Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Smart Grid information meetings scheduled


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

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:

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

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:

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:

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:

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,, 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.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

More ruminations on fast food burgers ... Fuddruckers, anyone?

A juicy burger from Fuddruckers, recently rated No. 5 in a Best Burger survey.
Given the insatiable appetite for news about fast food hamburgers, I did a little digging this morning to see whether I might be missing anything.

You see, I've been intrigued by the re-emergence of a post from October 2011 about In-N-Out Burger, one in which I opined that the Irvine, Calif.-based chain would create excitement in Idaho Falls equal to that which preceded Olive Garden.

I still believe that, but it appears In-N-Out is focused on Texas at the moment, and Texas is a big state. So what are the alternatives?

We already have Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and going by customer satisfaction surveys I'd say we are lucky. Last month, released its annual "America's Best Burgers, Fries, Coffee and More" results and Five Guys ranked Number One. Read about it here:

In-N-Out ranked No. 4, followed by Fuddruckers. I can't imagine Fuddruckers' following is as passionate, but I could be wrong.

Going to its Web site, what I did find interesting is that it has two locations in Boise, not to mention stores in Montana (Billings and Bozeman) and Utah. Could this be Idaho Falls' next great fast food hamburger hope? If I were a betting man, this is a chain I'd put money on.

Love at First Bite expands into new, bigger location

Vats of olive oil at Love At First Bite. Samples are available.
Love at First Bite is now open in its new suite at 901 Pier View Drive, Suite 101, across from The Pier at Snake River Landing. The new space, roughly 3,000 square feet, is double the size of the previous location, which opened in the fall of 2010. It has allowed owners Juli Richards and Madeline Luthy to expand product lines, including a new specialty olive oil and vinegar line known as Twig and Vine. The store is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Monday, October 22, 2012

David's Bridal eyes early December opening in Idaho Falls

Electrical contractors were busy Monday at the Idaho Falls David's Bridal store.
David's Bridal is looking at an opening date on or around Dec. 7, a spokesman for the company said Monday.

The store is in the Sagewood Shopping Center next door to Kiwi Loco, on the Idaho Falls side of Hitt Road.

With a square-footage of 5,470, it is one of the Conshohocken, Pa.-based chain's smaller stores, but Idaho Falls is one of their smaller markets, said Jim Neilland, a real estate executive for the company.

David's Bridal has had a store in Boise for 12 years, and several in Utah. With more than 300 stores in 45 states, plus stores in Canada and Puerto Rico, it is the largest American bridal store chain. It also carrries prom gowns and other formal wear.

For a look at its Web site, go to

Friday, October 19, 2012

Eastern Idaho unemployment outpaces rest of state

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate plunged another three-tenths of a percentage point to 7.1 percent in September, and eastern Idaho's numbers continued to outpace the rest of the state.

The Idaho Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area reported an unemployment rate of 5.9 percent, down from 7.3 percent in September 2011. The city of Rexburg reported a rate of 5.0 percent , down from 5.7 in September 2011.

While it was the lowest rate since May 2009, it came with a fourth straight month of a shrinking labor force and the first August-September labor force decline since the 1986 recession.

Employers across the state expanded September payrolls from August at a higher rate than the past five years and at a slightly faster pace than they did during the expansion from 2003 through 2007.

Another 1,200 workers were on the job in September, pushing total employment to 720,600 – its highest level in four years – and breaking a two-month employment slide. Total nonfarm jobs were 1.2 percent above September 2011, marking the fifth straight month that jobs have totaled at least a percentage point higher than a year earlier.

Unemployment benefit payments dropped 36 percent in September from September 2011, and the number of claimants averaged 15,000 during the month, down 37 percent from nearly 24,000 a year ago. Benefits for more than a third of those claimants expire at the end of the year.

The combination was a sign of slow but sustainable growth that could persist even in the face of economic setbacks, the Idaho Department of Labor reported.

The drop in Idaho’s jobless rate matched the three-tenths of a point decline in the national rate to 7.8 percent and marked 11 full years that the state rate has been lower than the national rate.

Except for construction and information, all major industrial sectors saw larger payrolls this fall than a year ago. But nonfarm jobs overall remained below the 2005 levels, and construction and manufacturing job totals matched the early 1990s. Total jobs are not expected to recover to pre-recession levels until 2015.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

University of Phoenix closing operation in Idaho Falls

The University of Phoenix Learning Center in Idaho Falls will be among the sites across the nation that will be closing in the wake of bad financial news from the school's parent company.

Apollo Group Inc., the largest U.S. for-profit college chain, has seen a 59 percent decline in the value of its stock since the beginning of the year, making it the worst-performing stock in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

The company announced Wednesday it will be closing 25 campuses and 90 learning centers and cutting about 800 jobs.

“We’re positioning ourselves to be more nimble, more competitive and more successful for all of our stakeholders in Apollo,” Chief Executive Officer Greg Cappelli was quoted as saying in Bloomberg BusinessWeek (

After the closings, which are to be completed next year, the University of Phoenix will be left with a nationwide network of 112 locations and a physical presence in 36 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Students affected by the closings will have the option of transferring to the university’s online classes (about three-quarters of its students are online.) Students are now being notified of the changes, and a hot line has been set up at (866) 992-3302 for those with questions.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Permits issued for oncology, surgical center remodeling

Plans for Idaho Falls Oncology at the Idaho Falls Building Department office.
Work is set to begin in earnest on a new place for Idaho Falls cancer patients to get chemotherapy in relative comfort.

IFSC Partners, a Portland, Ore.-based company, had building permits issued earlier this month for the remodel of the Idaho Falls Surgical Center building at 1945 East 17th Street. The building to the north that used to be the Idaho Falls Recovery Center is being remodeled into Idaho Falls Oncology. Valuation of the first remodel is estimated at $1.31 million and the second is $1.47 million.

When finished the two buildings will be connected by a common corridor. Overall, the project will cover 175,767 square feet, with parking for 98 vehicles. Idaho Falls Oncology will be given a new address, 1957 East 17th Street.

The architect on the project is Ankrom Moisan Associated, a Portland firm. The contractor is Bateman-Hall of Idaho Falls.

Cortney Liddiard, CEO of Ball Ventures, and James Adamson, president and CEO of Mountain View Hospital, are listed on the building plans as the principals involved in IFSC Partners.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Memorial Drive to be completely closed starting Friday

Memorial Drive will be closed completely to traffic Friday, to allow for final grading and paving and completion of a roundabout.

The project, which started July 8, is expected to be completely open to traffic by Nov. 5. In the last few weeks of construction, the road will be completely closed between Broadway and F Street, including the intersection with Riverside Drive.

With winter at hand and the road construction season coming to an end, the expanded construction schedule and brief closing ought to allow for the work to be finished before the ground freezes, Idaho Falls City Engineer Kent Fugal said.

When finished, traffic on Memorial will be one lane each way, with landscaping designed to make foot traffic easier between downtown and the Idaho Falls Greenbelt. "We are very excited to see this project finished," Fugal said.

I.F. insurance rep named finalist for national award

Kandace Kepler

Kandace Kepler of Premier Insurance's Idaho Falls office has been named a national finalist for the 2012 Outstanding Customer Service Representative of the Year award. The award is sponsored by the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research, and recognizes the contributions and commitment of those who serve clients within the insurance industry.

Kepler began her insurance career as a customer service representative in 1987 and has been associated with Premier Insurance of Idaho Falls since 1997, serving as a commercial account executive. She earned a certified insurance service representative designation in 2001, construction risk and insurance specialist in 2011, and most recently, certified insurance counselor. She is currently working towards the designation of certified risk manager.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Idaho ranked best place in America to practice medicine

Idaho's low cost of living and culture of physician independence make it the best place in America to be a practicing physician for the second straight year, according to Physicians Practice's 2012 Best States to Practice project.

Physicians Practice is a magazine that provides practice-management advice to more than 150,000 physicians and practice administrators across the United States.

The Idaho medical board's low rate of disciplinary actions against physicians; its low density of practicing physicians per capita; and its relatively friendly malpractice climate are among the reasons.
"Along with its low cost of living, Idaho has a climate of physician independence that makes working there great for doctors," said editorial director Bob Keaveney.

Since 2003, the Best States to Practice project has ranked the states and the District of Columbia using six metrics that are important to physicians, including cost of living, tax burden, and the climate for malpractice litigation.

In addition to its annual article, published in the October issue, and its detailed survey results, Physicians Practice has created a clickable map of the United States where users can find specific data on each state, and an interactive My Best States to Practice tool, where users can manipulate the weights assigned to each metric. The tool recalculates the list based on the weights assigned by the user.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Teton Toyota negotiating for VW dealership rights

'Big Buddy,' Teton Toyota's newest addition

Teton Toyota is negotiating with Volkswagen for the right to sell its cars in Idaho Falls, and should know by the end of next week whether they have a deal, General Manager Mario Hernandez said Friday.

As for Audi, they have pulled out of the Idaho Falls market and are not showing any interest in returning. "I would love to have Audi, and I know a lot of Audi owners who aren't pleased they have to take their cars to Utah to get them serviced under warranty," Hernandez said.

Idaho Falls has been without a VW or Audi dealer since the German carmakers pulled out of Wackerli Auto Center, their longtime location on North Holmes Avenue. Wackerli continues to sell Subaru and GMC.

Whether or not a VW sign goes up at Teton Toyota's Sunnyside Road dealership, passers-by are bound to notice the new "Big Buddy." Buddy is Hernandez's 9-year-old black Labrador, who appears in all the dealership's advertising.

The statue measures 9 by 15 feet, and was made by F.A.S.T Corp. of Sparta, Wis., a manufacturer of fiberglass statues and water park attractions since 1983.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Great-granddaddy of "Glee," Yale's Whiffenpoofs, to give concert in eastern Idaho

The 2012 Whiffenpoofs at Lincoln Center in New York City

If you know and love "Glee," maybe it's time you got to know its great-granddaddy, The Whiffenpoofs. Lucky for you, Yale University's 103-year-old male a cappella singing ensemble will be coming to eastern Idaho later this month.

The "gentleman songsters" will be giving a concert Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. at the Rexburg Tabernacle and Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the recital room of the Piano Gallery, 2995 E. 17th St. Tickets are available online at or at the door. For the Rexburg show concert, tickets are $12 for general admission or $7 for students. Group and family rates are available.

Tickets for the Piano Gallery show are $15. For more information about the Piano Gallery show, call 524-4420.

Founded in 1909, the Whiffenpoofs is are 14 senior undergraduates who compete for a spot on the roster. The group has appeared on such television shows as as Jeopardy! The Today Show, Saturday Night Live, 60 Minutes, Gilmore Girls and The West Wing. Each year they tour extensively, to more than 30 countries. They have performed at the White House, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Salt Lake City Mormon Tabernacle, and at such events as the Rose Bowl and Edinburgh Festival.

The group's best-known alumnus may be Cole Porter, who sang in the 1913 lineup when he was a senior at Yale. Today the group often performs Porter songs in tribute.
To learn more, visit their Web site,, or "like" them on Facebook,

Here is a 2010 YouTube clip about them from NBC's "The Sing Off":

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Melaleuca says new patent will result in manufacturing, more jobs

Melaleuca President and CEO Frank VanderSloot

If you haven't heard much from Melaleuca about Oligo (pronounced oh-LEE-go), there's a reason. For the past three-and-a-half years, the Idaho Falls company has been using it in more than 30 of its wellness products, but it wasn't until Sept. 25 that it received a patent from the federal government.

With that piece of paper in hand, Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot said Wednesday that they're ready to go big next spring with a new manufacturing plant south of Idaho Falls that will employ hundreds of more people. Right now Melaleuca employs about 1,400 people in Idaho Falls and Rexburg.

Melaleuca is claiming that Oligo minerals are far more absorbable and generate fewer free radicals than the minerals used in everyday multivitamins. With its Vitality Pack vitamins and other nutritional supplements the company has already sold $414 million of products using Oligo.

"But that's without the marketing push we can do now," VanderSloot said. "It's a big deal to us."

In the time it took the patents to be approved, there was ample opportunity for the company's competitors, as well as the scientific and nutrition communities, to dispute Melaleuca's claims, VanderSloot said. Likewise, competitors could have claimed the technology was similar to something already invented.

The patent is good through 2030, and the company is already filing papers to extend it beyond then.

"We're going to be able to do more manufacturing, more research and development. We can invest," VanderSloot said.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Rexburg creamery to close doors, despite Wal-Mart deal

This broke today on StateImpact, a collaboration between Boise State Public Radio and NPR. Reporters Molly Messick and Emilie Ritter Saunderstravel the state to explain how economic issues affect you. Sign up for their Twitter feed.

You can read it for yourself, but before you do this is the quote that jumped out at me, from Reagan Wood, president of the company:  "(The) banking industry has had some changes to where they’re not willing to lend money to a 100-year-old company that has little or no debt.”

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mountain View Hospital's labor and delivery campaign will be the focus of the first Idaho Falls Advertising Federation "Lunch and Learn" session, Oct. 18 at Rutabaga's.

Brian Ziel, marketing specialist for Mountain View Hospital, will be the speaker at the Idaho Falls Advertising Federation's first "Lunch and Learn" session, Oct. 18 at Rutabaga's, 415 River Parkway.

Ziel recently oversaw the hospital’s recent Labor and Delivery campaign, and plans to explain the strategies and insights that made the campaign successful.

All media, sales, and creative professionals are invited to the event, which will be from 11::30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Lunch choices include: chicken or ham salad on thick sliced sourdough; Rutabaga’s chef salad w/ham, turkey, cheese, tomato, and egg; flatbread pizza (Varied Selection); or chicken alfredo or pasta primavera (for vegetarian option) spiral noodles and chicken tossed
in creamy, cheesy, alfredo sauce. All entrees include a choice of a cup of soup or side salad, beverage, and cookie or dessert.

Online advance ticket price is $10.50 for members, $13.50 for non-members, and $5 for Lemonade & Learn. Tickets can be purchased online via this link: AdFed members may bring one guest at member rates. Advance tickets will be sold through Oct. 17. To make a reservation, call Tina at 524-1777.

Also, if you haven’t yet joined AdFed, you can join online here: AdFed is now able to accept credit cards on site.

Idaho Falls seeks public comment on business plan for golf courses

The venerable clubhouse at Idaho Falls' Pinecrest Golf Course.
The City of Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Division is seeking public input about the operations of the City’s three municipal golf courses -- Pinecrest, Sand Creek and Sage Lakes.

At the request of the mayor and City Council, the division is working on a Golf Operations Five-Year Business Plan, the aim of which is to improve customer service, bring financial stability and create more effective and efficient operations.

Surveys and suggestion boxes have been placed at all three golf courses, and survey forms can also be found on the city’s Web site here:

There will be a public hearing to review the plan Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers.

The city is looking for people who have played golf at the courses to share their thoughts and suggestions, and non-golfers are also encouraged to complete surveys and attend the hearing to offer ideas about potential off-season uses.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Plans filed for $2.7 million remodeling at Idaho Falls Regional Airport

Idaho Falls Regional Airport's terminal is looking at $2.7 million in remodeling and expansion.
The city of Idaho Falls filed plans Tuesday for a $2.7 million terminal remodeling and expansion at Idaho Falls Regional Airport.

The work will involve 47,570 square feet and take place at the northwest end of the terminal and involves an addition to the terminal, TSA baggage screening operations and expansion of the existing commercial aircraft ramp area. The architect for the project is HDR-Insight Architects of Boise, whose contract for the project was approved by the Idaho Falls City Council in April.

In June, the airport administrator, Len Nelson, learned they would be receiving a $1 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration new snow removal equipment, apron construction and terminal building expansion. Nelson retired in August and has been replaced by Craig H. Davis, who started on Monday.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

International Isotopes receives plant construction permit from NRC

International Isotopes President and CEO Steve Laflin at the company's plant site in Lea County, N.M.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a combined construction and operating license for International Isotopes' $125 million fluorine extraction facility near Hobbs, N.M. The license was signed and issued Tuesday during a brief ceremony at NRC offices in Bethesda, Md.

International Isotopes, which is based in Idaho Falls, submitted its license application to in December 2009. The planned facility is a first-of-its-kind depleted uranium deconversion facility and the first source material facility to implement full-integrated safety analysis and will also be the first source material facility to be licensed by the NRC for a 40-year license term.

The company intends for the project to be a "green, environmentally friendly" production facility that will extract fluorine during the de-conversion process to produce high-value and commercially important products used widely in solar energy, microelectronics, and petrochemical refinement.

Steve T. Laflin, the company's president and CEO, said the license from the NRC is essential to them securing financing for the project. Last year, the company applied for a $97 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Renewable-Energy Technology Development program, which evaluates whether a technology might reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"Our patented fluorine extraction process uses seven times less energy than conventional industrial processes for making hydrofluoric acid," Laflin told blogger Dan Yurman of Idaho Samizdat Nuke Notes. "This means we can show reductions of six million pounds of carbon dioxide a year over the life of the planet."

Business opportunity conference set for Oct. 25 in Idaho Falls

Idaho Commerce Director Jeffrey Sayer
The Idaho Business Opportunity Conference will take place Oct. 25 at the Shilo Inn in Idaho Falls, 780 Lindsay Boulevard.

This represents the 24th annual opportunity for manufacturers, contractors, distributors and service providers to meet with procurement officials from government agencies to discuss purchasing needs and ways businesses can improve their selling techniques.

The event begins at 7:30 a.m. and will go to 3:30 p.m. The program includes government panels and speakers who will offer insight into the entire process of doing business with the federal government and the state. Topics include Getting on the GSA Schedule, Certification and Loan Programs, Subcontracting with Large Prime Contractors, and Doing Business with the Idaho National Laboratory.

“The Idaho Business Opportunity Conference attracts a diverse group of small businesses who are either actively engaged or have the capability to provide the government with goods and services,” said Jeffery Sayer, director of Idaho Commerce. “This is an excellent opportunity for Idaho companies to receive personalized assistance to connect with government procurement experts and enhance opportunities to expand their business contracts.”

Registration is $55 and covers all seminars, access to all buyers and purchasing agents, continental breakfast and lunch. Idaho businesses interested in attending can register by going to this link:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Idaho outdoor journalist's work voted best in nation

Outdoor journalist Kris Millgate
Tight Line Media's 2011 film "Sanctuary" has been voted the best TV story in the nation by the Outdoor Writers Association of America.

Outdoor journalist Kris Millgate's story about the elk whisperer and elk habitat in New Mexico won first place for hunting and shooting sports with OWAA earlier this summer. Then the OWAA President's panel chose the story as President's Choice for best outdoor TV story in the nation at its annual conference in Alaska in September.

“Kris is one of our newer members who has hit the OWAA floorboards running," says Robin Giner, OWAA Executive Director. "This year’s Presidents’ Choice Award is her second in two years, and I expect we’ll see her name on this list of the best of the best in future years, too.”

To view the story, and other clips Millgate has done, visit this link:

Idaho nuke wannabe eyeballing small modular reactors

Alternate Energy Holdings' ground in Payettte County.
This appeared on PR Newswire this morning and we thought it worth posting, considering the passionate interest around here concerning all things nuclear.

Alternate Energy Holdings today announced it is exploring the use of small modular reactors (SMR) on its proposed nuclear power plant site in Payette County, Idaho. SMRs range between 45 and 220 megawatts, and because of their modular and easily expandable design their implementation can be modified based on future energy needs.

"This would not necessarily replace our plans to build a large-scale reactor on the proposed site, but there may be an opportunity to build one or more years in advance of the larger reactor," said Don Gillispie, the company's CEO.

Several SMR designs are being reviewed including designs from Babcock & Wilcox, Westinghouse, NuScale Power and the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI). "We are seriously reviewing these options," Gillespie said. "SMR designs may give the company the flexibility it needs in the short term, while at the same time providing a very lucrative addition to AEHI's long-term plans."

Here is a link to the company's Web site, detailing its plans for Idaho:

Of course, announcing that you intend to do something and actually getting it done are two different things. AEHI's plans for bringing nuclear power to Idaho have gotten a fair amount of attention since 2006. Our most trusted source on all things nuclear, Dan Yurman's Idaho Samizdat Nuke Notes blog, posted this in April:

Key point: "(The Snake River Alliance) still has harsh things to say about the project on its web site. It calls AEHI a 'cartoonish nemesis' and says it does not take its proposals seriously enough to devote time to opposing them. That's probably the last word on the firm. If the local anti-nuclear group can't be bothered to stir up trouble for a nuclear reactor project, how viable can it be?"

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I.F. Visitor Information Center, Chamber offices, relocating to Memorial Drive

The scene Tuesday inside the Eastern Idaho Visitor Information Center, at 420 Memorial Drive. 
After nearly 10 years on West Broadway, the Eastern Idaho Visitor Information Center is moving across the river, sharing office space not only with the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce but with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the Better Business Bureau of Eastern Idaho and Western Wyoming and the Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corp.
Starting Wednesday, the offices will all be under one roof at 420 Memorial Drive, in the space formerly occupied by the Moffatt Thomas law firm.

While this moves the Visitor Information Center farther from Interstate 15, it will also expose visitors to the renovations taking place on the downtown side of the Idaho Falls Greenbelt. Idaho Falls Mayor Jared Fuhriman said Tuesday that he is hopeful the first phase of the Memorial Drive project will be finished by early November, before the onset of harsh weather.

Officials said the transition has been in the works for the last year or so, and that the idea has been for people to park, visit and find an all-encompassing variety of information in one spot.
Kerry McCullough. Holly Romrell and Jerda Judy of the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce pause to flex Monday during the move from West Broadway to Memorial Drive.


Idaho Falls offers grant money to arts organziations

The city of Idaho Falls Grants for the Arts Committee is once again inviting local non-profit art organizations to submit their requests for grant money the City makes available every year. This year, the City Council has budgeted $10,000 for the program.

Requests for funding of performances, exhibits, or similar functions will receive special consideration. Funding requests of capital expenditures or equipment purchases are preferred over proposals that solicit funds for operating expenses.

The committee will evaluate all applicants on several criteria, two of which include the number of city residents expected to benefit from the request and availability of matching funds.

Grant proposal requests forms are available by logging onto the City’s website, at Print the grant proposal request form and mail it to the address shown. Forms can also be picked up at the mayor’s office at City Hall, 308 Constitution Way. Completed forms must be submitted by the end of the business day on Monday, Oct. 15.

Since 1988, the city of Idaho Falls has made funds available to showcase the artistic skills exhibited by many of its citizens.

Rexburg publisher, lawyer tops list of all-time influential Idahoans

Browsing the Web this morning, I found this story in the Idaho Statesman about a new book by Randy Stapilus and Marty Peterson ranking the 100 most influential people in Idaho history.

The names one would expect are there: U.S. Sens. William Borah and Frank Church; potato magnate J.R. Simplot; LDS Church President Ezra Taft Benson.

But occupying the No. 1 spot was someone who's name I've never heard in the 30 years I've lived here, and someone from the Upper Snake River Valley: W. Lloyd Adams, a newspaper publisher, lawyer and lobbyist from Rexburg. The book devotes five pages to him and his influence on Idaho government, beginning with his role in electing a Republican governor in 1912 and ending only with his death in 1969

Here is a link to the Statesman story:

W. Lloyd Adams's headstone, in the Rexburg Cemetery. Interesting that he outlived his wife, Belva, by a little more than four months.

Read more here: