Information provided in this article is from professional sources, news releases, weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.
NORTHERN IDAHO – Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties
- A lumber mill in Athol owned by Vaagen Brothers Lumber suffered significant damage in an Aug. 9 fire. Although more than 50 percent of the facility was consumed, none of the mill’s employees were injured. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
- The Post Falls City Council approved a new budget with no increase to property taxes and a fee increase which will affect water and wastewater fees. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
- North Idaho College hosted the annual Art on the Green event. The art fair, which featured more than 160 artists, drew an estimated 50,000 patrons in its three-day run from Aug. 4-6. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
- Sandpoint’s new fiber network has begun expanding to business, including Timberline Helicopters and Tamarack Aerospace. Fatbeam, the fiber provider, cited the projects as examples of how public/private partnerships can work, while Sandpoint city officials noted that the fiber will help companies in need of better connectivity to keep their headquarters in Sandpoint. Source: Bonner County Daily Bee
Sam.Wolkenhauer@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 457-8789 ext 4451
Here is a roundup of regional economic news compiled by the Idaho Department of Labor in February:
Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties
- North Idaho College, the Idaho Department of Labor and the three largest wood products manufacturers in northern Idaho have teamed up to develop an NIC Wood Products Manufacturing Center of Excellence. The center will train the next generation of workers in an industry that provides nearly one in four manufacturing jobs in Idaho’s 10 northern counties and has strong potential for growth. The Wood Products Manufacturing Center for Excellence is funded through a $281,000 Idaho Department of Labor grant. Idaho Forest Group, Potlatch Corp. and Stimson Lumber Co. are matching 25 percent of the grant. Beginning in March, the program will enroll 116 participants over two years with the focus on training workers for industrial controls, saw filing and log scaling.
- Northern Idaho faces a shortage of primary care physicians within the next five to seven years, but local medical professionals have a plan to provide them. Idaho doesn’t have its own medical school. It partners with Washington, Wyoming, Alaska and Montana to fund a medical school at the University of Washington in Seattle to educate doctors. Historically, Idaho has funded about 20 positions for Idaho students. Last year, the Legislature expanded that to 25, and many hope it will add five more this year. Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene recently created a primary care residency program, which will allow more of those medical school graduates take residency in Idaho. Idaho has the best retention rate in the nation. About 51 percent of resident doctors stay in Idaho to practice.