Around Idaho: Economic Activity in December 2017

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

  • Construction has begun on a $7.3 million parking structure in downtown Coeur d’Alene. The 360-space garage is being spearheaded by the city’s urban renewal agency, Ignite CDA, which notes that constrained parking space presents a barrier to the redevelopment of many properties downtown. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • A $6 million medical building is under construction in the Riverstone development in Coeur d’Alene. North Idaho Dermatology will occupy part of the building when it is completed later in 2018. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • Kootenai Health has begun a $4.3 million renovation involving at least 17,000 square feet and three departments in its main hospital building in Coeur d’Alene. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • SmaK Plastics – a Vancouver-based manufacturer with a facility in Coeur d’Alene – announced plans to expand its northern Idaho workforce. SmaK currently employs 18 people in its Coeur d’Alene facility, but plans to expand to roughly 40 by the second quarter of 2018. Source: Spokane Journal of Business

Openings

  • DC Engineering in Coeur d’Alene.
  • Big Sky Auto Wholesale in Post Falls.

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

  • The second class of 2017 graduated from the Idaho Youth Challenge Academy Dec. 15. Since the National Guard-sponsored academy opened its doors in the former Pierce Elementary School in January 2014, it enrolls two classes per year for the 22-week program. This fall, 115 cadets completed the program. Some leave the school with a high school diploma, others with a GED, and some will have made up credits that they were behind on and can now return to their former high schools. The academy employs 53 people to mentor and teach the students who come from all over Idaho. Source: Clearwater Tribune
  • The city of Orofino hired Debco Construction to begin a $500,000 project on Michigan Avenue to repair the Orofino creek riprap wall that collapsed in November. Source: Clearwater Tribune

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • The Idaho Department of Commerce in November recognized Pacific Cabinets for its economic development successes. The millwork firm, established 34 years ago in Ferdinand, specializes in architectural cabinets, hospital headwalls, nursing stations and countertops. The company works on projects across the west including the Boise State University College of Business and Economics building. Since 2014, Pacific Cabinets has added 50 new employees and plans to increase its sales to $20 million in 2018. To help with its growth the company has partnered with Idaho Department of Labor for Workforce Development Training Funds. Source: Idaho Department of Commerce
  •  Family Dollars is opening stores in the former King’s Variety stores in Orofino and Grangeville. The move fills the gap left when King’s closed the stores in early 2017, helping to waylay fears of losing local shoppers to Lewiston, Clarkston and other destinations. The Orofino store recently completed hiring for its January opening. The Grangeville store will open at the end of March. The stores will employ about a dozen people each. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Dog Bark Park in Cottonwood, known for its giant beagle that serves as a bed-and-breakfast and its wooden sculptures, celebrated its 20th anniversary in December. Visitors come from around the world to see the big beagle. Dog Bark Park was featured in an independent feature film shot in November. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Gavin Lewis became the director for Ida-Lew Economic Development Council, based in Grangeville, Nov. 1. The council, which serves Idaho and Lewis counties, focuses on business development, helps locals create new businesses and established businesses to expand and retain employees. Lewis plans to offer some workshops in 2018 on marketing and social media. Source: Idaho County Free Press

Latah County

  • The University of Idaho recently began a $700,000 library renovation. It will remodel the second floor similar to the first floor remodel of 2016. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Nez Perce and Asotin, Washington, Counties

  • The Lewiston Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved a conditional-use permit Dec. 13 for Asgard Capital Expansion LLC to convert an old building on the former Twin City Foods property into a mineral water and lemonade bottling plant. The company says it would create eight to 10 full-time jobs in its first year and another 10 within five years. The bottling plant in downtown Lewiston would be designed for tourists similar to the Tilamook cheese factory on the Oregon coast, and may eventually include a hotel and family center. Twin City Food processed its last batch of peas in 2004, and the main building was demolished in 2011. Its property offers great potential for shaping the future of downtown. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Idaho Forest Group (IFG) mills in Lewiston and Grangeville are running at full capacity, and employment has increased during the past year. The Grangeville mill now employs 174 people and the Lewiston mill about 200. Lumber is expected to do well in 2018 with the world’s economy growing, reconstruction efforts after the hurricanes and a drop in the value of the dollar, which makes American goods relatively less expensive abroad. The composite price of framing lumber has hovered around $436 per thousand board feet since November. A year ago, it was around $360, according to Random Lengths. One of the biggest challenges for Idaho mills is finding industrial millwrights and programmable logic controller electricians, who know how to install, maintain, repair and program sophisticated electronic equipment. The IFG mill had 10 openings for those occupations in November. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Port of Lewiston received an “unmodified” (clean) for its June 30, 2017, year-end audit report. “Transparency and public trust are the foundation of the work we do,” said Commission Treasurer Mary Hasenoehrl. “Through independent audits and public outreach the port works hard to maintain that trust.” The recent audit showed the port’s Change in Net Position (net income) totaled $478,620, and its current assets total $4.6 million. More than $1.3 million was invested in the port’s fiber optic network, industrial sites and intermodal facilities. While the port’s net position continued to be positive, it finished the year with an operating loss of $134,220 due to depreciation of $395,792. Depreciation is a non-budgeted, non-cash operating expense. Operating activities actually provided a positive $413,294 in cash in FY17. A complete copy of the audit report is available on the Port of Lewiston’s website at http://portoflewiston.com/. Source: Port of Lewiston news release
  • The Port of Lewiston over the years has developed multiple sites in Lewiston, providing opportunities for existing businesses to expand and for new businesses to locate. When EKO Compost moved from Harry Wall Industrial Park in March 2016, the port spent $573,000 to revamp the site. That work is now complete, and the 13-acre site is ready for light to heavy industrial businesses. The city of Lewiston plans to make improvements to Col. Wright Way this summer, while the port will install trees bordering the street. The port also offers locations for businesses in Northport, Southport and the Business and Technology Park. Source: Port of Lewiston Newsletter

Openings

  • MOD Pizza opened on 21st Street in Lewiston in late November.
  • Complete Suite Furniture & Mattress recently opened in the former Hastings store in Lewiston.
  • Orange Hippo Bakery, specializing in doughnuts, opened in Clarkston on Sixth Street in November.

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

  • Idaho’s first medical school, Idaho College Osteopathic Medicine, is on track to open in August 2018 in Meridian. The school is in the process of hiring critical faculty members, developing programs and constructing facilities. The school is expected to help with Idaho’s physician shortage. The college has a mission to train physicians to serve and care for people who live in Idaho, surrounding states and beyond. Admissions priority will be given to Idahoans and students from Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. The college will have 75 full-time positions by the time it opens in August 2018 and in 2022, when the first class graduates. The college will employ 104 full-time faculty and staff in addition to hundreds of clinical and adjunct faculty. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Boise is the test market for the Little Caesars Pizza Portal, a heated self-service mobile pick-up station called Reserve-N-Ready. Customers place the order from a mobile device using the Little Caesars app, wait for an alert, head for the portal, input a 3-digit pin or scan a QR code and a compartment opens for you to take your pizza and drive away. Tucson, Arizona, has been a test market since June and has had positive reviews. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The city of Boise is setting in motion the purchase of 840 acres northwest of the Stack Rock Reserve for $420,000 to develop a permanent trail system for the area. The city council approved the deal on Nov. 28. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • There is a shortage of housing for H-2A workers – temporary agricultural workers – in southwest Idaho. Authorities are searching for enough units to meet the current demand that has grown from 25 workers two years ago to 80 people this year and only 19 housing units available. The limited supply of housing limits the potential number of H-2A workers that would apply for work in the area. Source: Capital Press
  • Moxie Java is for sale for $599,000. The Boise’s long-serving coffee house currently serves its brand in 16 locations in southern Idaho and three other states. The sale includes two company owned coffee shops, the roasting operation, franchise and store-licensing system, and the sales distribution network. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Eagle-based T-Sheets, a digital time-sheet firm, was recently acquired by Intuit Inc. The company, which started in 2005, will remain headquartered in Eagle. It current employs 260 people and expects to expand to 400 by the end of 2018. The company needs more software engineers, sales and marketing employees and customer-experience workers. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Boise was named a 2018 top spot for travel by Travel + Leisure. Increased ease of access resulting from more direct flight options from Chicago and San Diego, as well as increased and improved food and accommodation options that have come online in Boise were cited as contributing factors to the selection. In addition Washington Post travel writer John Briley gave a glowing review of his visit to Boise in a recent article. Sources: Travel+Leisure; Washington Post
  • Stoel Rives business law firm relocated its company-wide accounting office in July from Portland, Oregon, to Boise. The 15-person accounting team will move to the 18th floor of the U.S. Bank Plaza in January. The Boise office is the fourth-largest Stoel Rives operation, which has offices in 10 locations in the U.S. The Boise office also houses two of the firm’s practice group leaders for real estate construction design and energy, land use and natural resources. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Nonprofit NeighborWorks Boise is building five “pocket communities” in Garden City in order to provide affordable housing to Treasure Valley. Each home ranges from just over 600 square feet to a little more than 2,000 square feet. The design includes courtyards and spacious patios on the outside and stainless steel appliances on the inside, with efficient use of space. The pocket communities fit well with Garden City’s philosophy as it develops its urban area. Source: KTVB
  • Boise Mobile Equipment, which makes wildland and municipal fire trucks, built 80 in 2017, up from 18 in 2014 and expect to build 147 in 2018. The wildland fire trucks cost from $125,000 to $175,000 while the pumper trucks go for $450,000 to $500,000. The company employs more than 100 people and plans to add another 25 over the next six months. It takes approximately eight weeks to build a truck. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Idaho Department of Lands held an auction to sell properties in Boise, including three parking lots and an office building that sold for $1.6 million. Four commercial lots in Meridian did not sell. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Lone Cone, a Boise company that partners with outdoor brands to promote its products online through Amazon, has started to develop its own brand of products. The company moved to Boise in 2013 to focus on outdoor gear and currently has 11 full-time workers and a handful of freelancers. A warehouse in Meridian receives the products that the company orders from vendors and ships to an Amazon fulfillment center. The company’s first self-branded product was children’s rain boots, which became a No. 1 seller on Amazon. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Albertsons is breaking new ground for the supermarket chain with its pilot convenience store it opened in December on Parkcenter Boulevard in Boise. The 12-pump fuel center will be the first service station in Idaho with a credit card EMV chip reader at the pumps and also the first Albertsons fuel center with five grades of fuel, including ethanol-free pumps. The new store has a drive-through lane open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. where anything available inside can be purchased from a vehicle. The test will run for six months, the results analyzed and then a decision will be made whether to roll out the concept to other locations. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • A fifth new hotel in Boise will begin construction on Front Street in the spring and be completed in two years. The proposed eight-story hotel will have 138 extended-stay room with a roughly 600-space parking garage that will be open to the public. The Raymond Group of Middleton, Wisconsin, and Old Boise are collaborating on the project. The Raymond Group manages the Hampton Inn in Boise. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Boise is getting a major league Quidditch team to add to its 2018 sports offering. The game is an adaptation of the game featured in the Harry Potter books. The team is moving to Boise from Phoenix and will be called the Boise Grays, named after the gray wolves reintroduced to Idaho in the 1990s, according to the Major League Quidditch league. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Idaho Potato Commission will continue to sponsor the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl for five years. The commission has been sponsoring the game since 2011 and will spend $450,000 a year. A recent study put the media value on the sponsorship at $13 million annually. The contact negotiated with ESPN requires that every time the network mentions the bowl, it has to refer to it by is full title – “Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.” Source: Capital Press 

Boise County

  • Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area opened a new attraction Dec. 22 – The Glade Runner mountain coaster. It has a 4,330-foot track that pulls the rider 800 vertical feet up the mountain and then releases the occupant for joyride of twists, turns and dips on more than a half-mile track. The gravity-fed descent, with rider-controlled speed, tops out at 25 mph. Source: Idaho Statesman

Canyon County

  • For the first time in 50 years, Caldwell High School students and can start their agriculture careers without leaving campus. More than 180 students are in enrolled in a pair of new entry-level agriculture education courses: introduction to agriculture education and introduction to agriculture industry. The Caldwell School Superintendent Shalene French wanted to connect students to opportunities in Caldwell’s national seed production industry. The Caldwell area leads the nation in seed production. The school’s Future Farmers of America chapter is also getting a reboot. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • The new Saint Alphonsus Neighborhood Hospital in Nampa opened in September, however, it is still waiting on a survey to receive accreditation. The new hospital can treat patients because it is licensed by Southwest District Health and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Until it is accredited it won’t be reimbursed by Medicaid, Medicare or Tricare, however, Saint Alphonsus will absorb those costs to treat patients until the survey is done. Once the hospital is accredited it can seek retroactive reimbursement from government health care plans back to the date of the survey, but not all the way back to the date of the opening. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • The city of Parma issued building permits valued at $3.3 million in 2017, up from the $100,000 issued in 2016. The sharp increase reflects a sudden growth of business in the small community. Permits for an addition of a car wash to the Jacksons Food Store, J.S. Watson’s two storage sheds and five new homes are just a few examples of the permits issued. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Bike Walk Nampa partnered with Nampa First Church of the Nazarene in November to hold the Great Bicycle Harvest, a bike collection event. The bikes were repaired and donated to local adults who needed a form of transportation. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • The Idaho Transportation Board allocated an additional $86 million to widen the Interstate 84 corridor from Nampa to Caldwell. This is in addition to the $150 million in GARVEE bonds allocated in April and the state and federal funds previously dedicated in October. This decision allocated all of the remainder of the $300 million in GARVEE bonds the Idaho Legislature approved during the 2017 session. The designs are scheduled to be completed by the fall, and construction should begin shortly after and last into 2021. Other related projects include widening I-84 between Karcher and Franklin roads to three lanes, and reconstruction of the West Karcher Road overpass and the Northside interchange. SOURCE: Idaho Press Tribune
  • The new St. Luke’s hospital in Nampa is now accredited and began taking patients with government health insurance in mid-December. The accrediting body conducted a three-day survey of the hospital in early December. The survey examined the mechanics of the facility and quality of care. The accreditation did not have an impact on the hospital’s ability to treat patients, but rather it had to do with treating patients with government health insurance, such as Medicare and Medicaid. The process did not have an impact on private insurance customers. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • The city of Nampa developed a mobile phone application that will give residents easy access to city information. The app offers 39 links to staff directory, city utilities, agendas, job openings, city code and information about city services. All of the information is on the city’s website, but is now easy to access with a mobile device and a click of an app. Source: Idaho Press Tribune

Gem County

  • Not to be out done with Boise’s Great Potato drop on New Year’s Eve, Emmett has the Cherry Rise. Over the past three years the Payette River Regional Technical Academy pre-engineering students have contracted, then improved, the lighted cherry that forms the focal point of the celebration. More lights were added in 2017 to make the cherry brighter. The celebration was held in Pioneer Park in Emmett and begin about 11:30 pm on New Year’s Eve. The cherry is an apt symbol for Idaho’s cherry capital. Source: Messenger Index
  • The Emmett Fire Department deployed one structure engine and one light brush engine with a support crew to assist with the fires raging in southern California in mid-December. Most of the fuel for the fires was from dried grass. The fire engines will be reimbursed at the rate of $2,499 and $900, respectively. The firefighters will be paid on top of that, which also will be reimbursed to the city. Source: Messenger Index
  • The Emmett Valley Association of Realtors merged with the Boise Regional Realtors in December. The BRR staff will be handling administrative matters, including government affairs, market states and grant opportunities. “Emmett and other nearby cities are evolving in their own unique way” according to BRR Chief Executive Officer Breanna Vanstrom. The merger allows the BRR to include Gem County and the City of Emmett in their advocacy efforts and market research initiatives. Source: Idaho Business Review

Owyhee County

  • Owyhee Lanes bowling alley was renamed The Bowling Alley following a naming contest. The owners are expanding the restaurant now that the broken roof trusses have been repaired following the heavy snows of last winter. The current banquet room seats 70 and is used for numerous meetings in Homedale. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Owyhee Health & Rehabilitation Center is adding 18 beds, including the Homedale facility’s first private suites, adding to the current 49-bed center. Construction began in September and should be completed by May 2018. Source: Idaho Business Review

Payette County

  • The city of Payette’s economic development comprehensive plan should focus on value-added agriculture, attracting retirees and making the most of its status as a bedroom community as discussed at a planning workshop in December. Adding value to local agriculture includes efforts to promoting agri-tourism/farm tours to connect farmers and consumers among several other suggestions. Source: Independent Enterprise

Valley County

  • A growing population and increasing tourism have motivated stores serving McCall to expand and add more offerings. The latest is Ridley’s Family Markets, which will complete its addition of 15,000 square feet in January. It will feature a sushi bar, coffee shop and double the size of its produce section. The Ridley’s expansion follows the August completion of the Albertsons remodel and expansion of the former Paul’s Market in McCall. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • West Mountain Wine Retreat opened in December near Tamarack Resort in Donnelly. The bed-and-breakfast provides tasting seminars as part of its offerings to tourists. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Valley County is making progress on its goal of creating more affordable housing for workers, including seasonal workers. The Springs apartments in McCall doubled in size this year with the addition of 36 units. In Donnelly, a 36-unit affordable housing apartment complex opened in November. The West Central Mountains Housing Trust, created in 2016 to buy or rehab homes, plans to acquire and demolish three homes in New Meadows to pave the way for the construction of single family houses. The median price of homes sold in the first 10 months of 2017 was $314,013 in McCall, $254,500 in New Meadows, $187,500 in Cascade and $187,250 in Donnelly, according to the Mountain Central Association of Realtors. Only 15 percent of homes in McCall are affordable for those families earning the county’s median income of $61,900. Source: McCall Star-News
  • Shore Lodge and Whitetail Club in McCall plan to break ground next spring on a 32-bed dormitory to house its employees. After completion, the two resorts will provide 120 employees beds — enough to house about one-third of its peak summer workforce. The new dormitory, estimated to cost $3 million, will be located next to a 28-bed dormitory off Lakeside Avenue. The resorts need additional worker housing because of opening of the Whitetail Clubhouse in May and increasing business at Shore Lodge. The two resorts are relying more on federal visa work programs for international workers. This year, more than 40 workers came from Mexico, the Philippines, Chile, Peru, Spain, Jamaica, China and Serbia. Source: McCall Star-News

Washington County

  • Projects underway along the Weiser River are aimed at reducing flooding that occurs in the spring. A gravel bar has been removed, levees have been fixed that were damaged last February and tons of built-up gravel will be removed from the river channel. Six or seven levees have been repaired and several more will be repaired during low river flows in 2018. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built levees along the river from Weiser to Cambridge in the 1940s and 1960s, but it no longer maintains them. Many were created to protect low-lying agriculture lands and the city of Weiser. Source: Weiser Signal American
  • Ridley’s Family Market will start construction on a 55,000-square-foot supermarket soon. The new supermarket will replace the one that was damaged by the snow last winter. The supermarket has been operating out of the vacant King’s Variety Store. The new location is on 5 acres on Sixth Street. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Weiser was ranked the safest city in Idaho with a safety score of 96.67 according a study conducted by Safe Home. Nampa, Boise and Meridian all ranked in the top 20. Criteria include number of violent crimes, property crimes and citizen-to-officer ratio. Source: Idaho Press Tribune

Openings

  • Petite 4 will open in April in Boise across near the Ahavath Beth Israel Synagogue.
  • Bi-Mart announced a new store in Caldwell. Other new locations are Kuna and Star.
  • Black Canyon Café in Caldwell. It serves home cooking with everything made from scratch.
  • Back 9 Indoor Golf will open in January Boise’s Overland Shopping Center. It will have five golf simulators, a landscaped putting green with a waterfall, a room for parties and other events, and a food-and-beverage area.
  • Pho Tay Vietnamese Noodles in Meridian.
  • Mad Mac, a macaroni and cheese restaurant in Boise.
  • Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza opened a new restaurant at the Treasure Valley Crossing shopping center in Nampa.
  • Madre, a fast-casual boutique taqueria, will open in February in Boise.
  • Urban Air Adventure Park, an indoor entertainment complex, opened in Meridian Dec. 15. Attractions include wall-to-wall trampoline arenas, a warrior course, tube course, climbing walls and a nine-hole blacklight mini golf course.
  • Tacoma Screw Products Inc. opened in its new location in Caldwell in late November on Simplot Boulevard. It is the 20th branch for the Pacific Northwest hardware company.
  • Winnie’s Hallmark opened in Meridian Crossroads Center in Meridian. It is the first new Hallmark store to open in the Treasure Valley since 2016.
  • Push and Pour coffee shop opened in Garden City. The coffee shop is located in a former garage and is part of the Riverside District.
  • Form and Function, a Boise coffee roaster known for pouring small-batch brews at the farmer’s market, opened in December in downtown Boise.
  • Fish Poke Bar opened in Meridian.
  • Pho Tay opened in December with a one-page menu anchored by the house specialty – pho, a popular Vietnamese street food made with noodles, broth, meat and herbs.
  • JumpTime opened in a new building in Meridian in December, the day after they closed its Fairview Avenue location.

Closings

  • North End Chinese Restaurant in Boise will close in several months to make way for a new Starbucks. The restaurant may reopen in another location.
  • Idaho Book and School Supply in Garden City closed at the end of 2017 after 45 years serving teachers, parents and grandparents of school children.
  • McDonald’s in the Boise Town Square food court closed. Other McDonald’s closures include a standalone on Apple Street, an express kiosk in the Airport Chevron and in the Boise airport.
  • Smoky Davis in Boise closed Dec. 31. The building will be demolished to make way for a State Street/Veterans Memorial Parkway/36th Street intersection expansion. The owners hope to relocate.
  • Panda Garden Chinese & Sushi restaurant in Meridian closed. The Boise location remains open.

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

  • The Sun Valley Inn completed renovating 25 new rooms in time for the holiday tourism season. The Village Station, a contemporary restaurant with a railroad station theme, opened in the former Bald Mountain Pizza following renovation. It is located next to the renovated Ram Bar and the Ram. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Hailey’s Community Development Department has proposed a downtown mid-residential overlay to the city’s planning and zoning commission that would allow 50 housing units per building, with units as small as 300 square feet along with a parking spot, storage and landscape buffer. This addresses the issue of a lack of affordable housing and allows more housing density in the downtown core — a solution that many towns and larger cities are viewing favorably. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The city of Ketchum has paved two parking lots and added electronic paying kiosks. This is a new concept for the city adding about 90 spaces for paid parking in the downtown core. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Camp Rainbow Gold lost its appeal to move the camp for kids with cancer and their families to an area past the Triumph Mine on the East Fork Road between Hailey and Ketchum. County commissioners were divided 2-1, with Greenberg the lone vote trying to make it work. This follows the split P&Z decision that weighed in at 4-3, last spring creating the appeal. It is not clear what Camp Rainbow Gold leaders will do as it has outgrown its original venue north of Ketchum. The camp was established to give kids with cancer a chance to enjoy a normal summer experience yet have resources and support on standby.

Mini-Cassia Area – Minidoka and Cassia Counties

  • McCain Foods held a groundbreaking ceremony for its $200 million expansion. The company intends to hire an additional 180 workers by the time the 259,000-square-foot facility is completed by the fall of 2018. Source: Times-News

Twin Falls MSA – Jerome and Twin Falls Counties

  • The former Twin Falls Micropolitan Statistical Area (MicroSA) has been designated a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as announced by the U.S. Office or Management and Budget. This designation affects statistics such as the civilian labor force estimate, the monthly unemployment rate estimate and the non-farm payroll data. This designation combines the two counties of Jerome and Twin Falls into one geographic area for statistical purposes, as has been done for decades as a MicroSA. The biggest change occurs behind the scenes as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) calculates the employment statistics and non-farm payroll, rather than the Idaho Department of Labor. The BLS is an agency under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Labor. The BLS normally takes a full year to incorporate the designation. Twin Falls take its place among the other five metro areas in Idaho in 2019. Source: Times-News
  • The Jerome School District is seeking a 10-year plant facilities levy at its next election in March 2018. The school board is seeking $650,000 annually for the first five years and $700,000 annually for the next five years. Jerome has just over 4,000 students in preschool through 12th grade. On average, the district has grown by100 students annually over the past five years. Source: Times News
  • The Twin Falls Urban Renewal Agency Board has sold the building leased to C3 to Concept Investors LLC, comprised of local citizens Gerald Martens, Rick White and Bill Kyle. The final price was $2.05 million. The URA acquired the building in 1989 after previous tenants Ernst Home Centers and Albertsons moved out. Source: Times-News
  • Xavier Charter School is considering how to expand its offerings with just over 700 K-12 students and almost 300 on a waiting list. The school purchased 2.5 acres of land for expansion and has a committee that is strategizing for the future. Leaders say an expansion may be years off before a successful capital campaign and contracts are in place. Meanwhile, portable classrooms may be the temporary solution. Source: Times-News
  • Students are using the Advanced Opportunities program to pay for college courses while in high school. The Idaho State Department of Education program provides $4,125 per student for use with the dual credit high school courses that also provide college credit. A newer program is the College of Southern Idaho’s Expanded Technical Dual Credit. An example is a student currently taking welding classes at CSI’s campus in the afternoon and high school courses at the high school in the morning, can earn a technical certificate in welding at the completion of the academic year. Source: Times-News

Camas County

  • The Camas County Commissioners passed an amendment to a county ordinance making private airports of unrestricted size and operation on agriculturally zoned land (AG-80) legal. Any private airports registered with the Federal Aviation Administration will no longer require permitting building. This gives the green light to the completion of the private Soldier Field Airport, expected to house 20 aircraft and have about 500 monthly landings, including 150 monthly jet operations. The documents for the project indicate the private airport could evolve into a public airport in the future. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Openings

  • Hotel Ketchum, a 58-room boutique hotel in Ketchum replaces the Bellemont Hotel that went into foreclosure in 2016.
  • Blaze Pizza opened its operation in the new Canyon Rim West strip mall in Twin Falls.

Closures

  • Old Navy in Twin Falls will close at the end of January.

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

  • The Pocatello City Council unanimously approved the annexation of nearly 300 acres of land north of East Chubbuck Road for the proposed Northgate interchange, but the Idaho Transportation Department also learned the construction cost of the interchange alone has increased by about $4 million. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Fahim Rahim, MD, along with various physician partners, officially announced plans for the Bingham Healthcare Medical Campus. It will serve citizens of the city of Chubbuck as well as provide greater access to and more options for health care to Pocatello and all of Bannock County. The medical campus will be constructed in Chubbuck on an undeveloped 20-acre lot. A ground-breaking is planned for late spring or early summer of 2018. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • A fire broke out at the Safe Haven care facility in Pocatello on Hospital Way. Firefighters say all but a small portion of the inside was destroyed with losses estimated to be upward of $2 million. There were no injuries. The nursing home transitioned to an assisted living facility on Nov. 1 after it was set to lose its certification as a nursing home effective Nov. 30. Source: Idaho State Journal, KPVI

Bingham County

  • Bingham County Planning & Zoning Commission voted in favor of new subdivision in Woodville north of Shelley. The proposed 60-lot preliminary subdivision would be located at 728 E. 1500 N on approximately 39.69 acres in a residential zone. Source: The Shelley Pioneer

Caribou County

  • Canadian fertilizer producer and farm supplier Agrium Inc. is selling its Conda, Idaho, phosphate production facility for $100 million to fertilizer company Itafos, to address concerns of U.S. regulators about its merger with Potash Corp of Saskatchewan. There has not been any statement from Agrium or Itafos concerning day-to-day facility operations or its employees. Source: Reuters, The News Examiner

Openings

  • Maddock Veterinary in Montpelier.
  • Cobblestone Inn and Suites in Soda Springs.
  • Roylie’s, restaurant featuring British fish and chips, in Malad.
  • Car Wash Express in Pocatello.
  • Idaho State Police facility in Pocatello.

Closings

  • Black Bear Diner in Chubbuck.
  • Daytona Dairy in Dayton, affecting 32 workers.

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

  • Pocatello is the latest city to join the Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho (REDI) organization. City officials made the announcement in November, saying the move to join REDI will allow Pocatello to tap into the organization’s local, regional and national marketing efforts to help attract new businesses. Joining the organization will cost the city of Pocatello $30,000. According to Mayor Brian Blad, the city will continue working with Bannock Development Corp. on economic expansion. Source: Idaho State Journal

Bonneville County

  • The city of Idaho Falls and the Bonneville County Commission have struck a deal that will result in the expansion of the Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park. The Idaho Falls City Council approved the purchase of the Bonneville County 4-H Fairgrounds from the county. The property, located adjacent to the zoo on Rollandet Drive, was sold for $695,000 following an independent appraisal. Source: Post Register
  • The new Idaho Falls Community Family Clinic is now open to the public. The clinic, operated by Caldwell-based nonprofit Community Council of Idaho, offers medical services to low-income individuals regardless of whether they’re insured, uninsured or use Medicare or Medicaid. A bilingual staff also accommodates Spanish-speaking patients. The new clinic contains 16 exam rooms and is more than double the size of the old clinic, which had five exam rooms. Source: Post Register
  • Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center’s parent company, the Hospital Corporation of America, gave final approval for establishing an internal medicine residency program in Idaho Falls. The program will start in July when 10 new internal medical residents arrive in Idaho Falls. The Gem State had 192.6 active physicians per 100,000 residents last year, ranked 49th in the nation. Meanwhile neighboring Wyoming, which was ranked 48th, had 199. Source: Post Register
  • The 25,000-square-foot Cardio Renal Centers of America office in Idaho Falls is scheduled to be completed next fall. A Bingham Memorial Hospital news release said the facility is expected to include physician offices for outpatient clinic visits for cardiology, nephrology, interventional radiology and interventional pain management, along with offering peritoneal dialysis. The facility’s estimated cost is $15 million. Source: Post Register
  • The College of Eastern Idaho Board of Trustees named Rick Aman as president of the college. Formerly president of Eastern Idaho Community College, he has been the interim president of the newly formed CEI. The Board also announced the $1.73 million gift from Bill and Shirley Maeck that will help pay to renovate the college’s four science laboratories. It will pay for a surgical manikin and a virtual cadaver for the students to practice their skills and pay for a testing center that will benefit students and others who now have to travel to Pocatello and Salt Lake City for certification tests. The four projects will start in early 2018 and are projected to be completed by fall 2018. Source: Post Register
  • Idaho Falls will see major work at Mountain View Hospital in 2018. The owner of the property has filed a permit with the city of Idaho Falls Building Department for a $65 million, 88-bed wing on the building’s east end. The work will involve demolition of the existing Rosemark clinic attached to the hospital’s east end. In its place, there will be a new, three-story structure, plus basement and penthouse. The existing hospital will remain with some remodeling in the lab, and a new lobby will be added to the front of the existing hospital, attached to both the existing and new hospital. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

Madison County

  • A 288-unit apartment complex called Providence Square Apartments will be built on what has been vacant, unused land off of South Fifth West and West Second South. The complex is being constructed by Sweetwater Properties, an eastern Idaho-based real estate developing company. The first phase of this project is slated to be complete by next fall. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal
  • The Local Highway Technical Assistance Council recently awarded the city of Ashton $30,000 to update its transportation plan. The plan will also include safety issues involving pedestrian access and sidewalks. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

Lemhi County

  • A ground-breaking ceremony was held last month to celebrate the construction of a new classroom and office facility – an expansion on the University of Idaho Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center. Source: The Recorder Herald
  • The College of Eastern Idaho will use a $79,516 Workforce Development Training Fund Grant from the Idaho Department of Labor to train 13 practical nurses in Salmon. The two-year program will provide the students with a 38-credit intermediate technical certificate in practical nursing. Source: The Idaho Department of Labor

Butte County

  • Lost Rivers Medical Center is providing community-wide EMT training classes. Source: The Arco Adviser

Openings

  • Lunchbox Wax in Ammon.
  • The Cookie Place in Idaho Falls.
  • The Grind Coffee Shop in Rexburg.
  • Fair Land Lemonade and Treat Parlor in Rexburg.
  • Rise Coffee House in Driggs.

Closures

  • Targhee Sports in Rexburg.

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

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