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 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.

BOISE, Id – It was an early Thanksgiving at Zoo Boise today.  Several animals were given specially made treats, thanks to local Girl Scout Troop 431.  The Troop made fifteen pies, which were handed out to the Gibbons and other animals.  Liz Littman is with Zoo Boise.

A Reporter’s View

Nov 18, 2011

BOISE, ID - This morning, four journalists were chosen to witness the execution of convicted murderer Paul Ezra Rhoades.  It’s the journalists job to sit in for the public, to report what they see.  One of those selected is Rebecca Boone at the Associated Press.  She’s been talking to colleagues to get a sense of what will happen.

A jury ruled in favor of Micron Technology today in an antitrust case.  Rambus Incorporated brought the suit against Micron and Hynix Semiconductor.  The Wall Street Journal reports Rambus accused the pair of conspiring to fix the price of memory chips and keep Rambus from gaining traction in the market.  Rambus wanted four billion dollars in damages.  But the jury found in favor of Micron and Hynix.  Micron says design flaws, manufacturing costs and Rambus’ business practices  kept 

Media Witness

Nov 16, 2011

BOISE, ID - Every year in the U.S. dozens of death row inmates are executed. And journalists are there to witness and share what they see with the public. That will happen this Friday when four Idaho reporters will see the execution of convicted murderer Paul Ezra Rhodes. Bob Fick knows what it’s like to watch this. He was a correspondent for the Associated Press back in 1994 when the last execution in Idaho took place. He watched  Keith Eugene Wells die by lethal injection. Wells was convicted of beating two people to death with a baseball bat at a Boise bar.

Every year in the U.S. dozens of death row inmates are executed. And journalists are there to witness and share what they see with the public. That will happen this Friday when four Idaho reporters will see the execution of convicted murderer Paul Ezra Rhodes. Bob Fick knows what it’s like to watch this. He was a correspondent for the Associated Press back in 1994 when the last execution in Idaho took place. He watched  Keith Eugene Wells die by lethal injection. Wells was convicted of beating two people to death with a baseball bat at a Boise bar.

Judge Says No Stay Of Execution For Rhoades

Nov 14, 2011

A judge has denied a request by Paul Ezra Rhoades to stay his execution. The convicted murderer is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection on Friday. His attorneys argued that the lethal injection protocol is not adequate, and could leave Rhoades conscious and in pain when the lethal drug is administered. But U-S Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush found that the Idaho Department of Correction has provided appropriate safeguards in the lethal injection process to ensure Rhoades will be adequately anesthetized.

BOISE, ID - The New York-based greek yogurt maker Chobani announced its plans to build a multi-milion dollar manufacturing plant in Twin Falls this morning.  StateImpact Idaho Reporter Emilie Ritter Saunders has been following the event and talks to Samantha Wright.

Pertussis Outbreak

Nov 2, 2011

BOISE, Id – Nine children in Idaho’s Panhandle have Whooping Cough.  The highly contagious illness has been spreading in Kootenai County.  Most of the sick children were not vaccinated.

Since January, 39 cases have been confirmed in the five northern counties.  But in Ada, Boise, Elmore, and Valley, the counties covered by Central District Health, the familiar whoop of whooping cough is not being heard.

BOISE, ID – This week we''re breaking down a plan to build a new transmission line through Southern Idaho. It''s called the Gateway West Project. Wednesday we heard from Idaho Power about what this project is about. Not everyone favors the 11-hundred mile long line. Today we hear from some of the people who want to see the power lines put elsewhere.

BOISE, ID –Idaho ranks in the top five for growth in the U.S. in the last decade. That’s according to Census data.  That growth brings an increasing demand for power not just here but around the country.  Transmission lines are needed to handle additional electricity. So some power companies want to build new lines through the Gem state including Idaho Power and Wyoming- based Rocky Mountain Power.

WWI Comes to Boise

Oct 21, 2011

 

BOISE, ID – World War I comes to Boise in the back of a semi-truck.  The “Honoring Our History” traveling exhibition rolls into Boise Sunday.  It’s part of a 75 city tour put on by a financial planning company.   Bryan Scamman is with Waddell and Reed.  He says the company has close ties to the first World War.

 

BOISE, Id – Zoo Boise’s sloth bear is the catalyst for helping bear conservation efforts in India.  That’s where sloth bears struggle to survive.

Zoo Boise is renovating its Sloth bear exhibit.  That means better surroundings for Paji, the seven year old female at the Zoo.  But the renovation will also help her wild cousins in India.  Steve Burns is the Director of Zoo Boise.

BOISE, Id – Idaho’s last major earthquake happened in 1983.  The Borah Peak Quake killed two children and caused millions of dollars in damage.  But safety officials say many Idahoans are not prepared for the next big quake.  Thursday, thousands will take part in an earthquake drill.

At 10:20 Thursday morning, people in Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, and California, will hear this message on some radio and television stations.

BOISE, Id – Idaho has new political lines for legislative and congressional districts.  The redistricting commission wrapped up business Monday with the congressional map. Redistricting happens every ten years after a census.  It’s meant to make sure population numbers are equal in each district. Samantha Wright talked with Boise State University Political Science Professor Gary Moncrief.  He''s been following this process of re-drawing the state''s political boundaries.  Moncrief says this commission, unlike the first one, got the job done quickly.

Testing Cantaloupe

Oct 13, 2011

BOISE, Id – As of this week, there are 109 reported cases of Listeria from cantaloupe.  21 people have died during the nationwide outbreak.  Cantaloupe’s rough skin can gather all kinds of bacteria.  But identifying contaminated fruit before it gets to your table isn’t easy.  University of Idaho students may have a solution.

Boise K9 Retires

Oct 6, 2011

BOISE, Id – One of Boise’s finest officially retired Thursday.

Patricia Braddock “This is a bittersweet day here at the Boise Police Department.”

That’s Deputy Chief Patricia Braddock.

Patricia Braddock “Today we retire and honor one of the most if not the best accomplished police service dog in the history of the Boise Police Department.”

Braddock’s talking about Blek, a ten year old black and tan German Shepherd.  Blek’s handler is Officer Mike Nance.  He says when Blek isn’t chasing down suspects, he sniffs out illegal drugs.

BOISE, Id – Idaho’s new Medicaid processing system is getting better.  That’s the word Tuesday from the Department of Health and Welfare to a group of lawmakers.  The company that handles the system has worked to improve its track record, after a bumpy start last year.

BOISE, Id – The Second Idaho Redistricting Commission was sworn in Wednesday.  Its job is to draw Idaho’s new political maps.  The First Commission couldn’t get this done in its three-month window.  The New Commission got underway with some words of wisdom.

Ben Ysursa “Welcome, and it is a very serious task, you have a daunting task in front of you.”

Secretary of State Ben Ysursa had that warning for the New Commissioners, before he swore them into office. [start hot, fade under quickly]

 

BOISE, Id – A group of lawmakers got together Thursday to consider what would happen if Idaho set up a health insurance exchange.  The Federal Health Care act requires states to implement some sort of exchange program by 2014.

The definition of a health insurance exchange was first up for the House Health and Welfare Committee.  Matthew Ellsworth looks at it this way.

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