Tuesday, July 22, 2014

BBB hosting free BBQ picnic Wednesday

The Snake River Better Business Bureau is holding a free barbecue picnic at Freeman Park Shelter No. 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday.

"No strings attached," says the invitation. "No boring speakers. Just a chance for like-minded business owners to get together for lunch."

If you are interested, here is the link to follow: Free lunch.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Idaho Falls ranks No. 1 in wage growth study

The 24/7 Wall St Web site has ranked Idaho Falls No. 1 on its list of "10 Cities Where Wages Are Soaring."

The story, posted Wednesday, says wages rose 18.4 percent between the fourth quarters of 2012 and 2013, "by far the most of any metro area in the nation."

To read the full story, follow this link. For those of you too lazy to manage a mouse click, here are the "vital stats":

  • 1-yr. wage growth: 18.4%

  • Average weekly wage: $806
1-yr. unemployment rate change: -0.6%
  • 1-yr. employment rate change: N/A
What's driving this is unemployment. "The Idaho Falls unemployment rate fell from an already-low 5.2 percent in May of 2013 to just 3.7 percent this May, lower than in the vast majority of U.S. metro areas. In two of the three counties in this metro area, professional and business services accounted for much of the wage growth overall."

The other communities in the top ten were:

2. The Villages, Fla. (avg. weekly wage $870)
3. Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Miss. (avg. weekly wage $791)
4. Wheeling, W.Va.-Ohio (avg. weekly wage $802)
7. Boise (avg. weekly wage $839)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Workplace stress is a costly business

Have you ever just had the week from you know what? You know those weeks where nothing goes right at work, where everything goes wrong from the coffee spill on your white shirt on the way to work to the angry phone call to computers dying, workplace demands, and ... on the list goes. Those are the weeks we would rather take a trip to a sandy beach to watch the tide roll in -- and honestly, we would probably be doing ourselves and our employers a favor.

Stress in the workplace is hard to avoid. – but what exactly causes it? According to the American Institute of Stress the most common reasons for workplace stress include workload, people issues, juggling work and personal lives, and job security. Between deadlines, demands, managing/dealing with different personalities, ever-changing workplaces, and constant workplace interruptions, there is no escape from some form of workplace stress.

According to Forbes magazine, the average business professional has 30 to 100 projects on their plate at one time. Additionally, Forbes reported that 40 percent of adults in a recent survey say they lie awake at night plagued by the stressful events of the day.

Workplace stress is a problem that plagues businesses both big and small and has a costly impact on employees and employers. One of the most crucial areas of impact intertwined within every aspect of an employee’s performance is decision making.

“Decision making is critical in the work environment,” says Zakery Warren, assistant executive director and counselor with southeast Idaho’s largest mental health practice Pearl Health Clinic. “The right amount of stress keeps a person alert, challenged, and striving for growth and improvement for their company, product or team. When stress becomes a detriment, when it is too high, anxiety and uncertainty clouds a person's judgment, which clouds decision making and thus prevents the growth and improvement a person seeks.”

The mental impact that workplace stress can impact employees well beyond the workplace leading to depression, substance abuse, problems within the homes, suicide, and violence (both in and out of the workplace) to name a few.

Workplace stress takes a toll on your body too. It can lead to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, fatigue, and decreased immunity to common illnesses (e.g. cold, flu, etc).
On the business side workplace stress is costly. In fact, employers spend upwards o $200 billion for absenteeism, workers’ claims, turnover, and increased insurance rates – all related to stress related issues in the workplace. That doesn’t even touch the hidden costs of lower morale, productivity, efficiency, decrease in customer service.

Stress in the workplace is serious and isn’t solved by a desktop stress ball. Businesses and employees alike need to create and find solutions to eliminating workplace stress. Check out next week’s feature for tips on managing workplace stress from an HR and mental health perspective to help eliminate those workday worries and stressors.
Monica Bitrick is CEO of Bitrick Consulting Group, a human resources company in Idaho Falls.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Idaho Falls Indian restaurant now open

Tandoori Oven owner Jatin Arora
Tandoori Oven, Idaho Falls' first Indian restaurant, is finally open for business. It is located at 3204 S. 25 East, where Play N Trade used to be.

Owner Jatin Arora only got the signs hung today, but had a few people in for lunch. The restaurant, which seats about 75 people, is looking for help.

This is the second Tandoori Oven. Arora has been doing business in Logan, Utah, for about 10 years. He said he was originally looking at Pocatello, but a longtime friend from Idaho Falls alerted him to the absence of Indian cuisine here.

"I've been to Idaho Falls quite a few times, and it seems like an ideal market for us," he said. "There is no real Indian restaurant, and there seems to be a demand for Indian cuisine."

Asked to guess how many locals have never had Indian food, he said, "I would think it's a high percentage." If you have never eaten Indian, he advised going with a chicken masala or coconut kurma the fist time.

Tandoori Oven's hours are 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch, Monday through Saturday, 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday for dinner and 4:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Partnership for Science and Technology names new executive director

Leslie Jones-Huddleston
The Partnership for Science and Technology has named Leslie Jones-Huddleston its new executive director and chief executive officer. She replaces Lane Allgood, who retired in June.

A longtime resident of eastern Idaho, Jones-Huddleston most recently served as the regional director for U.S. Senator Mike Crapo.

“PST is extremely fortunate to have Leslie lead our organization,” said Mike Hart, president of the PST board. “She has a deep understanding of energy and environmental issues, knows the importance of science and technology, and brings a new vibrancy to the organization.”

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Budweiser Clydesdales to visit Snake River Landing on Saturday

The Budweiser Clydesdales are famous across the nation.
Watkins Distributing is bringing the famous Budweiser Clydesdale team to Snake River Landing this Saturday. The Clydesdales will begin at 1 p.m., will parade through the landing and will be available for photos until 3 p.m.

The team dates back to April 7, 1933, when August A. Busch, Jr. and Adolphus Busch III surprised their father, August A. Busch Sr, with the gift of a six-horse Clydesdale hitch to commemorate the repeal of Prohibition. The six-horse hitch shortly became an eight-horse hitch, which it remains today. 

The horses continue to be an enduring symbol of the Anheuser-Busch brand. The company currently owns approximately 250 Clydesdales, which are used for marketing and promotion at community and national events throughout the year.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Idaho National Lab wins two R&D 100 Awards

Idaho National Laboratory has won two R&D 100 Awards in the 2014 international competition hosted by R&D Magazine, bringing its total to an even 50 over the past 18 years. The annual competition recognizes the top 100 inventions of the past year. Both winning technologies relate to innovative modeling systems.

The Advanced Electrolyte Model analyzes and identifies potential electrolytes for battery systems. It offers significant resource savings by optimizing material combinations for new batteries. AEM predicts and reports key properties underlying electrolyte behavior in the electrochemical cell environment.

The Multiphysics Object Oriented Simulation Environment (MOOSE) makes it easier for scientists to predict phenomena ranging from nuclear fuel and reactor performance to groundwater and chemical movement. Such simulations can help speed the pace of scientific discovery but traditionally required more computing resources than most scientists and engineers could readily access. Here is a YouTube video explaining it:
"These awards recognize the tremendous value of our national labs," said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, in a news release. "Research and development at the national labs continues to help our nation address its energy challenges and pursue the scientific and technological innovations necessary to remain globally competitive."

INL nominated three technologies for the 2014 R&D 100 Award competition and now has earned a total of 50 R&D 100 Awards since 1986.

The banquet and awards presentation, honoring the 2014 winners will take place Nov. 7 at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.