Economy

UnShuttered Soul~ Good to be busy! / Flickr

Starting July 1, Idahoans will see new laws that range from how much they pay at the gas station to giving teachers a pay bump.

Next week marks the start of a new fiscal year in Idaho. This means a $95 million transportation plan designed to help repair Idaho's crumbling bridges and roads will go into effect. For Idaho residents, vehicle registration fees are going up $21 and gas will cost 7 cents more because of higher taxes.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

Partnerships between public universities and private companies – called technology transfers – have the potential to solve some of the world's most difficult problems. The idea is to have researchers at universities do their work, and then the institution will help them obtain a patent. At that point, the product can be sold to a private company for distribution. Think of the iconic Gatorade story at the University of Florida. 

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The neighborhood known as the Waterfront District is a game changer for Garden City. It was the first high-end housing built in the historically poor, southeast section of town. It’s the development that kicked off, what many people believe is inevitable gentrification.

USDA/NRCS / Flickr Creative Commons

Last week, the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a 21st century upgrade to a system that’s been stuck in the analog world. The Conservation Client Gateway is a new website that lets farmers and ranchers apply for programs under things like the Farm Bill. Before, a farmer would have to drive to their nearest USDA office – which, in rural Idaho – could be a time and fuel-consuming task.

Bureau of Economic Analysis

Adjusted for inflation, Idaho's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 2.7 percent between 2013 and 2014, which is the 12th largest increase among states in the country. Altogether the value of the goods and services produced in the state is worth almost $58 billion dollars. Just two years ago, Idaho ranked 45th when it comes to the increase in GDP.

Boston Public Library / Flickr Creative Commons

After being shuttered for nine months for remodeling, the iconic Sun Valley Lodge reopened this week to great fanfare. But while the areas's most famous hotel was closed over the winter,  local businesses saw one of their best winters in a few years.

Hailey’s chamber of commerce, some small businesses in downtown Ketchum and the marketing organization Visit Sun Valley all say it was a great season.

Karina / Flickr Creative Commons

A couple of weeks ago, we reported on the increase in median home values across Ada County. The county assessor says the pace of growth is sustainable at a little more than 5.6 percent. After the housing market rebounded after the Great Recession, buying a home has become more competitive.

One of the places that's seen a boost in popularity for home buyers — and increased home values because of the competition — is the Boise Bench.

SamPac / Flickr

State government would help fund resource programs for the homeless if state Sen. Lori Den Hartog, R-Meridian, had her way, especially as Ada County looks for solutions to homelessness.

The Idaho Statesman reports (http://bit.ly/1AVOiwb ) that Boise Director of Community Partnerships Diana Lachiondo says the city is working with local hospitals and Ada County on a collaboration that would bring a housing first model to the Treasure Valley.

mcc.gov / Millennium Challenge Coporation

An Idaho engineer is on a federal trade mission in Africa right now, promoting U.S. companies and helping to bring electricity to people in Malawi and Tanzania. Hailey-based Power Engineers consults in a variety of engineering fields, including energy generation and delivery. Chris Garvin works out of the company's Meridian office, but he spoke to KBSX from Malawi this week. He says he’s no rookie when it comes to working in Africa.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Ada County homeowners are receiving annual notices in the mail with their new property values. The county assessors office says the median value of a home went up 5.8 percent between 2013 and 2014.

County Assessor Bob McQuade says the new median increase is tempered compared to the growth seen last year, which was a jump of about 14.5 percent. That means half of Ada County home values went more than 5.8 percent and half went up less.  

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

On May 14, Boise State Public Radio hosted a Community Conversation on the issue of affordable housing in the Treasure Valley. The goal was to examine how new riverfront development in Garden City could affect this important part of the region’s housing stock. The event was part of the KBSX series called “Growing Garden City."

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

There were a lot more places to live in Idaho last year than there were the year before, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau. There were 685,099 housing units in Idaho in 2014. To the census, a housing unit is most anywhere people live; houses, mobile homes, apartments large or small. 

The number of Idaho units went up by more than 6,000 between July 2013 and July 2014. That was the biggest increase the state had seen in several years.

Idaho's unemployment rate remained at a seven-year low of 3.8 percent in April.

The Idaho Department of Labor on Friday said the number of employed people in the state increased slightly by 4,000 to set a total employment record for the state of 761,000.

The agency says the number of working-age adults with jobs or looking for jobs rose to 63.7 percent.

Officials say that's the highest level since 2013 and a sign of increased optimism about job prospects.

Census

You can’t understand Garden City, Idaho without understanding that compared to the cities surrounding it, it's a place of poverty and wealth and not much in between. That was the theme of one of the stories in our recent series, Growing Garden City.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Garden City has long been known for mobile home parks and poverty. But with more than three miles of underused riverfront property, developers have become interested in Garden City's poorest area. High-end houses are now being built next to mobile homes.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Garden City is well known for being one of the poorest towns in the Treasure Valley, but it also has some of the richest neighborhoods in the area.

Courtesy: J.R. Simplot Company

Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Company is seeking federal approval to market a second genetically engineered potato.

Simplot won approval for its first modified potato late last year. The “Innate” potato, as it’s branded, is due to be the first genetically engineered spud on the market.

Simplot dubbed the genetically engineered potatoes “Innate” because the inserted genes come from other potatoes.

Of all the things you're considering for your next meal today, bugs are probably not on the menu.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVdPK-W15ts&feature=youtu.be / Ballet Idaho

In its third year, a record of 580 groups are participating in Idaho Gives. The annual event – which is modeled after a similar one in Minnesota – is sponsored by the Idaho Nonprofit Center, and has grown in scope every year.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter will lead a group of Idaho-based business leaders on a weeklong trade mission to Peru and Mexico next week.

The trip includes businesses ranging from producers of milk and potatoes to makers of boat docks and skin care products. The companies are aiming to increase exports to Central and South America.

The business leaders will also attend receptions with U.S. Ambassador to Peru Brian A. Nichols next Tuesday and U.S. Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne to Mexico next Thursday.

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