Economy

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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Transportation
9:02 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Oil Equipment 'Megaloads' Headed For Canada Stalled In Idaho

This is the 'megaload' sitting at the Idaho/Montana border.
Credit Rick Strack / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho State Police say two gigantic loads of oil production equipment headed for Montana didn't move Thursday morning.

One of the shipments is parked on U.S. Highway 20 east of Arco.

The other is parked on State Highway 93 at Lost Trail Pass about 10 miles from the Montana border.

The shipments being moved by Omega Morgan are bound for the Kearl oil sands of Alberta in Canada.

Weather has been a problem for moving the loads, and Montana officials have yet to issue a permit for the load 10 miles from the border.

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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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Wages
9:39 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Idaho State Employee Pay Nearly 20 Percent Below Market Rate

Credit 401(K)2013 / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho lawmakers will take a look at state employee pay rates this year as they continue to fall behind market rates.

The Spokesman-Review reported Thursday that pay for Idaho employees is about 19 percent below market rates, and that gap has been growing for the last decade.

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Transportation
5:45 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

New Year Likely To Bring More 'Megaload' Fights

Members of the Nez Perce Tribe in Idaho block the passage of a “megaload” being shipped by Omega Morgan in August.
Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

Two large pieces of oil equipment crossing the Northwest are expected to start moving again after the New Year's holiday.

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Population
3:05 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Idaho's Population Grew Slightly In 2013, Now Tops 1.6 Million

Credit Alaskan_Dude / Flickr Creative Commons

For the first time, Idaho’s population has topped 1.6 million. The latest U.S. Census Bureau estimate shows Idaho gained 16,500 people in 2013 for a grand total of 1,612,136.

That’s slightly more than 1 percent growth from 2012. The fastest growing state, at more than 3 percent, was North Dakota. That's thanks to its recent oil and gas boom.

Two states, Maine and West Virginia, saw population declines from 2012 to 2013.

Here’s how Idaho’s neighbors compare in total population for 2013:

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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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Jobs
8:14 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Jobless Benefits Wind Down For 2,500 Idahoans

Idaho's share of the now-expiring extended federal unemployment benefit program is ending at $800 million in payments, with the last 2,500 long-term unemployed workers in the state getting their final cut this week.

Congress didn't renew the extended benefit program that began in 2008, just after the recession began, to ease pain of escalating unemployment amid the housing bubble's burst and deep dip of the stock market.

But the extended program is just a share of money paid out to jobless people since 2008.

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Transportation
11:21 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Oil Equipment Megaload Crosses Into Southern Idaho

A megaload of oil refinery equipment headed to Canada has arrived in Idaho.

The 380-foot, 450-ton load left Vale, Ore., Sunday night, traveled across the border and was parked Monday at the junction of U.S. Highway 95 and Idaho Highway 55.

It took three weeks for the load to travel 315 miles through Oregon.

The Idaho Department of Transportation issued a permit Friday to Omega Morgan.

It will be allowed to travel in Idaho only between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., and it will not be allowed to travel at all from Monday evening until Wednesday night.

Agriculture
10:34 am
Sat December 21, 2013

In Oregon's Wine Country, Family Holds Onto Oak Tradition

Sarah and Ben Deumling stand beneath one of the many oak trees on their 1,300 acre property northwest of Salem.
Devan Schwartz Northwest News Network

The Northwest wine industry has grown tremendously over the last few decades. That’s had a big economic impact but has also changed the region’s landscape.

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Transportation
3:36 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Expect Travel Delays, Idaho Issues Megaload Permit For Southern Route

The massive shipment will cross 84 bridges in Idaho and travel mostly on backroads.
Credit Idaho Department of Transportation

This post was updated at 5:15 p.m.

Snow has delayed a 450-ton shipment of oilfield equipment from moving into Idaho as it rumbles toward the tar sands oil development in Canada.

The company hauling the megaload had expected to cross the border from Vale, Ore., into Idaho on Friday night.

Spokeswoman Holly Zander says they will have to wait for better weather, and hope to try again Saturday night.

Meanwhile, the state of Idaho has issued a permit for the megaload to use highways crossing the southern part of the state on its way to Montana.

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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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Transportation
9:14 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

North Idaho Homeowners Uneasy About Lakeside ‘Megaload’ Route

The proposed route would take three megaloads on Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive, known for its lakeside homes and popular recreations areas. The loads would travel at night.
Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

The huge piece of oil equipment wending its way through eastern Oregon is expected to cross over into Idaho early Saturday.

Meanwhile, another so-called “megaload” project has emerged farther north. The proposed extra-heavy haul is making some homeowners nervous in north Idaho resort town of Coeur d’Alene.

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Unemployment Benefits
5:58 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Long-Term Unemployed Scramble As Loss Of Benefits Looms

Job seekers look for work at the Worksource Oregon office in Salem.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

About 45,000 people in the Northwest will face the new year without the unemployment benefits they've come to rely on.

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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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Lawsuit
10:20 am
Fri December 13, 2013

4 Miners Injured At Lucky Friday Mine Sue Hecla

Credit Photo by Hecla Mining

Four miners who were injured and trapped by a rock burst at a northern Idaho mine two years ago are suing Hecla Mining Co., alleging mine mangers sent them into unsafe working conditions while assuring them the area was safe.

The Spokesman-Review reports Ronnel E. Barrett, Gregg Hammerberg, Eric J. Tester and Matthew Williams are seeking more than $1 million for injuries, medical treatment and lost wages.

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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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