Economy

Business
10:25 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Software Company Declara To Expand Its Boise Office

Declara's founder Ramona Pierson's personal story often overshadows her business and technology achievements. At age 22 she was hit by a car leaving her blind and unable to walk. It took years of surgeries to restore her sight, crushed legs and fix her other injuries.
Credit facebook.com/declara.inc

A software company with an Idaho presence is expanding its operations thanks to an influx of cash. Palo Alto-based Declara announced a new $16 million investment Wednesday.

The company’s Boise office of 10 developers will double because of that, a spokesman says. It also plans to expand its offices in California and Mexico.

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Gambling
10:24 am
Thu April 17, 2014

North Idaho Tribe: State Poker Ban Doesn't Apply

Credit Ross Elliott / Flickr Creative Commons

The Coeur d'Alene Tribe in northern Idaho plans to offer poker after deciding Idaho's constitutional ban on the game doesn't apply to the tribal-owned casino.

The Spokesman-Review reports the tribe has announced plans to open a poker room on May 2.

The tribe says it will offer Texas Hold' Em and Omaha.

Tribe spokesman Helo Hancock says several legal opinions have led the tribe to conclude that poker is exempted from state regulation under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

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Agriculture
6:40 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Alfalfa Growers Hope To Rake In More Green This Year

Drex Gauntt grows some of the earliest-harvested alfalfa in the Northwest near Burbank, Wash. Hay prices this year have him smiling.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Many Northwest alfalfa growers had a rough year with bad weather last summer.

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Recreation
9:07 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Extended Season For Some Northwest Ski Areas, But Profits Scarce

Notice the brown hills around Sun Valley in this Dec. 29, 2013 file photo. Snowmaking allowed the famous resort to operate during the crucial holiday period.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 2:00 pm

Thanks to late-season snow that fell at many area Cascade ski areas will welcome skiers and snowboarders well past Easter.

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Wages
4:45 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Idaho's Average Hourly Wage Ticks Up, Doesn't Keep Up With National Growth

Credit 401(K)2013 / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's average wage increased by almost 20 cents last year. But wage growth isn't keeping up with the national average. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment Survey finds Idaho's average hourly wage for all jobs was $18.67 last year, that's up 19 cents from 2012. Still, Idaho's average wage was almost 84 percent of the national average, which is $22.33 an hour.  

The survey also found that half of Idaho's hourly employees earned $14.68 or less in 2013. That's a 10 cent increase from 2012. 

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Affordable Housing
1:11 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Report: It Takes A 73 Hour Work Week To Pay Rent On Idaho's Minimum Wage

Credit National Low Income Housing Coalition

An Idaho worker earning the minimum wage would need to work 73 hours per week in order to afford a modest two-bedroom rental according to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

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Economy
6:45 am
Mon March 24, 2014

The Number Of Idaho Fur Trappers Doubles As Pelt Prices Soar

Patrick Carney sets his traps in a gated community pond near Eagle, Idaho.
Credit Jessica Murri / For Boise State Public Radio

Just four years ago, bobcat fur sold for about $200. Now, that same bobcat pelt can be sold for almost $2,000. Higher prices come from a rise in demand for fur in Asia, and it has led to more trappers in the field here in Idaho.

Patrick Carney, president of the Idaho Trappers Association, gets calls almost daily from folks who want advice on how to get into commercial trapping.

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Economy
11:42 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Idaho's February Jobless Rate Drops To Five Year Low

Idaho's unemployment rate dropped another tenth of a percentage point in February to 5.3 percent, the lowest rate in more than 5 years.

That decline came as the participation rate - which is the percentage of the population 16 and older working or actively looking for work - fell a tenth of a percentage point to 63.7 percent.

Idaho's participation rate dropped below 64 percent last October - the first time in over 30 years - and has been gradually sliding since.

Idaho Legislature
12:47 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Idaho Legislature Approves Bill Limiting Payday Loans

Credit Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

A bill seeking to let Idaho dictate how much payday lenders can give borrowers passed the House Monday by only one vote.

The 35-34 decision came after several lawmakers said they had issues with the bill, which limits loan size and lets borrowers set up interest-free payment plans if they hit a financial snag.

Boise Democrat Rep. Phylis King said letting borrowers take out loans of up to 25 percent of their monthly income was still too much, suggesting the amount be closer to 5 percent.

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Business
3:48 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Boise-Based Albertsons To Merge With Safeway Stores

Credit RoadsidePictures / Flickr Creative Commons

Safeway says it has agreed to be acquired by an investment group led by Cerberus Capital Management, the owner of Albertsons and several other supermarket chains.

The acquisition is worth about $7.64 billion in cash, and pending other transactions could top more than $9 billion.

It comes amid ongoing consolidation in the supermarket industry, which is facing growing competition from big-box retailers, specialty chains, drug stores and even dollar stores.

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Business
3:11 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Sun Valley Lodge Closing For 9 Month-Long Remodel

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Sun Valley Resort plans to close Sun Valley Lodge for nine months starting in September for an extensive remodel.

Resort officials tell the Idaho Mountain Express that a three-story, 20,000-square-foot spa will also be added to the northerly wing of the lodge near an outdoor swimming pool. Work on the spa is scheduled to start in April.

The resort in the announcement on Monday says the Lodge Dining Room will be eliminated.

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Business
2:15 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Federal Court Approves $311 Million Settlement Involving Micron

Credit Micron Technology

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says Idaho and other states have obtained court approval of a $311 million settlement involving Boise-based Micron Technology and other computer chip makers.

The court approval announced Tuesday means consumers can start filing claims to recoup the money they overpaid as a result of chip makers engaging in unlawful anti-competitive practices to inflate prices.

The approval involves the settlement of a lawsuit Idaho and 34 other states brought against 12 makers of dynamic random-access memory, or DRAM.

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Economy
10:41 am
Wed March 5, 2014

North Idaho Landowner Selling Waterfront Property For Bitcoin

Credit Antanacoins / Flickr Creative Commons

A North Idaho man is selling lake-front property for bitcoin, a digital currency that isn't regulated like the U.S. dollar.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports Hayden resident Alen Golub has joined with neighbors to sell 660 waterfront acres. Golub tells the paper he's selling his 50 acres in exchange for bitcoin.

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Business
10:39 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Twin Falls Approves Chobani Expansion

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Twin Falls officials in south-central Idaho have approved a $3.5 million expansion of a Greek yogurt plant operated by Chobani.

The Times-News reports in a story on Wednesday that the addition to the $450 million plant will add to its packaging and filling rooms on the east side.

Company officials say the plant reached full production in December, producing 1 million cases of yogurt a week.

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Economy
5:03 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

National Parks Report: Nearby Towns Lost Nearly $500M In October Shutdown

File photo of an entrance to Mount Rainier National Park
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

According to a National Park Service report, towns around national parks lost an estimated $414 million during the partial government shutdown last October.

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Agriculture
1:21 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Drought Could Dry Up Nevada Dairy Farmers' Expansion Plans

There are about 2,000 dairy cows on Pete Olsen's fifth-generation farm in northern Nevada. A new milk processing plant is now putting pressure on Olsen and other dairy farmers to expand the size of their herds. But with the ongoing drought, farmers are struggling to get enough feed for the cows they already have.
Kirk Siegler/NPR

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 1:13 pm

When Pete Olsen talks about drought on his fifth-generation dairy farm in Fallon, Nev., he's really talking about the snowpack 60 miles to the west in the Sierra Nevada.

The Sierras, Olsen says, are their lifeblood.

That is, the snowmelt from them feeds the Truckee and Carson rivers and a tangle of reservoirs and canals that make this desert bloom. Some of the highest-grade alfalfa in the world is grown here. And it makes perfect feed for dairy cows, because it's rich in nutrients.

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Jobs
1:16 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Boise Health Insurance Exchange Call Center Lays Off 1,600

A Boise call center that helps people sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is laying off nearly its entire work force as the federal exchange open enrollment period ends.

Maximus Inc. hired about 1,800 people for the Boise facility last year.

In a letter to employees on Monday, company officials announced that 1,600 employees will be laid off in April because they won't be needed when the federal enrollment period ends. Company officials say some employees may be hired back this fall, in preparation for the next enrollment period.

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Wages
4:23 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

CBO: Minimum Wage Hike Could Boost Paychecks – And Cut Jobs

Darlene Handy of Baltimore holds up a banner at a rally supporting a pay measure in Maryland. More than 20 states have raised minimum pay rates above the federal level.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 4:42 pm

Whatever you already believed about raising the federal minimum wage, you now have more ammo for your argument, thanks to a report released Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office, titled "The Effects of a Minimum-Wage Increase on Employment and Family Income."

Yes, you're right: Raising the wage in steps to $10.10 an hour by 2016 would push employers to cut jobs — about 500,000 of them, says the CBO, the nonpartisan research arm of Congress.

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Business
5:15 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Applesauce-Maker GoGo SqueeZ To Open Idaho Facility Creating 230 Jobs

Credit TheImpulsiveBuy / Flickr Creative Commons

Applesauce-maker GoGo squeeZ says it plans to open an $85 million food processing facility in Nampa, Idaho that will employ at least 230 people.

The Idaho Department of Commerce announced the company's Idaho investment in a press release Thursday.

The Idaho Statesman reports the average wage at the new facility will be $16 an hour, more than double Idaho's minimum wage.

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Homelessness
9:58 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Two Renovated Homeless Shelters Opening In Nampa

A small camp has formed outside Corpus Christi House in Boise.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise Rescue Mission plans to open two shelters in Nampa in the next two weeks.

The Idaho Statesman reports that a men's shelter called Lighthouse Rescue Mission and a women's shelter called the Valley Women and Children's Shelter are scheduled to open.

Officials say the women's shelter has 60 beds and will welcome women and children who are homeless as well as those displaced by domestic violence. A grand opening is planned for Thursday.

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