Officials with cheesemaker Glanbia Foods have announced an $82 million expansion of manufacturing plants in south-central Idaho.

The company in a statement on Thursday says the expansion at its headquarters in Twin Falls and a plant in Gooding will add up to 50 new jobs.

The company says the expansion will help meet demand for whey — a byproduct from cheese-making.

Data Points To Early Signs Of An Ada County Housing Bubble

Dec 3, 2014
house, sold sign, yard
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The housing-market research firm RealtyTrac finds that Ada County is showing early signs of a home-price bubble, based on affordability and an uptick in the foreclosure rate.

snow, tree, weather
Jim Bauer / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Forest Service's new supervisor for the 4-million-acre Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest in northern Idaho says the agency might offer more trees for sale.

Cheryl Probert says the Johnson Bar salvage and others projects related to the 9-square-mile fire last summer could increase timber harvest.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that Probert met on Monday with Clearwater County commissioners, who want more timber harvested.

Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District

The bill you received in mid-October if you live in the Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District is coming due later this month.

Officials are reminding the district’s 38,000 property owners that they have until Dec. 20 to pay the first installment of their irrigation tax bill.

But a more dire reminder has gone out to the owners of 99 properties in the district who are as much as three years behind in their payments.

Irrigation district Secretary-Treasurer Daren Coon says final notices, a follow-up to certified letters that were mailed in August, are now in the mail.

Mikkel Ronne / Flickr

If you’re one of the thousands of Idaho residents who go online to buy things, you’re probably one of the thousands of Idahoans cheating the state out of money.

The state has a little-known – and frequently ignored – companion to the sales tax called the use tax. It’s also hard to enforce, as residents are entrusted with self-reporting their purchases.

“Many people don’t know about the use tax,” said Randy Tilley, who is the administrator of the Idaho Tax Commission’s Audit Division.

For the past few years Brian Rich has been telling everyone who will listen not to go shopping on Thanksgiving. The credit union marketing coordinator from Boise started a social media campaign in 2011 called Boycott Black Thursday.

Google Earth

Meridian will be getting a new YMCA, city park and elementary school. The Treasure Valley YMCA announced Thursday it will build its first new facility since opening the Caldwell Y nine years ago. The new South Y will be built in Meridian south of I-84 near Eagle Road and Amity.

It will be built on 22 acres of donated land. The J.A. and Katherine Albertson Foundation is donating $4 million to start the project.

In 2013, per capita personal income rose 2.9 percent in Idaho according to a report out Thursday from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Nationally, per capita personal income grew 1.3 percent. Even with the growth, Idaho’s average per capita personal income of $36,146 remains nearly $9,000 below the national average.

Blaine County, home of Sun Valley, had Idaho’s highest personal income in 2013. Here are the top five counties:

Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson said his company wants to nearly double its footprint at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

A slowdown in operations at ports up and down the West Coast is choking off the flow of apples, Christmas trees, potatoes and other Northwest products to foreign markets.

An arctic air mass has swept into the Northwest. Cold air and snow are expected from central Washington through central Oregon and even into Idaho’s central Panhandle.

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