Around Idaho: October 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

  • The Parks and Recreation Committee in Coeur d’Alene voted to ban offshore businesses in the city’s water corridor on Lake Coeur d’Alene. The decision will affect enterprises like the Hooligan Island jungle gym barge and boats that sell food. The committee sited the danger of motorized boat traffic near the beach, in water that is generally full of kayakers, paddle-boarders and swimmers in the summer. Source: Coeur D’Alene Press
  • Developers Philip Wirth and Rick Robinson have announced plans to create a 233-acre technology park on Highway 41 in Post Falls. The complex is being designed with technology and aerospace manufactures in mind, and the developers have specifically cited proximity to North Idaho College’s technical schools in Rathdrum as a draw to the location. Source: Coeur D’Alene Press

  • North Idaho College (NIC) and Gizmo-CDA – a popular so-called “makerspace” – announced an agreement to move Gizmo from its facility in Coeur d’Alene to a classroom building on the NIC main campus. Gizmo offers access to engineering and manufacturing equipment, to augment the learning experience of NIC engineering students. Source: Coeur D’Alene Press
  • West Star Industries – a maker of commercial stainless steel food-service products – plans to build a $5.6 million manufacturing plant in Hayden. While the company’s corporate offices are already in northern Idaho, West Star’s manufacturing facilities are currently located in California. West Star has not specified whether the new Hayden facility will replace or augment their current California operations. Source: Spokane Journal of Business

Boundary County

  • Developers completed work on The Plaza in downtown Bonners Ferry. The new space will serve as a business center with six private office suites and a general purpose conference room for rent. Source: Idaho Department of Labor

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

Region

  • This summer, the number of steelhead counted on their way from the ocean toward north central Idaho was extremely low. So, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission allowed only catch-and-release fishing. As the numbers improved, the commission changed the rules Oct. 15 to allow anglers to keep up to two steelhead harvested on the Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers, plus the Clearwater River and its north, south and middle forks. Steelhead fishing is a major draw for tourists. Decreased steelhead runs affect the livelihoods of fishing guides, tackle shops, motels, restaurants and gasoline stations. Studies commissioned by Idaho Fish and Game in 2003 and 2011 showed salmon and steelhead fishing in the Clearwater Region contributes $60 million to $72 million annually to the economy here. Steelhead fishing accounts for about 75 percent of that impact. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Clearwater County

  • Orofino, a city of 3,040, is annexing Konkolville, an unincorporated community just outside the east end of the city limits. Konkolville grew up around the mill built by Andrew Konkol in 1948. In 2007, Tri-Pro Forest Products acquired the mill, which closed in September 2016. The annexed area includes the Konkolville Motel and runs east along Grangemont Road to Independence Road, to include the southern part of Grangemont Road up to and including the Orofino Rural Fire Station. About 100 people live in the area. Source: Clearwater Tribune

 Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • Ida-Lew Economic Development hosted a career fair at the fairgrounds in Cottonwood for nearly 500 students from the high schools in Idaho and Lewis counties Oct. 12. Businesses and colleges provided information about job and training opportunities in the area. Students also heard about what high school classes and postsecondary education is needed for those jobs. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Muse Media, the newest business on Kamiah’s Main Street, provides digital media support to small businesses, nonprofits and individuals. Owner Lauren M. Paterson is offering training to local businesses to improve their online presence. Source: Idaho County Free Press; Clearwater Tribune
  • Syringa Hospital and Clinics in Grangeville now includes a fully operational pharmacy. The pharmacy, owned and operated by Cardinal Health, is located next to the clinic. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • The Nez Perce Clearwater National Forest awarded a contract to improve the driveability of the Elk City Wagon Road, while maintaining its historic character. A local contractor, Flash Excavation of Harpster, won the bid. Maintenance on the 53-mile route will begin near the community of Clearwater and progress toward Elk City. The improvements will make it easier for people to travel and enjoy the route that once brought thousands of residents to Elk City during the 1890s gold rush. Source: Idaho County Free Press

Opening

  • Sunrise Espresso — a drive-up coffee shop — opened on Grangeville’s Main Street.
  • Hammer Down River Excursions recently opened in White Bird. It offers jet boat trips, fishing excursions and training and evening dinner cruises.
  • Emma’s Mexican Food opened inside Mac’s in White Bird, where it serves lunch and dinner Thursday through Monday.

Latah County

  • Golis Construction, of Moscow, is demolishing the ‘60s-era president’s house on the University of Idaho campus. Then, it will began building its replacement. Work on the $1.95 million project should be concluded by fall 2018. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Nez Perce and Asotin, Washington, Counties 

  • Clearwater Paper Corp. completed the $160 million upgrade to its Lewiston plant at the end of September. The new pulp digester, which replaces 12 older digesters, is expected to save the company as much as $28 million a year. The Lewiston plant employs about 1,400 people, making it the largest manufacturer in north central Idaho. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Lewis-Clark State College’s enrollment in Lewiston fell 2.3 percent from 3,462 last fall to 3,350 this fall. Despite the drop, the number of students enrolling directly out of Idaho high schools rose for the third year in a row, growing 4.7 percent. Most the enrollment decrease resulted from a sharp drop in transfer students. With unemployment near record low levels, students are taking full-time jobs rather than continuing their higher education. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The state-funded LC Work Scholars program at Lewis-Clark State College is currently making college less expensive for 45 students. Students in the program will graduate with one-third less debt than the average Idaho student. When the program started two years ago, students worked 10 hours a week in on-campus jobs. Now, the school partners with 11 off-campus work sites, where students get a chance for hands-on experience in the field they are studying. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Inland Northwest Partners, an economic development nonprofit based in Liberty Lake, will provide assistance to startup businesses in Asotin and Whitman counties during the next two years. It won a $142,000 contract with the state of Washington Department of Commerce. The partnership currently is recruiting a full-time program manager to assist new businesses. The program manager will provide technical assistance, identify and develop relationships with organizations that serve entrepreneurs, improve Startup Whitman and Startup Asotin websites, create a region-wide mentor program and provide a virtual networking and resource platform focused on entrepreneurship. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • The Northwest Children’s Home in Lewiston plans to expand to Clarkston, where it will offer housing to young adults making the transition from residential treatment to independent living. The “Triumph” program on Diagonal Street will help youth 18-21 years of age who have successfully completed services at the Lewiston group home to develop important life skills such as cooking, finding a job and balancing a checkbook. The house, which will house up to four youth, will be staffed 24 hours a day with fully trained employees in the building at all times. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • While grape growers in southern Idaho and parts of Washington state lost a majority of their crop during the harsh winter, Lewiston-Clarkston Valley vineyards yielded a normal harvest — three to four tons an acre — this September. Currently six wineries operate in the Lewiston-Clarkston region. In addition, there are vineyards that only produce grapes. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Closing 

  • Del’s Feed and Farm Supply closed in Lewiston Oct. 28 as part of a restructuring of the retail chain. About a dozen people lost jobs.

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

  • Five years ago, NeighborWorks started developing affordable housing in the form of pocket neighborhoods — small developments with lots of community space — in Garden City. Of five pocket neighborhoods now underway, four are on or near Adams Street. House sizes range from 616 to 2,009 square feet. Prices range from $165,000 to $330,000. Each project has a mix of market-rate and income-restricted properties. New owners cannot make more than 80 percent of the area’s median income, around $45,000, to be eligible. All must be owner-occupied initially. The group wants to locate its projects so that residents have access to bus routes and are close to shopping centers, schools and libraries. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Dawson Taylor Coffee Roasters was acquired by Hayden Beverage, Idaho’s largest distributor of beer and wine. Hayden plans to remodel the downtown Boise shop in the spring of 2018 to give it a more contemporary look. The 28 employees will remain on the job. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Roosevelt Market was purchased by Jill Simplot, J.R. Simplot’s daughter, and her mother, Pam Lemley. They plan to keep the market operating, and the upstairs tenants will continue as proprietors. The two new owners stated that this investment is special because it’s something they can do for the community. They plan to improve the kitchen and the office area, and make other improvements over time. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Boise School Board of Trustees voted on the proposed 2018-2019 school calendar in October. The next school year will begin Aug. 15, 2018, and end May 24, 2019. The change allows the first semester to end Dec. 21, 2018, before the Christmas break. The change does not affect the number of instructional days in the school year. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Kuna ranked first in affordable housing in Idaho, followed by Payette, Ammon, and Caldwell. Nampa was eighth and Boise was 22nd. SmartAsset conducted the study and based its analysis on closing costs, real estate taxes, homeowners insurance and mortgage rates. The company calculated the cost over five years of these four expenses for cities in the United States with at least 5,000 people. They then looked at the five-year cost as a proportion of the median household income. The most affordable cities are those where the total cost of an average house accounted for the smallest share of that income. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Luke’s Health System announced the consolidation of three orthopedic surgery centers in Boise and Meridian and other orthopedic services into one location. The four-story facility will also house sports medicine and will be located at 27th Street and Fairview Avenue. The new facility will have 12 operating rooms and 30 beds for short recoveries. The facility will have two wings, one for doctor visits and rehabilitation and the other for operating rooms and patient beds. The new facility will include a fenced outdoor training and rehabilitation center for athletes. Construction will begin in the spring of 2018 with completion anticipated in 2020. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Hewlett-Packard Inc., will convert the landscaping for its 200-acre campus in northwest Boise to native grasses that save water and energy, and attract pollinators. When the project reaches full maturity by summer 2019, the campus will save 82,000 cubic meters of water annually, reduce emission by 90 percent and cut landscaping cost by nearly 50 percent. The company still farms 36 acres of the site, a former farm, for local livestock feed. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Boise is getting closer to two new kinds of light show. The first will be lighting Boise’s historic Eighth Street railway trestle bridge, now a pedestrian walkway over the Boise River, with nighttime LED lighting. The Boise Department of Arts and History is working with Rocky Mountain Electric to make this happen. The second is a project to brighten the Front Street approach to the Grove Plaza. The Greater Boise Auditorium District is working with a Danish company, Martin, to create a display of colored vertical bars of light on the east side of Boise Centre West building. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Red Lion Hotel Boise Downtowner is for sale. The 182-room hotel is one of the last 18 hotels that Red Lion Hotels Corp still owns. It is among 11 Red Lions in the greater Pacific Northwest that are for sale. The Red Lion Downtowner is the seventh-largest Boise hotel. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • LongHorn Steakhouse plans to open its first Pacific Northwest restaurant in early 2018 in the Franklin Town Plaza in Boise at the site where Chili’s Bar and Grill was located for many years. Construction began in June on the 5,593-square-foot structure that will seat more than 200. Darden Restaurants is the parent company of LongHorn Steakhouse. Other Darden restaurants in Idaho are Olive Garden and Yard House. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Record hotel room occupancy and room rates drove the Greater Boise Auditorium District’s lodging room tax collections to a record high for the fifth year. In August the room occupancy was 83.6 percent. Through August, the 5 percent tax added to hotel and Airbnb bills generated $4.67 million, more than the entire fiscal year 2014. The average hotel rate in August ranged from $104 in 2016 to $120. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Fanci Freeze, an iconic Boise drive-thru and walk-up restaurant is expanding to Meridian in 2018 and eyeing a possible third location depending on how the Meridian expansion goes. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Vacasa online vacation-home rental service is expanding its workforce in the Boise area. The company is anticipating growing its workforce in Boise by 30 percent with positions for reservation agents, accounting managers, portfolio and marketing analysts, compliance coordinators, a growth research coordinator, post-acquisition integration manager and software engineers. In Idaho, the company manages 256 homes in 18 communities. Sun Valley offers the most rentals, followed by McCall and then Boise. Source: Idaho Statesman

Adams County

  • A project is now underway at the New Meadows sewage treatment plant to remove wastewater laden with phosphorus out of the river and onto pastureland, where it will fertilize grass for cattle. Currently, the wastewater goes back into the Little Salmon River and harms steelhead and salmon. The project, which was due to end by November, started in 2012 when New Meadows voters approved up to $1.4 million in bonds to finance the project so the city could meet federal pollution standards. City residents will end up being responsible for $300,000 in loans at 2 percent interest over 40 years, because of a $600,000 U.S. Rural Development Grant and a $470,000 Idaho Community Development Block Grant. Source: McCall Star-News

Boise County

  • Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area is in the process of hiring 500 workers for full-time and part-time positions to work holidays, nights only or weekends. Because of its shift scheduling flexibility, Bogus Basin is a popular employer for those looking for a second job and college students. The jobs include ski and snowboard instructors, ski lift operators, mountain coaster operator, food and beverage personnel, chair riders, daycare attendants, rental shop employees, auditors and more. New this year is a mountain coaster so there will be limited jobs for coaster attendants and operators. Source: Idaho Statesman

Canyon County

  • West Valley Medical Center, located in Caldwell, added a new neonatal intensive care unit with four beds, a special isolation room, level II special care nursery and care to babies needing assistance with feeding, breathing, blood glucose levels or weight gain. Before the opening, babies in need were transported to Boise. Currently, babies who are premature at 34 weeks will be treated in Caldwell, and additional facilities are in the planning stages that will allow babies born at 32 weeks to be cared for at West Valley. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Home2Suites by Hilton is coming to Nampa. The new hotel expects to open September 2018. It will be the first extended-stay hotel in Nampa with 96 rooms. It is located next to the 101-room Hampton Inn. Erck Hotels of Billings, Montana, own both hotels. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Idaho Transportation Board approved more than $100 million in funding for an expansion of the Interstate 84 corridor from Nampa to Caldwell. The money will strengthen the state’s application for a $90 million infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant. If the additional money is received, it could open the door to expanding the interstate from Franklin Road in Caldwell to Franklin Boulevard in Nampa, a long-term wish list time for Canyon County drivers. Work will begin in October to widen a portion of that stretch of I-84 from two to three lanes each way in Nampa from the Karcher Road interchange to the Franklin Boulevard interchange, a cost of $150 million. The expansion of this section of Interstate-84 would be an economic boost to both Nampa and Caldwell. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Franz Bakery in Nampa is adding 17,000 square feet for a new outlet and extra shipping and warehouse space. The old store will be converted into a breakroom from employees. When Franz brought the small family-run bakery, it had fewer than 30 employees. Since then Franz has expanded in physical size and number of employees. The added shipping and warehouse space will more than double the number of trucks that can load, and will increase the efficiency of the operation. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Burlington Coat Factory received approval for a new building to be located at Treasure Valley Crossing on Marketplace Boulevard. It is unclear whether Burlington plans to leave Karcher Mall. The concern of Nampa economic development staff is the impact on Karcher Mall if Burlington would leave. Burlington Coat Factory, one of the largest retailers at Karcher Mall, opened there in 2008. Source: Idaho Press Tribune

Gem County

  • The Idaho Department of Fish and Game and Gem County Commissioners entered into a 20-year agreement to increase the access to the Payette River by adding four access points. It may take a year or two to complete all of the modifications to the points – Plaza Bridge, Gem Island Sports Complex, Emmett Segment Wildlife Management Area and Letha Bridge. Currently Fish and Game will be trying to use other funds to move forward on the project and then use  mitigation funds from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation regarding river issues in 2013. Source: Messenger Index
  • The Emmett School District has been working toward a self-funded health insurance program for the district’s 331 eligible employees. The district saw three reasons for the change: first, it would not increase employee premiums; second, it will save money; and third, the new option may make the difference between individuals being able to rent or own a residence. This has allowed the district to add services not always available on other plans. Source: Messenger Index

Payette County

  • Desert View of Caldwell was awarded the contract to construct a double-lined containment basin at Clay Peak Landfill in Payette County. The containment basin will be used for the liquid waste received from agricultural food processors. The basin will span approximately 5.5 acres. In addition, the project will include construction of a concrete settling basin, where the liquid waste will be first deposited, allowing most of the solids to settle out before the liquid portion is transferred to the containment basin. The county accepted a $1.1 million dollar bid to complete the projection. Source: The Argus Observer

Valley County

  • The city of McCall expanded its community development department in October to formally include economic development. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • McCall is clarifying a vision for its future. In October, McCall residents gave input on a comprehensive plan under development for the past 18 months and the city’s first-ever transportation plan. Creation of more worker housing and improving the downtown core are high priorities. As the town’s recreational facilities grow and are open more days a year, there is a growing need for more workers, which in turn means increased needs for worker housing. Long-range plans for the downtown core including public parking, bike paths, library expansion and access to the waterfront. The transportation master plan will identify maintenance and reconstruction for roads, sidewalks, pathways, parking and infrastructure, recognizing maintaining infrastructure is less expensive than rebuilding it. Source: McCall Star-News
  • Finding solutions for the shortage of housing in Valley County the major focus at the West Central Mountains Economic Summit in McCall in October. Another concern, lack of a stable workforce, is closely tied to the housing shortage. Short-term rentals and second-home owners contribute to the low inventory of workforce housing. Only 15 percent of homes in McCall are affordable for those earning the area’s average median income of $60,000 per year. A panel offered some potential solutions including employer-owned housing cooperatives to reduce developer risks. Source: McCall Star-News
  • McCall’s parks and recreation department is working to remove derelict docks and debris from 400 feet of Lake Payette shoreline between Mile High Marina and Brown Park. It also will spend about $120,000 to replace playground equipment in Brown Park. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • A new visitor center is being built at Lake Cascade State Park in Cascade along State Route 55 at the road leading to Kelly’s Whitewater Park. NNAC Construction of Coeur d’Alene serves as general contractor for the $1.6 million project, slated for completion in September 2018. It will include a 22-foot by 19-foot meeting room that community organizations can use. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The replacement of the Manning Crevice Bridge will cost more than $9.6 million. The new steel and concrete suspension bridge is being erected over the Salmon River 14 miles east of Riggins. It will replace the current 1934 wooden bridge built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The new bridge will support the growing recreation economy and open up new access for logging trucks. It will have a role in supporting outfitters, guides and others using the river for rafting, kayaking, hunting and fishing. The new bridge will be able to handle any legal load up to a nine-axle truck with an excavator on it. The Manning name will be retained on the new bridge and is scheduled to open in the spring of 2018. Source: The Star-News
  • St. Luke’s Health System will remodel and expand the current hospital in McCall. The $35 million upgrade will double the number of operating rooms and emergency rooms. The two-story expansion will be built on a gravel parking lot north of the current hospital. Site work will begin in the spring of 2018 with construction slated to begin in the spring of 2019. It will be completed in phases over the following three years. Source: Idaho Business Review

Washington County

  • About 50,000 visitors were in Weiser and Washington County to view the total eclipse on Aug. 21, according to official post-event estimates. The Washington County sheriff’s office estimated that 15,000 people visited the city of Weiser and another 30,000 visitors or so were in the county. Source: Weiser Signal American

Openings

  • The Garden City PSt. rojects was recently opened by glass artist Brigette Nelson.
  • Save the Date Originals is located in Garden City. Angela Bauter, in addition to graphic design, creates refrigerator magnets and sells 3-D greeting cards. She sells her work online and operates her business on the first floor of her three-story home.
  • St. Luke’s Nampa hospital opened Oct. 30.
  • Mister Car Wash in Nampa on Garrity Boulevard.
  • New Garden Chinese Restaurant on State Street in Boise.
  • Residence Inn opened in October in downtown Boise. The new hotel has 185-rooms and is the largest of about 35 new hotels in the works in Idaho.
  • Clairvoyant Brewing held its grand opening Oct. 21 in Boise. It does not sell food but plans food-truck service.
  • Lost Grove Brewing had a grand opening Oct. 6 in Boise near The Shed bar and restaurant.
  • A second Tin Roof Tacos in the Treasure Valley will open the spring of 2018 in Meridian. The current Tin Roof Tacos is located on Broadway Avenue in Boise. Source: Idaho Statesman

Closings

  • Rosauers Supermarket in Meridian will close on Dec. 2.
  • Northern Lights Cinema Grill, Nampa, which sold beer, wine and restaurant-style food at the theater, closed Oct. 2.

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

Regional News

  • The Teacher Community Program is an Idaho Public Television pilot project in which a full-time teacher mentors rural teachers in the areas of technology and how to use it effectively in the classroom. The mentor taps into free resources from the Public Broadcast Service (PBS) and Idaho Public Television monthly when visiting teachers at Wendell Elementary School, Wendell Middle School, Gooding Elementary School and Popplewell Elementary School in Buhl. Source: Times-News
  • The downward trend of job listings in the following table tracks the three geographic areas of south central Idaho. It is apparent that September experienced significant drops in job postings collected from the internet. Wanted Analytics compiles the data and removes duplicate job listings. There has been a strong expansionary economy since the Great Recession, which officially ended after the second quarter 2009.

TABLE

  • The 5-year average employment growth for manufacturing, construction along with professional and business services industry sectors in south central Idaho showed tremendous growth. The construction industry continues to recover from the Great Recession – a common thread throughout the state and nation. The past five years of growth has been strong for construction but the lack of skilled trades anecdotally slows project development.
  • Blaine County had the largest share of construction workers before the Great Recession. It is still down 35 percent from 2007; this is after losing approximately 300 establishments/businesses in the construction sector over that time.
  • Manufacturing has gained more than 2,000 workers across south central Idaho over the past 10 years. The 2.4 percent growth rate compares favorably with the state that lost 1,700 jobs with -2.5 percent backslide. North central Idaho gained 1,147 manufacturing jobs over this same time, up 29 percent. Eastern Idaho gained 73 jobs with a 1.4 percent uptick. Northern Idaho and southeastern Idaho lost ground minimally in manufacturing, with southwestern Idaho losing over 5,000 jobs, a decline of 16 percent.

Twin Falls County 

  • Jayco Inc., a subsidiary of Thor Industries Inc. based in Middlebury, Indiana, announced plans to build a new production facility in Twin Falls. Plans are to start immediately with the city of Twin Falls and the Urban Renewal Agency sharing the building permit fees. The company will build in the Urban Renewal Agency’s Industrial Park adjacent to its existing facility — constructing a 160,000-square-foot manufacturing and warehouse building. The new facility will integrate a new product line, creating an additional 360 jobs. Jayco set up shop in 2005 — its first plant west of Indiana. Source:  Times-News
  • Enrollment at the College of Southern Idaho (CIS) as of mid-October was 7,063, up 0.6 percent compared with fall 2016. The number of full-time students continue to drop due to competition with the workplace, falling 3 percent from fall 2016. Dual credit enrollment for high school students grew by 12 percent from the previous fall term. Source: Times-News
  • CIS is aligning its building height restrictions to concur with the city’s policy starting with construction of a new three-story dormitory adjacent to the existing Eagle Hall. A remodel of Eagle Hall is also in the design stage with both dorms incorporating an apartment-style suite layout. The cafeteria would be moved out of the Taylor Building and into the new residence hall. Source:  Times-News
  • The city of Twin Falls is moving out of its temporary location at the former Key Bank Building, home since April 2016. The renovation of the Banner Furniture Building into a new city hall is on schedule with the final step to move city council chambers into its new space in the basement, set for after the new year. Source: Times-News

Lincoln County

  • Southern Idaho Rural Economic Development and Idaho Career and Technical Education (CTE) organized Northside Forum, which met at the Lincoln County Community Center. The goals were to discuss strategies to educate students about the jobs in the area and guide them in preparing for careers in those jobs. The consensus was to continue sharing information about how to bring the students and the employers together. CTE provided a list of technical programs at each high school and the topic of starting the education process earlier than high school was a common theme. Attendees included industry representatives, education superintendents and counselors, community and county leaders, and CSI and Idaho Department of Labor staff. Source: Jan Roeser

Gooding County

  • The Gooding County Historical Society held a grand opening to commemorate the restoration of its 105-year-old schoolhouse – operated at Thorn Creek – 11 miles northeast of Gooding. The school served ranching families from 1912 to 1947 when it merged with Gooding School District. At its peak, there were 17 students, a windmill, outhouses and a teacher at the school. Frank and Alma Varin donated the schoolhouse, moving it to the Gooding museum in 2010 for renovation.  Source: Times-News

Jerome County

  • Jerome 20/20 hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for a new truck stop between Jerome and Twin Falls on I-84. Lynch Oil, owners of the future Mr. Gas in Jerome at the I-84 Exit 165, believe the $6 million project will open in early 2018. It will include a convenience store, gas and diesel pumps, a quick serve restaurant and parking for both trucks and passenger vehicles all on 15 acres. Source: Times-News

Blaine County

  • Sun Valley Planning & Zoning approved the Sun Valley Resort’s plans to construct two new dormitory housing buildings for employees on a 16-acre site west of the Sun Valley Lodge. Each building will be three-story with 116 and 60 rooms, respectively, allowing for flexibility in beds per unit. An estimated 350 to 500 people could use the new dormitories. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Ketchum’s Local Option Tax (LOT) was up 9.22 percent from the previous year with $2.34 million in revenue at the end of its fiscal year, which was Sept. 30, 2017. The city’s special “1 percent for air” tax raised $2.003 million during the fiscal year 2017. The city commented that the summer generated especially strong LOT revenues. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Openings

  • Silver Creek Hotel, a 56-room hotel in Bellevue constructed with modular panels was built by Nashua Homes and construction costs estimated at $5 million. Source: Times-News
  • Idaho Central Credit Union in Jerome.
  • Good Will Industries in Twin Falls.

Under Construction

  • Kneaders Bakery, a western chain started in 1997 and headquartered in Orem, Utah, is building near St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center in Twin Falls. Burger King and Beans & Brew are also underway in this same area. Source: City of Twin Falls
  • Habit Burger Grill is building a location near the bridge in Twin Falls. The restaurant group started in Santa Barbara, California, in 1969 with its first Idaho location in Meridian.
  • Blaze Pizza, another franchise, is opening in the same strip mall. Source: City 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

Region

  • The Idaho Federal District Court has ruled that the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes have the jurisdiction to enforce a Tribal Court Judgment against FMC Corp. for unpaid fees for FMC’s storage of hazardous waste on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. According to the judgement, the tribes are owed $19.5 million for unpaid permit fees for 2002 to 2014. The tribes are also owed attorney fees. Source: Shoshone-Bannock tribes press release
  • Local fiber optic network provider Direct Communications has purchased Pocatello-based Optix Media LLC. This deal will create the largest fiber optic network in eastern Idaho and link together thousands of business and residential customers stretching from Rexburg to Logan and Bear Lake to American Falls. Source: Direct Communications Press release
  • The Pioneer News Group Co. announced that it is selling its media division assets to family-owned Adams Publishing Group. The sale will include 22 daily and weekly newspapers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah along with a newspaper and commercial print facility, various shoppers and websites. Pioneer newspapers in the sale include The Idaho Press Tribune, The Idaho State Journal, The Kuna Melba News, The Meridian Press, The Emmett Messenger Index, The Montpelier News-Examiner, The Preston Citizen, The Rexburg Standard Journal and The Teton Valley News. Source: KPVI

Bannock County

  • Bannock County has been designated a High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) by the federal government. This means the county will get federal resources to help with its severe drug problem. Bannock County will share the funds with several other counties and agencies including Bonneville County and Idaho State Police. The amount of grant money has not been decided upon yet. Source: KIDK, KPVI
  • More than 200 people attended a groundbreaking Thursday for a new $100 million FBI data center in Pocatello that will employ up to 350 people when it’s completed in a couple years. The existing FBI center is benefitting from a consolidation of around 100 data facilities into just two locations — Pocatello and West Virginia. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • A national cyber security and big data management company Buchanan & Edwards announced its plans to expand in Pocatello, hoping to fill 50 positions initially and eventually 80 jobs as the company gets established. These high-tech jobs would pay $80,000 to $140,000 per year. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The Idaho State Board of Education has announced it will launch a national search for selecting the next president of Idaho State University. The search will begin in October and a final selection will be made by March 2018. Current ISU President Arthur Vailas is scheduled to retire June 17, 2018. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Boston’s Pizza Restaurant & Sports Bar announced an agreement that will bring the brand’s first location to Idaho – specifically Pocatello or the ‘Gateway to the Northwest.’ The Pocatello restaurant, located inside of the Red Lion Hotel, will seat nearly 300 guests and will bring approximately 35-40 new jobs to the area. Source: Boston’s Pizza Restaurant press release

Bingham County

  • A Canadian mine development company, eCobalt Solutions Inc., has announced plans to proceed with development of a hydrometallurgical refining facility outside Blackfoot’s city limits. The facility in Blackfoot will support a large-scale cobalt mining operation outside of Salmon. Once operational, the facility is expected to bring 60 to 90 new jobs to the area, with salaries within the $60,000 to $70,000 range. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The eastern Idaho city of Blackfoot is seeing its first housing subdivisions move forward since about 2003. Three subdivisions with a combined 139 homes have been submitted for approval; two are ready to start moving dirt. Blackfoot has a population of about 12,000. Source: Idaho Business Review

Openings

  • Midnight Dreams in Pocatello.
  • RISE fitness in Blackfoot.

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

Region

  • The Idaho Community Foundation’s Eastern Regional Grants Panel selected 61 area nonprofit organizations to receive more than $160,000 through its annual competitive grant cycle. The grant recipients in region six are from Bonneville, Butte, Custer, Fremont, Lemhi, Madison and Teton counties. Source: Post Register

Bonneville County

  • Construction is underway on the Community Family Clinic’s new building in Idaho Falls. The clinic, operated by Caldwell-based nonprofit Community Council of Idaho, serves low-income residents regardless of insurance status. The new building, with 16 exam rooms, is tentatively scheduled to open by the end of October. Source: Post Register
  • Excavation is underway for the multimillion-dollar mixed-use complex to be built at the former Saving Center grocery store plot. The Broadway project, headed by Boise-based Oppenheimer Development Corp., will include a single-story, 9,600-square-foot retail building by Broadway. A 28,800-square-foot building with retail on the first floor, office space on the second floor and residential units on the third is expected for the other side of the property, near A Street. There also will be a public plaza and parking garage. Several tenants have already been identified for the complex, including the Bank of Idaho, Lucy’s Pizzeria, restaurant chain Smokin Fins and law firm Parsons, Beahle and Latimer. Source: Post Register
  • A local company, Speech and Language Clinic, specializing in several types of pediatric developmental therapy is consolidating its services from several offices into one location. A 29,973-square-foot building is being built in Idaho Falls to accommodate this change. The two-story, $2.8 million project is slated for completion in May. Source: East Idaho News

Teton County

  • Neenah, Wisconsin, based Cobblestone Hotels started construction Oct. 6 on its second Idaho hotel in Victor, near the Wyoming state line. The three-story, 56-room Cobblestone Hotel & Suites in Victor will have an indoor swimming pool, fitness center and business center. Source: Idaho Business Review

Lemhi County

  • Vancouver, British Columbia, based eCobalt has announced plans to develop a cobalt mining operation in Salmon and hydrometallurgical refinery on a railhead in neighboring Blackfoot. The Salmon mine is the only environmentally permitted primary cobalt project in the United States. Jobs will pay in the $60,000-$70,000 range. Approximately 125 jobs will be created at the Salmon mine. The vertically integrated Idaho Cobalt Project is designed to produce cobalt for the rechargeable batteries market. The total capital and reclamation cost is estimated at $288.1 million. Source: East Idaho News

Madison County

  • Conservice, based in Logan, Utah, has been featured on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing American companies every year for the past 10 years. A rapidly growing utility management and billing company has opened a branch in Rexburg and is hiring local residents. The Rexburg opening on Dividend Drive brings in new jobs that are well above minimum wage. Twenty people have already been hired, with compensation starting between $10.50 and $13 an hour. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

Butte County

  • Craters of the Moon received a field trip grant from the National Park Foundation. This grant is aimed to provide educational opportunities for nearby school districts. The grant will provide $400 for each school to help finance the cost of transportation. Source: The Arco Advertiser

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

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