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

Courtesy of Charlotte Stevenson

Doctors and nurses are on the front lines of responding to the coronavirus in Idaho, and by default, their families are, too. Charlotte Stevenson, a freelance writer, is the spouse of an emergency room doctor in Ketchum. She shared how her family has been coping with the virus.

"I think there's definitely an element, always, of being the partner of an ER doctor where you've had to accept a different lifestyle and a different level of risk."


Brandeis Coshow

On the news, Brandeis Coshow had seen Italians singing in the streets and Chicagoans flashing their apartment lights to bring cheer during coronavirus isolation. When she heard Mill Valley, Calif. was gathering for nightly "howls" to bring the community together, she thought it was something that could work in Blaine County, where she lives.


Rachel Cohen / Boise State Public Radio

Last week, Blaine County Commissioners voted 2-1 on an ordinance to add local restrictions on top of the statewide stay-at-home order to further promote social distancing.

 

St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center

If a patient needed to be hospitalized for symptoms of coronavirus in the Wood River Valley today, they’d most likely be transported — by ambulance or helicopter — to a hospital in Twin Falls an hour and a half south, or one in Boise two and a half hours west.

 

 

Governor Brad Little announced a statewide stay-at-home order this afternoon, but leaders in at least one rural county want clearer travel restrictions. Rachel Cohen reports.


Friedman Memorial Airport/screenshot by Boise State Public Radio

Last week, Gov. Brad Little (R) put one county in Idaho — Blaine, home to Sun Valley — under an isolation order through April 13. Residents are not supposed to leave their homes except to do "essential activities" like going grocery shopping, or to the bank or laundromat. Law enforcement agencies in the county say violations of the order could lead to misdemeanor charges.


Frankie Barnhill/Boise State Public Radio

Blaine County is known for its ski resort, mountains and trails, but it doesn’t have a Costco, Walmart or Target. For that, Wood River Valley residents travel south.

 


Paula Padilla del Valle / Flickr

Restaurants, museums and libraries are closing all over Idaho to help contain the spread of the coronavirus. Some are shuttering voluntarily, while others are doing so by order of local officials.

DARIN OSWALD / IDAHO STATESMAN

Boise City Council President Elaine Clegg said she is self-isolating after learning of two confirmed cases of coronavirus at the National League of Cities annual Congressional Cities Conference, which she attended earlier this month.

 

Courtesy of The Hunger Coalition

As the coronavirus keeps people away from school, work and wages, food pantries are seeing a bigger demand while trying to adapt to social distancing protocols.

 


Rachel Cohen/Boise State Public Radio

Households in Idaho and across the country started getting information about how to fill out the 2020 census last week, and coronavirus concerns are making census officials and community organizers rethink how they do public outreach.

 

UPDATE: March 16, 9:05 a.m.

We have moved all of our information about the confirmed cases of coronavirus in Idaho to this web post. Please navigate there to stay current — all information beneath this update is outdated.

UPDATE: March 14, 8:21 p.m.

The second Blaine County resident confirmed by South Central Public Health to have tested positive for COVID-19 is a woman over the age of 70. This brings the total of confirmed cases in the state to five. She is currently being hospitalized for her symptoms and is recovering. At this time, officials are still trying to determine how the patient contracted the virus.

Sun Valley Film Festival

UPDATE March 12, 2020 3:45p: The Sun Valley Film Festival has been cancelled since this story aired. Please see our updated story.

Bald Mountain, Sun Valley
Christopher Koppes / Flickr Creative Commons

The month of February was a dry one in much of Idaho. The Wood River and Lost River basins set new record lows for precipitation — some locations saw 20% to 40% of normal amounts.

 


McKinsty.com

Blaine County School District’s controversial superintendent GwenCarol Holmes announced in an email to staff on Monday that she plans to step down in June of next year.

AP Images

Lori Vallow, the woman who was arrested in Hawaii last month over the disappearance of her two children, is set to appear in an Idaho courtroom Friday, March 6.

 

There are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 or coronavirus in Idaho, but the State Department of Health and Welfare is conducting testing and monitoring people.


Feds: Snake River Dams Should Stay

Feb 28, 2020
Nicholas K. Geranios / AP Images

The federal government plotted a stay-the-course strategy on as-of-yet unsuccessful efforts to recover Snake River salmon and steelhead and other listed species of ocean-going fish Friday.

Jay Peeples / Flickr

The Twin Falls School District is freezing general fund spending through the rest of this school year due to an unexpected budget shortfall.

 


Sawtooth Avalanche Center

Last year, avalanches hit 11 structures in the Wood River Valley, rolling accross roads and wiping some houses out completely. The workers tasked with cleaning these messes up, along with snow from typical storms, sometimes don’t speak English.


John Sowell / Idaho Statesman

In November, Dean Foods, the nation’s largest milk processor, filed for bankruptcy protection. Last week, Dairy Farmers of America, the country's biggest milk cooperative, announced a plan to purchase most of Dean’s assets. The deal, if approved, would include buying Boise-based Meadow Gold, owned by Dean Foods.

 


Rachel Cohen/Boise State Public Radio

Seventy-eight years ago this month, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order, forcing more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans out of their West Coast homes and into incarceration camps. Two-thirds of them were American-born citizens.

 


Rachel Cohen/Boise State Public Radio

The Sun Valley Culinary Institute is accepting applications for its first professional cooking program that will begin in September.

 

Will Reid/Boise State Public Radio

Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey in Idaho are working on research that could make it easier to detect algae blooms.

 


Screenshot/Idaho Public Television

 

An Idaho House committee is considering a bill that would give monetary compensation to people who have been wrongfully incarcerated.

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