Thursday, January 29, 2015

Musings from the development doldrums

My decades in conventional journalism make it impossible for me to post rumors, scuttlebutt and assumptions under the guise of news.

Talk among yourselves as you might -- and I know some of you do -- I cannot tell you why the west side Walgreen’s, at Broadway and Skyline, has taken so long to finish. Considering how the project got started in early summer 2014, one might have reasonably assumed the store would have been open by Christmas. It didn’t happen. I have been told why by a credible source, but it was unofficial talk and I could not possibly print it (not that it's anything shocking or out of the ordinary). I suppose that for the sake of protecting my flank I could call the company and the contractor and ask, but at my age I have experienced enough futility in my life.

Here’s some things I do know, which can be documented. At the Sandcreek Commons shopping center, Cabela’s is hiring and Hobby Lobby is looking at opening this summer.

My regular visits to the Idaho Falls Building Department show a site plan has been filed for the railroad crossing on Utah Avenue, near Carl’s Jr. That would indicate to me that something could be happening with the big piece of ground to the east, which was cleaned up the summer before last.

That’s about it for now. Considering that spring is little more than six weeks away, we could be seeing a lot more happening before long.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

INL building hailed as Best Green Project

The Energy Innovation Laboratory
Idaho National Laboratory’s newest research facility was selected as the Best Green Project in the nation for 2014 by the construction magazine Engineering News-Record.

The Energy Innovation Laboratory was chosen as the winner for exceptional sustainable design and construction from nearly 700 projects designed and built in the United States. The gateway to INL's Research and Education Campus in Idaho Falls, EIL has now received regional, national and international acclaim for sustainable design and construction.

As a U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum facility, the EIL consolidates research and development to enable innovative solutions for national energy challenges, advanced clean energy and related environmental projects.

“The outstanding success of this project is due to the expertise of the project team led by Reed Miller of Ormond Builders and Kath Williams, the LEED coordinator,” said Todd Allen, INL Science and Technology deputy lab director. “The team’s collaboration with INL’s Project Management Office, Supply Chain Management and Campus Development Office produced a nationally recognized facility.”

Completed in late 2013, the 148,000-square-foot EIL has earned the U.S.
Green Building Council’s LEED Platinum certification. Worldwide, fewer than 5 percent of research labs in the LEED registry are Platinum-certified.

The ENR Best Green Project national award honors the efforts of many individuals and organizations – including Ormond Builders, Inc., Plan One/Architects, Engineering System Solutions, INL as the tenant plus other firms – over the course of several years.

The entire project team – from architects to project managers to hundreds of workers who built the EIL – overcame challenges and difficulties to construct the research facility to the highest international green standards, said John Baker, INL Project Management Office director of planning, estimating and scheduling. “In the design and construction arena, this is a huge honor,” Baker said, “and we are humbled to be chosen from among outstanding projects throughout America.”

Business Review seeks Money Makers nominees

The Idaho Business Review is taking nominations through Feb. 3 for its annual Money Makers awards.

The program celebrates financial professionals whose accomplishments set a high bar for their company and Idaho's business economy. Honorees will be recognized at a banquet in Boise April 16 for their industry and community involvement and innovation in the following areas:

  • Banking - Honors individuals such as mortgage lenders, bank executives, credit and loan officers
  • Corporate - Honors company-associated individuals such as chief financial officers and comptrollers
  • Investment - Honors individuals such as stockbrokers, financial advisors, financial planners and investment executives
  • Professional - Honors individuals such as public accountants, auditors, financial educators and financial analysts

Nominations are open to individuals from public, private and charitable businesses in Idaho. To make a nomination, follow this link:

Monday, January 26, 2015

EITC open house set for Thursday

Eastern Idaho Technical College is holding a “New Year New Career” open house on Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. This is an event for the community to explore EITC programs, talk with financial aid officers, meet instructors and students and obtain admissions information in a fun, no-pressure atmosphere.

The public is invited for free food, interactive demonstrations and tours. Those who attend may enter a drawing to win EITC scholarships and other prizes.

One of the highlights will be live demonstrations of a small unmanned aerial vehicle, more commonly known as a drone, by Mark Richardson, who will be teaching an introductory drone flight class beginning Feb. 17. Richardson, an expert UAV pilot/videographer/photographer, will teach UAV flight safety, FAA regulations, flight training and more. Students will learn how to put together a preflight checklist, take off and land. Basic controls, how to maintain and regain orientation, and perform practice maneuvers will also be taught. Inexpensive training quadcopters will be provided or students may bring their own multi-rotor aircraft to class. Call 535-5345 to learn more.

Friday, January 23, 2015

North Korean defector to speak at TEDxIdaho Falls Feb. 20

Organizers of TEDxIdaho Falls announced today that Joo Yang, a North Korean defector, will be one of eight presenters at the event scheduled Feb. 20 at the MC Theater in the ARTitorium on Broadway.

Yang escaped from North Korea across its northern border in 2010. With aid from service organizations, she traveled through a “modern-day underground railroad” before finally arriving in South Korea. Since her escape, she has been studying in South Korea and the United States and speaking out on the plight of North Koreans.

“She is precisely the kind of engaging and mind-opening presenter the TEDxIdahoFalls event was organized for,” said Sean J. Coletti, who coordinated Yang’s participation and is one of the organizers of the TEDxIdahoFalls event. “Yang has some very important life experience that is extremely relevant to some of the current events we are seeing in the news. The ideas she will share, I am sure, will be inspirational and thought-provoking for those in attendance.”

The remaining speakers are still being selected and will be announced over the next two weeks. All interested in attending must apply at Seating is limited to 100 people. Those who are unable to attend in person will be able to watch the event live on the Web site or afterward on the Web site, YouTube or the TEDx database.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Stoplight Pizza opening in Idaho Falls

Stoplight Pizza in Ririe is probably best known for its 32-inch pie.
Stoplight Pizza, which has been open in Ririe for two years, will be opening a second restaurant in mid-February, in Idaho Falls at the corner of Yellowstone and E Street.

Owner Tom Williamson said he has been pondering the move for a year. Although he has done well at the Ririe location, there are limitations to being in a town of 500. “I want to thrive, not just survive,” he said.

A California native, Williamson, 40, spent 18 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and served five tours in Iraq. When he left in 2009, “There were not a lot of job opportunities available,” he said. He was not interested in police or security work.

Without any restaurant experience, he started experimenting with pizza recipes that he thought people would enjoy. “For my first restaurant adventure I probably picked the wrong place, but I had to work really, really hard for what I have now,” he said. “We have customers from all over the state of Idaho.”

On the plus side, being in Ririe gave him the chance to work out bugs and develop systems that he might not have had in a more populous location.

“I’m not like most owners, I’m very hands-on,” he said. “I don’t have a problem working 15 or 16 hours a day.”

A single father of a 2-year-old girl, Adamina, Williamson is looking toward the future. “I wanted to build something that I could pass down to her,” he said. “It might not be what she chooses, and I’m OK with that, but I want to make it available to her future.”

For advertising, Williamson has turned to TV and social media — Facebook and review sites like Yelp, etc.

To get into Idaho Falls, Williamson called Randy Waters of Sperry Van Ness/High Desert Commercial to ask if there were any suitable locations. Waters said there had been another restaurant deal pending on the E Street property, but it had fallen apart over the prospective tenant's desire for a drive-through window, which would have limited parking.

Williamson said he is happy to be downtown and on a street as busy as Yellowstone. In Ririe, Stoplight’s busiest nights are Friday and Saturday and its busiest season is summer. With a downtown Idaho Falls location, his goal is to develop a lunch trade. He estimates that 30 percent of the customer base for his Ririe pizzeria come from Idaho Falls, so he has a leg up on building a reputation.

“The product pretty much speaks for itself, but in a town of 500 you have to give them a reason to come here and eat,” he said. “Most people have to drive at least 30 minutes to get here.”

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

D.L. Evans names Ammon operations manager

Raegan Moser
Raegan Moser has been promoted to operations supervisor at the newly completed Ammon branch of D.L. Evans Bank, 2634 E. Sunnyside Rd., part of the new Sandcreek Commons shopping center.

John V. Evans Jr., the bank's president and chief executive officer, announced the promotion in a news release. Moser holds a bachelor of business management degree from Idaho State University and comes to the job with 11 years of banking experience.

For more information, call (208) 522-0593.