Quality of life plays a significant role in an job candidate’s decision whether or not to relocate to a new community. At this year’s Idaho Housing and Economic Development Conference, economist Rebecca Ryan developed and shared a free Quality of Life Index local officials can use to take a pulse on the quality of life in their communities and see how they stack up with the competition. Starting with an Excel spreadsheet, planners can look up specific metrics for their community in a worksheet for each of the seven indexes: Vitality, Earning, Learning, Social Capital, After Hours, Cost of Lifestyle and Around Town. After entering their community’s scores in each index and comparing them with similar communities, the scores can be imported into a Handprint Creator which creates a visual way to see how each community rates in each index compared to similar communities. There’s even a 30-minute webinar to help get you started. – Creative Common License
- Information provided in this article has been gathered from various sources throughout the state, including professional sources, news releases, weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.
North Central Idaho
South Central Idaho
SCHOOL BOND RECAP
As reported in idahoednews.org:
- Bonneville County: More than 66 percent of voters said yes to a $56.1 million high school bond May 19, but fell shy of the two-thirds supermajority needed to pass a school bond. In all, 6,673 voters said yes, a 66.19 majority, while 3,408 voters said no. It is the third time since 2014 that Bonneville voters have rejected a bond issue.
- Notus: School officials got the go-ahead to replace an 89-year-old elementary school, as patrons gave a $4.8 million bond issue a 70 percent supermajority. Another school bond issue had failed in November.
- Preston: A five-year, $4.5 million plant facilities levy passed with 72 percent backing, the Idaho State Journal reported. The vote was 398-155.
- Emmett: Patrons approved a two-year, $2.8 million supplemental levy, with a 63 percent majority.
- Troy: Voters turned down a one-year, $1.2 million supplemental levy. The proposal received only 44 percent support. Voters rejected a $1.3 million proposal in March.
- Sugar-Salem: A two-year, $900,000 supplemental levy barely received the simple majority required to pass. The tally was 275 in favor, 271 opposed.
- Whitepine: A one-year, $850,000 supplemental levy passed with 60 percent support.
- Marsing: Voters approved a two-year, $800,000 supplemental levy. It was the first supplemental levy sought by the district since at least 1974, the Owyhee Avalanche reported.
- Ririe: A two-year, $770,000 supplemental levy passed with 71 percent support, the Post Register reported.
- Parma: A two-year, $700,000 supplemental levy passed with 79 percent support.
- Horseshoe Bend: A two-year, $600,000 supplemental levy passed with 70 percent support, KIVI TV reported. An identical levy narrowly failed in March.
- Salmon River: Voters approved a one-year, $545,000 supplemental levy with 75 percent support.
- Nezperce: A one-year, $475,000 supplemental levy passed with a 66 percent majority, the Lewiston Tribune reported.
- Cottonwood: A one-year, $350,000 supplemental levy passed with 71 percent backing.
- Butte County: Voters approved a one-year, $330,000 school bond extension with an 82 percent supermajority, according to the Post Register.
- Kamiah: A one-year, $325,000 supplemental levy went down to an overwhelming defeat, receiving just 30 percent support.
- South Lemhi: A 10-year, $200,000 plant facilities levy received a 93 percent landslide, the Post Register reported.
- North Gem-Grace consolidation: Patrons in the two Southeast Idaho districts rejected a proposal to combine the districts, the Idaho State Journal reported.
Information provided in this article has been gathered from various sources throughout the state, including weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.
North Central Idaho
South Central Idaho
- Idaho compensates for its low ratio of physicians to population by providing opportunities for Idahoans to attend medical school at the University of Washington or the University of Utah. Idaho is 49th in the nation for both the number of physicians overall and for the number of physicians working in primary care. Taking steps to increase the number of physicians is a major legislative priority of the Idaho Medical Association for 2015. The association has made establishing residency opportunities its top priority, Executive Director Susie Pouliot told the Idaho Business Review. The Idaho State Board of Education has included funding for more residency program spots in its budget request to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter for next year, Pouliot said.
- By 2016, Idaho Power could add 461 megawatts of solar-generating capacity to its system. Developers have signed contracts to sell electricity to Idaho Power from the 16 projects in Idaho and Oregon under a federal law that requires the utility to buy power to encourage small and alternative energy producers. If all plants are built, Idaho Power would have a total of 1,253 megawatts of new green power on its grid, utility spokesman Brad Bowlin said, according to the Idaho Statesman. Last year, Idaho’s peak load was 3,407 megawatts in July, which would make green power 37 percent of its system. The share of alternative energy in Idaho Power’s portfolio tripled from 2010 to 2013, rising from 7 percent to 23 percent excluding hydroelectric power. Intermountain Energy Partners, the Idaho developer behind most of that solar projects, said its facilities will create 1,000 construction jobs and 50 permanent jobs. Based in Ketchum with offices in Boise, the company is set to build solar plants with a combined $800 million in construction costs, according to Leif Elgethun, a partner with the company.
Here is a roundup of economic news compiled by the Idaho Department of Labor in October:
- Two of the bigger real estate players in the region’s residential market, Coldwell Banker Tomlinson and Century 21 Beutler & Associates, have consolidated some operations under a common ownership group. The offices collectively have roughly 400 real estate agents and support employees. The offices include two Coldwell Banker offices in Spokane, C21 offices in Coeur d’Alene and Spokane and two Sotheby’s International Realty offices in Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint.
- Associated Painters Inc., a Spokane-based aircraft painting company, is building a second 32,000-square-foot hangar for approximately $5.5 million price tag at the Spokane International Airport and expects to grow its workforce by 30. The company currently employs 70, up from 52 one year ago.
- Whiteman Lumber was named Idaho Small Business of the Month for September by Sen. Jim Risch. The Cataldo-based company has been a fixture in the region for 85 years and is now the oldest continuously operating sawmill in Idaho.
North Central Idaho
- The Nez Perce Tribe is exploring several potential ventures to promote economic growth on the reservation. Among the products under consideration are agricultural goods, forest products and biofuels. The tribe may choose to quarry a rich deposit of limestone along Mission Creek near Culdesac. The tribe is considering distribution, manufacturing or retail ventures for 60 acres in Spalding that it acquired two years ago. The industrial property is between the Spalding Bridge and the Nez Perce National Historical Park along U.S. Highway 95.
- Pine Tree Community Credit Union broke ground in September on additional office and lobby space at its Grangeville branch. The expansion, which will be completed in early 2014, will allow the credit union to provide additional services as well as support the increased demand for loans.
- Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, the manufacturing company that employs more than 1,900 people in Pullman, Wash., received a $9.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to research ways to increase security for energy delivery systems. The fast-growing company designs and manufactures products to monitor, control and protect power systems.
- St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston unveiled plans to build 66,400-square-foot addition to the 400,000-square-foot hospital in September. The $42.7 million expansion will house outpatient services including an oncology center now on Idaho Street, new technology and physician offices. Construction on the hospital’s west side will take up to three years. The first phase is the $14 million construction of a central energy plant, which will replace aging heating and air-conditioning systems. The second phase will be construction of the building addition to allow the hospital to provide more procedures in an outpatient setting.
- The Packaging Corporation of America has agreed to acquire Boise-based Boise Inc. for $1.99 billion and assume Boise Inc.’s outstanding debt. The Chicago-based company said the acquisition will support the company’s corrugated products growth and give them a presence in the Northwest. The acquisition should be complete late this year.
- Gordmans has leased the former Kmart building on Parkcenter Boulevard. This will be the third Gordmans in the valley. Construction and improvements are expected to be completed in early 2014.
- Balihoo received another round of venture capital funding. OpenView Venture Partners invested $5 million in the Boise-based firm. The money will be used by the company’s engineering, sales and marketing teams. This is the third investment in the company from the group.
South Central Idaho
- Fruit processor Zentis announced on businesswire.com that it will build a 100,000-square-foot plant in Idaho. The company is headquartered in Aachen, Germany, and employs more than 500 people in the United States. Zentis also has plants in Germany, Poland, Hungary and Russia. It has not announced specifically where it will build although it has established business relationships with Dannon yogurt in Utah and Chobani Greek Yogurt in Twin Falls, according to Capital Press.
- Frulact, a fruit processing company based out of Maia, Portugal, announced its first plant in the United States will be built in Rupert. The company plans to break ground before year end and open its doors toward the end of 2014, hiring 100 workers initially. The company plans to expand its workforce in the future. Fruit processing is a wet industry so the waste water treatment plant upgrade to the tune of $14.2 million, a bond approved by voters in 2012, contributed significantly to the selection of Rupert.
- The Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization staged its second announcement in one week with the news that Clif Bar & Company, maker of energy bars and snacks, will open a plant in Twin Falls. The Jayco Industrial Park is the site developed utilizing Urban Renewal Agency money with the company planning to initially employ 250 workers to start with expansions planned in the future. Idaho Department of Labor’s Workforce Development Training Fund is providing training funds up to $4 million. The company is based out of California and plans to invest $90 million in the construction and equipment, commonly referred to as cap ex, culminating in a 300,000-square-foot plant.
- Valiant Firearms & Ammunition recently opened the Gun Room in Twin Falls. The business started by making ammunition and selling custom-ordered tactical rifles and hand guns. The revamped space makes room for inventory and allows customers to take a defensive training course for shooting the guns. All guns are manufactured by Intacto Arms of Boise, and Valiant makes the precision ammunition at its 5-year old factory, selling to law enforcement agencies and retailers.
- Hess Pumice located in Malad recently celebrated an expansion that increased its workforce to 105, and the addition of a nearly related business, Creative Stone. That group employs 20 with plans to add 10 more jobs in the coming months. Hess Pumice, which has manufactured products for abrasives since 1958, has developed a strengthening concrete additive for building material.
- The Preston Police Department recently received a surplus Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Personnel Carrier from the U.S. Army. The vehicle, an armor-plated 2007 Navistar that holds up to 10 people, was used in combat operations in the Middle East and is designed to handle shelling, bullets and damage from other explosive ordinance. It will be used in SWAT team operations. The department will loan out the vehicle when needed to other law enforcement departments in the area.
- American Falls opened a skate park this past month after eight years in the planning, according to Mayor Marc Beitia. A group of private citizens called AM ImPact raised the funds that made the new attraction a reality. The skate park is 5,500 square feet and offers steps and grinding rails. City leaders hope the new skate park will attract more visitors to American Falls.
- Premier Technology and Westinghouse are teaming up to host the first small modular reactor conference in Idaho Falls Oct. 30 through Nov. 1. The conference will feature Idaho companies and nuclear resources. About 100 people are expected to attend. For more information about the event call Liza Scalf at (414) 221-1700 ext. 120 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Idaho Falls Regional Airport received a $500,000 grant to fund efforts establishing eastbound commercial flights. Airport officials are hopeful they can establish a new nonstop flight between Idaho Falls and the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport.
- Brigham Young University-Idaho will undertake two major construction projects. The university is constructing new 868-bed single-student dormitories for male and female students. The complex is not coed. A new natural gas powered central heating facility is also under construction. The university is phasing out the current coal fired heating plant. The new facility will also generate about half of the university’s electrical power. The plant will also comply with newer federal environmental regulations.
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Here is a roundup of economic news compiled by the Idaho Department of Labor in September:
- After two years of negotiations, Petco will open next year in Ponderay’s Bonner Mall.
- Trindera Engineering Inc. of Coeur d’Alene, specializing in electrical and consulting services, opened a second office in Spokane. The company has hired seven employees in the past six months to boost its payroll to 30 with 10 employees working full time in Spokane. The firm plans to continue expanding.
- Gonzaga University in Spokane launched its first new school in nearly 40 years – the School of Nursing and Human Physiology.
- Harbor Freight Tools is opening in Coeur d’Alene with 45 employees.
- The Lodge at Fairway Forest, a 16-unit assisted-living facility is opening in Coeur d’Alene with 12 employees.
Here is a roundup of economic news compiled by the Idaho Department of Labor in May:
North Idaho College has surpassed its $100,000 fundraising goals for a science wet laboratory at its new satellite campus in Sandpoint. The drive has raised $135,000 so far, enabling the school to set up the lab this summer in time for the fall semester. Students on the satellite campus can complete two-year programs and potentially earn bachelor’s degrees. With the new laboratory, students in Sandpoint will never have to leave that campus to get their associate degrees.
- Engineering and development work has been started as part of Potlatch Corp.’s capital improvement project at its St. Maries Complex this year. A new warehouse and equipment upgrades to improve efficiency are among the projects to help local mills remain competitive.
- The Idaho Land Board has approved a timber sale plan for 2014 that calls for 249 million board feet to be harvested from state endowment lands – the highest logging level in more than a decade. The plan increases the harvest of recent years by 2 million board feet. The economic downturn brought significant drops in prices starting in 2008. But rising demand and a shortage of private timber is improving prices.