Around Idaho: Economic Activity in September 2019

Information provided in these news updates 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

  • Valley Vista Care, an assisted-living and nursing facility in St. Maries, has begun a $2.5 million expansion and improvement project. The work will upgrade the common areas of the facility as well as adding rooms for more residents and expanding the physical therapy facilities. Source: Journal of Business

Kootenai County

  • The city of Coeur d’Alene is considering forming an urban renewal district to create a health corridor around the Kootenai Health campus. A coalition including the city, Kootenai Health, and Ignite CDA (the city development corporation) is exploring ways an urban renewal district could be used to make infrastructure improvements to support a dense health care-centric development. Source: Journal of Business
  • Olson Saw Technology, a Pennsylvania based manufacturer, has acquired space in Post Falls for a new distribution center. The company produces machine knives and saw blades and anticipates becoming operational in Post Falls by the end of the year. Source: Journal of Business
  • Construction is underway on a new elementary school in Post Falls. The school, which has yet to be named, is scheduled for completion in time for the 2020 school year and will have an initial attendance of around 500 students. Source: Journal of Business
  • The Post Falls and Lakeland school districts have approved emergency levies to deal with growing enrollments. Virtually all schools in both districts have grown from last year, as Kootenai County’s population continues to grow. 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

  • The Idaho State Workforce Development Council awarded a $750,000 grant to Lewis-Clark State College to purchase non-fixed, capital equipment for Schweitzer Career and Technical Education Center, scheduled to open for classes in August 2020. The center will house seven programs that directly support the region’s manufacturing, construction, auto and trucking industries, as well as for information technology. The funding will be used in conjunction with a $1.5 million grant to the college from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Clearwater Economic Development Association provided project development and grant writing support for both grant proposals. Source: CEDA in Motion
  • For the third year in a row, steelhead runs have performed far below the average of the past 20 years. Low steelhead counts at dams on the Snake and Columbia rivers resulted in fisheries managers decreasing their forecast for the return of steelhead to the Columbia River and its tributaries, including the Snake River. In the last week of August, Bonneville Dam counted 380 to 755 per day. The 10-year average for daily steelhead passage at Bonneville during the same time span ranges from 2,725 to 4,267. In late August, Idaho reduced steelhead bag limits to one per day and implemented requirements to release steelhead 28 inches or longer caught from the Clearwater River and its tributaries and the Snake River downstream of Couse Creek last week. The Idaho Fish and Game commission voted to close all steelhead fishing on the Clearwater River and its North, South and Middle forks and on the Snake River from the Lewiston to the Couse Creek Boat ramp south of Asotin, Washington, effective Sept. 29. The fall chinook salmon run is going well, and the coho salmon run also looks likely to meet expectations. This will be the first time in two years that anglers can fish for coho. The steelhead and salmon runs bring many tourists to north central Idaho and have large impacts on motels, restaurants and some retail stores in Riggins, Lewiston, Orofino and other communities. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • North Central Idaho Travel Association recently received $94,068 from the Idaho Travel Council, funded by the state’s travel and convention tax. The grant dollars will be used to market travel opportunities in north central Idaho and to develop a more user-friendly website. Source: Clearwater Tribune
  • Clearwater Economic Development Association and Panhandle Area Council, serving Idaho’s five northernmost counties, have been awarded a $150,000 grant. The groups will use the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development funds to provide training and workshops to participating communities on issues of critical importance to the region – housing, broadband and community revitalization. Source: Clearwater Tribune

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • The Historical Museum at the Monastery of St. Gertrude near Cottonwood received a $25,000 grant in September from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation to help complete a five-year exhibit remodel project. The funds will allow the museum to complete the project by August 2020. The remodel includes new lighting and video monitoring systems, the addition of a children’s area, an illustrated map and gallery signs. The museum draws about 6,000 visitors a year. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Federal Highway Administration awarded Idaho County about $4 million to help repair roads damaged this spring by floods and mudslides. Several county road failed in March and April. The grant is part of a $14.2 million relief package to Idaho for extensive highway repairs throughout the state since 2017. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • After students returned to school in August, the middle school in Kamiah remained empty. The fourth through sixth grades moved into two modular buildings next to the elementary school, while seven through eighth grades moved to the high school. The failure of a $500,000 levy last fall forced the closure of the middle school, estimated to save $106,000. After undertaking other cost-saving measures, including eliminating four coach and extracurricular staff positions, the Kamiah School District must achieve another $116,000 in savings by the end of the school year. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • A new teen center on Kamiah’s Main Street had its grand opening Sept. 6, hosted by the Upriver Youth Leadership Council and the Youth Advisory Board. The center is free for all local youth (13-18 years old). Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • The Idaho County commissioners approved a $25.2 million budget for fiscal year 2020, which started in October, virtually the same as last year’s budget. All employees will receive a 3 percent cost-of-living raise and department heads may distribute additional merit raises based on work performance. The commissioners changed insurance companies this past year, and the budget reflects a 6.1 percent decrease in employee insurance rates. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Lance and Eve McCulloch purchased the former Forest Service building on Highway 13 at the edge of Grangeville in 2013, where they opened a physical fitness center with a smoothie bar and office spaces for independent services including a massage therapist, hair salon, day care and electrolysis studio. Last year, they filled the other half of the 22,000-square-foot building with Jungle Gym’s Indoor Play Center & Café. The play center hosts many children’s birthday parties. In September, it held a grand opening for a nine-hole miniature golf course. Later this year, the McCollochs will break ground on an addition to enlarge the fitness center. Over the next year or two, they plan to add a splash pad and basketball hoops. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Salmon River Resort in White Bird recently remodeled its motel rooms, added a rental cabin and refurbished its grounds including a beach. Source: Idaho County Free Press

 Latah County

  • The Moscow City Council decided in September to undertake the long-anticipated reconstruction of West A and North Line streets next summer, even though it’s now projected to cost an additional $972,000. The lowest bid received came in that much higher than the projected cost. This is an increasing problem for infrastructure projects in north central Idaho. Moscow will contribute $1.9 million to the project, and the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council will cover the remaining $3.35 million in costs. The main objective is to improve A Street so it provides relief to traffic on West Pullman Road. In addition to widening and improving the streets, the project will include new sidewalks and upgrades to water and sewer services. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The University of Idaho is in the midst of three major construction projects. The Bruce Pitman Center, the former student union building, is getting a new exterior. Work should end in April. On the other side of campus, the Idaho Central Credit Union Arena is under construction next to the Kibbie Dome, where it will open at the beginning of the 2021 fall semester. The school also is making repairs to subterranean steam tunnels this fall. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The Moscow Farmers Market attracted about 180,000 more visitors in 2018 than 15 years earlier, University of Idaho economist Steve Peterson told the Moscow City Council in September. He estimated that 266,205 people visited the market last year, up from 84,084 in 2003, and 51 percent of last year’s visitors were from out of town. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The Genesee Community Firemen received a $15,000 grant from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation Inc. to help replace defunct heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment in the Genesee Community building. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The University of Idaho will begin offering a degree in criminology this summer to meet an increased demand for criminal justice-related occupations. It can be earned on the Moscow campus or entirely online. It is one of six bachelor’s degrees offered online from the university. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  •  Latah County Commissioners approved a $20.5 million budget for fiscal 2020 budget, which starts Oct. 1. It includes a 3 percent pay increase for all employees and elected officials. Employees and elected officials received a 4 percent increase each fiscal year from 2014 to this year. They received no increase from 2010 to 2013. The budget also will cover costs of two new positions — a bailiff and probation officer. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Nez Perce and Asotin Counties

  • The Kmart store in Lewiston is closing as its parent company Transformco closes more than 120 Sears and Kmart stores across the nation in the last half of 2019. In Lewiston, a liquidation sale is scheduled to begin in the middle of September and the store is expected to close in December. With the closure of Kmart, Lewiston will no longer have any big-box discount stores. Shopko closed early this summer. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made an emergency shutdown of a navigation lock at Bonneville Dam Sept. 5 after damage was discovered. It has kept the lock closed while it makes repair, preventing boats from traveling on the Columbia-Snake system to the Lewis-Clark Valley. The Corps expects to complete repairs by the end of September. The closure prevents barges carrying the region’s wheat and other crops during the last weeks of harvest, and it prevents transportation of other goods to and from the Ports of Lewiston and Wilma (across the Snake River from Clarkston). The shutdown also stopped cruise boats from arriving at the Port of Clarkston in the month that typically brings the most boats during the year. Source: KLEWtv.com, Associated Press, Lewiston Tribune
  • Lewis-Clark State College President Cynthia Pemberton announced a hiring freeze to deal with a $1.6 million deficit. Unfilled positions will be left vacant. Pemberton also said each department should prepare for possible cuts up to 7 percent of its budget. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Lewis-Clark Valley partners are seeking financial support from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration for an economic impact and needs assessment of the region’s cruise boat industry. The report will quantify the current economic impacts of the cruise boat and passenger vessel industry, assess growth trends and help identify current and future capacity needs and economic development opportunities. It will guide stakeholders in the prioritization of investments in services, infrastructure, partnerships and other strategies. The first cruise boat to the Lewis-Clark Valley began running 30 years ago. Last year, six cruise lines brought 24,000 visitors to Clarkston. Spending in the valley by passengers, the cruise lines and crews were estimated to total $2.4 million in 2018. Source: CEDA in Motion
  • Facing a $2.7 million for the current fiscal year, Walla Walla Community College President Derek Brandes declared a financial emergency in September. He made several cuts including eliminating the medical assisting program at the Clarkston campus and cutting two positions. The medical assistant program had only nine students enrolled this year even though it could have handled 25. The Clarkston campus has an enrollment of 682 this fall. Workforce programs are doing well in Clarkston. The welding, industrial maintenance and nursing programs remain popular. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Guys Outdoor Motorsports and Marine moved into the former Black Sheep Sporting Goods store in Lewiston in late September. The new space is 21,000 square feet – nearly three times larger than its former Lewiston Orchards site. The new store also contains a much larger clothing department. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Dynamic Designs moved into the Port of Lewiston incubator in August. The company designs and makes wraps for boats, motorcycles and snowmobiles. It also designs and makes graphics, banners, signs and decals. Source: Port of Lewiston

Openings

  • King’s Korner recently opened in downtown Lewiston, where it sells and repairs used, vintage and antique furniture.
  • Hells Canyon Fitness opened in Clarkston in a new building with a balcony for yoga and an outdoor field turf workout space. It offers personal training and classes for CrossFit and yoga.

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

  • The Boyer Company, a Salt Lake development company, and the city of Boise reached an agreement to build an industrial park on city land off Eisenman Road. The city of Boise will own the 150-acre industrial park and lease the property to Boyer for 12.5 percent of the company’s operating revenues. The first phase of the development includes only one parcel, which will be the site of a 168,000-square-foot building. Boyer will sublease the building to other companies and pay for all of the taxes and other operating expenses for the industrial park. The company’s cost for improving the site will be deducted from its gross operating revenues used to calculate how much rent Boyer will pay the city. The industrial park is located in Gateway East, one of the city’s newest urban renewal areas. Boise-based Verde Fulfillment USA will be the anchor tenant in the new industrial building. Verde, a third-party logistics business, specializes in e-commerce order fulfillment, product returns, warehousing, co-packing and assembly. Once the company relocates in 2020, it is expected add 10-15 employees to its current workforce of 50. Source: Idaho Press & Idaho Business Review
  • Velox Media, a digital marketing firm in Boise was ranked 181th in Inc. 5000 list. The company specializes in search engine optimization and paid search marketing. In three years, the company has grown to 25 employees from four and increased revenue fourfold to $.1 million a year. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Maverick Median Ventures, a five-year old Garden City company, was ranked 254th by Inc. 5000 list of fast growing privately held companies in 2019. The company reported sales of $3.1 million and a 1,693 percent growth rate over the past three years. The company resells brand-name products on Amazon and provides template standard operating procedures for other Amazon sellers. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Hardin Sanitation has replaced Republic Services in providing trash collection in unincorporated Ada County under a 10-year contract. Hardin will serve roughly 20,000 households and 600 commercial customers in unincorporated Ada County. Hardin Sanitation’s new home office will be located in Meridian. Republic Services will continue to collect waste in Boise, Nampa, Meridian, Eagle and many other southwestern Idaho communities. Source: Idaho Press
  • National Public Radio (NPR) is opening a Boise bureau this fall with national correspondent, Kirk Siegler, who has been based in California, covering the “rural-urban divide.” Siegler grew up in Montana and graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Colorado. NPR has 260 member stations and 17 bureaus across the country with many single-correspondent offices. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The new Idaho Elks Children’s Pavilion, which opened in early September, includes 18 medical specialties. It is expected to treat hundreds of children per day. The new four-story building is attached to St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital by a skybridge. Now young patients with complex medical needs will see all of their medical providers in one building. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Boise’s former Carnegie Public Library building has been purchased by Ednetics, an educational technology company. The building will undergo a roughly two-year renovation process to transform the building into offices and a public event space. Hummel Architects, which built the library in 1904, have been hired as well as other experts to look into the iconic Boise structure. Source: Idaho Press
  • StageDotO, a Seattle-based investment company, not only moved their headquarters to Boise, but is creating a $50 million fund to invest in technology startups. The company opened an office in downtown Boise this summer. The company expects to invest in about 10 startups, and the early stage companies will be housed in the company’s office building. About half of the fund will be devoted to seed money to get startups going and multiple funding rounds based on milestones, with the other half toward participating in first-round Series A funding for growth capital. The company has invested $1 million in PlexTrac Inc., an Eagle-based security company, building a software platform to help companies track the results from security assessments such as penetration testing and the progress the companies are making toward fixing those vulnerabilities. PlexTrac currently has three full-time employees with a few contracts but with the help of StageDotO is hiring two more developers and a sales executive. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Grove Hotel opened the Terrace, a fourth-floor rooftop dining, drinking and entertainment space in early September. It offers views of the Boise Foothills, Boise State campus and downtown. This is the fourth rooftop venue in Boise. The Residence Inn by Marriott opened its roof deck in May 2018. Those two joined tiki-themed Reef restaurant and bar in Old Boise and Zee’s Rooftop Café on top of the C.W. Moore Plaza. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Roots Zero Waste Market held its grand opening Sept. 21 in Boise. The market promotes sustainability in grocery shopping by minimizing the impact of buying groceries on the environment. It sells locally produced food and sundry items in bulk without single-use plastics. A container exchange program lets users swap used vessels for freshly cleaned ones; at the prepared foods area, there will be a $0.5 charge for compostable takeout containers. Source: Boise Weekly
  • Boise State’s Taco Bell Arena has a new name – ExtraMile Arena. The new signage was hoisted into place in early September. ExtraMile is a joint venture between Boise State, Chevron USA Inc. and Jacksons Food Stores Inc. Twenty-two Jacksons Food Stores in the Treasure Valley are set to change to the new brand – ExtraMile. Source: Idaho Press
  • SGW Designworks has signed a memorandum of understanding with Megaforce, a Taiwanese manufacturing company, making it easier for it to launch products successfully. Megaforce manufactures products such as injection-molded parts, printed circuit boards and final assembly. SGW offers its clients a network of trusted manufacturing partners, who get involved during the design phase, and manages the relationship with the manufacture to for the client’s plate. This is the second company in Idaho to sign a similar agreement with Megaforce. In June, Meridian-based PKG User Interface Solutions was the first. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Boise’ Greyhound bus terminal in Downtown Boise will close after 60 years. Greyhound has applied to convert a small portion of the Flying J truck stop on Federal Way for use as its Boise bus station. Much of the current building is used for other purposes as the bus terminal is only open a few hours each day – early morning and late evening. The property was purchased by West Bannock Dev LLC. Source: BoiseDev
  • Ball Ventures Ahlquist broke ground for an office building in Eagle View Landing where the new tenant, Americor Financial, will be doing business next year. The three-story office building will be completed in 2020 and marks the second major tenant moving into Eagle View Landing alongside Idaho Central Credit Union. ICCU plans to expand its call center, back office support and training areas. Americor plans for a staff of 500-700 employees over the next few years. The company is a finance technology company that designed a platform to help consumers restructure their debts and get lower cost debt consolidation loans. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • MotivePower Inc. plans to close its Boise plant. The parent company, Wabtec Corp., formerly Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corp., will consolidate the Boise plant’s manufacturing operations with the Wabtec plant in Erie, Pennsylvania. The consolidation is expected to be completed by mid-2020. Webtec will maintain ownership of the facility in Boise, and some of the engineering, program management and services teams will remain. MotivePower says it has built more than 2,800 locomotives since 1972 in Boise. The company had 750 workers in 2007, 550 in 2012 and in 2016, amid a downturn in freight business, it laid off 210 people. Source: Idaho Statesman

Boise County

  • Eleven lift towers for Bogus Basin’s new Morning Star chairlift have been installed and set by helicopter crew. The new high-speed quad chairlift is on track to be open around the end of the first week of December, which is the nonprofit ski resort’s projected opening date. The new $5 million Doppelmayr lift, paid for in cash thanks to a strong ski season last year and record season pass sales, will cut the ride from the base to the upper lodge from 9 minutes to 3 minutes. It is the first new chairlift at Bogus Basin since 2011, bringing the number of high-speed detachable quads to four. Source: Idaho Press
  • Pioneer Lodge at the Bogus Basin Mountain Resort is getting an upgrade. The lodge was first opened in 1973 and has undergone a number of facelifts and changes for the years. The plans call for new restrooms, new interior and exterior finishes, a new kitchen and improvements to the bar and lounge area. Source: BoiseDev

Canyon County

  • The I-84 expansion between Nampa and Caldwell is expected to continue through the winter and most of 2020. About $150 million has been allocated for the expansion of the interstate in Nampa, between the Karcher interchange and Franklin Boulevard interchange. Construction on the Karcher Overpass, a two-lane bridge off Karcher Road, began in March to widen the underside of the overpass to allow for additional lanes on I-84. Work on this portion may be completed around November. I-84 will be widened to four lanes in each direction, including three permanent lanes and one auxiliary lane. Widening the corridor began this summer and will continue through the winter and next summer. In conjunction, crews are working on improvements to the Franklin Boulevard and Northside interchanges. Northside will have a brand new interchange. The Franklin Boulevard Interchange will have a wider eastbound off-ramp and some modified traffic signals to allow two left turn lanes onto the westbound on-ramp. An environmental review is still being conducted for the expansion of I-84 from the Karcher interchange to Caldwell. Source: Idaho Press
  • In 2019 so far, 100 affordable senior housing apartments have been built in Nampa, and a 70-unit complex will be completed in 2020. The Colorado Gardens opened with 50 unties in January. The 50 units in Mercy Creek complex are all leased. Sky Ridge, near the Saltzer Health Clinic and currently under construction, will open in 2020. Source: Idaho Business Review

Valley County

  • McCall Transit recently added three buses to its fleet and began providing free service in McCall to passengers seven days a week. It also started offering service between McCall and Cascade, with stops in Lake Fork and Donnelly, Monday through Friday, for a small fee. Source: McCall Star-News
  • Increased hours for St. Luke’s McCall acute care clinic and faster transfers to Boise started in October. The move is funded with $735,000 of property taxes from the McCall Memorial Hospital District. The clinic will add a Sunday clinic and expand hours the rest of the week. The tax subsidy also will pay for a two-way video hookup in the hospital’s emergency room for patients with mental health crises and treatment of stroke victims. Source: McCall Star-News
  • Tamarack Resort is improving its mountain terrain and opening up lift-served access to more than 200 acres. A new high-speed, detachable, four-person chairlift will service the Wildwood trails, which have not been skiable by lift since 2009. In addition, Tamarack is expanding its grooming fleet with two additional vehicles. The summer maintenance crew cleared brush and removed undergrowth to reduce fire danger and provide snow that is more skiable next winter. Dozens of workers have been trying to finish the massive project of completing the first phase of the Village Plaza. Retail shops, ski rentals, restaurants and more than 100 condominiums are expected to be ready for the 2019-2020 winter season. Source: KTVB

 Washington County

  • The new Ridley’s Family Market opened in Weiser this fall, almost 30 months since the old store was forced to close when the roof collapsed due to the snowstorms of January 2017. Two weeks after the roof collapsed, Ridley’s opened for business in the old King’s store and plans were being made to rebuild in Weiser. Source: Weiser Signal America
  • The number of building permits issued by Washington County and the city of Weiser for new single-family homes is up slightly from last year. While Ada and Canyon counties have experienced fast-paced home building with record prices, activity in Washington County is slow and steady. For the period from January through August, the planning and zoning department issued 19 new single-family home building permits with a construction value of $2.26 million. During the same period last year, the county issued 13 permits with a total construction value of $2.05 million. The city of Weiser issued six building permits with a total construction value of $1.2 million. During the same period in 2018, the city issued five permits with a total construction value of $488,964. Source: Weiser Signal America
  • One of Weiser’s historic downtown buildings has been sold to a partnership of two California residents who plan to renovate it and lease space. The two-story circa 1900 building on the corner of State and Idaho streets was once the former meeting place of the International Order of Oddfellows. There is no timeline for the renovations but once completed the building could potentially have five retail spaces on the ground floor and two apartments upstairs. Source: Weiser Signal America

Openings

  • Elite RV Storage, a 17-acre RV parking lot on Victory Road in Nampa.
  • Empanada Club in Meridian on Stonehenge Way. The restaurant serves a variety of Argentina food and beverages.
  • Caffenia Coffee Roasting Company opened a second location on Overland Road at Raymond Street in Boise.
  • Amano Resataurante, a Mexican restaurant, opened in downtown Caldwell near Indian Creek Plaza.
  • A new Maverick convenience store is opening on East Fairview Avenue in Meridian.
  • Moss Coffee & Tea opened a second location in downtown Boise.
  • Coyote Prosthetics and Orthotics, a family-owned business in Boise and Twin Falls, opened a new office in Caldwell.
  • Good Burger opened its fourth Treasure Valley location across from St. Luke’s Medical Center on Eagle Road.
  • Rackley Automotive Group Boise, a used car dealership, opened on West Fairview in Boise with 15 employees.
  • Nugget CBD opened a shop on Broadway Avenue in Boise.
  • Pioneer Federal Credit Union is opening a branch on Holly Street in Nampa.
  • Art studio Artful Bon’s opened in Weiser.

Closures

    • Brü, a small bar that served up beer from self-pour in Boise, closed after a year in business.
    • Donut Daze located in the Main + Marketplace (formerly the Capital Terrace) in Boise closed in early September. The proprietors are planning to return to the same location in October as a live entertainment venue.

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

Blaine County

  • Carey celebrated its centennial with a rodeo, music and food vendors. Mormon settlers founded the city, which was incorporated in 1919. President Harry Truman dedicated the Carey Airport in 1948 at the urging of Carey citizen and Idaho Secretary of State Pete Cenarrusa. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Sun Valley Resort is completing the final razing of six dormitory buildings and the 45,000-square-foot Moritz Building that most recently housed back office functions such as accounting for the destination resort. Prior to that, the building was the Moritz Community Hospital. After all razing is complete, the area will be landscaped to blend in with the golf course. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Gooding County

  • The Hagerman School District has implemented a culinary, agriculture and food science program at the high school level referred to as its food science and processing lab. A French-trained chef from a long-standing restaurant in Hagerman is one of the instructors who couples his training with product from local farms and hunters. The students leave the program with ServSafe, Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point certifications. The students also learn how to market a product through their website and YouTube channel called AGFSCI. Students are workforce-ready after earning the certification, but the program provides more enrichment than similar programs in other school districts. Source: Times-News

Jerome County

  • The 18th anniversary of 911 was remembered with a display of 3,000 U.S. flags at Crossroads Point, a business park at the intersection of I-84 and US Highway 93, followed up with a veterans ceremony a few days later. The pageantry occurs every other year. Individuals can purchase the flags with the proceeds going towards the North Side Military Museum and the Jerome Historical Society. Source: KMVT News

Minidoka County

  • Minidoka Memorial Hospital is implementing Synergi-Life, a DNVG software product that that will help track patient progression focusing on quality, health, safety, environment and risk management. The software has been used by oil and gas companies and international hospitals but Minidoka Memorial is the first U.S. hospital to use its integration capabilities. Minidoka Memorial is a finalist for an industry innovation award because of Synergi-Life, out-competing giants such as Merck. Source: KMVT News
  • Heyburn is facing $7 million in necessary repairs to its water system that shows signs of corroding pipes and will seek passing a bond to pay for it. It is a separate request from the judicially sanctioned $12.4 million dollar renovation to the waste water system that is currently going out to bid. The wastewater system was facing fines because it was not in compliance. The city will bring the issue to the public in an open house format before it appears on a ballot. Source: Times-News

Twin Falls County

  • Chobani, in collaboration with the Idaho Foodbank, has stepped up to fill 400 backpacks with healthy meals and snacks for elementary age children to take home. The backpacks also have a $25 gift card for families to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables to round out the backpack meals. Source: KMVT News
  • The Twin Falls School District is offering its first military class introducing students to the military as a career. It also provides a boost in training preparedness should a student enroll in the military after high school. Twenty-five students enrolled in this initial launch with another 25 expected next spring. The Idaho National Guard is underwriting the cost of the program, and the vision is to expand throughout the region, even offering college credit through the State of Idaho’s Fast Forward program. Source: Times-News
  • The Twin Falls County Fair reported a drop in attendance this year, down two percent with an estimated 74,000 attendees. Fair officials blame the high temperatures, noting the venders with lighter or cold food and drink did better than the heavier or hot items. Source: KMVT News
  • Food Producers of Idaho honored six farming families at the Twin Falls County Fair this year. Included as Featured Farm Families are:  Brackett Livestock/Bert and Paula Brackett of Rogerson, Wayne Hurst Farms/Wayne Hurst of Burley, Ramseyer Farms, Inc./Dave Ramseyer of Filer, Stoltzfus Dairy and Cloverleaf Creamery/Stoltzfus family of Buhl, Tubbs Berry Farm/Kirk and Heidi Tubbs of Twin Falls and Winecup L Cattle Company LLC/Bill and Laura Lickley of Jerome. Food Producers of Idaho represents more than 40 commodity and farm groups, is based out of Meridian and was founded in 2015. Source: Capital Press
  • The Twin Falls School District has 120 more students this fall compared with last year. Officials are proposing an emergency levy to ensure there is sufficient staff to cover the overage. This is a typical funding tactic with the district qualifying for $650,000 compared with last year’s approved levy totaling $2.5 million. Source: Times-News
  • Kit Crawford and Gary Erickson, co-CEO’s of Clif Bar, submitted an opinion-editorial to the San Francisco Chronicle in support of creating a path to citizenship for migrant workers. The married leaders of the Twin Falls commercial bakery are supportive of those that come to the U.S. to work. “At Clif Bar & Company, we know that our continued success is dependent on a healthy planet and healthy workforce,” the piece read. “The path to a more equitable agriculture system is complex, but all of us — both food companies and eaters — must engage in finding fair and just solutions.” Source: Times-News
  • Affordable housing is slated to replace the Idaho Youth Ranch in downtown Twin Falls. Twin Falls Urban Renewal Agency originally purchased the property for $450,000 and sold it to a development group, Summit Creek Capital for $100. The Galena Fund is helping with the development, and both entities are enthusiastic about the Opportunity Zone credit that is dedicated to economically distressed census tracts. The first floor will be retail, the second floor is designed for offices and the next four floors will have between 40 and 50 apartments. Source: Boise State Public Radio

Grand Openings

  • Hampton Inn Burley held the grand opening of its 80-room property located near the Snake River and the fair grounds. Owners plan to add a business park offering both retail and office space.
  • Colliers International hosted a ribbon cutting to celebrate its new space in the recently renovated historic Elk’s Lodge Building in downtown Twin Falls. Source: Idaho Business Review

 Closures

  • Kmart in Twin Falls will liquidate its inventory this fall with an estimated closure of mid-December 2019. 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 recently was awarded a five-year, $2.375 million federal grant to help local seasonal farm workers and their immediate family members earn a high school equivalency diploma. During each of the five years covered by the grant, ISU will receive $475,000 to prepare classes of up to 48 students from migrant families to pass the General Education Development test. Participants will be given a computer tablet and will have their costs of taking the GED test covered. Once participants earn their GED diplomas, the program will help them transition to “the next step,” whether it be a new career path or a postsecondary education or training program. Source: Farm and Ranch
  • Eastern Idaho State Fair completed another banner year for the longest running community event in southeastern Idaho. More than 247,000 people experienced the food, entertainment and fun grandstand events of the fair. Overall attendance was in line with previous years. Source: Idaho State Journal, KIDK
  • The Bureau of Reclamation has selected four eastern Idaho projects to receive small-scale water efficiency grants. The projects are intended to help the entities more efficiently manage water supply reliability. This WaterSMART program improves water conservation and reliability for communities throughout the West. The four projects include efforts by Mud Lake Water Users Inc. to measure groundwater discharge flows and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes to measure surface water within the Michaud Unit of the Fort Hall Irrigation Project. Source: KIDK

Bannock County

  • Construction of the future North Gate interchange to Interstate 15 is on schedule and should open by Nov. 1. This will provide the necessary access into the future Northgate development. Northgate is planned to be a pedestrian-friendly district with a Portneuf Health Trust medical campus, thousands of homes, commercial retailers, a Class A business park and a gated community for seniors. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The first dozen homes within the gated community in the Northgate development are on schedule to be finished by December. About half of these dozen homes are already sold, and other potential buyers are on a waiting list. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Lakefront property could soon be a thing in Chubbuck. Harvest Springs development is planned on 267 acres of farmland located east of the Fort Hall Canal and Hiline Road and north of the new Interstate 15 interchange. A groundwater well now serving the farm would be used to fill a small lake approximately half the size of the lake within the Portneuf Wellness Complex. The first phase will include 47 homes and two empty lots reserved for parks. Prices of homes in the development will start at $250,000; homes on a few of the larger lots with the best views will sell for more than $500,000. The lake would be developed during the project’s second phase, beginning in 2021. The plan is to build 15 to 20 residences — a combination of condominiums and single-family homes — fronting the lake. Walking paths would be constructed around the lake. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Midvale, Utah-based Savage Services, is evaluating the feasibility of building an intermodal facility — which would comprise expanded rail infrastructure and mobile equipment for handling and storing shipping containers — and the preliminary results appear promising. A number of other businesses in the area have expressed support for the proposal. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The cost and scope of renovations to Pocatello High School has more than doubled since first estimated a year ago. Now, the endeavor has evolved into a roughly $10 million project that includes a new front entrance to the school, remodeled administrative office space, 10 additional math and science classrooms, a commons area for students to congregate inside and the connector between the school’s two main buildings. The entire project has been divided into two phases. The first phase, which is nearing completion, involved constructing the new entrance and remodeling administrative office spaces. The second phase involves constructing the connector between the two main buildings and the additional classroom space. Construction for phase two is anticipated to begin as early as April or as late as June of 2020 and should reach completion in time for the start of the 2022 school year. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • With a ceremonial check presentation to Bannock County, the Pocatello Development Authority closed the books of the North Yellowstone Urban Renewal Area about 10 years ahead of schedule. According to PDA Board Chairman, the project generated more than $40 million in new buildings and many new jobs. He estimated the wages created by those jobs at nearly $7.4 million. Source: KIDK
  • A suggestion to merge Pocatello and Chubbuck into one city under a new name has been making the rounds in eastern Idaho. Pocatello City Council President Jim Johnston is championing this plan and estimates a merger would save at least $12 million per year through consolidation of services and elimination of redundant department heads. He hopes to have the issue of combining the cities on next spring’s election ballot. Source: Idaho State Journal

Bingham County

  • Basic American Foods has announced plans to close its manufacturing plant in Shelley and its ingredients plant in Blackfoot, phasing out production at both facilities over two years. However, the company intends to significantly expand and improve its Rexburg facility. The Rexburg expansion will more than offset the lost output from the closure of the Shelley dehydrated potato plant, which currently employs 200 workers. The Blackfoot facility planned for closure, which manufactures flavorings and other ingredients, employs about 100 workers and was purchased from Nonpareil in 2013. A large portion of the closures of both plants are expected to occur toward the end of February 2020, and packaging operations should continue in Shelley through mid-2021, officials said. The company also expects to continue using its Shelley warehouses into the future. Source: Idaho State Journal

Caribou County

  • Several people gathered to attend Gov. Brad Little’s Capital for a Day visit in Grace on Aug. 27. Discussions ranged from legalizing marijuana to student scholarships and education. Source: Caribou County Sun
  • The Bureau of Land Management has issued a Record of Decision to approve the Caldwell Canyon Mine Project, an open pit phosphorus mine in Caribou County. P4 Productions, LLC, a subsidiary of Bayer, would develop three phosphate leases located on Schmidt Ridge. The move grants exclusive rights to the lease owner to develop the phosphate minerals in accordance with the BLM approved mine plan. Source: Caribou County Sun

Oneida County

  • A $17.35 million bond to construct a new building for Malad Elementary School failed during the election held Aug. 27. Voting in favor were 57.2 percent of registered voters, and 42.8 percent voted against the bond. Passage of the bond required a 66.7 percent super majority. The bond request would have funded the demolition of the 70-year-old Malad Elementary School building and paid for the construction of a new elementary school to take its place. Source: The Idaho Enterprise, Idaho State Journal
  • The Oneida County’s fair board and county commissioners hosted a ground breaking for the community events center at the Oneida Fairgrounds Sept. 3. The new building will house the county extension office, be available for public and private events and 4-H programs, and will be used for elections. The anticipated completion date is in March 2020. Source: The Idaho Enterprise

Openings

    • Skin Speaks Esthetics in Blackfoot
    • Peak Family Medicine in Blackfoot
    • Fizz Soda Lab in Blackfoot

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

  • The Bureau of Reclamation has selected four eastern Idaho projects to receive small-scale water efficiency grants. The projects are intended to help the entities more efficiently manage water supply reliability. This WaterSMART program improves water conservation and reliability for communities throughout the West. The four projects include efforts to conserve water in the Henry’s Fork watershed. Source: KIDK

Bonneville County

  • Snake River Landing held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new 60,000-square-foot three-story office building planned for Snake River Parkway and Event Center Drive. The building will be finished in late summer of 2020. The new office building is the latest development announced at Snake River Landing. In July, Snake River announced the expansion of Love at First Bite, which first opened at the development in 2009 and expanded for the first time in 2012. The Falls Apartments is also expanding, with a 96-unit addition to the original 228-unit apartment complex that opened in 2017. Idahoan Foods is in the process of remodeling 900 Pier View Drive in Snake River Landing for its new corporate headquarters. Construction on the new roadway Event Center Drive is wrapping up this fall, and construction on the new Heritage Park continues with the city of Idaho Falls. Source: KIDK
  • The Idaho Falls Community Hospital is set to open its doors Nov. 4. The new hospital will have 88 beds and 22 more emergency room beds. The hospital will also include a restaurant-style cafeteria with a seating capacity of up to 73 people. A medical staff will consist of 350 to 400 people. The cost of the construction project is $116 million, but another $25 million will be spent on operating costs before the hospital opens up. The project is being funded by a medical trust that also operates Mountain View. Source: East Idaho News
  • Idaho Falls City Council members unanimously approved the contract to purchase the 8.2-acre stockyards on Northgate Mile for $675,000 from the Idaho Live Stock Commission Company of Bonneville County. The purchase is part of the city’s goal to revitalize and remediate older areas of town. While the city has not specifically announced plans for the acquired property, a police station is a possibility. Source: East Idaho News
  • American Mills, LLC plans soon to expand into a new Idaho Falls facility with the capacity to process up to 5 percent of the world’s quinoa supply. The business contracts with 17 growers from American Falls through Ashton to raise a proprietary variety of the nutrient-rich, pseudo-cereal crop. Its quinoa fields range in size from 100 to 200 acres and has already made eastern Idaho the largest quinoa production region in North America. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • A majority of voters in Bonneville Joint School District 93 voted against the proposed $42.7 million bond on Aug. 27 ballot. The bond would have been used to pay for a new $19 million elementary school and for additions and renovations at Bonneville and Hillcrest high schools, including changes to the science labs and special needs program. Source: Post Register

Custer County

  • Mackay High School’s aquaculture class want to become the first certified disease-free hatchery at a high school so they can supply up to 20,000 fish fingerlings a year for state waters. To do it, they are rebuilding the school’s old greenhouse/hatchery building into a bigger facility. Students and volunteers are pitching in pounding nails and running power tools. The new building is expected to be completed in October and the hatchery in operation later in the school year. Source: Post Register
  • Three Idaho construction companies bid on an improvement project for the Challis Airport. Depatco Inc. of St. Anthony, H & K Construction of Idaho Falls and Gale Lim Construction of Blackfoot presented their bids to the council on Sept. 12. Depending on how much the Federal Aviation Administration is willing to allocate to Challis, the estimated cost of the project lies between $3.4 million and $4.3 million. Source: Challis Messenger

Madison County

  • California-based Ensign Group Inc. said it bought Temple View Transitional Care Center, a 119-bed skilled nursing facility in Rexburg. Ensign is seeking opportunities to acquire real estate and to lease well-performing and struggling skilled nursing, assisted living and other health care-related businesses throughout the U.S. Ensign purchased the 40-bed McCall Rehabilitation and Care Center in McCall in July. Source: Idaho Business Review

Fremont County

  • Last year the Idaho Department of Correction tried unsuccessfully to purchase the old Lincoln school building for an expansion to the St. Anthony Work Camp. This year it has acquired funds to build a $7 million expansion to the south end of the building. Work camp officials hope to add 125 beds to its facility that currently houses 276 inmates. The addition will require expanding the kitchen and laundry areas as well as the visitation and administration areas. Source: Post Register

Lemhi County

  • First Cobalt, which owns the Iron Creek Cobalt Project in Lemhi County, entered a $5 million loan agreement with Glencore AG on Aug. 26 to complete engineering, metallurgical testing, field work and permitting associated with recommissioning and expanding the First Cobalt refinery in Canada. According to a news release from First Cobalt, the loan will allow an assessment of the suitability of the refinery to treat Glencore material to produce cobalt sulfate for the North American electric vehicle market. Source: Challis Messenger

Openings

  • Fro Yo Bubble Bar in Rigby
  • Mad Moose Pizza in St. Anthony
  • pickle DELI in Idaho Falls
  • Planet Smoothie in Ammon
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho (RMHC) family room in the East Idaho Regional Medical Center, Idaho Falls.

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

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