Around Idaho: Economic Activity in September 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

Boundary County

  • Seven Seeds Coffee Roasters opened in Bonners Ferry. The company specifically sources its coffee beans from impoverished regions of southeastern Asia, where the coffee can become a cash crop for impoverished farmers. Source: Bonners Ferry Herald

Kootenai County

  • The Miller Development Group has begun construction on a new development of townhomes in downtown Coeur d’Alene. The units will be priced between $3.5 million and $4 million. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • Construction of a new emergency veterinary clinic in Coeur d’Alene is underway. The clinic is expected to employ 15 people upon completion and will offer 24-hour veterinary care. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • Milestone Decisions, a Moscow-based care provider for people with developmental disabilities, has leased space in the Riverstone development. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • Coeur d’Alene-based soccer club Timbers-Thorns North FC is building a new administrative facility, an indoor soccer field and three outdoor fields in Post Falls. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • Construction has begun on the new North Idaho Collaborative Education building on the North Idaho College campus. The facility will provide shared space for NIC, the University of Idaho, Lewis Clark State College, Boise State University and Idaho State University. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Openings

  • Beau Monde Clothing in Post Falls
  • Ladder Coffee in Coeur d’Alene

Sam.Wolkenhauer@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 457-8789 ext. 4451

NORTH CENTRAL IDAHO – Clearwater, Idaho, Latah, Lewis and Nez Perce counties

Region

  • For the second year in a row, low returns of steelhead from the ocean to the Columbia-Snake river system have resulted in fishing restrictions, including the requirement to catch and release in many areas. Idaho, Washington and Oregon slashed daily bag limits on the Snake River and its tributaries from three to two in early September. Last year’s return was less than half of the 10-year average, and this year is projected to bring the fewest steelhead since 1978. Steelhead anglers and hunters make the fall tourist season almost as big as the summer tourist season. The restrictions will reduce visitors, negatively affecting the incomes of motels, restaurants, gas stations, tackle shops and especially outfitters and guides throughout the Clearwater River watershed. Studies commissioned by Idaho Fish and Game in 2003 and 2011 estimated steelhead and salmon fishing in the Clearwater Region contributes $60 million to $72 million annually to the economy. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Clearwater County

  • Clearwater County commissioners have proposed a 5 percent pay increase for county employees starting Oct. 1, the beginning of the fiscal year. They didn’t receive a raise in fiscal year 2018. The commissioners believe the pay increase is more economical because it will reduce turnover, which has been shown to cost employers a lot of money. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, who chairs the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, named SJX Jet Boats of Orofino as the Small Business of the Month for August 2018. SJX Jet Boats makes an aluminum boat that can handle remote, shallow waters. It employs seven people at the business park in Orofino. Source: Clearwater Tribune
  • The Clearwater Memorial Public Library in Orofino received a $50,000 grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation in September. It will help with the library’s $225,000 expansion, which broke ground in March. The extension will provide space for computers, internet access, genealogy research, story reading and book club meetings. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • Lewis County is bumping up the pay of its 36 employees by 2 percent as of Oct. 1 to keep pay competitive. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • After sitting empty for nearly seven years, the former Prairie Elementary School building in Cottonwood soon will be transformed into a senior living complex starting this fall. Eventually, the new owners — local entrepreneurs Ryan and Heather Uhlenkott and Boise developers Tom and Barbara Mannschreck — plan to add some commercial development on the property. The 20,000-square-foot building, built in the 1950s, shares the property with a small gymnasium. First, a 5,000-square-foot administration wing will be converted into five senior living apartments. The Sisters Apartments, named for the nuns who lived in the convent and taught at the school until 1970, are slated for occupancy in March 2019. Another three phases to be announced will occur over the next few years. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • The Hilltop Café in Grangeville closed this summer. After a major renovation, it will reopen as Amy’s Full Belly Deli later this fall. It will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • White Bird, a city of 90 residents south of Grangeville on Highway 95, broke ground on a new fire station. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • This school year, Grangeville Elementary / Middle School added electives that expose students to potential careers including wood shop, life skills and technology classes. Administrators expect wood shop will be the most popular new class. Idaho Forest Group, whose Grangeville mill employs more than 160, donated tools and boards. Students will have opportunities to tour local mills and manufacturing facilities, where they can learn about career opportunities. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Brent Uhlorn and his wife Tanis are trying to grow a new crop for the Camas Prairie. They planted approximately 20 acres near Ferdinand in sunflowers. Each acre supports about 16,000 flowers. They’ll be harvested with a standard combine and sold for bird seed. Harvest may be anywhere from October or November to next spring, depending on how the sunflower heads dry. The flowers also brighten the scenery. Source: Idaho County Free Press

Latah County

  • Washington State University welcomed a record number of students to its Pullman campus in late August. This fall’s enrollment of 21,022 was 3.6 percent — 736 students — higher last fall. The growth of WSU leads to increased spending by Pullman residents in Moscow, more job opportunities for Latah County residents across the border, more visitors staying in Moscow motels and an increase in residents since some WSU students and faculty live in Moscow. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The Latah County Commissioners approved a 4 percent wage increase for employees in all departments. With wages rising throughout the area, county employees are being pulled to work for other employers, especially ones across the border in Whitman County. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Nez Perce and Asotin Counties

  • Lewis-Clark State College recently signed an extension of hosting baseball’s Avista NAIA World Series, where 10 colleges throughout the U.S. compete at the school’s Harris Field every May. The series is a major tourist event that draws visitors to Lewiston. It is also the highlight of the year for the region’s many baseball fans. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Lewiston orthodontist Dr. Bret Christensen is proposing to build an amusement park on 10 acres in north Lewiston. His plans aren’t finalized, but the year-round amusement center may include a restaurant, laser tag and bumper cars. The center may open on Port of Lewiston land south of the former EKO Compost site. If his plans receive approval from the port, meet city zoning requirements and financing becomes available, it could open in two years. 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

  • Luke’s Virtual Care Center opened Aug. 27 in Boise. It is among the first “virtual hospitals” in the nation and what is believed to be the first serving rural communities. The 35,000-square-foot center is a high-tech hub where a 24/7 centralized medical team of up to 350 people uses technology “with a human touch” to care for patients around-the-clock at clinics, hospitals and homes throughout Idaho and Eastern Oregon. Source: Idaho Press
  • The city of Eagle purchased 35 acres for a dog park and baseball fields for $2.5 million. The site is east of Eagle High School and south of Floating Feather. The plans call for a dog park, parking area, restrooms, baseball fields and a children’s playground. The park should be finished in 2020. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Meridian city council approved a 120,987-square-foot project, the largest private downtown project, in August. The project will fill most of the block across from city hall with 103 apartments and 15,700 square feet of office/retail in two four-story structures. Construction will begin in May and the apartments should be ready for occupancy in November 2020. The developer expects to have 55 one-bedroom units and 48-two-bedroom units with monthly rents from $990 to $1,160. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Identity Automation, which provides access management, identity governance and multifactor authentication software, purchased HealthCast Inc., which makes enterprise single sign-on and virtual desktop technology for the health care industry. Although Identity Automation is a Houston-based company, HealthCast will continue operating in Boise with nine employees. Identity Automation has 110 employees and 800 customers. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Brighton Corp. plans to build a 166-unit active adult living complex at The Village at Meridian. The five-story structure will target residents aged 55 or older. Construction will start this fall with completion targeted for the summer of 2020. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Pyramid Analytics, a Seattle-based software company, is planning to double its presence in Boise over the next 18 months. The company makes business intelligence and analytics software. The Boise office handles sales and marketing and employs about 10 people. The company chose Boise because it is close to Seattle by air with a technical and analytics hub. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Boise City Council approved an 18-unit town home development on North Liberty Street. The 1.55 acre lot is currently vacant and will have homes ranging from 1,200 to 1,400 square feet. Source: Idaho Press
  • Adare Manor is a 134-unit project currently under construction on Fairview Avenue on a parcel of Boise city-owned property. It will include housing for those classified as low income, as well as some units renting at full-market price. The city of Boise partnered with several public and private entities to construct this new affordable housing development set to open next summer. Rent will be set based on the percent of the area median income the residents make. Source: Idaho Press
  • Boise Gateway Industrial Park is a 159-acre property on Boise’s southeastern edge of Interstate 84 and Eisenman Road. Boer Company of Salt Lake is the project developer. The project could be a mix of warehouses, light-industrial, manufacturing and food processing. About 50,000 to 100,000 square feet is expected to be developed in the first year, depending on how early discussions with potential tenants progress. The industrial park would be 1 million square feet when completed. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Vista Avenue medians are getting four, 13-foot-tall moving sculptures representing the season to create a “visual focal point” for pedestrians and drivers. Two sculpture will be installed next summer on each median. The base of each stainless steel sculpture is meant to signify the trunk of a tree, and the top will have a different kinetic element that will move with the wind. The sculptures are one of the last projects being installed in the area for the city’s Energize Our Neighborhoods Initiative. Source: Idaho Press
  • Idaho State University’s Meridian campus completed a build-out of the second floor of the Health Science Center to make room to expand its physical therapy program. The university began offering the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree this fall. ISU has been offering the program at its Pocatello campus for more than two decades, and is now doubling the size of the program – from 24 to 48 – to offer classes to 24 students at the Meridian campus. The expansion is to help meet the statewide and national demand for more physical therapists. Source: Idaho Press
  • Construction of a three-story, 90,000-square-foot medical office building anchored by HCA Healthcare will begin in the spring as the first part of Central Valley Plaza, a 71-acre, $100-million project being developed by Tommy Ahlquist and David Turnbull. Construction of a 1-acre retail pad and five-story, 120,000-square-foot office building may begin around the same time. HCA Healthcare already operates West Valley Medical Center in Caldwell and Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls. It should be completed in 2020. Source: Idaho Business Review

Adams County

  • New Meadows will soon have four more affordable housing units. West Central Mountains Housing Trust plans to build two 1,224-square-foot duplexes on Miller Street in New Meadows. Each of the four units, expected to be ready for occupancy by March, would rent for about $350 per month. Source: McCall Star-News

Boise County

  • Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area has been given final approval by the U.S. Forest Service to build a snow-making system that will spray manmade snow on several of the resort’s front-side runs. The approval allows Bogus Basin to begin burying water and electrical lines on the Upper Ridge and Lower Ridge rungs on the Deer Point chairlift, and Coach’s Corner on the beginner Coach chairlift. Both are on Forest Service land. The resort has already begun that work on the Morning Star chairlift area, which the resort owns. Source: Idaho Press
  • Barreto Manufacturing of LaGrande, Oregon, has purchased the 145,000-square-foot former Boise Cascade mill site in Horseshoe Bend. The 40-acre property includes two manufacturing buildings and two covered storage spaces. Initially Barreto plans to use the largest structure for storage and retain the two existing tenants: GR Peterson Enterprises machine shop and American Reserve Munitions ammunition loading company. Barreto Manufacturing manufactures all-hydraulic walk-behind tillers, trenchers and tree service equipment. The company plans to open a second manufacturing facility in Horseshoe Bend in a year or two once they have built a powder coating painting facility. It is anticipated that 25 to 50 jobs will be created with the powder coating facility. Source: Idaho Business Review

Canyon County

  • The Idaho Department of Transportation received the largest grant it has ever been awarded, a $90.2 million infrastructure For Rebuilding America grant to widen part of Interstate 84. The grant will cover 60 percent of the funding needed to expand 2.8 miles of I-84 from the Karcher Interchange to the Franklin Boulevard Interchange. The expansion will begin in September with the widening the shoulders. The next phase will focus this winter on the Karcher overpass, which is a two-lane bridge. The entire project will cost an estimated $150 million with the remaining funding coming from state and local sources. The entire project will not be completed until 2021. Source: Idaho Press
  • The College of Idaho was ranked as the top college in Idaho and among the top 400 four-year-institutions nationally in the 2019 Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education U.S. College Rankings. It was also ranked the fourth Northwest liberal arts college in Washington Monthly’s 2018 College Guide and Rankings. The college was named a “hidden gem” for 2019 by CollegeRaptor.com and was ranked second in Idaho by College Consensus. The college is located in Caldwell. Source: Idaho Press
  • The Nampa City Council approved a development agreement with The Pacific Companies for a building-module factory on 52 acres on Star Road. Construction should begin in October and be completed in a year but the factory will not begin operations in the spring of 2020. The factory will manufacture building modules which will serve as parts for housing developer for high-density projects. The company expects to bring about 350 jobs to Nampa. Source: Idaho Press
  • Dutch Bros. Coffee is bringing a new 10,000-square-foot facility to Caldwell, one that won’t sell coffee. The facility will be used to train employees, hold events and conduct interview, among other things for Dutch Bros. workers in the Treasure Valley. Source: Idaho Press
  • College of Western Idaho is asking voters in Ada and Canyon counties to approve a $39 million, 10-year plant facilities levy to build a four-story health science building on the Nampa campus. The new building would consolidate programs that are currently being taught in Nampa and Boise. The building would be completed in 2022 if the levy passes. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Mike Mussell has begun his next downtown Nampa historic renovation project. This comes after he purchased the property from the Nampa Development Corp. that was originally going to be the location of the library. He intends to keep five of the six building on the block including the 1930s Church of the Brethren, and freshen up the other building facades in a French village style. He will lay small pathways between the buildings on the property to create a more pedestrian-friendly setting. The Nampa Town Square, as the property will be known, will include a new drive-thru Taco Time, which has been on the same block for 50 years, and renovate the current Taco Time for another restaurant. Mussell has been behind two other major renovations – the 1922 Masonic Lodge and the 1919 Nampa Library. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Caldwell Urban Renewal Agency purchased nearly 20 acres of land for $1.7 million in the Sky Ranch Business Park to continue the development of industrial business in Caldwell. Two developers – a solar panel manufacturer and a food processing business — are interested in the property. The urban renewal agency has been buying and selling land in the business park with the intent to sell to future developers for several years. Source: Idaho Press

Elmore County

  • The annual Mountain Home Country Music Festival is to go on hiatus for 2019. Organizers stated they want to take some time to figure out their next steps as they want to ensure that they can deliver a sustainable world-class event. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Mountain Home News celebrate its 130th year in print on Aug. 29. It is the second oldest continuously published newspaper in the state of Idaho, behind The Idaho World, the paper of record in Boise County and located in Idaho City, which began publishing in 1863. It recently converted to digital. Now the paper will have color and photo abilities that they have not had in the past. Source: Mountain Home News

Owyhee County

  • The nonprofit Sandbar Restaurant with a Cause in Marsing was able to buy restaurant and kitchen equipment with proceeds from the sale of the old Marsing Senior Center for its in-house and Meals-on-Wheels programs. Sandbar has also teamed up with the Elderly Opportunity Agency’s Southwest Idaho Transit to offer on-demand transportation services for residents in and around Marsing, Homedale and Melba. The target population for the transportation services include older adults, people with disabilities, veterans and minorities. Source: The Owyhee Avalanche

Valley County

  • The McCall-Donnelly School District’s enrollment set an all-time record with 1,278 students at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. The previous enrollment record was 1,232 at the beginning of the 1994-95 school year. Enrollment fell to a low of 897 students at the beginning of the 2011-12 school year. Since then, enrollment has steadily grown. This year’s enrollment is 88 students higher than last year’s, which was 81 higher than the 2016-17 school year. To handle the additional students, the district hired six more staff members in September. Source: McCall Star-News
  • The Cascade School District is one of 29 in Idaho classified as “underperforming” so it will receive about $73,000 in state funding for the next three years to help improve student performance. The district has assembled a leadership team to develop a plan to improve achievement in sixth through eighth grades. The state will assign an experienced school improvement leader to oversee the program’s implementation in Cascade and provide other support. Source: McCall Star-News
  • The Cascade Rural Fire Protection District proposes to raise property taxes by $98,020 to hire more full-time employees and to increase incentive pay to its volunteers. The tax increase also would allow the district to provide more training and to buy equipment and make other improvements. The ambulance and rescue service covers the city of Cascade and 1,300 square miles at the southern end of Valley County. As the population and the number of visitors have surged, fire and ambulance calls have increased 25 percent over the past three years. The district currently has six full-time employees and one part-time employee. The increased funds would allow the district to hire one more full-time employee and add pay to volunteers. That is expected to shorten response times. Property owners in the district would see an increase of about $6 per month for each $100,000 of assessed value. Source: McCall Star-News
  • The McCall City Council is considering building a 400-seat auditorium and a 7,000-square-foot conference center. The Ponderosa Center would be located at Depot Park in downtown McCall. Its construction would cost $16 million to $20 million. It would provide a larger venue than the 104-seat Alpine Playhouse and would accommodate symphonies, stage plays, music concerts and could serve as a movie theater. McCall currently doesn’t have a movie theater. The conference center would provide the revenues to support the auditorium as well as serve conferences that current facilities in town cannot accommodate. It would provide year-round employment. Source: McCall Star-News
  • Granite Excavation of Cascade completed a $1.3 million paving project at the McCall Municipal Airport in September. The contractor replaced 135,000 square feet of deteriorating asphalt around the airport’s commercial apron to reduce hazards to aircrafts. It also created a new 5,600-foot concrete pad in front of the airport’s fuel station, which will reduce damage caused by any spills. The Federal Aviation Administration funded 90 percent of the project, with the city and state both contributing 5 percent, nearly $70,000 each. Source: McCall Star-News
  • Luke’s McCall Medical Center has been designated as a Level IV trauma center, the only state-designated trauma center between Grangeville and Boise. The Level IV designation focuses on pre-hospital care, creating a trauma-specific hospital staff and boosting coordination among the hospital, paramedics and personnel who transfer patients to higher-level trauma centers. Idaho has one Level II trauma center in Lewiston and 11 Level IV centers across the state. Source: Idaho Business Review

Washington County

  • Ground was broken in late August for the new Ridley’s store in Weiser. The six-acre site next to Bi-Mart will be the home of a much larger store with more amenities, including a hardware store, bakery, deli and seating. Source: Weiser Signal American

Openings

  • Bikes and Beans opened on Vista Ave in late September. It’s a full-service bike repair shop that sells specialty coffees and beans by the pound.
  • Burger Time and Tiki Teriyaki opened on the Boise Bench as a merged version of two former restaurants. The iconic Burger Time drive-in closed in January and was purchased by the Tiki Teriyaki food truck owners.
  • Pad Thai House reopened in late August at a larger, newly constructed building on Overland Road in Boise.
  • Gyro Shack opened in Nampa on Caldwell Boulevard.
  • Wendy’s opened at a new location on Overland Road in August.
  • Meriwether Cider House opened on North Ninth Street in Boise. It carries 19 ciders and one kombucha on tap as well as 35 ciders in bottles and cans.
  • Old Country Sausage opened in downtown Nampa. The business specializes in German cuisine.

Under construction

  • D&B Supply plans to build its first Kuna store with construction scheduled to start around the beginning of November. The company expects to open in August or September 2019. Source: Idaho Business Review

Closings

  • The first Wendy’s in Boise located on Orchard closed in August.
  • Idaho Camera closed at the Boise Towne Square Mall. The only store location open is at Vista Village on Orchard Street.

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

Education

  • Richfield voters approved a $4 million bond to replace the school’s heating system, add air conditioning, build a detached gymnasium, and build a welding and agriculture shop. This required a super-majority of two-thirds of the voters, coming in with an approval of 69.86 percent. There are about 200 students in the school district. Source: Times-News
  • Gooding voters approved a 10-year $950,000 annual plant facilities levy with 69.57 percent voter approval, and it needed 55 percent to pass. The school district has about 1,380 students. Source: Times-News
  • Twin Falls School District hired 13 security aides who are on duty at almost all district schools. The Twin Falls Police Department will provide training for the aides this fall on how to react when an active shooter is on a school campus. Source: Times-News
  • Twin Falls School District trustees approved a $2.5 million emergency levy due to an unexpected 522-student increase from enrollment figures – the number of registered students versus those who show up for class. There are about 9,700 students in the school district. Source: Times-News
  • Kimberly School District trustees approved a $93,245 emergency levy to help with additional costs associated with the 60 additional students who were not registered. This is less than half of what the school qualified for, but with a new elementary school adding to residents’ costs, leadership opted to approve funding for the additional supplies and necessary staffing. There are about 2,000 students in the school district. Source: Times-News
  • Idaho State Board of Education released figures from the last academic calendar year on student homelessness. The definition includes those students without a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. The number of students across Idaho has risen to 7,820 or 2.6 percent of all public school students – almost doubling the 4,758 count during the 2010-2011 school year.

The south central school districts reported the following count of homeless students:

  • Twin Falls: 413
  • Minidoka County: 147
  • Jerome: 111
  • Blaine County: 98
  • Cassia County: 88
  • Wendell: 80
  • Gooding: 73
  • Filer: 39
  • Buhl: 37
  • Shoshone: 32
  • Hansen: 23
  • Kimberly: 20
  • Valley (Hazelton): 17
  • North Valley Academy (Gooding): 12
  • Hagerman: 11
  • Dietrich: 10
  • Richfield: 7
  • Camas County: 0
  • Castleford: 0
  • Heritage Academy (Jerome): 0
  • Syringa Mountain School (Hailey): 0

*Data wasn’t available for the Bliss and Murtaugh school districts, and Xavier Charter School (Twin Falls). Source: Times-News

  • The College of Southern Idaho has created a space for those mothers who wish to breastfeed or pump. The freestanding privacy pod is in one building at this point with a plan to add more pods across campus in the future. Source: Times-News
  • The College of Southern Idaho held its first Hispanic Youth Leadership Summit with 600 students from 19 schools attending. Boise State University has hosted the event for 12 years, but many Magic Valley youth were on waiting lists or could not travel so far. This year both venues hosted an event with sponsorships from Idaho Central Credit Union, Idaho Dairymen’s Association and the board of ARTEC Regional Professional Technical Charter School. Source: Times-News
  • The latest School to Registered Apprenticeship Program, or STRAP, has developed machine operator apprenticeships for both Minidoka and Cassia County school districts. High Desert Milk and McCain Foods sponsored the program, providing one-on-one mentoring and paying $13 an hour to these high school students. The students were required to attend a 7 a.m. class and though they did not earn credits, the incentive was the opportunity for a higher paying job and a career pathway. Apprenticeships are of interest across the state, viewed as a solution for filling jobs with qualified workers and reducing the high cost of education. Source:  Idaho Business Review

Blaine County

  • Sun Valley and Ketchum leadership is considering combining its protective services to maximize efficiency and reduce duplication. Leaders reviewed the issue in the past, but this is the first time there has not been active opposition from residents or the agencies affected by the decision. The discussion of collaboration will continue with both cities considering the issues and potential consequences. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Sun Valley Company announced its plan to complete renovations of Warm Springs Lodge by Christmas. The fire that gutted the lodge occurred in April after the ski season closed. The day lodge will end up with a better view of the Warm Springs run and more seating for après ski activities. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

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

  • Planet Fitness has recently announced a “Judgement Free Zone” gym set to open this winter in the storefront that formerly housed Herberger’s inside the Pine Ridge Mall in Chubbuck. The 24,000-square-foot club will offer state-of-the art cardio and strength equipment, free fitness training and a Black Card Spa which, will include HydroMassage beds, massage chairs and tanning beds for PF Black Card members. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Sept. 21 marked the groundbreaking for phase one of a new medical campus in Chubbuck. This phase involves construction of a dialysis unit, a medical office building and multi-specialty offices. Construction on phase one should start in October and be completed in the next two to two and a half years. Source: KPVI
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced the city’s forthcoming temple will be located on a 13-acre lot high up the East Bench, in the vicinity of Highland High School. The temple will be part of a new subdivision known as Crestview Estates – Division 2. Construction is expected to begin in 2019 and will take between two and three years to complete. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Idaho Power is planning to build a new substation to help meet increasing energy needs for the growing Pocatello area. Officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Eldredge Substation, which will be located at the corner of Eldredge and Pole Line roads. Construction on the new substation will begin this fall and is expected to be completed by early spring. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Pocatello High School will get a $4.5 million facelift intended to improve student safety and solve additional challenges, including congestion in the cafeteria. The funds will come from a long-running School District 25 capital improvement plan. The district has released no timeline for making the improvements to the high school, which was originally built in 1892. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • A future ‘downtown’ area is in the works for the City of Chubbuck. The mayor says the new ‘downtown’ area will be about 950 acres and encompass an area from Chubbuck Road to Interstate 86, then from the railroad tracks to Yellowstone Highway. The city is currently in the process of making plans for a new city hall and should be starting construction on it in the spring. Source: KPVI
  • The Marshall-Racine trail reach along the Interstate 15 corridor officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony recently at the trailhead near Monte Vista Drive and Renee Avenue. This trail marked another big step towards the goal of connecting the Portneuf Wellness Complex with Idaho State University. Source: Idaho State Journal

Bingham County

  • B-2 Technologies has chosen the Old Sugar Factory location on Highway 91 in Blackfoot for a factory that will make the “Cheetha” brand of portable energy centers. Construction of the factory is projected to start this upcoming spring with a goal of starting production in 2020. Once in operation, the factory is projected to bring as many as 500 new jobs. In addition to the factory, B-2 Technologies has a long-term plan, which includes a housing complex as well as shopping centers and restaurants, to attract a bigger workforce. Source: KIDK; Morning News
  • A record-breaking amount of people went to the Eastern Idaho State Fair this year. More than 248,000 people showed up to enjoy the nine-day event. That is up from 2017’s record of 239,448 people. Source: KIDK

Power County

  • Construction continues on the new storage facility for Simplot Grower Solutions. The facility is located on Boat Dock Road northeast of Aberdeen. Source: The Aberdeen Times
  • A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the new Aberdeen Gem Trail in August. Source: The Aberdeen Times

Openings

  • Maggie’s Place, a tutoring center in Pocatello
  • The Yellowstone restaurant in Pocatello
  • Rockwell Care Services in Pocatello

Esther.Eke@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4331

EASTERN IDAHO – Bonneville, Butte, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison & Teton counties

Region

  • College of Eastern Idaho students will now have even more opportunities to transfer seamlessly to Idaho State University and earn a bachelor’s degree in four years. CEI and ISU announced five more “two plus two” agreements in the art, sociology, social work and geology bachelor of science and bachelor of arts programs. These programs allow students who want a bachelor’s degree in these subjects to start at CEI, earn an associate degree there in two years. If they complete their degree at CEI and maintain continuous enrollment, they can transfer to ISU to get their bachelor’s degree after another two years. Source: Post Register
  • Industrial hydrogen is closer to being produced more efficiently, thanks to findings outlined in a new paper published by Idaho National Laboratory researchers. In the paper, Dong Ding, Ph.D., and his colleagues detailed advances in the production of hydrogen, which is used in oil refining, petrochemical manufacturing and as an eco-friendly fuel for transportation. The researchers demonstrated high-performance electrochemical hydrogen production at a lower temperature than had been possible before. This was due to a key advance: a ceramic steam electrode that self-assembles from a woven mat. Source: Post Register

Teton County

  • Teton School District #401 officials broke ground this month at the site of a new Driggs Elementary School east of Teton Middle School. Voters approved a $37 million bond issue last November that will fund building the school in Driggs, a new Victor Elementary school north of Sherman Park and improvements to other schools in the district. Source: Local News 8

Openings:

  • A.C. Moore, an arts and crafts retail store in Idaho Falls
  • A.C. Moore in Rexburg
  • Righteous Slice in Rexburg
  • Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Rexburg
  • Idaho Central Credit Union in Rexburg
  • Medicare Plans Enrollment Center in Idaho Falls
  • Generations Insurance in Idaho Falls

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

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