Tuesday, July 31, 2012

American Idol reject Kat Edmonson sings One Fine Day (2010 Taichung Jazz Festival)

I promise not to dwell too much on this American Idol audition stuff (unless of course you want me to), but I heard Kat Edmonson on World Cafe this afternoon and she told the story of how she was rejected in the first episode of Season 2. Anyway, I think Kat's doing quite all right without the A.I. imprimatur.

Brad Bauges named new EICU chief

Brad Bauges
Brad Bauges has been named East Idaho Credit Union's new president and CEO. He comes to eastern Idaho from Columbia Credit Union, an $850 million institution based in Vancouver, Wash., where he served as senior vice president and chief operations officer.
He holds a bachelor of science in business management from Oregon Institute of Technology and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. He also is a graduate of the CUES CEO Institute.

Bauges is East Idaho Credit Union's third president/CEO in its 77-year history. Chartered in 1935, East Idaho Credit Union is one of the oldest credit unions in Idaho. Of the 16 credit unions started in eastern Idaho that year, only two remain, according to the news release about his appointment.

The credit union has 10 branches and more than 32,000 members. It has offices in Idaho Falls, Shelley, Ammon, Rexburg, St. Anthony, Dubois, Salmon, Challis and Arco.

For information, call (800) 727-9961, or visit

Monday, July 30, 2012

Idaho Falls names new airport director

Craig H. Davis
The city of Idaho Falls has selected Craig H. Davis as the next director of Idaho Falls Regional Airport, succeeding Len Nelson, who is retiring Aug. 10.

Davis holds a bachelor’s degree in airport management from Middle Tennessee State University and most recently served as manager of the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority in Knoxville, Tenn.

He is expected to arrive later this year. Between Nelson's retirement and Davis's arrival, the airport will be supervised by Craig Lords, director of municipal services.

Scam Jam set for Aug. 8 in Idaho Falls; registration due Friday

Human nature hasn't basically changed. People have been defrauding the elderly since Jacob impersonated his brother Esau to get his blind father Issac's blessing.

What's different now is the tools are so much more sophisticated. If you want the full scope of what you need to look out for, the Senior Scam Jam will be Wednesday, Aug. 8 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Idaho Falls Hotel on the River, formerly the Red Lion and once upon a time The Westbank.

Scam Jam is designed to be an educational and entertaining forum that covers all he bases. From the Senior Medicare Patrol Program you will learn how to protect yourself from exploitation and the machinations of those who would seek to rob you with a few keystrokes on a computer.

The opening welcome and keynote address will be at 9 a.m. from Bill Deal, director of the Idaho Department of Insurance. There will be workshops in the morning and afternoon, free lunch from noon to 1 p.m. and a drawing for prizes at the end of the day.

Registration is required and the deadline is this Friday. Call (877) 926-8300 or visit this link: aarp.cvent.com/ID_ScamJamIdahoFalls, where a full agenda is also available.

The event is being sponsored by the Snake River Better Business Bureau, Idaho Department of Finance, Idaho Department of Insurance, Personal Finance Educators from the University of Idaho, OOA Adult Protection, Idaho Legal Aid, Senior Health Insurance Benefit Advisors, State Health Insurance Assistance Programs, AARP, the Idaho Commission on Aging, and the Boise State Center for the Study of Aging.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

BizMojo Idaho passes 50,000 milestone

I've been waiting for the last day or two, but BizMojo Idaho appears to have logged its 50,000th page view early this morning. I'm guessing it was someone Googling "juicy burger," which is inexplicably one of the most popular search terms bringing visitors to the page. If so, who am I to quarrel? Also, it looks like we will break the 7,000 page view threshold this month. Thanks to all you loyal readers, and new visitors as well.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Museum of Idaho to award travel package prize to millionth visitor

The Museum of Idaho expects its millionth visitor this summer.
Now in its 10th year, the Museum of Idaho is expecting to hit another milestone this summer when it logs its millionth visitor.
In anticipation, the museum is offering a “Who Wants to Be the Millionth?" prize package getaway. Sponsored by Idaho Falls Regional Airport and Candlewood Suites, the winner will receive airfare to Chicago (valued up to $2,500), a three-night hotel stay and City Passes to five major attractions in Chicago, including the Field Museum, where "A T. rex Named Sue" was originally curated.

“Since we began our yearlong celebration by bringing Sue back, we thought, 'What better way to celebrate our millionth visitor than to send them to the very museum that brought us Sue? Chicago is a great museum city,” said David Pennock, the Museum of Idaho's executive director.

Based on projected attendance numbers and visitor trends, the museum anticipates the winner will be selected within the next couple of weeks. In order to be eligible to win, visitors must purchase an
admission ticket to the museum. (Members of the MOI will be considered as "purchasing a ticket" when they show their entry pass.) The contest is open to anyone who purchases a ticket, but not Museum of Idaho employees, family members of museum employees, and board members.

For more information, visit the Museum of Idaho's Web page, http://www.museumofidaho.org.

Chamber announces "Distinguished Under 40" winners

Britni Storer of the Museum of Idaho, one of this year's 10 "Distinguished Under 40" honorees. All 10 will have profiles and photos in the next issue of Idaho Falls Magazine. (Melissa Bristol photo)
The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday will honor 10 men and women with its annual Distinguished Under 40 award.

This year's winners are:

  • Liza Leonard, marketing manager, Snake River Landing/Ball Ventures
  • Kerry McCullough, programs and events coordinator, Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce
  • Natalie Hebard, labor relations specialist, INL
  • Gina Stevenson, director of development, Idaho Falls Arts Council
  • Brad Christensen, director of trading, Yellowstone Partners
  • Thomas Heuser, music director, Idaho Falls Symphony
  • Lisa Burtenshaw, vice chair, Idaho School Board Association Region IV
  • Adam Frugoli, agency sales force development manager, Leavitt Group
  • Britni Storer, director of marketing, Museum of Idaho
  • Ryan Meikle, attorney, Holden, Kidwell, Hahn & Crapo
The awards luncheon will be at the Hotel on the Falls from noon to 1:30 p.m. Reservations are required by Monday either by e-mail (kmccullough@idahofallschamber.com) or phone (208) 523-1010. Please indicate chicken or beef.

The event is sponsored by Teton Toyota, Idaho Falls Magazine, Premier Insurance, the Idaho Falls Arts Council and the Willowtree Gallery.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Melaleuca expansion expected following block grant to Bonneville County for sewer, road improvements

The stage is set for a major expansion of Melaleuca's operations in the New Sweden area with the announcement of a $399,000 grant to Bonneville County for sewer line extensions, a lift station and roadway widening.

The money, announced Wednesday by Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is administered through the state's Community Development Block Grant program. In addition to the block grant money, Melaleuca is contributing $1 million.

It is intended to support the construction of a new 350,000-square-foot business campus. Melaleuca already has a built a packing plant/warehouse and laboratory in the area, west Interstate 15, near Exit 113
. The new development is expected to create 40 jobs and make 6,600 acres more suitable for small business development.

"(The) state is pleased to be a partner in this effort,” Otter said. “Infrastructure improvements often are a key factor in helping a business expand or recruiting a new company to the area.”

Otter's approval came after an Idaho Economic Advisory Council meeting in Pocatello earlier this month, at which members approved the grant and also $175,000 for waterworks in Clearwater County.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Some wisdom for 'American Idol' wannabes

Meditating on the "American Idol" auditions coming to Idaho Falls, it dawned on me that they're not just looking for good singers. They're looking for really bad singers, too. If you have a hankering to be humiliated in front of millions, this could be your big chance. Alas, I am too old to entertain such dreams.
Everyone's favorite from Season Six, Sanjaya
Think about it, though. Every season, the first five shows seem to be devoted to the judges enduring an endless parade of people with questionable talent. A friend of mine who tried out in Las Vegas several years ago (and who has a very good voice, by the way) said she was shocked by how rigged the process seemed to be. Really bad singers made the cut while the good singers all seemed to have agents with a direct line to the show's producers, she said.

Reality TV? Get real. If you think you have a shot, by all means you should try out. Just don't be too upset if you get more reality than you expect.

Several years ago I went to Salt Lake City when I heard the road production of "Les Miserables" was having auditions. I went for the purpose of writing a story, but figured it would be a better story if I, in the spirit of George Plimpton, tried out myself.

The downtown Red Lion was mobbed. I filled out the paperwork, then waited four hours (I had brought a book to read.) When my time came, I walked into a room with nine other people. Three people at a banquet table looked at us. "You and you, come back at 4. The rest of you, thank you very much."

I was in the "thank you very much" group. Talking later to the producer, I was told I had been "typed out." It was nothing personal. I was either too old, too short or whatever.

I'm guessing the same thing may have happened when I tried out for "Jeopardy!" The show's "Brain Bus" came to Jackson, Wyo., and at the end of the day I was among nine finalists who'd passed the test. We played a mock game so the judges could observe us and take notes. I thought I did pretty well, but the call never came in the year that followed.

This comes from an American Idol blog called VoteForTheWorst.com: "During the initital auditions, the producers of Idol only let certain people through. Many good people are turned away and many bad singers are kept around to see Simon, Paula and Randy so that America will be entertained ... American Idol lets many contestants into the top 24 who have no chance to win. These people are placed in the competition for ratings, and when they start to perform poorly the viewing audience laughs and generally votes them out."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Celt Pub opening in I.F. now looks more like mid-August

Jim McGeachin
Jim and Janice McGeachin had hoped to open their Irish pub on Friday, in time for the birthday of their son, James, but it's not going to happen. They will be celebrating there with the band they hired for the occasion, Swagger, from Park City. But it looks more like The Celt Pub is going to have a soft opening in mid-August, with a grand opening Aug. 24-25.

The project, at the corner of Broadway and Park Avenue, has been bigger and more involved than they ever imagined, said Jim McGeachin. "Before we could do anything, we had to completely gut it," he said. The basement had a dirt floor, so they poured a foundation. Floor joists had been cut to make way for stairs, so they had to do major structural renovation.

The Celt Pub's dumbwaiter
"There wasn't a single wire we could use. It's completely new wiring and new plumbing," he said. There are walk-in coolers in the basement, as well as a dishwashing room served by a dumbwaiter.

With the structural work done, the building has more integrity than it's probably ever had. The hardwood floors are being stained this week.

People have been very eager to know about The Celt Pub's progress. "I've been involved in business my whole life, but I've never been involved in anything with the level of excitement this has," McGeachin said.

He has also become a downtown booster. "I think we're really going to add something and make downtown a place people want to come. At this point, I'm very excited about it. I like a business that I can build with my hands."

The Celt will have six taps devoted to European brews, six devoted to domestic, and 12 for craft beer. It will also serve wine and mixed drinks. Food will be served, although they haven't started interviewing chefs yet.

Visit The Celt's Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/?ref=hp#!/The.Celt.Idaho.Falls

Taplines in the basement walk-in cooler

Monday, July 23, 2012

American Idol to hold auditions in Idaho Falls next month

This just in: "American Idol" will be auditioning performers in Idaho Falls this summer. This comes directly from the show's Web site:

The series will leave no stone unturned in its quest for talent, and for the first time ever, will embark on the “AMERICAN IDOL Small Town Audition Bus Tour,” a 10-town nationwide mobile tour offering hopefuls a chance to audition for IDOL. The mobile audition bus will hit the road next month, giving thousands of hopefuls the chance of a lifetime. The “AMERICAN IDOL Small Town Audition Bus Tour” will stop at the following cities: Idaho Falls, ID; Billings, MT; Casper, WY; Rock Rapids, IA; Iowa City, IA; Bowling Green, KY; Clarksdale, MS; Joplin, MO; Dodge City, KA; and Grand Junction, CO. Specific locations and dates to be announced. Please keep checking www.americanidol.com for forms, rules and terms and conditions.

INL physicist receives Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

Derek Gaston
Derek Gaston of the Idaho National Laboratory was one of 96 researchers named Monday by President Barack Obama as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. This is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.
"Discoveries in science and technology not only strengthen our economy, they inspire us as a people." Obama said. "The impressive accomplishments of today’s awardees so early in their careers promise even greater advances in the years ahead."

The recipients are employed or funded by the following departments and agencies: Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Interior, Veteran Affairs, EPA, NASA and the National Science Foundation. Established by President Bill Clinton in 1996, the awards are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach.

Here is a link to an INL-produced video on Gaston's work in multi-physics:

A new tale from the e-commerce learning curve

That international object of desire, the Epiphone Tom Delonge Signature ES-333
Until now, I have dreaded the thought of someone overseas wanting to buy a guitar. International rates for large packages are prohibitively expensive, to the point where the shipping costs more than the guitar itself. Moreover, it's easy to get burned. I learned this the hard way seven or eight years ago when I sold a Fender P-bass to a guy in Italy, shipped it to him and then got slapped a few weeks later with a claim that it hadn't been delivered.

So you can imagine my reticence last week when I got an inquiry through our Amazon store (http://www.amazon.com/gp/browse.html?ie=UTF8&marketplaceID=ATVPDKIKX0DER&me=A2B8QRMTEXNOMS) from Levi, a gentleman in Tamworth, Australia, asking about a guitar that has been hanging on the Piano Gallery Music Superstore's wall since October 2010, an Epiphone Tom Delonge ES-333. (Let me say right now, I get a kick being addressed as "Mate.")

Everybody knows I want to get every guitar in the store into the hands of people who will love and appreciate them. It's kind of like a pet adoption agency, and the Tom Delonge guitar is one of my favorites. But shipping it to Australia ourselves -- USPS, UPS, Fed Ex or DHL -- would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $700, which obviously will not do.

All seemed bleak until Levi mentioned www.MyUS.com, in Sarasota, Fla., apparently an alternative used by a lot of people Down Under. Here's how it works: For $10, Levi can set up a U.S. address, which is where I ship the guitar he's bought on Amazon.

Veteran digger that I am, this is what I learned from Hiram Pedraza, an account rep for MyUs. The company ships 12,000 to 15,000 parcels a day. Between 30 and 35 percent of their business via  Amazon sales. Their biggest markets are the United Kingdom and Australia, where guitars apparently cost three times what they do here.

I thought this would be of interest to anyone with an interest in e-commerce. Here's a useful link if you want to know more: www.myus.com/en/how-it-works/

New agent joins Anderson Group at Keller Williams

Cyndi Schwicht
Cyndi Schwicht has joined the Anderson Group at Keller Williams Realty East Idaho Market Center in Idaho Falls. Originally from Portland, Ore., Schwicht comes to real estate after several years in the music. She studied piano performance at Ricks College and Portland State Univeristy, and taught piano for over 20 years. She is also a graduate of the Randy Potter School of Piano Technology. Her passions include her family and helping people.

"We are truly lucky to have Cyndi join us here at Keller Williams" says broker Greg Vinnola. "We know Cyndi will be a great fit and that our customers will truly benefit from her joining us."

She can be reached by e-mail at cyndischwicht@gmail.com. The Keller Williams Realty East Idaho Market Center is located at 3525 Merlin Drive, and its phone number is (208) 529-8888.

The things you learn by reading what comes in your power bill ...

The Columbia Generating Station, near Richland, Wash.
Looking at my Idaho Falls Power bill the other day two items jumped out at me, both pointing to the long-term value of nuclear power. As as news goes it's not terribly sexy, but it will have an effect on how much we pay for electricity here so I think it ought to be of some interest.

First, a purchase agreement between the Energy Department, US Enrichment Corp., Energy Northwest and the Tennessee Valley Authority is going to allow the conversion of depleted uranium into low-cost fuel to be used at Energy Northwest's Columbia Generating Station near Richland, Wash. The station provides about 10 percent of the power marketed by the Bonneville Power Administration, which provides most of Idaho Falls' electricity. The parties involved estimate that this will reduce BPA's energy costs by $20 million between 2014 and 2017.

On a related note, the Columbia Generating Station -- the only nuclear plant in the Pacific Northwest -- has had its license extended to 2043 by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The station is capable of producing more than 1,100 megawatts of electricity, enough to power a city the size of Seattle. This is baseload power, meaning that it is not affected by weather.

Not everyone of course is a big fan of nuclear energy. Checking the newspaper story in the Tri-Cities Herald, the license renewal was not met with unanimous hosannas (http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2012/05/25/1952326/columbia-generating-station-license.html).

In Idaho Falls, attitudes toward nuclear power tend to be more benign than other parts of the country. Looking for a link to illuminate this story, I ran across this commentary from Dan Yurman's Idaho Samizdat Nuke Notes blog, addressing a story in the New York Times, from April 2010 -- about a year before the earthquake and tsunami that made Fukushima a household name.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

About the health care law's 3.8 percent tax

John Eaton doesn't see himself as someone in the business of batting down falsehoods, but the 3.8 percent questions keep coming and he feels duty bound to answer them.

"Every week I get asked about it," said Eaton, government affairs director for the Idaho Association of Realtors, who was in Idaho Falls Wednesday to speak at the Realtors Political Action Committee picnic in Tautphaus Park.

The number 3.8 (go ahead and Google it) refers to a Medicare tax imposed by the new health care law on capital gains from investment income.

At some point in the past two years, Eaton said, a newspaper article reported that for anyone with an income above $200,000, or couples with adjusted gross income of more than $250,000, a 3.8 percent tax would be imposed on home sales and real estate transactions.

The AGI part was right, but a lot else was wrong, Eaton said. Once it went viral, people began hearing that if they sell a home for $100,000 they will be paying $3,800 to fund Medicare. As one might expect, this was not well received.

Here's the way it's actually intended to work, starting in 2013:
  • If you report $1 million in capital gains (which can include real estate sales), you pay $19,000.
  • If you report $600,000 in capital gains, you pay $3,800.
  • If you report $525,000 in capital gains, you pay $950.
  • If you report $500,001 in capital gains, you pay 38 cents.
Eaton said he doesn't see the provision affecting a lot of Idaho homeowners. "It may affect people in states where property values are higher," he said.

He suggested that anyone who wants a more detailed explanation should visit http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/realestate.asp.

I can already hear some of you fulminating about this, but for the sake of your blood pressure I would like to caution that the Realtors Political Action Committee is hardly a hotbed of liberalism. Here are its guiding principles:

  • Protect private property rights
  • Reduce unnecessary regulations and government intrusion
  • Ensure a fair tax code
  • Protect the American Dream of Home Ownership
Eaton's Twitter feed is https://twitter.com/IdahoRPAC.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Famed architect's home open to public on July 28

A home built by Art Troutner, Idaho's answer to Frank Lloyd Wright, will be open to the public July 28 from 10 a.m. to noon.
The Idaho Falls Historic Preservation Commission, in partnership with Century 21 High Desert Realty and Voigt Davis Realty, will be sponsoring an open house at two mid-century modern homes Saturday July 28.

The homes will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to noon. Members of the Historic Preservation Commission, city staff, and the realty firms will be on hand to answer any questions.

In the 1950s, because of the Atomic Energy Commission's National Reactor Testing Station (later the INL), Idaho Falls had the greatest growth of any community in Idaho. The city’s population increased 73 percent during the Eisenhower era, and the city's housing stock reflects it.

This tour allows members of the public to give themselves self-guided tours of two unique homes built then. The first is located at 460 9th Street, and was designed by the firm of Clinton Sunberg, one of the two principals of Sunberg and Sunberg. A long, low home with a prominent front door, the home integrates the rear patio and back yard, a new idea for homes after World War II (pre-war homes were oriented toward the street and had front porches more often than not.)

The second home, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008, was designed and built by Art Troutner in 1956 for Ada Poitevin. Troutner is best known for his company, Trus-joist, and his design of the Kibbie Dome at University of Idaho. The home appears circular, but has sixteen sides with a skylight in the center and a intriguing and innovative roof structure.

Troutner was the subject of an Outdoor Idaho documentary in 1998. Here is a link to an essay written about him and his 35-year career: http://idahoptv.org/outdoors/shows/designingidaho/troutneressay.html.

For more information on the open house, call the Planning Department at 612-8276.

Monday, July 16, 2012

"Seven Habits" author Stephen Covey dies at EIRMC

Stephen R. Covey
Stephen R. Covey, author of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" as well as three other books that have all sold more than a million copies, died early Monday at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls.

According to a statement issued by the family, Covey, 80, died from complications that followed a bicycle accident he had in April. Though he had been wearing a helmet, he was hospitalized after being knocked unconscious on a steep road in the foothills of Provo, Utah, about 45 miles south of Salt Lake City. At the time, his publicist, Debra Lund, said doctors had not found any signs of long-term damage to his head. Catherine Sagers, Covey's daughter, told The Salt Lake Tribune in April that her father had suffered some bleeding on his brain after the bicycle accident.

Covey had a connection to this area through a cabin the family owns at Hebgen Lake in Montana, about 20 miles from West Yellowstone. In his book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families," Covey wrote that his grandfather first went there to recuperate from a heart attack. "That area was the best medicine for him. ... The word 'Hebgen' has become something of an intergenerational family mission statement. It means family love, unity, service, and joy to each of us in the family."

In addition to his books, Covey was co-founder of the Utah-based professional services company Franklin Covey.

Here is the text of the family's statement:

Our beloved husband and father, Stephen R. Covey, passed away peacefully in the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center at 2:15 this morning, due to the residual effects of a bike accident he suffered this past April. He was in his 80th year. In his final hours, he was surrounded by his loving wife and each one of his children and their spouses,  as we sang him his favorite hymns, just as he always wanted. We extend our heartfelt gratitude for all of the love and prayers that have been showered upon Stephen and our family from all around the globe over the past several months.

All our love,
The Stephen R. Covey Family

Moffatt Thomas law firm to have ribbon cutting at new location Thursday

Moffatt Thomas has moved into new offices at 900 Pier View Drive.
The Idaho Falls office of Moffatt, Thomas, Barrett, Rock & Fields has moved into new offices at Snake River Landing, at 900 Pier View Drive, Suite 206.

The law firm is occupying 5,600 square feet on the second floor of a building built by G.L. Voigt Development, which is also home to First American Title, Stifel Nicolaus and the University of Phoenix.

This Thursday there will be a ribbon cutting there at 4:45 p.m., followed by a Chamber Business After Hours from 5 to 7 p.m. The public is welcome to attend both events.

Moffatt Thomas was founded over 50 years ago and has offices in Boise, Pocatello and Idaho Falls.  The Idaho Falls office of Moffatt Thomas represents many of the area's leading enterprises, including employment, agriculture, health care, banking, water, finance, business, tax, construction, environment and government affairs.

Statewide, Moffatt Thomas employs more than 85 people, 40 of whom are attorneys. Eleven of those employees are in the Idaho Falls Office. Attorneys include Brad Williams, Kimberly Evans Ross, Jon Stenquist, Ed Cather, Ben Ritchie, and Lee Radford.

Bill's Bike Shop breaks ground on new building Friday at Snake River Landing

An architect's drawing of the new Bill's Bike Shop building at Snake River Landing.
Bill's Bike Shop will be breaking ground Friday on its new 10,000-square-foot building at Snake River Landing, which owner Gary Wight hopes to see finished as early as late December.

Bill's was established in 1947 on Idaho Falls' south side by Bill and Alice Murdoch, and has put at least four generations on two wheels. They've been on Holmes Avenue since the mid-1980s, but Wight, who bought the business in 2010, announced earlier this year they would be moving to Snake River Landing. He said he plans to keep the Holmes Avenue store open in some capacity, but the new building will be a full-service bicycle shop from the ground up, with rooms for meetings and classes and a service department that will help them keep up with the massive amount of repair work they do (roughly 600 bikes a month.)

When it came to finding a bike-friendly location, Snake River Landing, with its miles of paved trails and incorporation of the Idaho Falls Greenbelt, presented itself as an ideal place for test rides and rentals. A 400-acre, master planned community on the west bank of the Snake River between Pancheri Drive and Sunnyside Road, it is laid out to incorporate retail, office, restaurant space, along with homes, all in a development that includes parks, trails and water features.

"I wanted to be where it was bicycle friendly," Wight said.
Before buying Bill's Bike Shop in December 2010, Gary Wight had 30 years of experience in the car business in eastern Idaho. "Aside from two extra wheels and two extra zeros, there isn't much difference between selling bikes and selling cars," he said. (Photo by Melissa Bristol)

Friday, July 13, 2012

KidMojo Idaho: Battle of the Bands applications being taken

KidMojo Idaho: Battle of the Bands applications being taken: Here's the scene from a few years ago, with a combo from Ririe called C.O.V. (according to their MySpace page, now abandoned). Did these y...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

City to alter John Adams Parkway, considering speed limit increase

The city of Idaho Falls plans to begin work soon on converting John Adams Parkway from four to three lanes, and is considering raising the speed limit from 25 to 30 miles per hour. The roadway will be restriped with a center two-way left turn lane, one lane eastbound, one lane westbound, bicycle lanes and on-street parking (where roadway width permits).

In order to accommodate the change, on-street parking will be removed between Holbrook Drive and Delbert Drive with minor exceptions.

Two separate roadway projects are scheduled. Starting July 15, the first involves a pavement seal coat that will be placed between Holmes Avenue and John Adams Court. The second, in August, will involve a pavement overlay of John Adams Parkway between Woodruff Avenue and Croft Drive.

If you have questions, contact the city engineering office at 612-8250 or click http://www.idahofallsidaho.gov/city/city-departments/public-works/engineering/john-adams-restriping.html or http://www.idahofallsidaho.gov. For PDF images and maps of this and other project, go to http://www.idahofallsidaho.gov/city/city-departments/public-works/

Commerce Department adopts Main Street Program

The Idaho Department of Commerce has adopted the Main Street Program, created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, as an economic development tool to encourage revitalization in historic business districts throughout the state.

The Main Street Program is already active in several Idaho communities, including Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Nampa, Lewiston and Sandpoint. The Commerce Department's action is intended to expand the program to smaller communities that might not have the resources to implement it on their own.

Department Directory Jeffrey Sayer said the Main Street Program has generated more than $51 billion in new investment and created hundreds of thousands of jobs in commercial districts across the nation. “Many of Idaho’s communities have historical assets in their downtown corridors, and the Main Street Program will enable us to leverage these resources to attract new businesses, while at the same time respecting the history of the buildings that currently occupy these districts," he said.

With partner agencies such as Preservation Idaho and the Idaho Rural Partnership and Idaho universities, the Commerce Department is offering local Main Street organizations training, tools, information and networking they need to be successful.

Gloria Mabbutt, a 33-year veteran of the Idaho Department of Commerce, has been named interim executive director of Idaho’s Main Street Program. Her job is to coordinate the designation and national accreditation of local Main Street programs and provide the support needed to help the local programs succeed.

For additional information, call her at (208) 334-2470 or e-mail Gloria.Mabbutt@commerce.idaho.gov

To learn more about Main Street programs, follow this link: http://www.preservationnation.org/main-street/about-main-street/the-programs/

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Beaver Dick the Fifth Beatle?

Went out to take a picture this morning of the excavation work on Memorial Drive and what did we see? OMG! Yes, the work is proceeding, and traffic between Broadway and E Street is limited to two lanes. No, we didn't see John, Paul, George and Ringo crossing the road except in our fevered imagination, because the picture we came away with made us think of the iconic Abbey Road album cover, albeit with Beaver Dick in the background. With Adobe Photoshop at our disposal, we couldn't resist.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tautphaus Park Zoo closes early July 19

The city of Idaho Falls' Tautphaus Park Zoo will close early on July 19 so the Tautphaus Park Zoological Society can prepare the grounds for a fund-raising event. The last admission will be at 3 p.m. and the zoo will close at 4 p.m.

“We wanted to get the word out that the zoo will be closing early so guests can plan their visit accordingly,” said zoo superintendent Beth Rich. The staff realizes this early closing could be disappointing to guests, so to help ease any frustration the zoo is going to discount admission that day, $1 for adults and 50 cents for children and seniors. The group admission rate and ciity admission rate will stay the same.

For more information, visit www.idahofallszoo.org or call 612-8552.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Three townhouse developments started in Idaho Falls

This is the first building going up on ground at the corner of John Adams Parkway and St. Clair Road. When the development is finished, there will be four four-plexes and two three-unit townhouses. The developers are Lance Mortensen and Dennis Hourany of Freedom, Wyo., going by the name of Parkway Partners. This year is looking to be a big one for townhouse development. Kent Wood is building three four-unit townhouses at the corner of St. Clair and First Street, and another 22-unit development called Lakewood Aspens is going in between Meppen Drive and 12th Street east of Hoopes Avenue.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Melaleuca gets its Freedom Celebration ready

We took a run around the Greenbelt Sunday (training for the Firecracker 5k), but paused long enough to snap this picture of the cannonade that will go into action Wednesday night for the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration fireworks display. As in the past, Melaleuca is out to top itself. Over 31 minutes, this year's  display will involve 17,153 shells, 571 more than 2011. Narration and music will be on KLCE Classy 97. Exit question: What's your favorite spot to watch the show?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Idaho Falls issues 'boil order' following water pressure drop

The city of Idaho Falls issued a “boil order” Monday afternoon for a large section of the city following the failure of a piece of equipment and a drop in water pressure over the weekend.

Residents on the city's northeast side are being instructed to boil any tap water before they drink it, brush their teeth or wash their dishes. Or they can use bottled water in the 24 hours the order is expected to be in effect. The order affects residents in the following areas:
• North of Anderson and Higham Streets between the Snake River and North Holmes Avenue
• North of 1st Street between Holmes Avenue and Woodruff Avenue
• North of East 17th Street between Woodruff Avenue and 25th East (Hitt Road), including the Woodbridge and Ivan's Acres Subdivisions

Here is a link to the map on the city's Web site: http://www.idahofallsidaho.gov/wwwroot/userfiles/files/pw/boil_water_advisory.pdf

City spokesman Brad Huerta said they don't know whether water quality was affected following the mechanical failure of a component responsible for water system communication and control. The boil order is precautionary because a drop in pressure could allow contamination to enter the system through backflow, backpressure or back-siphonage, he said.

Idaho Falls' water supply is chlorinated to help protect against contamination. City personnel were taking samples Monday to test the quality of the drinking water.

For more information about the order or to ask if it is in effect in your area, please contact the
Idaho Falls Water Department at 208-612-8471or visit www. http://www.idahofallsidaho.gov.

Local agency seeks donations for school supplies

This is a time of year when school supplies are least expensive, which is why F.I.S.H., an Idaho Falls non-profit, is putting out a call for donations so it can help outfit underprivileged kids with backpacks, pencils, rulers, paper, et. al.

The program has been a great success in past years, but right now the agency's school supply funds are at a low ebb. This past year they helped 157 more children than they did the previous year.

A basic setup for school is easily $40 without a backpack, and 90 percent of the people who approach the F.I.S.H. say they need a backpack. "We are requesting financial donations now so items can be purchased  at the best sale price," said Liz Herrmann, who coordinates the program. All donated items are appreciated, but be advised that they have a surplus of spiral notebooks.

If you want to contribute, give a check to your church or mail it directly to the Regional Council for Christian Ministries, P.O. Box 2236, Idaho Falls, ID 83403. Stipulate on the check, "FISH school supply program."  Herrmann said they expect to help 600 students before school starts in September, and that they will also need help packing and delivering the supplies. Call 522-0493 to volunteer or for more details.