Around Idaho: Economic Activity in July 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

  • Jack Buell Trucking purchased a wood chip mill in Texas and announced that the mill would be disassembled wholesale and relocated to the company’s Milltown facility. In addition to trucking, the company operates log yards and heavy hauling concerns. The company anticipates that the reconstruction of the wood chip mill will take two to three months, but once operational the facility will double the company’s current capacity. Source: St. Maries Gazette-Record

Kootenai County

  • Seltice Mini Storage in Post Falls has begun a $1 million expansion to add an additional 150 storage units. In addition to expanding storage capacity, the company plans to upgrade the facility’s security systems. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • Crews broke ground on a new 50,000 square-foot industrial building in the Riverbend Commercial Park in Post Falls. The project is expected to be completed in August and is anticipated to accommodate up to five tenants. Kootenai County currently has low inventories of available industrial and warehousing space. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • Construction has begun on a new 294-unit apartment complex in Coeur d’Alene. The complex, which will be called The Northern at Coeur d’Alene Place, will be built through 2020 by CDA developer Anderl Development LLC. 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

  • Columbia Pulp began hiring in July for the pulp mill it is building in Starbuck, a small Washington town 65 miles northwest of Lewiston. The jobs, which will start this fall, will pay between $22 and $30 an hour. Located on the Palouse, the plant will turn wheat straw into paper pulp. It also will produce a carbohydrate-lignin co-product used for dust abatement and as fertilizer. After it starts operating at the end of this year, it is expected to process 140,000 ton per year. The Starbuck plant will employ 90 people, while the main office in Dayton will employ 15, an affiliate company Columbia Straw will employ 10 and a smaller pulp plant in Pomeroy will employ 11. Source: Lewiston Tribune

 Clearwater County

  • The Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Pierce now has waiting list, as school districts throughout Idaho have seen its success in turning around at-risk students. The current class of cadets numbers 150 — the most that can attend the 22-week course. The school hopes to gain Idaho Legislature approval for plans to build new barracks that would increase capacity. As part of the National Guard Youth Challenge Program, the academy is funded through a mix of federal and state dollars. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Opening

  • Timeless Treasures, a secondhand store, opened across from the Konkolville Motel in June.

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • Grangeville High School’s agriculture education program received a $17,000 grant to purchase an ArcLight 6000 CNC Plasma table. The grant from the Idaho Department of Career and Technical Education will allow students to combine skills in manufacturing and metal working, art and design, computers and technology, customer service and marketing. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Tac Tech Manufacturing recently opened in Elk City. It makes steel and aluminum trailers to be used for communications during emergencies. The owners John McKee and Steve Knutzen hope to hire local people to make the trailers. They will need some skilled workers as well as assemblers. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded $600,000 in loans and $1.2 million in grants to Kendrick to replace sewer collection pipes to eliminate groundwater inflow and infiltration into the wastewater system. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Rapid River Water and Sewer District near Riggins recently was awarded a $365,000 loan and $596,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make repairs to the drinking water system. Serving a subdivision south of Riggins, the system will build a new well and an 80,000-gallon water storage reservoir, a main connecting the new reservoir to the distribution center and seven new fire hydrants, It currently has only one fire hydrant, providing insufficient water supply for fire suppression. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • King’s Thrones & Pumping Services has contracted with the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests to provide portable toilet pumping services for Salmon River users in Riggins this summer while the SCAT machine is unavailable. Pumping services for float and jet boat parties exiting the Main Salmon and adjacent rivers began July 2 and will continue through late September. That should allow tourists to visit as normal. Tourism on the rivers is vital to the Riggins economy. Source: Idaho County Free Press

Latah County

  • Northwest River Supplies in Moscow received the first economic development property tax exemption in Latah County in June. The county commission granted the exemption because the company is expected to provide significant economic development benefits to the county. NRS will begin adding about 100,000 square feet to its warehousing facility as part of a roughly $13 million project in early July. The commissioners agreed to exempt 75 percent of the increase in the assessed value of NRS property there for five years starting in 2019. The company makes NRS inflatable kayaks and rafts and distributes outdoor gear and clothing sales all over the world. It currently employs 108 people.Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • A new 48-apartment complex is under construction near WinCo in Moscow. It’s expected to be completed by the end of the year. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Washington State University broke ground on a new plant sciences building in late June. This is the fourth of six buildings in the V. Lane Rawlins Research and education Complex. The $52 million-plus building is set to open in January 2020. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Nez Perce and Asotin Counties

  • Lewis-Clark State College received the largest cash gift in its history, when Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories donated $2 million and its founder Ed Schweitzer and his wife Beatriz donated $1 million toward the new career-technical center. “With the center, students in our region will learn highly marketable skills that will allow them to fill critical positions for local manufacturers, a true win-win for both students and employers,” Ed Schweitzer said in a news release. The Idaho Legislature approved funding for the $20 million CTE facility in 2017, stipulating LCSC had to raise half of that amount on its own. So far, the college has raised $3.19 million of its required $10 million. The new 75,000-square-foot center in the Lewiston Orchards is scheduled to be completed in 2020. SEL and LCSC plan to collaborate on designing curriculum for electrical technician training, hiring instructors and promoting the center and its programs throughout the region. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Lewis-Clark State College received a $100,000 grant from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation for its new career and technical education center. The 75,000-square-foot building will house seven of LCSC’s 10 technical and industrial programs currently on its campus in Lewiston. It will be located north of the new Lewiston High School’s CTE facility. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston plans to add 17 beds by opening a wing that has been closed for more than a decade. That’ll bring the total number of beds to 110. The hospital also is looking at eventually adding another 35 beds in former hospital rooms that have been converted to office space. Transfers from hospitals in smaller communities have doubled in the past few years. Currently under construction is a second catheterization laboratory to treat patients suffering from heart attacks or strokes, as well as an upgrade to the existing lab. The $3.6 million renovation will be finished at the end of September. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Port of Lewiston’s Incubator recently welcomed two firearms-related businesses. Pure Precision manufactures aluminum firearms parts, including scope bases and rings. Hells Canyon Armory specializes in gun barrels. Tenants are given a three-year discount on rent before shifting to market value in the fourth year.Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Sky West and Delta airlines plan to add four flights per week connecting the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport to Salt Lake City starting Oct. 1. Sky West Airlines will operate the flights that will leave Lewiston at 4:41 p.m. and arrive at Salt Lake in time for passengers to board flights to 34 other destinations in the West and Southwest, as well as Houston , Dallas and Minneapolis. Flights from Salt Lake will arrive at Lewiston at 4:11 p.m., allowing connections from 43 other airports. Lewiston is still reeling from the announcement that Horizon Air would end its service from Seattle and Boise to Lewiston in August. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • A proposal to build a beverage bottling plant on the former Twin City Foods property in downtown Lewiston will not come to fruition because of financing issues. That plant, which would have made lemonade and other beverages, would have employed about a dozen people. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Doug Mattoon, who recently retired after eight years as Valley Vison’s executive director, won the Bob Potter award from Inland Northwest Partners, an economic development organization serving eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Mattoon was instrumental in efforts to win temporary tax breaks for capital investments at Clearwater Paper and Vista Outdoor that helped preserve more than 2,000 jobs. Karl Dye, the former director of corporate relations for Idaho PTECH in Sandpoint, now is Valley Vision’s director. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Groundwork Brewing opens this fall along Snake River Avenue in Lewiston. The brewpub also will offer cider, wine and beers from emerging local and regional breweries. 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

Ada County

  • Paylocity is moving about 180 employees to Meridian’s emerging Ten Mile Crossing from Boise. Ten Mile Crossing is a new development on the southwestern edge of the freeway. It will be located in a five story-building, the second structure in the development. The company expects to have about 450 employees in 2020 in a building that could ultimately handle 700 Paylocity employees. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Idaho’s largest law firm based in Boise, Hawley Troxell, continued to expand. Effective July 1, the firm added Bailey, Hahn & Jarman to its Pocatello office. Currently, Hawley Troxell is located in Boise, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Coeur d’Alene and Reno, Nevada with 75 lawyers. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Skyes Corporation’s call center in Boise notified 640 workers on July 1 that they would lose their jobs. Of those losing their jobs, 547 were customer service representative and 38 team leaders. Skyes opened the facility in August 2017. Source: Idaho Press
  • For 21 years, the Farmstead has created a corn maze at Jim and Hilary Lowe’s farm next to Interstate 84 and Eagle Road. That may change as Idaho Central Credit Union brought the 51-acre parcel for development of a regional mortgage center and all center. It is uncertain how many credit union employees will be working at the new building once it is built. The maze will be open this year beginning on Sept. 21 with a Wizard of Oz theme. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The District Coffee House opened under new ownership on July 8. Scott and Karen Seward purchased the coffee house from Calvary Church in Boise. The District was operated as a nonprofit under the previous owners. The Sewards want to continue The District’s involvement in nonprofit efforts, but they plan to rotate nonprofits to give multiple organizations the opportunity to bring awareness to their missions. The main change is the transition from nonprofit to for-profit model. The Sewards also own and operate Form Function, a coffee cart at the Boise Farmers market, as well as their slow pour coffee shop and roastery on Broad Street. Source: Boise Weekly
  • Home2Suites by Hilton receive administrative approval from the Boise City Council to build a seven-story, 138-room hotel and parking deck on Front Street between Fifth and Sixth streets. Groundbreaking is expected to take place in the fall. Source: Idaho Press
  • Bru, a new beer bar, opened July 16 in Boise. It is a self-serve pub but has staff — a hostess, beer expert and pizza cooks. Customers can stroll up to the beer wall and pour themselves one of 28 beers on tap or two ciders. A prepaid card is loaded, then it is used to purchase beer by the ounce. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Scentsy announced on July 19 that it launching a line of fragrance products and scented plush toys inspired by Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Winne the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood, Disney princesses and Finding Nemo. The full line will be available Sept 1. Source: Boise Weekly

Canyon County

  • A structure fire was the latest in a string of misfortunates for the JC Watson Co. in Parma on July 5. JC Watson grows, packs and ships onions. In 2016, a fire destroyed nearly 3,000 onion crates and a building. In 2017, while the company was rebuilding, a truss collapsed and injured six workers. Source: Idaho Press
  • The Edmark name will return to the vehicle dealership world in Nampa. Since 1927, the Edmark name was synonymous with vehicles sold in Nampa. The Edmark dealership was sold to the Kendal Auto Group in 2016. On July 24, the Edmark name will be resurrected as the Toyota dealership in Nampa on Idaho Center Blvd becomes Edmark Toyota. Dave Edmark, owner of the company, plans to expand the parking area to accommodate 700 new vehicles. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Indian Creek Plaza in Caldwell officially opened July 12. The plaza has been a longtime revitalization project for downtown Caldwell. The 57,000-square-foot plaza cost $7.3 million to build. It is located on the corner of Kimball Avenue and Arthur Street and features a 1,500-square-foot stage, an ice rink and ice ribbon, three gas-powered fire pits, a splash pad and fountains. Idaho Central Credit Union established a 15-year, $1 million naming an advertising agreement for the plaza’s main stage. Source: Idaho Press

Payette County

  • Core Distinction Group, a Phoenix-based company that specializes in analysis of hotels in rural market, conducted a survey in Payette and recently presented its findings to city officials and the Snake River Economic Development Alliance. According to the study, Payette can support a 56-room hotel with a swimming pool, a bar and lounge and a hot breakfast for travelers. The cost of construction would be around $5 million, and the hotel would support 12 to 18 full-time jobs, plus part-time workers. It is estimated that in the first year, the hotel would average a nearly 60 percent occupancy rate and generate about $1.2 million in room revenue. A chain restaurant would probably locate in the near vicinity of the hotel. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • St. Luke’s Heath Systems is going to build a 5,234-square foot respite house in Fruitland for cancer patients traveling long distances for radiation treatment. Patients come from far away as the John Day, Pendleton, Grangeville and White Bird, often making the round-trip drive on the same day to save motel bills. Donations of $1 million are backing the construction project which began July 19. The respite house will have parking for five RVs. Radiation treatments are given five days in a row for six, seven or eight weeks. Room rates will likely be around $20 to $30 a night. Source: Idaho Business Review

Valley County

  • McCall will have a new subdivision with waterfronts on a small pond. The first of five homes is ready to be developed at the Eagle Lake subdivision south of Shore Lodge. By fall, there will be eight lots, four with waterfronts on the small pond. Most of the lots are one-third to one-half acre with a few 1.7 acre estate lots. The price ranges from $199,000 to $285,000. Source: Idaho Business Review

Openings:

  • Panera Bread opened July 6 in Boise at the corner of 11 and Myrtle. The restaurant is part of Pioneer Crossing developed by Gardner Co.
  • Lyrique Boutique opened July 6 in Eagle on E. Plaza Drive. The boutique has gifts, women’s apparel, home décor, furniture, accessories, bath and body products.
  • Meridian Main Street Market opened on June 23 with about 40 booths. The Saturday market will be open from 9 am to 2 pm through Sept. 1.
  • Moss Coffee & Tea held its grand opening on July 1 on N. Ninth St. in Boise. The menu offers familiar coffee options, plus several styles of tea, including hybrid flavors and more experimental styles along with several baked goods, mostly notably different-flavored cinnamon rolls.
  • Brixx Craft House opened in June in the former Native Grill & Wings space on State Street in Boise. The sports bar serves a variety of sandwiches, burgers, New York steaks, fries, pizzas, salads, soups and other specialties.
  • Deathproof Coffee opened in a portion of the former Kmart on Fairview in Boise.

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

  • The water level in the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer increased by 1.7 million acre-feet over last year. This is the largest increase in water volume in more than 80 years. The increase in precipitation over the past two winters was a plus but reduced water use by farmers, private recharge efforts, increased tributary flows and natural seepage from winter runoff can also be attributed to the success of the recharge — an ongoing effort. “The stars were lined up,” according to Vince Alberdi, Idaho Water Resource Board member and former long-time manager of the Twin Falls Canal Company. Source: Capital Press
  • Japanese investors toured Idaho Milk Products in Jerome, Clif Bar in Twin Falls, Mart Produce in Rupert and attended the ‘steel topping off’ ceremony at the Newcold frozen foods warehouse in Burley. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Southern Idaho Rural Development organization has merged under the umbrella of the Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization. The merger will create more synergy and provide back office support for these rural counties that include Twin Falls, Gooding, Lincoln and Camas. The new rural economic developer is Alexa Wilhelm. Source: KMVT News

Blaine County

  • United Air has picked up the winter flight between Friedman and Los Angeles after Alaska Airline dropped it. United will operate winter flights linking Hailey with Denver, San Francisco and Chicago as well. Delta will continue to link Friedman with Salt Lake City. Access to Los Angeles during the Christmas holidays on Delta is daily but changes to a Saturday-only status the other weeks. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The Allen Conference held its 48thannual “Billionaire’s Camp” at the Sun Valley Resort. Top executives from social media, the technology industry and top politicos attended the four-day event. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The Hailey Hotel is closed and most of its historic furnishings and hardware donated to the Wood River Land and Trust. The local investors intend to lease space for retail on the lower level and potentially develop the upper floor into employee housing for non-profits. The second floor was a Basque boarding house originally. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The Mint in Hailey, formerly owned by Bruce Willis, is reopening under new ownership featuring a nightclub, two bars and a restaurant. Source: Idaho Department of Labor staff

Cassia County

  • Newcold held a “steel topping off” ceremony with attendees signing the beam placed on the steel framed building. The Netherlands-based company is building a 25 million cubic foot sub-zero storage facility that will be state of the art globally, investing $90 million in warehouse construction and equipment. This is only the second facility in the U.S. for the company having opened its frozen storage facility in Tacoma last May. Source: Company website and Times-News.
  • The Pomerelle Pounder Bike Race at Pomerelle Ski Mountain is a one-mile course for mountain bikers that descends 1,000 vertical feet. It occurs the third weekend of July. The hill is open to mountain bikers and hikers on the weekends in July providing transport on the ski lift. Source: Times-News
  • A consortium of seven south central counties have invested in two locomotive engines to convert garbage to methane gas to energy at the Southern Idaho Solid Waste Site referred to as Milner Butte Landfill. It will fuel about 2,000 homes after requiring an investment of $7.8 million and taking four years to implement. It is expected to pay for itself after 10 years — garnering an estimated $35 million in payments from Idaho Power. Source: Times-News

Gooding County

  • The Gooding School District is bringing a $13.5 million plant facilities levy before its voters. If approved, there will be little impact on the taxpayer as another levy falls off the books and appreciation to the market value of properties increases the pot of money organically. Projects in need of this funding include a new roof for the elementary/middle school, replacing HVAC units, purchasing and installing new security equipment and refinishing the parking lot at the high school. There must be an approval threshold of 55 percent of voters. Source: Times-News

Lincoln County

  • The Richfield School District has a punch list of needs including replacing the heating system, adding air conditioning and building a detached gym along with a welding and agricultural shop. A super majority of voters must pass this $4 million bond, which could increase property owners’ tax by roughly $153 per $100,000 valuation annually. Source: Times-News

Minidoka County

  • The wastewater treatment plant is out of compliance in Heyburn. The city intends to float a bond to cover the costs of infrastructure improvements that include a new ultraviolet disinfection system, installation of a screw press to increase solids handling and improving and adding a third clarifier for redundancy. If these improvements are not integrated beginning in 2020, the penalties could be up to $53,000 daily. The cost is about $7 to $8 million, without adding capacity.  “The system was taxed during the 2016-2017 flooding when floodwater infiltrated the waste treatment system,” said wastewater treatment plant manager Ralph Martini. “The city is on the cusp of tremendous economic growth,” according to Tony Morley, city manager. More capacity is critical for continued economic development yet these improvements will most certainly increase taxpayers’ liability. Source: KMVT News and Times-News

Twin Falls County

  • The Association of Idaho Cities recognized Twin Falls with a City Achievement Award in the public works and transportation category for its Downtown Renaissance project. In collaboration with the Urban Renewal District, the city of Twin Falls reconstructed roads and sidewalks, created a downtown meeting space with amenities and repurposed a retail furniture store into a City Hall with curb appeal. The city receives kudos for its cost effective and creative approach to improving the quality of life for its residents and businesses. Source: Times-News
  • Chobani appealed Twin Falls County tax assessment of its Greek yogurt plant. The decision went through various levels of appeals at the county and state tax level. It is now dependent on a district court decision. Chobani believes it is over-valued because it is not operating at capacity utilizing only a third of its water and the cost of the plant was higher because of its accelerated timeframe for construction. Most commercial appraisals use one of two methods – income capitalization or cost value, both of which could be higher due to Chobani’s arguments. Neither party wants the disagreement to disrupt its relationship. Both parties do want a valuation figure that both can agree on. Source: Times-News
  • The Idaho State Board of Education approved College of Southern Idaho’s request to deliver a hybrid four-year degree — the first community college to offer a bachelor’s degree in Idaho. The bachelor’s degree of applied science in advanced food technology is addressing a need identified by the food processing industry. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities must first approve the accrediting of CSI and the plan is to have the program up and running by the fall of 2019. As a frame of reference, the degree is a hybrid cross of a food scientist and a process engineer. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Twin Falls School trustees voted to fund 15 unarmed security guards. The cost is about $375,000 and the effectiveness and cost will be up for review after its first year. The deadly shootings across the nation caused the board and staff to make this decision. Source: Times-News
  • The city of Twin Falls reported its highest net assessed taxable value – $2.9 billion. This includes nearly $53 million in new construction. The median home value in Twin Falls is $178,000 according to Zillow. The tax levies will drop but with values rising, most tax bills will be higher than the previous year. Source: Times-News

Openings

  • The Downtown Commons in Twin Falls is fully constructed and open for concerts and public events. A ribbon cutting occurred in conjunction with the unveiling of a bronze statue of John Hayes, city founder — and the ‘reveal’ of local artists’ murals. The area also features a splash pad, stage and plant life. The event followed the first annual Old Town Criterium, a bike lap race. After the ceremony, Clif Bar employees’ funk and R&B band named Grove Valve Orchestra played for the gathering — all musicians work at Clif Bar. Source: Times-News
  • Thornton Oliver Keller, a commercial real estate entity out of Boise, is establishing a presence in Twin Falls. The human resources are in place with a broker and the bricks and mortar office soon to follow. Source: Idaho Business Review

Closures

  • Chipotle Mexican restaurant, a franchise open less than a year in Twin Falls. Source: Times-News
  • Elite Health Club in Twin Falls.
  • Zale’s Jewelers in Twin Falls.

Jan.Roeser@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 735-2500 ext 3639

SOUTHEASTERN IDAHO – Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Caribou, Franklin, Oneida & Power counties

Region

  • The F.M. and Anne G. and Beverly B. Bistline Foundation Fund announced the award of $97,000 in grants to arts-focused nonprofit organizations in southeast Idaho. Source: Morning News
  • The U.S. Department of the Interior announced Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) funds for fiscal year 2018 to compensate local governments for the inability to collect property taxes on federal land within their boundaries. Idaho is slated to receive $36.1 million – the largest amount ever allocated in the program’s 40-year history. The 7-county region of southeastern Idaho will receive $4.6 million for its 2.1 million acres of federal land. Source: Morning News, US Dept. of the Interior

Bannock County

  • Native American students will soon be able to attend Idaho State University at a much-reduced tuition rate. The new program, which was approved by the State Board of Education, will allow Native Americans from the state’s federally-recognized tribes to attend the university for $60 per credit hour, which is approximately one-sixth of the standard in-state tuition cost at ISU. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The Portneuf Greenway Foundation Interstate 15 corridor project is now under construction and should be completed by Sept. 1. The $355,000 project is the first step in creating a lengthy trail that will connect Pocatello’s Highland High School area and the Portneuf Wellness Complex, both on the city’s north side, with Idaho State University and south Pocatello’s Edson Fichter Nature Area. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Construction has begun on the Hawthorne Middle School track. The new track will accommodate more than 600 athletes who participate in middle school track and field in the district. The project is estimated to be completed in two months. Source: KPVI

Bingham County

  • The College of Eastern Idaho and Premier Technology are partnering to train more welders. Welding is a fast-growing field locally – Premier alone needs to hire 150 to 200 welders in the next two years to support its current contracts. Source: Morning News

Caribou County

  • A new state-of-the-art laboratory was officially opened at Monsanto Company’s Soda Springs facility. The plant invested $4.5 million into the 8,000-foot facility and expanded the lab employees from six to 12. Source: Caribou County Sun

Openings

  • Moonlight Mountain Recovery Center in Pocatello
  • Jim Dandy Brewery, a local microbrewery in Pocatello
  • Clear Insights, a market and survey research company in Pocatello
  • Hannah’s Place, a children’s therapy center Chubbuck
  • The Butterfly Haven, a butterfly greenhouse in Pingree
  • Snake River Liquidation, a retail store in Blackfoot
  • The Slice, a pizza restaurant in Preston
  • The Girlz Catering, a food truck business in Chubbuck
  • Blackfoot Farmers Market in Downtown Blackfoot
  • Caribou County CommUNITY Playground in Soda Springs
  • Sew fun Quilting in Shelley
  • Circle Z Ag & Irrigation, an agricultural equipment dealer in Blackfoot

Closings

  • Chipotle Mexican Grill, Chubbuck

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

  • Nearly 810,900 people visited Yellowstone National Park in June. The number is an increase over the 803,650 visitors in June 2017, and is second only to June 2016, when a record 838,300 visitors entered the park. So far in 2018, Yellowstone has seen 1.38 million recreation visitors, a 2.5 percent increase from the same period last year. Source: Idaho Press
  • A new accident-resistant fuel is being tested at Idaho National Laboratory’s Advanced Test Reactor. This is the second accident-tolerant fuel test in progress. The first, which started earlier this year, is at a nuclear plant in Georgia. Framatome is testingchromium-coated cladding (cladding is the outer layer of a fuel rod) and chromia-doped fuel pellets at INL. The ATR can rapidly age fuel samples to replicate years or even decades of neutron damage in just months. Twenty-six miniature fuel rods are being tested at INL in a special test loop that mimics the coolant conditions of a commercial light-water reactor, according to DOE. The performance data will be used to help qualify the fuels with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Source: Post Register
  • A half-dozen Japanese small businesses are interested in developing partnerships in Idaho. This month, company representatives are traveling around the state and taking tours of local businesses in hopes of finding new opportunities. They were accompanied by local and state leaders and economic development professionals. Jan Rogers with REDI and others have been taking seven Japanese company representatives around the state — from Boise to Rexburg — over four days. The five other companies attending the tour with Suzuki had a general interest in food manufacturing and equipment. The partners of Tec, an electronic circuit board manufacturer, have begun working on a project to produce a new type of Idaho potato-based distilled alcohol. Atom Seimitsu is a company that manufactures robotics for the computer semi-conductor industry. It expressed interest in using robotic technology for hydroponic projects and other commercial greenhouse facilities. Also in attendance were equipment manufacturers Iwasawa Press and Miyama Giken, as well as Seiho — a bio-plastics company. Source: Twin Falls Times-News
  • Idaho National Laboratory and the University of Texas at San Antonio recently inked a deal for some of the university’s students and faculty to collaborate with INL in its cybersecurity work. While many of the details of the three-year partnership still need to be worked out, the deal will “facilitate collaborative academic and research programs in cyber and critical infrastructure protection” and will include increased internship and post-doctoral opportunities for its students. It also will feature joint appointments of cyber-focused researchers, letting university faculty and INL staff conduct collaborative research with personnel at both locations. Their joint research, UTSA said, will “advance a broad range of innovative solutions that will have a transformational and sustainable impact on the reliability and resilience of the grid and energy infrastructure.” Source: Post Register

Bonneville County:

  • The College of Eastern Idaho and Premier Technology are partnering to train more welders. Premier alone needs to hire 150 to 200 welders in the next two years to support its current contracts. CEI offers an associate of applied sciences welding degree. The two-year program enrolls 16 students, graduating eight to 10 yearly with, college officials said, all of them getting jobs on completion. CEI is training existing Premier employees now as it develops the program. In mid-September, people will be able to enroll to take the same modular-style training. It will be offered at CEI, on Saturdays over the course of six weeks. Any person or regional employer will be able to develop specific welding skills through CEI’s training. The program breaks existing welding techniques into “modules” that can be taught in shorter sessions, combined with testing. Students will get Idaho SkillStack badges to certify their competency. They are currently working on an Industry Sector Grant application through the Idaho Workforce Development Council that will allow this program to expand in partnership with several employers in the area. Source: Post Register
  • Almost twice as many students have enrolled at the College of Eastern Idaho already for the fall semester as had by this point in 2017. So far, 1,295 students have applied to CEI for fall 2018 and 920 have enrolled, college President Rick Aman told trustees at Wednesday evening’s meeting. In 2017, 621 students had applied and 467 had already enrolled by this point. The college’s goal is to get 1,500 students in the fall. Changes since last fall include more general education options and the addition of a cybersecurity program. Source: Post Register
  • The Idaho Falls City Council approved a master service agreement with Idaho Regional Optical Network. The network has been leasing fiber optic cable from the city since 2012 and has utilized the fiber to connect higher education facilities such as the College of Eastern Idaho and Idaho National Laboratory. The agreement is a foundational step for the city to begin discussions over collaboration for educational and governmental fiber use. The agreement is described as a “blanket agreement” that would govern all work between the network, the city and Idaho Falls Power. Source: Post Register
  • Babe’s Bakery is gone, but it looks like its longtime location at 1900 Channing Way is soon going to be the home of 1 Fine Cafe. The restaurant is shooting for a Sept. 1 opening. Source: Bizmojo

Madison County:

  • The Rexburg City Council has approved a plan to build its proposed new airport on the north side of Highway 33, west of the Snake River. The council met recently and aviation planner Rick Patton of GDA Engineering of Boise presented the airport project report. The report recommends that the airport be built on what he referred to as the “lava site.” The property is on BLM land, far removed from farm land and private homes, he said. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

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

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