Sarah Glenn

Never stop exploring

What didn’t make it into that MLK story

Written By: admin - Jan• 08•15

It’s kinda fun being an armchair expert on a subject for a day. At least, I enjoy learning new things and trying to make myself as knowledgable as possible before I write a story.

This simple preview of local Martin Luther King Jr. day events was no exception.

Here’s a few “Did ya knows” that didn’t make it into the story:

  • In Idaho it’s not just Martin Luther King Jr. day. It’s Civil Rights Day. Schools have the opportunity to address either or both.
  • Walking down the street in Idaho, you have less than a 0.08 percent chance of seeing someone who is black. That means that (outside of ISU) about 400 African Americans call Pocatello home.
  •  The local NAACP has marched through Pocatello on Martin Luther King Jr. day for the past several years, remaking the famous August 1968 March on Washington with only a handful of people.
  • Their march is both important and courageous. Idaho is home to about nine active Aryan Nations hate groups and the Northwest region is a hot bed for skinhead, Neo-Nazi and other extremist groups with 28 different groups active across the region.

A dose of perspective

Written By: admin - Dec• 17•14

Today was a rough one.

I spent the majority of it fielding calls and e-mails from livid sources upset about some recent coverage. I was called every name in the book, and retractions were demanded. They didn’t quite know or care (nor should they) that around our house babies were crying, cars were dying and personal issues were cropping up. 

Dealing with these situations is part of the job and I take very seriously my responsibility to the facts – no excuses. But I guess the past several years of fluffy Boy Scout Pinewood Derby and blind kitten coverage thinned my skin a bit. I admit, those biting comments on my work got to me.

Then I got another e-mail. 

A local man (a good man, doctor and philanthropist) had been born and raised in Peshawar, Pakistan. His e-mail dripped with the agony of someone who has experienced profound loss. It is his hometown, his safe place. Yet 132 children were mercilessly slaughtered there. He knew their families. He sent some of their school pictures. 

It is almost 2 a.m. and for the past hour I have just held my little boy while he sleeps. The job of a journalist can be taxing. But it also puts into perspective the things that matter most in this world. Amid the swirl of craziness that life throws at you, hold your family a little tighter. They are what matter most. Treasure your safe place. 



Written By: admin - Oct• 22•14

I took my little one-year-old boy with me to interview a World War II veteran today.

It was a complete disaster.

My hour with a Battle of the Bulge survivor wasn’t peppered with interesting stories and heartfelt memories. It was dominated by a an unhappy toddler. I barely got the five W essentials before having to strap a tired and angry child into his carseat and take him home.

When naptime finally arrived, I turned on the tape recorder and went over my scattered notes. The person I interviewed was incredibly understanding. As I read over his wartime accounts, I got slapped with a big old dose of perspective.

America is what it is today because that man and millions more like him went off to war. That almost 90-year-old man was someone’s baby. His friend who was blown apart by a land mine in France was someone’s baby too. And because these men sacrificed all they had, my baby and my friend’s children in England and the children in France and Jewish children all over the world get to grow up in peace.  Suddenly, my frustration with things not going as smoothly as I hoped seemed slightly petty.

Sometimes – OK, all the time – the stories I write are far more than what appears in the newspaper.


A civil discourse?

Written By: admin - Oct• 09•14

Although every person I have spoken to face-to-face in our new community has been wonderfully kind, it is hard not to lose faith in my new hometown based on Facebook comments posted on my recent news articles (specifically those covering local Muslims).

An open discourse is wonderful – even one that is contentious. Starting the conversations that fuel positive change is one main reason I am so enamored with my job as a journalist. But promotion of violence and property destruction are reprehensible.

I’ll illustrate.

Over the weekend, a confused landlord and another neighborhood couple (who wouldn’t speak to me) tossed hundreds of Quarans into the trash. This elderly landlord thought her Muslim organization tenants had moved into their new building and left their stuff behind.

This is the third article I have written about the Muslim community in Pocatello – an extremely small minority here.

While many were sympathetic and civil, other comments on the Journal’s Facebook page included:

  • I’ll bash any religion that has more respect for a book than human life.”
  • “my opinion? who cares.”
  •  “It’s a book of hate anyways , they will get over it”
  • “Probably a good place for them to end up.”
  • “ISJ. Go kill yourself.”
  • “Waaaaa! Cry about it!”
  • “Why waste tax payers money investigating something that already belongs in the trash?”
  • “Booo freaking hooooo!”
  • “Where’s the real news stories at?”
  • “Smores anyone????”
  • “Kindling”

Normally this would not bother me or warrant a blog post. All of these people have the right to say these things and it is up to us as intelligent individuals to ignore the awful and build on the good.  A year from now, these types of comments will again be white noise to me.

But I am also working on a story that asks why big businesses are not relocating to, and investing in, Pocatello. The simple (although incomplete) snapshot of our community given by these news article comments might hold part of the answer.

National Security in Reno

Written By: admin - Oct• 07•14

I had the wonderful opportunity to cover one of this group’s meetings years ago while working as a journalist in Reno. Following the event, I continued to subscribe to its mailing list because the stuff Ty Cobb writes about is just fascinating.

This man has insight and connections to the national security community that make for great reading. He’s hosted forums by underground FBI agents, Syrian political commentators, and other fascinating authorities on national security.

His post this week honors General John Abizaid – a four-star General and (apparently) a Northern Nevada resident.

If you have a chance take a look at the National Security Forum website, sign up and read a little more about Abizaid.

Thanks for the great reading Ty!

Pandora for your news

Written By: admin - Sep• 22•14

Ooooh, Ooooh, I found a cool new app!

Once again, I’ve been impressed by an app and y’all get to listen to me rave.

Watchup is literally Pandora for TV news. Every morning (or whenever you set the timer for) the app culls the latest network news segments. The traditional thumbs up or thumbs down will tell the app when to can the Justin Bieber bits and stick with news about ISIL.

In my case, these videos are my morning news minute while I get ready in the morning. Ahh, CNN, welcome to my bathroom.

Check it out for yourself, here.

Proud sister

Written By: admin - Sep• 19•14

Wanted to give a quick blogging shoutout to my brother who is doing an internship at DTR Fitness in Reno. This little gym rat is learning the ropes and I could not be more proud.

Way to go little bro!


Welcome to small-town reporting

Written By: admin - Sep• 16•14

You are now reading the blog of an official freelancer. It’s signed, sealed and delivered. The caffeine-fueled, hard-hitting life of a full-time reporter is something I am putting on the back burner for now.

Although I miss the energy of a newsroom, I am excited that I still get to do stories like this. That new restroom was a big accomplishment for this small Idaho town and gave the workers a much-needed boost after getting tangled in “Pavegate“.

Anyway, enjoy!

McCammon workers donate time to build restrooms

2014-07-25 12.53.13


    MCCAMMON –– McCammon’s Little Park needed restrooms so in their spare time two of the city’s full-time employees built one.

    “It is a great asset to everyone who is there,” McCammon Mayor Ken Bullock said.

    Wedged between the city’s sun-drenched rodeo grounds and the shade-filled park, the restroom was built entirely by maintenance supervisors Rich Pierson and Jerry Mercer.

    “We had to kind of work on it when we didn’t have anything else to take care of,” Pierson said.

    On an average day the workers are responsible for mowing the lawns at McCammon’s parks, working on the city’s water and sewer lines, cleaning the streets and maintaining any city-owned property.

    “I’m really glad we did this,” Mercer said.  “It was something that was needed for a long time.”

    The land between the park and the rodeo grounds was purchased by the city more than seven years ago, when it held a ramshackle vacant home that had once belonged to McCammon’s former city maintenance man. In the summer of 2013, the building was torn down. And in the evening hours, Pierson and Mercer tossed the building’s rubble into rented roll-off Dumpsters.

    “It’s been in the works for years,” Pierson said. “We’ve just been saving up every year to have some handicap accessible restrooms available. We saved up for about three years before starting.”

    McCammon’s tax base consists of 850 people who usually commute to Pocatello or Soda Springs to work, play and spend their tax dollars, Bullock said.

    We are a small community with a small tax base,” Pierson said. “If we can help out ourselves we try to do it.”

    The restroom cost the city about $18,000 to build, Bullock said. This cost included paying Pocatello’s Public Works Department for the price of materials to put in asphalt near its entrance.

    “It would have cost a lot more if the employees had not given their time,” Bullock said. “We take a lot of pride in that.”

    The city of about 350 households employs three full-time employees alongside its mayor: a city clerk and the two maintenance workers.

    Pierson says that among the staff there were some skills that were missing and some tasks had to be contracted out to local businesses, including the plumbing and electrical work.

    “It had to be up to state plumbing and electrical code so we hired that out,” Pierson said. “We also hired a guy to pour the concrete slab.”

    The balance of the work, including the framing, sheeting and installation of sinks, toilets, light fixtures and drinking fountains, was done by Pierson and Mercer.

    The job was finished in May, ahead of the Marsh Valley Pioneer Days Rodeo.

    “It was wall-to-wall people,” Mercer said of the rodeo weekend.

    “It’s a good feeling to say that I gave back and that I can point over there and say ‘I built that,’” Pierson said.

    Now that the maintenance workers are finished with their project, they have added another item to their daily to-do list — cleaning the toilets every evening.

    “We are already talking with the mayor about installing a security system,” Pierson said of the way that the restrooms have been dirtied recently.

An app for everyday political speech

Written By: admin - Sep• 15•14

Ahh, how I love fun, free apps.

I stumbled across this gem recently and knew I had to share. It’s called Eyespend and for those who are in the mood for a a TMI moment it’s really interesting.

Download the app. Scan the barcodes of your favorite brands. See what causes, politicians and PACs are getting their (OK your) dollars. For those who like to spend consciously, it was a major “woah” moment.

The app was fun to try out, but if I thought like that every time I walked into Target I’d have to start making my own sweaters from wool I harvested from a hypothetical backyard sheep.

Go ahead, who do your dollars support? You might be surprised.

Best Free Documentaries

Written By: admin - Dec• 27•12

This post might go down a bit of a rabbit hole. However, it’s an interesting one.

While checking out this new service,, I found a one-stop page with the best free documentaries you’ll find on YouTube.

Check it out here, and happy watching.