thinkpanama / Flickr

A two-day conference that starts Tuesday in Boise will address everything from housing trends to homelessness. The Idaho Housing and Finance Association’s Conference on Housing and Economic Development is the largest of its kind in Idaho.

Those of us who grew up playing the board game “Monopoly” likely remember the thrill of landing on an up-for-grabs Boardwalk or Park Place, and buying the pricey properties with our stash of brightly colored fake money. We might also recall the feeling of trepidation when we landed on those same properties after they had been purchased and improved by someone else, knowing we would have to pay an exorbitant rental fee before we could once again pass “Go” and collect our much-needed $200.

Micron Technologies

Boise-based Micron is the rumored focus of a takeover offer from a Chinese company.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the possible interest from Tsinghua Unigroup, a Shangai company with ties to the Chinese government.

Dan Gallagher is a writer with the Journal, and has been following the story. He says Micron’s median share price is $29 a share, but the Chinese company is interested in buying it for $21 a share.

USEPA / Flickr Creative Commons

If you’re thinking about making a trek to the country’s first national park this summer, you are far from alone. About 1.3 million people have visited Yellowstone National Park so far this year, which represents a nearly 20 percent increase over last year.

Yellowstone officials say almost 800,000 visitors came through in June, which broke that month’s previous record by 12 percent.

Construction Worker
Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Idaho workers saw the largest per capita income increase in the country in 2013, according to data recently released by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis. The 2.4 percent increase was substantially higher than 0.1 percent increase seen nationally.

John Penny / Flickr Creative Commons

If you’re in Boise, take a look around. There’s a very good chance some of the people you see are out-of-towners. June and July are Boise’s busiest months for tourism.

The Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau keeps track of how many hotel rooms get rented and when. Visitors bureau director Carrie Westergard says both in June and July the city could have as many visitors as residents.

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. 

For nearly a century, The Bassett Furniture Company was the center of life in the town of Bassett, Virginia, just as its wealthy namesake family was the foundation of the town’s prosperity.

But that all changed in the 1980s when cheaper Chinese products began flooding the American furniture market, threatening the Bassett family legacy and the livelihoods of hundreds of Virginians.

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 ( ) 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.

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.

A drive across the Northwest quickly reveals things look really dry everywhere.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Housing development on Garden City’s riverfront has picked up as the economy has improved.  The momentum is good for local tax rolls, but it also threatens adjacent areas that are home to low-cost housing. Experts say simply replacing that housing stock won't be easy, and that many residents could be displaced with few other housing options.  

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.

The Energy Department has awarded grants to scientists in five western states to develop research for a national lab aimed at tapping hard-to-get-to geothermal energy they say someday could provide enough power to supply 100 million homes.

Lynn Orr, energy undersecretary for science, announced Monday research teams in Nevada, California, Idaho, Oregon and Utah also will share the $2 million for the first phase of the project.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise International Market is throwing its grand opening celebration Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. with live music and dance from around the world. Sixteen individual businesses are now open at the market, and six more are coming soon.

Starting next month, Alaska Airlines will explore charging extra for main cabin seats with more legroom and creature comforts.

Sandor Weisz / Flickr

The Idaho Department of Transportation (ITD) is reminding drivers to remove their studded tires this spring. Idaho law says use of studded tires is only legal between October 1 and April 30, and people caught with them beyond that date could be fined $67.

Studded tires have small metal cleats embedded in the rubber to provide traction on snow and ice.

job fair
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent in March with 5,400 workers finding jobs in the largest one-month increase on record.

The Idaho Department of Labor in a news release Friday says total employment in the state also set a record by going above 757,000 for the first time.

The agency says the state's unemployment remained at a seven-year low as businesses expanded payrolls.

The agency also says the percentage of working-age adults with jobs or looking for work rose to 63.5 percent.

SkyWest, airplane, airport
Aero Icarus / Flickr Creative Commons

SkyWest Airlines has announced it will soon offer jet flights between West Yellowstone and Salt Lake City to connect passengers with Delta flights.

The Delta Connection flights, operated by SkyWest, will begin in June. The airline says it will run flights twice a day from Thursday through Monday and once each day on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.