Information provided in this article is from professional sources, news releases, weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.
North Central Idaho
South Central Idaho
NORTHERN IDAHO – Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties
- Construction has begun on a $12 million expansion and improvements at Kootenai Health. The project, which will add an additional inpatient unit at the hospital, is scheduled for completion in early 2019. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
- Salmon Electrical Contractors – a Utah-based general, electrical and mechanical contractor – has expanded to Kootenai County, after leasing a new facility in Hayden. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
- Smart Law LLC, a new company that conducts real estate transactions through the Ehtereum Cryptocurrency network, has opened an office in Hayden. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
- Construction is underway on a new two story commercial building in Coeur d’Alene’s Riverstone development. Coeur d’Alene-based Orthopedic Physical Therapy Institute will occupy the ground floor, while the second floor remains available for a future tenant. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
- Firehouse Subs, Coeur d’Alene.
- Badass Backyard Brewing, Coeur d’Alene.
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 Memorial Public Library started plans for an expansion in February, when it razed a house next to its building in downtown Orofino. It plans to build a 2,750-square-foot extension at an estimated cost of $223,000. The extension will include reading and sitting spaces, meeting rooms, display cases, restrooms and a parking area. The library currently employs seven staff members. Sources: Clearwater Tribune, Lewiston Tribune
- Weippe Library recently received a 3D printer through a grant, which will help develop engineering skills of local youth and provide opportunities for local manufacturers to make prototypes more easily. Source: Clearwater Tribune
- Clearwater County Economic Development (CCED) is working on many projects such as grants to build trails and sidewalks; finding a commercial kitchen for locals interested in processing food; and working with Two Degrees Northwest, based in Moscow, on a tourism project to promote local artisans. Its Igniting Innovation Project landed a grant for computer-aided design (CAD) software and a 3D printer to support inventors. CCED is helping SJX Jet Boats, which needs 6,000 more square feet for an expansion. The jet boat builder currently occupies 12,500 square feet of the 30,000-square-foot Orofino Business Center, owned by the city of Orofino. Source: Clearwater Tribune
- Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter cited the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Pierce as one of the top accomplishments of his gubernatorial career. Speaking to the Idaho Press Club Feb. 15, he said, “If I had to look at one thing where I made a major difference in people’s lives, it would have to be the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe.” Otter announced that the 22-week boot camp-style program would operate out of the former elementary school in 2011. The program helps youth who have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out get back on track. It employs nearly 50 people. Source: Lewiston Tribune
- Boar’s Head Highland Butchery opened in Weippe before Christmas, after a complete remodel. The business processes wild game as well as domestic animals. In January, it began offering mobile butchering. Source: Clearwater Tribune
Idaho and Lewis Counties
- The Bureau of Land Management plans to repair seven boat ramps along the Salmon River from Shorts Bar to Pine Bar. The federal agency estimates they serve more than 86,000 vehicles and more than 321,000 visitors every year. Source: Idaho County Free Press
- Clearwater Valley High School in Kooskia recently used an$18,000 federal Carl Perkins Grant to purchase welding equipment that will allow students to develop industry-standard skills. The welding students are among the 533 students in the Mountain View School District, who are enrolled in career and technical education programs. They make up 40 percent of the district’s students. Source: Idaho County Free Press
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced in February that it will assist Stites in an upgrade to its wastewater collection system to reduce infiltration. After the work is completed, less large sewage will need to be shipped to Kooskia. The corps will provide funding for engineering design, preparation of plans, specifications and camera inspection of existing sewer lines. Source: Lewiston Tribune
- Idaho Transportation Department has selected Knife River Corp. to resurface 50 miles of U.S. Highway 12 along the Lochsa River this summer. Under the $17 million project, Concrete Placing Co. will replace the Maggie Creek Bridge and Braun-Jensen Inc. will replace the Fish Creek Bridge. Work could begin as early as April and last until October. Source: Lewiston Tribune
- The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality awarded $85,500 in emergency funds to the city of White Bird to address problems that caused a one-week shutdown of its water system in November. Source: Idaho County Free Press
- Shepherd Log Homes Company in Riggins was featured on a DIY network episode, “Building off the Grid…The Cabin of No Return” building a log cabin in a remote area of the Salmon River. .” As well as building rustic log homes, the company also builds conventional houses and shops, and does custom sawing. Source: Lewiston Tribune
- Idaho County commissioners adopted a new ordinance that may provide property tax breaks to new businesses in December. For businesses expected to create 10 or more new jobs, it would exempt up to 40 percent of property value for up to three years. For investments creating 20 or more jobs, it would exempt up to 55 percent for up to five years. “Because property tax incentives effectively shift the tax burden to other taxpayers, it is important that significant benefits accrue to the public good, primarily in the form of high-paying jobs and increased property values,” the commissioners wrote in the ordinance. “As a result, exemptions should not be granted unless the board finds that a combination of direct and indirect benefits to the community from a proposed project substantially exceeds the projected cost of the tax shift.” Source: Idaho County Free Press
Nez Perce and Asotin Counties
- The Lewiston School District held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new high school and career and technical education center in the Lewiston Orchards Feb. 20. The construction resulted from the district’s first successful bond in nearly 50 years. The $59.8 million bond measure was approved in March 2017. Beniton Construction, based in Meridian, is the firm managing construction, with the center scheduled to open when school starts in fall 2020. Source: Lewiston Tribune
- The revitalization of downtown Lewiston continues. Elizabeth Coleman and her brother Michael Gossard recently purchased a 100-year-old building that once housed Mad Dog Barbecue. They plan to restore the building by the end of the year for a store or restaurant. Just down Main Street, the former Mill End Fabric building is being transformed into a number of smaller stores and offices to be called Newberry Square. Construction will start this summer on The Shops at Penney Lane, which will provide retail spots on lower floors and apartments on the upper floor. Just across the street, crews are updating the building on the east side of Brackenbury Square. Another floor is being added in the building that had a basement, first-floor commercial space and second-story ballroom with 17-foot ceilings. Besides commercial space, it will contain 10 apartments. Together, they will provide 148,000 square feet for tenants. Four years ago, a group formed to restore the Liberty Theater, which closed in 2005. They have arranged for the University of Idaho architecture students to design the interior. The goal is to create a design that will “speak to the spirit of what it used to be,” while also serving as an economic engine for the city. Source: Lewiston Tribune
- Lewis-Clark State College celebrated its 125th anniversary in February. The Lewiston college began as a normal school for teachers. Today, it offers a wide variety of bachelor’s degrees and career-technical programs. It employs more than 500 people and enrolled 3,746 in the fall semester. Source: Lewiston Tribune
- The owners of Lewiston’s Snap Fitness purchased the AdCope Athletic Club near the Red Lion in Lewiston in February and plan to convert the 22,000-square-foot facility to a Snap Fitness. The hours will be extended to 24 hours a day in March, in line with Snap Fitness practices. The existing Lewiston Snap Fitness, a few blocks away on 21st Street, will close and consolidate with the AdCope location later this year. Source: Lewiston Tribune
- Little Shop of Florals opened in downtown Moscow Jan. 1.
- LaMadrid, a Mexican restaurant at Moscow’s Eastside Marketplace, closed in late January.
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
- Exhibition installation began in mid-January at the remodeled and expanded Idaho State Museum. The state’s history museum has been closed for four years for the extensive renovation. The museum, which sits ate the gateway of Julia Davis Park, will include new exhibits, old artifacts and interactive technology. The new museum wraps around the old museum with the original entryway and 1950 entrance façade. Source: Idaho Statesman
- Albertsons is introducing Market Street Idaho stores at two locations in the Boise area. The concept of the new store is to elevate what a grocery store can be. The stores will have an executive chef and professional bakers who make breads, muffins, donuts and cakes from scratch at the store. There will be 50 to 75 in-house kitchen staff preparing entrees and salads for in-store or take-home dining. It will be a high-end selection of meat and seafood with dry-aged, grass-fed and extensive organic beef. The Market Stores will also carry local products not available at other Albertsons. The Broadway store will be located next to the new Albertstons being built from the ground up. For the second store, Albertsons is repurposing the former Shopko at Fairview and Eagle. Source: Idaho Business Review
- Roaring Springs, Meridian’s popular water park, will get three new slides and more than 20 animal-themed toys for its upcoming season. The new area will be called Bearfoot Bay and should be ready when the park opens on May 13. In addition, Wahooz, which is located next to the water park, is expanding with an event space and a catering kitchen. The new Galaxy Event Center will seat up to 600 people for receptions, meetings, trade shows and other gatherings. The event center will open in November. Source: Idaho Business Review
- Boise State University is replacing its old reader-board. The new sign will be updated with a more contemporary look, an enhanced digital display board and current branding. Because of the location on Broadway Avenue, which is a state highway, the digital board will only feature still images. The new marquee is designed to reflect the campus look and feel through the brick pattern, which can be seen across campus, and silver/aluminum accent like those on the student union and environmental research buildings. Source: BoiseDev
- Albertsons is expanding to Star. The new store will be located on 11.6 acres on State Street near Can-Ada Road. Although Star is the smallest city in Ada County, it is experiencing rapid growth. No current timeline available. Source: BoiseDev
- Mountain States Tumor Institute at St. Luke’s Boise has been designated as the first donation center in the state that can collect bone marrow and stem cells from donors for use nationwide. While St. Luke’s has had the capability to collect the cells for use locally, now the hospital can collect the life-saving materials and send them to patients anywhere in the United. States. It will also be easier for people across the region to donate. Source: Boise State Public Radio
- Crunch Fitness is renovating an old gym in southeast Boise. The old indoor swimming pool and spa are being filled in and covered, the exterior is being revamped, the skylights are being taken out and other cosmetic and structural changes are underway. Crunch Fitness purchased seven existing Idaho Athletic Clubs last year. Source: BoiseDev
- Barnes and Noble began laying off workers nationwide in mid-February. The Boise store, the only one in the Treasure Valley, experienced a small number of layoffs. There is concern that the store could be in jeopardy. A dismal holiday season for the chain prompted the layoffs. Source: Idaho Statesman
- Haven Behavioral Healthcare, a company based in Tennessee, plans to open a 72-bed psychiatric hospital in Meridian in early 2019. The hospital will open in the building currently being occupied by Vibra Hospital of Boise. Vibra, a long-term acute-care hospital is moving to a new location. The new hospital will have more than 200 employees with four to six psychiatrists seeing patients. The hospital will also be staffed with specialist physicians, social workers, therapists and other providers. Currently Ada County has about 200 inpatient psychiatric beds for adults, adolescents and children with about 140 for adults. The new hospital will increase the capacity to treat adults by 50 percent. Source: Idaho Statesman
- Albertsons is in the process of buying Rite Aid, the nation’s third-largest drugstore chain. Share-holders of the Boise-based Albertsons will own more than 70 percent of the combined company. The deal should close in the second half of 2018, but regulators and Rite Aid shareholders still have to approve it. Albertsons said it will continue to run Rite Aid stand-alone stores, and most of the grocery operator’s pharmacies will be rebranded as Rite Aid. Albertsons also owns Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s and Acme stores. Rite Aid Corp. has about 4,400 stores. In September, Walgreens, Rite Aid’s largest competitor, agreed to buy nearly 2,000 Rite Aid locations and some distribution centers. In January, Rite Aid announced that 625 stores had been transferred to Walgreens. Source: Idaho Statesman
- The six-state, Meridian-based Jacksons Food Stores has entered into a joint agreement with Chevron U.S.A. to own, operate and expand Chevron’s nearly 800 ExtraMile convenience stores in California, Oregon and Washington. Jacksons will be the managing partner in the joint venture, which started operations in February with offices in Meridian; San Ramon, California, where Chevron is headquartered; and Los Angeles. The expansion will start with 65 new ExtraMile stores at Chevron stations Jacksons operates in Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Nevada and Arizona. Jackson will convert Oregon stores first with Treasure Valley Chevron/Jacksons following toward the end of the year. There will be 25 to 30 Chevron stations in the Treasure Valley and one in Idaho Falls. Source: Idaho Business Review
- Ballet Idaho and Zoo Boise each announced new leadership. Ballet Idaho hired Garrett Anderson to replace Peter Anastos, who is retiring at the end of the season after 10 years. Anderson trained in Walnut Creek, California and has a mix of classical and contemporary sensibilities. Anderson danced with the Trey McIntryre Project when it was in Boise and returned in 2016 to perform with Boise performance group LED. Gene Peacock brings 29 years of experience in zookeeping, management and administration for other science and history museums to Boise. Zoo Boise is planning a $9 million expansion that will increase its physical footprint in Julia Davis Park. Source: Idaho Statesman
- High construction costs led Adams, Clearwater, Idaho, Lewis and Valley counties to discontinue a 2016 tentative agreement to develop a regional landfill in Adams County. Idaho County pulled out of the agreement in December, pushing up construction costs for the other four counties above the costs of current solid waste arrangements. Valley County currently hauls up to 90 tons of trash per week to the Goodrich landfill in Adams County. When it exceeds that maximum, it must haul trash to a landfill near Mountain Home. In 2016, Valley County spent $750,000 to ship 12,500 tons of trash to Mountain Home, at a cost of about $750,000. Source: McCall Star-News
- Saint Alphonsus Neighborhood Hospital in Nampa received accreditation four months after opening in September. That means the hospital can now accept insurance plans from patients with public health insurance. The hospital was surveyed by an accrediting agency in January. The survey could not be done until the hospital was open, had treated a specific number of patients and met other requirements. Prior to being accredited, the hospital could not be reimbursed for the treatment of patients with government health insurance. The neighborhood hospital replaced the old Saint Alphonsus hospital, which was formerly Mercy Hospital. The new hospital is 40,000 square feet and offers emergency service, short-stay inpatient care and radiology services. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
- The College of Idaho announced it is cutting department budgets and putting a hiring freeze in place to address deficits in the college’s budgets according to Interim President Bob Hoover. The deficit stems from an increase in total expenses — growth in staff and faculty positions — and a decline in enrollment. Positions will not be cut but as staff leaves positions will not be filled. All department were asked to cut their budgets by 3 to 5 percent for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The college hopes to increase its enrollment from the current 961 to more than 1,200 students. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
- The newly expanded PreFunk Beer Bar in Nampa opened in early February. The interior space of the bar was expanded by roughly 350 square feet with 35 more seats and more room to host events indoor. The expansion was made possible when PreFunk’s neighbor, Anointed Hands Barber Palace, moved to a new location. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
- Affordable senior housing in Nampa is a growing need. Two housing proposals have been approved by the Nampa Planning and Zoning Commission. One proposal, Mercy Creek, will be built on the site of the old Mercy Hospital and will include 50 affordable housing units for low-income residents 55 and over. The second project, Vineyard Suites, near the intersection of Midland and Caldwell boulevards, will also have 50 units for residents 55 and older, with 45 units restricted to seniors who make less than 55 percent of the area’s median income. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
- The “Grocery Store Shuttle” began its four-month pilot run in February. The shuttle is designed to provide the north Nampa neighborhoods with access to healthy foods. The shuttle will have various stops in north Nampa and will take residents to WinCo on Garrity Boulevard. The pilot program will operate at least every Saturday until April 23. Contributions were made by St. Luke’s and Saint Alphonsus to fund the shuttle, and the vehicle was provided by the Boise Rescue Mission. A long-term goal is to get a grocery market to open within walking distance. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
- The Idaho Horsemen, an indoor professional football team, is coming to the Idaho Ford Center in 2019. Although negotiations are in the preliminary state with the center, the Horsemen are actively recruiting community support. Two-year “Preferred Posse” season pass vouchers are for sale. The proceeds will be used to buy equipment, turf and other items. Source: Idaho Statesman
- St. Luke’s provided more than $45,000 in grants to nonprofit and public sector organizations in Elmore County. The grants are part of St. Luke’s annual Community Health Improvement Fund. The three recipients are Mountain Home Parks and Recreation — Heighten Your Health; Mountain Home School District — elementary after-school activities program; and Mountain Home Senior Center — home delivered and congregate meals. Source: Mountain Home News
- Supply and demand has impacted Gem County home prices. In January 2018, there were 42 home under contract, up 7.7 percent from January 2017, and 47 homes available, up 11.9 percent from one year ago. Based on data between February 2017 and January 2018, the median sales price in the county was $183,350, an increase of 10.1 percent over January 2017. Source: Messenger Index
- The Eastern Owyhee County Library in Grand View has received multiple grants. The Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation’s grant of $6 will be used to replace the meeting room door with an automatic handicapped-accessible one and create a handicapped parking area. The library was the recipient of a FabSLAM grant from the Idaho STEM Action Center for a Flash Forge 3D Printer. An additional $1,500 was used to purchase more materials to expand the 3D design and fabrication program. A grant was from U.S. Ecology was used to purchase STEM activity kits for the after-school program. The kits include Ozobots and Dot & Dash robots. Source: Mountain Home News
- Despite low snowpack in December and January, Valley County hosted near-record numbers of skiers, snowmobilers and other winter visitors. The Brundage Mountain and Tamarack resorts enjoyed a good start to the ski season, including the key week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Brundage near McCall had all of its 1,920 acres open in early January, while most ski areas across the West didn’t have all their acres open. Brundage’s snowmobiling tours and new horse-drawn sleigh rides also did brisk business. The Activity Barn, the snow tubing hill south of McCall owned by Brundage Mountain, the only resort in southwest Idaho to open on its projected opening day of Dec. 8, handled near-record volumes during Christmas week. Relatively scant snow didn’t prevent snowmobile business in Valley County from booming in December and early January. Hotels also had a strong start to the winter season. Source: McCall Star-News
- A Jan. 4 Wall Street Journal article featuring McCall, promoted the resort town’s “simple charm and small-town feel.” It further highlighted the quality of Brundage Mountain ski resort and its short lift lines while reporting that more young families from Silicon Valley, Texas and San Francisco have been buying homes in and around McCall as weekend and summer getaways. It stated that seven houses sold for more than $2 million in 2017, compared with four in 2016 and none in 2015. Source: Wall Street Journal
- A report by graduate students at Boise State University’s Master of Public Administration says short-term rentals in McCall are critical to local tourism but also create problems. In a presentation to the McCall City Council in December, the students said McCall and surrounding areas had an estimated 453 short-term rentals in October 2017, increasing 106 percent annually from 2010. Their growth results in additional spending at local businesses, but also contributes to nuisances such as noise, parking, trash and general appearances. The report recommended restrictions for short-term rentals, such as number of vehicles on site, quiet hours and a complaint registry system to track problem rentals. Source: McCall Star-News
- AFC Finishing Systems, a California metal booth manufacturing company, has purchased an abandoned feedlot in Weiser. The company plans to move its business to Idaho within the next few years. The company has about 45 employees and half would be willing to relocate to Idaho. The company makes paint spray booths and blast booths for the painting industry. They have already started work on the industrial site. .Source: Idaho Business Review
- The Western Idaho Community Action Partnership (WICAP) moved back to downtown Weiser from Hillcrest Avenue as many of the clients found it difficult to get the Hillcrest location. The new office has space for the offices, a thrift store, the foodbank and warehouse space. WICAP providing many services for the people of Weiser and Washington County. including assistance for heating costs; employment and job training; job hunting skills, job placement and skills training; family development and empowerment; budgeting; homemaker program that helps seniors and disable remain in their homes; and an advocacy role for clients with Health and Welfare and Social Security agencies. Source: Weiser Signal American
- The Funky Taco, known for its large food trailer, will open a brick-and-mortar restaurant at the former Mongolian Grill in downtown Boise.
- Trade Viet market opened in a former Hastings store on Overland and Five Mile. It will be the largest Asian market in Boise. There will be a small food court as well.
- Tasso, a sandwich-based restaurant, opened in BoDo in Boise in February. Influences on the menu span the globe, ranging from Italy to Thailand.
- LaRosa Mexican Restaurant opened in downtown Nampa.
- The Cowboy Chophouse opened in Emmett, located in a historic building located on the corner of Washington and Main. Outdoor seating will be available when weather permits. Source Messenger Index
- Willowcreek Grill and Raw Sushi in downtown Boise closed in December. The Willowcreek Grill on Vista Avenue in Boise remains open.
- Reel Foods closed its store in December in downtown Boise with plans to relocate to Vista Village.
- Coby’s Sandwich Shops closed its Broadway Avenue store near Boise State University. The Broadway shop was the original location opening in the 1970s. Coby’s stores on Overland in Boise and Chinden in Garden City will remain 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
- The Hemingway School, part of the Blaine County School District, with its STEAM -or science, technology, engineering, art and math emphasis – is showing growth as it enters its second year of integrating middle school classes. The school has an additional 23 students registered for next fall as it adds a seventh grade class — this equates to 5.5 percent growth. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
- Mountain Rides Transportation Authority announced it had surpassed 2014 record-breaking totals with more than 540,000 people riding its buses in 2017. The 3.1 percent growth from 2014’s peak comes from expanded services offered in 2017. The company offers a robust schedule throughout the Wood River Valley, hauling commuters, those with medical and shopping needs, alpine and Nordic skiers to their destinations and back. It is a collaborative effort with federal and state funding, infusions from Sun Valley Resort, and all of the Wood River Valley cities and the county helping toward its budget of $3.5 million in 2018. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
- The Camas County School closed for two days due to the flu. An estimated 30 percent of the student body were home ill and more than half of its elementary school staff. Custodial staff sanitized the school during the closure. The K-12 school has 150 students. Other regional schools experienced cases of whooping cough but have not closed due to any illness. Source: Times-News
- Soldier Mountain opened for the season on Jan. 28 – one of its later openings due to unusually light snowfall in early winter. Source: Times-News
- Several businesses in downtown Burley have updated their space with emphasis on a fresh, modern look using corrugated metal siding for the interior and redirected planking. Burley Burgers, H&L Real Estate Company and New York Life hosted a block party and open house celebration. Burley Burgers invested an estimated $500,000 in renovating the former A&W building. All businesses agreed they believe in investing in the community. Source: Times-News
- The Idaho Educational Services for the Deaf and Blind reported growth of 300 students over the past two years and up 900 students since 2009. It was then that service delivery changed due to its evolution from the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind into a state agency. The institution previously offered strictly residential schooling with a history dating back to 1906. Currently, services are accessible throughout the state and at the school. There are four pre-schools in Meridian, Coeur d’Alene, Gooding and Pocatello, intervening early so the students start kindergarten prepared for the classroom. Most of the growth has been in the deaf/hard-of-hearing population with greater growth in the hard-of-hearing students up to age 26. The agency is currently serving more than 2,000 people including 135 babies — 75 blind/visually impaired and 160 deaf/hard of hearing. Almost 100 students attend classes at the Idaho School for the Dead and the Blind’s campus, living residentially during the week and returning home on Thursday evenings, up from 77 in the 2009-2010 school year. Source: Times-News
- The accounting firm France, Basterrechea, Wagner and Bunn, CHTD of Gooding has announced a merger with Eide Bailly, LLP, a regional public accounting and business advisory firm. The merger creates a move from Gooding to Twin Falls offices, relocating approximately 16 staffers. Source: Times-News
- The Mini-Cassia women’s domestic violence office soon must find a new location, as it becomes a Boys and Girls Club for the Rupert community. The city of Rupert is committed to helping the shelter organization find another location without disruption of service. Source: Times-News
Twin Falls County
- The Twin Falls Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the Small Business Development Center’s move to its new location, sharing space with Region IV Development and Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization. The move was a short one – across the street from its previous location on the campus of College of Southern Idaho. Source: Idaho Business Review
- A private donation of $1 million was made to the Hansen School District toward a new gym for the community and school needs. The school district has fewer than 400 students. “Even with having two facilities here, we’re finding we’re frequently short,” said Kristin Beck, superintendent of the Hansen School District. “There’s not enough space for all activities going on.” The RFP (request for proposals) for a design-build team has been released, and the district hopes the gym is ready for use by December 2018. Source: Times-News
- Harrison Elementary was the only winner in Idaho of a $1,000 grant from the Kids Bowl Free program. Another 18 schools across the nation also earned $1,000 grants. The program allows kids under the age of 15 the opportunity to be active during the summer — two free bowling games daily – thanks to a collaboration between the bowling centers, schools and other organizations. Harrison Elementary is considering using the $1,000 toward playground upgrades. Source: KMVT News
- Salt Lake City-based Woodbury Corp., managers of the Magic Valley Mall, announced two new tenants:
- Olive Garden will build a 7,000-square-foot restaurant on a pad south of the mall. This has been a popular request from the consumer base that feeds into Twin Falls from a 150+- mile radius, estimated at 250,000. The restaurant estimated it typically hires approximately 150 employees, a share of which will be part-time workers. Source: Times-News
- Hobby Lobby plans to move into the 60,000-square-foot space vacated by Macy’s, a tenant since the mid-1980’s. The long-standing department store will officially close March 31. Hobby Lobby’s website describes itself as the world’s largest arts and crafts retailer with more than 32,000 employees across the nation. Other Idaho locations are in Meridian, Nampa, Ammon and Chubbuck. Source: Times-News and Idaho Business Review
- Magic Valley Quality Milk Producers announced a $20 million expansion on behalf of its 30-producer membership, beginning production of ultra-filtered skim milk, condensed skim milk and cream in about one year. The milk receiving building will need an expanded bay and the company will install a new process line of equipment. It plans to hire 15 new employees over the next year. Source: Dairy Herd Management
Jayco broke ground on its new facility with Lt. Governor Brad Little speaking to the crowd. The new facility will be the largest of Jayco’s trailer making operations, adding 248,000 square feet and about 300 new employees. Matt Thompson, COO of Jayco, started his address by saying, “Jayco wouldn’t be making this investment without the quality workforce.” Photo: Jan Roeser
- Bull Moose Bicycles is remodeling space in the downtown core for its opening in the Twin Falls market. Source: Jan Roeser
- Koto Brewing Company is remodeling space in the downtown core of Twin Falls. The company name reflects the name of the Koto building it will occupy, which is named after a Japanese émigré who built it in 1920. (See photos of the new brewery’s remodeling and rendering of its elevation on the Koto Brewing Company Facebook page.) Source: Times-News
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
- The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes 477 Human Services Department sponsored a College and Career Fair called “Embrace Success” at the Shoshone-Bannock Jr./Sr. High School in Fort Hall. The event featured more than 10 colleges and vendors from state and tribal agencies with information on career and internship opportunities. Source: Idaho State Journal
- Salt Lake City-based Coldwell Banker Commercial Advisors has signed on as the exclusive commercial sales and leasing agent for the massive mixed-use Northgate development slated for Pocatello and Chubbuck. The 4,500-acre Northgate project could ultimately involve 10,000 homes and a 1 million-square-foot tech park, but first, the development partners are starting with a 60-acre lifestyle center/outdoor mall. Source: Idaho Business Review
- As part of a comprehensive turnaround plan, Bon-Ton Stores Inc. plans to close 47 stores in early 2018. Herbergers in Chubbuck is one of the store locations affected by the closure. Source: Idaho State Journal
- Five finalists have been named from a list of 72 candidates who applied to become Idaho State University’s next president. The search process is expected to end with a final selection in March. Source: Idaho State University
- The city of Firth was “Capitol for the Day” when Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and other state officials visited the city on Feb. 28. Previously, the governor and his entourage were in Firth for “Capitol for the Day” on April 8, 2008. Source: Morning News
Bear Lake County
- Title Financial Corp. has announced the addition of First Idaho Title in Montpelier to its family of companies. Title Financial Corporation and its subsidiaries operate in 58 counties in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Source: Morning News
- Franklin County Medical Center in Preston received U.S. Department of Agriculture loans totaling $9.85 million to add 14,354 square feet to its existing facility along with renovation of 1,475 square feet. Upon completion, the medical center will have a new emergency department, surgical and imaging suites, and a new laboratory. Source: Preston Citizen
- 21st Century Auto Sales in Blackfoot.
- Elevated Life Family Chiropractic in Shelley.
- Abracadabra’s in Pocatello.
- Las Paloma’s Mexican Grill in Pocatello.
- Wanderlust in Pocatello.
- Idaho Youth Ranch 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
- The year’s first meeting of the Leadership in Nuclear Energy Commission included good news for cleanup operations and Idaho National Laboratory – (ITWU). The IWTU has been dogged by technical difficulties and delays. The 1995 settlement agreement required that waste be treated by 2012, but technical hurdles have delayed treatment for years. Source: Post Register
- Good news was reported recently for Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) Carbon Free Power Project. As part of the budget deal approved this month, Congress extended the Advanced Nuclear Production Tax Credit that will reduce overall project costs. A tax credit of 1.8 cents per kilowatt-hour is provided for new nuclear capacity. After Vogtle 3 & 4, UAMPS’ project with NuScale Power is next in line. Source: Idaho Falls Power
- Feed and fuel research at Idaho National Laboratory is one of 24 projects that will benefit from the federal Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s latest round of research funding grants. INL is getting $1 million to research new ways to produce hydrocarbon feedstocks and fuels from ethane via an electrochemical process and generating hydrogen. For ethylene production, the new process has the potential to reduce process energy by 65 (percent) over traditional steam cracking technologies. Source: Post Register
- Blacker’s Complete Home Furnishings has become Idaho’s first and only affiliate of HGTV Home Design Studio by Bassett, in both its Idaho Falls and Blackfoot showrooms. HGTV Home Design Studio by Bassett allows customers to create custom furniture or a room makeover plan unique to their own style and preferences. Source: Bizmojo
- Road and bridge plans are moving forward for the Idaho Falls Auditorium District. The district’s board met this month to review road and bridge plans presented by Horrocks Engineers. The construction will likely start in mid-March and carry into the fall. Source: Post Register
- Another Hilton hotel is going to be built on Lindsay Boulevard, this one a Tru by Hilton just south of the Hilton Garden Inn. The city of Idaho Falls Building Department approved a permit application from B&T Hotels IV LLC for the 43,102-square-foot hotel at the site of the former Stardust Motor Lodge. The job value on the permit is estimate at $5.55 million. The contractor is Headwaters Construction Co. of Victor. Source: Bizmojo
- The College of Eastern Idaho plans to launch a nuclear technician degree program with some help from Idaho National Laboratory’s cleanup contractor, Fluor Idaho. The company is donating $10,000 to the CEI Foundation to help launch the program, the college announced. Development of the nuclear technician degree curriculum is expected to start this summer, and classes may be offered as soon as spring 2019, said Lori Barber, CEI’s general education division manager. Source: Post Register
- A Canadian company that has been exploring a gold deposit in the Centennial Mountains in Clark County is seeking approval to expand to up to 140 drill sites. Otis Gold Corp.’s five-year exploration plan is to expand its activities on a 12,000-acre site west of Kilgore and near the Montana border. It would include building about 10 miles of new, temporary road to access the proposed drill sites. The U.S. Forest Service accepted public comment until mid-February on the project. Source: Post Register
- The Sawtelle Mountain Resort in Island Park is undergoing a face-lift. Plans call for a new office and new hotel rooms at the facility, which was built in the 1990s. In the 18 months since construction began, the original office and one wing of the hotel containing 16 rooms was removed to build new ones. Construction workers are building a new office. Plans also call for employee housing. Source: Post Register
- Several new businesses are coming to the new Cedars retail space. Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Righteous Slice Pizza, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Idaho Central Credit Union, Grifols Biomat USA and NAVEX Global are all opening in Hemming Village. They are expected to be up and running by July. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal
- Madison Memorial Hospital recently announced a new agreement with University of Utah Health to provide patients with better access to health advice and instruction. The agreement will be paired with a special videoconferencing system, called TeleICU, where patients can speak to doctors and other health professionals who aren’t based at Madison Memorial. TeleICU is similar to a computer that uses Skype, a popular internet videoconferencing program. The screen is set up on a cart so it can be moved to different patient rooms as needed, allowing around-the-clock communication with professional health resources at University of Utah Health. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal
- Upper Salmon River Steelhead fishery got an early start this year. Due to a mild winter, Creel personal began interviewing anglers in the first few days of February. Currently the Salmon River is flowing at 1,460 cubic feet per second through the town of Salmon, about 137 percent of average for this month. Source: The Recorder Herald
- Lemhi County Commissioners and the Salmon Field Office Bureau of Land Management co-signed a $1.4 million draft match agreement to engineer and construct a bike trail off the Highway 93 South Trail. Source: The Recorder Herald
- Gator Jack’s of Rexburg is under new ownership and getting a facelift. The remodel includes a lounge area with couches and two 65-inch TVs. Source: East Idaho News
- UBreakIFix- Idaho Falls.
- Karen’s Park Avenue Club, Idaho Falls.
- Speed Connect in Idaho Falls.
- Sprint in Idaho Falls.
- Bath and Body Works in Idaho Falls.
- Science Center off-street parking in Arco.
Hope.Morrow@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 525-7268 ext. 4340