The Brookings Institution

Boise home values have improved by nearly five percent from their post-recession low.  That’s enough of an increase that a recent Brookings Institution report ranks the city first for its house price recovery.  StateImpact reported that finding early this week.

Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Boise earned sixth place in a recent ranking of cities’ economic recoveries, a strong finish that’s based largely on improvement in local home prices.

Courtesy Dick Vinson

It’s a rare thing for a small sawmill to try to get up and running while a crucial market driver for lumber — housing construction — remains in a national slump.

So when the Emerald Forest Products mill reopened in Emmett, Idaho this month, something unusual was happening.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The committee that oversees compensation for state legislators today attempted to clarify when lawmakers may claim the $122 per diem payment intended for those who maintain a second residence during the legislative session.  That payment became a source of controversy last fall, after the AP reported that one state senator claimed it while staying with his parents, and another claimed it while staying on his law firm’s couch.

Courtesy Dick Vinson

Stories about mill towns tend to go something like this: generations of families work at the local sawmill.  Then, the mill shuts down, taking hundreds of jobs with it.  Emmett, Idaho is one of those towns.  Boise Cascade closed its mill here in 2001.  But that’s not where this story ends.  Instead, it picks up with a Montana entrepreneur and millions in stimulus funding.

The expanse of ground where Boise Cascade used to operate is quiet and overgrown.  Buildings are boarded up.  A pair of quail struts across an open lot.  But on one corner of the property, there’s activity again.

State Controller Donna Jones Recovering

Jun 19, 2012

State Controller Donna Jones is getting better. That’s the word from her staff and Idaho Governor Butch Otter.

Jones, who's 73 - years - old was injured in a one-car rollover May 25th. She broke her neck and was taken to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in critical condition for surgery. Now Jones has been moved to a rehab facility and is receiving daily therapy.

Franz Jantzen /

Northwest tribes stand to receive big payments from the federal government after a U.S. Supreme Court decision Monday. Here’s the upshot of the ruling: the government has to uphold contracts with American Indian tribes -- even if Congress shortchanges those deals.

Mirroring the national jobless rate increase, Idaho’s unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point last month, ending a nine-month decline in the economic measure.

Jobless In Idaho: Short-Term Work Is A Short-Term Fix

Jun 14, 2012
Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

For months now, our “Jobless in Idaho” series has followed people here in Idaho as they search for work against hard odds.  Kelly Barker, a single mom from Meridian, had been out of work for the better part of a year when we met her last winter.  Since then, she’s made do with a combination of temp work, food stamps and unemployment benefits.  In April, those benefits were running out.

Barker was scouring the web for job possibilities when we last met.  It was a tense time, and Barker knew there was only one option.  She had to find work.  “I don’t have a contingency plan,” she said.  “You know, a mortgage payment – you’d have to have a lot of savings to sustain you for a long period of time, and I don’t, so I have ten weeks to find a job.  Period.”

Jobless In Idaho: Short-Term Work Is A Short-Term Fix

Jun 13, 2012
Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

For months now, our "Jobless in Idaho" series has followed people here in Idaho as they search for work against hard odds.  When we last talked to Kelly Barker, her unemployment benefits were running out.  Continue reading...

Susan Ellis / APHIS, USDA

An unwelcome stowaway from the East Coast showed up in a Nampa home last month.  A brown marmorated stink bug likely hitched a ride in furniture or packing materials to Idaho.  This is the first time this pest has been found in Idaho.

This stink bug originated in Asia and popped up in mid-Atlantic states in the 1990s.  They have already caused major damage outside of Idaho to fruits and vegetables, especially apples, peaches, and pears. 

More Idahoans Will Be Eligible For Food Assistance July 1

Jun 13, 2012

Starting July 1, more low-income parents with young children will be eligible for food assistance.

The supplemental nutrition program Women, Infants and Children, or WIC provides certain foods to pregnant or breastfeeding moms and families with children under age five.

The latest jobs report for Washington state contains a paradox.

Here’s one lesson of the economic downturn: unemployment disadvantages different age groups in different ways.

Washington Senator Wants Answers On High Gas Prices

Jun 11, 2012
tinatinatinatinatina / Flickr

The latest Lundberg Survey on US gas prices shows the national average right now is $3.62 a gallon.  In Boise, it’s about $.15 higher.  But in Seattle, gas prices are over $4.20.  That’s the highest current price in the U-S. 

As a result of such discrepancies, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate gas prices, and why they’re so high in Washington.