Around Idaho: Economic Activity in October 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

  • The Coeur d’Alene tribe has approved plans for a $16 million youth and family recreation center to be built on tribal land near Worley. The facility is intended to support the tribe’s mission of protecting the health and safety of their youth. Source: Spokesman Review

Kootenai County

  • Keller-Williams Coeur d’Alene is building a new $3.3 million building. With Kootenai County’s housing market enjoying phenomenal expansion in recent years, Keller Williams noted that its pool of agents has grown by 22 percent so far in 2018 alone. The agency now has 255 agents in Coeur d’Alene and has outgrown its existing office space. Source: Spokane Journal of Business

  • Work is underway on a new apartment complex in Post Falls. It has a total construction value of $4.4 million and will include 326 units when fully completed. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • The Filling Station – a gastropub in Coeur d’Alene – is opening a second location in Post Falls. Owner Justin Carpenter said that the new space is currently under renovation and the restaurant will open in November. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • Demolition has begun on the defunct Garden Motel in Coeur d’Alene. The building site will be the home of a new 113-room Fairfield Inn and Suites Motel, operated by Marriott. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Construction has begun on the new North Idaho Collaborative Education building at North Idaho College (NIC). The building, which will open in spring 2019, will provide shared space for NIC, the University of Idaho, Lewis Clark State College, Idaho State University and Boise State University. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The Post Falls City Council approved the creation of an 831-acre Technology Urban Renewal District. The new URD, which includes the new technology park currently under construction in Post Falls, aims to attract new employers to help balance out the city’s residential growth with more industrial activity. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

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

  • Small business lending activity at Clearwater Economic Development Association is brisk. In the fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, 12 projects were approved with total loans approaching $1.2 million. In an average fiscal year, loans total $465,000. This year’s financing helped four businesses to startup, five to expand and three to fix problems so they can continue to operate. Source: Clearwater Economic Development Association

 Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter held Capital for a Day in Winchester, a town of 370 on Winchester Lake in Lewis County in October. About 70 people attended the daylong opportunity for locals to interact with the governor and members of his cabinet. The city was founded as a company town by Craig Mountain Lumber Co. in 1909. The mill employed 250 people until it closed in 1965. Since then, most residents work in Lewiston, Craigmont and other communities, and its largest employers are Lakeside Assisted Living and Winchester State Park. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Latah County

  • Idaho Central Credit Union announced it will construct its first Moscow location at the former Nissan dealership site on the edge of the University of Idaho campus. The company has 36 branches throughout the state. When it opens next summer, the Moscow branch will employ about 15 people. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • In his State of the University address in September, University of Idaho President Chuck Staben discussed the record $109.5 million in research expenditures in 2017, the improvements in student retention and the need to improve those retention efforts. The university’s six-year graduation rate fluctuates between 56 to 58 percent, but Staben aims for 65 percent or higher. He said the university made progress on market-based compensation, increasing the target salary for staff from 88 percent to 94 percent of the average among other schools, while also raising the target for faculty members from 95 percent to 97 percent. Source: Lewiston Tribune; Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The University of Idaho recently was awarded nearly $1 million in grant funding to support its second class of future indigenous teachers. The grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Indian Education will allow the program to improve K-12 educational experiences for the region’s American Indian and Alaska Native youth. New scholars will be accepted into the Indigenous Knowledge for Effective Education Program this summer. Participants will be able to complete their education with a concentration in indigenous culturally and linguistically responsive training. The first group of scholars is currently in the program, which is supported by a four-year grant funded in 2016. The program spans five years and is designed to meet the requirements for full state teacher certification and job placement in regional schools that serve high proportions of American Indian students. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Nez Perce and Asotin (Washington) Counties

  • The U.S. Department of Commerce awarded Lewis-Clark State College $1.52 million and the Lewiston School District $661,944 to purchase fixed equipment for the career-technical centers they are building in the Lewiston Orchards. Clearwater Economic Development Association helped the two organizations with development of their projects and writing the grants. Source: Clearwater Economic Development Association
  • The Lewiston School District received the largest donation in its history in September when the DeAtley family, who own DeAtley Crushing Co., donated $2 million toward the district’s new career and technical education center. The 38,000-square-foot career and technical education building is expected to be completed by fall 2020, alongside the district’s new high school in the Lewiston Orchards. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Lewiston School Board approved an agreement in October that would allow its new career and technical education center to become a regional facility serving other high schools in Idaho. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The renovation of downtown Lewiston continues to create new business opportunities. Tenants are moving into Newberry Square, a recently restored building in downtown Lewiston including Imua Hawaiian Style Restaurant. Skalicky’s Vintage Treasures moved from Thain Road to Newberry Square’s first floor, and MC’s Exotic Pets, featuring turtles and reptiles, also will open on the first floor. Among the tenants moving to the basement offices are a nutritionist, counseling service, attorney’s office and photographer. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The former Payless Shoes location on Lewiston’s 21st Street currently is under renovation. When the work is completed in December, a Verizon store will open there. Cellular Sales is an authorized retailer, contracted to sell Verizon services and products with 730 locations around the country. The Lewiston store will hire more than 15 people. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Columbia Pulp’s 18,000-square-foot pilot plant in Pomeroy, a Washington town 47 miles east of Lewiston, turned wheat straw into pulp for the first time in October. In December, the company plans to open its 140,000-square-foot factory near Starbuck, 30 miles west of Pomeroy. That plant – which will make pulp for raw material for paper plates, paper towels and writing paper – is scheduled to open in December and employ more than 100 people. The Pomeroy facility will employ about 10 people to conduct research and development. In 2017, the two counties with the Columbia Pulp plants — Columbia and Garfield — had total payroll employment of 2,020, so the additional 110 jobs will make a significant difference in their economies. That should benefit the Lewiston-Clarkston area, where many residents of the Pomeroy-Starbuck area shop and get medical care and other services. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Opening

  • The Wylde Hare — a gift and book store — on Grangeville’s Main Street.
  • The Hoof and Trotter, a barbecue restaurant offering window service, opened on Second Street in Moscow.

Closing

  • Riversong — a Riggins gift store — is closing after 30 years.

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

  • Guaranteed Rate, a Chicago-based national mortgage lender, opened recently in the Veltex Building in downtown Boise. This is the fourth Idaho office with others in Sandpoint, Coeur d’Alene and Eagle. The Boise office opened with four people but expects to grow to 10 or 15 within a year. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Ada County Board of Commissioners approved a new subdivision, Charter Pointe Meadows, off Maple Grove in Boise. The development will add more than 200 homes with 50 to 55 expected to be ready for occupancy in May 2019. Hubble Homes is the developer. There are already more than 1,200 units built around the new development. Source: Idaho Press
  • The Salvation Army sold its 1928 Booth Marian Pritchett School for Pregnant and Parenting Teens to a partnership. The partnership includes Ron McDounough, president of McDonough Reals Estate Group at Silvercreek Realty of Boise; George Cooper, owner of Westminister Homes of Eagle; and Bowne Management Services LLC. The new owners plan to convert the larger hospital/school building into three condos and the chapel into two townhouses. Cooper plans to build nine single-family homes measuring 2,500 to 3,800 square feet elsewhere on the 1.8-acre property. The school will remain at its current location – Boise’s north end – until the new school on Emerald Street is completed in the fall of 2019. The Salvation Army has owned the property since 1921, building the Booth Memorial Hospital in 1928, which eventually became the Marian Pritchett School. The school and program are a collaboration between the Boise School District and The Salvation Army. The sale of the property will help pay for the new school. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Vacasa, with headquarters in Portland, Oregon, and an office in Boise, bought Oasis Connections. With the purchase Vacasa became the largest vacation rental company based in North America. Vacasa now manages 10,600 homes worldwide. The Boise office employs 145 people and with the new acquisition, integration and finance teams based in Boise will play a big role in moving the Oasis properties to Vacasa. Unlike Airbnb and similar companies, Vacasa handles guest check-ins and provides assistance while guests are in the home. Vacasa also cleans up the units and gets them ready for the next guests. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Mark Bottles through Gabrielle Development LLC will build 54 townhomes in southwest Boise. The development will also include 95 parking spaces and a common area with shaded picnic tables and raised gardening beds for residents. Source: Idaho Press
  • The Chicago-style Jackson Place in downtown Boise was recently purchased by Hendricks Commercial Properties. The five-story brick structure was built in 1914 and was formerly known as the Elk’s building. Hendricks also owns the buildings in BoDo, a downtown commercial district. The company expects to remodel the lobby and complete some tenant improvement work, but leave Jackson Place mostly as it is. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The former Pantry restaurant on Shoreline Drive in Boise was demolished to make way for a parking lot that will serve Agri-Beef, which markets beef under the Snake River Farms, Double R Ranch, St. Helens Beef and Rancho Oro Beef labels. The restaurant closed in 2016 after 44 years in operation. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • PIVOT KA Lifestyle + Fitness will be Kristen Armstrong’s and her husband, Joe Savola’s, first venture into the business world. The fitness center will be located at the Ten Mile Crossing business park in Meridian. Armstrong’s venture joins Paylocity and AmeriBen. A third office building is under construction. An Oct. 10 groundbreaking for PIVOT included two other buildings, which will house Foothill Physical Therapy, Heart ‘n Home Hospice and Unity Health Center. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Record Exchange in Boise purchased a 64,000-piece vinyl collection and 3,000 cassettes. Most of the albums were in storage at Nampa’s Yesteryear Shoppe, which was closing after four-plus decades. The Record Exchange’s stacks hold 17,000 vinyl records. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • E-scooters did not work out in Meridian but they are a hit in Boise. Two ride-sharing companies, Lime and Bird, brought electric scooters to Boise. The city is requiring the companies’ stationless devices to have a fleet of at least 50 but no more than 250 devices. They can be used on Boise streets, sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes and Greenbelt paths. Anyone operating the device recklessly can be charged with a misdemeanor. The rider downloads an app, is charged $1 just to get on then 15 to 20 cents per-minute. Less than a week after they were launched people had ridden them more than 13,000 miles. Some 3,600 individuals used them traveling an average for 1.1 mile per trip. Source: Idaho Press & Idaho Statesman
  • The Lucky Dog tavern is being sold to the City of Boise to serve as a police station. Boise Police Chief Bill Bones said “a ‘downtown microdistrict’ is needed to cope with the downtown and the west end’s growing residential population and downtown’s position as a major employment and entertainment center. A substation also would support community policing, allowing officers great interaction with residents.” The sale is expected to close in November, but the tavern will have nine months to find a new location. The city council approved $1.15 million for the purchase. The tavern is currently located on a 0.85-acre parcel on Fairview across the street from where New Path Community Housing for the chronically homeless is being built. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Micron Technology, the grande dame of Idaho’s technology industry, celebrated its 40th anniversary in October. The Boise-based company is known for designing and producing chips that are used in computers, solid state disk drives, cell phones and now even automobiles. It is the world’s fourth-largest semiconductor company, holding 40,000 patents and employing 34,000 people across 17 counties. Micron is the last remaining U.S.-based dynamic random access memory (DRAM) maker. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Idaho Department of Correction plans to convert the north dormitory of Kuna’s South Idaho Correctional Institution to make it an option for female inmates. The project will include a $41,142 price tag for one-time construction costs and $1.2 million in ongoing annual costs. Numbering more than 1,100, women make up roughly 13 percent of Idaho’s prison population, and prison offices have said they are the state’s fastest-growing demographic in department custody. It is estimated by 2022 the incarcerated female population will increase to 1,400. Source: Idaho Press
  • Johnny Bronx Pizza opened on Oct. 15 and closed at 1 p.m. on Oct. 18. The drive-thru and walk-up pizzeria served New York-style slices that apparently customers were craving. The 10-person staff sold nearly 1,360 slices on Oct. 17 and were sold out by 7 p.m. The reception by the public was overwhelming. The owners plan to regroup with a new plan and reopen. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Andy’s Deli in downtown Boise closed unexpectedly in September, but Sarah’s Bagel Café will soon open in the same location. Sarah’s has restaurants in Meridian and Nampa. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Boise Startup Week Oct. 17 – 19, was one of the thousands of entrepreneurial events Techstars runs in more than 100 countries around the world each year. Two pitch contests – where companies “pitch” their products – were helped with $10,000 cash prizes for the winners. The winner of “Trailmix,” a contest focused on processed food products was Snacktivist Foods, a Coeur d’Alene company that creates egg-free and gluten-free baking and flour mixes. Snacktivist Foods received $10,000 and placement of its products in the new Albertsons store on Broadway Avenue in Boise. The winner of the second contest – general competition – was Lumineye, a startup out of Boise State University’s Venture College that makes wall-penetrating radar sensors to help soldiers and first responders identify threats. Startup Week plays a vital role in connecting the growing startup community and giving people the opportunity to hear from a wide range of successful entrepreneurs with various backgrounds. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Amazon and Whole Foods Market launched delivery service for Whole Food products Oct. 24 through Prime Now in Boise. The goal is to cover as many Prime customers as possible with grocery delivery from Whole Foods Market. The service area is from Hidden Springs in the north, to Meridian and past the Boise Airport in the south, from Nampa in the west past the State Capitol building in the east. Source: Idaho Press
  • Boise State University’s fall enrollment set a record for the third successive year at 25,540, an increase of 5.7 percent from the previous year. In-state enrollment accounted for some of the increase, but the first-year class was the largest in the history of the university at 3.4 percent overall – for Idaho students the increase was 3.7 percent. The fall semester reported 5,261 enrolled in dual-credit courses, an increase of 23 percent. Most of these courses are paid for by the state, which provides junior and senior high school students allowances to pay for dual-credit classes or other course to provide a jumpstart toward college. Source: Idaho Education News
  • Lea Rainey and Zach Yunker have started a business in Garden City – Roots Zero Waste Market. It sells food and household products with minimal or no packaging material and no plastic shopping bags. It sells products online and hopes to open the physical location by the end of the year. The store will sell grocery staples like fruits, vegetables, oil, flour, grains, beans, eggs and local dairy items. Customers can bring their own containers and fill them. The store plans to sell reusable containers, such as glass bottles and muslin bags. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Adams County
  • A project now underway at the New Meadows sewage treatment plan will remove wastewater laden with phosphorus moved out of the river and onto pastureland, where it will fertilize grass for cattle. Currently, the wastewater goes back into the Little Salmon River and harms steelhead and salmon. The project, which will end by November, was assured in 2012 when New Meadows voters approved up to $1.4 million in bonds to finance the project so the city can meet federal pollution standards. With the help of a $600,000 U.S. Rural Development Grant and a $470,000 Idaho Community Development Block Grant, city residents will be responsible for $300,000 in loans at 2 percent interest over 40 years. Source: McCall Star-News

Canyon County

  • St. Luke’s announced a $29 million upgrade for an entirely new cancer center in Nampa. Nampa’s Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI) was built in 1991. Though Nampa’s center has high-quality technology, the new center will provide more space and will also feature integrated medicine, such as acupuncture and massage for patients to relieve anxiety. It also will provide space for physical therapy. The staff will increase by 40 percent. The new facility will be located next to the St. Luke’s Nampa Medical Center. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Idaho vineyards mostly recovered in 2018 after a heavy, long-lasting winter wreaked havoc on the 2017 crop. Harvest typically starts around the beginning of September and wraps up from mid-October to early November. There are places that are 100 percent better because there was zero production last year. Source: Capital Press
  • A building permit was filed with the city of Nampa on Oct. 8 for a $373,000 Amazon modular delivery station on Third Avenue North. The permit report stated the delivery station will process packages for final delivery. This is a separate facility from Project Bronco, the development with an 850,000-square-foot warehouse on 111 acres near the Lactalis factory. Source: Idaho Press
  • A 58-unit townhouse subdivision project was approved by Nampa Planning and Zoning Commission in October. The subdivision will be located on five acres on the corner of East Victory Road and South Sugar Avenue. The site is approved for multi-family development. The homes would be built as fourplexes and the intent is for the homes to be occupied by owners, although some may be rentals. Source: Idaho Press

Elmore County

  • World Wild Equine, located in Glenns Ferry, makes more than 300 different instruments of equine and cattle dentistry, including hand and power tools such as vacuums, floaters, halters, cheek retractors, bits and molar cutters. Owner Dale Jeffery also owns Medicine Wheel Ranch outside of town, where students of his Equine Gnathological Training Institute practice their dentistry skills. The company ships to about 11,000 customers in more than 60 countries. The staff of eight work with equipment and parts from more than 600 vendors. Source: Times-News

Owyhee County

  • The Bruneau Water and Sewer District received nearly $2.2 million to help bring a second wastewater treatment lagoon back online. The money will be used to reconstruct, raise and re-line the wastewater treatment lagoon system. The capacity will be increased, allowing the system to meet Idaho Department of Environmental Quality requirements. Source: Owyhee Avalanche

Payette County

  • Galen Crawford has made a good living by selling produce to major retailers. In 2018 he decided to place greater emphasis on selling more produce directly to customers through an expanded farm stand. Officials with the Idaho Department of Agriculture say Crawford is among a growing number of farmers who are selling their products directly to customers. In the past five years the number of farm-to-table markets has doubled. The public has increasingly shown a preference for local food, and for knowing more about who produced it. Galen said 25 of the 100 acres he farms is dedicated to supplying his farm stand and estimates that about half of his customers are not local. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Fruitland-based Woodgrain Millwork is expanding into plastic-coated lumber production with the acquisition of two companies – EcoForm in California and Woodguard in Oregon. The purchase of these two companies allow Woodgrain to become more diversified with a specialty product. Currently, Woodgrain manufactures doors, windows and moldings using 21 mills, storage and manufacturing locations across the country. It has 2,500 total employees with 400 in Fruitland, nearly 300 in Nampa and 70 in Emmett. It is the largest employer in Fruitland. The plastic-coated lumber will allow Woodgrain to start producing outdoor furniture. Source: Idaho Business Review

Valley County

  • The city of McCall expanded its community development department Oct. 1 to formally include economic development. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • McCall is clarifying a vision for its future. At two meetings in October, McCall residents gave input on a comprehensive plan under development for the past 18 months and the city’s first-ever transportation plan. Comprehensive plans guide policy decisions on land use, housing, utilities, transportation and recreation. Creation of more worker housing and improving the downtown core are high priorities. As the town’s recreational facilities grow and are open more days a year, there is a growing need for more workers, which in turn means increased need for worker housing. Long-range plans for the downtown core including public parking, bike paths, library expansion and access to the waterfront. The transportation master plan will identify maintenance and reconstruction for roads, sidewalks, pathways, parking and infrastructure, recognizing maintaining infrastructure is less expensive than rebuilding it. Source: McCall Star-News
  • Finding solutions for the shortage of housing in Valley County was a major focus at the West Central Mountains Economic Summit, held in McCall Oct. 9. Another concern, lack of a stable workforce, is closely tied to the housing shortage. Short-term rentals and second-home owners contribute to the low inventory of workforce housing. “Local wages are low, which allows second-home owners to come in and outbid the workforce in Valley County,” Valley County Planning and Zoning Administrator Cynda Herrick said. Only 15 percent of homes in McCall are affordable for those earning the area’s average median income of $60,000 per year. A panel offered some potential solutions including employer-owned housing cooperatives to reduce developer risks. Source: McCall Star-News
  • McCall’s parks and recreation department is working to remove derelict docks and debris from 400 feet of Lake Payette shoreline between Mile High Marina and Brown Park. It also will spend about $120,000 to replace playground equipment in Brown Park. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Idaho Rural Partnership told the Cascade City Council that area residents want economic development, affordable housing and more community involvement at an October meeting. The rural development group conducted a community review in April 2016 through public meetings and surveys sent to Cascade residents. Priorities in the review included living-wage jobs, creative approaches to financing infrastructure improvements and exploring the possibility of creating a marina on Lake Cascade. Residents said they did not want to focus solely on tourism and recreation to drive economic development. Source: Idaho Business Review 

Washington County

  • Weiser’s economic task force updated the city council on the motel feasibility study. The Core Distinction Group recommended “upper mid-scale” property in Weiser could compete with motel brands in Ontario. The report recommended a motel property with 40-50 rooms and should include a beer and wine bar, fitness center and breakfast buffet. A potential site under consideration is along U.S. High 95 near the new Ridley’s store. The five acre parcel would accommodate the 2.5-acres needed for the motel along with a couple of development pads which would include space for a restaurant. The study indicated the economic impact in the community would include 20-25 full-time and part-time jobs from entry level to executive level. The property would bring additional money into the community, not only in room revenue, but also spillover economic impacts that would benefit other businesses in town. The city council agreed to write a letter in support of the new motel. Source: Weiser Signal American

Openings

  • Ramen Sho opened on Main Street in Meridian after closing the Boise restaurant in May.
  • Louie’s Wild Alaskan Seafood on Fairview in Boise opened Oct. 23 and will close Nov. 17. This is an annual part-time business.
  • StretchLab opened in Eagle. The company offers one-on-one flexibility training.
  • Big Daddy’s BBQ opened on Fairview in Boise.
  • Hammer & Stain, DIY workshop, opened on Locust Grove Road in Meridian Oct. 16.
  • Diablo & Sons restaurant and bar opened in October in the Fidelity Building in Boise.

Closings

  • Chipotle Mexican Grill in Nampa closed in October.
  • Superb Sushi on North Eighth Street in Boise closed Oct. 13.
  • Sears in Boise Towne Square will close by the end of the year.

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

Region

  • Idaho Department of Environmental Quality recognized both Sun Valley Bronze and Clif Bar for their efforts in preventing pollution. Both companies received the accolade of ‘2018 Pollution Prevention Champions’. Clif Bar uses hybrid cooling towers to reduce water usage by 30 percent, uses LED light fixtures and reflective materials on the roof to reduce energy by 20 percent, and its processing equipment reduces emissions by more than 40 percent. Sun Valley Bronze uses less hazardous chemicals, reduces waste heat from its foundry and recycles manufacturing scrap at its Bellevue and Carey facilities. Source: Times-News
  • Sugar beet producers are enjoying a year of record-setting sugar content early in the harvest season, which positively affects pricing. The yields are also coming in on the high end, albeit not as high as the 2016 harvest. Harvest officially started Oct. 6 for Amalgamated Sugar. Source: Times-News

Blaine County

  • A culinary arts institute has been a concept for almost a decade but is now closer than ever to realization. The Sun Valley Economic Development group created a business plan indicating the number of students needed, the venue of classes, where they could reside when taking the program and how much funding is required. Community contributions will be necessary to close the funding gap for implementation of this project. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The city of Hailey’s Planning & Zoning Commission has approved a ‘sober house’ for men in recovery from addiction to live and get their life back in order. The Advocates organization owns the home with plans to rent it to operators of the Sober House — potentially a new non-profit. The building had previously housed a counseling center office and the Crisis Hotline. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Minidoka – Cassia Counties

  • Pomerelle Mountain received more than a foot of snow at the top of the hill already this season. A job fair and pre-season pass sale occurred with options to rent equipment at a discount. The resort will soon start making its own snow for the bunny hill with ski season right around the corner. Source: KMVT News
  • A new class at Burley High School called “STEM in Agriculture,” gives students hands-on experience in various fields of agriculture requiring more technology or math than previous generations doing similar jobs. The class revolves around one question: “How will we sustainably feed nine billion people by the year 2050?” There are weekly field trips and interaction with industry leaders all reinforcing there are good jobs in the agricultural industry without attaining a bachelor’s degree. Source: Idaho Education News
  • The Lighthouse opened this last summer in Burley providing shelter and assistance to women coming out of prison, some fighting addiction or alcohol-related issues. The women pay a fee monthly to stay at the transitional shelter for six months. They have full-time jobs, supply their own food and complete chore assignments. They also must pass random alcohol and drug tests along with completing a six-month curriculum called “Courage to Change” which includes the traditional 12-step program, along with budgeting, parenting, stress and anger lessons. Source: Times-News

Twin Falls County

  • Clif Bar held a groundbreaking ceremony as it starts construction on incorporating solar power into its plant. The five-acre parcel of 6,000 panels will provide three million kilowatts of power annually, the equivalent of powering 280 homes each year. The new solar farm will provide about 30 percent of Clif Bar’s power needs. Borrego Solar is the contractor and should be supplying power directly to Clif Bar around June 2019. There will also be a pollinator garden created with native plants for the enjoyment by bees and butterflies — a requirement by some states when solar farms are installed. Source: Times-News
  • Chobani announced its contribution of $100,000 annually over the next 10 years toward grants that support entrepreneurial activities and economic activity. It is collaborating with the Idaho Community Council, which provides the service of advising Chobani on programs or groups already in place in the six-county area of Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The city of Twin Falls reports there were 23 building permits pulled for single-family homes in September, up from 20 in August and 13 in September 2017. The value of these single-family permits is $4.91 million compared with September 2017 when the valuation was $2.15 million. Commercial activity has doubled with five projects valued at $2.1 million versus two projects in 2017 valued at $1.14 million. The commercial additions and remodels have also grown from the previous year’s September figures at $2.17 million versus $1.96 million in 2017. The number of additions and remodels has dropped from 16 to 10, indicating larger or more costly projects and a smaller number of projects overall. Source: City of Twin Falls
  • Xavier Charter School reported it has a 361-student waiting list. It opened in 2007 and has 701 students in K-12. The greatest demand is for kindergartners with 87 on the waiting list. The school maxes out at 810 students. Source: Times-News

Openings

  • Real Deals held a grand opening as it relocated across town in Twin Falls.
  • Hobby Lobby held a grand opening of its new store in Twin Falls.
  • Youth House in Twin Falls opened its doors for foster children who have “aged out” of the system. It will accept seven boys and seven girls with residential living on different floors. There will be opportunities for teaching life skills and providing a home environment along with various types of counseling and advice as they start out their life after high school. Source: Times-New

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

  • Idaho State University’s student enrollment for the fall 2018 semester is down 256 from the same semester the year before. Although the overall fall enrollment was down, the university enrolled 3.2 percent more freshman students at the institution. This number includes Early College, Career and Technical and academic degree-seeking students. Additionally, first-time graduate student enrollment increased by 8.6 percent. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Idaho State University plans to pump approximately $21 million into the Eames Advanced Technical Education and Innovations Complex over the next six years to house most of its College of Technology programs. The Eames Complex master plan involves three phases with each phase costing the university approximately $13 million, $5 million and $3 million, respectively. ISU would like to complete the first phase in time for the spring 2020 semester. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • City officials confirmed that Pocatello agreed to purchase the former Western States Cat building last November for $2 million. The sale was finalized last winter, and the Pocatello City Council voted unanimously last month to allow the city to spend up to an additional $1.53 million to renovate the building. The newly acquired facility will serve as the new home of the city’s street and sanitation departments as well as a newly created centralized fleet department. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Gem Prep Pocatello, a 4-year-old K-6 public charter school, will soon occupy space in a former Sears department store in Chubbuck. The school will join several other Idaho charter schools housed in unorthodox locations, including space in a strip mall in Nampa and a former movie theater complex in Blackfoot. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The city of Pocatello opened its newest bus stop – the Sherman Street bus stop – in October. The new stop at 7th Street and Sherman features new sidewalks and crosswalks, ADA compliant ramps, a storm water retention area and a new fence. The cost of the project was $250,000 with $200,000 of that coming from an Idaho Transportation Department Elderly and Disabled Grant. Source: KPVI
  • The city of Chubbuck has annexed 632 acres west of Interstate 15 to make way for a major “walkable” development of a similar vein to the large-scale Northgate project, which is early in construction on nearby land. The city council increased Chubbuck’s land mass by an estimated 24 percent when it voted to annex the property from unincorporated Bannock County. It is uncertain how many homes or businesses the project will include. However, one of the developers expects to break ground next spring on 200 single-family and multi-family homes — valued at between $275,000 and $375,000 each — as well as light commercial space within his 100 acres. Source: Idaho State Journal

Bingham County

  • BWX Technologies, a Virginia company, received the engineering contract to manufacture small modular reactors that are planned to be sited in eastern Idaho. BWXT was chosen after an 18-month process with interest expressed from 83 companies in 10 countries. The Blackfoot company Premier Technology also was in the running for the small modular reactor contract. Source: Post Register
  • Idaho will be awarded a grant for $7.4 million to establish a new State Veterans Cemetery in southeastern Idaho. This will be Idaho’s third veterans cemetery, including the current cemetery in Boise and proposed National Rural Veterans Cemetery under construction in Buhl. The new State Veterans Cemetery will be located on 40 acres of farmland adjacent to State Hospital South in Blackfoot. The project is expected to break ground by the summer of 2019. Source: Idaho Press

Caribou County

  • J.R. Simplot Co. proposed expanding the phosphate mine at Smoky Canyon, east of Soda Springs. If approved, the East Smoky Panel Mine Project would sustain 626 jobs for an additional three years at the existing Smoky Canyon Mine and Don Plant facility, along with 1,326 indirect jobs in the region. The Bureau of Land Management Idaho Falls District and Caribou-Targhee National Forest have released a draft environmental impact statement for the project, and public comments are being accepted until December. Source: Caribou County Sun

Openings

  • Gin Sen Noodle and Ramen Bar in Pocatello
  • The Poky Dot Boutique in Pocatello
  • GemSource Jewelers in Blackfoot
  • Himalayan Flavor restaurant in Pocatello
  • The INN (Idaho Nutrition Now) in Pocatello

Closings

  • Maverick in Aberdeen

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

  • Yellowstone National Park recorded its busiest September on record this year. Park statisticians counted 724,454 visits last month, according to a news release. The total is a 13 percent increase over September 2017. Source: Post Register
  • Dairy West is giving 39 Gem State schools, including 10 in eastern Idaho, grants to support their Fuel Up to Play 60 initiatives. The program is designed to help prevent childhood obesity and help youth develop life-long healthy eating and daily physical activity habits. Grants awarded for this funding period totaled $129,138. Source: KIDK
  • Students at the College of Eastern Idaho are getting to learn from new, state-of-the-art technology, thanks to a $1.7 million grant from the William J. And Shirley A. Maeck Family Foundation. Part of the grant created a new nursing simulation laboratory. It has four hospital rooms and mannequins that have lifelike symptoms for students to practice on. Source: KIDK

Bonneville County

  • Idaho National Laboratory has reactivated a facility that researchers hope will be a major player in advancing the safety of American nuclear technology. The U.S. has not had an active transient test reactor since 1994 when the one at the U.S. Department of Energy site west of Idaho Falls, known by its acronym TREAT, was shut down due to a lack of use. Source: Post Register
  • The Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation was awarded $945,000 by the Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency for downtown projects, including street improvements and parking technology. Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation exists to promote and care for the downtown area by promoting and advocating the downtown consistently. Source: Post Register
  • U-Haul is repurposing a former Kmart in Ammon for a self-storage facility. The acquisition of the Kmart property is part of U-Haul’s Corporate Sustainability Initiatives – the company buys abandoned buildings and repurposes them, saving energy and building materials, to reduce local communities’ carbon footprints. U-Haul expects to hire seven or more local employees when the Ammon storage facility is complete. It will be the 10th U-Haul self-storage facility in Idaho. Source: Post Register
  • Melaleuca, an Idaho Falls-based health and wellness company, gave 224 employees longevity checks, totaling $3,039,503, at the company’s annual meeting. In total, Melaleuca has paid $26 million in longevity bonuses since instituting the “Loyalty & Long-Term Contribution Bonus” program in 2007. All full-time and part-time employees are eligible to receive a bonus. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The Idaho Falls Regional Airport released its flight and passenger statistics for the last fiscal year, which show the airport — an economic driver for Idaho Falls — continues to grow. The airport serviced 155,277 enplanements (passengers departing) from October 2017 to September 2018, a 5 percent increase from the 147,258 enplanements the previous year, and there were 2,840 plane operations (flights coming in and going out). Tourism brings in $300 million a year to Bonneville County. Source: Post Register
  • The Idaho Falls Auditorium District has formally accepted a 22-acre land donation to house a new event center within Snake River Landing. The donation fulfills a commitment made by Ball Ventures’ Snake River Landing in 2009. The estimated cost of the new facility is currently around $58 million. Site excavation work is expected to begin soon. Source: KIDK

Teton County

  • The eastern Idaho city of Driggs received a $192,000 federal transportation grant to build passenger shelters and bus pullouts at two bus stops for workers commuting to Grand Targhee Resort and Jackson, Wyoming. The shelters and pullouts would not be completed until summer 2020. Source: Idaho Business Review

Openings

  • ​The Rexburg Idaho Central Credit Union Branch

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

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