Economy

Two mines in northern Idaho have agreed to merge.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports that U.S. Silver will merge with Scorpio Mining Corp. The companies announced the merger Friday.

U.S. Silver owns and operates the Galena Mine complex in the Silver Valley's Coeur d'Alene Mining District, which is just west of Wallace. Scorpio is a Toronto-based silver producer, which owns the Nuestro Senora Mine in Mexico.

Darren Blasutti will become the president and chief executive officer of the new management team.

Jim Pasco / Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is reporting a record high number of visitors in October.

Just over 194,800 visited the park in October, surpassing the previous October record of over 189,000 set in 2010. 

There were over 3.4 million recreational visits to Yellowstone in the first 10 months of 2014, an increase of over 10 percent over the same period last year.

With two months left in the calendar year, 2014 is already the second-highest visitation year on record. The park's peak year was 2010, when there were over 3.6 million visitors.

Rae Allen / Flickr

The founders of a Bend craft brewery that's being sold to Anheuser-Busch are promising "business as usual."

But the sale of 10 Barrel Brewing Co. is causing ripples in the lively Central Oregon craft beer trade.

The Bend Bulletin reports reaction among fellow brewers ranging from well-wishing to a lament that the deal felt like a family member had died.

10 Barrel co-founder Jeremy Cox says key managers will remain in place, including his brother, Chris, overseeing the brewery.

Office furniture maker Kimball International says it plans to sell a metal-fabrication facility in Idaho and move that work to existing company factories in southern Indiana.

The Jasper-based company says it will spend about $9.5 million to transfer the production to three Indiana factories over the next two years.

Kimball officials say they are actively trying to sell its Post Falls, Idaho, facility.

Andy / Flickr

Banner Bank is taking over Spokane-based American West Bank in a $702 million deal that will expand the Walla Walla bank to 190 branches in five states, including Idaho.

Both banks cater to midsize businesses, farms and manufacturing companies. Banner president and CEO Mark Grescovich told The Spokesman-Review Wednesday that will continue.

He expects the deal to close next spring after a review by state and federal regulators and a shareholders' vote.

Janelle / Flickr Creative Commons

One of the nation’s biggest producers of natural, organic and vegetarian food is opening a facility in Idaho. California-based Amy’s Kitchen has bought a 500,000-square-foot plant in Pocatello, formerly owned by Heinz.

The announcement came from Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s office Wednesday.

UGA College of Ag / Flickr

Idaho dairy producers are touting a new study that again shows the substantial role the dairy industry plays in the state’s economy. 

Manoosh26 / Flickr Creative Commons

The Wood River Valley is bracing for the loss of one of its largest employers. Ski equipment maker Smith Optics is one of the area’s top 10 employers and one of the biggest private-sector employers, according Harry Griffith, director of Sun Valley Economic Development - a nonprofit focused on the Blaine County economy.

smith optics, business
talksrealfast / Flickr Creative Commons

A central Idaho company whose founder invented the double-lensed, vented ski goggle that is now the industry standard is moving operations and 85 jobs out of the resort town of Ketchum.

Smith Optics announced Monday that its design headquarters will move to Portland, Oregon, during the first half of 2015.

Other parts of the company are moving to Clearfield, Utah, or Parsippany, New Jersey, over the next three years.

Robert Earl "Bob" Smith came up with the double-lens goggles in the 1960s and patented his invention. He died in 2012 at age 78

Rita Thara Yenga, Africa, International Market
Jodie Martinson / Boise State Public Radio

Rita Thara Yenga shows off two plastic boxes full of women's bags she's sewn. She's preparing inventory for her new store "Thara Fashion." It opened in October at the International Market in Boise.

"I'm so happy to show people my talent," she explains. "It makes me excited."

Rita sells clothes and accessories for American sensibilities, but with a distinctly African twist. 

screen grab from esri.com

Your zip code tells postal workers how to get you your daily pile of junk mail advertisements. Your zip can also tell advertisers what junk mail to send you. That’s the idea behind software company Ersi’s Tapestry Segmentation program.

The tool allows users (marketers) to type in a zip code and get an analysis of the people who live there based on U.S. Census Bureau and market research data.

Boise's North End

Dan Popkey
Otter For Idaho Twitter

The news business as we know it is in crisis. It's been well reported that revenue has been drying up as advertisers move online, causing newspapers to shrink their staffs. Something that's less-often reported is how much the public relations business has been booming.

Alex Proimos / Flickr

Idaho is a very charitable state. Idahoans gave more of their income to charity than every surrounding state, except Utah. But low-income Idahoans are giving away more of their hard-earned cash than the wealthy.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy used Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data from 2006 to 2012 to find patterns of giving across the country.

beer tap, bar, alcohol
Marissa Anderson / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho Barley Commission estimates about 40 percent of this year's barley crop was damaged by rain, but that bad crop is unlikely to affect craft beer prices in the near term. Rain-saturated barley crops in other top producing states like Montana and North Dakota haven't fared much better.

The federal government has awarded the Boise Airport $700,000 to help secure direct flights to the eastern U.S.

The airport applied for the Department of Transportation grant over the summer.  A similar application last year was not successful.

Uber is coming to Boise, at least temporarily. The ride-sharing app, which connects passengers with drivers, starts a temporary free trail in the city Thursday.

Uber has been around since 2009 and operates in more than 200 cities worldwide.

It works like this: riders download an app on their phone, plug in a destination, and choose a driver to pick them up. Drivers use their own cars.

Nathan Feir / Flickr

Gas prices are dropping in Idaho and around the nation. Following a regular trend, Idaho’s prices were higher this summer than the national average, but winter prices tend to be lower. One expert says there are several reasons why.

Idaho had the sixth highest gasoline price in the nation at certain times this year.

Albertsons
RoadsidePictures / Flickr Creative Commons

The parent companies of the Supervalu and Albertsons supermarkets say they have uncovered another breach of their computer networks, potentially compromising data from consumers.

The companies say that in late August or early September, malicious software was installed on networks that process credit and debit card transactions at some of their stores. Albertsons says the malware may have captured data including account numbers, card expiration dates and the names of cardholders. Supervalu says it believes most of its stores were not affected.

Census data released by the government this week show individuals and women in Idaho have the lowest median incomes in the country, while household and family median incomes are in the bottom third among states.

The data release is part of the U.S. Census Bureau's 2013 American Community Survey.

Idaho's median household income in 2013 was $46,783, meaning half the residents here earned more and half earned less.

This interactive map is shaded based on median household income.

job fair, Meridian, unemployment
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's August jobless rate ticked down a tenth of a percent after a slight increase in July. The Idaho Department of Labor reports the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.7 percent declined because 600 workers left the labor force, the second-straight month the workforce has shrunk.

Most workers hired in August filled vacant jobs. The Labor Department reports new hires were lower than August 2013.

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