Around Idaho: Economic Activity in May 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

Bonner County

  • In response to substantial flooding in Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River, strict no-wake zones are being enforced to mitigate property damage. The new rules impose a no-wake zone up to 500 feet from the shore. Source: Bonner County Daily Bee

Kootenai County

  • Idaho Central Credit Union is constructing a new office in Coeur d’Alene. The $8.6 million building will house a full service credit union branch and business and mortgage lenders along with administrative staff. The new Coeur d’Alene office will be ICCU’s fourth Kootenai County branch. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • Hayden-based Blackstone Properties is constructing a new 65,000-square-foot storage facility in Hayden. The complex will offer ministorage, along with boat and RV storage. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • Silverwood Theme Park had its full-time opening May 28 followed by Boulder Beach, which opened June 9. The theme park is hiring roughly 1,500 people for its summertime operations and noted that preseason ticket sales have surpassed projections. Park management believes this portends potentially record attendance. 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

  • Gasoline prices rose above $3 a gallon in much of north central Idaho by mid-May – 56 cents more than in the same period the year before. Higher gasoline prices hit remote areas like north central Idaho especially hard as it’s further from major markets for exporting goods and relies on trucks to bring in a large number of its supplies. People living in rural communities travel more miles to get to work, community events, retail stores and for health care and other services. In addition, the most important industries in many rural areas — agriculture and logging — rely heavily on gasoline and related fuels. Source: Idaho Department of Labor
  • For 50 years, Clearwater Economic Development Association has helped communities in north central Idaho with economic and community development and infrastructure. Over the years, it has acquired more than $55 million in grants from many sources. Since its loan program started in the late 1980s, it has helped more than 275 businesses. The organization also has been instrumental in the creation of several workforce development programs, the wine maker alliance and the boat builders’ initiative. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Election Results

  • Cottonwood School District patrons in the May election supported a one-year supplemental levy of $325,000, which was lower than the current $350,000 levy. The estimated tax rate is $2.09 per $1,000 of taxable value. The district’s enrollment last fall was 403. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Voters on May 15 approved the Nezperce School District’s one-year $445,000 levy. With the homeowners exemption, it will cost about $361 a year on a house valued at $200,000. The district has 147 students. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Salmon River School District’s one-year supplemental levy for approximately $525,000 passed with 69 percent of the votes in the May 15 election. The district advertised the importance of providing quality schools to attract new residents. The district was created in 2006, when residents voted to split Joint School District 241 into the Mountain View District 244, based in Grangeville, and the Salmon River District 243 serving the Riggins area. The district’s enrollment this fall was 125. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Troy residents in the May 15 election approved the city to sell a revenue bond to raise up to $1,662,580 to partially fund improvements to its water system. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Nearly 80 percent of voters in the Troy School District supported a one-year supplemental levy for $995,000. The levy is for the same amount as last year. On a home valued at $200,000, it will cost about $692 a year after the $100,000 homeowners exemption. About 270 students attend the schools. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Whitepine School District, based in Deary, received voter approval for a one-year supplemental levy of $880,000 on May 15. That was the same amount as the current year’s levy. The school district enrolled 234 students last fall. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • Family Dollar is currently hiring for the store it plans to open July 13 in the former King’s store on Highway 12 in Grangeville. King’s closed its stores in early 2017, putting its 15 Grangeville employees out of work. Family Dollar, a discount retailer, is part of Dollar Tree, which has more than 13,000 stores across the U.S. and Canada. The Idaho Department of Labor in Grangeville is taking applications for the Family Dollar jobs. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Gov. C.L. ‘Butch” Otter turned Riggins into the Capital for a Day May 18. The governor and many of his cabinet members listened to local concerns. In 2016, the city had 406 residents. That’s about the same number it’s had since 2000. The city’s population had peaked at 588 in 1960, but declined with reduced logging activity and the closure of the Salmon River Lumber Company sawmill in 1982. Since then, the community’s economy has relied on tourism based on whitewater, fishing, hunting and hiking opportunities it offers. Many people have built second homes there, and a large number of retirees have moved into the community. With a relatively small youth population, limited affordable housing and many jobs with low wages, the community’s employers struggle to find workers. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • With tourism on the rise and more retirees moving in, downtown Riggins is enjoying a renaissance. In 2016, River Adventures turned the former Rodeo Club into an office for its river guide business and a clothing store, and the Idaho Banana Company built an addition. A new grocery store — White Water Market — opened on Main Street in December. The Riggins Taphouse, R&R/Rant and Rave Brewery, opened a month later, as did the Gouge Eye Grill and Annie’s Gifts, Grub and Gatherings. Canyon Creamery and Espresso Parlor opened near River Adventures on Main Street in May. Retail employment in the Riggins area grew from 45 in 2006 to 71 in 2015 to an estimated 98 this year. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Fourth and fifth graders from Idaho and Lewis counties attended the annual Camas Prairie Area Farm and Forest Fair April 18 and 19 at Greencreek Community Hall. The event, sponsored by the University of Idaho Extension, Idaho Farm Bureau, Idaho County Commissioners and North Central Idaho Grazing Conference, introduced students to local natural resource-based industries and helped them learn how to prepare for related careers. Several organizations provided hands-on learning experiences for the students, including  Idaho Forest Group, Clearwater Forest, Idaho Department of Lands, Nez Perce Tribe Bio Control, the Idaho-Lewis County Cattle Association, Idaho Farm Bureau-Dairy, Idaho Farm Bureau-Wheat, Grain-Max Theater and 4-H. Idaho County 4-H program coordinator Susie Heckman said, “This is meant to help provide our youth with a balanced view of the important impact of natural resource-based industries and the effect these have on their lives and environment.” Source: Idaho County Free Press

Latah County

  • Moscow’s only new car dealership, Quad Cities Nissan, closed its Third Street location in late April. It moved to Lewiston under the new ownership of Karl Tyler’s Lewiston Chevrolet. The new location provides more space for showing and servicing vehicles. Karl Tyler’s Lewiston Chevrolet offered the 25 Quad Cities Nissan employees jobs in Lewiston. In 2007, Moscow had four new car dealerships with estimated sales of $100 million and employment of 100. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Nez Perce and Asotin, Washington, Counties

  • The region’s young wine industry has a growing reputation for quality. Coco Umiker, winemaker at Clearwater Canyon Cellars, landed on the King of Platinum list by accumulating 10 platinum medals from Wine Press International’s northwest competition. She is the first head female winemaker and first Idaho winemaker to accumulate 10 platinum awards. This year’s winner was a 2014 Coco’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon made entirely from grapes grown in the Lewis-Clark Valley. The winery’s tasting room is located at the family’s Idaho Century Farm in the Lewiston Orchards. Source: Visit Lewis-Clark Valley
  • The Lewiston metro area ranked ninth out of 358 metro areas nationwide for its percent growth in construction jobs between March 2017 and March 2018 at 17 percent. Lewiston’s large construction projects include a new 204,000-square-foot Lewiston High School and a 13,000-square-foot airport operations building at Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport. All Saints Catholic Church is building a school, and Lewis Clark State College plans to put a new career and technical education building out to bid soon. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Quad Cities Nissan moved to Lewiston in early May and is now called Lewiston Nissan. Karl Tyler Auto Group has acquired Nissan’s north central Idaho franchise, and the Nissan dealership is next door to Karl Tyler’s Lewiston Chevrolet in space that once housed a Subaru dealership. The new operation employs about eight people. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Lewis Clark Valley received the largest donation in its history May 10. The $1 million gift came from local business owners Gary and Jutta Hughes to provide about $40,000 a year in scholarship assistance to families in need. The three club locations in Lewiston, Clarkston and Lapwai serve more than 4,200 members each year, with an average daily attendance during the school year of about 500. Source: Lewiston Tribune

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

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

Region

  • Twenty-five Jackson Food Stores from Boise to Payette that sell Chevron or Texaco gasoline will soon become ExtraMile convenience stores. A total of 63 Jackson stores are part of the conversion. An additional 173 stores, 59 in Idaho, will keep the Jacksons’ name because they sell Shell gas. The shift will affect about 600 of the stores’ 6,000 employees. The southwestern Idaho stores will make the switch in 2019, while stores in Washington and Oregon will convert this year. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Cash&Carry Foodservice is rebranding and changing its name to Smart Foodservice Warehouse stores. Smart Foodservice is a 64-year-old, warehouse format store that caters to the food service industry. Smart Foodservice stores are located in Boise on Shoreline Drive and in Nampa on Sundance Road. Source: Idaho Business Review

Ada County

  • Star City Council voted to annex 1,554 acres on the city’s northern edge that would allow up to 3,100 homes to be built there. The details of building those homes, designing a street network and locating infrastructure like schools and fire stations would require further planning and public hearings. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Scentsy was the only Idaho company to make the Forbes’ list of the 500 best midsize employers in America at No. 35. Forbes partnered with the research firm Statista to create the list. Statista surveys 30,000 employees across the country to learn about the businesses’ working conditions and opportunities for growth, and to gauge employees’ job satisfaction and willingness to recommend their employer to family and friends. Kevin Kirkpatrick, Scentsy’s chief strategy officer, believes the company’s benefits and perks are part of what enabled the company to be near the top. The company has a family friendly focus that includes flexible work schedules and holiday events. Forbes surveyed employers in 25 different industries. Scentsy was one of just four “packaged goods” businesses to rank. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Albertsons is adding five new stores in Ada County. Currently, there are 17 stores in Ada County and four in Canyon County. A $230,000 makeover is planned for the Parkcenter Boulevard store that will bring a new Starbucks kiosk, new check stands, cold cases and an expanded salad bar. A new store at West Beacon Street and South Grant Avenue is scheduled to open in June replacing the Broadway Avenue store that has served the Boise State University neighborhood since 1959. A former Shopko store at Fairview and Eagle roads in Meridian is being remodeled and will be the first in the state to carry the Market Street Idaho banner. An additional 400 to 500 workers will be hired for these two stores. Another 300 to 500 workers will be needed for an additional three planned stores: Star, Barber Valley near Marianne Williams Park and the northwest corner of Eagle and Amity roads in south Meridian. These three stores are still in the planning stage and no definite timeline has been released. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • A Chinatown-style mall is planned for Boise at Cole and Ustick roads. The first step is an Asian supermarket currently under construction at the site that should open in August. China Town Plaza LLC purchased the Library Plaza and plans a $1 million makeover that will include an Asian-style gate and pagoda-style roof on the center’s five buildings. It will be Boise’s first commercial project of this kind. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Wassmuth Center for Human Rights will add an outdoor classroom to the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise. The classroom construction will entail the return of the six limestone tablets that were vandalized in May 2017. The six tablets will be joined by five new inscribed tables – two on the Boise River Greenbelt side, two on the memorial side and one embedded in the classroom floor. The 950-square-foot classroom will seat 30-35 people and will likely become the starting point for memorial tours. There will also be brown bag lunch sessions. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Construction on a new 138-room Home2Suites by Hilton is expected to begin in September in downtown Boise. A new 540-space, seven-level parking garage will be part of the seven-story hotel project. The garage could open as early as the fall of 2019, and the hotel is expected to open the end of 2019 or early 2020. This will be the fifth hotel constructed in Boise since 2015. The redevelopment agency also plans to build two public plazas/parks, do streetscape improvements, utility work and street and alley improvements. There will also be a dog park to go along with the pet-friendly commitment of Home2Suites. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The first two apprentices from a new software engineering apprenticeship program in Idaho were placed with Meridian company In Time Tec LLC. The software engineering apprenticeship program consists of a three-month training program through CodeWorks Boise, with 15 to 25 people in each class. It costs $7,800, and scholarships are available as well as potential funding from sources such as vocational rehabilitation and the Veterans Administration. Training is followed by a six-month registered apprenticeship with a company. The program was developed through a partnership between the Idaho Department of Labor and the Idaho Technology Council. Source: Idaho Business Review

Canyon County

  • IndieDwell, an affordable housing manufacturing company, recently leased 21,000 square feet of warehouse space in Caldwell. IndieDwell makes and distributes single- and multi-family affordable housing models in the Treasure Valley. The warehouse will be used as a factory to build the affordable housing units, employing about 50 workers. The factory will build about three units per week. There are several housing models for single-family and multi-family purposes, all of which vary in size and features. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • The North Nampa grocery shuttle has been funded through the end of June. The shuttle provides transportation to the residents on the north side of Nampa to WinCo Foods and Walmart, which are the primary sources for groceries in the north side of town. Many of the residents do not have others means of transportation. The shuttle service began in February as a pilot project, funded by St. Luke’s and Saint Alphonsus. There were 17 riders on the service’s first day with as many as 47 at one time. An average Saturday attracts between 20 and 25 riders. The shuttle runs every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • The old Nampa Public Library has been renovated and taken on a new life. Several businesses will open in May – the Nampa Chamber of Commerce, Chatterbox Pediatric Therapy Center, Hidden Beauty Salon and Spa, One11 Pass, a coffee shop, Edward Jones Investments and a massage therapist’s office. The building was purchased from Nampa’s urban renewal agency for $1, and renovations have been ongoing since last fall. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Price Pump Manufacturing Co., an 86-year-old company that has operated in Sonoma, California, for 70 years, is moving to Caldwell. The company purchased 6 acres of land in the Sky Ranch Business Center and plans to build a 40,000-square-foot plant. The high cost of manufacturing in California has made it more difficult to compete with other sellers in the United States and across the globe. Approximately 12 employees will move to Caldwell. The plant hopes to open by the end of the year. Source: Idaho Statesman

Gem County

  • After 11 years in business as Webb Appliance, Service and Repair, owner Grant Webb changed the name to The Home Store and expanded the product line. The Home Store will offer a full line of furniture, mattresses and décor. It will still offer appliance service and repair. Source: Messenger Index

Valley County

  • The Nez Perce Tribe’s McCall office released 105,000 young salmon into Johnson Creek 40 miles east of McCall in April, as it has every year since 1998, to boost the chinook population on the South Fork of the Salmon River. Johnson Creek is a tributary of the South Fork. The once-abundant salmon runs that were vital to the Nez Perce way of life declined over the years believed to be caused by hydroelectric developments and over-harvesting. Source: McCall Star News
  • Barrick Gold, the largest gold mining company in the world, recently bought a 20 percent stake in Midas Gold, which is in the permitting process for its stibnite mining project near McCall. Barrick $38 million investment provides the capital needed to finish the permitting process for mining and restoration work on the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River. Midas hopes to complete the permitting process by the end of next year. The Canadian-based company plans to reconnect native spawning habitat for endangered chinook salmon before it even begins mining gold and antimony, a metal used in batteries and flame retardant. A pile of 10.5 million tons of ore and waste left by past miners will be reprocessed and toxic metals removed. The company also plans to invest in wetlands and the stream channel so the ecosystem can recover and habitat and water quality can be restored. Midas estimates the mine will produce 300,000 ounces of gold annually and employ 1,000 people. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Crown Point Unit and associated campground at Lake Cascade State Park will be moving to a reservation-based use system from its now first-come, first-served model. Additionally, the Van Wyck Unit and associated campground will have designated numbered campsites and designated day use areas. The changes are being made to accommodate increased use and to address impacts on the resources within the park. These changes will include limitations to the number of people per site as well as limits to the type, size and amount of equipment the sites will accommodate. Crown Point is one of the area’s most popular campgrounds, and transitioning to the reservation-based use system will bring the unit in alignment with the management practices of most campgrounds in the Idaho State Park system. Van Wyck will continue to be a first-come, first-served camping area. Source: Messenger Index

Washington County

  • The University of Idaho Agriculture Extension office moved from the county annex building across town to the Weiser Business Center. The move will make room in the annex for vehicle registration and driver’s license offices to be housed in one central location.  Source: Weiser Signal American
  • Bringing people to downtown Weiser for fun, food and shopping is the goal of Weiser Wednesdays, a new monthly event that will take place on State Street throughout the summer. The event will encourage people to shop local and promote small businesses. Stores will be staying open later and offer specials. Also downtown Weiser will host the weekly farmers markets on Thursday nights. Source: Weiser Signal American
  • Midvale’s municipal airport will be one of a half-dozen airports in Idaho to host the Aerospace Career Exploration Academy, a two-day event that allows young people to learn about careers in aviation and spend time around airplanes. Students ages 13-19 will be engaged through STEM-related experimental activities and field trips centered on aviation. Source: Weiser Signal American

Openings

  • Bi-Mart opened its fourth store in Idaho in Star on May 17.
  • Treasure Valley’s second Fanci Freez recently opened in Meridian. It includes a patio with outdoor seating, a fireplace, a drive thru and features an expanded menu. The original Fanci Freez in Boise has been open since 1947. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Chip Cookies is renovating the space formerly occupied by Addie’s in downtown Boise. The 2,300-square-foot chocolate chip cookies bakery will include seating for about 22 people along with walk-up and delivery services. Currently, the bakery has only late-night deliveries but once the store is open, the hours will be noon to 2 a.m., Monday through Friday and noon to midnight on Saturdays. Source: BoiseDev

Closings

  • Pinnacle Sports Grill at Gateway Marketplace in Meridian closed.
  • Barrel 55 Bar and Grill in Meridian closed.
  • Idaho Youth Ranch in Garden City is closed.
  • Kmart will close its store in Nampa in August.

Expansion

  • Idaho Central Credit Union remodeled its branch in downtown Nampa. The remodel added more workstations and teller stations. Source: Idaho Business Review

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

Twin Falls County

  • The Shilo Inn and Suites brand is going away to be replaced by a full-service Holiday Inn in Twin Falls. The hotel remodel costs are $5 million according to its owners, Pacific Inns. It is the only Idaho hotel in the company’s portfolio. The major remodel will feature suites for kids with bunk beds, a 2,200-square-foot restaurant and an additional 2,000 square feet of meeting space. The company acquired the 128-room hotel March 2017 with these plans in mind. Half of the rooms will be fully renovated this summer and available for reservations under the Shilo Inn brand. The Holiday Inn conversion will occur by the end of the year when all rooms are complete. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Abracadabra, a restaurant that started in Idaho Falls, announced it will soon start renovations on a former Pizza Hut in Twin Falls with plans to open a location there in the fall. The full-service restaurant caters to the breakfast and lunch crowd. Source: Times-News
  • The second McDonald’s in Twin Falls is undergoing a remodel. The building permit cost is $500,000 for upgrading the interior and exterior of the restaurant. Source: Times-News
  • Carl’s Jr. will build its first restaurant in Twin Falls pulling a building permit for $650,000, and potentially will open in late summer. Source: Times-News
  • St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center has plans to remodel the former DaVita Dialysis Center. The medical center’s Neurology and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation will move into the space after the $500,000 renovation. Source: Times-News
  • Canyon Falls Townhomes on the north side of Twin Falls will be offering 80 units of two-bedroom apartments for lease in July. The new construction provides higher-end finishing such as granite countertops, fenced patios and alder trim cabinets. Pricing starts around $900 monthly. Boise developer Dave Scaggs plans to build two other apartment projects on the southeast end of Twin Falls, adding 196 units to the inventory. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Southern Idaho Tourism organized its first Lights and Lasers show at Shoshone Falls May 17-19. An estimated 4,500 viewers attended the light show over the three evenings. The venue included vendors and food trucks. Shoshone Falls has a 212-foot drop, which is greater than the 167-foot drop of Niagara Falls. Source: Times-News
  • The Twin Falls County Commissioners approved a tax subsidy for Jayco RV, a company that has committed to investing $21 million in a new production facility and hiring 300 plus workers over the next couple of years. The RV company has broken ground on the new facility after opening its first plant in the western part of the U.S. in Twin Falls in 2005. The company will have five years of tax deferral on the new plant at varying rates starting at 100 percent for the first two years, 90 percent in the third year, 80 percent in the fourth year and 70 percent in the fifth and last year of deferral. Behemoth Thor Industries acquired Jayco RV in 2016. Source: Times-News

Minidoka County

  • Heyburn’s elementary school classes have been experiencing the results of growth, averaging 27 students per teacher in the last school year. There are no empty classrooms to accommodate more teachers, and the classrooms were designed for fewer students. The crowding most likely will continue with 48 new multi-family units built recently in Heyburn and construction starting on another phase of 48 units. A second development will add townhouses and single-family homes. An estimated 500 units total will add to the Minidoka Joint School District’s dilemma as it decides how to deal with the growth. Source: Times-News

Gooding County

  • Clear Springs Foods will produce 90 percent of its trout eggs now that it has effectively established its latest egg farm in Mackay. Previously, the company produced 60 percent of its supply chain of trout eggs from farms in Buhl and Soda Springs. The company has seven trout farms in the Hagerman Valley along with two farms in Buhl, its research and development department, an egg farm and its corporate headquarters. Clear Springs provides more than 70 percent of farmed rainbow trout nationally with 60 percent farmed out of the Hagerman Valley.  Source: Idaho Business Review

Cassia County

  • Ida-Beef near Burley provides a money-saving service to dairies across south central Idaho – a final destination for culled dairy cows. Previously, transportation for the dairy cows out of state or even to the new CS Beef Packers facility in Kuna added to the cost of culling. This change affects an estimated 200,000 dairy cows – about a third of the 600,000 dairy cows in Idaho – each year. Source:  Times-News
  • The College of Southern Idaho will close its Buhl Head Start facility due to repairs needed on the antiquated building. Children will have the option to bus to Twin Falls for the six hours of preschool. There are 20 children impacted by the closure. Idaho is one of seven states that does not publicly fund preschool. Source: Times-News

Blaine County

  • The Ketchum Innovation Center (KIC) is moving for its third time in an effort to save money. The 3,200-square-foot building’s lower rent will enable the nonprofit to focus on its four pillars of service: mentorship, educational programming, community building and networking, and raising capital. The KIC started in 2014, originally located in Ketchum’s light industrial district. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Openings

  • Beans and Brews, a diverse drinking establishment, opened in Twin Falls. Source: Times-News
  • Mr. Gas Travel Center in Jerome Source:  Jerome 20/20

Closures

  • Wells Fargo announced closure of its Buhl and Kimberly branches citing declining customer traffic. 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

Bannock County

  • A total of 2,427 graduates received 2,560 degrees and certificates during Idaho State University’s spring commencement ceremonies in May. The breakdown of graduates includes 172 doctoral degrees, six educational specialist degrees, 462 master’s degrees, 39 certificates, 1,208 bachelor’s degrees, 447 associate degrees and 232 certificates from the College of Technology. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The Peace Corps and Idaho State University announced a new partnership centered on an undergraduate certificate program called Peace Corps Prep. Students in the Peace Corps Prep program, scheduled to launch at ISU in August, will combine targeted coursework with hands-on experience, teaching skills useful for Peace Corps volunteers and other intercultural fieldworkers. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Idaho State University is undergoing a $22 million renovation of the William M. and Karin A. Eames Advanced Technical Education and Innovations Complex. The 150,000-square-foot Eames Complex will provide a seamless collaborative model for doctoral-level researchers and principal investigators to work with College of Technology students in various capacities. Up until a few years ago, the entire Eames Complex, when it was called the RISE Complex, was primarily occupied by nuclear-related research. Source: Idaho State Journal

Bingham County

  • Premier Technology of Blackfoot hopes to land a contract to build small modular reactors sometime this summer. The Idaho National Laboratory and the state of Idaho have been working to bring this program to southeastern Idaho. The project is projected to add hundreds of jobs to the area. Source: Morning News

Caribou County

  • Grace Joint School District broke ground for a new elementary school building. Last August, voters passed a bond to replace two aging elementary school buildings with a modern, more efficient one. The construction is anticipated to continue for 18 months. Source: Caribou County Sun

Franklin County

  • Franklin County Medical Center held a groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of their hospital campus. The new expansion would focus on safety, privacy and maximizing space for operating rooms and emergency rooms, as well as support services. Source: Preston Citizen

Power County

  • Stotz Equipment in American Falls will be adding another shop building. The more than $3 million shop will improve efficiency for fixing larger equipment, especially combines. Along with the building, the company is planning to add 10 more jobs. Stotz Equipment has increased the number of jobs in American Falls from 19 when the company bought Christiansen Implement to more than 30 currently. Source: The Aberdeen Times

Openings

  • Idaho Adventure Sports in Pocatello
  • Kari’s Korner Child Care Center in Preston
  • Wendy’s in Preston
  • Colliers International Idaho in Pocatello

Closings

  • Idaho Power’s Blackfoot office has closed to the public effective June 1.
  • Circle C Books in Pocatello will be closing for good July 18.

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

  • Terrestrial Energy USA and Energy Northwest have reached a memorandum of understanding on building and running an integral molten salt reactor at Idaho National Laboratory. Terrestrial currently is developing the molten salt reactor, which uses molten salts fuel in place of conventional solid fuel. The reactors are expected to come online in the 2020s and will produce electricity and industrial heat at prices competitive with fossil fuels, but without producing any greenhouse gases. Source: Post Register
  • The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has completed the first step of its review of a proposal to build a 12-module small modular reactor plant in eastern Idaho. The commission recently finished the first and most intensive phase in its review of NuScale Power’s design certification application. There are five more phases, and NuScale expects the final approval to come in September 2020. Source: Post Register
  • The U.S. Department of Energy announced that Oregon-based NuScale will get a $40 million grant to help with “design finalization activities” and “supply chain readiness” to help meet the goal of having the small modular reactor plant operational in 2026. It is a matching grant; NuScale and its partners will have to come up with the other $40 million. Source: Post Register
  • The 4.1 million visitors to Yellowstone in 2017 spent $498.8 million in communities near the park, according to a report by the National Park Service. That spending supported more than 7,000 jobs in the area and had an impact to the local economy of $18.2 billion of direct spending by more than 330 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of the national park. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

Bonneville County

  • Orangetheory Fitness will be opening in Ammon’s Sandcreek Commons shopping center early this summer. The company’s concept is a one-hour full-body workout. The gym offers trainer-led classes all day for all levels of fitness. The Ammon location marks the chain’s 1,049th location, which was named the fastest-growing woman-owned company in 2017 by Forbes. It brought in $451 million in revenue in 2016. Source: Bizmojo

Fremont County

  • The Henry’s Fork Foundation plans to hold a grand opening next month for the new community campus in Ashton funded by a $278,000 grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. The community campus includes an interpretive center, a collaborative conference center, laboratory and housing for scientists. Source: Post Register

Lemhi County

  • eCobalt’s mining operation in Salmon and its proposed refining facility in Blackfoot, along with Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho (REDI), were recognized with a Corporate Investment and Community Impact award. Trade & Industry Development – an organization dedicated to site selections – developed the award program to recognize companies and communities for their corporate investment and community impact. REDI and eCobalt were recognized for eCobalt’s investment in eastern Idaho for cobalt mining and refining. The Community Impact category recognizes projects that make big impacts in their respective communities, and local economic development organizations that work with the companies to attract this development. Source: Post Register

Openings

  • Bill’s Bike & Run- Ammon
  • Dutch Bros Coffee- Idaho Falls

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

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