Around Idaho: Economic Activity in April 2019

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

Kootenai County

  • Post Falls based manufacturer Quest Integration Inc. leased a new facility in the Tedder Office Park and plans to expand its 3D printing operations with the new space. Source: Spokane-Kootenai Journal of Business
  • Washington-based Crawl Space Cleaning Pros has leased warehousing space in Post Falls and is in the process of opening its first Idaho location. The company specializes in environmentally friendly cleanup and insulation of crawl spaces. Source: Spokane-Kootenai Journal of Business
  • After a series of public hearings, the Coeur d’Alene Panning Commission approved plans for a new apartment complex in the city’s Riverstone development. The new complex will feature five-story apartment blocks as part of the city’s recent move toward higher-density construction. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Kootenai County released a proposed update of its comprehensive plan, titled Keeping Kootenai, for community input. In 2010, the county released a strategic plan which consisted of 347 different goals and policy statements, which county officials said were difficult to interpret and implement. The new strategic plan is designed to be simplified and streamlined for ease of implementation. 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

  • Many farmers on the Palouse and the Camas Prairie have not been able to plant spring crops because of moisture-saturated fields. Some have decided not to plant, since it’s too late. Wheat, garbanzos and canola are among the crops often planted in the spring. Last year, 13 percent of the wheat harvested in Idaho and Lewis counties and 23 percent in Latah County was planted in the spring . This will reduce farm income and could affect employment at farm service businesses, grain elevators and trucking companies. The winter wheat crops did not get a good start because of dry conditions this fall, and this spring’s wet and cold conditions have further delayed their growth. Wheat prices aren’t looking too promising either. In late April, the price for soft white wheat at Lewiston was $5.40 a bushel. Unresolved trade agreements could push prices down further. Source: Spokesman-Review   
  • The proposed purchase of Avista, the electric and natural gas utilities serving much of north central Idaho, by Canadian utility firm Hydro One was rejected by regulators in Idaho and Washington. They expressed concerns about the amount of leverage Ontario’s provincial government would have over the business. Ontario is Hydro One’s majority shareholder. Avista remains financially strong, and plans to develop green energy sources. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  •  Clearwater Economic Development Association held a think-tank session in March on creating an economy for the future at St. Gertrude’s Spirit Center near Cottonwood. Declining population in rural communities, transportation problems, the need for broadband access, lack of adequate housing and workforce issues were among topics discussed. Source: Idaho County Free Press

 Nez Perce Tribe

  • The Nez Perce Tribe is expanding its tourism operations. In the past two months, it launched a new tourism business that will provide tours of cultural and historical sites, and purchased Zims Hot Springs near New Meadows and the Clarkston Golf and Country Club. The private golf club has operated for more than 80 years. The tribe is keeping current employees and plans to continue operations of the golf course, restaurant and clubhouse as the country club has done for decades. The new directions further diversify the tribe’s enterprises, which include the Clearwater River Casino and Hotel in Lewiston and a small casino in Kamiah. The tribe employs nearly 1,000 people in north central Idaho and plays a growing role in economic development. Source: Lewiston Tribune; Idaho Business Review
  • The Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee declared a state of emergency as heavy rains swelled many streams and creeks in the area to the tops of their banks, threatening to flood homes around Lapwai and Kamiah. In Clearwater County, a small slide on Grangemont Road, reduced traffic to one lane. U.S. Highway 12, five miles east of Orofino to No Kid Lane toward Kamiah, was blocked by a mudslide. State Highway 13 between Wall Creek Road, six miles south of Stites and Battle Ridge Road near Stites, was closed because of flooding. State Highway 13 between Stites and Harpster was closed due to flooding over the road and one lane of traffic on U.S. Highway 12 between Orofino and Kamiah was closed because of a mudslide. Source: Lewiston Tribune

 Clearwater County

  •  The Dworshak National Fish Hatchery in Orofino received the 2019 Excellence in Aquaculture Award. The Army Corps of Engineers owns and funds the hatchery, while U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and the Nez Perce Tribe run it. The facility releases between 12 million and 13 million fish each year. In addition to steelhead, Dworshak produces Chinook salmon and recently reintroduced coho salmon into the Clearwater River System. Source: KLEWtv.com
  • SJX Boats Inc. in Orofino raised prices for the first time in several years on its custom-builds jet boats because of the nearly 40 percent increase in aluminum prices due to tariffs. The boats can navigate shallow waters and travel at fast speeds. SJX workers spend about six weeks to build a boat and are working on 10 to 15 in various stages at any given time. The company is located in the city of Orofino’s business center, and the city is working to construct an addition to the building that will allow SJX to expand, increase employment from 13 to 25 and reduce the waiting time for boats. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Miller Marine Services & Accessories in Orofino recently expanded to sell fishing poles, tackle and gear. That fills a gap left by the closure of Riverside Sport Shop. Currently, the new retail store is located in the shop, but will eventually have its own home in a building to be constructed soon three miles east of Orofino next to the Clearwater River along U.S. Highway 12. The business opened in 2010 repairing and maintaining aluminum and fiberglass vessels. It has expanded from a one-man operation to seven employees. Customers come from throughout north central Idaho, and more than half of its customers come from as far away as Spokane, Boise, Oregon and Montana. Source: Lewiston Tribune; Clearwater Tribune
  • The Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health awarded a $250,000 Community Transformation Grant to the city of Orofino in April. The three-year grant will be used to promote healthy living — exercise and nutrition — for children. “The No. 1 thing that stood out when we visited Orofino was the willingness of community leaders to make transformational change,” said Kendra Witt-Doyle, executive director of the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health. “What we saw on our site visit was strong community partnerships and a mayor who is a champion for community health.” Source: Clearwater Tribune
  • With help from Idaho National Laboratory and the STEM Action Center in the Idaho Governor’s Office, the Idaho Youth Challenge Academy in Orofino is offering its cadets exposure to STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) concepts and career possibilities. In addition to awarding the school grants over the past decade, INL has also presented and participated in STEM activities and experiments in classrooms. The latest grant will allow purchase of new lab tables and equipment for science classrooms. The Action Center also gave the academy a 3D printer. Source: Clearwater Tribune

 Idaho and Lewis Counties

  •  Gov. Brad Little declared Idaho County a disaster April 10, following the Idaho County Commission’s declaration of a disaster the day before. Several roads in Idaho County were washed out by floodwaters or closed by mudslides. Forest Service roads hard-hit by flooding include the Smith Creek Road, accessed from U.S. Highway 12 near Syringa, and the Pittsburg Landing Road, accessed from U.S. Highway 95 near White Bird. Stites bore the brunt as the creeks that drain into the South Fork Clearwater River reached a record high, flooding roadways and some houses. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Fourth- and fifth-graders from the Prairie, Highland, Kamiah, Nezperce and Mountain View school districts, Sts. Peter & Paul in Grangeville and Summit Academy in Cottonwood attended the Camas Prairie Farm & Forest Fair at the Greencreek Community Hall April 10 and 11. The University of Idaho coordinated with area agriculture and natural resource groups to present hands-on experiences about farming and forestry. Source: Cottonwood Chronicle
  • Lowell’s and Syringa’s tourism businesses are all open for the season, although rainy, cool weather has reduced the number of visitors. The Wilderness Inn Café and Motel on Highway 12 in Lowell opened for the season in late March. Three Rivers Resort, offering cabins and camping spaces at the confluence of the Lochsa and Selway rivers as they become the Clearwater River, is preparing for a busy summer. Three Rivers Rafting is expecting to carry a record number of visitors. River Dance Lodge, offering resort amenities, has a high reservation level for this summer, and its parent company River Odysseys West — offering whitewater rafting, fishing, exploring historic locations and other outdoor activities — also anticipates a busy summer. The Lochsa Lodge — featuring cabins, gift shop, dining room and tavern — also is ready for a large number of tourists. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Nezperce received $100,000 in grants from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development in April to prepare a wastewater planning study and environmental review. The city hopes to resolve issues with wastewater lagoons rather than having to build a $4 million treatment plant. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • In early May, Asker’s Harvest Foods in Grangeville will become Cloninger’s Marketplace. It recently was purchased by Jerry Cloninger and his family, who own grocery stores in stores in Kamiah and Kooskia. Since 1932, four generations of Askers have owned the Grangeville grocery. Cloninger expects to keep everyone employed. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Camas Prairie Food Bank soon will break ground on a new facility in front of its current one on North Street in Grangeville. The 70-year-old house it’s located in has electrical and other problems. Source: Idaho County Free Press

Latah County

  • The Idaho State Board of Education approved $250,000 for the planning and design of a project at the University of Idaho’s energy plant to install three microturbine generators on existing steam distribution lines to harness the movement of steam and generate electricity. The total cost of the project is expected to be $2.5 million. It will allow UI to generate about 12 percent of its campus electricity annually. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  •  The Idaho State Board of Education at its April meeting approved a 5.6 percent increase in tuition and fees for in-state undergraduate students at the University of Idaho, bringing the total tuition cost to $8,304. Non-resident students will pay 9.1 percent more in tuition and fees for a total of $27,540. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • In his annual University of Idaho progress report, UI President Chuck Staben told the Idaho State Board of Education in April how the university successfully obtained $111 million in research dollars, engaged with Idahoans to provide more opportunity for students and improved its retention rate to more than 80 percent. By increasing salaries to a more competitive levels, the university expects to find it easier to retain and recruit talent. On July 1, Scott Green, a University of Idaho alumnus, will become the 19th president of the university. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • After more than 42 years, steelhead will once again swim a 7-mile stretch of Big Meadow Creek near Troy. An Idaho Department of Fish and Game restoration project including a fish ladder will open the stream to steelhead. Initially, it is expected to produce an additional 500 to 2,000 smolt per year, and those numbers should grow over time. The restoration cost about $500,000. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Flooding in early April caused problems in several areas of Latah County. The Palouse River near Potlatch crested just four inches short of the 17-foot major flood stage. Paradise Creek, which runs through Moscow, broke the previous record high set in 1996. A quick response by the city including thousands of sandbags protected homes and businesses. Many Moscow streets flooded. The city of Moscow and the Latah County Commissioners issued disaster emergency declarations allowing them to seek outside assistance to help with damages sustained during the flood. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Nez Perce and Asotin, Washington, Counties

  • Clearwater Paper recently introduced NuVo, a paperboard that will be folded into hot or cold beverage cups. The cups, developed in Lewiston, can contain up to 32 percent recycled material but have a white exterior rather than the grayish exteriors common with recycled paper. They bear the Forest Stewardship Council certification that raw materials come from responsibly-managed land. About 600 of the 1,200 employees work in paperboard at the Lewiston plant. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • M.L. Albright & Sons of Lewiston won the bid for a $3.1 million project for infrastructure and on-site improvements in the Lewiston Orchards where a new Lewiston High School is under construction. The work will take place on the tri-partnership property, owned by the school district, city of Lewiston and Lewis-Clark State College. The area will house the high school and its A. Neil DeAtley Career Technical Education Center and the college’s career technical education center. The project includes construction of Cecil Andrus Way, an extension of Park Avenue to the educational site; Community Drive, an extension of 12th Street; and a roundabout at Warner Avenue and 12th Street. It also includes frontage improvements and a traffic island. Construction is tentatively set to start at the beginning of May. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Lewis-Clark State College broke ground April 19 on the Schweitzer Career and Technical Education Center in the Lewiston Orchards. The 75,000-square-foot facility will cost $24.5 million to build and will be located north of the new Lewiston High School and its career technical education center. Once it opens in the fall of 2020, the new campus will provide students with a central location to pursue career technical pathways. Idaho Gov. Brad Little said the project is “the crown jewel in the state of Idaho,” praising the partnership by the college and school district to provide seamless educational opportunities. The college center will house most technical and industrial division programs including information technology, industrial electronics and auto mechanics. The new space will shorten waitlists for programs at LCSC and eliminate some of the constraints imposed by the programs’ current location on the main LCSC campus to provide highly skilled trained labor. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The American Empress, a 220-passenger cruise boat, arrived at the Port of Clarkston in April, kicking off the 2019 cruise ship season, which runs through November. Last year, five cruise ship lines brought more than 18,000 tourists into the Lewis Clark Valley. That’s nearly three times as many as they brought five years ago. Starting in Portland and Vancouver, the boats take seven to nine days to travel upriver. After one or two days of refueling and bringing on supplies from local businesses, the cruise vessels welcome new passengers aboard for the downriver journey. This year, a new boat, the American Song, joined the line-up. It can carry up to 184 passengers. The port expects this year will break records for cruise boat visits, which is good news for motels, restaurants, beer and wine makers and tourist attractions in the region. Source: Lewiston Tribune; Port of Clarkston
  • The Lewis-Clark Terminal at the Port of Lewiston is building a new barley load-out facility. This project will allow the grain storage facility to receive higher volumes of grain and store them more quickly. Farmers are getting higher yields per acre and today’s combine harvesters can handle more bushels to bring to the facility. The new loading facility will be able to handle up to six rail cars at once and is designed for easy cleaning accommodation of a diverse variety of commodities. Besides rail, the terminal also uses barges. Last year, it shipped 187 barges carrying 620,586 tons of grain. Source: Port of Lewiston
  • The Lapwai School District was the first-place winner of a national award that recognizes districts and their leaders for finding innovative and creative ways to increase student achievement. Lapwai is the only school district in Idaho ever to win the National School Boards Association’s Magna Award. The district, located on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation, has a high proportion of students living in poverty. For years, Lapwai was classified as having underperforming scores. That classification was finally lifted this year. Leadership teams worked to bring more professional development to teachers through weekly meetings, which in turn has helped student success. The district also is implementing new curriculum and a framework to improve academic and behavioral outcomes for its students. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Idaho State Board of Education approved a 5.5 increase for full-time resident undergraduate students at Lewis-Clark State College bringing the total cost of tuition and fees to $6,982. Tuition for non-resident students will increase 3 percent to $19,978. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Openings

  • Tenacious P’s Teas and Commodities opened at Morgan’s Alley in downtown Lewiston. It sells upscale teas and gift items made by regional artisans, including honey from Waller Apiary in Clarkston and soap from Hells Canyon Soap & Candle in Lewiston.
  • Model Home Furnishings celebrated its grand opening at Eastside Marketplace in Moscow in mid-March. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Moves

  • The Farm Table Café is moving from Craigmont to Main Street in Kooskia. It specializes in home-style foods including a variety of fresh pies and cakes. Source: Idaho County Free Press

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

  • Boise Airport has been ranked second best airport in the country when it comes to on-time performance. The ranking was from a study by InsureMyTrip for 2018. Salt Lake City was No. 1 on the 75-airport roster. The list was developed using the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The airport also was recently ranked by the Travel Channel as the second-most relaxing airport in the U.S. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Nationally, Even Stevens sandwich shop, filed for bankruptcy, but the downtown Boise restaurant will remain open because it is profitable. Other shops are not so profitable so the bankruptcy action protects Even Stevens while it sorts out its debts. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Renovations are underway to reopen Boise landmark Roosevelt Market that closed in December 2018. After structural improvements are made to the 107-year-old building, Boise chefs Sarah and David Kelly hope to open the new Roosevelt Market & Café in the fall. The Kellys owned the popular Bleubird sandwich shop in downtown Boise, which closed in 2017. They also own the French-inspired bistro, Petite 4, which will remain open. Source: Boise Weekly
  • The Discovery Center of Idaho is adding a permanent display of a cast of a fossilized juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton in December, alongside several interactive exhibits on the popular dinosaur. This new exhibit comes as the 31-year old museum is planning to refurbish old exhibits and nearly double its current space. The center has secured an agreement from the city of Boise for space west of its facility for a new two-story building. Last fall the Boise City Council approved a resolution approving the Discovery Center’s expansion, which mandates the museum purchase the vacant parking lot next to the future expanded building and turn it over to the city in return. This would mitigate the loss of future park land and give the city additional property in the area to possibly develop in the future. The current 25,000-square-foot museum would be expanded between 45,000 and 48,000 square feet for more programming and room for traveling exhibits. Source: Idaho Press
  • Boise Cascade acquired American Lumber Distributors & Brokers of Birmingham, the fourth regional distributor the wood product company has purchased this year. Boise Cascade also acquired Arling Lumber of Cincinnati; Lumberman’s Wholesale Distributors of Nashville; and Norman Distribution of Medford. American Lumber is a wholesale distributor of plywood, oriented strand board, James Hardie Siding and engineered wood products with 120 retail partners and 65 employees. Boise Cascade is one of North America’s largest producers of engineered wood products and plywood, according to the company, and a wholesale distributor of building products with more than 30 local branches. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Rod and Deb Wagner had intended to sell Wagner Farms, but after an outpouring of support from customers, they decided to build a 12,000-square-foot convenience store with a year-round farmers market inside, and a gas station with three pumps. The convenience store will be coming in the future but the farm stand will open this summer. Wagner Farms has an average of 500 customers and 25 employees each day during the peak harvest season. The produce sold is grown on 115 nearby acres. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM) opened a new research lab. The lab is designed for work related to human diseases that pose a moderate health hazard, such as HIV. ICOM has more than 30 clinical and biomedical faculty and more than 160 first-year students Source: Meridian Press
  • Blue Cross bought a minority stake in Primary Health. The investment will be used to build more clinics and add primary care doctors. Primary Health will remain independent and work with a variety of different insurers. There are currently 18 clinics in Ada and Canyon counties. Source: BoiseDev
  • Saint Alphonsus Medical Center hosted about 150 high school and college students studying STEM fields to give them some hands-on experience working with robotics in simulated surgeries. The goal was to show Idaho students the benefits of using robotics in surgeries and inspire them to pursue medical careers. Robotics was introduced into surgeries about 13 years ago with prostate surgery and continues to expand into other areas. Robotics are especially useful in difficult surgeries that require work in small areas. The use of robots can reduce the risk of human error, require smaller incisions, minimize bleeding and pain in patients, and often leads to shorter hospital stays post-operation. Source: Idaho Press
  • Kount, an online and mobile credit card fraud prevention company, renovated the Langroise Building in downtown Boise, moving there in March. The company grew from 158 employees to 165 during the construction and now has space for up to 300 employees. The ground floor of the renovated building houses a Neckar Coffee, A Café, Good Burger, The Drop, Bodega Boise and Hue Salon. The company outgrew its previous location on Lusk Street near Boise State. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Trader Joe’s has submitted building plans to the city of Meridian, though has not provided an estimated opening date. Sources: Idaho Statesman and BoiseDev
  • Smart Foodservice is planning to build a 20,000-square-foot store in Meridian. It will be the first in Meridian. Two more in the area are located on Shoreline Drive in Boise and Nampa-Caldwell Boulevard in Nampa. The store was formerly known as Cash&Carry. Source: Meridian Press
  • Eagle’s 3 Horse Ranch Vineyards is expanding and adding a tasting room and classes on crafting the perfect food and wine pairing. The expansion will be on 40 of the vineyard’s 850 acres. The new winery is set to open in September and the tasting room and viticulture center in October. Eventually, the vineyard plans to offer a program called “Custom Crush.” It will give small brands or even individuals an opportunity to experiment with winemaking under the tutelage of an “on-site personal winemaker.” Once the expansion is completed, 3 Horse hopes to grow more grapes. It currently has 60 acres of planted vines but has room and water rights to add an additional 300 acres. Source: Boise Weekly
  • Orchestra Provisions is a small, new company that sells spice blends spiked with protein-rich cricket powder. Kate Stoddard started the company with the goal of easing Americans into eating bugs. Currently, Orchestra Provisions sells eight spice mixes through its website. The products can also be found at small grocery stores in Idaho and Montana. Several restaurants use the blends and Roots Zero Waste Market in Garden City plans to stock them in bulk. Source: Boise Weekly
  • Flatbread in Meridian is being transformed into Eight Thirty Common, a gastropub, but with a new menu, cocktails and expanded beer selection. The restaurant will closed April 20 and will reopened in June. The name for the new restaurant is a reference to its location, 830 N. Main St. The other five Flatbread Community Oven locations, including two in Boise and one in Eagle, will continue to operate as usual. Source: Meridian Press
  • Phoenix-based Akos Med Clinic is taking up residence in the corner of Albertsons’ new Market Street in Meridian. The clinic will assist walk-in patients on a virtual basis, meaning the patient uses an on-site computer and rack of simple, FDA-approved medical devices that measure blood oxygen content, blood pressure, temperature, weight and other vital signs. The user is guided by augmented reality through self-administered steps to collect the medical data, as well as ear, nose and throat images and chest, lung and abdomen sounds. Follow-up questions are asked until the necessary information for a diagnostic decision is collected. The total process takes about 15 minutes. The patient work-up is sent electronically to an Akos provider and then through a video consultation, the provider engages with the patient. Source: Idaho Business Review

Adams County

  • The Nez Perce Tribe bought Zims Hot Springs four miles north of New Meadows on Highway 95 in March. Zims features two pools fed by natural mineral water from an artesian well and cooled by the waters of the Little Salmon River, a 4,000-square-foot lodge, RV parking and hook-ups, campsite and covered pavilion with tables. The Nez Perce historically used the hot springs for ceremonial and spiritual purposes and view the area as an important part of their culture. The tribe is expanding its role in tourism. It owns the Clearwater River Casino and Lodge in Lewiston, It’se Ye-Ye Casino in Kamiah and a golf course in Clarkston. Source: Idaho County Free Press, McCall Star-News
  • New Meadows declared an emergency on April 9 after flooding. Gov. Brad Little signed a state disaster declaration for Adams County on April 10, freeing up state funds to reimburse the city for up to 50 percent of the cost of damage caused by the flood. City officials are concerned that water and sewer lines could break after fast-flowing water swept away soil around them. A dike containing millions of gallons of treated sewage adjacent to the Little Salmon River also suffered significant erosion, leaving it susceptible to failure if the river floods again. The flooding also damaged roads and culverts. Source: McCall Star-News
  • Rising waters in the Weiser River caused widespread flooding in the southern end of Adams County in April. Floodwaters covered more than a dozen roads in the Council and Indian Valley areas of the county. Source: McCall Star-News

Boise County

  • Bogus Basin broke multiple monthly attendance records this ski season. At times Bogus had to turn skiers and snowboarders away because there was nowhere left to park. The ski resort received 12 feet of snow in February, which was great for skiing but not parking as 500 of the 3,500 parking spots were out of commission. The resort announced it is going to replace the old Morning Star chairlift with a high-speed quad and rework some nearby trails. Bogus also is looking at adding more parking options and promoting services like its existing bus routes. Ski operation ended April 14, but the resort will start gearing up for the summer activities, which includes the mountain coaster and ski-lift access to mountain biking trails. Source Idaho Business Review

Canyon County

  • Nampa City Council approved rezoning and annexing more than 21 acres near St. Luke’s hospital from commercial to health care use. The hospital is planning to build out the interior of a medical office building next to the hospital with an anticipated opening in the summer of 2020. The building will hold clinical space. St. Luke’s will break ground in August on a new Mountain States Tumor Institute on the campus. The new facility will be about 42,000 square feet and will accommodate up to 19,000 cancer patients by 2020. The new building will have 15 medical oncology exam rooms and nine radiation oncology exam rooms. It will also feature advanced treatment technology that currently is only available in Boise. The new building is expected to be large enough to serve the population through 2050. Source: Idaho Press
  • The new Western Idaho Community Crisis Center in Caldwell serves adults experiencing serious mental health issues who would otherwise be arrested or taken to an emergency room. Patients will only be allowed to stay for 24 hours, but they will be connected with outpatient services and community resources to assist them. The center will service Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette and Washington counties. The state provided $200,000 in one-time startup costs, then $1.5 million for two years for operations. During that two years, the center must come up with a plan to reduce state funding by half and become more self-sustaining. Source: Idaho Press
  • Ball Ventures Ahlquist has taken the lead on a downtown Caldwell multi-use hotel site. It would include three buildings on 1.4 acres, including a hotel, multifamily housing and retail and office space. The property was the former location of the Saratoga Hotel across the street from Indian Creek Plaza. Construction is expected to begin in September. One building could have a “boutique style” hotel with approximately 60 rooms, first-floor restaurant, fitness center, lobby and bar. The second building could include retail and residential space with roughly 16 one- and two-bedroom units, 500 square feet of residential lobby/services space and 7,500 square feet for retail. The third building could include retail, parking and residential or office space.
  • Nonprofit organization Because International celebrated its 10th anniversary in April. The nonprofit was founded and defined by its signature product – The Shoe That Grows – designed to expand five sizes and last for years. Roughly 250,000 pairs of The Shoe That Grows have been distributed in more than 100 counties. Kenton Lee, the founder, said he wants the organization to be a place to jump start more ideas to try to interrupt the cycle of poverty. Another product, The Bednet Buddy, is a free-standing, pop-up net lined with a long-lasting insecticide that is designed to protect children ages 5 and under from mosquitoes while sleeping. The nonprofit has developed 1,000 nets already and hopes to distribute at least 2,500 by the end of the year. The organization recently purchased a building in downtown Nampa where it plans to transition its headquarters next year. Source: Idaho Press
  • Saint Alphonsus hospital in Nampa announced an expansion of a new cancer center. The expansion will bring a final component into cancer care, radiation oncology. The hospital has seen a 20 percent increase in the number of cancer patients traveling to Boise or Caldwell for radiation treatment. The hospital’s emergency department will be renovated and remodeled nearly doubling the capacity to care for patients. A new area will be added to house the hospital’s linear accelerator used in radiation treatments. The new cancer center is expected to open in the fall. Source: KIVI-TV

Payette County

  • A majority share of Truckstop.com is being acquired by ICONIQ Capital. CEO Paris Cole called it “one of the largest in the state of Idaho’s history and would value Trusckstop.com as one of the most valuable technology companies in the state.” Truckstop.com was founded in New Plymouth in 1965, where it built an internet-based digital load board to help carriers find loads to move. Truckstop.com solutions include freight matching; marketplace rates; partner vetting tools; credit and insurance insights; transactional cargo insurance; freight tracking and visibility; transportation management systems; integrations with most major industry software partners: and payment solutions. The company anticipates adding more than 130 new jobs this year in Illinois and Idaho, as well as growth in product and software development. The company will continue to be headquartered in New Plymouth. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Floodwaters on April 9 caused more than $30,000 in damage to roads and highways in Payette County. Source: KIVI-TV

Valley County

  • Brundage Mountain reported the season’s snow boosted attendance above the previous year. The McCall area resort received lots of powder in early 2019, extending the season until April 13. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Idaho Public Charter School Commission approved a proposed charter school for McCall under the condition it submit a budget by April 2020 that proves it will be financially stable for at least three years. McCall Community School, a K-8 school, will use a mastery-based education model. Instead of teaching all students in a grade level at the same pace, teachers will identify how much a student knows about a subject, and teach them accordingly. When students “master” one part of a subject, they advance to the next. If financial stability can be proven, the charter school would open in the fall of 2020 with a projected 95 students. It would receive state funding based on enrollment, but no local funding. A campus would be built in phases at an estimated cost of $3.5 million. Source: Idaho Education News; McCall Star-News

Washington County

  • Several areas of Washington County experienced flooding in early April, when snowmelt and spring runoff led to rising river levels that washed out river banks and some roads. Weiser and Cambridge saw some of the worst flooding in the county. Source: Idaho Press
  • More single-family home building permits were issued in 2018 (21) than 2017 (12). The 21 new home permits totaled about $3.16 million in construction value. The new homes were scattered throughout the county and had an average construction value of $150,000. Within the city of Weiser, seven building permits were issued for new/replacement residential with a construction value of $792,467. The total construction value for all commercial and residential projects in the city came to $9.3 million. The commercial building permit for Ridley’s bumped the commercial valuation up as well. Source: Weiser Signal American
  • Workout Anytime opened in a renovated space formerly occupied by Blockbuster Video on State Street in Boise. There are 150 Workout Anytime locations nationwide; this is the first in Idaho.
  • Thai Import and Gifts opened in Boise. The shop carries items from Thailand and Laos. A Way with Clay, a pottery painting studio, opened March 28 in Boise. Chess Café, an espresso stand offering tables and chess sets for customers, is opening in Boise Towne Square.
  • Tacos el Ray #2, a food truck located at the Chevron gas station in Garden City, is opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant on Chinden Boulevard. The food truck will then move to Cloverdale and Ustick roads.
  • Columbia Sportswear plans to open its first Idaho location in The Village. The Portland-based company sells outdoor apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment.
  • Room and Boards, a game-focused café, will open in Meridian this summer. Customers can choose from more than 400 games to play in-house.
  • Floor Trader Outlet, a sister business of Flooring America, will open soon at Franklin and Cloverdale roads. The company uses a wholesale model where customer can select the product and take it with them immediately.
  • Tijelas Acai Café opened in Nampa behind Idaho Pizza Company. It is a health and wellness café that sells a variety of Brazilian foods and authentic acai bowls.
  • A sixth Flying Pie Pizzaria is scheduled to open in September in the Elms Park Shopping Center on Overland Road in Boise.
  • Primary Health opened its 19th clinic at Ten Mile and Franklin roads in Caldwell in April.
  • Fossil opened a new ‘experiential store concept’ in the Boise Towne Square in April. The store features the ability to engrave and emboss its watches with a number of icons.

Closures

  • US Bank is closing several branches nationwide, including the Capital branch in Boise, the branch inside the Emmett Albertsons and another Albertsons branch in Meridian.
  • Confucius Restaurant in Boise closed March 25 after 30 years due to retirement.

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

Ski Operations in South Central Idaho

  • Pomerelle Mountain Resort closed at the end of March reporting 320 inches of snowfall for the season. The Cassia County ski hill is part of the Sawtooth National Forest. Its lodge is at an elevation of 8,000 feet, offering a vertical drop of 1,000 feet, and operations are under a permit from the Forest Service under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Source: www.pomerelle.com and Times-News
  • Soldier Mountain Ski Area closed for the season at the end of March. February brought staggering snowfall that caused operations to cease for a day as crews dug out. The mountain has 1,500 vertical feet of skiing on 1,150 acres with access to 2,000 more acres of cat skiing. Soldier Mountain operates in the Sawtooth National Forest under a special use permit issued by the Forest Service under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Source: KIVI News and Soldier Mountain Facebook.
  • Sun Valley Resort kept lifts running through Easter weekend, a later finish than the traditional second week of April. The huge snowfall in February – 139 inches – broke the previous overall monthly record from the 1967-1968 season in January when the resort received 129.5 inches. This year’s snowfall was one for the books, specifically for the month of February. The 3,332 acre Bald Mountain Ski Resort is located within the Sawtooth National Forest and receives a permit to operate from the Forest Service under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Source: KMVT News and www.sunvalley.com
  • Magic Mountain closed at the end of March, but counts this ski season as its best yet based on factors such as the skier count, snowfall and length of season. The mountain’s base elevation is 6,500 feet and the vertical drop is 740 feet. The area receives on average 230 inches of snow each year and is the smallest area in the region with 120 acres for skiing and tubing. Source: KMVT News and www.magicmountainresort.com

Idaho Department of Transportation Projects

  • Federal and state monies in excess of $50 million will go into 12 south central Idaho projects improving roads and replacing bridges this construction season. Four projects carried over from the previous year and eight projects this year will yield new bridges by winter in south central Idaho. The Salt Lake System Interchange in Cassia County started in 2018 is a two-year project and scheduled for completion in 2020. Source: www.itd.idaho.gov and Times-News

Twin Falls County

  • Twin Falls School District estimates a 1.5 percent annual growth for the 2019-2020 academic year or 140 additional students. Previous years achieved roller coaster results ranging between 1.7 percent and 5 percent. Source: Times-News
  • Blue Cross of Idaho awarded a $250,000 Community Transformation Grant to the city of Twin Falls to develop a sustainable plan for promoting youth health throughout the community. The city has a three-year window to use the funding. Source: Times-News
  • The Boys and Girls Club of Twin Falls is expanding its physical building adding space for a teen center and a kindergarten. Construction starts this summer with completion scheduled for 2020. The nonprofit has raised $1.7 million of the estimated $2 million cost through a capital campaign that started in 2017. Source: Times-News
  • The College of Southern Idaho has priced its first bachelor’s degree, Advanced Food Processing Technology, at $285 a credit. This is double the cost of an associate’s degree. It is 54 percent less than the new price tag affixed to a University of Idaho credit with the recently approved increase to $440 a credit. Source: Lewiston Tribune 
  • The Twin Falls Fire Department is taking a $36 million Fire and Rescue Facilities Bond to the voters in May. The 20-year bond will cost property owners an additional $70.64 annually, if their home value is $190,000. The bond would pay to rebuild three fire stations and relocate two of the three. Source: KMVT News
  • Idaho Power proposes to purchase 120-megawatts of solar power from Jackpot Holdings, a solar farm near the border of Idaho and Nevada. The Public Utilities Commission must approve the request as Idaho Power works towards its goal of 100 percent clean energy by the year 2045. The solar power farm will come online in 2020 with less expensive rates than previous solar operators. Source: Times-News

Jerome County

  • Franklin Building Supply held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new truss plant in Jerome. The heightened construction activity has fueled demand for additional capacity. The company plans to combine five existing structures into a 25,000-square-foot facility. The Boise-based company has been in business for 40 years, is employee owned and has lumberyards in Jerome, Gooding, Twin Falls and Burley. Source: Times-News
  • Idaho Milk Products placed first in the milk protein isolate category and second among the milk protein concentrates at the U.S. Cheese Competition. The championships added these dried milk categories for the first time allowing IMP to compete. The award ceremony is in Wisconsin. “Getting an award from your peers, effectively, is a great honor and really speaks to the focus we put on making a top quality product and all our people who work tirelessly every day to make the most of the milk that we are entrusted with,” according to Daragh Maccabee, CEO. Source: KMVT News

Blaine County

  • The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation assessed Idaho’s counties and determined that Blaine County ranked second in the state after Ada County for Best Overall Health Outcomes. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Openings

  • Idaho Troutfitters opened in downtown Twin Falls offering fly-fishing gear and apparel. Source: Times-News
  • Code Blu Foods started a meal delivery service to customers’ doors twice weekly — Tuesdays and Thursdays. The meals are custom ordered and made according to dietary preferences. Source: Times-News

Remodels

  • Target started remodeling its store in Twin Falls estimating $950,000 in materials and labor costs. The store was originally built in 1992, remodeled last in 2005 and employs between 70 and 120, depending on the season. Source: Times-News

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

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

Region

  • Idaho State University (ISU) students will be paying a 6.1 percent tuition and fee hike for the 2019-2020 school year. Annual tuition and fees to attend ISU for an in-state full-time student will be $7,872 in 2019-2020 compared with $8,304 for University of Idaho and $8,068 for Boise State. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Idaho State University to enhance education and training opportunities for tribal members. The agreement addresses improving ISU’s student services, providing access for tribal members to participate and enroll in ISU, commit to continuing existing programs at ISU, and develop new academic programs and curriculum to benefit all tribal students. Source: Bingham County Chronicle
  • Ninety locals participated in the community’s second Construction Combine in the Home Depot parking lot to expose new students and job seekers to the various facets of the construction industry. More than 20 area building contractors taught lessons at 16 stations, carefully evaluating students’ prowess in hopes of supplementing their workforces. In its first year, the event attracted about 50 aspiring construction workers and included eight skill stations. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • YourFIT, or Your Future in Technology, continued its outreach to high schools across southeastern Idaho raising awareness of local high-demand, high-wage career opportunities. The program continued its career fair expos this month in Shoshone-Bannock High School, Preston High School, Malad High School, Bear Lake High School and Soda Springs High School. Source: Regional Economist

 Bannock County

  • Construction has officially begun on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ temple on the city’s north side. Okland Construction, a Salt Lake City-based company, will be the general contractor. There will be around 80 to 120 workers at the site on any given day. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Developers of the Northgate master-planned community expect to have construction underway on 350 dwellings, the first Portneuf Health Trust medical building and two to five commercial buildings before the year’s end. The Northgate interchange on Interstate 15 should be completed by August or September. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Officials with the Portneuf District Library announced plans to construct a new building in Chubbuck’s future downtown area with triple the space of its current location. A vote on an $11.645 million bond initiative to fund the project is scheduled for the May 21 election ballot. Source: Idaho State Journal

 Bingham County

  • Construction work is ongoing for a new branch of D.L. Evans Bank at 1350 Parkway Drive, the former site of the Pango Mango frozen yogurt shop. The new Blackfoot branch will be opening in May. Source: Bingham County Chronicle
  • Three rural subdivisions recommended for approval by the Bingham County Planning and Zoning Commission got the OK from the county commissioners. The subdivisions are Wildflower Meadows No. 3, the Ivie Acres and the Toveywood Estates Re-plat. Source: Bingham County Chronicle

Openings

  • MOD Pizza in Pocatello
  • Heber Hatchets in Pocatello
  • The Southeast Idaho Behavioral Crisis Center in Pocatello
  • Empower weight-loss wellness center in Blackfoot
  • Rae’s Bake Shoppe and Café in Preston

Closures

  • Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen 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

  • Forty-nine participants from all over eastern Idaho — including students from South Fremont, Rigby, Skyline and even Clark County high schools — put their handyman and woodworking skills to use during the inaugural Construction Combine organized by the College of Eastern Idaho. Forty contractors were on hand to help guide participants during the construction process and help them potentially land a summer construction job. College of Eastern Idaho expects to host the event again next year. Source: Post Register
  • Fluor Idaho LLC announced a workforce restructuring action involving the Idaho Cleanup Project has been ordered. It will consist of a self-select voluntary separation program and an involuntary program, if needed. Fluor Idaho expects to reduce the workforce by 190 positions in fiscal year 2019. Those cuts would primarily come from the workforce that supports the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project mission. The number involuntarily separated will depend on the number of workers accepted in the voluntary program. Source: KIDK
  • Dana Kirkham will not renew her yearlong contract as CEO of Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho. REDI has begun searching for Kirkham’s replacement. Source: Post Register

 Bonneville County

  • Snake River Landing announced this week that it will be building 96 new apartments, an expansion of The Falls Apartments. It opened in 2016 with 228 apartments and will expand to 324 this year. Source: Post Register
  • The city of Ammon is planning this year to create an urban renewal area, a tax increment financing tool that encourages economic development through infrastructure investment. The proposed urban renewal area is three separate zones encompassing the Ammon Walmart and a mix of farmland, housing and industrial areas east of Hitt Road and north of First Street. The combined zones have a land value of about $8.5 million and improvements value (developed property) of about $15.76 million — most of which comes from Walmart. Source: Post Register
  • After a construction kickoff and ceremonial hammer swing, the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center is on its way to becoming a reality in Idaho Falls. The 2,800-square-foot Family Room will be staffed by RMHC of Idaho employees and community volunteers. It is slated for completion at the end of the summer. Source: East Idaho News

Jefferson County

  • Construction of the new Jefferson Joint School District No. 251 elementary school is officially underway. The 71,000-square-foot new school will include 34 classrooms and is estimated to house 850 students. Source: Jefferson Star

Lemhi County

  • A base for medical flights by helicopter is scheduled to be operational in July, a first for Salmon, which sees more than 100 such airlifts per year involving patients at the local hospital. The company, Air Methods, has leased a hangar at Lemhi County Airport for a medium-sized, turbine helicopter that is to be used to transport those with medical needs within a 150-mile radius, including Idaho Falls and Missoula, Montana. Flights are expected to be underway beginning in July using an aircraft that is to be equipped with a flight nurse and flight medic in addition to the pilot. Source: Post Register

Madison County

  • East Idaho Credit Union tore down the building on 310 North Second East and is constructing a new Rexburg branch in its stead. This new location, just north of downtown, will provide convenient access for locals and students as Rexburg continues to grow. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal
  • Lincoln Elementary School plans to expand its gym this year thanks to Madison School district residents’ approval of a $27 million bond in 2017. Much of the work has been completed or will be finished by the fall. Plans call to have Lincoln’s gym expanded by the first of 2020. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

Openings

  • The cardiopulmonary rehabilitation center at Mountain View Hospital in Idaho Falls.
  • Fitzgerald’s Bicycles in Idaho Falls
  • The Advocacy Center in Idaho Falls
  • Padaria’s, a Brazilian themed food truck, in Rexburg
  • Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center burn care center in Idaho Falls
  • Blaze Pizza in Ammon
  • Lucy’s New York Style Pizzeria in downtown Idaho Falls
  • Arctic Circle in St Anthony
  • The Gables of Idaho Falls Assisted Living and Memory Care
  • Target River, a full service target marketing company in Rexburg
  • Crumbl Cookies in Ammon

Closures

  • Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in Ammon

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

Leave a Reply