  Those are the people who know they have the infection.  Health officials want to reach people who haven’t been tested, and may be infected. 

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Holidays
6:00 am
Thu November 22, 2012

Winter Garden Aglow Tradition Draws Thousands To The Idaho Botanical Garden

Credit Idaho Botanical Garden

Each year, the Idaho Botanical Garden strings up thousands of twinkling lights, for the annual Winter Garden Aglow.  The event begins tonight.  Last year, we caught up with a dedicated group of volunteers who were putting the final touches on the annual event.  Here’s a look back:

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Holidays
6:00 am
Wed November 21, 2012

29th Annual Festival Of Trees Brings Lights, Cheer To Downtown Boise

Dozens of trees are decorated for the big event.
Samantha Wright Boise State Public Radio

Today marks the 29th annual Saint Alphonsus Festival of Trees.  The tradition of decorating Christmas trees at the Boise Centre runs through Sunday.  Funds raised from the Festival will support the expansion of Saint Al’s Regional Medical Center Emergency Department.

Animal Cruelty
3:31 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Monkey's Death At Zoo Boise Prompts National Media Attention, Community Outcry

A local family left flowers today by the Patas monkey cage at the primate house.
Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Updated at 1:25 p.m.

Police have arrested one of two men who they believe broke into an Idaho zoo the night a monkey there died from blunt-force trauma.  But questions remain about how and why the animal was killed.

Twenty-two-year-old Michael Watkins of Weiser was arrested Monday in Washington County on felony burglary and grand theft charges.

A tip from a citizen led police to Watkins.

Updated at 5:12 p.m.

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North Korea
4:46 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

NW Author Writes Chilling Book About North Korean Prison Camp

Credit Blaine Harden

To this day North Korea operates prison camps. Shin was born inside one of them.  He lived his first 23 years behind barbed wire, without running water, heat, or adequate food.  When his family considered escape, Shin turned them in, and watched them die.  Shin’s story is the focus of a new book, called “Escape From Camp 14.”  Seattle based author Blaine Harden met Shin while he was working for The Washington Post based in Tokyo. Harden was in Boise today to talk about his book.

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Space
6:00 am
Mon November 12, 2012

From BSU To Mars: Boise Native Works On Curiosity Rover

This artist's concept depicts the rover Curiosity, of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, as it uses its Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument to investigate the composition of a rock surface. ChemCam fires laser pulses at a target and views the resulting spark with a telescope and spectrometers to identify chemical elements.
Credit NASA/JPL-Caltech / NASA Goddard Photo and Video/Flickr

He's a Boise State graduate. He's also one of the key people on a little project known as Curiosity.

Dan Isla is an electrical systems engineer with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  He helped assemble and launch NASA's Mars Rover. Now that it’s on the red planet, he helps operate the rover and put it through its paces. 

We originally talked with Isla last year, before the rover landed on Mars.  In this update, he tells Samantha Wright that was the highlight of his life, so far.

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Idaho Military
6:00 am
Fri November 9, 2012

Stand Down Event Helps Idaho Veterans

Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards speaks with a veteran during the 19th Annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down held at the Colorado National Guard armory in Denver Nov. 5, 2009.
Credit Spc. Joseph K. VonNida, Colorado Army National Guard / Official U.S. Army photo

During a one-night count in 2010, the Department of Housing and Urban Development found more than 76,000 veterans were homeless in the U-S.  For more than 20 years, the Veterans Administration and volunteers have tried to combat this problem with special events called Stand Downs.  Held all over the country, Stand Downs offer food, clothes, medical care, and a helping hand to veterans struggling on the street.  The Boise VA holds its annual Stand Down Saturday.

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Election 2012
1:37 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Idaho Lawmakers Swap Seats, Legislative Makeup Stays The Same

Gary Moncrief
Credit Boise State University

More than 20 seats changed hands in the Idaho Legislature  Tuesday. Some House members made the jump to the Senate.  And plenty of new faces will be in the legislature when the session starts in January. 

Boise State political science professor Gary Moncrief says, despite the changes, the makeup of the House and the Senate will be pretty much the same.

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Election 2012
2:29 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Idaho Voter Turnout High, Exact Numbers Unclear

One of the counting machines at Ada County Election Headquarters. One machine failed overnight, but the other six kept running until dawn.
Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

So what percentage of people in Idaho voted?  Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa says that’s a hard number to pin down so soon after Election Day.

“It’s difficult to give a turnout figure based on registered voters because we register voters on Election Day, so that’s a moving target,” Ysursa said.  “History has shown in a Presidential year, there could be 100,000 to 112,000 who have registered on Election Day.”

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