Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Business Briefs

Disparity in American wealth grows

Internal Revenue Service data shows that inequality in American incomes increased significantly in 2005, with the top 1 percent receiving their largest share since 1928.

Although total reported income for the United States increased almost 9 percent in 2005, the most re-cent year for which such data is available, these gains went largely to those with incomes over $348,000.

Average incomes for those in the bottom 90 percent actually decreased by 0.6 percent compared to 2004.

This data also showed that the top 300,000 Ameri-cans collectively received as much income in 2005 as the bottom 150 million.

Marbles soothe tired muscles

Local entrepreneur Michael Ayers, manager of Pennay's at River Run, has created a company that manufactures gloves, mittens and pads filled with heated marbles. These products are used for massage applications.

After trying out numerous materials and designs, Ayers decided on a fingerless glove with a satin palm containing marbles heated in a microwave.

After a few minutes being heated in the microwave, the marbles provide approximately 10 minutes of added soothing to muscles and pressure points.

Visit Pennay's in Ketchum to get a demonstration from Ayers on his invention.

Nampa hosts annual PEO convention

The Philanthropic Education Organization of the Idaho State Chapter will be holding its 92nd annual convention in Nampa on May 4, 5 and 6.

Presiding over the convention will be Sun Valley resident Patricia Brolin-Ribi, this year's Idaho State Chapter president. The event's theme is "Let's Raise the Bar up to the Stars!" and will feature several hon-ored guests and distinguished speakers.

The PEO Sisterhood is an international philan-thropic and education organization formed in 1869 at Iowa Wesleyan College with the goal of furthering the education of women.

Chamber offering 'Spring Fling'

The Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitor's Bu-reau is offering its Spring Fling promotion until June 15.

Visitors will be able to take advantage of insider deals during this time period, enjoying lodging, shop-ping and dining at vastly reduced prices.

For more information, visit the chamber's Web site at

Wellness Festival starts May 24

The 10th annual Sun Valley Wellness Festival will take place May 24 through May 28 at Sun Valley Re-sort. This year's keynote speaker is Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., author of "Crimes Against Nature," listed on The New York Times' best-seller list.

Kennedy will speak on the topic of "Meeting the Challenge: Shaping our Environmental Destiny."

Held in conjunction with the Wellness Festival is the third annual Sun Valley-Ketchum Half Marathon on May 27. New events this year include a 12K run, 5K walk and a children's "marafun."

Power Engineers buys Lewiston firm

Hailey-based Power Engineers Inc. acquired System Protection Services of Lewiston on March 30, a com-pany news release states.

According to the news release, System Protection Services' specialties include substation design, electri-cal studies, overhead and underground transmission line design, geographic information systems (GIS), and construction management.

Idaho milk production up

Idaho milk production during March of 2007 totaled some 953 million pounds, a 6.5 percent increase from the same month last year, and up 106 million pounds from February of 2007, the National Agricultural Sta-tistics Service has reported. Average milk production per cow in March 2007 was 1,890 pounds, up 210 pounds from February, and up 10 pounds from March 2006.

The average number of milk cows during March of 2007 was 504,000 head, unchanged from February of 2007, and up 28,000 head from March 2006, the NASS reported.

Idahoans warned of investment fraud

In light of Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's designa-tion of April as "Financial Literacy Month," Gavin Gee, the director of the Idaho Department of Finance, has issued a warning to Idaho investors to approach overseas investing with caution.

"Swindlers, with bogus overseas investment schemes, are using high-pressure telephone and e-mail boiler room sales tactics to defraud investors of poten-tially millions of dollars," Gee said.

The rise of offshore boiler room operations will make it much more difficult, if not impossible, for in-vestors to recover their funds and for law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases, he warned. Even mainstream foreign investments sometimes in-volve special risks and circumstances due to differing standards of marketplace regulation, Gee added.

Idaho potato stocks down

Idaho potato stocks are down 6 percent from last year. Stocks held by growers, dealers and processors in Idaho on April 1 totaled 41 million cwt (a unit of meas-urement equal to 100 pounds), 2.50 million cwt less than was on hand at this time last year. This is the lowest April 1 potato stock level in Idaho since 1990.

Stocks in the 10 southwest counties totaled 2.30 mil-lion cwt, down from last year's 2.40 million cwt. The other counties' stocks, at 38.7 million cwt, were down 2.40 million cwt from last year.

Nationally, the 13 major potato states held 114 mil-lion cwt in storage on April 1, down 2 percent from last year and 12 percent down from 2005 statistics.

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