California Refinery Fire Could Cause Gas Price Hike

Aug 9, 2012
MadMup / Flickr

Northwest drivers could be paying more at the pump. That’s because this week’s refinery fire in California is likely to affect gas prices.

Analysts say get ready to pay as much as four dollars or more per gallon. You can blame the refinery fire in California for the spike. But what does that have to do with fuel prices here?

Molly Messick / StateImpact

Before the recession hit, the sawmill in the North Idaho town of Laclede was known for its reliability.  It had never seen a shutdown, not in Steve Spletstoser’s nearly 30 years of working there.  Then came 2008.

It was really eye-opening to see,” Spletstoser says.  “Your livelihood is hanging in the balance.”  Day after day, the mill cut lumber, and day after day it piled up.  Very little left the lot.

Moscow Federal Building For Sale

Aug 7, 2012
Casey Serin / Flickr

If you’re in the market for a five story office building, the federal government has one for you. The U.S. General Services Administration or GSA is selling the federal building in Moscow Idaho starting Tuesday. It currently houses courts and a post office but there is some empty space and the GSA thinks it would be more cost effective to sell the 40 year old building. Stephanie Kenitzer, a spokeswoman for the agency’s northwest/arctic region, says this is part of a national push to decrease federal property.

Boise Airport Picks Up New Airline, Nonstop Flights

Aug 7, 2012
Allegiant Air

Allegiant Air, known for its low cost direct flights, will now fly out of Boise.  The airline announced new flights from Boise to Las Vegas starting in October and Boise to Honolulu beginning in February.

Here’s the press release from Allegiant:

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

The housing market in the Northwest is finally showing signs of recovery. But there’s one sector of real estate that never let up during the economic downturn. Real estate agents who sell what’s known as “survival realty” are experiencing boom times.

BOISE, ID – The Idaho Steelheads hockey team and Idaho Stampede basketball team call Century Link Arena in downtown Boise home.  A new study shows the venue generates nearly eight million new dollars to the local economy each year.

Boise State University’s Center for Business Research and Economic Development prepared the report.  Brian Greber  leads the center.

Brian Greber:  "What we did is looked at how much money was spent from people that were coming to the valley from outside the valley."

Ada County Commissioners say they'll hold the line on the budget.  The 2012-2013 proposed budget will be up for public comment tonight.  Every year, the three commissioners have the option to levy a three percent tax increase on current property owners in the county. 

Every time you buy a smartphone or a tablet, you’re buying a little piece of silver inside. The expected global appetite for more and more silver-containing technology has spurred a corporate clash over mines in a remote corner of north Idaho.

If you meet a miner in Idaho’s Silver Valley, chances are, he either works for the Hecla Mining Company or U.S. Silver Corp. But last week, Hecla moved to effectively make the companies one and the same.

In an unsolicited bid, Coeur d’Alene-based Hecla offered to buy out shares of its Toronto-based competitor at $1.80 Canadian.

New figures out Friday show the U.S. economy is growing at a slower pace than previously thought. That's due in part to weak consumer spending and a rise in imports.

The new figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce show an annual growth rate in the gross domestic product of just 1.5 percent for the second quarter. That's a drop from the first quarter and it's another sign of a weak economic recovery.

But state level figures released last month show that Oregon and Washington's gross domestic product is higher than the national average.

Idaho Could Lose More Than 10,000 Defense-Related Jobs

Jul 18, 2012
Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald / U.S. Air Force

As federal lawmakers debate how to avoid falling off the looming fiscal cliff, a report commissioned for the Aerospace Industries Association shows Idaho could lose 10,411 defense-related jobs.  The U.S. could face job losses totaling two million, according to the report.

Why One Idaho Company Is Growing Its Own Workforce

Jul 16, 2012
Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact

About half of all Idaho jobs fall into the middle-skills category.  Think mechanics, welders, police officers, or air traffic controllers.  These are jobs where you need more than a high school diploma, but less than a college degree.

According to the National Skills Coalition, not quite half of Idaho’s workers are trained for these jobs.  While many Idaho schools are ramping up efforts to train workers, the pipeline isn’t full yet, so one Idaho business has taken training into its own hands.

Boise's "Hole" Will Get New Building

Jul 12, 2012

Men in suits and ties and women in heels and blazers grasped the rail as they walked carefully down a set of rickety metal stairs Thursday afternoon. They gathered under the hot sun in a hole in the ground, surrounded by construction equipment and hard hats. They celebrated that the infamous hole in Boise's downtown on Eighth and Main will finally be filled.

Idaho Housing Market Shows Steady Improvement

Jul 12, 2012
Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

RealtyTrac’s midyear foreclosure report gives emphasis to the mantra we’ve been hearing all year about Idaho’s housing market: it’s improving.

A Rancher, A Logger, And Economic Fate In Rural Idaho

Jul 11, 2012
Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

In Idaho, the timber and ag industries are heavy hitters.  They play big roles in the state’s history and identity.  But the recession has dealt them different hands, dividing rural Idaho into winners and losers.  StateImpact Idaho takes a look at two industries, two counties, and two economic fates. 


A recent discovery in an Idaho potato field has Northwest spud growers worried. Researchers this week reported that insects from the Twin Falls area tested positive for bacteria that cause “zebra chip disease.”

The disease doesn’t pose a health risk to humans but potato researcher Andy Jensen says it can render entire crops un-marketable.

“If you take an infected tuber and you slice it and fry it like a potato chip -- it develops stripes that look just like zebra stripes," Jensen explains. "I mean a farmer can’t sell something that’s affected by this.”