Rachel Cohen

Reporter, South Central Idaho

Rachel Cohen joined Boise State Public Radio in 2019 as a Report for America corps member. She is the station's Twin Falls-based reporter, covering the Magic Valley and the Wood River Valley.

Rachel began her journalism career working at a local newspaper in Vermont. She interned on NPR's Science Desk in Washington, D.C., where she reported on food and health, and has most recently worked at New Hampshire Public Radio as a producer for All Things Considered. In New Hampshire, Rachel also contributed to coverage of state politics and the early days of the 2020 presidential primary.

She is a graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont, and enjoys spending her weekends in the mountains.

Ways to Connect

Sawtooth National Fores

The West is experiencing record-breaking fires this year, and that’s affecting recreationists, including hunters.




The rules that companies must follow when spraying pesticides in Idaho underwent review this summer. Following a couple public comment periods, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture proposed changes to the rules last week, which will be presented to the legislature in January.

St. Luke's Health System

Health officials are urging people to get the influenza vaccine this year to lessen the burden of the flu during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they're emphaszing getting it sooner rather than later.


Ski resorts across the country are rolling out their plans for the winter season, which will begin during the COVID-19 pandemic that forced most mountains to shut their lifts early in March.




Rachel Cohen/Boise State Public Radio

The Badger Fire south of Twin Falls now covers more than 40,000 acres and is 0% contained.

Rachel Cohen/Boise State Public Radio

Jenni Franklin feels like she was pushed out. “It was hard and it was heartbreaking for us,” she said of having to move away from her home of 10 years. In August, she relocated from Hailey to Twin Falls, in search of a more affordable place for her family of six to live.


The Candlelight Christian Fellowship in Coeur d’Alene brought worshippers back for in-person services in May. Now, the church’s lead pastor is fighting COVID-19. Rachel Cohen has more.


Rachel Cohen/Boise State Public Radio

Blaine County, which once had the highest rate of COVID-19 per-capita in the country, was the first of Idaho’s counties to go under a stay-at-home order. The streets went quiet as skiers left and businesses shut off their lights. 


Rachel Cohen/Boise State Public Radio

The Twin Falls County Jail is overcrowded, so when COVID-19 made its way into the facility in July, it spread quickly. Now, the county is using federal coronavirus funds to expand the jail space.


Thomas Hawk/Flickr Creative Commons

Blaine County is revisiting a longstanding proposal to bury a new transmission line underground, but it needs to solidify a plan to pay for the expensive project.




Many rodeos and county fairs were cancelled this summer due to COVID-19. But some Idaho fairs went on as planned, and their rodeos attracted more contestants who didn't want to miss out on a summer season.


Stephanie McCabe / Unsplash

Labor Day Weekend starts tomorrow and health professionals in Idaho say they’re expecting to see a rise in COVID-19 cases after the holiday, as people travel and spend time with friends and family.


Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

Though daily case numbers have been lower on average, COVID-19-related deaths in Idaho surged in August. The state reported a record 172 deaths last month.




The school year has started for many Idaho children, and the reopening plans have varied widely from district to district, even within counties with high levels of COVID-19 community spread.


U.S. Census Bureau

As of Wednesday, nearly 95% of Idaho households had filled out the 2020 census, which is the highest rate of all states so far. But Idaho might’ve had a leg up, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It was one of the first states to send census workers door to door in July, helping people who hadn’t yet participated.


Idaho Fish and Game

Living in Idaho means being surrounded by mountains, rivers and wild animals. In the Wood River Valley, a new coalition will address increasing conflicts between humans and wildlife.


Russell Tate / United Nations COVID-19 Response Creative Content Hub

Some of Idaho’s COVID-19 trends are looking promising, for now, multiple health officials said this week. But, testing and public buy-in of prevention efforts continue to be obstacles for public health leaders in the state.


Jay Peeples / Flickr

When classes begin in Twin Falls on Wednesday, it'll be the first of Idaho's 10 largest school districts to commence the academic year with fully in-person classes.


Rachel Cohen/Boise State Public Radio

A district judge gave Blaine County a favorable decision in a public access lawsuit against a Hailey homeowners association earlier this month. Some lawyers think the decision has broader implications for public lands access in Idaho.


Many Treasure Valley fairs were cancelled this summer due to COVID-19. But one Magic Valley county is going ahead with its week-long event, and is asking fairgoers to sign off on the risk. Rachel Cohen reports.

U.S. Forest Service

The Phillips Creek fire began on August 5 with a lightning strike north of Fairfield. It grew to more than 2,000 acres and was 100% contained on August 12. But last weekend, when flames were still roaming, the fire tore right through Soldier Mountain Ski Area.



Screenshot by Rachel Cohen/Boise State Public Radio

Schools in Twin Falls will open to students on August 19, the school board decided Monday evening, barring a significant change to the COVID-19 picture locally.


Rachel Cohen/Boise State Public Radio

Magic Valley school districts will use guidelines approved by the South Central Public Health Board last week to determine how to open schools. As of Friday, the health district hadn’t told counties or school districts where they fall in the matrix of health alert levels.


Thomas Hawk / Flickr Creative Commons

Sun Valley businesses say the summer tourism season has been as busy as any other year, despite the pandemic.




After one inmate at the Twin Falls County jail tested positive for COVID-19 early in July, the jail ordered tests for all inmates and staff. About half of the tests have come back positive, and as of late last week, 125 inmates and seven staff members are confirmed to have COVID-19.