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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wall Street Occupied With Stock Rally

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 3:29 PM


Christmas came a little early to Wall Street as market indexes gained more than 4 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 490 points. The Nasdaq composite index rose 4.2 percent. Shares of banks, energy companies and material providers all powered up by more than 4 percent.

The Dow posted its best day since March 2009, and the Standard and Poors 500 Index scored its best daily percentage gain since August.

Hewlett-Packard jumped a full 3.9 percent, closing at $27.95.

Micron fared even better, improving 6.21 percent to $5.99 per share.

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Wall Street Sees Santa Rally, HP and Micron Show Gains

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 2:54 PM

Wall Street reacted quickly and positively this afternoon as the Federal Reserve said the U.S. economy was growing moderately. Additionally, the world's central banks decided to lower the cost of borrowing, sending the New York Stock Exchange jumping as much as 400 points, the best performance since early August.

As of midday, Hewlett-Packard had gained nearly 92 cents a share, a 3.4 percent bump, to $27.82. Earlier in the day, HPQ traded as high as $28. Micron was also showing robust growth, gaining nearly 4 percent to $5.86 a share on the NASDAQ exchange. Earlier in the day, Micron flirted with $6 a share.

"All we needed was a Santa rally," said Randy Frederick, director of trading for Charles Schwab.

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American Cuts Flights To, From Boise

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 2:52 PM

The new year will see fewer flights in and out of the Boise Airport.

Southwest Airlines has already announced that beginning Sunday, Jan. 8, it will discontinue flights from Boise to Seattle, Salt Lake and Reno. This morning, American Airlines revealed that on Thursday, Feb. 9, it will cut daily service between Boise and Los Angeles. Currently, American Eagle flies from Boise to the City of Angels twice a day, at 10:35 a.m. and 3:20 p.m.. After Feb. 9, United will remain the only airline with direct service from Boise to Los Angeles.

An American spokesperson said today's announcement had nothing to do with Tuesday's news that the airline's parent company was filing for bankruptcy protection.

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Update: Gas Line Break Shuts Down Eagle Road

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 12:48 PM

UPDATE 3:20 p.m.

Traffic on Eagle Road is flowing again, as crews from Intermountain Gas quickly repaired a break in a gas main below Eagle. Construction crews hit a pipeline at the southwest corner of Eagle and Pine around noon. Intermountain said no customers were impacted by the main shutdown.

All traffic lanes were blocked for approximately three hours until Meridian police gave the all clear.

UPDATE 2:15 p.m.

A major traffic alert is expected to stretch into this evening's rush hour as emergency crews deal with a broken gas main below Eagle Road. All traffic is being re-routed away from Eagle between Fairview and Pine.

Construction crews working in the area reportedly hit a natural gas pipeline around noon at the southwest corner Eagle and Pine. Crews have identified the source of the leak but the repair is expected to take some more time. Emergency crews determined that an evacuation was unnecessary.

UPDATE 1:45 p.m.

Here's a look through the Ada County Highway District traffic cam at Eagle & Franklin, where emergency crews have blocked off all traffic on Eagle Road between Fairview and Pine because of a gas main break beneath Eagle Road.

Ada County Sheriff's officials said the repairs could take several hours to complete. Traffic is being encouraged to steer clear of the Treasure Valley's busiest road.

UPDATE 1:15 p.m.

Here's a traffic cam at the corner of Eagle and Fairview. Traditionally, this intersection is bumper-to-bumper. As you can see, Meridian Police have blocked off all lanes while crews work below Eagle to repair a broken gas line. The tie-up is expected to last "for quite some time."

ORIGINAL POST 12:30 p.m.
A gas line break under Eagle Road has brought traffic to a standstill.

Meridian's police and fire departments are on the scene and currently blocking all lanes of traffic on Eagle Road between Fairview Avenue and Pine Street. Because the break is under the road, Andrea Dearden of the Ada County Sheriff's Office said the road is expected to "be shut down for quite some time."

Stay connected to Citydesk, Twitter and Facebook for updates.

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Obama: Payroll Tax Cuts Equal to Half-a-Billion in Idaho

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 10:06 AM

The White House, in an effort to push Congress to extend the payroll tax cut, unveiled a new report from the U.S. Treasury Department that indicates approximately 800,000 Idahoans would be affected.

According to the report, the 2.0 percent cut in employee payroll taxes would translate to approximately half-a-billion dollars to Idahoans, and more than $109 billion in tax relief nationwide. For a family with wages or salaries of $50,000 per year, the approximate median household income, the payroll tax cut equals $1,000.

If President Barack Obama had his druthers, Congress would take the tax cut a step further and pass his proposed American Jobs Act that would boost the payroll tax cut to 3.1 percent, which would translate to approximately $1,550 for a typical household.

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Huge Idaho Land Swap Being Considered This Week

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 9:23 AM

Central Idahoans are doing their due diligence this week on one of the largest proposed Gem State land swaps in recent memory. The proposed plan would trade approximately 40,000 acres in the Upper Lochsa River Basin, currently owned by Western Pacific Timber, for a select number of parcels of U.S. Forest Service land, all in Idaho County.

The Forest Service has indicated that it covets the land in the upper Lochsa region for wildlife managment. In return, they're proposing to swap land bordering the Fish Creek camping and skiing area seven miles south of Grangeville, in addition to other select parcels. Western Pacific has promised to honor current grazing leases on the Forest Service land, but opponents argued that the timber company could raise fees to ranchers in the future, driving them out of business.

The plan is getting the once-over from citizens at workshops in Riggins and Grangeville this week. According to the Lewiston Tribune, almost all of those attending thus far are against any kind of trade.

The comment period on the proposal ends in mid-January.

You can see a map of the proposed Upper Lochsa Land Exchange here.

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Census: More American Children in Poverty

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 9:21 AM

In a troubling snapshot of the American family, a new Census report reveals more children who have known nothing but poverty.

More than 650 counties in the United States saw significant increases in poverty for children ages 5 to 17, according to the most recent Census. Only eight counties from across the nation reported a decrease. A staggering 19.8 percent of American schoolchildren qualify as poor.

The 2010 Census indicated four Idaho counties registered overall poverty rates of 20 percent or above: Lemhi, Madison, Owyhee and Shoshone

The report reminds us that unless Congress acts within the coming weeks, extended unemployment insurance benefits will expire at the end of the year, sending more families into financial turmoil. Any possible expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the child tax credit could also go away without congressional intervention. Congress will also need to decide soon whether to extend the payroll tax cut, which gives about an extra $1,000 to each household, aiding primarily the middle class.

In today's BW, we profile Teresa Alexander and Joanne Taylor from the Children's Home Society of Idaho, which is seeing a continual rise of families who are not able to meet their insurance co-pay for much-needed services for infants and toddlers.

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Boise Council Passes Smoke-Free Ordinances, Looks to Taxis Next

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 9:15 AM

Citydesk counts at least 30 restaurants and/or bars in Boise that currently allow smoking. But in a little more than a month, it will be time to clean out the ashtrays once and for all.

As expected, the Boise City Council last night decided to ban smoking in the city's bars and restaurants, in addition to parks, the Greenbelt, the Grove and all of of Eighth Street between Main and Bannock. Councilman T.J. Thomson was the only council member to vote against the ordinance banning smoking in parks, hoping that designated smoking sections could be established in more of the city's larger parks. The ordinances, as written, would allow designated smoking areas only in Ann Morrison and Julia Davis parks, in addition to a smoking section near the Grove Plaza.

The new ordinance also bans smoking in taxi cabs. Which opened the door for the City Council to next consider a proposed ordinance that would introduce a list of changes to how taxis operate in the City of Trees. In today's BW, you can read all about the proposed taxi ordinance.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Report: HP Printers Vulnerable to Hacking

Posted By on Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 2:57 PM

A troubling report from MSNBC revealed that certain Hewlett-Packard printers could be hacked to collect confidential information or even cause physical damage.

Researchers at Columbia University were able to hack an official HP management tool to include malicious programming in with a regular print job. It allowed the researchers to grab confidential information and even caused printers to overheat. Worse yet was that the hackers left no outward indication of the changed status on the printer software, leaving owners unaware of a security breach. The reprograming hack job lasted just 30 seconds.

HP was made aware of the flaw prior to the researchers going public with their findings.

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Cain Reassessing Presidential Campaign

Posted By on Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 2:54 PM

According to several campaign insiders, Herman Cain told aides early today that he's "reassessing his campaign," one day after a businesswoman said she had been conducting a 13-year extramarital affair with Cain, right up until the time he announced his presidential candidacy.

Cain immediately denied the affair Monday, following a string of previous denials of accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior with a few women.

In an early morning conference call with his senior staff, lasting approximately 10 minutes, Cain reportedly said that he would continue with all of his scheduled public events for this week, but he "would review the campaign's strategy over the next several days."

"He said obviously it's taken an emotional toll on his family, but he's moving ahead with the campaign," said Steve Grubbs, Cain's Iowa campaign chairman. "He said they will be reassessing the campaign."

Another campaign staffer, speaking anonymously with the Associated Press, said Cain was "examining the impact of the newest allegations."

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