NORTHERN IDAHO – Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties
- The Panhandle Health District has opened COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all persons 16 and older. To date, the health district has administered roughly 90,000 doses, or 85% of its 106,000 distributed doses. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
- Amid falling COVID-19 case counts and dropping test positivity rates, Panhandle Health District has rescinded the masking mandate for the five northern counties. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
- The Idaho Transportation Department has begun a multiyear improvement project on State Route 41 between Post Falls and Rathdrum. The work will include widening the highway with additional lanes and a median, as well as safety improvements including bridges over railroad crossings and new traffic signals. The $131 million multiphase project is slated for completion in 2023. Source: Journal of Business
- Construction has begun on the Atlas Mill site in Coeur d’Alene. The first phase of work on the mixed residential and commercial redevelopment will include 30 single family homes, 24 townhomes and 150 multifamily units. Two more construction phases will subsequently add additional residential, retail and office space. Source: Journal of Business
- J.C. Penny announced it will close its store in the Silver Lake Mall in Coeur d’Alene. This pending closure will shutter the last J.C. Penny in northern Idaho, following the closure of stores in Lewiston, Moscow and Ponderay. Source: Spokesman Review
- Pilates by the Lake
- Five Pine Wealth Management
- Pantry Specialty Market
- American Kickboxing Academy
- Auction Depot
- Thompson’s Custom Orthopedics & Prosthetics
- Artesian Bottleless Water
- NW Group Auto Sales
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
Idaho and Lewis Counties
- Harty and Marjorie Schmaehl opened a 16-room, two-story, 11,000-square-foot addition to the Hearthstone Lodge near Kamiah in March. A fountain from France enhances the villa’s European feel. Hearthstone Lodge opened in 2000. Source: Lewiston Tribune
- New owners recently remodeled long-term White Bird icon, Hoot’s Café, and renamed it The Confluence Resort. In addition to the restaurant along Highway 95, the resort includes a small motel and a gas station with an automotive repair shop. Source: Idaho County Free Press
- The former variety store in downtown Kooskia is being renovated and soon will reopen as a variety store. Source: Idaho County Free Press
- Patrons of the Highland Joint School District approved a one-year supplemental levy of $499,000 on March 9. Source: Lewiston Tribune
- The pandemic caused a casualty in downtown Moscow’s business lineup. Keeney Bros. Music Center closed after 30 years of service. COVID-19 caused a drop in business as school and other area bands were unable to perform, thus intensifying competition from Amazon. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
- Wells Fargo plans to close its bank branch on Blaine Street in Moscow’s east side in June. Its downtown location will remain open. Customers are increasingly using a wide range of digital capabilities for many of their banking needs, reducing the needs for branches in some communities. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
- All four local school levies on March 9 ballots received voter approval — Genesee School District, a one-year supplemental levy of $985,000; Kendrick Joint School District, a two-year supplemental levy of $810,000 per year; Potlatch School District, a one-year supplemental levy of $1.65 million; and Troy School District, a one-year supplemental levy of $995,000. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily New
- Single-family homes are still in short supply on the Palouse, but that does not prevent higher-income people moving to the area, according to Brian Points, a consultant behind a 2019 assessment of housing needs on the Palouse. He recently told the League of Women Voters that many higher-income people are moving into homes or building their own homes. Many of them are locating on land outside Moscow and Pullman and in the surrounding smaller communities. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
Nez Perce and Asotin Counties
- To celebrate the 100th birthday of Marion Shinn, a long-time leader in career-technical education and economic development, the city of Lewiston issued a proclamation listing his many accomplishments — becoming first director of vocational-technical education at Lewis-Clark State College, being instrumental in the creation of the Clearwater Economic Development Association, acting as a founding member of the Nez Perce County Historical Society, earning the first doctorate of vocational education at the University of Idaho, serving as mayor of Lewiston and acting as a community philanthropist. Source: Lewiston Tribune
- Vista Outdoor, one of the largest ammunition makers in the country, is making ammunition as fast as it can as demand for ammunition continues to surge, causing shortages. During the past year, its Lewiston operations added more than 200 jobs, bringing employment above 1,200, and the company continues to list job openings. Source: Lewiston Tribune
- Clearwater Paper made a $77.1 million profit in 2020. “Our tissue business drove results with both higher sales and production volumes year over year to meet volatile demand, which exceeded our expectations,” said Clearwater Paper CEO Arsen Kitch in a conference call for stock market analysts. “Our paperboard business delivered strong performance as well. Our backlogs are robust.” To share the profits, the company gave $1,000 bonuses to many employees including 1,000 working at its Lewiston manufacturing complex. In addition, employees become eligible for a $200 bonus when they are inoculated against the coronavirus. The company sees continued strength in tissue and paperboard throughout this year. Source: Lewiston Tribune
- Valley Vision recently debuted a video to recruit new business to the Lewis-Clark Valley. It features large employers including Clearwater Paper, Vista Outdoor, Idaho Forest Group, the Nez Perce Tribal Enterprises, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and St. Joseph Regional Medical Center. It also shows the many outdoor recreation opportunities the region offers including boating, golfing, hunting, fishing and hiking. The presence of the University of Idaho, Washington State University, Lewis-Clark State College and Walla Walla Community College’s Clarkston campus provides access to thousands of college graduates and unique resources for training. The 10-minute video can be viewed at www.lewis-clarkvalley.org. Source: Lewiston Tribune
- Primary contractor Cascade Bridge Work began work to replace the aging Cherrylane Bridge over the Clearwater River in late March. The $15.8 million project first involves widening U.S. Highway 12 at the construction site to allow vehicles to pass unimpeded during the two-year project. The new 800-foot, two-lane bridge will be built 70 feet upstream from the century-old bridge, which will be destroyed after the new bridge opens around May 2023. The single-lane span built in 1919 is rated as structurally deficient with a rating of 30 out of 100. Severe weight restrictions prevent use by vehicles like loaded dump trucks and cement trucks from accessing the area for frequent residential building projects; grain trucks; and loaded tankers serving the Nez Perce Tribe’s fish hatchery across the river from U.S. Highway 95. Source: Lewiston Tribune
- Idaho Central Credit Union plans to build a Lewiston branch across from the Maverick on Thain Road. It opened a Moscow branch in December. Source: Lewiston Tribune
- Three brothers, who graduated from Lewiston High School and now live in Richland, Washington, are investing in downtown Lewiston. In March, they acquired buildings on Lewiston’s Main Street. The 17,000-square-foot former Norco building, along with an adjacent 6,000-square-foot building, may eventually contain a coffee shop, retail shops and professional offices. One of the brothers, Nathan Croskrey told the Lewiston Tribune that their choice to invest in Lewiston partly occurred because of the momentum they see growing in the community. Source: Lewiston Tribune
- All counties in Washington moved to Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan on March 22, bringing restaurants, gym, movie theater and other indoor venues to 50 percent capacity and allowing outdoor gatherings of 400 people. Outdoor sporting facilities with permanent seating now may use as much as 25 percent capacity for spectators. Source: Spokesman-Review
- Blend, a café specializing in meal-replacement shakes, opened at temporary a location in Mall 21 on 21st Street in Lewison in March. This summer, it will move to Southgate Plaza on Bryden Avenue.
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
- AZEK committed to leasing and renovating an existing facility near the Boise airport for its first Idaho manufacturing plant. The company intends to hire about 80 employees initially ending up with more than 100 jobs upon starting operations in early 2022. Its other plants are in Ohio, Minnesota and Pennsylvania. AZEK is a manufacturer of natural-looking, maintenance-free decking and trim for home exteriors. Most of its products are made from recyclable materials and to date, the company has recycled 400 million pounds of material with a goal of a billion pounds by 2026. The city of Boise’s renewable timeline caught the company’s attention, along with the potential for supply chain materials nearby. The company will be using the Idaho Department of Commerce Tax Reimbursement Incentive that provides up to 30% reimbursement of payroll, sales and income taxes to new and existing companies in Idaho based on specific criteria. Source: Idaho Business Review
- Idaho State Board of Education approved five new cybersecurity programs at Boise State University. The approval time was about a year and includes an undergraduate and graduate degree in cyber operations and resilience, an analyst and threat intelligence certificate, a resilience engineering certificate and a governance policy administration certificate with a program start of academic year 2022-2023. The courses are offered online without set lecture and class times to make it more accessible for working students. Course program content and designs have been developed collaboratively with 16 industry professionals. Source: Idaho Business Review
- Boise State University will hold three graduation commencement ceremonies in May outdoors at Albertsons Stadium. The third ceremony will be for the 2020 class whose graduation was canceled due to the pandemic. Source: Boise Public Radio
- Idaho State University – Meridian is offering a Master of Occupational Therapy degree starting fall 2022 with its first class of 20 students. Research for developing the program started in 2018. The recently hired program director, Barbara Kornblau, is an attorney, an occupational therapist, a certified case manager, a certified disability management specialist and a person with a disability. She is also a former Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow in the U.S. Senate working on disability issues. She has been a leader nationally in policy and advocacy for rehabilitation and disability issues. Occupational therapist work with both the younger population experiencing learning disabilities and the aging population wishing to age safely in their home. The occupational therapy program reports 100% placement from its existing program. Idaho Department of Labor’s occupational hot jobs list ranks occupational therapists 14th statewide with 25% growth over the next 10 years with an estimated median wage at $40 hourly. Source: Idaho Business Review and Idaho Department of Labor
- The Boise Airport announced Alaska Airlines will add flights to Chicago O’Hare and Austin, Texas, beginning June 17 and running daily year round. It will also increase its frequency to Sacramento with flights two times a day and a nonstop service to Everett, Washington, starting in September. Source: Idaho Press
- Construction started in 2019 on three facilities as part of St. Luke’s latest additions to its downtown campus, which are now ready to open pending inspections and occupancy permit approval. The North Tower Parking Garage, constructed before the North Tower building, will house more than 1,100 vehicles, making it the largest in downtown Boise. It is attached to the new 52,938-square-foot central utility plant with eight levels, two underground. The new plant includes the centralized mail room and four diesel-powered generators housed for normal and emergency use. The steam heat and air conditioning systems provide for snowmelt water to feed the hypocaust deicing system under the new sidewalks. There is twice the capacity of the former system for room to add more boilers and chillers down the road. The shipping and receiving department moved to the alley to reduce noise and increase aesthetics for residential neighbors and traffic. All items go directly down freight elevators underground for distribution among supply carts which move along a 1,000-foot corridor linking all three buildings to the main hospital. Source: Idaho Business Review
- Thanks to grant funding from the Department of Environmental Quality, J & M Sanitation of Kuna purchased two new electric garbage trucks. The additional funding was a deciding factor, though the new electric trucks are quieter, have a smoother ride and are less taxing on workers. This is the first purchase of electric garbage trucks in Idaho and required a larger power transformer for three charging stations that were part of the necessary infrastructure. It is unclear as to how long the vehicles will remain in the fleet as electric refuse vehicles are a new trend. As part of the grant compliance, the company will report back on performance and usage ultimately to be shared with other businesses interested in green energy. Source: Idaho Business Review
- The Ada County Courthouse has again suspended jury trials effective April 19, unless the trial has already started based on a COVID-19 incidence rate rise above the safety threshold established by Idaho Health & Welfare data for Ada County. Those counties with incidence rates between 14 and 24.9 per 100,000 population and showing an increasing trend from the previous week must pause jury trials but the decision must be made 10 days prior to the start of that paused week. Sources: Idaho Press, Ada County Courthouse website
- The Gene Harris Jazz Festival was canceled in 2020 but goes virtual for 2021. This is its 24th anniversary with plans to expand from just two main events the first week of April. This year, there will be nine concerts showcasing musicians from Idaho and around the globe, all accessible remotely without cost to the public. There will be interviews and opportunities for students to interact with professional musicians remotely providing even greater access than past festivals when 1,500 high school students physically arrived on the Boise State University campus. Harris was Boise’s most famous jazz musician, a member of the trio The Three Sounds and upon retiring, performed in the Idanha Hotel. He died in 2000 leaving the legacy of the Gene Harris Jazz Festival which started in 1998. Source: Boise Weekly
- With church services virtually streaming during the pandemic, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church is using this downtime to renovate its 119-year-old cathedral and Tuttle House. Work includes refinishing wood floors, removing and shipping pews off for repair and refinishing, in addition to restoring and preserving its 29 stained glass windows — some of which are as old as the late 1800’s. Source: Idaho Statesman
- TOK Commercial recently released data from its survey that includes three parts. Office space leasing has slowed from 2019 to 2020 with a drop of 20% but sales are up 65% in the Boise metro area, according to a survey of the commercial real estate market by TOK Commercial. The survey includes three parts: retail, industrial and office space. Boise metro office space vacancy is at 15% with developments still in permitting and construction stages. Retail land sales remain strong with little change from 2019 to 2020. Industrial sales have struggled with a lack of inventory hindered by less speculative development and primarily demand-driven. Source: Idaho News 6.
- Micron announced it is in discussion to sell its Lehi, Utah, plant that manufactures 3D XPoint, a memory storage that fills the gap between DRAM and NAND flash. Micron’s leadership intends to focus on memory and storage innovations for data centers including the Compute Express Link-enabled products (CXL). This could bode well for Boise where much of Micron’s campus is dedicated to research and development of new memory products. Source: KTVB News
- Bogus Basin announced it is developing a new 10-year master plan that will invest in its winter season with more named trails, extensive brush cutting, increased grooming, new night lighting, increased snow making capacity, additional parking, increased chairlift capacity on Morning Star and Superior lifts and new transportation initiatives. Source: Idaho Press
- Gardner Company purchased the Nampa Gateway Center from RCG Ventures of Atlanta, Georgia, owners since 2017. The retail and business park is spread across 72 acres with close to 500,000 square feet of leasing space. David Wali, managing partner of Gardener Company, is reviewing existing leases and will have a plan for the development by the summer months. Some possibilities could include more office space, different retail, maybe a housing component, industrial businesses or those with showrooms. Source: Idaho Business Review
- Gov. Brad Little signed a bill that funds $3 million of the University of Idaho Parma Research and Extension Center’s $7 million project. Much of the funding came from the U of I and private industry stakeholders. The renovation to the 50-year old facility will bring labs in from temporary trailers, add equipment rooms, offices and conference rooms. The campus is on 200 acres and researches production, storage and related issues of vegetables, forages, cereals, hops, mint, fruit and seed crops. The research projects positively impact growers across the state as Idaho produces a diverse array of crops. The upgrades are scheduled for completion in 2023. Source: Idaho Press and Capital Press
- Northwest Nazarene University announced its May graduation ceremony will be held in person after students voted to return to the classroom for the spring semester. The ceremony will be held outdoors and follow COVID-19 protocols. Source: Idaho News 6
- College of Idaho will hold one in-person graduation ceremony in May to cover both 2020 and 2021 graduates. Source: Boise State Public Radio
- Darigold announced it will lease a building from Adler Industrial in the AI Northside Industrial Park in Nampa. The building’s construction started in July 2020 and Darigold is taking 84,000 square feet of the 140,000-square-foot building for warehouse space. Darigold is wholly owned by Northwest Dairy Association, a cooperative comprised of more than 350 dairy farmers throughout Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. It has plants in Boise and Jerome with the Boise plant expanding in 2020 to package aseptic milk products that carry an extended shelf life. This new warehouse in Nampa will provide the extra shelf space needed for the aseptic dairy products. Source: Idaho Business Review
- Caldwell’s third fire station is newly built near the Caldwell Industrial Airport. is the 9,000-square-foot facility will serve the area east of I-84, cutting response times in half. Source: Idaho Press
- Idaho’s oldest two-room schoolhouse is getting more than a facelift. Ola Elementary, built in 1910, is on the historical registry and like many aging structures, it needs updating. That includes some safety issues, particularly for a school, such as removal of lead paint and dry rot along with stabilizing walls. ADA-compliant bathrooms and a new HVAC system are also on the list. The Emmett Independent School District trustees approved the renovation, awarding the contract to Beniton Construction of Meridian. The venue for the 20 Ola students was relocated to the Ola Community Hall since August 2019. Fundraising efforts are ongoing through the Save Ola School committee (SOS) that has raised more than $260,000 thus far with the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation donating the largest share through a grant of $200,000. The total cost of both phases of the remodel is $653,770. Source: Messenger-Index
- After the 10-year plant levy failed by 32 votes, the Emmett School District trustees are bringing a $68 million bond to the voters in May. The bond will be amortized over a 30-year period, decreasing costs to taxpayers and taking advantage of low interest rates. The funds would be used to build a new high school and update existing facilities that were established pre-pandemic. Source: Index-Messenger
- Truckstop.com, headquartered in New Plymouth, announced it acquired Registry Monitoring Insurance Services (RMIS), a California tech company with 160 employees producing an app for brokers and shippers to connect with freight companies. All employees with RMIS will be retained and continue working in California, although the company suggested there may be an expansion in its future. In addition, the company announced all employees preferring to continue working from home after the pandemic will have that option. The company will maintain its existing space in New Plymouth and one of its two locations in west Boise, letting the lease expire on the space near the Town Square Mall. Source: Idaho Business Review
- A rockslide occurred March 15 on Highway 55 affecting traffic flow between Smith’s Ferry and the Rainbow Bridge. This cut off direct access to McCall from the Treasure Valley, redirecting traffic to I-95 for almost a week. Single lane access has resumed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. but a residual rock outcropping still needs to be removed, requiring future road closures in an area that the Idaho Department of Transportation already was working on. Source: Idaho Press
- The Idaho State Board of Land Commissioners that includes Gov. Brad Little, State Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and Idaho Department of Lands Director Dustin Miller voted to dissolve a moratorium on leasing of state-owned ground in McCall and approved the Payette Endowment Lands Strategy. This plan covers about 5,000 acres of timberland that is underperforming financially. The board is tasked with providing the highest financial return on land under its purview. Revenues generated are passed on to public schools in Idaho. The 13 parcels will be split into four levels of transition from timberland, with timelines for nine of the parcels. Trident Holdings has proposed swapping 10 of the parcels for timberlands in northern Idaho but public response is mixed on Trident’s Preserve McCall plan that includes lakefront development along with workforce housing and a community center. Source: Idaho Press
- The Office Depot in downtown Boise is closing its doors after the new owner of BoDo declined to renew its lease of 19,000 square feet. The new concept for this area is a food hall to be called The Warehouse and will consist of a variety of restaurants and drinking establishments. The Office Depot was the second lessee to sign on to the original BoDo concept in 2005. There continues to be two other Office Depots in the Treasure Valley and an Office Max, both owned by the ODP Corporation. Source: Idaho Statesman
- Wingstop opened its first Boise restaurant providing take-out only, for now. In 2019, Mashed awarded Wingstop No. 1 ranking among chains specializing in chicken wings. The chain has locations in Meridian and Nampa. Source: Idaho Statesman
- Coned Pizza held its downtown Boise grand opening in a space previously occupied by Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. It serves pizza in a cone. Source: Idaho Statesman
- Casanova Pizza reopened in a different Boise location after a six-year hiatus. It serves up neo-Neapolitan pizzas with high quality ingredients on a thin crust. Source: Idaho Statesman
- The Lively restaurant opened in downtown Boise, offering an urban, upscale vibe. One of the restaurant partners is Chef Higgins whose restaurant in New York City earned Michelin ratings. Source: Idaho Statesman
- Astro Gallery of Gems opened its retail store offering gems, fossils and minerals within the Village at Meridian.
- Remi Bleu, a clothing retailer featuring classic designs, opened in the Village at Meridian.
- Paddles Up, a local poke restaurant, opened in the Village at Meridian.
- Kicks N Bricks, a retailer of high end shoes, moved into the Boise Town Square Mall after being in business less than six months. The co-owners reported meeting the million dollar milestone for sales after only eight months in business. Source: Idaho News 6
- Homewood Suites by Hilton opened in Eagle. Source: Company website. https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/boieghw-homewood-suites-eagle-boise/
- The Crescent Bar, with its renown signage ‘No Lawyers’, is closing after operating for 55 years in Boise. It moved to a new location under new ownership in 2003. The owners are retiring having sold the building and the 2 ½ acre lot to developers from Spokane, Washington. Plans for the property include a brunch restaurant, a gastropub and two three-story apartment buildings. These same developers purchased the Dutch Goose and will reopen it as a gastropub called the Backyard Public House and are developing the Brick West Brewing Company in Garden City. Source: Idaho Statesman
- Loose Screw Beer Co. is closing its brewery and tasting room in Garden City. Its taproom in Meridian will continue to operate as it seeks a new location. Source: Idaho Statesman
- Hobby Lobby held a hiring fair to fill positions at its new store in the former Shopko in west Boise. The company originally said it planned to hire between 35 and 50 people in part-time and full-time positions such as cashiers, shelf stockers, freight receivers, bookkeepers and department managers. The company plans to open its store in late spring after spending more than $700,000 to remodel the 63,000-plus square feet of space. This is its first store in Boise and sixth in Idaho. Source: Idaho Statesman
Jan.Roeser@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 735-2500 ext. 3639
SOUTH CENTRAL IDAHO – Blaine, Camas, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls counties
- According to a recent report, permits for new residential housing in Hailey increased by about 177% in 2020. The new 133 approved units included single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums and apartment units. The estimated construction valuation rose from about $15.7 million in 2018 to $36 million in 2020. The report also indicated that construction was booming in the area, while the number of active businesses dropped from 483 to 463. – Idaho Mountain Express
- Voters in the Camas County School District have approved a $250,000 supplemental levy per year. The levy is about 17% lower than what the district has asked for in the previous years. – Times News
- Voters in the Hagerman Joint School District have approved a $150,000 supplemental levy per year. The levy is about 25% lower than what the district has asked for in the previous years. These funds will help to reestablish its K-12 physical education program. In addition, the money will make up gaps in state funding the district receives for construction and welding programs. – Times News
- Voters in the Gooding Joint School District approved a $650,000 supplemental levy per year. The funds will help to finance student supplies, smaller building repairs, counselors’ salaries and other support services the state does not completely cover. – Times News
- Voters in the American Falls School District approved a $2.75 million annual supplemental levy. The funds will help pay competitive salaries that will attract and retain teachers as well as increase the quality and variety of classes offered. – Idaho State Journal
- Voters in the Rockland School District approved a $210,000 annual supplemental levy. The money will help fund salaries, retain high-quality teachers, prevent classroom consolidation and allow the district to offer career-specific programs and courses for students such as vocational agriculture, business and information systems technology. – Idaho State Journal
Twin Falls County
- Artisan Labs announced plans to build a 12,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Hansen. The cosmetic contract formulator and manufacturer will invest $3 million and bring more than 50 high-wage jobs like microbiology, chemistry, engineering and quality control to Twin Falls County. The company also plans to partner with local schools in STEM education, including the College of Southern Idaho. – Times News
- Jalisco Taqueria announced plans to reopen its doors after a fire last November forced them to shut down. The new restaurant will be located on Addison Avenue and is scheduled to begin operations by May. –COM
- Voters in the Twin Falls School District approved a 14% increase in the district’s supplemental levy. The $5.7 million levy will be collected over two years at a cost of $3.56 per $1,000 of taxable property value. – Times News
- Voters in the Hansen School District have approved a $290,000 supplemental levy. The funds will help cover coaches’ salaries, transportation costs associated with sports and other extracurricular activities. – Times News
Openings – Twin Falls
- Quick Response Firearms
- Texas Roadhouse
- D&B Supply
Closures – Twin Falls
- Christa’s Dress Shoppe and Tuxedo
- Idaho Creations Wine Barrel
Bonang Seoela@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 735-2500 ext 3820
SOUTHEASTERN IDAHO – Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Caribou, Franklin, Oneida & Power counties
- Southeastern Idaho passed all school bond levies during this month’s school elections. The results were as follows:
- Blackfoot. $23.9 million bond issue: passed. Two-year, $4 million supplemental levy: passed. The East Idaho district plans to convert the existing I.T. Stoddard Elementary School into a career-technical high school and build a new elementary school.
- Pocatello-Chubbuck. Two-year, $18.5 million supplemental levy passed, with 62% support. Levy dollars will go toward teacher recruitment, school safety and “unknowns associated with the pandemic’s financial impact on education.”
- Shelley. $7.5 million bond issue: passed, with 79 percent support. The district plans to renovate Goodsell Elementary School to add kindergarten classrooms and a special services center; install a new HVAC system at Hobbs Middle School; and install camera systems and electronic doors.
- American Falls. Two-year, $5.5 million supplemental levy: passed, with 62% support.
- Snake River. Two-year, $1.458 million supplemental levy: passed, with 75% support. This is a slight decrease from the existing $750,000-a-year levy.
- Bear Lake. Two-year, $1.3 million supplemental levy: passed, with 64% support.
- Soda Springs. One-year, $698,000 supplemental levy: passed, with 65% support.
- Separate one-year supplemental levies for $300,000 and $150,000. Both passed, with 70% and 68% support, respectively.
- Two-year, $420,000 supplemental levy: passed, with 95% support. Source: Idaho Education News
- A survey conducted by the Southeast Idaho Council of Governments found there is interest in a bus route between American Falls and Pocatello. The survey was conducted at the request of Lamb Weston, which is looking at hiring more people as part of its expansion and felt a bus route between the two cities would be beneficial. The bus route, if feasible, will be by provided by Pocatello Regional Transit, the regional transit authority for the area. Source: Power County Press
- The Homeless and Housing Coalition of Southeast Idaho recently partnered with Idaho State University to convert old parking meters into donation meters that can be placed in front of businesses. Placing money in the meters allows people to contribute to causes that can help panhandlers. A report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development indicates there was a 4% increase in homelessness statewide last year as compared to 2019. More than 1,660 people in Idaho were homeless as of January 2020. About 100 of those were in region 5 in the southeastern corner of the state, which includes Pocatello. Region 5 saw a decrease in homelessness in 2020. Source: East Idaho News
- Idaho State University (ISU) plans to shift back to full-time in-person instruction this fall. Like the rest of the state’s public colleges and universities, ISU has offered a mix of face-to-face and online courses this school year. But the availability of coronavirus vaccines changes the picture for 2021-22. Idaho State’s fall 2021 semester will begin Aug. 2. Source: Idaho Education News
- Bannock Development Corp held its 2021 Southeastern Idaho Economic Development Summit April 6 at Idaho State University’s Stephens Performing Arts Center. The event, themed “Working Together to Build the Future,” was cosponsored by the ISU College of Business. Source: Idaho State Journal
- A Salt Lake City-based transportation and logistics company has announced plans to build the state’s first intermodal rail terminal in Pocatello, thereby making it quicker and cheaper to export a variety of agricultural commodities. Savage — a global supply chain company — plans to start construction immediately on the facility, to be called Savage Railport-Southern Idaho. It should be operational by the middle of this year. Plans call for employing four people initially, moving about 150 containers per week to start and ramping up to 250 containers by year’s end. Source: Idaho State Journal
- Two local doctors who recently opened a Chubbuck medical campus have announced plans to add an urgent care that will include a laboratory, a pharmacy and a cardiovascular service facility. Brothers Fahim and Naeem Rahim hope to break ground on the planned medical facilities as soon as four months from now. Source: Idaho State Journal
- Construction workers have begun preparing the site for a new Idaho Central Credit Union branch location in the lot that once housed a Rite Aid drug store and later became a Portneuf Medical Center facility before sitting vacant for six years. Located at 515 E. Benton St., the new branch, once complete, will replace the existing ICCU branch across the street. Source: Idaho State Journal
- Construction started on a 4,425-square-foot event building at Patriot Square on Chubbuck Road in November. The building called, The Hive Venue, will be used for weddings and is on track for a grand opening in May. Source: Idaho State Journal
- Caribou Memorial Hospital administrators came to an agreement with county commissioners to close the county nursing home and turn over assets to a nonprofit entity. The date for closure has been set for May 1. Source: Caribou County Sun.
- The Preston city rodeo arena expansion project is well under way. The arena was dismantled last fall and construction began in December. When completed, the arena will seat 6,443 people, just over 1,000 more than its prior capacity. Source: The Preston Citizen
- 4F LLC Construction based in Providence, Utah, was approved for a Conditional Use Permit on plans to build three four-plexes between First and Second East, at about 350 South in Franklin. The company’s plans are in compliance with all the city engineer’s regulations, and it plans to rent the apartments. Source: Preston Citizen
- Lamb Weston Holdings Inc. announced an expansion of French fry processing capacity in China. The facility is expected to add approximately 280 full-time positions and will add to the company’s existing in-country production from its facility in Shangdu, Inner Mongolia, China. The new facility is expected to be completed in the company’s first half of fiscal year 2024. The total investment for the new facility is expected to be approximately $250 million. Source: Power County Press
- The housing nonprofit NeighborWorks Pocatello completed two homes in American Falls, its first housing project outside of Pocatello. The nonprofit builds homes using a variety of funding sources, and then sells them at cost or below to qualifying low-income homebuyers. Source: Power County Press
- Maverik, at the former Prime Time Auctions location, Pocatello
- The Radioactive Retailer, Pocatello
- Hokkaido Ramen & Sushi Bar, Pocatello
- Mocktail Express, Pocatello
- The Party Barn, Pocatello
- Marvin’s Room, a men’s clothing store, Chubbuck
- Roots Potato Chips, Aberdeen
- Red Lobster in Chubbuck
Esther.Eke@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4331
EASTERN IDAHO – Bonneville, Butte, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison & Teton counties
- With the notable exception of Bonneville School District 93, nearly all of the supplemental levies or plant facilities levies passed. Here’s a rundown of results:
- Ten-year, $38 million plant facilities levy: failed. Two-year, $13.6 million supplemental levy: failed.
- Idaho Falls. Two-year, $13.6 million supplemental levy: passed, with 75% support.
- Fremont County. Ten-year, $7 million plant facilities levy: passed, with 72% support. Two-year, $3 million supplemental levy: passed, with 72% percent support.
- West Jefferson. Two-year, $720,000 supplemental levy: passed, with 69% support. This is an increase from the district’s existing $300,000-a-year levy passed in 2018.
- Two-year, $580,000 supplemental levy: passed, with 70% support.
- Clark County. Two-year, $500,000 supplemental levy: passed, with 90% support.
- Sugar-Salem. Two-year, $400,000 supplemental levy: passed, with 72% support.
- Butte County. Two-year, $320,000 supplemental levy: passed, with 71% support.
- Swan Valley. Two-year, $120,000 plant facilities levy: passed. The district had run four similar levies since 2019, all without success. Source: Idaho Education News
- On March 17, Gov. Brad Little signed HB 225 after it passed both the House and Senate. The bill will put more than $89 million toward either repairs or capital projects for various public buildings across the state. A total of $3 million will go to the College of Eastern Idaho’s Future Tech Facility. Another $6.4 million will go to St. Anthony’s Juvenile Corrections Center, primarily to update housing facilities on site. Source: Idaho State Journal
- Grand Teton National Park hosted 3,289,639 recreation visits in 2020, the fourth-highest number of recreation visits for one year in the park’s history. During 2020, the park was closed for almost two months from March 24 – May 18, due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Compared to 2019, total recreation visits decreased by only 3.4%, despite the pandemic. Source: East Idaho News
- Big plans are underway for the intersection of Woodruff Avenue and 17th Street in Idaho Falls. The Federal Highway Administration and the Idaho Transportation Department have identified the project as “a public need,” according to a city of Idaho Falls news release. Both agencies said the intersection needs work to serve traffic better as Idaho Falls continues to grow. While officials and engineers have been working on designing the updated intersection since 2016, the city council passed two items related to the project – one of which involved condemning property to secure it for the project. Physical construction on the project is expected to take place in 2022. Source: East Idaho News
- For more than 25 years, Idaho Falls has been building trails, pathways and bikeways throughout the city. Now it is going to add two-and-a-half miles more of walking and biking trail along Idaho Canal, which winds through the residential neighborhoods east of Holmes Avenue. Construction on the trail will begin this spring. Knife River won the bid for the construction and the city has budgeted $965,620. Source: Idaho Business Review
- Camping World of Idaho Falls will be expanding its renovation and collision service offering. In total, there will be eight additional service bays, including fiberglass repair and a full paint booth, additional room for customer drop-off and pick-up, added customer service area and added RV inventory space to support the growing market. The project is expected to get underway soon and is slated for completion before the end of the year. Massive growth in the RV industry over the last year prompted the expansion project. The 2020 year-end total of RV shipments nationwide was 430,412 units, according to the RV Industry Association. In Idaho Falls, there was a 44% increase in sales throughout 2020 compared to the previous year, attributed to heightened interest in outdoor recreation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Source: East Idaho News
- The second half of a high-capacity power line in Idaho Falls is under construction after decades of delay. Idaho Falls Power and Rocky Mountain Power announced they will jointly own the new 161 kilovolt power line, which has 13 times more capacity than a normal power line. Idaho Falls Power is managing the construction of the line. Bases are already being dug for the supporting poles. Construction on the towers should start around late May and the project should be completed and ready for service by this fall. Source: Post Register
- Idaho Falls-based Melaleuca has been named No. 100 in a ranking of the Best Midsized Employers in the U.S. According to Forbes, the company also made its list of Best Employers by State in 2020. Source: Post Register
- Idaho Falls and Idaho National Laboratory are working on plans to turn the fields around MK Simpson Boulevard into a hub for research institutions. The city received a $55,700 grant from Battelle Energy Alliance earlier this month to establish a master plan for an innovation district centered on the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) and the regional campuses of Idaho State University and the University of Idaho. By making the region of town an innovation district, the city hopes to spur a focused expansion of businesses and amenities in the area. Source: Post Register
- A-B-See Vision Care, a vision and eyecare clinic in Idaho Falls, held a groundbreaking for a 3,000-square-foot expansion project in front of the clinic at 1480 E. Lincoln Road. The expansion will include a new breakroom for office conferences, new auxiliary testing rooms, specialized pediatrics rooms and three large family exam rooms. Construction will get underway immediately and is expected to be complete in September. Source: East Idaho News
- A new middle school and high school are preparing to open in Bonneville County for the next school year. Black Canyon Middle School is being built on the east side of town for Bonneville Joint School District 93. Alturas Preparatory Academy, a secondary spinoff of Alturas International Academy, will be located in the former Sears location inside the Grand Teton Mall. Combined, the two schools will welcome around 1,000 students when they open this fall. Source: Idaho State Journal
- Travelers going to and from Idaho Falls will soon be able to fly nonstop to Seattle. Alaska Airlines will launch daily flights from the Idaho Falls Regional Airport to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on June 17. The move adds 60 one stop connections for travelers worldwide to the second busiest airport in Idaho. The addition of Alaska is not the only new airline to come to Idaho Falls this summer. Last month American Airlines announced regional airline service to the airport starting June 3. The addition of the two airlines comes as the city-owned regional airport completes a $12 million expansion project. When finished this summer, the airport will add 38,000 square feet to the terminal and two new gates. Source: East Idaho News
- The Rigby City Council voted to join Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho, or REDI, at its March 18 meeting following a presentation from CEO Teresa McKnight. The membership will give the city a marketing arm in the region and access to the database of connections that would hopefully bring businesses into the city. Source: The Jefferson Star
- Drilling at the Beartrack-Arnett gold project in Lemhi County will start back up for the season in May, according to officials with Revival Gold Exploration. Infill and engineering drilling on the Joss high-grade target begins first. A month later a second rig will begin drilling in the Haidee oxide target. Beartrack-Arnett is the largest past-producing gold mine in Idaho. A preliminary economic assessment shows the potential to produce 72,000 ounces of gold a year for an initial seven-year mine life. Revival Gold personnel continue to explore the potential that the resource is larger in all directions. Source: Challis Messenger
- Super Chix restaurant in Ammon.
- Mac ’n Kelly’s Pub and Grill in Idaho Falls.
- Plant Therapy, a new CBD and plant-extract shop, in Idaho Falls.
- The Pole Experience in Idaho Falls.
Esther.Eke@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4331