Around Idaho: September 2017 Economic Activity

Information provided in this article is from professional sources, news releases, weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.

Northern Idaho
North Central Idaho
Southwestern Idaho
South Central Idaho
Southeastern
Eastern Idaho

NORTHERN IDAHO – Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties

Kootenai County

  • Alliance Data – citing strong growth in its Card Services division – announced plans to add 140 workers in Kootenai County by the end of 2017. This would raise the total employment at the company’s Coeur d’Alene complex to 750 employees, from 610 currently. A company spokesman said that Alliance anticipates a further expansion to between 800 and 850 employees in 2018. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • Viking Construction has begun work on the third and final phase of the Fieldstone Apartments project in Post Falls. This phase will add 64 units to the complex. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • Cascade Team Real Estate – a brokerage based in Issaquah, Washington – announced it plans to open a new office in Coeur d’Alene. Cascade Team focuses on residential real estate and does not provide commercial listings or property management services. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • SPi CRM, a Philippines-based call center, is remodeling the former Sports Authority space in the Silver Lake Mall in Coeur d’Alene to use as a new customer-service call center. SPi’s spokesman noted that the company anticipates total staffing of around 240 employees. Source: Spokane Journal of Business

Shoshone County

  • A fire consumed the McConnell Hotel building in Kellogg on Sept. 1. The historic building – opened in 1913 – was considered a local landmark, located on Main Street. The building was consumed, but fire crews were able to prevent serious damage to surrounding buildings, which included residential structures. Source: Shoshone News Press

Benewah County

  • Fire crews in Benewah County battled nine fires on the West St. Joe Protective District in late August and early September, bringing the total for the summer up to 22. Source: St. Maries Gazette Record

Boundary County

  • Yoder’s Market announced plans to relocate to a new building in Bonners Ferry. Source: Company social media announcement

Sam.Wolkenhauer@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 457-8789 ext 4451

NORTH CENTRAL IDAHO – Clearwater, Idaho, Latah, Lewis and Nez Perce counties

Clearwater County

  • Clearwater County commissioners adopted a “bare bones” budget for fiscal year 2018 as it struggled with the loss of federal money for roads and the cost of repairing the damage to roads and bridges caused by this spring’s floods and mudslides. Congress has not reauthorized the Secure Rural Schools Act, which has provided funding for schools, roads and special projects for rural counties with federal forests since 2000. The federal funds, which had a sunset clause, provided $500,000 for the county’s roads and about $700,000 for schools. The commissioners adopted a budget of $16.6 million for the coming year, up from the current $13.9 million budget. The increase came from $5 million in road and bridge repairs that begin this fall. The county is using savings for the repairs, although it hopes the federal government will eventually provide the promised disaster funds. The budget doesn’t give county employees a raise for the coming year. Source: Lewiston Tribune; Clearwater Tribune
  • The Avista Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant to the Clearwater Historical Society for construction of a new museum in Orofino. The Avista grant allows the historical society to continue efforts towards completion of the new museum through the fall and next year. The new museum will make it easier to show artifacts about the Nez Perce Tribe, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the establishment of the Idaho territory, the Orofino gold rush and the county’s logging industry. The new museum, still under construction, had a sneak preview Sept. 16. Source: Window on the Clearwater
  • The Clearwater Memorial Public Library Foundation received a $25,000 grant from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation. It will help the foundation raise the money needed for the first phase of a planned expansion of the Orofino library. The foundation hopes construction will begin in early 2018. Source: Clearwater Tribune

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • Many Idaho County residents will pay higher property taxes next year as the county struggles to replace federal payments under the Secure Rural Schools Act, which Congress did not reauthorize. The Grangeville Highway District will have to make up $663,448 of the $1.2 million the county lost for roads and bridges. Commissioners approved a $21.2 million budget for the 2018 fiscal year, up from $15.8 million this year. Most of the increase comes from a $4 million reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to repair 11 county roads damaged in the past year from flooding. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • A group of Kooskia residents had an unsuccessful bid to raise $199,000 by Sept. 1 required to purchase the Kooskia Old Opera House. They intended to turn the building on Main Street of the 600-resident town into a community and cultural center. Sale of the opera house will go to another party. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • On Sept. 1, Clearwater Brewing Co. opened Beer :30, a taproom on Fir Street in Kamiah. Its taps offer a variety of craft beers and ciders including two from Wolftrack Brewery in Cottonwood. Eventually, owner Brian Brokop plans to make his own brews. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Main Street Service — offering auto and engine repair, brake work and oil changes — opened Aug. 28 on in Grangeville. Source: Idaho County Free Press

Latah County

  • Ulta Beauty opened in late August at the Palouse Mall. The 11,000-square-foot store includes a hair salon, a dermatological center, full body waxing and sells makeup, fragrances and other beauty products. Ulta is the largest beauty retailer in the U.S. The Moscow store employs more than 60 people. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • National retail chain Marshall’s plans to open a store in the former Hastings building by the end of October, confirmed Jameson Commercial Property, which is in charge of leases at the Palouse Mall. The fashion and home apparel store has more than 1,000 branches nationwide. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Nez Perce County

  • This spring, Clearwater Paper moved its sawdust operation from the Port of Wilma near Clarkston to the Port of Lewiston to improve efficiency. In Lewiston, one single crane operator can lift eight cubic yards of sawdust from a barge and then fill a semitrailer to drive about a mile to the paper mill. The Lewiston port is three miles closer to the mill. This change saves truck time as it takes five to six truckloads to empty the barges that arrive about five times a month. Sawdust and wood chips are the raw materials the company uses to make pulp. Clearwater Paper is the largest consumer of sawdust in the Pacific Northwest. Most of the sawdust comes from mills in north central and northern Idaho, but the mill needs additional sawdust from Oregon. The increased activity provides the Port of Lewiston more than $70,000 per month. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston cut 62 positions in early September. The cuts imposed by the hospital’s new owner affected most departments. RCCH HealthCare Partners, a for-profit company, acquired the hospital May 1. After the layoff, the hospital employs 956 people. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • About 330 juniors from Lewiston High School spent the first two hours of the new school year at Walla Walla Community College’s Clarkston campus in August. The college and the Idaho Department of Labor made the arrangements. Representatives from half a dozen employers gave the students an overview of their workplaces and the qualities they are looking for in new employees. Several businesses in the region are looking for welders. Welding is one of several new career and technical education programs the Clarkston campus began offering this fall at its new Workforce and Business Development Center. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, chaired by Idaho Sen. Jim Risch, named Lewiston’s Hillcrest Aircraft as the small business of the month in August. Risch said in a news release, “As Idahoans know firsthand, catastrophic wildfires threaten our homes, businesses and way of life, particularly in the summer months. Companies like Hillcrest help agencies better control these large wildfires in a safe and efficient manner.” Hillcrest transports firefighters to remote areas and drops hundreds of gallons of water on fires throughout the United States. Hillcrest also flies for power and timber companies, photographers, videographers and fish planters. Located at the airport in Lewiston, the company also provides storage and fuel for planes. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Kathryn.Tacke@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 799-5000 ext. 3984

SOUTHWESTERN IDAHO – Ada, Adams, Boise, Canyon, Elmore, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, Valley & Washington counties

Ada County

  • Boise State University is one of five finalists for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities award honoring innovative student retention efforts. Several initiatives designed to keep students in school are: a revamping of core mathematics course, redesigning remedial English and English placement exams and launching a Learning Assistant Program. Boise State’s first-year retention rate is between 78 percent and 80 percent. That is up from 60 percent several years ago. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Planet Fitness in Garden City closed in September. The club’s new ownership group, CM3 Boise Orchard LLC, felt it didn’t meet the needs anymore. The Garden City club is smaller than the current Planet Fitness model of 20,000 square feet. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Boise’s third new hotel is planning to open for business in October. The 10-story Residence Inn with 185 rooms is located at Myrtle Street and Capitol Boulevard. The Residence Inn is advertised as a place for high-end users. It will have three conference rooms, a prefunction area with a bar and will be served by a catering kitchen. The Residence Inn will have a bar on the ground level with a small restaurant serving appetizers and light dinners. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Kuna will be the ninth city in Idaho with more than one public traditional high school when the second high school opens in 2019 or 2020. Kuna is the 14th largest city in Idaho, but the Kuna School District is the 12th largest in the state and the population is expected to double in the next 20 years. It is anticipated with the population growth that about 260 students will be added to the school district each year as 400 homes will be built with 0.56 students per home. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Construction on Adare Manor Apartments will begin in early October. The 116-unit affordable housing project will be located on Boise’s West End. The apartments will be a mixed-income project with energy efficient units designated units for tenants earning 30 percent of the area’s median wage and for tenants earning 80 percent of the median wage. There will also be some market-rate apartments. Adare Manor Apartment are expected to be ready for occupancy in the summer of 2018. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Garden City is getting a charter school, Future Public School. Groundbreaking should take place soon with a completion date of July 2018 in time for the 2018-2019 school year. The school is scheduled to start with a capacity of 320 students with a free-full day kindergarten through third grade. A grade will be added every year until the sixth grade with a capacity for 576 students. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Neurilink, a Boise company that provides video conferencing, interactive displays, digital signage and audio visual support to companies, has purchased Blue Sky Integrated Technologies of Seattle. The two companies will operate under the Neurilink brand. The merger will expand the company’s technological expertise. The combined employment is 46 – 31 are located in Boise. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Car Park, a Boise company that manages parking at dozens of Boise locations, at the Friedman Airport in Blaine County and in other states, purchased the North Carolina parking company, McLaurin Parking. Car Park is a major player in the Boise parking market, which includes 17,000 spaces in the downtown area. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Crooked Fence Brewing Co. closed its restaurant in Eagle but it will keep brewing and selling beer to restaurants, bars and retailers. The land and brewpub was sold. The new owners plan to remodel and reopen the restaurant, plus continue the 5-acre site’s use as an event venue called The Flats. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Albertsons Companies acquired Plated, a New York-based meal kit delivery service that will start selling its meal kits in Albertsons stores. Plated, which runs several fulfillment centers, has been delivering ready-to-cook meal kits in Idaho for about four years. Source: Idaho Business Review

Adams County

  • After Adams County vacated the courthouse in 2000, Adams County Historic Preservation Commission formed to save the landmark building. It invested nearly half a million dollars into the structure, which was Idaho’s second oldest courthouse, over the years, but it continued to deteriorate. Harsh conditions last winter caused the walls of the building to bow out, leading to its condemnation. The county determined the courthouse, built in 1915, would be too expensive to repair and is seeking a contractor to demolish the building. Source: Idaho Business Review; Idaho Statesman

Boise County

  • Bogus Basin is planning to open its new mountain coaster this fall. The coaster is perhaps the highlight of a $4.3 million investment in the recreation area this spring and summer to offer a robust summer activities program. Source: Idaho Statesman

Canyon County

  • Trolley Square is a new development in Caldwell. The Gardner Co. filed a building permit application for an 11-screen movie theater, the first business to be located in Trolley Square. When the Reel Theatre opens in May 2018, it will be the first movie theater in Caldwell for more than 30 years. Just one block from Trolley Square, construction is underway on Indian Creek Plaza, set to open in April with outdoor ice skating in winter and a plaza, splash pad, concert and event venue in summer. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Frugals drive-thru burger restaurant is coming to Nampa. Frugals is a hamburger chain that has been around for about 30 years primarily in Washington. Construction will begin in September. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Midway Park in Nampa celebrated completion of phase one in September. The park currently has four youth baseball and softball fields and a parking lot. The youth baseball community has been waiting for more playing space. Phase 1A will begin in the spring of 2018 with the addition of a shelter, playground and pickleball courts. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Northwest Nazarene University announced the total fall 2017 enrollment was 2,040 students, just shy of the record high in 2011. The incoming freshman class was one of the largest in the past 17 years, up 13.77 percent from last year. The top majors chosen by the freshmen class are nursing, education and biology. Of the new undergraduates, 43 percent are enrolled in a STEM area of study. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Saint Alphonsus held a grand opening for it new neighborhood hospital in Nampa in September. The new hospital is located on 12th Ave. Road near the existing Saint Alphonsus hospital, which has been replaced by two facilities. The neighborhood hospital will have emergency services, short-stay inpatient care and radiology services. It will also have primary care services that have been relocated from the clinic on Iowa Street. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Metro Community Services will consolidate all its services at a new facility in the summer of 2018 at the Sky Ranch Business Park in Caldwell. Metro is a nonprofit human services agency that provides assistance to elderly, disabled and financially limited people through a variety of programs. Metro currently has three locations in Caldwell. Metro was previously known as Canyon County Organization on Aging. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Evergreen Hospitality Management plans to construct an 81-room Candlewood Suite in 2018 and a 57-room La Qunita Inn & Suites a year or two later in Nampa. The two hotels will be four stores high and next each other. The site is at the Gateway Center south of Interstate 84. Nearby businesses include the Idaho Center, Saint Alphonsus, the College of Western Idaho and the Idaho Center Auto Mall.

Elmore County

  • Mountain Home High School is bringing back agriculture education with a new program to its curriculum. The program includes a variety of classes such as agriculture mechanics and welding, fish and wildlife science, agriculture fabrication, introduction to livestock industry and personal skill development. The program received the 2017 Idaho Quality Program Standards Start Up Grant, totaling $25,000 to buy materials for an industrial-size greenhouse, which will be constructed by the welding students. This is the first year of the program and the classes are filled to capacity. Source: Mountain Home News
  • The annual Mountain Home Country Music Festival announced there will be a fourth go-around in 2018. The event will be July 27-29, and tickets went on sale Sept. 22. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Elmore County was one of five Idaho counties for which President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Disaster Declaration Aug. 27. The declaration was a result of unprecedented losses due to spring flooding. The declaration allows the federal government to help communities recover from flooding related destruction that occurred May through June. This is the second disaster declaration for Elmore County. The previous was a result of the flooding that occurred in February.

Gem County

  • Emmett Public Works Department is beginning a massive project. There are three phases to the project: a new water transmission line will be placed from the well at the west side of the part to the water treatment plant, all the old service lines to homes in that area will be upgraded and before the holes are filled and streets repaired conduit for fiber optics will be place. The work will be done in half-block to one-block increments to keep the disruption to a minimum. Source: The Messenger Index

Owyhee County

  • Bruneau Dunes State Park received a $20,000 grant from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation to help the park receive “Dark Sky Certification.” Keeping the park as dark as possible is a high priority. The astronomical observatory at the park hosts 6,000 people a year. It would be the first park in Idaho to receive a Dark Sky Certification. Source: The Owyhee Avalanche
  • Canyon-Owyhee School Service Agency enrollment for the year 2017-18 grew 36.1 percent from last year. The school offers career and technical programs to high school students living in the Homedale, Marsing, Wilder, Notus and Parma school districts. Source: The Owyhee Avalanche
  • The Bureau of Land Management is replacing a bridge on a backcountry road southwest of Grandview. The Current Creek Bridge is more than 50 years old and supports a lot of traffic from local ranchers, recreationists and sightseers. The new bridge will be 14 feet wide and 30 feet long. It should be completed in November. Source: The Owyhee Avalanche
  • Homedale’s library received an $11,700 grant from Together Treasure Valley. The money will be used to purchase children’s bookshelves, four computer carrels, two computers, new carpeting and an exterior door handicap button. 

 Valley County

  • Money spent by snowmobilers contributes more to the economy of Valley County than any other Idaho county, according to a study published in June by Boise State University and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. Spending by snowmobilers generated an estimated $37.8 million for the county’s economy from July 2015 to June 2016, while statewide their economic impact — both direct and indirect — contributed $197.5 million to Idaho’s economy. The study took into consideration factors such as purchase of snowmobiles and equipment, maintenance and repair expenses, and travel costs such as fuel, food and lodging. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Boulder Creek Inn in Donnelly has new owners. They recently added WiFi and plan to upgrade rooms in the near future at the inn built in 2004. The 43-room inn and the eight-room Long Valley Motel are the only hotel operations in Donnelly. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The McCall Memorial Hospital District gave $1.6 million to St. Luke’s health system to fund emergency room physicians and clinic services in 2018. Since the hospital joined the Boise-based health system in 2010, it has used property taxes to pay St. Luke’s for service. Source: McCall Star-News

Washington County

  • The former KWEI radio station in Weiser has been sold to a Boise funeral home owner after sitting on the market for several years. The new owner has no immediate plans for the building or property other than to clean it up. The property has frontage along U.S. 95, which sees a lot of recreational traffic heading north and south. Source: Weiser Signal American

Openings

  • ButterBurger made its debut in late August when the Culver’s restaurant opened in Meridian. Culver’s signature combo is its ButterBurger and frozen custard. This is Culver’s second Idaho store with the other in Twin Falls. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Taqueria La Flama opened in Boise in mid-September. The menu is an array of Mexican standards along with a dessert and kids’ menu. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Dutch Bros. opened a store in Caldwell located on the northwest corner of Franklin Road and Specht. This is the fifth Dutch Bros. in Canyon County – three in Nampa and now two in Caldwell. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Gem Express Care, a walk-in after hours medical clinic, opened in September. Joe and BreeAnn Petrie, physician assistants, opened the clinic. Gem Express care can provide evaluation and treatment of acute/non-emergent medical conditions. The clinic is open from 5:30 to 8 pm Monday through Friday. Source: The Messenger Index

Reopening

  • The Sandbar Café reopened after a water leak caused extensive damage. Source: The Owyhee Avalanche

Janell.Hyer@labor.idaho.gov, senior economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 332-3570 ext. 2330

 

SOUTH CENTRAL IDAHO – Blaine, Camas, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls counties

Blaine County

  • A groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of the Guy Coles Skate Park took place in September at the park in Ketchum with vendors offering local food and drink. The city of Ketchum and the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency funded the 22-year old park’s expansion awarding the $127,650 contract to Dreamland Skateparks LLC of Oregon. This is the second expansion with completion of the project planned for the end of October. Source: Idaho Mountain Express and KMVT
  • The Sun Valley Inn has started remodeling with owner, Carol Holder involved in every aspect of the remodel. According to Sun Valley Co., work is being completed “with an eye on the future and a nod to the past,” and renovations “will enhance and improve the guest experience through modern updates, attention to detail and a refreshed ambiance, while still embracing the historical past of America’s first ski destination resort.” The first 25 of 100 guest rooms are in the process of remodeling this fall with the result of 20 larger guest rooms and a suite. Next fall, the remaining 80 guest rooms will be converted into 77 larger guest rooms. The Village Station will replace Bald Mountain Pizza providing a casual atmosphere with creek side patio and sports bar options. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Lincoln County

  • The eighth annual Lost N Lava Cowboy Gathering in September met at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds. The cowboy poetry segment draws performers from Montana, Texas and Canada. This celebration of ranching and the rural west includes a potluck dinner, a trail ride, music, vendors hawking western gear then wraps up with cowboy church on Sunday. Source: Times-News
  • Shoshone voters showed up at the polls to support a $6 million school bond but not in sufficient numbers to meet the two-thirds supermajority. Only 58.4 percent voted in favor at 164-117. The bond would have been used to remodel a school, add a new multipurpose building and new spaces for vocational and alternative classes. School administrators are mulling over the results that send a mixed message of support but perhaps not staged at the right time to draw more supporters. There were no other school bonds up for vote in south central Idaho. Source: Times-News

Twin Falls County

  • St. Luke’s has announced construction plans for a new clinic in Buhl after its current Physician Center closed its practice to new patients. The $2.4 million, 5,700-square-foot project will break ground the end of October or early November with completion plans scheduled for mid-to-late 2018. It will replace the existing St. Luke’s building which has been in use since January 2014. The new clinic will add another family practice physician along with X-ray equipment, lab services, behavioral health and other specialty services. Over the past six years, Buhl and Castleford combined have grown by 154 residents or 3.5 percent. This does not include rural Twin Falls County residents who live closer to Buhl than Twin Falls – home of St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center. Source: Times-News
  • Region IV Development has announced that Carleen Herring will take the leadership baton from Joe Herring, retiring after 31 years as president. Herring will oversee a staff of 14 directed to write community block grants, provide support for entrepreneurial efforts and facilitate community development. Source: Times-News
  • Danny Weiland took the BASE jumping record from Miles Dasher for the second time — jumping 64 times in 24 hours to beat Dasher’s 63 jump record. Source: KMVT
  • Farmers National Bank headquartered in Buhl is celebrating its 100th year in business with a Customer Appreciation Day. All six branches hosted a barbecue celebration in the afternoon while the Buhl branch displayed bank-owned antique implements from the early 1900’s. The banking institution continues under private ownership. Source: Times-News
  • Rock Creek Elementary, one of the three new schools in Twin Falls, is offering all-day kindergarten for $250 a month. Parents are not required to enroll children in kindergarten, and the state only provides money to public school districts for half a day. Based on research that indicates academic gains along with intangibles such as emotional and social development, the school district has decided to provide this service. Three other elementary schools in Twin Falls offer full-day kindergarten classes to those students in need of reading assistance — a literacy grant funds the activity.  Source: Times-News

Openings

  • Integrity Chiropractic opened its practice in Twin Falls.
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill opened for business in Twin Falls, employing about 35 workers.
  • 7 Fuego Baja Style opened in the historic Idaho State Bank building in Bellevue offering lighter, fresh Mexican fare from the Baja California region.

Construction

  • A building permit was pulled for construction of a new Burger King on the west side of Twin Falls.

Jan.Roeser@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 735-2500 ext 3639

 

SOUTHEASTERN IDAHO – Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Caribou, Franklin, Oneida & Power counties

Bannock County

  • A new development, the Northgate Development, is coming to Pocatello and Chubbuck. The development will have 10,000 residential units, a retail and shopping district and an IT park of more than one million square feet that is expected to support 6,000 jobs. It is marketed as Idaho’s first walkable and bike-able community. Construction on infrastructure for the Northgate Project will begin soon after the $8.4 million Interstate 15 Siphon Road interchange – the Northgate Interchange – is completed Source: KPVI, Idaho State Journal
  • Northgate Interchange partners hosted a groundbreaking ceremony signaling the start to a project that its supporters say will forever change the Pocatello area. Connecting infrastructure construction will begin this fall, with the majority of the interchange construction slated for early spring 2018. Construction of the interchange is expected to be completed by the fall of 2018. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The data center under construction at the FBI site in Pocatello will ultimately require adding about 350 employees when it’s finished. In April 2016, it was initially thought the project might bring in about 300 workers. The project overall will have an impact of tens of millions of dollars on the local economy, according to John Regetz, executive director of the Bannock County Development Corp. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Idaho State University has been awarded a large grant to help expand health education and health services in southeastern Idaho. The $386,250 grant will allow ISU to establish an area health education center. Source: KIDK
  • The Simplot Don Plant, a phosphate plant based in Pocatello, is close to finishing a large project aimed at reducing pollution. The Simplot Don Plant was designated a superfund site by the EPA more than 30 years ago and has been working on a large-scale project to trap contaminated water. The project is expected to be finished around November. Source: KPVI
  • Preliminary numbers for fall enrollment at Idaho State University is down about three percent from fall semester 2016. While the overall student numbers are down, ISU reported 204 more Idaho resident freshmen than they did last year. Official enrollment numbers will be released by mid-October. Source: KPVI
  • With support from both Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad, Chubbuck Mayor Kevin England and Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen, the Bannock County commissioners approved a measure to place the addition of a new transitional/crisis center on the November ballot. In addition to the crisis center, which would cost an estimated $2 million, the proposed bond for the November ballot would also designate $14 million for a jail expansion. Source: KIDK, Idaho State Journal
  • A third flight option was added to the Pocatello Regional Airport flight schedule on Sundays starting Oct. 1. The added flight from Salt Lake City arrives at Pocatello at 2:55 p.m., and a flight will leave Pocatello for Salt Lake City at 3:30 p.m. The airport also recently acquired an advanced imaging scanner, which will help speed up security checks. Source: KIDK

Bingham County

  • This year marked the 115-year anniversary of the Eastern Idaho State Fair and people from all over the region came out to enjoy the biggest event in eastern Idaho. This year’s fair opened for the first time on Friday, a day earlier than usual, and kicked off the highest attended fair in the long history of the event. More than 239,103 showed up to enjoy this nine-day event – up from 2016 record of 231,023. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The city of Blackfoot was recently awarded a $1,637,995 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant. The money will be used to fund a storm water retrofit project, which will increase the capacity of the storm sewer and reduce flooding. Source: Morning News
  • The Shelley City Council voted unanimously to allow a planned unit development to proceed off of Oak Street, but only if the developer can convince an adjacent development to connect together. Source: The Shelley Pioneer
  • The Idaho Potato Museum in Blackfoot is a growing attraction for eastern Idaho travelers. In the past several years visitor numbers have spiked, thanks to a renovation, expanded hours (now open Saturdays) and other factors. According to the executive director, the museum had about 7,600 visitors in 2012. Last year, attendance had grown to 18,000 visitors, and this year so far has had 25,000 visitors due to the solar eclipse. Source: EastIdahoNews

Caribou County

  • Grace School District passed a $5 million bond by 71 percent to build a new elementary school. The new school would replace the district’s two older elementary schools, one of which is in Thatcher. Source: Caribou County Sun

Power County

  • American Falls School District will build a new intermediate school that is set to open for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders in fall 2019. The new 39,669-square-foot intermediate school is expected to open with 360 students. The school will have capacity for 440 students. The size of the planned school was reduced by 14,000 square feet after a $12.5 million bond failed in 2015. Voters approved an $8.95 million bond in May 2017. Foundation work is expected to start in fall with construction beginning in spring. Source: Idaho Business Review

Openings

  • Hope and Recovery Resource Center in Pocatello
  • Pocatello Pet Lodge, Too in Old Town Pocatello
  • Carol’s Pantry in Malad
  • Ashley Furniture in Blackfoot
  • Amazon Scratch and Dent in Preston
  • Bamma Wamma’s in Malad

Closings

  • Pocatello Sewing School

Esther.Eke@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4331

EASTERN IDAHO – Bonneville, Butte, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison & Teton counties

Eastern Idaho

  • Idaho National Laboratory had seven projects included on a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) project list. Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced $19.7 million in Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) projects, aimed at helping businesses move promising energy technologies from DOE’s national laboratories to the marketplace. This second department-wide round of funding through the Office of Technology Transition was in support of 54 projects across 12 national laboratories involving more than 30 private-sector partners.
    The seven selections that involved Idaho National Laboratory:

    • Event Model Risk Assessment using Linked Diagrams (EMRALD), $61,906
    • Produced Water Treatment using the Switchable Polarity Solvent Forward Osmosis (SPS FO) Process, $150,000
    • RAVEN Code Commercial Deployment for Industrial Related Applications, $250,000; private partner: FPoliSolutions, Pittsburgh, Pa.
    • Integration of PHISICS into the AREVA reactor design suite for commercial application to High Temperature Reactors, $300,000; private partner: AREVA NP Inc., Lynchburg, Va.
    • Pathway to Commercialization of Weather Based Dynamic Line Rating with CFD using INL’s General Line Ampacity State Solver (GLASS) software $300,000; private partners: Schneider Electric, Burnsville, Minn.; WindSim Americas Inc., Westlake Village, Calif.
    • Seismic Isolation of Major Advanced Reactor Systems for Economic Improvement and Safety Assurance, $710,000; private partners: Southern Company Services Inc., Birmingham, Ala.; TerraPower, Bellevue, Wash.; X-energy, Greenbelt, Md.
    • Highly Scalable Computer-Based Procedure System for Field Workers, $750,000; private partner: NextAxiom Technology, San Francisco, Calif. (Source: Bizmojo)
  • Oregon-based NuScale Power officials have applied for the second part of their loan guarantee application with the U.S. Department of Energy as licensing for the company’s first-of-its-kind small modular reactor continues. If granted, NuScale’s loan guarantee would fall under DOE’s Advanced Nuclear Energy Project. The first small modular reactor is expected to begin operation at DOE’s desert site west of Idaho Falls by 2026. NuScale officials initially pegged the desert site as an attractive reactor site in 2013. Source: Post Register

Bonneville County

  • After 20 years in business, Sarah’s Candy Cottage on Woodruff Avenue in Idaho Falls shut its doors recently. Source: East Idaho News
  • Preleasing has begun for a new apartment complex set to open in November at 246 N. Curlew Drive in Ammon. The complex, known as The Residences at First Street, is owned by Kartchner Inc. It will include 288 apartments. There will be 72 one-bedroom apartments available, 144 apartments with two bedrooms and one bathroom, 36 luxury apartments with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and 36 three-bedroom apartments. Costs of the apartments range from $895 a month to $1,160 for the luxury apartments. Source: Post Register
  • The SpringHill Suites by Marriott in Idaho Falls is now open. The 124-suite hotel will operate as a Marriott franchise, owned and managed by Woodbury Corp., a full-service real estate management and development company based in Salt Lake City. Source: East Idaho News
  • The Museum of Idaho has received a $110,000 grant from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation Inc. The grant will go toward the museum’s planned expansion, its Meet a Scientist and Discovery Day educational programs and a new program called Night at the Museum. Source: Post Register
  • The Idaho Falls Auditorium District board of directors met this month to move forward with roadway design work for the Idaho Falls Event Center. The $44 million multiuse facility is intended to be built on a 22-acre plot at Snake River Landing to be donated by developer Ball Ventures. The undeveloped land will require two access roads and three canal-spanning bridges to be feasible. Designs for the roads are about 60 percent complete. Source: Post Register
  • The Caramel Tree began remodeling the new store, located off of 17th Street across from Petco.

New Businesses/Changes

  • The Drink Factory in Ammon opened; there are now two locations.
  • The Caramel Tree began remodeling the new store, located off of 17th Street across from Petco.
  • Mattress and furniture store Modern Home is being built in Ammon on Eagle Drive. Source: Bizmojo

Closings

  • Teton Hospice closed its facility in Teton County.
  • Complete Nutrition in Ammon closed its doors.

Hope.Morrow@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 525-7268 ext. 4340

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