Around Idaho: Economic Activity in April 2018

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

Benewah County

  • Marimm Health – the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s health agency – has revealed plans to build a $15.8 million youth center in Worley. Marimm said the goal of the project is to reduce high crime and substance abuse rates among the youth in Worley and its outlying areas. Source: St. Maries Gazette Record

Kootenai County

  • Rocky Mountain Liquidation – a Hayden-based overstock retailer – has opened a second retail outlet in the Riverbend Commerce Park in Post Falls. The store sells consumer goods like clothing and housewares that are acquired as overstock from major retailers. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • The Coeur d’Alene Resort announced a timeline to complete an extensive round of renovations in May. The resort is improving all 338 of its guest rooms. These improvements include new carpeting, furnishings, and renovations to the pool and fitness center. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • Hayden-based Empire Airlines has announced a collaboration with FedEx to train pilots. The program – called the FedEx Express Pathways Purple Runway Program – aims to recruit pilots from universities and aviation colleges and train them for advancement in the FedEx fleet. Empire Airlines provides air cargo services for FedEx. Source: Spokane Journal of Business

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 

  • The federal omnibus spending bill, passed in March, restored Secure Rural Schools (SRS) funding that had expired in 2016, for two more years. Restoration funding for areas that contain national forests means millions of dollars for several school districts, county road departments, independent highway districts and conservation and emergency service projects in north central Idaho. The payment for the first year will arrive in May, and the second payment is slated for this winter. In Idaho County, where national forests cover 82 percent of the land, the payments total $5.8 million a year — $3.7 million for roads and $1.6 million for schools. SRS funds made up one-third of the county road department’s budget. Mountain View School District, based in Grangeville, will receive about $950,000 a year. The district has been challenged trying to operate without SRS funds during the last year. In Clearwater County, SRS had paid $1.2 million a year with slightly more than half going to school districts and the rest to roads and bridges. SRS funds made up almost half of the county road department’s budget. The Orofino School District will receive about $330,000 each year of the SRS restoration. Sources: Idaho County Free Press; Lewiston Tribune
  • The spending bill also renewed the federal Payment In Lieu of Taxes fund that sent about $30 million to counties in Idaho in 2017. PILT payments are made annually for tax-exempt federal lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service and for federal water projects and some military installations. In 2017, Clearwater County received $651,975; Idaho County, $1,669,816; Latah County, $269,749; Lewis County, $8,172; and Nez Perce County, $82,566. Sources: Idaho County Free Press; Lewiston Tribune
  •  The U.S. Treasury Department certified 28 low-income census tracts across the state as federal “Opportunity Zones” in April. The seven tracts in north central Idaho nominated by Gov. Butch Otter include tracts in Kooskia, Lewiston (the North Lewiston and East Main area), Moscow (two tracts), Riggins, Clearwater County and the Nez Perce Reservation in Clearwater County. Under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, investments in an opportunity zone receive tax relief on capital gains. Lewiston Community Development Director Laura Von Tersch told the Lewiston Tribune that the incentive could be a deciding factor for existing businesses that want to expand or relocate. Source: Lewiston Tribune

 Clearwater County

  •  Clearwater County plans to boost the logging industry and revitalize rail traffic in the county with a $3.24 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Along with a $3.4 million investment from Bountiful Grain and Craig Mountain Railroad, the project will replace 46,000 railroad ties along 73 miles from Jaype to Lewiston. It also will replace three bridges and three public crossings. The railroad was vacated in 2000 when Potlatch Corp. closed its Jaype plywood mill. Idaho Forest Group wants to use the rail to ship logs from the Jaype area by rail. Work could begin this summer. The project would make it easier for loggers to access remote areas and still efficiently transport their loads to Lewiston. Clearwater County will benefit from reduced truck traffic on its roads. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Land Management invited bids in April on the sale of approximately 701 acres of timber on forest lands surrounding Dworshak Dam and Reservoir in Clearwater County. The sale is designed for the winning bidder to thin the dense forest stands creating openings for wildlife, reduce forest fuels and return the forest to a more natural condition. With lumber prices at historic highs, lumber mills are glad to see more opportunities for timber. Source: Clearwater Tribune

 Idaho and Lewis Counties

  •  In the Lowell-Syringa area, where the Lochsa and Selway Rivers draw tourists, businesses opened for the season in late March. The businesses include Three Rivers Resorts and Rafting, Wilderness Inn, River Dance Lodge, Lochsa Louies and Cougar Canyon Station. The businesses will be busy until September with whitewater adventurers and anglers. Most stay open through hunting season. Early visits and reservations suggest this will be a strong season. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • The Lowell-Syringa area is hosting numerous construction crews this summer. Construction began in April on Fish Creek Bridge on U.S. Highway 12. It is the first phase of a $17 million infrastructure revitalization project the Idaho Transportation Department expects to complete this fall. The project also includes replacing Maggie Creek Bridge near Kooskia, paving work between Warm Springs and repaving more than 50 miles of U.S. 12. Knife River will do the repaving, while Concrete Placing Company and Braun-Jensen Inc. are the bridge contractors. ITD chose start dates to minimize impacts to the rafting community. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Clearwater Basin Youth Conservation Corps currently is recruiting 32 people between 16 and 18 years old to work on projects throughout the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest while learning about natural resource careers. The summer program also will employ six crew leaders. The annual program where students earn while they learn comes from a partnership of the Clearwater Basin Collaborative, the Forest Service and Clearwater Resource Conservation & Development Council. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  •  Snowhaven Ski and Tubing Hill reported to the Grangeville City Council that it had a good season with average sales of $3,400 each day, up from last winter’s $3,000. The hill had few mechanical problems, and the major hitch was personnel attrition. Like so many other employers throughout the U.S., tight labor markets are making it difficult to find and keep workers. The hill started the season in December with 24 workers. By the first week in January, four had resigned, and the manager reports three more employees left the following month. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • The Idaho County Commission recently awarded bids to two companies to repair roads damaged by washouts and drop-offs in spring 2017. Cook & Sons Construction LLC, based in White Bird, won the bid for the $28,000 Fort Misery project, while Crea Construction Inc., based in Lewiston, will undertake the $32,000 Cottonwood Creek project. Repairs were completed last fall on two other roads damaged in spring 2017 — Maxwell Lane and Cedar Creek Road. Source: Idaho County Free Press

Latah County

  • The revitalization of the region’s historic wine industry continues to create new tourist draws. Lisa and Michael Grigg plan to open a wine tasting facility in Genesee, a small town along Highway 95 between Moscow and Lewiston, this fall. They are renovating a downtown building into Harris Station Tasting Room. The room will feature six area wineries including those from their own winery Jovinea Cellars in Juliaetta. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport opened a $450,000 baggage claim facility in March. The facility takes pressure off the crowded terminal, as well as making baggage handling less labor-intensive and safer. Following Alaska Airlines’ recent announcement that it will discontinue services to Lewiston and expand services in Pullman, pressures on the terminal will increase. The airport hopes to build a new terminal in the next few years. The timetable may move up because the omnibus spending bill authorized $1 billion for improvements at smaller non-hub airports. The airport’s massive runway realignment project will conclude this fall. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Since Washington State legalized sale of recreational marijuana in 2012, five cannabis stores have opened in Pullman, and two more are expected to open this year. Since 2014, consumers bought $27.5 million from cannabis shops there. Washington State shares some of the marijuana tax revenues with counties and cities. Last year, Whitman County received more than $11,000 and the city of Pullman got about $15,000. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Moscow City Council decided on “guiding principles” for affordable housing projects. A recent survey found a zero vacancy rate and waiting lists at all low-income housing developments within the city. The resolution encourages for-profit and not-for-profit groups to develop affordable housing projects in Moscow, as well as emergency or transitional housing for the homeless. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Idaho State University’s College of Pharmacy, in cooperation with Moscow’s Gritman Medical Center, opened a telepharmacy in Kendrick, which lost pharmacy services in 2016. That will save long trips to Lewiston or Moscow and may encourage people to spend more dollars in Kendrick, rather than the larger towns. Bengal Pharmacy is based on a model the college already tests in Arco, Council and Challis. The only other merchandise it sells are medical items such as aspirin, bandages and rubbing alcohol. A pharmacy technician is the only staff member. After the tech accepts a prescription, it is double-checked by a pharmacist or pharmacy intern on ISU’s campus in Pocatello. The tech fills the prescription and by camera, a pharmacist in Pocatello inspects the label the pills and container. Optical and bar code technologies also are used for even more accuracy. If customers have questions, ISU pharmacy interns are available to answer them via the live camera feed. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Idaho Board of Education approved a 5 percent increase in tuition and fees for resident undergraduate students at the University of Idaho for the 2018-19 school year. Nonresidents will see an 8 percent increase. The increases will allow the university to maintain current operations. Source: Lewiston Tribune

 Nez Perce and Asotin, Washington, Counties

  •  Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories added 115 jobs at its Lewiston plan in 2017. It currently employs about 515. The plant, which opened in 2011, makes digital relays, data cables, voltage regulators and other products to distribute and control electricity. With the world’s economy expanding, the company has enjoyed strong demand from utilities. In addition, it continues to expand its sales to mines, factories and other industries. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Since Washington became the first U.S. state to legalize recreational use of marijuana in 2012, three marijuana stores have opened in Clarkston. Since 2015, they made $21.8 million in sales. Now, those stores are expanding their offerings by opening stores next door. Cannabis retailers are restricted to selling marijuana and paraphernalia. Although most revenues from the marijuana tax flow to Washington State, Asotin County received about $13,000 and Clarkston nearly $16,000 in 2017. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Tri-State Memorial Hospital, which employs 475 people in Clarkston, announced plans to open a clinic in Lewiston. Tri-State Family Practice will open this summer on Juniper Drive. Four health care providers will staff the new clinic. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Port of Clarkston hosted the first cruise ship of the season on April 8, when the American Empress arrived there. The Empress carries up to 222 passengers, making it the largest of the eight overnight passenger vessels on the Columbia Snake River System. Last season, about 18,000 passengers and crew members visited the Lewis-Clark Valley for an estimated economic impact of $3 million. Source: Port of Clarkston Quarterly e-Newsletter
  •  Lewis-Clark State College’s spring enrollment rose to 3,524, up 3 percent from last spring’s 3,426. Since 2001, its spring enrollment has increased 29 percent from 2,912 students. In April, the Idaho State Board of Education chose Cynthia Pemberton to become the school’s 16th president after President Tony Fernandez retires this summer. The board approved tuition and fees increases for in-state and out-of-state undergraduate students at LCSC by 4.5 percent. In the 2018-19 school year, the full-time tuition for a full-time resident student will be $6,618 and for a nonresident student $12,618. Sources: KLEWtv.com; Lewiston Tribune

Opening

  • Intrigue: Accents for Home and Living on Third Street in downtown Moscow opened in April.

Closing

  • Smoky Mountain Pizzeria Grill, a 10-year-old business at Moscow’s Palouse Mall closed. 

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

  • One Capital Center, the former home of the J. R. Simplot Co in Boise, is a new home to a variety of companies after Simplot vacated 120,000 square feet of the building in February. Jacobs, a Dallas-based engineering firm that acquired CH2M Hill, will occupy space on the 12th floor and part of the 10th Vacasa will occupy 34,408 square feet on the second and third floors. Moffatt Thomas leased the entire 13th and 14th floors. Only 30,000 square feet remain vacant. Oppenheimer Development Corporation, which owns and built One Capital Center, feels confident that the vacant space will be filled in the next nine to 12 months. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Skyline Apartments are under construction near the main post office in Boise. These apartments will offer a views of southeast Boise and the Foothills from Federal Way and Targhee Street. There will be nine buildings with 192 total units, ranging from one to three bedrooms. The complex will have parking for 259 cars, indoor bike storage, clubhouse and outdoor pool. Source: BoiseDev
  • The Carnegie Public Library in Boise will soon be home to Carnegie Studios with help from the Alexa Rose Foundation. The foundation will offer one-year fellowships to artists to use the 18 studios in the Carnegie. The building will have an office for Global Lounge – a Boise nonprofit that uses music and other activities to educate people about cultural diversity – and eventually for Wingtip Press, a community printmaking studio. The library, built in 1908 with money from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation, served Boise for 70 years. The library moved out in 1973 and the building was renovated into private law offices. Anne Westcott with the foundation and developer Ken Howell will take possession of the building on May 1 and open the studios in June, when the foundation also will announce the next round of grants. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Construction has begun on the 40th Street Cottages, a project of NeighborhoodWorks Boise, a social service agency that helps people find affordable housing in pocket neighborhoods. There will be 15 houses ranging in price from $180,000 to $210,000 and ranging in size from 678 square feet to 983 square feet. Most will have two bedrooms and one or two bathrooms. The first 10 homes will be completed by October. Home affordability is a growing problem in the Boise area as prices rise amid a tight housing market. In February the median price for new and used houses sold in Ada County was nearly $300,000 – a new record. The median family income is $58,000. This is the third pocket neighborhood NeighborhoodWorks has built in Garden City. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Meridian City Council approved a series of requests that will allow Costco Wholesale to build a store at the corner of Chinden Boulevard and North Ten Mile Road. Portions of Chinden and Ten Mile will need to be widened from two to four lanes before the store can open. Costco has said it will provide $15 million up-front to pay for the initial road widening. It could receive reimbursement under a program through the Idaho Department of Transportation and Ada County Highway Department. The council vote included annexation and zoning changes and the preliminary plat not only for Costco but 13 other commercial building lots on the property. Officials stated that Costco employees start at $13 an hour, earning $50,000 annually after five years. The company offers a benefit package for both full- and part-time employees. Costco reportedly has a turnover rate of less than 7 percent for workers in their first year of employment, which is extremely low for the retail industry. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Red Aspen LLC, a false-eyelash business that began in Boise in October, reported $1 million in sales in March. Red Aspen has caught a wave of interest among millennial women in wearing false eyelashes — and is making money selling them. Red Aspen uses a multilevel marketing format for its sales, selling the lashes and a growing line of cosmetic products through events such as booths at women’s expos and online pop-up parties. They ship about 224 orders daily with shipments growing about 30 percent per month. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Boise-based Impact Group, a grocery broker, recently acquired two sales agencies, Wildfire Sales and Epic Natural Sales, from Glen Cove, New York. These companies help clients’ position products through retail placement and wholesale distribution. All 38 employees will be joining Impact. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • “Boise Boys” are back on HGTV. After their pilot show attracted 1.3 million viewers, HGTV ordered six one-hour episodes. The owners of Timber and Love, Clint Robertson and Luke Caldwell, unveiled the first remodel of the current season April 25. They will be featured for the following five weeks on HGTV. They have purchased six houses in various parts of Boise, will remodel them and sell them. The first home was on the Boise Bench and was purchased for $350,000; additions were $300,000. It was reported to have sold for more than $900,000. Sources: Idaho Statesman, KTVB and HGTV
  • Luke’s Health System is beginning to build a $42 million Idaho Elks Children’s Pavilion, a key part of the multiyear expansion. The new addition, coupled with St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital, will more than double the amount of clinical space for treating children. The four-story addition will be connected to the existing children’s hospital via a sky bridge. The expansion will enable the hospital to bring together most of its 150 pediatric specialists along with 400 nurses, therapists and other caregivers. St. Luke’s expects the pavilion to open in mid-2019. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Prefab Logic of Boise is one of only about a half dozen companies in the country that help general contractors, architects and developers get modular projects off the ground. Modular construction is when rooms — or modules — are built, outfitted and sometimes even furnished as individual units at a factory and then assembled as a building on a construction site. There are two prominent modular factories in Boise: Nashua Homes and Guerdon Enterprises. Prefab Logic has 15 employees. Source: Idaho Business Review

Adams County

  • When the Census Bureau released its 2017 population estimates, Adams County was the fastest-growing county in Idaho, and Idaho was the fastest-growing state. While the state’s population grew 2.2 percent between 2016 and 2017, the county’s population grew 5 percent. – from 3,949 to 4,147 after an estimated 191 more people moved into the county than moved out and six more people were born than died. Adams County, home to Brundage Mountain Resort and tied closely to the McCall area, is attractive to people who enjoy outdoor recreation. Many new residents are retirees, but many also come there to work in the county or the McCall area. The number of employed residents grew 7 percent between March 2017 and March 2018.

Boise County

  • In mid-April, Idaho approved a plan by Bogus Basin Recreation Association to add the infrastructure needed to make artificial snow. The process involves building a water storage dam and putting in underground pipes on land the state sold to the resort 45 years ago. The sale included the requirement for state approval to ensure erosion control and re-vegetation for significant projects. The snowmaking likely wouldn’t happen until the 2019-2020 season. The area draws almost 500,000 visitors a year. Bogus Basin is one of a few nonprofit ski area in the county. It operates on a combination of U.S. Forest Service land and about 640 acres of its own land. About 300 of those acres was purchased from the state in the 1970s. In all, the ski area occupies about 2,700 acres. The impoundment and water storage would be on the land owned by Bogus Basin. Source: Idaho Statesman & Desert News

Canyon County

  • Grace Assisted Living opened in Caldwell in April. This is the seventh facility in Idaho. The new facility is part of a 21-acre project that will also include commercial lots near The College of Idaho to be developed by Boise-based Rocky Mountain Companies. The facility has 65 independent assist units and 22 memory care units on about five acres. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • The College of Idaho has hired co-presidents – Jim Everett, former CEO of Treasure Valley YMCA, and Doug Brigham, former president of TitleOne Corporation. The concept is a first for the institution. The co-presidents will split the salary, workload and residency at the 50-year-old President’s House on campus. The two have a similar vision for the college’s future and ties to the College of Idaho. “Unite and conquer” will be the pair’s tactic to handling the co-presidency. Recruiting international students and growing the college’s endowment fund are two major goals for the college. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Caldwell’s vision to revitalize downtown is almost ready to bloom. The city designated a site for a plaza to open in mid-June. Destination Caldwell plans to host about 150 events a year. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • The Canyon County Juvenile Probation Department developed a community service program that could help kids not only meet their court order, but learn about empathy while gaining the value of helping somebody else. The program connects teens with community resources, such as counseling, and is used as an alternative to incarceration. Forty percent of Canyon County’s juvenile offenders go through program and 80 percent of those do not return to the juvenile justice system. The program partners with Caldwell Police, Nampa code enforcement and local charity groups such as LoveCaldwell to provide a variety of community service projects. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • After a three-month closure, the Casa Valdez tortilla factory has reopened. Jose Valdez had closed the operation after 41 years of operation. Casa Valdez resumed operations under the ownership of Joe Valdez Jr. partially because of demand from former customers. Currently the factory is only selling products at its shop in Caldwell. It will take some time before they start selling in the stores again. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • The Interstate 84 expansion between Nampa and Caldwell is slated to begin this summer. The $342 million expansion includes widening the interstate to three lanes in each direction. The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) also will rebuild the northside interchange in Nampa. The first part of the interstate construction is scheduled to begin in the fall. This summer drivers will start to see construction on the Karcher Interchange, which is a collaboration between ITD and the city of Nampa. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Parma, Wilder and a north Nampa neighborhood were each designated as a federal “Opportunity Zone” in April. The zones are part of a new community development program established by Congress in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to encourage long-term investments in low income urban and rural communities. Census tracts within the city of Boise, Meridian, Payette and Mountain Home were also designated Opportunity Zones. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Syngenta Crop Production broke ground for a $3 million trait conversion accelerator as part of its research and seed production facility in Nampa. The expansion is scheduled to be completed in 2019. The expansion includes the Trail Conversion Accelerator. This will allow the company to more quickly and reliably deliver corn hybrids to market. Syngenta plants to add more resources such as product breeding, product selection leads and trailing to the Nampa facility over the next five years. Source: Idaho Press Tribune

Elmore County

  • Construction began on a new labor and delivery room at St. Luke’s Elmore hospital so patients do not have to drive to Boise for services. The current labor and delivery room is small and confined. The new unit will include two labor and delivery rooms, two postpartum/recovery rooms and two triage rooms. The hospital is optimistic that construction will be completed as early as August 2018. Source: Mountain Home News

Gem County

  • Zeb Lanham, a professional bull rider, plans to transform an 8.5 acre piece of ground southwest of Star Lane and Highway 52 into a bull-themed entertainment venue and bull-riding training center. Lanham plans to build a bull arena where he can train not only riders but young bulls in the sport. The entertainment side would include bull riding, concerts, barbecues and other family activities. Source: Messenger Index
  • Plans to construct a new third hydro-electric power plant at Black Canyon Diversion Dam have been placed on hold based on a new business analysis showing construction costs are greater than the benefits of additional power generation. Early studies indicated that it would be financially feasible and boost power generation by upgrading an existing U.S. Bureau of Reclamation facility but current energy prices convinced project personnel to place on hold until energy prices rebound. There are still several construction projects that will take place over the next few years, such as the design and relocation of a new power switchyard and upgrades to the control systems at the dam. Black Canyon Diversion Dan is a multipurpose facility that provides water for irrigation, hydropower and recreation. Source: Messenger Index

Payette County

  • Payette city officials have hired Core Distinction Group LLC to perform a feasibility study for developing a hotel. Payette officials say the city could support a hotel with 40 to 50 rooms. The group has a working relationship with Cobblestone Inns, the company that recently opened an inn in Soda Springs. The cost of the study is $8,500. Source: Independent Enterprise

Owyhee County

  • Marsing Joint School District held a groundbreaking ceremony April 5 for a new middle school and shared gymnasium attached to Marsing High School. The construction is slated to be completed in late March 2019 at a cost of $13.5 million, which was approved by a bond last year. Not only will the middle students have a better facility, but they won’t have to walk along State Highway 78 to the high school or detached gymnasium for classes such as band and choir. The new middle school improves school safety by eliminating these trips. Source: Idaho Press Tribune

Washington County

  • The annual spring planting of onions and sugar beets in the Weiser appears to be slightly behind schedule due to inclement weather in early April, though some onion plants have already appeared. Estimates indicate that 80 to 90 percent of the famers have completed onion and sugar beet planting. Corn and beans will be planted later. The irrigation seasons outlook is good so far. The Crane Creek Reservoir is full. Source: Weiser Signal America
  • The Weiser Economic Development Task Force held its first-ever job fair in April. Representatives from 35 companies, government agencies, law enforcement and nonprofit organizations staffed booths. Numerous careers represented ranged from law enforcement to construction to food processing and much more. Jobs ranged from entry level to positions for experienced employees looking to change occupations or careers. An estimated 100 people visited the job fair, and many of the participants had lined up future interviews with prospective employers. The task force plans to follow up with employers to gather feedback to see how successful the event was at matching up employees with employers.

Openings

  • Yita’s Family Restaurant and King Legend Event Center in Caldwell. The menu will include traditional pancakes and hash browns, but also Mexican food.
  • Txkiteo opened in the Watercooler Apartment Building on Idaho Street in Boise, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Petite 4, inspired by French bistro tradition, opened on in Boise in April serving dinner Wednesdays through Saturday and brunch on Sundays. The owners previously had the Bleubird downtown.
  • Primary Health Medical Group opened its 19th clinic in April 2 at the new Ten Mile Creek retail-and-residential development in Meridian.
  • Soda Stop opened its second Treasure Valley location in Nampa in April.
  • Madre, a fast-casual, boutique taqueria in the Lusk District in Boise, opened in late April.
  • Chow Public Market & Eatery will open in late June across from Edwards Cinemas in Boise and includes nine food tenants. The public market is said to be the first of its kind the Boise. The final tenant signed in April. The 9 tenants are: Aladdin’s Egyptian Cuisine, Bar 76, Bluwave Tacos, The Chow Market, Good Burger, La Gelateria, Ratio Coffee, Something Sweet, and the Spice House. Chow is primarily indoors, the public market’s décor will strive to capture Boise’s outdoor feel. Large, roll-up doors will lead to an outdoor patio, too. Source: Idaho Statesman

Closings

  • Boise Gun Co. closed in April until further notice.
  • Idaho Youth Ranch in Emmett is closing after 25 years.
  • Addie’s restaurant closed its downtown location April 22 and is relocating to West Boise Avenue. Source: Idaho Statesman

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

  • School age children are a growing demographic in south central Idaho, primarily in the larger school districts such as Twin Falls and Jerome. A growth projection is determined in the spring as a hiring gauge for the next academic year. Smaller school districts, with the exception of Murtaugh, are not anticipating much if any growth compared to the larger public school districts. The larger school districts were successful in passing large facilities construction bonds in the past several years. New schools likely attract families. Source:  Times-News

Blaine County

  • Blaine County razed the former Blaine Manor in Hailey. This has drawn interest from various entities with concepts about using the space, ranging from senior affordable housing to an apartment complex to collaborating with a bowling alley and restaurant to subsidize the affordable housing. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The Community Library in Ketchum received approval from Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission to move ahead with its renovation plan. The library has raised $9 million of its $12.5 million goal.  Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Ketchum City Council approved to pay $3.1 million for a building that will eventually house Ketchum’s city hall, police department and fire department. The city plans to spend up to $400,000 on renovations to the building, which was new in 1996, and move in sometime in 2020. The previous administration had a $23 million price tag on a new city hall, police department and fire department. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Warm Springs Lodge suffered severe damage from a fire a few days after the final weekend

    View of Warm Springs Lodge showing fire damage to the roof. Photo: Jan Roeser

    of ski season. Sun Valley Co. built the lodge in 1992 for $3.5 million, and 60 firefighters fought 10 hours to save it. There was significant damage to the roof and interior. Management has indicated they hope to have it rebuilt by next ski season. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

  • Even with a five percent drop in skier count, counts of visitors arriving by plane were up, and merchants reported good visitor and sales data from around Sun Valley, the nation’s first destination ski resort. The slow arrival of snow was tolerable due to the robust application of manmade snow. There are an estimated 578 snow guns creating snow on 645 acres – almost a third of Bald Mountain. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Cassia County

  • The city of Burley developed its own hard wire and wireless internet system, managed by a tech firm in Utah. The city plans to market the service to other municipalities as a work-around for poor connectivity that inhibits efficiencies. Source: Times-News

Jerome County

  • Jerome Cheese Co. will add a training room, offices and lockers in a 14,000 square foot addition to its plant. According to the company, it employs 360 workers and has been producing since 1992. It is currently owned by Agropur Cooperative, headquartered in Canada. Source: Times News
  • In a surprise ceremony, Jerome 20/20 recognized retiring state Rep. Maxine Bell for her notable contributions as co-chair of the Joint Finance Assessment Committee and long-time Jerome legislator. Source: Times-News

Minidoka County

  • The city of Rupert was awarded two Community Development Block Grants following a favorable review by the Governor’s Economic Advisory Committee.  The Rupert Square Improvement Project will get $500,000 while the Minidoka County Senior Center will use $150,000 for renovations to bring the facility up to code for handicap access, family assisted restrooms and replacement of windows. Source: Times-News
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $468,134 to Minidoka County on behalf of the Minidoka County Fire Protection District to purchase two new fire trucks and a smaller truck for multiple uses. The county met the required cash match.  Source: Times-News

Twin Falls County

  • Twin Falls School District predicts enrollment will grow three to four percent to 9,773 students for the 2018-2019 school year, up 200 students. The school district staff of certified teachers will add 9.5 positions for a total of 503.  Administration positions will stay the same. Source: Times-News
  • The Super 8 Motel in Twin Falls has changed franchises and is now branded as a Best Western.
  • The City Club of Southern Idaho, a nonpartisan group that promotes community through vibrant dialogue, discussed immigration at its April meeting. Panelists included Rick Naerebout, CEO of the Idaho Dairyman’s Association represented workforce perspective.  Dale Layne, Jerome School District superintended discussing the implications of teaching students with English as a Second Language skills, and David Adler, president of the nonprofit Alturas Institute, moderated the event. Source: Times-News

Openings

  • Patagonia Grill, an Argentinian restaurant serving empanadas in Twin Falls.
  • Habit Burger & Grill in Twin Falls at Canyon Park West.

Ongoing Construction

  • Argyros Performing Arts Center in Ketchum plans to open in November 2018. Fundraising has covered three-quarters of the $14.5 million budget. Source: https://sunvalleyperformingarts.org/
  • Commercial Creamery held a groundbreaking for its

    Groundbreaking ceremony for Commercial Creamery. Photo: Jan Roeser

    new dryer and production facility in Jerome. The company has been in business since 1908, is family-owned and operated with corporate offices in Spokane, Washington. The Urban Renewal Agency designation for the parcel of ground clinched the deal according to William Gilmartin, general manager, who noted this was a pivotal issue in deciding whether to expand its operations in Idaho or Washington. Source: Times-News

  • Magic Valley Quality Milk Producers, a 30-member cooperative, is expanding its fluid milk processing to include a value-added process of cream, ultra-filtered skim milk and condensed skim milk.  The new plant will cost $20 million and will be producing in 2019 with at least 15 new employees. Source: Times-News
  • Jerome’s $37 million wastewater treatment plant should be operational in December 2018. Source: Times-News
  • Lighthouse Christian School is investing $950,000 in its gym to add classrooms and its main building expansion. This is Phase 3 concluding the project totaling $2.1 million. Source: Times-News
  • Shilo Inn is undergoing a $2 million renovation of its existing hotel in Twin Falls. Source: Times-News
  • The Downtown Commons will open for public concerts and events July 2018 in downtown Twin Falls. Source:  Times-news
  • Jayco RV will finish construction on its 160,000-square-foot building later this year in Twin Falls with about 300 hires over the next two years.
  • Kapstone Paper and Packaging is investing $20 to $30 million in expanding its production over the next six months as it integrates new equipment and hires up to seven workers. It is a corrugated-box maker and part of Lamb Weston, Glanbia and Clif Bar’s supply chain. Source: Times News
  • CPR – Center for Physical Rehabilitation is expanding its space in Twin Falls. Source: Times-News
  • Wright Physical Therapy is building a new $1.2 million facility in Twin Falls. Source: Times-News
  • Chobani Innovation and Community Center in Twin Falls plans to open summer 2018. Source: Times-News
  • Olive Garden Restaurant is building in Twin Falls. Source: Times-News
  • Hobby Lobby and HomeGoods are renovating space at the mall in Twin Falls. Source: Times-News
  • Plans are in place to build another Pizza Hut in Twin Falls near the Beans & Brews Coffeehouse and Kneaders Bakery. Source: Times-News
  • Kimberly School District’s newest elementary school, Stricker, is wrapping up its construction in time to open this coming school year. It will house all fifth graders in Kimberly with other students sorted by residential address zones. Kimberly Elementary, the existing school, is currently the largest in the state with 900 students. It will move into the intermediate building for remodel of its space this following school year. Stricker Elementary, the new 50,000-square-foot facility, joins the other schools on its 10-acre campus. No new hires are necessary at the new school, according to Superintendent Luke Schroeder. Source: Times-News

Closure

  • Papa John’s Pizza on Blue Lakes Boulevard in Twin Falls closed after its lease was not renewed. Snake River Pool and Spa will expand into the space. 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

Region

  • The State Board of Education voted recently to increase tuition for full-time undergraduate students of both resident and nonresident status at all four of Idaho’s four-year universities beginning in the fall of 2018. In-state resident tuition at Idaho State University will increase 3.5 percent, while nonresident tuition will increase by 5 percent. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The Shoshone-Bannock Tribe hopes to open its new gaming building by the end of the summer, bringing at least 150 new jobs to the area. Now known as the Fort Hall Casino and Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Event Center, the facility will be renamed the Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel after the new building opens. Source: Idaho Business Review

Bannock County

  • The State Board of Education voted unanimously to name Kevin Satterlee as the next president of Idaho State University. Satterlee officially will take the helm as ISU’s 13th president in June. He currently is the chief operating officer, vice president and special counsel at Boise State University. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The Pocatello area will be getting a behavioral health community crisis center in the near future, thanks to newly approved state funding and the efforts of local officials driven to find a better way to help people struggling with drug addictions, mental health issues and other crises. The crisis centers receive $1.5 million annually for the first few years. Local resources are expected to provide a portion of the funds after that. Source: Idaho State Journal

Bingham County

  • April 16 marked the groundbreaking for an expansion of the Historic Nuart Theater in Blackfoot. Construction should be completed by Oct. 1. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Blackfoot City Council approved the preliminary plat for the Cooper’s Cove Subdivision south of Airport Road and between Tana Drive and Hillcrest Avenue. The development will add 49 homes to Blackfoot. Source: Morning News

Caribou County

  • The official groundbreaking for the new Tigert Middle school gymnasium, art, band and computer rooms took place in April. Completion of the additions is expected by the fall of 2019. Source: Caribou County Sun

Franklin County

  • The Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation have released drawings of a new 6,000 foot interpretive center to honor the loss of their ancestors during an 1863 conflict with the U.S. Government four miles north of Preston. Construction would cost an estimated $5 million. Organizers hope most of the cost will be covered by donations from Cache Valley residents and businesses. Source: Preston Citizen

Openings

  • Teton Vascular Institute, Pocatello
  • RadioShack, Pocatello
  • C & T Cleaning and Restoration, Blackfoot
  • Family Dollar, McCammon

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 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will extend its contract with Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) to manage and operate Idaho National Laboratory (INL). This month, DOE officially approved the contract modification that enables a five-year extension through Sept. 30, 2024. This followed a successful negotiation between DOE and BEA on terms and conditions of the INL contract. Source: Bizmojo
  • Fluor Idaho is partway through a five-year cleanup contract for the U.S. Department of Energy’s desert site west of Idaho Falls, awarded in 2016, valued at $1.4 billion. Department of Energy officials may keep the nuclear waste treatment facility after it is done treating waste that’s already in Idaho to treat waste from other states. Currently the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project is compacting barrels of decades-old transuranic waste before shipping them to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico for permanent storage. Fluor expects to finish processing this waste sometime next year, leading to a question of what it would be used for after that and what will happen to its roughly 700 jobs. DOE officials are evaluating whether to keep it open to treat more nuclear waste that is currently stored out of state. Source: Post Register
  • A drum containing radioactive sludge at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex was breached because temperatures inside of it were elevated. The pressure breached the seal and material inside the barrel began smoldering as it was contacted by air, according to a news release from Fluor Idaho, Idaho National Laboratory’s cleanup contractor. No employees were in the building at the time. Three INL firefighters responded to the alarm, put out the smoldering material and separated the drum from a dozen others nearby. The firefighters had some “minor external radioactive contamination that was subsequently removed from their skin,” Fluor said in the release. No one was injured, no environmental contamination was detected, and external surveys detected no radioactivity outside the building, Fluor said. The building is equipped with air filters designed to trap contamination. Source: Post Register

Bonneville County

  • Officials from Idaho National Laboratory and the state of Idaho held a groundbreaking ceremony on two new research facilities: the Cybercore Integration Center and the Collaborative Computing Center (C3). Both buildings will be located off University Boulevard on Idaho Falls’ north side, near the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, INL’s Energy Innovation Laboratory and ISU’s Bennion Student Union Building. The new facilities will help strengthen partnerships with Idaho universities by tailoring internships for students seeking advanced degrees in nuclear engineering, mechanical engineering, materials science, chemical engineering and computer science. Source: Bizmojo

Butte County

  • Lost Rivers Medical Center is starting a custodial care program, which is long term, non-acute care is similar to a nursing home or assisted living. Hospital officials say there’s a need for custodial care in the community. Often, patients are discharged from the hospital when they still need help. Source: Post Register

Opening

  • The Crispy Cone, Rexburg.

Closure

  • Dr. Slaughters, a haunted house venue, Idaho Falls.

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

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