Economy

Boise
9:29 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Plans Announced To Expand Boise Convention Space

The Greater Boise Auditorium District has announced plans to partner with the Gardner Company to create more convention space by expanding the Boise Centre.

Officials including Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, Gardner Company Chief Operating Officer Tommy Ahlquist and the Auditorium District Board made the announcement Thursday.

Plans call for two new buildings with about 43,000 square feet of space for meetings and a kitchen to be built on the parking lot around the U.S. Bank building owned by the Gardner Company.

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Homelessness
11:05 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Counting Homeless People In Idaho Is An Inexact Science

Many homeless people we spoke with did not want their picture taken but David Powell outside Corpus Christi House didn't mind.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Volunteers are combing Idaho's streets for the next few days asking homeless people where they spent Wednesday night. This annual count is the only source for much of what we know about Idaho's homeless population. Those numbers, which we won’t know for months, help determine how much federal money will come to homeless programs in Idaho.

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Homelessness
6:30 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Why Idaho Homeless Shelters Are Full When There Are Fewer Homeless People

Homeless people often spend days outside Interfaith Sanctuary or inside nearby Corpus Christi House day shelter.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Luanne Jensen sits in an alley behind Boise’s Interfaith Sanctuary homeless shelter. She recently had knee surgery, so she's sitting on a bench built into her walker. The surgery, she says, is why she’s staying at Interfaith Sanctuary -- again. Jensen says she stayed here three years ago before landing a job. Now, she can’t work.

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Reader's Corner
10:38 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Interview With 'How Algorithms Came To Rule Our World' Author Christopher Steiner

Each day, our lives are increasingly driven by the unseen force of data that is harnessed, organized and focused by complex sets of mathematical formulas known as algorithms. These Information Age tools play a huge role in everything from the safety and efficiency of our cars, to the kind of music we hear on the radio, to the split-second trading on Wall Street that drives our economy.

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Agriculture
10:47 am
Thu January 23, 2014

How Drones And Satellites Can Boost The Biofuel Crop

High-tech cameras, sensors, aircraft and satellites could more accurately predict crop yields and increase the cost-effectiveness of biofuels. Dan Long holds the small aircraft equipped with cameras, while John Sulik holds the controls.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Northwest farmers are trying to get into the business of biofuels.

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Business
9:56 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Albertsons To Close 7 Northwestern Grocery Stores

Credit RoadsidePictures / Flickr Creative Commons

The grocery chain Albertsons plans to close several stores in the Northwest.

The Albany Democrat-Herald in Oregon reports that seven of 111 shops will be shuttered. The affected stores are in Washington and Oregon.

Albertsons spokesman Dennis McCoy says the Boise-based company is continuously evaluating its stores, pulling the plug on locations that are less profitable.

McCoy says some of the employees who worked at the affected stores may be able to transfer to a different location.

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Economy
6:00 am
Tue January 14, 2014

New Idaho Labor Chief Says State Needs To Shift Focus To Better Paying Jobs

Idaho Labor Department Director Ken Edmunds works in his Boise office. Edmunds took over the agency's top position in November.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

The new head of Idaho's Labor Department says the state needs to shift its focus to better paying jobs that will help grow the state's economy. 

Ken Edmunds is now in his second month as the head of Idaho’s Labor Department. The Twin Falls businessman replaced longtime labor director Roger Madsen in late November.   

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Economy
10:45 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Palouse Knowledge Corridor Eyes Entrepreneurs

The Palouse Knowledge Corridor has announced plans intended to attract startup businesses to the region that includes north-central Idaho and eastern Washington state.

The group includes representatives from the University of Idaho, Washington State University, and area cities.

The Lewiston Tribune reports the group on Thursday presented an idea for a five-day conference called "Be the Entrepreneur Bootcamp" it hopes to hold June 21 to June 25.

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Agriculture
2:54 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Idaho Farmers Receive Less In Government Subsidies

Credit JayneAndd / Flickr Creative Commons

Direct payments from the government to Idaho farmers and ranchers dropped 17 percent in 2013 compared to the previous year.

University of Idaho agricultural economists tell The Capital Press that the projections are based on data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service.

John Foltz, dean of University of Idaho's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, says government payments to Idaho farmers will likely continue to decline in future years.

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Idaho Legislature
4:09 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

State Workers Urge Idaho Legislature To Consider Pay Increases

State workers lamented wages falling further behind their private sector peers and urged a legislative panel to bring their salaries up — or risk losing employees to better-paying endeavors outside Idaho government.

Donna Yule, Idaho Public Employee Association dirctor, urged the Change in Employee Compensation Committee Wednesday to begin a three-year program of raising worker salaries.

Excluding benefits, Yule said, it would cost just over $16 million annually — but the expenditure would buttress morale that's taken a hit since the recession began in 2008.

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Business
6:22 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Northwest Craft Distilleries Hung-over After Washington Liquor Privatization

Mikel, a distiller at Dry Fly Distilling in Spokane, checks quality levels during the process.
Dry Fly Distilling

A Hood River distillery has the top selling brand of liquor according to sales numbers released by the state of Oregon. But other craft distillers say those hot numbers don’t reflect their experience.

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State Revenue
4:06 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Idaho's Rainy Day Account Could Fund State Government For 15 Days

Idaho state lawmakers return to session Jan. 6.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

If forced to pay its bills using reserves, Idaho could've funded state government for 14.7 days last fiscal year. That data has been collected and analyzed by The Pew Charitable Trusts for all 50 states, going back to fiscal year 2000.

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Minimum Wage
6:00 am
Tue December 31, 2013

3 Of Idaho’s Neighbors To Raise Minimum Wage, Idaho Stays The Same

Idaho's minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
Credit Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

The minimum wage goes up Wednesday in 13 states. Idaho isn’t one of them, but some of its neighbors are.

Washington and Oregon already have the first and second highest minimum wages in the country at $9.19 and $8.95 respectively. And, effective January 1, the lowest paid workers in Washington must get $9.32 an hour, and $9.10 in Oregon.

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Technology
5:21 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Consumers May Start Seeing More Secure 'Chip' Credit Cards In 2014

U.S. consumers could soon start seeing a new generation of credit cards
EMV-Connection.com

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 9:48 am

Northwest banks say 2014 may be the year consumers start to see a new generation of credit cards that are less prone to fraud.

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Economy
1:21 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Idaho's Jobless Rate Falls To 6.1 Percent In November

Idaho's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell by a record sixth-tenths of a percentage point to 6.1 percent in November.

The state Labor Department said Friday the rate matches the post-recession low posted last spring and the decline is double the previous record one-month swing of three-tenths of a percentage point.

The agency says about 3,800 more Idahoans were at work in November, with total unemployment dropping to 47,300, the lowest level since last spring.

In November 2012, Idaho's unemployment rate was 6.5 percent with over 50,000 people out of work.

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Payday Loans
12:08 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Caldwell, Idaho Limits Payday Loan Shops

Officials in a southwestern Idaho city have passed new rules limiting where payday loan businesses can open shop.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reports the Caldwell City Council unanimously passed an ordinance this week limiting new payday loan businesses to manufacturing and light industrial zones. The rules mean that if a payday loan company wants to open a storefront in a populated area, it will have to get a special use permit first.

Fraud
5:58 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Holiday Shoppers May Hit Snags As Banks Try To Curb Fraud

File photo.
Michael Kappel Flickr

An unprecedented rash of credit card fraud in one corner of the Northwest is forcing banks to put limits on card purchases – just in time for the busiest shopping season of the year.

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Economy
6:02 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Long-Term Unemployed Face End Of Benefits

The holiday season will mean an end to unemployment checks for about 1.3 million Americans, including about 45,000 jobless in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. 

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Agriculture
6:38 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Washington State Sees Big Jump In Use of Temporary Foreign Farmhands

File photo.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Northwest farmers hired significantly more foreign guest workers this season under a special immigration program.

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Economy
9:44 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Greek Yogurt Maker Chobani To Expand Twin Falls Production

Credit TBiley / Flickr Creative Commons

Greek yogurt company Chobani says it is increasing production at its Twin Falls plant and adding production of a new "light" yogurt called Simply 100.

Chobani officials tell The Times-News the $450 million plant is running at optimal production capability for the first time since it opened a year ago. When the plant opened, it made about 100,000 cases of yogurt per week running three or four production lines. It is now running 12 production lines and producing up to a million cases of yogurt a week.

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