Samantha Wright

News Reporter/Show Producer

Samantha Wright is a news reporter and producer for Idaho Matters.

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.

Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

BOISE, Id –For the past few years, Idaho’s Governor has talked about holdbacks, as the economy forced the state to cut funds.  This year, Butch Otter is talking about tax cuts which he outlined in his annual address to the legislature today.  He wants to set aside 45-million dollars, for what he calls “tax relief,” in 2013.

Butch Otter “I have been discussing the form of that tax relief for some time now, with legislative leaders, business groups, tax experts and our citizens. There remains a wide diversity of opinion on how best to target tax relief.”

BOISE, Id – Idaho Governor Butch Otter wants to tuck some money away for a rainy day.  In his State of the State speech today, Otter pointed out that over the economic downturn of the past four years, the state has spent 381-million dollars in Rainy Day funds.

BOISE, Id – Idaho lawmakers will tackle some major issues this session including whether the state should create a health insurance exchange. Under the Affordable Care Act, such an exchange will have to be in place by 2014. The question is whether Idaho would be better off going with a national system or creating a state one. The Idaho Department of Insurance will help craft legislation on a state-based exchange.

BOISE, Id – Idaho lawmakers will tackle some major issues this session including whether the state should create a health insurance exchange. Under the Affordable Care Act, such an exchange will have to be in place by 2014. The question is whether Idaho would be better off going with a national system or creating a state one. The Idaho Department of Insurance will help craft legislation on a state-based exchange.

 

BOISE, Id – Idaho Governor Butch Otter wants to tuck some money away for a rainy day.  In his State of the State speech today, Otter pointed out that over the economic downturn of the past four years, the state has spent 381-million dollars in Rainy Day funds.

 

BOISE, Id –For the past few years, Idaho’s Governor has talked about holdbacks, as the economy forced the state to cut funds.  This year, Butch Otter is talking about tax cuts which he outlined in his annual address to the legislature today.  He wants to set aside 45-million dollars, for what he calls “tax relief,” in 2013.

Butch Otter “I have been discussing the form of that tax relief for some time now, with legislative leaders, business groups, tax experts and our citizens. There remains a wide diversity of opinion on how best to target tax relief.”

 

BOISE, ID – Idaho Governor Butch Otter unveils his vision for the future of Idaho in his annual address to the legislature.  He also outlines his budget for Fiscal Year 2013.

Follow along with Governor’s speech here.

 

Copyright 2012 BSPR.

 

BOISE, Id – State of Idaho employees have seen pay cuts, furloughs, even layoffs over the past few years. That’s as the state has cut budgets back during the economic downturn.   Since fiscal year 2008, the state workforce has shrunk by more than 19-hundred employees. Idaho Governor Butch Otter said today that the employees who are left, have had to do more with less.

 

BOISE, ID – 45 million dollars in tax cuts.  60 million tucked away for a rainy day.  41 million for state employee raises.  Idaho Governor Butch Otter has unveiled his state budget for fiscal year 2013.  We break down the jobs portion of the budget.

 

Find out more from StateImpact Idaho.

 

BOISE, Id – Time is running out for election officials as the fight over Idaho’s new legislative maps continues in court.  Samantha Wright wanted to know what happens if the redistricting tangle isn’t resolved in time for the Primary Election.

 

Update:  Avalanche Alley, also known as Idaho Highway 21 between Grandjean Junction and Banner Summit on the way to Stanley re-opened Saturday, December 31st at 12:20pm.

 

 

BOISE, Id – The section of Idaho Highway 21 known as Avalanche Alley closed down today.  The 12-mile stretch runs between .  Reed Hollinshead is the Public Information Specialist for the Idaho Transportation Department.

 

BOISE, Id – Everyone has a holiday tradition.  We here at Boise State Public Radio want to know what you do this time of year.  Baking cookies, trimming the tree, some traditions are, well, traditional.  Others are, more unique.  The most…”unique” tradition we’ve heard so far comes from Sean Kenney in Meridian.

 

BOISE, ID – Holiday music is one way to welcome in the season this time of year.  Today we hear from one mom who uses music to share her love of the holiday season with friends and family.  It started one day in 1998. Liza Long, was reading about jazz musician Alfred Burt and his Christmas song “The Star Carol.”  She found out that Burt wrote a Christmas carol every year for family and friends.  Long is, among other things, a piano teacher and at that moment, a new holiday tradition was born.

BOISE, ID – Food at holiday time can turn into a special tradition with a treat or a dish you only make during this time of year.  For ceramic artist and Timberline High School art teacher Jerry Hendershot, holiday food takes on a special meaning.  Every year, he and his wife cook up a feast for old and new friends.  Here’s a look at his Holiday Tradition.

 

BOISE, Id – This is the time of year when you bake your favorite holiday cookies or get ready to travel. We all have something special we do for the holidays. And we here at Boise State Public Radio want to know your holiday traditions, those special things you do, just at this time of year.  So we set up the “holiday traditions” phone line. Already we’ve heard from some of you, including Ellie Pierce. She is an Administrative Assistant at Boise State University, in the School of Social Work.

 

BOISE, ID – Each year families take part in activities or rituals to celebrate the holiday season.  We set up the “Holiday Traditions” phone line so you could share those stories with us.  David Habben called with his story from Boise.  Habben’s tradition has been handed down through the generations.  His family’s story begins on a night close to Christmas Eve:

 

BOISE, Id – This week we’ve been talking about children and mental illness in the Northwest.  Our series has looked at several kids who fell through the cracks in the system.  The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare estimates one in five children has a diagnosable mental disorder.  That’s more than 74-thousand kids in the state. Parents can have a hard time diagnosing a mental illness because they don’t know what to look for.

 

BOISE, Id – In 1223, Saint Francis of Assisi created the first live nativity scene in Italy.  It featured people and animals recreating the Biblical story of the birth of Jesus.  Since then, churches and other groups perform living nativities around the globe this time of year.  Samantha Wright visits a church in Meridian that goes all out to tell the story of Christmas.

 

BOISE, Id – This summer we told you about the group Semilla Neuva or “New Seed” in Spanish.  It teaches farmers in Guatemala sustainable agriculture practices.  Curt Bowen co-founded the group, using tools he learned growing up on a small farm near Greenleaf, Idaho.

Curt Bowen isn’t afraid to try new things.  He also encourages the farmers he meets in Guatemala to try new things as well.  That’s the mission of his group, New Seed.

 

BOISE, Id – Restore and rehabilitate.  Those are the goals of a national program, designed to collect and store thousands of plant seeds, in case they’re needed to replenish a depleted landscape.  Over ten years, “Seeds of Success” has gathered more than 12-thousand types of plants.  Some of those plants come from Idaho, thanks to one woman who works to preserve these tiny pieces of the future.

 

BOISE, ID -  As troops come home from Iraq, American troops continue to be involved in Afghanistan. A new book  takes readers on a visual journey through the eastern part of that country. “Afghanistan Through the Humvee Window” focuses on people and the landscape. Nampa native Joe Relk took the pictures in 2006 while working as a State Department Officer. He was assigned to a reconstruction team in the Khost province near the border with Pakistan.

 

BOISE, ID – New data from the Idaho Department of Labor confirms what many people already know – the number of underemployed Idahoans is growing.  StateImpact Idaho reporter Emilie Ritter Saunders talks to Samantha Wright.

BOISE, Id – As thoughts turn to Thanksgiving, twinkling lights start to pop up in neighborhoods and in botanical gardens across the country.  Coos Bay, Oregon’s Garden boasts 300-thousand lights.  In Denver, it’s one million lights.  Winter Garden Aglow at the Idaho Botanical Garden is a little smaller, just a quarter million lights.  It takes a small army of volunteers to string and tie all those thousands of bulbs.

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