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.

BOISE, Id – This week the U-S Supreme Court took on a plan to re-draw political lines in Texas. That case tests the allocation of new congressional seats largely created because of that state’s rising Latino population.  Courts in Colorado and Hawaii have already thrown out plans to re-structure political boundaries. Here in Idaho, the Supreme Court heard  arguments last week on a challenge from Twin Falls County to the new Redistricting map.  Twin Falls County prosecutor Grant Loebs told the Court the plan is unconstitutional because it splits up too many counties.

 

BOISE, Id – This week the U-S Supreme Court took on a plan to re-draw political lines in Texas. That case tests the allocation of new congressional seats largely created because of that state’s rising Latino population.  Courts in Colorado and Hawaii have already thrown out plans to re-structure political boundaries. Here in Idaho, the Supreme Court heard  arguments last week on a challenge from Twin Falls County to the new Redistricting map.  Twin Falls County prosecutor Grant Loebs told the Court the plan is unconstitutional because it splits up too many counties.

Samantha Wright/BSPR

BOISE, Id – Do Idaho state employees need more money?  That was the question before budget lawmakers today.  Governor Butch Otter has proposed a one-time, three percent, merit-based bonus in fiscal year 2013.  The last time state employees received a raise of any kind was in fiscal year 2009.  Theresa Luna directs the Department of Administration. She said back then, state employee compensation lagged behind the private sector.

 

BOISE, Id – Do Idaho state employees need more money?  That was the question before budget lawmakers today.  Governor Butch Otter has proposed a one-time, three percent, merit-based bonus in fiscal year 2013.  The last time state employees received a raise of any kind was in fiscal year 2009.  Theresa Luna directs the Department of Administration. She said back then, state employee compensation lagged behind the private sector.

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.

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 – 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.

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:

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