Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mrs. Powell's opens store in downtown Idaho Falls

Mrs. Powell's, a fixture in the Ammon Towne Square for some time, has opened a second store, on the corner of E Street and North Yellowstone Avenue.
Ryan Hatch

Although the space itself is small, manager Ryan Hatch said they are hoping to do a lot of take-out and delivery business by being so close to downtown Idaho Falls. "We'd been wanting to expand, and we think downtown is a great market us," he said. "Yesterday we took some samples to the DMV office. They're super-excited being right across the street. We're hoping delivery will be a big part of our business."

The menu will be the same as the Mrs. Powell's in Ammon, which Hatch's parents, Sherri and Alban, have owned for seven years. The food is made fresh daily in Ammon, then brought downtown, where it can be reheated if necessary. In addition to bread and cinnamon rolls, the menu features soups, sandwiches, wraps and calzones.

Work on remodeling the location (the actual address is 235 E Street) began in November, but the sign only went up earlier this week. Hatch said he is shooting for a grand opening by mid-March. In the meantime, they are ready to take orders. The phone number is (208) 200-5300. Mrs. Powell's Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/?ref=hp#!/mrspowells

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Areva suspends Eagle Rock enrichment work 'indefinitely'

This broke on Local News 8 last night. Not great news for anyone who pinned their hopes on Areva as the salvation of the local economy. http://www.localnews8.com/news/30555368/detail.html

That One Place grand opening is Wednesday

That One Place, 552 N. Capital Ave., will be having its grand opening Wednesday.

The restaurant has been at its downtown location since early December, after relocating from a spot on Third Street. Owner Trent Walker said he thought there would be better traffic and he also figured it would be more fun to be part of the downtown scene. The restaurant took part in the downtown open house earlier this month. The menu focuses on sandwiches, soups, wraps and rice bowls, all fresh from scratch.

For the grand opening, customers can buy one entree and get a second of equal or lesser value for free.

Walker said the name "That One Place" came from his 16-year-old son, who'd heard his grandparents talking all the time about places they'd eaten around the world, e.g. "Remember that one place we went to in Italy?"

"He said, 'You ought to call it that,' and we liked the idea," Walker said.

The restaurant manager is Ashley Mueller. They provide catering, carryout and delivery. For more information, call 529-9804

Visit the Web site at http://www.thatoneplaceonline.com

Monday, February 27, 2012

"I feel a great disturbance in the Force ... "

I'm well aware of BizMojo Idaho readers' never-ending interest in franchise restaurants, so here are a few links I thought might be interesting for a Monday morning.

"Strange Burgers Invade the Fast Food Universe," would be worth reading if only for the description of the "Dark Vador" and one consumer's critique of it.  http://www.allbusiness.com/print/16773368-1-9a0bs.html

On a more serious note, next comes an article that explains a lot about franchising, from a Web site I frequently look at for new ideas. http://www.allbusiness.com/wrong-way-franchising-success/16750086-1.html

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Explaining Idaho's lower gas prices

We've gotten five or six entries in the Guess-the-Price-of-Gas contest. You have until 5 p.m. Wednesday to guess the lowest local price of regular unleaded on the Friday before Memorial Day. Whoever comes closest wins a $10 gift certificate to Carl's Jr.

In the meantime, here's some more information on gas prices. Hard as it may seem to believe, Idaho for now has some of the lowest prices in the nation, said AAA Idaho spokesman Dave Carlson.

U.S. demand for oil and refined products has been 5 percent to 7 percent lower this year and supplies are good, yet prices are surging. That could mean there's fear that oil supplies could be disrupted in the Middle East. Or it could mean investors are banking on good growth gains in economies around the world, Carlson said Friday in a statement.

Investors have helped push oil prices well above last year's numbers, and today's national average price for regular grade gasoline is $3.65, a full 42 cents more per gallon ahead of last year's record pace. Idaho's average price is on the rise too, up 8 cents in the past week to $3.23, but 42 cents lower than the average price. Idaho's average price is fifth lowest in the U.S.

"Oil is collecting a premium price, but all you have to do is look at where Idaho is compared to its neighbors to see something is drastically different this year in the regional scheme of things," Carlson said.

Oregon's average price Friday is $3.83 and Washington is at $3.78. But Wyoming ($3.08), Utah ($3.16) and Montana ($3.20) all have prices in the range of Idaho's $3.23 average.

What gives? It's all about where the gas is being refined. Refineries on the West Coast are likely paying more than $125 a barrel for the oil they use, but Idaho and other Rocky Mountain states have access to cheaper oil coming out of Canada and North Dakota, priced closer to $80 a barrel.

"The rapid escalation in oil prices in the past several weeks has yet to be accounted for at the retail level, so prices everywhere will continue to rise," Carlson said. Barring major market changes, gas prices are expected to rise between now and mid-May. Idaho's prices peaked at $3.79 the first week in May a year ago.

"We think it's reasonable to assume that some states will hit average prices well above $4, but barring refinery shutdowns, it's possible Idaho and some states might stay below that mark," Carlson said.

Here's a breakdown on pump prices around Idaho from Friday:

Boise: $3.23
Coeur d'Alene: $3.28
Pocatello: $3.08
Idaho Falls: $3.07
Nampa: $3.24
Twin Falls: $3.20

Send your Memorial Day predictions to bizmojoidaho@gmail.co.

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/02/24/2008243/idaho-gas-prices-climb-on-higher.html#storylink=cpy

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Work planned this summer for Pancheri overpass, Memorial Drive

It's not too early start looking forward to summer, and one thing we can expect is a couple of big road and bridge projects in Idaho Falls.

Downtown, the remodeling of Memorial Drive is due to start July 5. "We didn't want to tear it up before the Fourth of July celebration, but we'll be getting to it the day after," said Bob Everhart, executive director of the Downtown Development Corp.

The remodeling will reduce Memorial to one lane between A and D Streets and moving parking for the Bonneville County Courthouse to other spots. If all goes as intended, there will be a much more appealing area along the river, with downtown and the Greenbelt fully integrated.

The other big project within city limits will be the replacement of the 50-year-old Pancheri Overpass. That two-lane bridge, especially exciting in icy weather, was built in 1962, the same I-15 reached Idaho Falls, and has long since reached what transportation types euphemistically call its "design life."

The replacement will be a wide structure, featuring two lanes of traffic and a bike/pedestrian path in each direction of travel. The old bridge won't go down until two lanes of the new bridge are open. The replacement bridge will improve traffic safety and flow, reducing congestion between Utah Avenue and Blue Sky Drive, a distance of just under a mile. The transportation department expects to complete the bulk of the work by year end.

The project will also include improving Pancheri Drive through its intersection with Blue Sky Drive and installing storm-water treatment and control systems.

Participants in the federally funded project are the Idaho Transportation Department, Bonneville Metropolitan Planning Organization, Bonneville County and City of Idaho Falls. The project is part of a plan by BMPO, Bonneville County and Idaho Falls to upgrade the corridor between Yellowstone Highway and Bellin Road in Idaho Falls.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

And now for a word on gasoline prices ...

This week the Dow Jones Industrial Average nosed above 13,000 for the first time since May 2008. Are happy days are here again?

You may recall where gasoline prices were in May 2008: They were approaching $4 a gallon, which is where they appear to be headed now. Yes, by the beginning of summer you may need a second mortgage to gas up the old SUV, pickup or minivan, not to mention your ATV, JetSki or lawnmower.

I don't think there's anything that gets Americans more riled up than high gasoline prices, and I'm speaking as someone who remembers when it cost less than $10 to put 20 gallons in a 1966 Chevrolet Impala SS. Supply and demand and speculator nervousness always get cited as the root causes of rising prices, and that may be true. But there's always a general suspicion among folks at the pump that somehow the fix is in. Of course if Iran's mullahs decide to sink a tanker in the middle of the Strait of Hormuz, all bets will be off.

For your convenience, I've added a gas price widget to the right side of the page so you can keep up. For the next week, e-mail me what you think the price of unleaded regular will be the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. The address is bizmojoidaho@gmail.com. Entries will be accepted through 5 p.m. Feb. 29. The winner will receive a $10 gift certificate to Carl's Jr.

By the way, I noticed that Stinker has begun selling gas with an octane rating of 85, when the lowest they used to sell was 87. All by itself, this is a sign of the world in decline.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bannock County Development names new director

John Regetz
John Regetz has been hired as the new Bannock County Development Corp. director in Pocatello.

Regetz has spent nearly his entire career in economic development in the Midwest and South Dakota. His last stop, at the Michigan City Economic Development Corporation in Indiana, lasted about six and a half years.

The Bannock County Development Corp. lost its director when Gynii Gilliam went to work for the Idaho Department of Commerce.

Regetz said that he has experience working with industries that would fit in well with Pocatello’s economy, including the high-tech and national computing sectors in Urbana, Ill.; and “advanced manufacturing” in Michigan City.

“The whole scope of my career seems to have been preparing me for this position,” Regetz said.

The Bannock County Development Corp. works with companies, governments and other organizations to coordinate economic development efforts within the county.

Regetz will start on March 19.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

DeMarco's in Grand Teton Mall closing

DeMarco's going out of business sale starts Thursday.
After 26 years in the Grand Teton Mall -- almost as long as the mall has been standing -- DeMarco's is quitting business.

In a letter sent out to preferred customers, store owners Dave and Rob Marcovitz said the decision comes "after years of battling such a tormented economy." Given the retail comings and goings since the mall opened in the mid-'80s, I've wondered more than once how a smaller clothing store with such high-quality merchandise could stay in business for any length of time at all.

In an interview with Local News 8, Rob Marcowitz said Americans are looking more to alternative retailers. "The U.S. people are getting to be a little more like Internet shopping-type people," he said.

Starting Thursday they'll be selling their stock off at prices up to 60 percent off. Brands include such designer names as True Religion, Tommy Bahama, Robert Graham and For All Mankind. If you're halfway interested in stylish clothes, this is something you might want to check out.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Copp named head of Missouri cleanup project

Robert D. Copp, until recently the chief executive officer of Nitrocision LLC of Idaho Falls, has been named project director of the Hematite Decommissioning Project in Festus, Mo.

Copp will be responsible for all project operations at the site. For years the facility manufactured uranium fuel for the U.S. Government (including the Navy and the U.S. Department of Energy) and commercial electric power utilities. Westinghouse Electric Co. took over the site after buying the nuclear operations of ABB in April 2000. The Hematite facility was the oldest nuclear fuel manufacturing facility in the United States when Westinghouse stopped fuel manufacturing operations in June 2001.

The NRC approved the site's decommissioning plan in November 2011. The work under way now includes excavating waste burial areas, removing contaminated soil and shipping the material for off-site disposal. This phase of site operations is expected to be completed in 2013.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Second Idaho Falls Carl's Jr. opening set for April 16

Enough calories to feed a village in India for a week?
It's been almost seven weeks since Carl's Jr. opened on 17th Street, and we're reasonably certain that anyone who cares about a juicy burger has been there at least once.

This morning, in a moment of idle musing, it occured to me that the L.A.-based chain might have finally scheduled an opening for the second restaurant, at 1115 Northgate Mile, well under construction. I could not reach my usual source, Kelly Grieve, who was in a meeting, but her assistant, Cindy, confirmed to me that a tentative date of April 16 has been set.

She said the date could change due to any number of reasons, that it could be sooner or later. But at least those of you who care now have a pretty good idea of when to start salivating. We'll keep you posted.

Labor Department report indicates more benefits offered in 2011

There's good news in the first report of 2012 from the Idaho Department of Labor, a survey of fringe benefits offered by employers in 2011.

More employers reported providing medical and dental benefits to their full-time employees, ending a decline that began in 2005 and returning the state estimates to pre-recession levels.

There's plenty to look at in the 49-page report, which can be viewed at http://lmi.idaho.gov/ResearchProjects.aspx

Here are some key points from the executive summary:
  • Employers indicated they were more likely to offer full‐time employees fringe benefits compared with part‐time employees.
  • Bigger companies offer better and more extensive benefit packages.
  • Industry sectors requiring more experience and education continued to offer more benefits than their counterparts in natural resources and mining, leisure and hospitality.
  • Region continued to be a non-factor in determining whether a firm offered any form of fringe benefits to employees.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Young Professionals to hold first mixer of '12

The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Network will have its first mixer of the year today from 6 to 8 p.m. at Teton Toyota.

The group was started in 2008 as a way for future business leaders to network with each other, socially and professionally. YPN is an official committee of the chamber and has a board of directors made up of eight people.

Events like today's mixer are free and open to anyone in the 21-to-40 age range. They often feature guest speakers.

Food and drink will be provided, and there will be live music by Happyville (which, incidentally, got its start two years ago at a chamber event like this. Michelle Ziel and I started singing together when a man appeared on a flaming pie and said to us, "You shall form a band.")

For more information on YPN, visit the Web site, http://www.idahofallsypn.com/

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Open houses, fly-tying demo set for I.F. downtown

Downtown Idaho Falls has some fun coming up, and since it’s not 10 below (remember folks, it’s February and very well could be) it might not be a bad idea to head down that way.

On Saturday morning, Jimmy’s All Season Angler, 275 A St., will be hosting a free fly-tying demo. These go through March 31 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. A complete list of tiers can be found at http://www.jimmysflyshop.com/ 

In the afternoon, five downtown restaurants and one bar will be having an open house from 3 to 6 p.m.:
  • 3’s Co., 368 A St.
  • Il Castello, 445 A St.
  • Snakebite, 401 Park Ave.
  • Pachanga's, 501 Park Ave.
  • That One Place, 552 N. Capital Ave.
Also, Vino Rosso, 439 A St., will be open with a no-host bar and appetizers. Start at anyone of these restaurants, and go back and forth as much as you please.

On Saturday morning, Jimmy’s All Season Angler, 275 A St., will be hosting a free fly-tying demo. These go through March 31 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. A complete list of tiers can be found at http://www.jimmysflyshop.com/

Scoresby Farms opens second Idaho Falls store

Produce at the Scoresby Farms Woodruff Avenue store
Scoresby Farms has opened its second store in Idaho Falls, at 1710 South Yellowstone, where the Shell station used to be.

Since they opened their first store, at 2045 North Woodruff, it's been a busy year for Justin Scoresby, his brother, Shawn, and dad, Eric. One or more of them travels to California every two weeks to pick up the freshest fruit and vegetables they can find. This week, they have oranges from the Los Angeles Wholesale Market at 39 cents a pound and avacados from Oxnard at 3 for $1.

"Because we buy from the farmers direct we skip the warehouses," Justin Scoresby said. "Our produce is fresher and better. We for sure have the best oranges in town, and all kinds of really good citrus."

The South Yellowstone store is 2,100 square feet, with about 1,600 square feet of retail space. The expansion will allow them to put a bakery into their North Yellowstone store.

While local produce isn't available this time of year, in the summer the family grows vegetables on 50 acres. "We try to do all Idaho stuff as us much as we can," Scoresby said.

The Scoresby Farms Web site is http://www.scoresbyfarms.com/

Monday, February 13, 2012

Direct Health starts operation in Idaho Falls

Perhaps you have not heard the term "Superior Benefit Option," but that is the term that Direct Health uses to describe itself.

The Idaho Falls company, which started Feb. 1, aims to give employers a health care option to offer employees, allowing them to put money away for health care expenses and make donations themselves to employees' accounts as well.

It's not health insurance or a cafeteria plan, which would be regulated more vigorously by the Idaho Department of Insurance. Nor is it a health reimbursement account or a health savings account.

"It's a way for people to take control of their health care history and future," said Julie Rae, human resources director for Channel Blend, an Idaho Falls call center company. "It's a very simple concept. Usually when we talk to people about it, they try to overthink it."

Direct Health came about because Channel Blend CEO Jeff Neiswanger wanted something he could offer his employees without getting into the expense and red tape of traditional health insurance.

It is not designed to cover catastrophic health care expenses. It is a program under which people can sock away money for everything from a eye exams to massages to health club memberships. Right now, there are 16 providers in the network and 85 participants with active balances. When it's time to pay, participants show their cards, transactions are done online and providers get their money almost immediately.

There are no co-pays and no premiums. Unlike a flex plan, participants can take their money if they leave a job (although they can't cash out). The money can be rolled over from year to year, so there are no "use it or lose it" deadlines. The downside is it can't be considered a pre-tax contribution.

Rae said they are hoping that as word gets out the numbers on both sides will grow. Providers are already providing deep discounts to Direct Health participants. For employers, it's an option for companies with small numbers of employees or high turnover. Even larger employers that offer health insurance can use it to supplement what they offer.

There is a big emphasis on preventive care and wellness. "We're trying to do a couple of things," she said. "We want to see people being judicious with their health care money. With this, they spend it on what they need."

The link to the Web site is http://www.directhealthofidaho.com/index.html

Sunday, February 12, 2012

New East Idaho Classifieds Web site debuts

As I am writing this, Sunday afternoon, there are six items listed on www.eastidahoclassifieds.net, Riverbend Communications' entry into the world of online want ads.

Will the site be embraced to the extent that it competes with Craigslist or KSL.com? I imagine a lot will depend on promotion and marketing. Dusty Bee's Facebook posting called my attention to it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I go on to Riverbend's NewsTalk program on Tuesday morning to chat with Tim Lewis about what I see going on in the community, in hopes of building readership for BizMojo Idaho. But I would have mentioned this if it had been one of Riverbend's competitors.

From my own point of view, I doubt there's anything that can match what Craigslist has been able to accomplish in the past 10 years, both good and bad. As someone who went into print media more than 30 years ago, I would list Craigslist as one of the big things that knocked the newspaper industry sideways and changed the game completely. Before Craigslist, classifieds were a significant revenue source for newspapers. While they may be still be a significant income stream (I have personal recent experience that tells me an ad in the paper will still get results), the big question remains: "How do you compete with free?"

You're not paying to read this, are you? If I asked you to, I shudder to think how many of you actually would.

Anyway, I may put a guitar up on east idaho classifieds to see what happens. And if something does, I'll put up more.

Friday, February 10, 2012

INL, Fujitsu announce smart grid collaboration

Fujitsu Laboratories of America announced Thursday a collaboration with the Idaho National Laboratory on smart grid energy management.

Under the project's auspices, Fujitsu's security and ad hoc communications technology will be deployed at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies in Idaho Falls to monitor building power consumption and generate vital data on energy utilization. The data they collect will be used as a baseline for measuring efficiency and security with regard to wider smart grid deployments.

Smart grids couple physical power distribution equipment with the IT systems that manage it. Security is essential, since compromise in one could affect the other. Fujitsu will contribute advanced security and cloud services technology from Fujitsu Laboratories of America and WisReed, an autonomous distributed network technology that enables the automatic construction of a network.

"The CAES facility is a certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design building, and we are trying to ensure we operate at maximum energy efficiency," said CAES Director J. W. Rogers. "Fujitsu's technology will provide us with real-time usage data to measure our efficiency and also supply our researchers with valuable information required for advanced energy system modeling."

"This collaboration will leverage INL's global leadership in industrial control and power system simulation test beds, and Fujitsu leadership in IT services," said Yasunori Kimura, President and CEO of Fujitsu Laboratories of America. "We are delighted to be part of this initiative by providing systems for real time data collection and cloud services for analysis and anomaly detection."

You and the mortgage settlement

Idaho borrowers will receive close to $100 million from the $26 billion agreement struck between government officials and five of the nation’s largest banks. That’s according to the Idaho Attorney General’s office. If you want the specifics, such as they are, go here: http://www.ag.idaho.gov/media/newsReleases/2012/nr_02092012.html

The question you're undoubtedly asking yourself is "will this help me?" Nobody knows at this point. There's been a lot of writing done about it. Here's a digest:

The New York Times: “(The) settlement money will be doled out under a complicated formula that gives banks varying degrees of credit for different kinds of help. As a result, banks are incentivized to help harder-hit borrowers with homes worth far less than what they owe."

The Wall Street Journal: "The settlement will 'remove one cloud of uncertainty that has depressed bank stocks,'' but may do less to help the housing market."
The Washington Post: “The deal is the largest of its kind since a multi-state agreement with the tobacco industry in 1998. But that deal was worth around $350 billion in today’s dollars. It’s also not a lot of money compared to the $700 billion in underwater mortgage debt, or the bailout of the banks that issued and bought the debt in the first place.”

The number of foreclosures dropped in 2011, nationwide and in Idaho, which has had one of the highest foreclosure rates in the county since the start of the housing crisis. But that may be due to the feds putting the brakes on such abuses as "robo-signing," which this week's settlement also addresses. Now that the restraints are off, the foreclosure express could be rolling again.

The plain fact is in the last five years, home prices have fallen by nearly one-third, and the nation now has 11 million homeowners who owe more than their homes are worth, to the tune of $750 billion.

The most pessimistic assessment I've read comes from Dylan Ratigan, who offers this: "America simply has too much mortgage debt to pay back. Serious economic thinkers across the spectrum, from Democrat Alan Blinder to Republican Martin Feldstein to New York Fed President William Dudley, believe that there is only one solution -- writing down the enormous creaking mound of debt. This solution is currently off the table, because writing down these unsustainable debts could cost our fragile banks enormous sums of money and possibly lead to a restructuring of one or more of our major banks. Avoiding this clear policy choice has resulted in our economy falling into a Japan-style 'zombie bank' torpor, with debts carried on the books at full value which everyone knows will not be paid back at par."

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Marketing Summit starts Feb. 21 at Idaho Falls Shilo Inn

Riverbend Communications and Lvate are holding a three-part Marketing Summit at the Shilo Inn, Idaho Falls, covering everything from branding and strategy to media buying to social networking.

The two-hour sessions start Feb. 21 at 8 a.m. and continue March 6 and March 20. Session 1 will focus on the buying process, which includes market identification, primary vs. secondary marketing messages and strategic business "tone." Session 2 is devoted to branding, measuring marketing success and comparing yourself to your competition. Session 3 will be about creating market awareness, leveraging the Internet and search engine optimization.

Cost of all three sessions is $99. For more information, contact Mike Sutton at 208-535-8327.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tips on naming a business and branding

Are you at the fateful stage of naming a business? This is a big decision, one that could make a big difference in how well you do, say Jay Conrad Levinson, Jeannie Levinson and Seth Godin in an Entrepreneur.com story. What should you consider?

For starters, don’t listen to everyone. Names created by committee are usually losers, they say.

The first thing you want to do is list your attributes. Are you speedy, experienced, fun, daring, reliable, inexpensive, honest, unique or the best? This list is valuable when it comes to free associating a name that has straight-to-the-forehead memorability.

Consider Nike. What were they want to convey when they chose that name? In Greek mythology, Nike was the winged goddess of victory, in war and sport. Not everyone knows that, but they don't have to for a sense of what the company is about.

On the other hand, you've got generic names (General Foods) and descriptive names (Speedi-Mart). The thing is, whatever you choose, it's the product or the service that ultimately establish your brand. After all, John Lennon's friends thought "The Beatles" was the dumbest band name they'd ever heard.

Last of all, it is absolutely imperative that you do a legal name search to check your rights to the name. If there's anything worse than branding, it's re-branding.

For more on this topic, visit www.entrepreneur.com/article/222532

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

EITC Dollars for Scholars online auction starts today

If you want to look to the right of this post, you'll notice the Dollars for Scholars online auction has begun. Yes, we are making easy for you to bid on some fabulous stuff (including a month's worth of advertising on BizMojo Idaho), all to benefit students with scholarships at Eastern Idaho Technical College.
Go to the link and see over 100 items, including:
  • A signed Boise State University Football
  • Hotel Packages that can be utilized in Idaho Falls, Las Vegas, San Diego, Salt Lake City and more
  • Fashion accessories, including Miche Bag, iPhone skins and jewelry
  • Entertainment, including season tickets for the Idaho Falls Chukars and tickets to the Idaho Falls Symphony
  • Advertising opportunities including BizMojoIdaho.com and Social Eyes Marketing
  • Restaurant gift cards, including Pachangas, Texas Roadhouse and Chili's
  • Services, including oil changes, tire rotations and dry cleaning
Bidding ends Thursday at 7 p.m.

Nuclear Engineer named INL Fellow

Joy Rempe, a nuclear engineer with more than 25 years of research and development experience, has been selected as an Idaho National Laboratory Fellow. This is the labs's top scientific achievement designation, given in recognition of an individual's contributions to the scientific and engineering community. Only nine other people have been named INL Fellows.

 She holds a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  During her 23-year tenure at the INL, she has established an international reputation in severe accident analysis, high temperature testing and advanced in-pile instrumentation. She currently leads in-pile instrumentation development for the Advanced Test Reactor's National Scientific User Facility and Fuel Cycle Research and Development programs.

Since 2010, Rempe has been a member of the Advisory Committee for Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). In 2005, she was elected as a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society (ANS). She is completing a three-year term on the Board of Directors for the ANS. She has held a variety of offices and been professionally active in ANS, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Rempe’s own work is documented in 45 peer-reviewed journal articles and over 80 peer-reviewed conference papers. She also has three patents or patents pending relating to her research.
INL nuclear engineer Joy Rempe at work with a High Temperature Irradiation Resistant Thermocouple

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bonneville County Realtors see better times in '12

It may be that Jana Merkley took the helm of the Greater Idaho Falls Association of Realtors at the low ebb of the local real estate market.

At least Merkley, who came on as the association's CEO in June 2011, hopes that's true. She sees it as her job to be optimistic, and she says there have been signs this year that her optimism is warranted.

"We're getting more calls from agents who want lockboxes, we seem to be consumer confidence coming back," she said.

Merkley is also CEO of the Snake River Regional MLS, which is getting ready to post its annual statistics for 2011 on its Web site, www.snakerivermls.com.

Across the board, the numbers were down from 2010.
In light of what has been happening in the rest of the country, "I just think it hit us later," she said. Given the encouraging economic numbers that have been coming out lately, combined with record low interest rates, there is cause for hope this year.

She encourages anyone looking to buy a home for the first time to take Finally Home! class, which is sponsored by the Idaho Partners for Homebuyer Education. "There is a lot you can learn from it, and a lot of mistakes you can avoid," she said. "Most people I talk to say, 'I wish I had taken this earlier in the process."

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Motherhood Maternity chain opening store in Idaho Falls

Motherhood Maternity, a Philadelphia-based chain of maternity stores, will be opening in the space on 17th Street between Toys R Us and Down East Outfitters.

Remodelers got to work Thursday on the 2,323-square-foot space. The store will open sometime this spring.

The chain is a subsidiary of  Destination Maternity Corp., a maternity apparel retailer with more than 1,000 locations. Founded in 1982 as a catalog business, the company went public in 1993 and has since grown with new stores, the acquisition of existing maternity stores and new brands. In 2008 its sales were reported at $581 million.

For more information on the company, visit the Web page at http://www.motherhood.com/

Friday, February 3, 2012

Employers sought for late March job fair in Idaho Falls

Eastern Idaho employers and businesses are invited to take part in the Mayor’s Business Day in Idaho Falls, scheduled for March 27 at Idaho Falls High School from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The sponsors are the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce, the City of Idaho Falls, the Idaho Department of Labor and Grow Idaho Falls, Inc.

The day will begin with the Department of Labor Job Fair, in the small gymnasium from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Employers interested in participating should contact Julie Buttars at the department's Idaho Falls
office, by e-mail at Julie.buttars@labor.idaho.gov or by phone at (208) 557-2500 ext. 3562.

In conjunction with the day's events, the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce will hold its 10th Annual Area Business Connection business-to-business tradeshow, with more than 50 business vendors participating in the large gymnasium from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Any interested vendors should contact Kerry McCullough, the chamber's programs & events coordinator, by email at kmccullough@idahofallschamber.com or by phone at (208) 523-1010.

The Grow Idaho Falls luncheon and presentation with take place in the small gym from noon to 1:30 p.m.
Seating is limited, so anyone interested should RSVP by e-mailing admin@growidahofalls.org or by calling Grow Idaho Falls at (208) 522-2014.

Developer plans May 25 opening for Idaho Falls Marriott Residence Inn

Work recommenced in January on the Idaho Falls Marriott Residence Inn.
 The Salt Lake development company that has taken over the Marriott Residence Inn by the Broadway Bridge in Idaho Falls is shooting for a May 25 opening.

“We feel like we are on track, although there are a lot of things that have to fall in place,” said John Brunt, the project manager for Woodbury Strategic Partners. “We want to have it open for Memorial Day and the summer tourism season.”

Work on the 98,700-square-foot hotel ground to a halt in 2008, when the original developers, McNeil Development, ran into financial trouble in connection with the failure of Arkansas National Bank. Brunt said one thing that made it easier for them to restart the project was the fact that McNeil had enclosed the building, which kept out water that might otherwise have gotten in and caused major damage.

Still, there were repairs to be made and Marriott’s standards had evolved in the time the project was in limbo. Once the six-story hotel is finished, Brunt said the estimated cost will top $20 million.

The hotel has 108 guest rooms, two meeting rooms, a large exercise room and pool. “There’s a lot more common area than a typical Marriott Residence Inn,” Brunt said. Although the exterior is in keeping with the other buildings of the Taylor Crossing development (a style Brunt described as “eclectic classical”), the interior will be more modern and streamlined.

Broulim's receives award for beef marketing efforts

Broulim's Fresh Foods, a seven-store grocery chain based in Rigby, was recognized Thursday with a  National Retail Beef Backer award at the 2012 Cattle Industry Annual Convention & NCBA Trade Show in Nashville.

Funded by the Beef Checkoff Program, the award is given in recognition of grocery establishments that do an outstanding job of marketing and merchandising beef in the meat case.

Broulim's received the award in the Independent Retailer category for the second year in a row. According to the notes in the announcement, "customers shopping at Broulim's can count on employees to have knowledgeable information on new beef cuts, recipes, safety, labeling and even the production process that goes into delivering a quality product."

The Beef Checkoff Program was written into the 1985 Farm Bill. It assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, and a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents to the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the program under USDA approval.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Energy Advocate Award winners announced for 2012

The Partnership for Science & Technology has announced its 2012 Energy Advocate Award winners. The award is given in honor of the winners' committment to energy initiatives, nationwide and in the community. They will be honored at an awards luncheon on Feb. 21 at the Red Lion hotel.

  • National Energy Advocate Award Winner : DOE Office for Nuclear Energy
  • Local Energy Advocate Award Winner : Teri Ehresman, INL Liaison for Nuclear Programs
  • Nuclear Energy Advocate Award Winner : Dr. Kathryn McCarthy, INL Deputy Assistant Laboratory Director for Nuclear Science and Technology
  • Energy Education Advocate Award Winner : Ken Erickson, Eastern Idaho Technicial College

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Idaho Falls seafood restaurant plans Feb. 6 opening

Captian's Cove, at 2040 Channing Way, announced today on its Facebook page that it plans to open Monday, Feb. 6.

Hours will be Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations are advised. The phone number is (208) 552-0702, the same number the restaurant had when it was Buddy's.

General Manager Sherri Biorn and her head chef, Jon Wilson, have prepared a menu featuring hand-cut steaks and fresh seafood. All sauces, dressings, and desserts are all made fresh every day, in house.

To keep up with their latest postings, the restaurant's Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/buddy's-idaho-falls#!/profile.php?id=100001585400287.