Meet the Staff Mondays – Joan Cartan-Hansen

Each week we feature “Meet the Staff Mondays” to help our viewers and fellow staff members learn more about the folks who work here at Idaho Public Television: behind the scenes, out in the community, at locations around the state, and in front of the cameras. Today we introduce multi-talented producer/writer/host Joan Cartan-Hansen.

IdahoPTV’s Carol Beres sat down with Joan to learn more about the series and projects she’s produced over the years. “My main assignment is producer/host of Science Trek,” Joan says. “I also have worked on Idaho Experience, Outdoor Idaho, Idaho Reports, Dialogue, and produced a number of standing educational and other documentaries, as well as doing some occasional work for PBS NewsHour.”

Joan grew up in the Gem State. “My parents were both chemists who came to work at the Idaho National Laboratory. I was born in Idaho Falls. I grew up there.” Joan left Idaho to attend college. “I went to the University of Utah. It was the only accredited broadcast journalism school in the region at the time. I got my first job at KID-TV in Idaho Falls. It was the CBS affiliate at the time. It’s now KIDK.” From there, Joan moved on to Idaho Public Television and has worked here ever since.

One of the main reasons Joan is here at Idaho Public Television is that the work is fulfilling. “It’s an incredibly wonderful place to work, because it allows a lot of creative freedom and has a mission that I believe in. I want to help educate and inform and entertain: that’s what I do best. And Idaho Public Television does it all.” You may have noticed Joan’s animated Science Trek character on your TV or computer screen. “Cassandra [Groll, IdahoPTV graphic designer extraordinaire] is a genius at creating the little mini me’s,” Joan laughs. “And we try to turn me into volcanoes and bees and whatever the topic is; we try and find some fun way to animate the little ‘mini me’.” She adds, “There are more than 100 topics on the site, so there’s probably at least 100 different versions of me in cartoon form.”

Science Trek has educated and entertained for many years. “This September, we’re starting our 25th season, so we’re currently finishing up Season 24. The nice thing about this program is, as technology has advanced, we’ve been able to embrace it and use it to try and teach kids. After all, they’re the ones who really know how technology works and they’re driving the changes.” Speaking of changes, Science Trek will launch an updated website this summer. Every once in a while, Science Trek became a family affair for Joan: her kids have appeared in many Science Trek episodes. “I have forced them to appear in many of IdahoPTV’s productions. And because we repeat a lot of those shows, you’ll often see my kids as small children. They are, of course, now fully grown,” Joan laughs. “Much to their embarrassment, they will occasionally run across themselves on the screen as small children.”

In Joan’s free time, she heads to the kitchen. “I like to bake.” Speaking from experience, she makes a delicious fudge! Joan likes to watch movies. “I’m a huge movie fan.” She likes to ballroom dance, but in college, Joan tried a sport that’s a little on the dangerous side. “I took a fencing class.  Later, my sister-in-law-to be Terry and I took a fencing class together and scared our future husbands dashing about with foils.” One other hobby on Joan’s list is learning American Sign Language. “Harrison [Joan’s son] is legally deaf, so it’s important for the family to understand that aspect of his culture, his experience.”

Joan shares that she’s a fan of chocolate. “Which is why producing ‘Sweet Idaho’ for Idaho Experience was such a delight. I also like nuts, which are much better for me than chocolate. Although chocolate’s pretty good for you,” she adds. And her favorite part of Idaho has a special meaning for her: “The Sawtooths. That’s a very special place. I used to canoe there as a child and ski there when I was growing up.” Her husband’s family has a strong connection to the Sawtooths, too: “Jim’s [Joan’s husband’s] dad was the late Congressman Orval Hansen. It was his bill that created the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. So, we have a very special connection to the place. Jim and I were married in the Sawtooths.”

Joan is quick to say her favorite PBS Kids character. “I loved Wishbone. It was a great series.” Her family also enjoyed watching Arthur. When she was growing up, she remembers watching Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. “It was a big thrill for me to meet Mister Rogers. In person, he was the same as he was on camera. His belief in the power of television to make a difference in the lives of children is my inspiration.”

Veronica’s Picks: Top 10 Food & Cooking Programs Now Streaming on IdahoPTV Passport

Streaming expert/wizard/guru and IdahoPTV Passport IT Support Technician Veronica Cast is back with another great list of #passportpicks! As her days are filled with all things Passport-related, we thought she might share what’s currently on her streaming list. Here are her picks and descriptions of her Top 10 Food & Cooking Programs:

1. Dishing with Julia Child

Julia Child was devoted to the art of French cuisine. And starting in 1963, “The French Chef” single-handedly taught a nation how to cook well, eat well and drink well. Now today’s chefs and celebrities delight in six of the most-beloved episodes from Child’s groundbreaking series, offering insightful, funny and personal comments in unabashed appreciation of the first lady of cooking.

“A playful, fun look into The French Chef herself through the eyes of some of the nation’s top chefs. Eat, drink and Bon appétit!” – Veronica

2. Food Flirts – Cape Cod Road Trip

Meet the Brass Sisters a.k.a. the Food Flirts. Two passionate food explorers of a certain age on a mission to tackle their culinary bucket list… one bite at a time! In this episode, the sisters are in for a treat when producer Bruce takes the ladies on a Cape Cod adventure to unwind from exploring their culinary bucket list. Along the way, Sheila and Marilynn ‘flirt’ their way into several kitchens, discovering a melting pot of sweets and treats along the way from American to Greek to South African and more!

“Heartwarming, LOL (laugh out loud) fun! This pair of sisters are a joy to watch. I can’t wait to watch more yummy episodes! Enjoy!!” – Veronica

3. The Great American Recipe

Join host Alejandra Ramos and judges Leah Cohen, Tiffany Derry and Graham Elliot as ten talented home cooks showcase signature dishes, share heartfelt stories and compete to win the national search for “The Great American Recipe.”

“Fun series full of GREAT recipes! Local Idahoan Nikki Tomaino-Allemand wows with her performance and delicious food!”  – Veronica

4. Somewhere South with Chef Vivian Howard

Host and award-winning chef Vivian Howard digs deeper into the lesser-known roots of Southern food, Southern cooking, and Southern living. Each episode of “Somewhere South” explores the connectivity of a single dish, and the ways people of different backgrounds interpret that dish while expressing the complex values, identities, and histories that make up the American South.

“I have had the pleasure of living in parts of the American South. Southerners take great pride in family and tradition, and food is an important part of that. I thoroughly enjoy connecting with my family and friends over a meal. Cooking is an extension of my love.” – Veronica

5. The Mind of a Chef – “Ludobird”

How does a chef trained in the finest kitchens of France translate his haute cuisine to fast food? Season 5 of the Emmy & James Beard Award-winning series journeys with Ludo Lefebvre, one of today’s most influential members of the food scene in Los Angeles, to understand what it truly means to cook, think, create and live in the food-obsessed world that is “The Mind of a Chef.”

“From formally trained to ‘fast food.’ When formally trained chefs create fast food it truly becomes fast fine dining. YUM!!” – Veronica

6. Julia Child: Cooking with Master Chefs – Cajun Cooking with Emeril Lagasse

Julia Child visits nationally acclaimed master chefs in their own kitchens. Each chef demonstrates distinct techniques, regional recipes and culinary tips that guide home cooks through their favorite recipes.

“I spent three years in Louisiana. Cajun cooking and southern traditions hold a place in my heart. Crab boils are still a part of my family’s New Year traditions.” – Veronica

7. No Passport Required

Join chef Marcus Samuelsson on an inspiring journey across the U.S. to explore and celebrate the wide-ranging diversity of immigrant traditions and cuisine woven into American food and culture.

“Two seasons of amazing cooking and culture from around the country. Get ready to learn more than just how to cook. This series is full of family, friends and traditions.” – Veronica

8. Roadfood – Phoenix, AZ: Frybread

Host Misha Collins hits the highways and byways of America, exploring uniquely American dishes in each episode of “Roadfood: Discovering America One Dish at a Time.” Meeting local cooks, pit-masters, bakers and proprietors of local eating establishments, Misha learns the roots of each dish. He also meets and talk with locals who savor the dish to learn about their community, history, and values.

In this episode, Misha explores frybread. For many Indigenous people, frybread is a dish with a complicated and controversial past: it is a symbol of perseverance and pain, but also a part of their culinary story. Now, some tribal members in Arizona are finding that looking back is the best way forward — reconnecting with the foods, traditions and ceremonies that tie them to their ancestors and help their communities thrive.

“This one touched my heart, and if I’m honest, I shed a tear. This episode is a reminder of Indigenous roots and traditions. By bringing the past forward, their culture will forever be remembered and celebrated.” – Veronica

9. Mexico: One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless

Rick Bayless, the beloved chef and restaurateur, seamlessly weaves together techniques, recipes, cultural musings and off-the-wall surprises. Throughout the series, Rick translates his Mexican travel adventures into unforgettable parties from intimate fireside suppers and casual backyard cocktails with friends to big, boisterous bashes for 25.

“Rick Bayless is a personal favorite of mine; he also creates one of my very favorite cuisines: Mexican! His cooking inspires me to want to learn how to bring people joy and happiness through food!”  – Veronica

10. Outdoor Idaho – Hops & Barley

From the golden fields of barley in southeastern Idaho to the biggest hops ranch in the world nestled up against the Canadian border, Outdoor Idaho takes you on an exploration of the ingredients and the craftsmanship behind Idaho beer.

“‘Hop’ into this gem, from right here in our home state! What fun seeing the process and craftsmanship of creating great Idaho beers.” – Veronica

IdahoPTV Passport is a member benefit that provides IdahoPTV donors extended on-demand access to a rich library of quality public television programs on your television with a number of streaming video devices as well as on your computer, tablet, and smartphone.

To learn more or sign up for Passport, visit

Meet the Staff Mondays – Becky Mitchell

Each week we feature “Meet the Staff Mondays” to help our viewers and fellow staff members learn more about the folks who work here at Idaho Public Television: behind the scenes, out in the community, at locations around the state, and in front of the cameras. Today we introduce one of our new education specialists, Becky Mitchell.

IdahoPTV’s Carol Beres sat down with Becky to find out more about her role sharing educational resources with the eastern part of the Gem State. “I have everything from, I would say, Twin Falls, excluding Twin Falls and the Burley area, everything a little further to the east of there; all of American Falls and Pocatello, clear to the border with Wyoming and clear to the border with Utah. And then up north all the way through Salmon,” she says.

Becky grew up in the area that she now works in. “My hometown is Challis.” She stayed in the Pacific Northwest for college. “I went to University of Puget Sound,” Becky says. “I had a basketball scholarship.” While it’s beautiful there, she says, “You don’t see the sunshine.” She ended up finishing her degree at Idaho State University and started her teaching career. Now, Becky’s working for virtual schools as a compliance director as well as starting her duties at Idaho Public Television.

Becky feels the need to provide these outreach services to eastern Idaho. “Especially growing up in rural Idaho, I feel I know the importance of reaching out to those communities that maybe don’t get served as much as some others,” Becky says. “And it’s been a really positive connection in the places that I’ve had contact with.” Traveling the state, Becky works with elementary educators and libraries, getting the word out on all the resources Idaho Public Television has to offer educators and parents. “Just this last week I was out at Ketchum to the local library there. And we did a screening of Work It Out Wombats! And that was a lot of fun.” Becky adds, “I’ve been helping with the American Falls Early Learning Collaborative. It’s like their preschool program that they have down there. I’m helping with their STEM nights, and they do a program called Read, Talk, Play. And I’ve been helping out just being a volunteer — helping out with whatever they need. Sometimes I’ve helped run a station. And other times I’ve helped check people in.”

She has helped some teachers in remote areas get some much-needed supplies. “I reached out to a teacher in Leadore about kindergarten kits, and she was super excited; because that’s something that they put together themselves (out of their own pockets)…to put together the funding has always been a bit of a struggle. And that’s a community that’s way northeast that people might not think about.”

In Becky’s free time, she likes to garden and care for houseplants. “I’ve grown up gardening. My grandmother was a big gardener. I grew up with a huge garden outside…my parents have continued it,” she says. It’s primarily vegetables, but Becky adds, “Gardening here in Mackay is a little bit difficult, because of the high altitude and the tiny little growing season that we have.” Becky’s favorite plants have something special about them. “I have a purple shamrock and I have a green shamrock. I love those because they have personalities. When it’s cold they droop a little bit. And when they’re happy, they’re all full or they bloom. And they bloom in different colors. I like plants that can talk to you a little bit,” Becky laughs.

When it comes to snacking, Becky’s a big fan of breakfast foods. “Any excuse I can make to have breakfast. Like when my husband was going to be late or not be home for dinner, then we would have breakfast for dinner.” One tradition that she maintains is making puffy German pancakes for her kids for their birthdays. “I make them an individual German pancake, put a candle in it and deliver it to them. I’ve done that since they were one year old.”

She loves the sun that we get here in the Gem State, “Even when it’s three degrees!” and the peaceful environment of her mountain town. “I just like how I can sit in my house at night and I don’t have to hear anything. Especially here in Mackay. It’s so quiet. Even when I go to Boise, then you realize all the sounds that I don’t hear sitting here in Mackay.” When it comes to her favorite PBS Kids character, she’s a fan of some tried and true members of the troupe. “Big Bird and Grover. I had a plush Grover, a big one. I also had a tiny Big Bird. Grover went everywhere with me.”

A Night of Premieres on March 19

Tune in to Idaho Public Television on Sunday, March 19, for a night of season premieres from Call the Midwife and Sanditon on Masterpiece, as well as the series premiere of the new historical drama Marie Antoinette.

Season 12 of Call the Midwife begins at 8 PM. It’s 1968, and change is in the air. Enoch Powell’s infamous “Rivers of Blood” speech criticizing immigration creates serious tension in Poplar, especially when a group of dockers march in support of Powell — distressing Cyril and Lucille in particular. The midwives welcome a new nun, Sister Veronica, who is an instant hit with everyone — except Nurse Crane. Meanwhile, the bond between Trixie and Matthew only strengthens following their engagement, while Nurse Crane helps Nancy with her financial woes. Sister Julienne enjoys helping out the district, Shelagh and Dr. Turner split their time between the busy maternity home and their lively young family, and Reggie continues to bring joy into the lives of Violet and Fred.

The third and final season of Sanditon on Masterpiece begins at 9 PM. The Jane Austen romance returns viewers to the seaside resort of Sanditon for the conclusion of Charlotte and Georgiana’s stories. Romantic possibilities this season are enhanced by new character, including the financially distressed Lady Montrose, who arrives in Sanditon to snare matches for her grown children: Lydia, who is an independent-minded young woman, and Lord Henry Montrose, a duke whose title alone is an attractive selling point, if he is perhaps less suitable in other ways. Rowleigh Pryce is a crusty investor whom Tom Parker is courting to bankroll a new hotel in Sanditon, subject to Lady Denham’s approval. It turns out that Pryce and Lady Denham share a very interesting past. And there is Alexander Colbourne’s brother, Samuel, a London attorney whose legal help is crucial as the plot approaches its climax.

The captivating new series about one of history’s most influential rulers, Marie Antoinette, begins at 10 PM. Marie is just a teenager when she leaves Austria to marry the dauphin of France. When she arrives at Versailles, she must obey the numerous and complex rules of the French court. She attempts to recreate Versailles in her image — free, independent and feminist — but quickly suffers from not being able to live her life the way she wants, while her mother, the empress of Austria, keeps pushing her to continue the Bourbon line and thus secure the alliance between the two countries. However, faced with Louis’ avoidant and solitary character, the mission turns out to be more complicated than expected. As defamatory pamphlets and persistent rumors about her private life undermine her status, her opponents within the royal family will do everything they can to bring her down.

Idaho Statehouse Hosts ‘Idaho Listens’ Screening and Discussion

What happens when people decide to stop arguing and start listening? Philanthropist Greg Carr and Boise State University wanted to test a new response to our divided times: a way to encourage people to engage in respectful listening, to get to know each other beyond labels or superficial impressions.

Last fall, eleven ordinary Idahoans shared stories about their lives and values, and the audience had to agree to listen silently, without interruption, without questions, without cheers or jeers. IdahoPTV documented BSU’s Idaho Listens project, and what the Idaho “listeners” took away from the project.

The public is invited to join Idaho Public Television for a screening of the documentary Idaho Listens followed by a panel discussion with the project’s participants moderated by former Idaho state senator and U.S. attorney Bart Davis: Monday, March 20, at 6 PM in the Idaho State Capitol’s Lincoln Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public; RSVP encouraged. Click here to RSVP. For questions, please email

The Idaho Listens documentary airs on Idaho Public Television Friday, March 24, at 8:30 PM. It will be available for streaming at and through the PBS app.

‘Nic Sick’ Sounds Alarm About Youth Vaping in Idaho

It was the first day of middle school in Sandpoint when 12-year-old Justice took her first vape hit in the girls’ bathroom. She thought vaping would make her popular. Damien started vaping in middle school to ease his stress. By the time he got to high school in Nampa he wasn’t able to catch his breath during exercise. Chase started vaping with his friends in Jerome when he was 12, then he became so addicted he was expelled from his high school for multiple vaping-related offenses.

Justice, Damien and Chase’s stories are not unique. Idaho is in the midst of a youth vaping crisis: one in five teens has tried vaping at least once. And according to Idaho medical experts, kids are vaping as early as age seven.  

A new statewide campaign raises awareness about the dangers of youth vaping

With funding from tobacco settlement dollars, Idaho Public Television has launched KNOW VAPE, a statewide campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of youth vaping in Idaho through a documentary, a video contest for teens, free online resources for parents and teachers, standards-based curriculum for educators, and a social media campaign.

Nic Sick: The Dangers of Youth Vaping — a documentary that airs Tuesday, March 21, at 7 PM on Idaho Public Television — is a focal point of the campaign. It follows Idaho teens, including Justice, Damien and Chase, as they talk with heartbreaking authenticity about how and why they started vaping and the health and behavioral consequences that followed. Health and science experts, law-enforcement personnel, Idaho parents, and vaping prevention and cessation counselors are also featured. 

To aid students, parents and teachers in educating young people about the dangers of vaping and the importance of quitting, free KNOW VAPE resources and shareable social media are available online at

The KNOW VAPE campaign also includes an anti-vape video contest for Idaho 13-to-18-year-olds. Teen creators are asked to produce a video, no longer than 90 seconds, that speaks to the dangers of vaping, vaping prevention or how to quit vaping. More than $10,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to the winners. Winning videos will be broadcast on IdahoPTV and shared across social media channels. The deadline to enter is April 1. More information can be found at

This IdahoPTV project was funded by a grant from Idaho’s Millennium Fund. 

“We thought it was really important that this be a story about Idaho and that it be told by the teens who are battling vape addiction,” says KNOW VAPE producer Jennie Sue Weltner. “We interviewed dozens of kids from big and small towns all over Idaho and they wanted us to know that vaping is everywhere.”

“Their stories about battling vape addiction are heartbreaking,” says Nic Sick independent producer and director April Frame. “They are up against big tobacco, which is a very sophisticated, multi-billion dollar industry that has purposefully designed vapes to be attractive to kids, easy to get, easy to hide and very hard to quit.” 

“And the health consequences are significant,’” says Frame. “Almost all of the kids talked about breathing problems and stomach aches, vomiting and difficulty with exercise and sports. They also were eager to share what parents and educators don’t know: kids are vaping in class and in front of their parents and they are getting vapes from nefarious adults.” 

Teen vaping in Idaho

Although vape sales to minors, 21 and under, is illegal in the U.S. and Idaho, vapes are widely available and cheap and have a foothold in Idaho’s rural communities and schools, according to Stephen Cody Orchard, a tobacco prevention and smoking cessation health education specialist with South Central Public Health District. He visits dozens of middle and high schools in the Magic Valley area to teach students, parents and educators about the dangers of vaping. 

“Five years ago we found heavy use with teens in Sun Valley,” says Orchard. “Then it slowly started moving into Twin and Jerome. Now we’re seeing it in small towns like Dietrich and Fairfield.” 

Orchard warns that vapes are hard to spot: they can be hidden in the drawstrings of a hoodie-style sweatshirt or disguised as an Apple-style watch, an MP3 speaker, a USB drive, a lipstick dispenser or a coffee tumbler.

According to the Idaho State Department of Education, in 2019, nearly half of all Idaho high school students had vaped at least once. Between 2017-2018, vaping rose 78% among Idaho high schoolers and 48% among Idaho middle schoolers. Recent national surveys suggest that during and after Covid, vaping use increased among teens. 

What are vapes?

Vapes are a form of electronic cigarettes that use a battery to heat a liquid solution to a high temperature producing an aerosol that is inhaled. E-cigarettes, which emerged in China in 2004 and in the U.S. in 2007, are today a multi‐billion-dollar industry. Originally marketed as a smoking cessation tool for adults, e-cigarettes/vapes quickly became popular among teens when manufacturers began illegally marketing the devices on teen-centric social media channels. The vast majority of vapes contain large amounts of nicotine, one of the most addictive chemicals in the world, and other harmful and cancer-causing chemicals and metals.  

Most teens, according to the CDC, use vapes with fruit, candy, sweet or dessert flavorings with names such as Dragon Banana Berry, Cotton Candy and S’mores. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine estimates that there are more than 7,000 e-cigarette flavors.  

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaping can harm the developing adolescent brain. Idaho respiratory therapists are reporting a rise in vape-related illnesses such as asthma, seizures and e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury (EVALI), a serious and irreversible lung condition. 

Idaho gets $8.3 million from JUUL settlement

The rapid rise of teen vaping is correlated with the launch in 2015 of U.S.-made vape called JUUL. One JUUL vape pod contains the nicotine equivalent of one pack of cigarettes. In September 2022, JUUL was ordered to pay $438.5 million to 34 states and territories, including Idaho, following a two-year investigation into the company’s teen-focused marketing and sales practices. Idaho received $8.3 million from the settlement.

IdahoPTV Launches Online Video Series on Creativity

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

– Maya Angelou

Idaho Public Television has launched a new online video series on its social media platforms called createid ( that showcases artists and other makers in Idaho. From iconography to ice carving, weaving to watercolors, createid illuminates the many ways Idahoans are making their creative marks. 

On Sunday, March 12, at 5:30 PM, the producers of the online series will appear on air live from the IdahoPTV studios to share createid videos and talk about the future of the series.

Idaho artist Lupe Galván
Idaho artist Lupe Galván

The createid team is experimenting with different lengths and styles of storytelling, including producing short pieces. The varied lengths and online format makes it easier to share stories quickly and also to connect with viewers. 

“Our goal is to produce stories that will look and feel like something completely new and fresh,” says executive producer Jennie Sue Weltner. “Creative storytelling about creatives. That’s our goal.” 

“Bringing something new and different to the IdahoPTV lineup has been a bit daunting at times,” says Troy Shreve, the director of the series. “But we’re embracing the challenge, and I’m excited to combine my interests of art and video to craft these stories in a creative way.”

Hand weaver Lily Martina Lee and some of her shrouds
Hand weaver Lily Martina Lee and some of her shrouds

createid is sharing behind-the-scenes photos and videos on its social media feeds, as well as posts from artists. Producers also plan to provide opportunities for Idahoans to send photos and videos of their own work and submit ideas for future stories.

“PBS has such a long and rich history of celebrating human ingenuity and the arts,” says Marcia Franklin, the lead producer of createid. “It’s going to be really fun to build on that tradition by shining a light on Idaho creators and their unique ways of looking at our world and beyond.”

Greek iconographer George Kordis at work in the Greek Orthodox Church in Pocatello
Greek iconographer George Kordis at work in the Greek Orthodox Church in Pocatello

“IdahoPTV, with its award-winning producers and videographers, its statewide audience, and its commitment to sensitive and artistic storytelling, is the natural entity to produce and share these stories,” says Weltner.

createid launched in February at and on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Producers will continue to add new content monthly. Subscribe to or follow createid on your favorite platforms to see new features!

Meet the Staff Mondays – Greg Clifford

Each week we feature “Meet the Staff Mondays” to help our viewers and fellow staff members learn more about the folks who work here at Idaho Public Television: behind the scenes, out in the community, at locations around the state, and in front of the cameras. Today we introduce engineer Greg Clifford.

IdahoPTV’s Carol Beres sat down with Greg to learn about the role he plays to keep our broadcast signals on the air and online. “My official job title is PTV Broadcast Maintenance and Operations Engineer,” Greg says. “I work in the engineering department and I split my duties between doing work at the [Boise] Orchard facility and also down at the Statehouse, working on the systems down there for Idaho in Session.” Not only does Greg work during the legislative session at the Capitol Mall, but throughout the year on equipment maintenance and improvements. “This particular time before this session started, we just did camera upgrades in the House, the Senate and JFAC and the Lincoln Auditorium (in the Statehouse) and a bunch of other behind-the-scenes stuff. The things that are most visible are the fact that the video looks better. We have high-definition video now in all the rooms.”

An Idaho native, Greg grew up in the small town of Gooding, Idaho. After he graduated high school, Greg headed up to the Palouse to attend college at the University of Idaho. “I majored in telecommunications, and that was a technically inclined production program at the time. There was a lot of competition for production work, of course, and I ran into some engineers. And they said, ‘Are you interested in engineering?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, that’s kind of neat,’ and they said, ‘Well, it’s a lot less competition in engineering. Maybe you’d want to do that?’ And I thought, ‘That sounds pretty good,’…they became my mentors, the engineers at KUID (our Moscow station), and I worked with them and kind of became a ‘junior woodchuck’ engineer,” he laughs. “And I worked with them all the time that I was at college. I worked master control, too, at KUID. I got to wear a lot of different hats there.”

After college, Greg had the opportunity to move around the country to work in different television markets, from Amarillo, Texas, to some bigger cities in the Northeast. After a while, he missed the Gem State and when he saw an opening at KUID for a field engineer, he applied and got it. “I did that job for a couple of years. Then, we had a pretty hard winter, the last winter I was doing field engineering; we’d set off avalanches, we had the tops of trees breaking out and coming down like giant lawn darts on our way to transmitters and I thought, ‘There’s gotta be a better way to make a living than doing this.’” Greg applied for and got a job with the University of Idaho in classroom technology, eventually heading up that department. He ended up taking early retirement from the U of I, and he and his wife moved to the Treasure Valley.

After they moved to the Boise area, Greg thought about getting back into broadcast engineering. He applied for and got a part-time temporary position at Idaho Public Television working at the Statehouse. Greg and other engineers got to work revamping the equipment at the Statehouse, which was getting “old” in technology years. A full-time job opened up, and Greg came back. “I worked in commercial TV: you feel it’s all about money, all the time. When you work for public television, you feel that it’s for a higher purpose and a better mission.”

Greg and his wife like to go camping when they can get away. “We’re into bicycles. We build our own bikes…lately we’ve gotten into electric bikes so we have a little assist going up the hills,” Greg laughs. “We like to kayak on the alpine lakes up in the Sawtooths.” This summer, they’re going camping with a new rig that can get to remote spots, with solar power and a few creature comforts. When it comes to his favorite Idaho Public Television programs, Greg enjoys Outdoor Idaho and Idaho Experience. And his fave snack? Greg says it would have to be a cookie, either a peanut butter cookie or a snickerdoodle.

Idaho Premieres During ‘Festival’ and Beyond

Tune in during Festival (Feb. 24 – March 12) and beyond for a month of Idaho premieres!

‘This Is Rodeo’ on Outdoor Idaho

Breakaway roper Shelli Schrivner feels “rodeo is the greatest sport on earth.” Bull rider Brady Portenier rides in America’s most prestigious rodeos, and he says his home state of Idaho has some of the best around. Professional rodeo announcer Boyd Polhamus says, “The Gem State is the gem state in rodeo, no doubt about it.”

Rodeo wasn’t born in America. Its origins are in Spain. But one thing’s for sure, it’s evolved and grown in popularity here. Outdoor Idaho profiles the sport that represents the Western lifestyle like no other. So, hold on to your hats and get ready for a wild ride, because This Is Rodeo airs Thursday, March 2, at 8 PM and Sunday, March 12, at 7 PM.

‘Sweet Idaho’ on Idaho Experience

There is just something about chocolate, ice cream, bonbons, and pie that makes us happy. Learn the secrets of the iconic Idaho Spud Bar’s Idaho Candy Company, Lee’s Candies, Florence’s Exquisite Chocolates, and Reed’s Dairy’s ice cream. Find the best pies in North Idaho and the sweetest spot in the town of Sweet, Idaho.

Sweet Idaho on Idaho Experience looks at the history of some of Idaho’s historic “sweet” companies and gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at how they make these classic goodies. It airs Wednesday, March 8, at 7 PM and Sunday, March 12, at 6 PM.

createid’ Highlights Idaho Artists & Makers

In February, Idaho Public Television launched a new online video series called createid that showcases artists and other makers in Idaho (visit On Sunday, March 12, at 5:30 PM, the producers of the online series join us on air to share createid videos that illuminate the ways Idahoans are leaving their creative marks, from iconography to ice carving, weaving to watercolors.

The createid team is experimenting with different lengths and styles of storytelling. The varied lengths and online format make it easier to share stories quickly and also to connect with viewers. Producers plan to provide opportunities for Idahoans to send photos and videos of their own work and submit ideas for future stories.

‘KNOW VAPE’ Sounds Alarm About Youth Vaping

With funding from tobacco settlement dollars, Idaho Public Television has launched KNOW VAPE, a statewide campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of youth vaping through a documentary, free online resources for parents and teachers, standards-based curriculum for educators, a video contest for teens, and a social media campaign (visit

Nic Sick: The Dangers of Youth Vaping (Tuesday, March 21, at 7 PM) is a focal point of the campaign. It follows Idaho teens in different regions of the Gem State as they talk with heartbreaking authenticity about how and why they started vaping and the consequences that followed. Health, science and law-enforcement experts, Idaho parents, and vaping prevention and cessation counselors are also featured.

‘Idaho Listens’ Encourages Civility and Respect

What happens when people decide to stop arguing and start listening? Philanthropist Greg Carr and Boise State University wanted to find a way to encourage people to engage in respectful listening, to get to know each other beyond labels or superficial impressions.

Eleven ordinary Idahoans came to the BSU campus in fall 2022 to share stories about their lives in Idaho, and the audience had to agree to listen without interruption, without questions, without cheers or jeers. IdahoPTV documented the Idaho Listens project, and what the Idaho “listeners” took away from the project. The resulting documentary, Idaho Listens, airs Friday, March 24, at 8:30 PM.

Meet the Staff Mondays – Lenea Pierzchanowski

Each week we feature “Meet the Staff Mondays” to help our viewers (and even our own staff members) learn more about the folks who work behind the scenes, out in the community, at locations around the state, and in front of the cameras here at Idaho Public Television. Today we introduce one of our newest employees, Education Specialist Lenea Pierzchanowski.

IdahoPTV’s Carol Beres sat down with Lenea to learn more about what she does as a member of the education team serving the northern part of the Gem State. Lenea describes her job as “sharing the resources that Idaho Public Television and PBS Kids have to the folks up here in northern Idaho. Mostly, what I am doing right now is building relationships and building connections.” She says that the focus of her job right now is conducting a Community Assets and Needs Assessment (CANA) for the Ready to Learn grant that the Idaho Public Television education department received. Lenea adds, “It’s a lot of building connections and asking questions in rural areas about what kind of resources they have, and what they might like to do within the community to enhance learning for children to provide them with a better step up.”

To reach one of those rural communities, Lenea made a trip to a town called Elk River. “I was given directions that the library was at the end of the road. So, I drove to Elk River and literally, at the end of Highway 8, you look to your right and there is the library,” Lenea laughs. “It was literally at the end of the road. When I met the librarian, she was so excited that I had taken the time and that I had even thought of her library, let alone come out to see her, due to being what she called ‘geographically isolated and snowbound.’ She told me that the road that they have [that connects them to] a town called Orofino, where their designated hospital and supplies are, they cannot get to for a large part of the year. So, they drive all the way to Moscow [about two to two and a half hours round trip] for resources. There are a lot of northern Idaho towns that are like that.”

Lenea is a longtime Idaho resident who was born in Germany. “My dad is a native Idahoan; my mom is from California. He was Idaho’s first conscientious objector; when he was drafted he was sent to Germany, which is how I was born there,” she says. “I have lived most of my life in Moscow. Then I married a navy guy from Long Island, and we traveled the world. When we had our first child, we decided we wanted to raise our kids here, so we came back. We have lived here now for 20 years.” Lenea may well be the most educated person at Idaho Public Television: she earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Idaho (family and consumer sciences) and has since earned a master’s (human relations through the University of Oklahoma Overseas) and a doctorate (health psychology at Walden University). “My dissertation was on the motivation of rural volunteers, because I have this belief that if we can build a volunteer workforce, communities could strengthen themselves due to the pride they’d have in helping and giving back to their own communities.”

Lenea feels strongly about the lifelong learning and connecting communities mission of Idaho Public Television. “I like working for nonprofits. That is where my heart is. I am called to give service,” she says. “I am very eclectic, and I like traveling around. I thought it [the job] would be a wonderful way to get to know northern Idaho. I did not realize that there had not been an education department rep in North Idaho for years, so that is exciting.” Lenea is also excited to work with IdahoPTV/PBS Kids because she and Sesame Street were born in the same year. She is looking forward to a new show called Work It Out Wombats! “We are doing a screening of it at our local theater, the Kenworthy, and I am excited that Kari Wardle, our education department manager, is coming up to help me out with it.”

In her downtime, Lenea keeps busy with a lot of pets at home, scrapbooking, reading and binge-watching shows. And in the snacking realm, she prefers an unusual flavor. “I like black licorice. I especially like black licorice ice cream, but it is hard to find. I also like dark chocolate and coconut (fresh or flakes).” Lenea prefers the quieter parts of the rivers and lakes of the Gem State.