Friday, December 28, 2012

Deadline for comments on INL, nuclear energy, is Jan. 4

Spent fuel in wet storage
When it comes to the Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Commerce Department Director Jeff Sayer sees a big disconnect between people on either side of the state.

In Idaho Falls, the chief concern is mainly the effect the lab has on the local economy. That's understandable. INL is one of Idaho's biggest payrolls, and it's hard to imagine what this part of the state would look like had the Atomic Energy Commission decided in 1949 to build its test reactors somewhere else.

Ask people in Boise, however, at least seven of 10 would say they wonder about having nuclear materials sitting atop the Snake River Aquifer, he said. The INL's economic benefits? More a matter of, "What has it done for me lately?"

Sayer was in eastern Idaho Thursday to invite anyone with a special insight or opinion about the INL to send their comments to the Leadership in Nuclear Energy Commission, which he chairs. The deadline for comments is Jan. 4, and the commission will be giving its final report to Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter on Jan. 25.

The biggest issue is whether more nuclear waste from other parts of the country will be allowed into Idaho. A 1995 agreement between Idaho, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Navy curtailed shipments of spent fuel from government and commercial reactors and set a 2035 deadline for cleanup and the removal of high-level radioactive materials.

But a lot has changed since 1995, Sayer said. When the agreement went into place, the understanding was that Yucca Mountain in Nevada would be open and ready to receive waste from the lab. But now Yucca Mountain has been ruled out and there is currently no permanent repository designated for high-level waste.

Battelle Energy Alliance, whose president, John Grossenbacher, sits on the LINE Commission, has indicated that allowing greater amounts of spent fuel into Idaho would allow it to do expanded research work. In fact, in January 2011 the DOE and the state of Idaho signed a memorandum of agreement setting out conditions under which the INL may receive limited research quantities of used commercial fuels for examination and testing.

This has prompted the Snake River Alliance to invoke the 1995 Settlement Agreement as inviolable. "A consent-based interim storage facility might become a lifelong dump, invitation or not," it said in comments released Dec. 21. "The LINE Commission must not encourage the risk."

Sayer said the commission has no intention of recommending that INL become an interim storage facility. But there are challenges that have to be addressed. For example, the 1995 agreement says calcined waste at the lab -- liquid waste that was incinerated into a salt-like form, then put in double-lined stainless steel tanks -- must be re-characterized, put in new containers and shipped out of state. The cost of doing this has been estimated at around $400 million, and at the moment there is no place for it to go.

Idahoans must also consider that leaders in South Carolina and New Mexico are indicating a willingness to allow waste into their states. "If they agree to let waste in, they're going to want the research, too," he said.

Sayer said he believes, "There are ways to find solutions that will bring Idaho benefit and protect the environment. What we are seeking right now is a conversation in the spirit of respect and not of fear."



LINKS:
A summary of the 1995 Settlement Agreement: http://www.deq.idaho.gov/inl-oversight/oversight-agreements/1995-settlement-agreement.aspx
The Line Commission's Web page: http://line.idaho.gov/
The Snake River Alliance's press released in response to the LINE Commission's Dec. 3 progress report: http://snakeriveralliance.org/snake-river-alliance-responds-to-governors-nuclear-commission/
Web site of the Partnership for Science and Technology (leading eastern Idaho nuclear issues organization): http://www.p-s-t.org/index.php?section=23
A blog posting from Idaho Samzidat Nuke Notes on the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future and its January 2012 report to Energy Secretary Steven Chu:
http://djysrv.blogspot.com/2012_01_22_archive.html

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Longtime Bill's Cycle Shop mechanic starts own business

Ben Hawker of Ben's Quality Cycle LLC
A downtown mainstay for decades, Bill's Cycle Shop is no more, but the business carries on with Ben Hawker, who runs Ben's Quality Cycle around the corner, at 152 Park Avenue.

Hawker came to work as a mechanic for Bill's in 1981, at the age of 19. As owner Mike Murdock moved into retirement this fall, Hawker bought the service department and kept the loyal customers. The shop offers service and repair for most major bands, including Honda, KTM, Yamaha, Suzuki, Polaris and Kawasaki.

The showroom on Park Avenue is taking shape and should be open sometime in January, he said. It represents a homecoming of sorts. He still has three Honda minibikes, including his 1970 Z-50, all of which came out of the original Bill's showroom when he was a kid.

Things have changed a lot in three decades, Hawker said. "Agriculture used to be a huge part of our business, bit with center pivots there's less equipment and less people."

To have a look at his Web site, visit this link: http://www.bensqualitycycle.com/index.html. And of course you can "like" him on Facebook by going here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bens-Quality-Cycle/377558579001399.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Participants sought for Asian trade mission

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter
Idaho businesses are invited to join Gov. Butch Otter's spring trade mission to South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam this spring.

The trade delegation will visit Seoul, Taipei and Ho Chi Minh City from April 19 to 27. Locations were chosen from a survey of Idaho companies' top export destinations, according to a press release from the Idaho Department of Commerce.

Taiwan is Idaho’s third largest trade partner, and Korea is a top-five export destination for Idaho companies. Vietnam is an emerging market for Idaho companies, with strong potential for a variety of Idaho’s key exports.

This will be Otter’s second visit to Vietnam since 2008. The goal of trade mission is to open international markets to Idaho businesses by helping them gain high-level access to private sector business leaders and government decision makers. Ideally, the result is expanded sales, distribution network growth, new strategic alliances and stronger customer relationships.

Participating companies will receive pre-qualified appointments, market briefings in each country,logistical arrangements for the trip, and business networking receptions in Seoul and Taipei.
Space is limited and will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. The registration deadline is Feb. 1, 2013. More detailed information is available at http://www.commerce.idaho.gov.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Idaho Falls, South Fork Archers announce plans for public archery range

Erroll Flynn with bow and arrow in 'Robin Hood'
The Idaho Falls Division of Parks and Recreation is partnering with the non-profit South Fork Archers Club to develop the first public archery range in the city of Idaho Falls, open to archers, bow hunters, youth groups and others interested in perfecting their target skills.

The range will be on approximately 30 acres of city-owned property on the eastern edge of Sandy Downs. Plans call for a static range where archers can shoot into large targets secured onto freestanding target sheds. In addition, a second trail range, about half-a-mile long, will be built with 14 static targets set up at ranges up to 80 yards.

The club hopes to build an indoor range in the future.

“Public archery ranges are popular with hunters and recreational shooting sports enthusiasts,” said Greg A. Weitzel, Idaho Falls' Parks and Recreation director. “We’re looking forward to working with the South Fork Archers, and thanks to their cooperative effort, we’ll be able to build the range at a minimal cost”.

Funds to develop the site will be raised through grants, membership dues and individual donations. The South Fork Archers Club was established in 1982 and has more than 100 members. Club members have volunteered to manage and maintain the range for the city through a lease agreement.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I.F. company DocuTech looking to hire people, preferably homegrown talent

DocuTech CEO Ty Jenkins
DocuTech, an Idaho Falls company that develops software and applications for mortgage banking institutions, might be a great example of a local employer that seems to fly under the radar a lot of the time.

Founded in 1991, the company now employs 70 people and is likely to have 125 by the end of 2013. "We have 15 open positions for customer service reps," said CEO Ty Jenkins. "We're looking for IT people, computer programmers, people with XML skills. These are not $9-an-hour jobs."

A native of Idaho Falls himself, Jenkins prefers to hire locally. "We hope we can get homegrown because they stay," he said.

But little of its business is local, because it is geared toward big lenders. The company does business in all 50 states, with such clients as PNC Bank, Stearns Lending and Pinnacle Mortgage. "Our smallest customer does 300 to 500 mortgage loans a month," Jenkins said.

One of the company's biggest challenges is finding people who can address cyber-security issues. "We can't go down; we're a critical app," he said. "If we go down, PNC bank can't do any mortgage loans. All of that data sits on our servers."

In the 22 years it has been in existence, DocuTech has always been profitable, even in the dark days of 2007-2008 when Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers went out of business and credit froze up worldwide. "We saw a six- to eight-month dip, but it's just been expanding since then."

Eyeing the future, Jenkins went to the People's Republic of China in May with a group of Idaho business people led by Commerce Director Jeff Sayer. "That's a long-term play for us," he said. "The older generation there is very credit averse, but the next generation, boy, they're just gearing up. I've been there four times and will continue to go back," he said.

Here is a link to the company's Web page: http://www.docutechcorp.com/

Monday, December 17, 2012

Wall Street Journal blog highlights INL's cyber-security role

In case anyone is interested, here's a link to a post on the Wall Street Journal's blog about the Idaho National Laboratory and its place in cyber-security research.

http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2012/11/14/top-u-s-cyber-defenders-work-in-idaho-falls/

Melaleuca CEO to speak at Dec. 18 Idaho Falls Chamber luncheon

Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot
Melaleuca President and CEO Frank VanderSloot will be the guest speaker Tuesday at the Greater Idaho Fall Chamber of Commerce's weekly forum luncheon, to talk about the company's investment in eastern Idaho and its future plans.

At a press conference Dec. 11, Melaleuca announced it will be building a new 371,000-square-foot home office on the land it owns on 65th South, near I-15's Exit 113. The company is centralizing many of its Idaho operations, and the new home office will be three times larger than its current space. They expect the new office to be ready by spring of 2014.

The company is already awarding construction work to local contractors, with Bateman-Hall as the general contractor on the projects. VanderSloot on Tuesday plans to detail how the company's growth is causing the need for more administrative, manufacturing and distribution space

Melaleuca began in Idaho Falls in the mid-1980s. The company conducts its sales of vitamins, nutritional supplements, cosmetics and household products through people who sign on as "marketing executives," building networks of their own and getting paid for the people they bring in. Those networks are now worldwide, and in 2011 the company passed the $1 billion sales mark.

A Melaleuca news release said VanderSloot will also announce future plans for additional expansion.

The Chamber Forum luncheon is at noon at the Hotel on the Falls. Cost is $11. For more information, visit this link: http://www.idahofallschamber.com/.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Idaho ranks 31st in survey of entrepreneur-friendly states

Considering everything one hears about the Gem State's favorable climate for entrepreneurial endeavor, one would expect Idaho to have done better than 31st in a survey of states released this week by the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

The Washington-based organization on Thursday released its report, titled “U.S. Business Policy Index 2012: Ranking the States on Policy Measures and Costs Impacting Small Business and Entrepreneurship.”

Idaho came in between West Virginia and Montana in the ranking, which lists the states from most favorable to least favorable. The rankings, which are derived after considering each state’s tax, regulatory and government spending measures, put South Dakota at the top. California was judged to be the least favorable.

Here’s the top 10:
1. South Dakota
2. Nevada
3. Texas
4. Wyoming
5. Florida
6. Washington
7. Alabama
8. Utah
9. Colorado
10. Arizona

The report, which can viewed here, http://www.sbecouncil.org/resources/publications/business-policy-index-2012/, lists the positives and negatives for each state.

For Idaho, the positives were:
  • Low property taxes.
  • Low consumption-based taxes.
  • Low wireless taxes.
  • Second lowest electricity costs.
  • Very low crime rate.
  • Right to work state.
  • Lowest level of government spending.
  • Lowest level of government debt.
  • Low level of government workers.
  • No death tax.
The negatives included:
  • High personal income, capital gains, and dividend and interest taxes.
  • High corporate income and capital gains taxes.
  • High unemployment taxes.
  • High workers’ compensation costs.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Idaho Tactical Games hosting end of the world raffle

Zombie apocalypses notwithstanding, Mike DeFord of Idaho Tactical Games in Idaho Falls is looking to the Mayan New Year as another opportunity for giving back to the community.

“Everyone is talking about the world ending or not ending in a few days, we are taking everyone’s fear and making fun of it” said DeFord, who runs the area’s only indoor airsoft and paintball field and pro shop, at 546 W. 21st Street.

Assuming the world has survived, on Dec 22 will be holding raffles all day for differentt guns and gear. Proceeds as well as half the profits from the day will be used to purchase Christmas gifts and candy for local needy families.

The crew from Idaho Tactical Games plans to head out on Christmas Eve and deliver those gifts in a Secret Santa sort of way.

Raffle tickets are $5 each; prizes being given away will range in value from $50 to $200. Raffle tickets will be on sale from today until 4 p.m. Dec. 22, when the drawing takes place. Entrants do not have to be present to win.

For further information visit www.idahotacticalgames.com, or visit them at their location, right off Rollandet.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Melaleuca unveils plans for $50 million office complex

An artist's rendering of the new Melaleuca office building
Despite generous offers to relocate, Melaleuca is in eastern Idaho to stay, company president and CEO Frank VanderSloot said Tuesday.

VanderSloot announced the company is breaking ground on a $50 million, 371,000-square-foot corporate headquarters south of Idaho Falls, scheduled to be completed in spring 2014. Melaleuca, which sells vitamins, personal care and household items worldwide through a person-to-person network of "marketing executives," has been steadily growing for the past 12 years on land near Interstate 15 Exit 113. The new building will be triple in size the amount of office space the company has.

The company also has research and development, manufacturing and a large distribution warehouse in and around Idaho Falls, as well as a 600-person call center in Rexburg. While he conceded that distance and transportation expenses put eastern Idaho at a disadvantage for large scale manufacturing, VanderSloot said the region's business climate and work force are pluses that kept the company here.

Situated on 43 acres, the new office will be home to Melaleuca's international and domestic business offices. It will include a 500-person call center, a 17,000-square-foot events area and a state-of-the-art video production studio.

The stage for expansion was set in July with the announcement of a $399,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to Bonneville County for sewer line extensions, a lift station and roadway widening. Melaleuca contributed $1 million of its own money to the project, bringing its total infrastructure investment in the area to $2.3 million.

Bonneville County Commissioner Roger Christensen hailed the arrangement between the county and Melaleuca as "what a public-private partnership should look like. Other company a looking at coming in here. It's a bright spot for economic development in the county."

The general contractor on the new office project is Bateman-Hall and Harper-Leavitt is the engineering company. "We want to use local contractors whenever possible," VanderSloot said.

He said he expected new jobs to result from the new project, but declined to say how many. The company, which passed the $1 billion sales mark in 2011, comes up with seven or eight new products a year.






 

Manpower survey forecasts steady job market for Idaho in 2013

Employers in Idaho expect to hire at a solid pace during the first quarter of 2013, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

From January to March, 19 percent of the companies interviewed plan to hire more employees, while 7 percent expect to reduce their payrolls. Another 69 percent expect to maintain their current staff levels and 5 percent are not certain of their hiring plans. This yields a net employment outlook of 12 percent.

“Employers’ hiring expectations for Quarter 1 2013 are slightly stronger compared to Quarter 4 2012 when the net employment outlook was 10 percent,” said Manpower spokeswoman Sunny Ackerman. “Compared to one year ago when the net employment outlook was 7 percent, employers are more optimistic about their staffing plans.”

For the coming quarter, job prospects appear best in construction, nondurable goods manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, financial activities, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality. Employers in durable goods manufacturing, transportation and utilities and education and health services plan to reduce staffing levels, while hiring in information, other services and government is expected to remain unchanged.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Melaleuca to announce expansion plans Tuesday

Melaleuca plans to announce Tuesday a new 371,000-square-foot home office on the land it owns near I-15 Exit 113 on 65th South.
The company is centralizing many of its Idaho operations there. The new home office will be three times larger than its current space. Melaleuca expects the new office to be ready by spring of 2014. The company is already awarding construction work to local contractors.

At a press conference Tuesday, Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot plans to discuss how the company’s growth is causing the need for more administrative, manufacturing and distribution space. VanderSloot will also announce future plans for additional expansion.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Polaris Industries acquires Rigby-based KLIM


Snowmobile giant Polaris Industries announced Thursday it has bought Teton Outfitters, the privately owned, Rigby-based company that designs, develops and distributes KLIM Technical Riding Gear.

Calendar year 2012 sales for KLIM are anticipated at nearly $30 million. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"The KLIM acquisition provides yet another growth opportunity for our (parts, garments and accessories) business, a key contributor to Polaris' top-line growth and profitability," said Steve Eastman, Polaris' vice president of PG&A. "KLIM is an established leader in the powersports apparel market with a strong track record of providing innovative, premium technical riding gear to a broad range of consumers."

Polaris will maintain the KLIM brand positioning and name while continuing to drive its existing apparel brands. KLIM will continue operations in Rigby with its current staff. Polaris has plans to establish the Rigby facility as its new apparel Center of Excellence, bringing the unmatched capabilities, expertise and knowledge housed in Rigby to all Polaris branded apparel.

"I built KLIM with a passion for the category and a commitment to the world's adventure snowmobile and motorcycle riders," said Justin Summers, KLIM founder, president and CEO. "KLIM will now have the resources to reach the next level as we continue to innovate and lead into the future."

For a profile of KLIM's facility and business culture, here is its YouTube video:

Photos of select KLIM products are available at this link: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50499525&lang=en

Bonneville County home sales, prices rise in 2012

Click to enlarge
The latest home sales numbers for Bonneville County show improvement over last year. More homes are selling and the median price has gone up.

The number of homes sold through the end of October this year was up almost 18.3 percent from the same period in 2011. Median home prices were also up significantly, over 6.6 percent.

But it's going to be some time before the numbers climb back to where they were before the economic collapse of 2007-2008. Historic figures show that sales through the end of October this year were two-thirds of what they were in the same period of 2007. The median home price this year was nearly 10 percent lower than what it was in 2007. Likewise, homes were selling faster in 2007 by an average of 39 days.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I.F. Chamber plans open house Thursday

There wills be a ribbon cutting and open house Thursday at 5 p.m. for the new Idaho Falls Business Development Center and Visitor Information Center at 420 Memorial Drive.

This project came about after community and economic development agencies decided they would benefit from all being under the same roof. At that same time, the Moffatt Thomas law firm was moving to Snake River Landing, opening up a prime piece of real estate right on the newly remodeled Memorial Drive.

Tenants of the Visitor Information Center include the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Falls Convention & Visitor's Bureau and the Idaho Falls Auditorium District.

Tenants of the Business Development Center include the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau, the Partnership for Science & Technology and the Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corp.

The open house will be catered by Applebee's.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bedtime stories for the digital interactive age

The dot patterns on Smart PJ's can be scanned for all sorts of fun when it's time to go nite-nite. (Photo by Melissa Bristol)
In the past year a lot of people have been learning about QR tags -- coded images that can be scanned with a smart phone to bring information to the phone's screen.
Juan Murdoch

But while many said, "Wow," Juan Murdoch said, "What if?"

"What if you put these on kids' pajamas so that they could bring up pictures and bedtime stories?" he wondered. Murdoch, an Idaho Falls real estate agent with Keller Williams, said he got so excited by the idea he had to leave the meeting. "I was just shaking," he said. "I had to find out whether anyone had thought of this before me."

With the due diligence done, today he has a patent and 3,000 pair of Smart PJs he's confident he can sell as soon as the word gets out.

Murdoch learned early that QR codes were difficult to scan off fabric. Luckily, he also learned that a simpler pattern would scan just as well, if not better, for his purposes.

Every pair of Smart PJs has 47 dot patterns on it. Each one brings up a picture of a different animal and information about it.

With the app working and easy enough for a 6-year-old to use (it can be loaded for free onto an iPhone, and iPad and Android apps are close), his plan is to expand the content to stories and cartoons and develop the Web page, www.smartpjs.com.

Locally, Murdoch is planning to roll his Smart PJs out Saturday at the Christmas Craft Fair at Bonneville High School. "This is our first big event," he said. "We should have our platform ready with other stories, cartoons, etc., by then."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Idaho Best Places to Work program seeks entrants

There's still time to enter the Best Places to Work in Idaho for 2013, a survey of the state's employers conducted by POPULUS, an independent marketing research company, the Idaho Business Review and PacificSource Health Plans.

Since 2009, 20 companies have been named Best Places to Work in Idaho, divided evenly into large companies (over 100 employees) and small companies (under 100).

Rankings are based on employer practices and an anonymous survey of associates, who are asked to agree or disagree with dozens of statements about the firm, their work environment and their satisfaction.

Enrollment in the program is open through the end of January. Here is a link to the program's Web site, with information about 2013: https://www.bestplacestoworkinidaho.com/howitworks.

For four straight years, Edward Jones, a financial services firm based in St. Louis, has been named the No. 1 large company. The company provides financial services for individual investors in the United States and, through an affiliate, Canada. Every aspect of the firm's business, from the types of investment options offered to the location of branch offices, is designed to cater to individual investors.

There are 13 advisers in Idaho Falls and Ammon, and with Rigby, Rexburg, Shelley and Blackfoot included the number jumps to 19. "For the most part, we each have our own office which makes it seem like there are more of us," said Kevin King, who has an office in Idaho Falls.

Here is a full list of the Best Places to Work in Idaho for 2012 (awards are given at a banquet in April):

Top 10 Small Employers
1. CBH Homes
2. Lochsa Engineering
3. Moneytree, Inc.
4. MetaGeek
5. Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce
6. TitleOne Corporation
7. D.A. Davidson & Co.
8. Fisher's Document Systems, Inc.
9. Thornton Oliver Keller
10. Grubb & Ellis Catalyst

Top 10 Large Employers
1. Edward Jones
2. Idaho Central Credit Union
3. Primary Health Medical Group
4. Bodybuilding.com
5. T-Mobile
6. Idaho Housing and Finance Association
7. West Valley Medical Center
8. D.L. Evans Bank
9. MWI Veterinary Supply, Inc.
10. Alliance Title & Escrow

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sho-Ban Hotel and Event Center names Kristi Lyn Hansen sales director

Kristi Lyn Hansen
The Shoshone-Bannock Hotel & Event Center at Fort Hall has named Kristi Lyn Hansen its director of sales. Hansen was previously employed as sales director of O’Callahan’s inside the Idaho Falls Shilo Inn. Before her 14 years of sales experience in the hospitality industry, she worked in the travel industry for six years, specializing in leisure destinations, international travel, and training. A native of Blackfoot, she attended the International Air Academy in Vancouver, Wash.  

“We are fortunate to have found the skill set that Kristi brings to the property; a genuine care and commitment to clients, the ability to serve, and the regional awareness of the market and trends in the area,” said Jim Metzger, director of hospitality for the center.  “She is a welcome addition to our management team.” 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ruby Ranch Barbeque to open Wednesday on Utah Avenue

Here's some news on the local food front, in which we're well aware everyone shares a passionate interest.

On Wednesday, Shawn Benjamin and Rachel Taow will be opening Ruby Ranch Barbeque in a food truck on Utah Avenue, near the west side Wal-Mart. Even if the weather gets cold, they're hoping what they serve is hot enough to keep you coming back.

Here's the link to their Facebook page (which, of course, they invite you to "like"): https://www.facebook.com/RubyRanchBbq.

Benjamin has several years experience in food, most recently at the Frosty Gator. Taow, a U.S. Army veteran and also the bassist for the popular punkabilly band Whiskey Sassmouth, handles the business and marketing.

The truck, which has been parked on Marjacq Avenue the last few weeks (the same street on which I live, and a pretty clear tip-off something was afoot), came from Cut Bank, Mont. Benjamin said they were prepared to go to the coast for something until they happened upon the Montana Craigslist posting that took them north.

They will be opening from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., with plans to expand to breakfast. "It's been a dream of mine for a long time," Benjamin said.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Teton Toyota to award truck to Wyoming wildlife non-profit

Teton Toyota will be presenting a 2013 Toyota Tundra pickup truck at noon Tuesday to Craighead Beringia South, a non-profit wildlife research and education organization based in Kelly, Wyo.

The event is part of the Toyota 100 Cars for Good program, under which the car company awards organizations for the work they do in their communities. To enter, an organization is required to make a five-minute video explaining its mission and post it on social media. Winners are determined by the number of votes they get. Vehicles are awarded at the nearest Toyota dealership.

This is the second award to be made at Teton Toyota, said Doug Swanson, the dealership's business development manager. Earlier this month, the Lemhi County Humane Society was given a 2013 Toyota Sienna van.

Here is the video that Craighead Beringia South made in May:


Refreshments will be served at the reception. "We'd love to have people here to learn about this," Swanson said.


Downtown, Snake River Landing set Christmas by the River on Saturday

The crowd downtown for the 2011 Idaho Falls tree lighting ceremony
Now that Thanksgiving is over, even the holdouts can say the holiday season has started. In keeping with past years, Christmas on the River is coming this Saturday to Snake River Landing.

Brought to you by the folks at Snake River Landing, Downtown Idaho Falls and other local merchants, the day promises a full schedule of events, starting at 10 a.m. with the Christmas Gift 5k sponsored by Teton Running.

At noon, a reading of the Polar Express will ring in the holiday spirit while attendees warm themselves by fire rings, sipping hot cocoa and eating fresh cookies. Following the reading, Santa will be available for a visit and a quick photo in the Discovery Center. There will be fireside stories and kids' crafts available until 3 p.m. Snake River Landing is serving this year as a drop-off location for the Coats for Kids Program. Gently used coats can be donated to the program starting Dec. 1 through the end of January at the Snake River Landing Discovery Center, located at 901 Pier View Drive, Suite 104, or at any eastern Idaho Community Care location.

New this year is the Holiday Hope Canned Food Drive. Local students can bring canned food to be weighed-in on behalf of their schools. The school that donates the most items by weight will win $1,000, courtesy of Snake River Landing. All items will then be donated to the Idaho Food Bank to support local families during this holiday season.

At 3 p.m., head to cozy downtown Idaho Falls to visit with Santa at the Willard Art Center, followed by the tree lighting ceremony at 5 p.m. in Civitan Plaza, Park Avenue and B Street. Prior to the tree lighting, winners of the 5k will be announced and prizes awarded.

Available again this year at both locations will be the Trace Down Tracker scavenger hunt, the KLCE Cookbook giveaway, free trolley rides, fun Christmas lights and plenty of holiday cheer.

Christmas on the River 2012 is sponsored by Mountain View Hospital, Snake River Landing, the Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation, Z103, KBEAR 101, Classy 97, 105.5 The Hawk, Post Register and Wackerli Auto Group.

Here is a full schedule of the day's events at Snake River Landing and Downtown: http://downtownidahofalls.com/schedule-for-the-2012-christmas-on-the-river-saturday-dec-1-2012/

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Advertising Federation solicits Gem Award entries

The Idaho Falls Advertising Federation is now taking entries for the 2012 Eastern Idaho Gem Awards. The competition is open to any company, organization or individual that produced advertising work in eastern Idaho. Finished work must have appeared in 2012.

The winners will be announced at a dinner Feb. 8 at the Idaho Falls Elks Lodge.

All the entry materials and instructions here: http://ifadfed.wordpress.com/gem-awards/2012-eastern-idaho-gem-advertising-awards-call-for-entries/. Entry requirements are different this year, and the categories are totally different as well. The hope is that they're a bit more streamilned and that they'll make more sense for the club.

The early-bird deadline is Dec. 21 and the final deadline is Jan. 11.

If you have any questions, call Steve Fischbach, this year's chairman, at 524-1777 or e-mail him at steve@mightymcs.com.

Also, just a reminder, the IFAF's annual holiday party is Dec. 7 at the Elks Club, featuring dinner, drinks, dancing and fabulous silent auction prizes. Here's a link to what's being offered: http://ifadfed.wordpress.com/how-to-join/

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Teton Toyota files rezone petition for possible VW dealership site


The wheels are turning for a Volkswagen dealership on three acres of land across Pioneer Road from Teton Toyota.

General Manager Mario Hernandez has filed a petition with the city of Idaho Falls to have the land rezoned from C-1 (Commercial) to HC-1 (Highway Commercial). The latter zoning designation allows car lots.

The petition will come before the Idaho Falls Planning and Zoning Commission at its Dec. 4 meeting. The commission will make a recommendation to the Idaho Falls City Council, which will hear the issue  next year.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Skyline grad Joe Thiel named 2013 Rhodes Scholar

Idaho Falls native Joe Thiel was named a 2013 Rhodes Scholar this weekend.
Joseph W. Thiel, an Idaho Falls native and 2008 graduate of Skyline High School, was named a Rhodes scholar this weekend, one of 32 young Americans in the Class of 2013.

Thiel is a senior at Montana State University, where he majors in chemical engineering; he is also pursuing a B.A. in liberal studies, with a focus on politics, philosophy and economics.  He is the only student representative on the Board of Regents of the Montana University System.

Thiel was the vice president of Engineers Without Borders at Montana State and served as a student senator.  He has done summer work related to the storage of spent nuclear fuel and in biofilms engineering.  He is keenly interested in international development, and worked in western Kenya on an engineering project to provide water to rural primary schools.

He intends to do the M.Sc. in economics for development at Oxford.

The Rhodes Scholarship program was created in 1902 by the Will of Cecil Rhodes, British philanthropist and African colonial pioneer. The first class of American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904; those elected this weekend will enter Oxford in October 2013.

Rhodes Scholars are chosen in a two-stage process.  First, candidates must be endorsed by their college or university.  This year, approximately 1,700 students sought their institution’s endorsement; 838 were endorsed by 302 different colleges and universities.   

Applicants in the United States may apply either through the state where they are legally resident or where they have attended college for at least two years. The district committees met separately, on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 16 and 17, in cities across the country.

The Rhodes Scholars from the United States will join an international group of scholars chosen from 14 other jurisdictions around the world.

The Rhodes Trust pays all college and university fees, provides a stipend to cover necessary expenses while in residence in Oxford as well as during vacations, and transportation to and from England. It is estimated the total value of the scholarship averages approximately $50,000 per year.

Just over 1,900 American Rhodes Scholars, including former President Bill Clinton, are living in all parts of the U.S. and abroad.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ever wonder what happens to a Twinkie when ... ?

Hostess Brands has declared bankruptcy, and while I can't say I'm terribly broken up about it I'm not too proud to admit I enjoy a Twinkie now and then.

Despite the company's demise, I expect the Twinkie will remain part of American life. It's too embedded in popular culture for somebody to not acquire the rights to it. Still, I wonder if it will be the same.

In the meantime, I thought I would reprint a piece by food writers Jane and Michael Stern detailing some experiments they performed on Twinkies. This appeared in the July 1989 edition of Spy Magazine. 

"Twinkie, Twinkie,
Little suet-filled sponge cake Crisco log,
Now I know just what you are."
                    
"Animal, vegetable, Mineral, or Food?''


In an effort to clarify questions about the purported durability and unusual physical characteristics of Twinkies, we subjected the Hostess snack logs to the following experiments:

EXPOSURE:
Twinkie was left on a ... window ledge for four days, during which time an inch and a half of rain fell.  Many flies `were observed crawling across the Twinkie's surface, but contrary to hypothesis, birds -- even pigeons -- avoided this potential source of sustenance. Despite the rain and prolonged exposure to the sun, the Twinkie retained its original color and form.  When removed ... the Twinkie was found to be substantially dehydrated.  Cracked open, it was observed to have taken on the consistency of industrial foam insulation; the filling, however, retained it adverstised ``creaminess.''

RADIATION:
A Twinkie was placed in a conventional microwave oven, which was set for precisely 4 minutes -- the approximate cooking time of bacon. After 20 seconds, the oven began to emit the Twinkie's rich,
characteristic aroma of artificial butter.  After 1 minute, this aroma began to resemble the acrid smell of burning rubber.  The experiment was aborted after 2 minutes, 10 seconds, when thick, foul smoke began billowing from the top of the oven ... a second Twinkie was subjected to the same experiment ... this Twinkie leaked molten white filling ... when cooled, this now epoxylike filling bonded the Twinkie to its plate,  defying gravity; it was removed only upon application of a butter knife.

EXTREME FORCE:

A Twinkie was dropped from a ninth-floor window, a fall of approximately 120 feet.  It landed right side up ... then bounced onto its back.  The expected ``splatter'' effect was not observed.  Indeed, the
only discernible damage to the Twinkie was a narrow fissure on its underside ... otherwise, the Twinkie remained structurally intact.

EXTREME COLD:
A Twinkie was placed in a conventional freezer for 24 hours.  Upon removal, the Twinkie was not found to be frozen solid, but its physical properties had noticeably ``slowed'' .. the filling was found to be the approximate consistency of acrylic paint, while exhibiting the mercurylike
property of not adhering to practically any surface.  It was noticed that the Twinkie had generously absorbed freezer odors.

EXTREME HEAT:
A Twinkie was exposed to a gas flame for 2 minutes.  While the Twinkie smoked and blackened and the filling in one of its "cream holes'' boiled, the Twinkie did not catch fire. It did, however, produce the same "burning rubber'' aroma noticed during the irradiation experiment.

IMMERSION:
A Twinkie was dropped into a large beaker filled with tap water. The Twinkie floated momentarily, began to list and sink ... viscous yellow tendrils ran off its lower half, possibly consisting of a water-soluble artificial coloring.  After 2 hours, the Twinkie had bloated substantially. Its coloring was now a very pale tan -- in contrast to the yellow, urine-like water the surrounded it.  The Twinkie bobbed when touched, and had a gelatinous texture.  After 72 hours, the Twinkie was found to have bloated to roughly 200 percent of its original size ... the water had turned opaque, and a small, fan-shaped spray of filling had leaked from one of the "cream holes.'' Unfortunately, efforts to remove the Twinkie for further analysis were abandoned when, under light pressure ... the Twinkie disintegrated
into an amorphous cloud of debris. A distinctly sour odor was noted.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS

The Twinkie's survival of a 120-foot drop, along with some of the unusual phenomena associated with the ``creamy filling'' and artificial coloring, should give pause to those observers who would
unequivocally categorize the Twinkie as "food.''  Further clinical inquiry is required before any definite conclusions can be drawn.

Believe it or not, this was only a sidebar to a much larger piece. Here's a link to the July 1989 Spy (the Sterns' article starts on Page 89): http://books.google.com/books?id=VdRQYCi-SX8C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Colorado chain, Natural Grocers, could be looking at store in Idaho Falls


Last year, while this blog was in its carefree youth, we sparked a bit of speculation by reporting on a conversation with Assistant City Planner Brad Cramer, who told us he'd been getting cryptic inquiries from a company interested in building a specialty grocery store about 15,000 square feet in size.

Trader Joe's? Whole Foods? If not them, then who?

This is the difference between writing a column (or blog) and writing a news story. I cannot report with absolute certainty that Natural Grocers, a Colorado-based chain, will be building a store on the 3.87 acres south of 17th Street where Andrew Well Drilling used to be.

What leads me to surmise that it is Natural Grocers that is interested in Idaho Falls is the fact that the city has been in communication with Leadership Circle, LLC, a company in Montrose, Colo., that  consults on planning and zoning for Natural Grocers. Here is a link to minutes from  Missoula Board of Adjustments meeting in January: ftp://www.co.missoula.mt.us/opgftp/Minutes/CiBOA/2012/120125CiBOAMinutes.pdf.

If they seek to build in Idaho Falls, they will have to submit a site plan, get the land rezoned and receive a special use permit. The deadline for the January Planning and Zoning Commission meeting is the first week in December. So this is something to stay on top of.

Natural Grocers has stores in 12 states. Earlier this year it opened stores in Boise and Missoula. Here is a link to its Web site: http://www.naturalgrocers.com/. And here is a link to the story that ran in the Idaho Statesman when it became official they were opening in Boise: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/01/26/1968611/natural-foods-grocery-to-open.html

As a footnote, I find it interesting that Whole Foods opened in Boise this week.

Mountain River Ranch plans season kickoff

Snow or no snow, the horses are ready at Mountain River Ranch
Mountain River Ranch near Ririe will have its fifth annual Lights On celebration Nov. 23.

In exchange for three cans of food, the owners will be sleigh or wagon rides and cider and cookies. Partners in the event are Farmer Brothers Co., Love at First Bite and Heise Hot Springs. Donations will go to the Idaho Food Bank.

For more information, call 538-7337 or visit www.mountainriver.com.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Downtown bakery owner eyes Jan. 15 opening

Napoleons will be among the European-style baked goods served at La Vanilla Bean Patisserie on Park Avenue
Work is due to start the Monday after Thanksgiving on a new European-style bakery at the corner of Park Avenue and B Street.

Kay Lynn Broadhead, owner of La Vanilla Bean Patisserie, said she is shooting for a Jan. 15, 2013 opening. The business, in the old A Street Games location, will focus on European style pastries (tarts, torts, Napoleons, eclairs, scones), and will also provide specialty cakes and lunch.

Broadhead was a communications professor at Idaho State University for 20 years before she took early retirement in 2010 to attend the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vt. When she returned to Idaho she had her eye on Boise, and even had a storefront lined up. But the deal fell through, and when she started looking at other places she was approached by the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Development Corp.

"I've got a very good feeling about what's happening with the downtown here," she said. Broadhead will be assisted in the business by Jessica Carson.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sandy-damaged cars in Idaho? Be on the lookout

Idaho used-car buyers should be aware that vehicles damaged by Hurricane Sandy "will likely end up on local car lots to be sold by unaware care dealers to unsuspecting buyers," said the Northwest Insurance Council, funded in part by Idaho insurers, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

People who buy a used vehicle and later discover it was water damaged will likely find their insurance policy does not cover the cost of repairs, the groups said.

"Unscrupulous people buy the vehicles, clean them up to hide the flood damage, then ship them to states unaffected by flooding to be sold as normal used cars," said Frank Scafidi, public affairs director for the bureau.

The groups recommend that Idaho car buyers:
  • Choose a car dealer vetted by the Better Business Bureau or local Chamber of Commerce.
  • Check the car's VIN number and search the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System for online access to vehicle history information.
  • Look and/or smell for mildew, mold or an intense smell of deodorizer, debris and silt in unusual places such as under the carpet in the trunk or around the engine compartment.
  • Look for rust on screws and other metal parts.
  • Look for water stains, faded upholstery, discolored seat belts and door panels.
  • Look for dampness in the floor and carpet and moisture inside the instrument panel
Here's an interesting link if you want to read more: http://www.cartalk.com/content/how-not-buy-storm-damaged-used-car

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/11/08/2338810/insurers-warn-idaho-car-buyers.html#storylink=cpy

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Nuclear Society sponsors high school essay contest

The Idaho Section of the American Nuclear Society is inviting high school students to research and write about next generation nuclear design research, offering two $1,500 scholarships to the winners.

One scholarship will be awarded for the best essay at the 9th-10th grade level and another scholarship for the winner at the 11th-12th grade level. The student writing the winning essay in each category will receive a check, which will be given Feb. 28, 2013, at a dinner and scholarship presentation at the Shilo Inn Convention Center in Idaho Falls. Only first place in each category will be announced.

Any area high school student is eligible to enter an essay, which should focus on one next generation of nuclear reactor designs and should discuss the design in detail. The essay must be between 1,500 and 2,500 words and must include at least three references, one of which must be from a journal.

All entries must be submitted or postmarked by Dec. 10, and submitted to Danielle Perez (Danielle.Perez@inl.gov) or mailed to Idaho Section of the American Nuclear Society, P.O. Box 51635, Idaho Falls, ID 83405-1635.

Here is a link to the entry form and more information: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=gmail&attid=0.1&thid=13ade0c683dfced6&mt=application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document&url=https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui%3D2%26ik%3Dfe0b2e3f21%26view%3Datt%26th%3D13ade0c683dfced6%26attid%3D0.1%26disp%3Dsafe%26zw&sig=AHIEtbQaP0-mEfU19McRV2o2IAPn4yNinw

Film production workshop offered Nov. 16-18 in Boise

Buster Keaton as "The Cameraman" (1928)
So you wanna be in pictures? If your dream is behind the camera, Boise State University is offering a way in.

For more than 15 years, Ken Chaplin’s company has led production crews on film locations in the United States, Canada, Europe and Africa. At each location they have sought to hire qualified  production assistants only to find the local talent lacking in adequate production training. This prompted them to develop their Production Assistant Training Seminar (PATS) program, which Chaplin is bringing to BSU Nov. 16-18.



The class is open to the public as well as students. Cost is $150 for members of the public, $125 for students.

After completing the workshop, each participant’s name will be entered into the PATS national database, available to national and local film professionals and production companies. Participants will also receive a 110-page production assistant training manual.

"Kenny’s 2011 workshop was terrific and we welcome him back to Idaho for a second class," said Peg Owens of the Idaho Commerce Film Office. The state's media production industry is valued at $36 million, with a payroll of $15 million, according to the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis.

For more information and to register online, click here: http://copperledge.boisestate.edu/CourseStatus.awp?&course=129COM109U01 or visit http://www.filmidaho.org/filmmaker-resources/workshops/.



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lucy's offering free desserts to voters


Do I need to admonish my BizMojo Idaho readers to vote? I hardly think so, yet for the sake of our republic I will anyway.

This has been a volatile election, and regardless of who wins I think we are going to see great unhappiness in its wake. Deal with it. This is democracy, and for all the people who moan about its lack of civility I would like to point out that no one is fighting duels or attacking others with fireplace andirons, as has happened in the past. Nor is anybody being jailed or killed for political statements. There are a lot of countries where this still happens.

We are engaged in a grand experiment in self-governance that began in 1776. Our system, for all its faults and imperfections, is a model to the world.

If you need more incentive than my words, Lucy's New York Style Pizzeria, will give you a free dessert cannoli if you show up wearing an "I Voted" sticker at either of its two Idaho Falls/Ammon locations (West Anderson and Hitt Road, next to Merlin's) or at its original location in Roberts.

I would not be surprised if other businesses are offering similar specials. So do I need to make my point any clearer? Go out and vote. It matters.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Idaho theme hotels prominent in Frommers online article

The Hawaiian Suite at Idaho Falls' Destinations Inn is one of 10 themed hotel rooms featured in an online layout on www.Frommers.com.
What does it tell you that four of the 10 Wacky Hotel Rooms on a current Frommers.com slideshow are in Idaho?

These include rooms at Destinations Inn in Idaho Falls and the Black Swan Inn in Pocatello. By far the most unique, however, is the Dog Bark Park near Cottonwood (pictured below).


To look at the full feature, follow this link: http://www.frommers.com/slideshow/index.cfm?p=1&group=1203&cat_cd=FAMILY#slide


Friday, November 2, 2012

Idaho Falls photo studio offers mini-headshot sessions Nov. 10

An example of a mini-headshot from Kristi Sheriff Photography's Web site

If you would like your child to try out to be a model for Kristi Sheriff Photography & Sweetiebirds Designs, now is your chance. The two Idaho Falls businesses are offering five-minute mini-headshot sessions Nov. 10 to get a feel for how your kids are in front of the camera. Sessions are only $5 plus tax, and special packages will be available that day as well.

If you aren't interested in having your child be a model but would still like a nice portrait of them, this session is also something to consider. Special packages are available the day of the session.

If you want to see some images from other Mini-Headshot Sessions, you can see them here: http://www.spgx.com/blog/?p=275.

Bring your child dressed and ready to go. Kids must wear their own clothes for the Mini-Headshot Session. Winners will be chosen for modeling the Sweetiebirds clothing at a later date.

If your child is interested in modeling, Kristi’s images can be a great asset. Some of Kristi Sheriff’s modeling images have been used by her clients to obtain jobs at Disney and the Weather Channel. She has also had many images appear in print.

To sign up, follow this link: http://kristisheriff.bookmonline.com/schedules

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Still trying to make sense of the numbers.

In my continuing effort to understand how many people I may be reaching with this blog, I've noticed a huge difference between the number of pageviews as reported by Blogger as opposed to the number reported by Google Analytics.

Looking at the Blogger stats, here's what I see:
October was our biggest month yet, with 9,456 pageviews. Since beginning BizMojo Idaho in September 2011, we've been seen by over 76,000 pairs of eyeballs.

Nice going, eh? Not so fast. Let's take a look at the Google Analytics chart now:

While impressive for a local blog (I wouldn't be sharing this otherwise), they present a more modest picture. In the case of October, pageviews were 4,803, slightly more than half the number reported by Blogger. Why is this? Apparently, Google can filter out bots that Blogger counts. These bots are crawling the Web looking for keywords, which is good for search engine optimization. I don't think there can be any argument that original content frequently posted is the key to a good profile with the search engines. This also probably explains the mystery of why our posts about Carl's Jr. and In-N-Out Burger get so many pageviews.

Here's a link where I learned picked up this information: http://jensontaylor.blogspot.com/2012/03/blogger-stats-vs-google-analytics.html. I found the comments to be interesting, too.




Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Smart Grid information meetings scheduled

Source: http://www.igreencenter.org/greenTechnologies.html

There's no need to be in the dark about Smart Grid technology. Idaho Falls Power, the Partnership for Science & Technology, the Center for Advanced Energy Studies and the Idaho National Laboratory will be hosting free community meetings to explain what it is and what it means to eastern Idaho.

The next meeting will be held Nov. 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. and will feature Rita Wells, who has worked in cyber-security at the INL for 22 years and is currently the lab's project lead for the electric sector security programs.

After that, meetings will be Feb. 12. 2013 (“Smart Grid and Your Health) and May 14, 2013 (Idaho Falls Power & Smart Grid).

All of the meetings will be held at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies complex, 995 University Boulevard.

Already widely used in much of the United States, Smart Grid technology is the next phase in energy conservation and affordability. For more information regarding “Smart Meters,” visit http://smartgridcc.org/.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Planet Beach Contempo Spa plans Idaho Falls location

Tami,Walker, Planet Beach Contempo Spa area representative

Already in Boise and Twin Falls, Planet Beach Contempo Spa Area Representative Tami Walker is busy with a third location in Idaho Falls.

The spa will be in the old Domino's Pizza location at 2205 E. 17th Street, in the same shopping center as Work Wearhouse and Once Upon a Child. Remodeling plans have been submitted at the city of Idaho Falls Building Department. An opening has been tentatively scheduled for mid-January.

Walker was a Domino's franchisee for 17 years, then left the business to go into agricultural lending. She had belonged to the Planet Beach spa in Boise for three years when she decided to approach the company about becoming a franchisee herself. In December 2010 she signed a contract with the company.

She became the company's area representative in July, and is now responsible for training franchisees herself.

"I like that I have the chance to bring everyone together on common ground," she said. "Planet Beach is exciting because it’s a whole different approach to the day spa model. It brings a lot of good to people."

For some background on the company, follow this link: http://myplanetbeachfranchise.com/featured-posts/how-planet-beach-built-a-sustainable-brand/

Civitans elect new board


The Idaho Falls Civitans have elected new board members for the 2012-13 year. They are: Eve Wilson, president; Syd Morgan, president-elect; Bob Everhart, past-president; Michelle Williams, treasurer; and Meg Pence, secretary.

Board members include Sandy Boyle, Jeanie Brady, Dee Nelson, Tess Rhoads, Deb Dexter and Carole Walters.
Active in the community for 50 years, the service organization sponsors such fund-raisers as Alive After Five and participates in local charity projects. All the money made from Alive After Five stays in the area to help such projects as Civitan Park, where the club finished building a new playground two years ago, and Civitan Pocket Park, at Park Avenue and A Street.

This past summer, the club helped build the deck in the Sister Cities Park by the Broadway bridge.

The club meets at noon each Thursday at Hotel on the Falls. For information, call Wilson at 524-1347 or email mrsoz@onewest.net.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween family fun this week

If you're an adult, you've probably celebrated Halloween already by dressing up over the weekend, but let's not forget that Halloween is actually Wednesday night. Nor let us forget who it is really for, our children.

If you've got kids trick or treating from door to door, we're sure you're taking all the proper precautions -- warm clothing, flashlights, adult supervision when necessary or appropriate.

At least two Halloween-related events will precede Wednesday. Today from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Snake River Landing and Riverbend Communications will be hosting the sixth annual Trick-or-Treat Street, offering a fun and safe environment where kids can snag treats and play games. More info: http://www.snakeriverlanding.com/event/trick-or-treat-street-2012.html

Tuesday night from 6 to 9, Eastern Idaho Technical College and Community Care will host Trunk or Treat, a community-wide event where families, businesses and organizations decorate trunks and hand out candy. Families are invited to dress up and participate. To find out more, here's a link to the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/286508491377292/

Idahoan due to receive state funds for training workers


Idahoan Foods, which in the past year opened new headquarters in downtown Idaho Falls, is due to receive up to $240,000 from the state's Workforce Development Training Fund to train 60 new workers.
The Idaho Department of Labor said its commitment, averaging $4,000 per new employee, will enable the maker of dehydrated mashed, au gratin, scalloped and hash-brown potatoes to expand its payroll to 109. The new jobs pay an average of $14.84 an hour.
Financed by employers through a 3 percent set-aside on unemployment insurance taxes, the fund reimburses companies for the costs of training employees for new jobs if the jobs pay at least $12 an hour and include employer-provided health care. Reimbursements can also be made for training workers who face being laid off from their current jobs if their skills are not upgraded.
Companies must produce a product or service that is marketed outside their region or be in the health care sector.
Since its inception in 1996, the fund has reimbursed 200 companies more than $38 million for training almost 20,000 workers. 

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/10/24/2321066/eastern-idaho-potato-processor.html#storylink=cpy

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Snow, smartphones and social media add up to a new autumn ritual

What was my first instinct this morning when I looked out my window and saw snow on the ground? I grabbed my iPhone, snapped a picture and tweeted it. The tweet showed up on Facebook, where I noticed a number of friends were doing the exact same thing.

If anyone needs an example of how social media are changing the way we relate news to each other, I think this is about as basic as they come.

Here's an aggregation of photos from this morning, starting with my own. I'll bet at least six more have gone up in the time I've taken to post this.

Paul Menser

Kathy Balling Lisle

Kathy Duplessis

Stacey Francis

Tyler Ballou

INL researcher takes part in cybersecurity task force

Rita Wells of the Idaho National Laboratory
Rita Wells, a cyber and control systems security researcher at the Idaho National Laboratory, has been appointed to a 15-member cyberskills task force.

The group was formed to help the Department of Homeland Security and the federal government recruit and retain talented cybersecurity professionals. Among the recommendations in a report it presented this month to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the group called for a two-year, community college-based program to identify and train people for critical cybersecurity jobs. It also recommended establishing a cyber-reserve program that would allow cybersecurity professionals from outside government to assist DHS in times of need, and a sustained effort to train and hire veterans for critical cybersecurity positions.

Wells, an INL employee for 22 years, is currently leads the lab’s electric sector security programs. She is the recipient of numerous cybersecurity awards including the SANS Institute’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) security leadership award. She often speaks at national cybersecurity conferences and has provided testimony to Congress on the challenges of cybersecurity in the electric utility sector.

For nearly a decade, INL has been internationally recognized for its research in critical infrastructure protection, cyber and control systems security, and electric grid reliability. The laboratory manages several multi-year security programs, including the DHS Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) and the Department of Energy’s National SCADA Test Bed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Idaho Falls featured in AAA's Via magazine

Idaho Falls is the cover story of the current Northwest edition of Via magazine.
Idaho and Oregon AAA members are getting their November/December 2012 issue of Via magazine, featuring a cover story on Idaho Falls.

The magazine goes to about 440,000 homes and offices in the two states, said Marie Dodds, director of government and public affairs in AAA's Portland office.

Editors in different regions decide what goes in the magazine and on the cover, she said. "What we're trying to do is offer useful travel information to people in the Northwest, so they might decide to drive or take a flight to a place like Idaho Falls," she said. "We do run some features on international travel, but for the most part we're more focused on travel tips and realistic places to go."

As stated on its Web site, www.viamagazine.com, Via's mission is "to excite, to inform, and to entertain Western travelers; to lay bare the secrets of destinations around the globe, across the country, and, most often, just down the road; to satiate and gratify the armchair traveler and, especially, to spark active travelers to pick up the phone, grab a mouse, or trek to the nearest AAA travel agency and begin making plans for their next trip."

Dodds said they decided on a story about Idaho Falls at their 2011 editorial scheduling meeting, and that the copy was turned in earlier this year.