Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Freddy's Frozen Custard coming in 2014

Mmm, mmm, mmm ... it's been a while since we've posted a juicy burger photo, but Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is coming, so salivate away.
I wouldn't want to let 2013 slip away without getting one or two last licks in, so I'm happy to report that although my information is far from complete I have confirmation that Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is coming to the area in 2014.

"The franchisee in the area confirms that he is negotiating a real estate deal in Idaho Falls. We will be happy to confirm the location when the parcel is under contract," said Sarah Salmon, communications director for the chain, which is based in Wichita, Kan.

By way of background, Freddy's was founded in 2002 by two brothers, Bill and Randy Simon, whose father, Freddy Simon, was the inspiration for the restaurant and obviously its namesake. The first franchise launched in Hutchinson, Kansas, in 2004 and by October 2013 the company had opened its 100th location, in Bowling Green, Ky. According to the Web site, Freddy's plans to open 400 more stores over the next 10 to 15 years.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Holiday ramblings from a flu-addled eggnoggin'

Hey Bizmojo people, I appreciate your patience and understanding. I have been laid out with the flu since Sunday, mostly in bed. Managed a modest Christmas with my family, which included a wonderful brunch of French toast made with challah from my friends Neccia and Betty at Buttercup Bakery and Bistro. Other than that, it's been kind of dodgy. On the bright side, I've lost five pounds -- take that New Year's resolutions! -- and managed to read all of Tune In: The Beatles All These Years, a veritable tome by Mark Lewisohn, who has made a career of chronicling the Fab Four. It's Volume One of a three-part epic and ends in 1962, right on the cusp of world conquest. I am a fiend for this stuff (although the existence of a "deluxe" 1,700-page edition gives even me pause; do I really need twice as many accounts of Pete Best's mediocrity as a drummer? No.)

From a business standpoint -- and this is a business blog; even on my meds I remember this -- the most interesting part was about how the Beatles finally got their foot in the door at EMI Abbey Road and what a dicey proposition it was.

Parlophone A&R chief George Martin (now Sir George Martin), contrary to legend, basically had the Beatles rammed down his throat by his boss, Sir Leonard Wood. Martin had been having an affair with his EMI assistant and Sir Leonard wanted to punish him. Two gents from Ardmore and Beechwood, EMI's music publishing arm, were interested to the rights to John and Paul's songwriting, and to get the rights they had to sign the Beatles and record them. Martin was told to do so if he wanted to keep his job.

At that point, the future Sir George didn't John and Paul's originals were that good, and gave the band a tune called "How Do You Do It?" which they grudgingly recorded. Its release got nixed, however, when the EMI brass told him it had to be a Lennon-McCartney song on the A-side. It ended up being "Love Me Do," which Martin did nothing to promote. The guys at Ardmore and Beechwood made a lot of calls, and that along with the big fan base in Liverpool propelled the record to a respectable position on the charts. That got them a fresh shot with Martin, who would have abandoned them if "Love Me Do" had stiffed. The rest is history. The next record, "Please Please Me," went to Number One and Martin got his revenge on Ardmore and Beechwood by pointing Brian Epstein, the Beatles' manager, to Dick James, with whom he set up Northern Songs and locked up the publishing.

Here's Sir Paul and his band doing "Please Please Me" a few years ago. Beatles Forever!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Idaho Falls places 22nd on list of 'most exciting' small cities

Click on the chart for a better view.
Oh my heck, here's another one of those lists of small cities in which Idaho Falls ranks somewhere near the top. In this case, it's Movato's list of "exciting" small cities, and we come in 22nd. Pocatello ranked 15th.

How times have changed! I remember the days in which respondents to the Post Register's Readers Choice poll routinely named "Home" as the top nightspot. Not anymore.

You can visit the link here, but if you don't want to make the effort these are the criteria that were used:

  • Nightlife per capita (bars, clubs, comedy, etc.)
  • Live music venues per capita
  • Active life options per capita (parks, outdoor activities, etc.)
  • Fast Food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better)
  • Percentage of restaurants that are fast food (the lower the better)
  • Percentage of young residents ages 20 to 34 (the higher the better)

Melaleuca employees donate food, presents for regional charity effort

The Christmas tree and donated presents at Melaleuca's Idaho Falls headquarters.
Melaleuca and hundreds of its employees have been making the season a little brighter for some eastern Idaho families in need, buying food for pantries and presents to go under Christmas trees.

After buying 12,500 pounds of food, Melaleuca identified and assisted several families from Ashton to Pocatello who are suffering extreme hardship. Each family received a three-month supply of non-perishable food, 40 pounds of meat, new clothing and toys for the children. The company also donated more than 1,000 cans of food to help the Idaho Falls Soup Kitchen.

Employees also helped by purchasing new toys for 300 children adopted through The Salvation Army’s Angel Giving Tree program. They donated new toys, books, video games, sporting equipment, gift certificates, art supplies, coats, snow boots, and other clothing for children ranging from infants to teen-agers.

Over the past six weeks, many employees in the Idaho Falls and Rexburg customer call centers opted to trade all or a portion of their incentive checks for presents going toward children who otherwise might not have had anything to open this Christmas.
This is the 12th year Melaleuca has participated in The Salvation Army’s Angel Giving Tree program. Salvation Army volunteers will wrap and distribute the gifts in the coming days.

“With the need greater than ever, we appreciate Melaleuca’s significant charitable contributions and its steady commitment to improving the Idaho Falls community,” said Maj. James Halverson of the Salvation Army's Idaho Falls office. “We appreciate Melaleuca’s mission of enhancing lives, which shows in its desire to help disadvantaged children smile a little brighter and receive a Christmas gift this year.”

Thursday, December 19, 2013

More details on the west side Walgreens

The northwest corner of West Broadway and Skyline Drive, where Walgreen Drug plans to build a new store.
Earlier this month we reported on Walgreen Drug's plan to build a new Idaho Falls store on the northwest corner of West Broadway and Skyline Drive. After a visit to the Idaho Falls Building Department, here is some more information about what we'll be seeing in 2014.

Walgreen's will be close to the corner, following the pattern the chain adopted for all its stores more than 10 years ago, guaranteeing that no customer will be parked too far from the main entrance. This will be the fourth store of its type in the Idaho Falls-Ammon area, and will replace the operation the company set up in the old Westgate Drug building.

Wells Fargo Bank, which has been near the corner of Broadway and Skyline, will move to north of the new Walgreen's store. The strip mall that is home to Walker's, Karnation, CoCo Beach, etc., will be torn down as will the old City Floral building and greenhouse. A new strip mall is being proposed for the area between Bank of Commerce and the new Walgreen's, said Reginald Fuller, the city's building official. "It's going to be pretty much a complete overhaul of that whole corner, he said.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bitrick Consulting Group open for business

Monica Bitrick
Monica Bitrick, active on the Idaho Falls business and non-profit scene for more than five years, has started her own company, Bitrick Consulting Group, aimed at helping large and small enterprises with customized business and management solutions.

Since coming from Boise in 2007, Bitrick has helped businesses in the area as director of human resources for Advantage Employer Solutions. Before that, she was employed with Manpower International and Workscape, Inc. in Boise. She holds a bachelor’s in business administration (general business administration and human resources management) from Boise State University.

“My career has always centered around helping businesses and organizations become better at what they do," she said. "It seems only logical that I create a business the focuses on just that.”

Bitrick also has volunteered her abilities to non-profit organizations, serving as treasurer of the Suicide Prevention Action Network of Idaho. She is a member of Idaho Falls Rotary, and serves as Bronco Contact for southeast Idaho with the Boise State Alumni Association.  Previously, she served as the chair of the Military Affairs Committee, Young Professionals Network, Distinguished Under 40 Awards Program, and the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce's Fourth of July Parade.  She participated in Dancing with the Idaho Falls Stars in 2013 to benefit the American Cancer Society. She is an active volunteer with EITC Foundation and Calvary Chapel Christian School.

Bitrick’s accolades include the “Accomplished Under 40 Award” from the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce, Service to Others Award from the Military Affairs Committee, and the POW-MIA Recognition Award from the Veterans for Foreign Wars.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (208) 932-8436. Bitrick Consulting Group can be found on Facebook with this link.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Watkins Distributing opens new warehouse

Tony Watkins, who with his brother, Mitch, owns Watkins Distributing, which opened a 100,000-square-foot warehouse south of Idaho Falls this past month.
Try to visualize 1.3 million cases of beer, wine, soda pop and bottled water and you'll get an idea of the volume that Watkins Distributing is doing out of its new warehouse on the south side of Idaho Falls.

Co-owners Tony and Mitch Watkins had been in Idaho Falls for more than a decade, operating out of the old B&F warehouse on Iona Road near U.S. Highway 20. The new 100,000-square-foot warehouse near I-15 Exit 113 offers many more advantages.

"Being close to the freeway was very important to us, with the inbound and outbound loads," Tony Watkins said.

Watkins was founded in Havre, Mont., in 1933, right after the repeal of Prohibition. It has warehouses in several location. This newest one, which opened in late November, serves 23 counties, distributing close to 430 different products.

The estimated cost of the warehouse is more than $8 million. Watkins said they don't plan to expand employment right now, but eventually the number of people working there will be between 40 and 45.

The building was built by Ryan Companies US, of Minneapolis, which specializes in tilt-up concrete buildings all over the world. Watkins said more than 80 percent of the work on the building was done by local subcontractors, however, and that the people from Ryan were impressed with the speed and quality of the local work.

Center for Aesthetics opening Jackson Hole office

The Center for Aesthetics' new office in Jackson, Wyo., at 3395 Pines Way North, Suite 102.
Dr. Catherine E. Durboraw
The Center for Aesthetics is planning a "Grand Opening and Cool Night Out" at its new office in Jackson, Wyo., this Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m.

The new office is in Teton Pines, at 3395 Pines Way North, Suite 102. In Idaho Falls, the Center is located at 2375 East Sunnyside Road, Suite G.

At Thursday's event in Jackson there will be free Coolsculpting consultations with the centers board certified providers, complimentary makeovers, wine and hors d'oeuvres. Seating is limited and must be reserved in advance by calling (208) 529-8232.

Coolscuplting, non-surgical fat reduction, on one of the services provided by the Center, founded in 1998 by Dr. Catherine E. Durboraw. A graduate of University of Tennessee Medical School, Durboraw studied ophthalmic plastic surgery at Albany Medical Center. A fellowship trained and board certified surgeon, she has performed more than 125,000 dermal filler and neurotoxin injections.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Reactor developer gets nod from DOE

The desert west of Idaho Falls was once home to 50 reactors. Those days are gone, but NuScale Power LLC has moved one step closer to its goal of building 12 small modular reactors generating 545 megawatts of power here by 2025.

NuScale announced Thursday that it has been selected as the winner of the second round of the U.S. Department of Energy’s competitively-bid, cost-sharing program to develop nuclear small modular reactor technology. As part of the award, NuScale will receive funding that will support the accelerated development of its NuScale Power Module™ SMR technology. NuScale will be required to match the Federal funds it receives, somewhere in the neighborhood of $226 million.

The regulatory hurdles are formidable and the permitting process alone will cost $1 billion, said Michael McGough, chief commercial officer for NuScale. A subsidiary of Fluor, NuScale has had a prototype small modular reactor in operation since 2003.

An artist's rendering of how NuScale's small modular reactor assembly would work. For a full story, visit this link: http://greenbuildingelements.com/2013/07/01/nuscale-powers-small-modular-reactor-chosen-as-preferred-technology-by-western-initiative-for-nuclear/
Compared to a typical pressurized water reactor of 1,000 megawatts, the  advantage to a small modular reactor of 45 megawatts is that it is a "plug and play" proposition, McGough said.

Fluor wants to market nuclear power plants to the world, which is why it bought NuScale in October 2011. "They want to build power plants around the world," he said.

It is possible that NuScale plants could be going online abroad sooner than they might in the United States. Now that this hurdle is cleared, they anticipate having their design certification application -- typically a document of around 10,000 pages -- submitted to the NRC in 2015. The review of that application would take 39 months, after which they need to get NRC permission to build.

"There's lots of things you have to do, and you have to do them right," McGough said.

Unlike traditional reactors, which rely on electric pumps to keep water on the fuel rods to keep them from melting, NuScale's self-contained, self-circulating reactors shut themselves down during a station blackout.

As for the selection of Idaho Falls, it's a case of going where you are wanted. "If the community won't support it, you just shouldn't try," he said.

The Western Governor's Association has had nuclear energy on its mind for the past three years. New hydro-electric projects aren't in the cards, and new coal-fired plants are out to the question. Wind and solar are intermittent sources and heavily subsidized. That leaves natural gas and nuclear for big baseline loads.

In June this year, at its conference in Park City, the Association released its "State of Energy in the West" report. One of the stated goals was to find ways to accelerate introduction of small modular reactors into Western states.

Shortly after that, NuScale announced the launch of the Western Initiative for Nuclear, a demonstration project in Idaho to be built and owned by a consortium of regional utilities including Energy Northwest and Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), the latter of which Idaho Falls Power is affiliated with.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Economic development, circa 1949

Click to read a more legible version of this letter.
I've been researching local historical figures for a book called "Legendary Locals of Idaho Falls," due out in 2014 from Arcadia Publishing. One secondary source with a lot of good information is "Proving the Principle," a history of the Idaho National Laboratory.

While looking through it, I was intrigued by this memo from D.V. Groberg, a local developer, to E.F. McDermott, publisher of the Post-Register, detailing what needed to be done to land the Atomic Energy Commission's offices for the National Reactor Testing Station.

Anyone who thinks parks and golf courses don't matter in the economic development game need to take a look at this. Groberg's memo doesn't even mention the airport, which at the time was a landing strip with two log buildings but still better that the competitors'.

Competition came from Arco and Blackfoot, both of whom were found to be too small and lacking in services, and Pocatello.

Idaho Falls ended up beating out the "Gate City" by putting on better parties, hosted by the most "winsome" young ladies the boosters could trot out for the visitors. Pocatello, on the other hand, offered an all-male delegation that seemed diffident if not outright stiff.

The biggest drawback for Idaho Falls was the lack of a paved road to the desert. To minimize this, attorney Bill Holden persuaded Mayor Tom Sutton to put road construction crews to work at the west end of Broadway, to give the appearance that road construction was already underway.

And, as we all know more than 60 years later, it worked. The AEC put its headquarters in Idaho Falls, pop. 19,000, and the city went on to become what it is today. Could anyone get away with this kind of stuff today? Probably not. Those were simpler times, and sure fun to read about.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Advertising Federation Holiday Mixer this Thursday

Are you thinking about your marketing budget? You might want consider the silent auction at the Idaho Falls Advertising Federation's annual Holiday Mixer and Auction, this Thursday at the Elks Lodge, 640 East Elva Ave.

Here's a partial list of all the items that will be up for bid starting at 6:30 p.m. All proceeds benefit the Advertising Federation, so you'll be doing them a service while quite possibly getting a great deal for yourself or your business.

  • Melaleuca, gift basket containing a fun assortment of Sei Bella cosmetics, skin care and hair care products, $150 value.
  • Melaleuca, Sei Bella Luxury Creme (competes against and outperforms US La Prarie® Skin Caviar Luxe Cream at $410), $300 value.
  • Bank of Commerce, gift basket, $75 value.
  • East Idaho State Fair, mystery concert package, pair of tickets to both concerts in 2014, value $90 per pair.
  • IE Productions, foursome of golf at Huntsman Springs in Driggs.  Value $1,000.
  • Thrifty Nickel, two half pages with full color, value $595 each.
  • Thrifty Nickel, one 3x5 ad for 4 consecutive weeks with full color, $720 value.
  • Rich Broadcasting, advertising package for $500 with festive holiday basket.
  • Pacific Empire, $500 Q1 package including both stations KSEI and KMGI.
  • Cable One & Jewelry TV, massive ring, $899 value.
  • Cable One, $500 advertising package, $500 value.
  • Headrick, 3 Month 8' x 24' billboard on St. Leon Rd, prod not incl, $1,200 value.
  • Lamar, 2 month poster, prod not incl., $1,300 value.
  • Alpha Graphics, $300 printing package
  • Fairfield Inn, (2) 1 night Deluxe Spa Suite, $199 value ea.
  • Johnny Carinos, $25 gift card.
  • MCS Advertising, $500 advertising package on Cable One.
  • Chukars seats book of 10 in the fancy paint, checking on value.
  • Post Register, subscription gift basket, value $75.
  • Buttercup Bakery & Bistro, lemon cheesecake with boozed blackberries, $40 value.
  • Sandhill Media, (2) pair of Big Sky lift tickets, value $99/ ticket.
  • Kraupp Inc., design of letterhead and business cards, $300 value.
  • Kraupp Inc., Facebook strategy & refresh, $300 value.
  • Kraupp Inc., PowerPoint presentation creation, $300 value.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Starbucks, Walgreen's plan new Idaho Falls stores

Looks like Idaho Falls has two new developments in the chute for 2014 already: a Walgreen's store on the northeast corner of West Broadway and Skyline, and a Starbuck's at 17th Street and Jennie Lee Drive.

Site plans for both projects were submitted in November to the city of Idaho Falls Planning and Building Departments. A site plan is the first step in any new development. People from different city departments examine the plans to make sure the details are in compliance with the city's codes and regulations. Once the plan is approved, a developer goes before the city planning and zoning commission, which makes a recommendation to the City Council. Once the City Council approves the plat, a building permit is issued and construction can begin.

The Walgreen's, which will be the fourth in the area, is going on 1.35 acres, where the shopping center housing Walker's, CoCo Beach, Karnation, etc. After demolition, the store that will be built is to be 14,490 square feet. Will it be different from the Walgreen's at 17th Street and Holmes Avenue, 17th and Ammon Road, First Street and Woodruff? I would be extremely surprised.

Starbuck's is planning a 2,852-square-foot shop on the corner where the vacant Los Albertos restaurant stands. The total area will be 22,753 square feet, with 19 parking stalls.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Power outages cost not only comfort, but big bucks

If you could hear over your chattering teeth, that was money that was going up the flue during Wednesday's power outage in eastern Idaho.

Outages caused by severe weather cost the U.S. economy an average of $18 billion to $33 billion a year, according to a White House report released last summer. The hits come from lost output and wages, spoiled inventory, delayed production and damage to the electric grid. In 2012, when 8.5 million people lost power due to Superstorm Sandy, those costs rose to as high as $52 billion.

The report argues for the need to update the nation's electric grid: high-voltage transmission lines connected to power plants, local distribution systems, and power management and control systems. Seventy percent of these transmission lines and power transformers are more than 25 years old.

"Developing a smarter, more resilient electric grid is one step that can be taken now to ensure the welfare of the millions of current and future Americans who depend on the grid for reliable power," the report said.

What happened Wednesday in eastern Idaho was caused by complications at Rocky Mountain Power's Goshen Substation near Firth. At 5:11 a.m., the utility was required to interrupt service to some 49,000 Idaho customers because a circuit breaker at the substation was out of service this week for critical maintenance. The cold that barreled in Tuesday night created conditions that could have caused an even larger and longer outage.

As a result, the Balancing Authority  -- which controls the electric grid that serves power providers in the area through the Goshen Substation -- ordered power interrupted until the system's stability could be assured. This was a precautionary measure. There was no overload condition.

Idaho Falls Power customers experienced scattered outages between 7:45 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. At the peak of the outage, around 9:45 a.m., the authority had instructed Idaho Falls Power to shed 35 megawatts, almost 30 percent of the electricity being used city-wide at the time. About 3,500 customers were affected, but it was necessary to keep the system from crashing when Rocky Mountain Power attempted to restore its service.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Meet Trader Joe's German brother, Aldi


While many of us continue to hanker for Trader Joe's, I'm suddenly interested in the German-chain Aldi, which has stores in 32 states and a common origin filled with sturm und drang. This story on Slate is a fascinating read, even if you are not obsessed with Teutonic efficiency.

Going by the map on the company's Web site, it looks like it might be a while before Aldi's trucks begin rolling into Idaho. So far, the chain has not come west of the Mississippi, but any student of history can tell you what happens when Germans decide to cross a border and occupy territory. They like to mach schnell. Whatever happens, you read about it here first.

Friday, November 29, 2013

R.I.P. Vanetta Chesbro Wilson, Chesbro Music CEO

I imagine "Black Friday" has taken on a unexpected meaning at Chesbro Music in Idaho Falls, as I was saddened to learn today of the death of Vanetta Chesbro Wilson, the company's CEO and a very service minded person.

All I know as I write this is from a posting on Facebook and a death notice in the Post Register, that she died in Rio Verde, Ariz. My closest association with Vanetta was during the years I was active with the Idaho Falls Opera Theatre. We served on the board of directors in the mid-90s.

Vanetta and her sister, Tana Jane Stahn, took over the management of Chesbro Music after the death of their mother Joan Chesbro Thomas, in 1999. The company dates back to 1911, when it was founded in Seattle by their great-grandfather, Horace Chesbro, who moved it that same year to St. Anthony then to Idaho Falls in 1921.

It was under their mother's leadership that the company grew from a local music retailer to a distributor serving dealers in the western United States for instruments and print music. "She (was) a great role model to me and my sister and to many other women business professionals in our community," Vanetta Wilson told the Idaho Community Foundation, in an article that can be found here.



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bechtel awarded contract extensions for Naval Reactors work.

Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corp., one of the Bechtel group of companies, has been awarded contract extensions projected to be valued at approximately $13 billion by the U.S. Department of Energy  and the U.S. Navy to continue providing management and operations services at the Bettis and Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories.

Under the two five-year extensions, carried out concurrently, Bechtel will continue its work in support of the U.S. Naval Reactors Program through Sept. 30, 2018. Bechtel has provided management and operation services for the labs since 2009 and provided management and operation services at the Bettis Laboratory for the previous 10 years, between 1999 and 2009.

"The work being done at the Bettis and Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories is critical to our national defense," said Craig Albert, president of Bechtel's government services business unit. "The dedicated men and women of Bechtel Marine Propulsion join me in thanking the Department of Energy and the U.S. Navy for their continued confidence in our capabilities and commitment to the Naval Reactors Program."

Bechtel colleagues carry out three primary missions at the two labs. They conduct research and development in the design and operation of nuclear propulsion plants for U.S. submarines and surface ships. They provide technical support to ensure the safety and reliability of U.S. naval nuclear reactors. And they train and certify the sailors who operate those reactors for the U.S. Navy. Bechtel is also charged with the receipt and management of the U.S. Navy's spent nuclear fuel.

All of the work is carried out by approximately 7,000 employees at five primary locations in the United States: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Schenectady and West Milton, New York; Charleston, South Carolina; and, of course, Idaho Falls.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Developers plan indoor gun range near Snake River Landing

Shane and Dixie Murphy and Ryan Later have filed a site plan with the city of Idaho Falls for Guns and Gear, at Class 5 indoor gun range they are planning to build on Crane Road just south of Pancheri Drive.

Crews tore down an old warehouse earlier this month in preparation for the 15,420-square-foot project. Shane Murphy said they plan to apply for a building permit in February, with construction to follow as soon as weather allows.

He said it will feature a 15-station shooting range and 5,000 square feet of retail space. There will be a patio in the back, overlooking Snake River Landing.

The project required a variance allowing the developers to go with a 10-foot-wide landscaping strip instead of the 15-foot-wide strip in the annexation agreement. "It's a narrow parcel of land with the canal in the back, so we needed this to make parking easier," Murphy said.

When open, he said they plan to offer classes and training to the public and law enforcement agencies.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Produce marketing expert to speak Thursday to I.F. Advertising Federation


Nate Klingler director of marketing at Eagle Eye Produce in Idaho Falls will speak Thursday at the Idaho Falls Advertising Federation's monthly "Lunch and Learn."

Klingler is a graduate of Bonneville High School and attended Idaho State University, majoring in mass communications. He worked for 7 years in the sign and print industry,  moving up through the ranks at each company he worked at, holding such positions as sales manager, art director and general manager. Since moving to Eagle Eye, he has created a marketing department from the ground up and helped the company grow at a record pace.

He is also an independent marketing and design consultant, focusing on the marketing needs of dedicated clients in the healthcare industry and political marketing.

The program is at Dixie's Diner, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Follow this link to RSVP.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Brenda Haan to open Edward Jones office in Snake River Landing

Brenda Haan announced today that she will open an Edward Jones office in Idaho Falls at 970 Pier View Drive – Suite A in Snake River Landing. Brenda has been partnering with financial advisers Joe Haan, Brian Haney, and Kevin King to serve investors throughout the Idaho Falls area.

In a press release, Haan, Haney and King said, “When Brenda joined Edward Jones, she agreed to help us provide the level of service investors have come to expect from the firm while extending our services to additional investors. Brenda has proved herself more than capable of doing so. We’re going to enjoy watching her build a successful business of her own.”

Friday, November 15, 2013

"Thor: The Dark World" improves on original

It's been a while since I've done a complete review of a movie. Where did all the time go? Oh yeah, of course, I went to college! Anyway, this week let's take a look at Thor's return.

All in all, "Thor: The Dark World" is an entertaining addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that manages to be better than "Iron Man 3." It offers enough rousing adventure to satiate the comic book nerd's appetite until "Avengers 2" (or at least Captain America's next flick).

Picking up from where "The Avengers" left off, Loki is in Asgardian jail for his heinous crimes while Thor is striving to bring balance back to the Nine Realms. Even though he has done that, he still feels a sense of emptiness in his life. He sets off for Earth to find his lover, Jane Foster, who is back on the job and has found an anomaly that has led to a close encounter with another possibility for epic

There are many good things about this sequel, which improves on the original. There's much more action here, prevalent in the numerous rousing set pieces. And what a creative climax! The comedy here is unexpectedly more abundant. With self-aware and wry humor to go along with some of the slapstick, it helps the film feel more fun. Look out for a hilarious cameo that will certainly make your viewing experience more enjoyable if it already wasn't.

All that creates for a nice balance with the emotional side, elevated here by deeper relationships between the characters, the most notable one being Thor and Loki's love/hate bromance. It's all in due part to the great acting by the ensemble -- the bold Chris Hemsworth, gleeful scenestealer Tom Hiddleston, a fine Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins and Idris Elba lending a strong, authoritative support, and even the sadly underused Christopher Eccleston.

Alan Taylor's direction here may seem like it's made out of compromise, but it's fresh and assured enough to keep the ball rolling. And of course, the visual effects made the whole shebang look cool, even enhancing upon the original look of Asgard.
Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in "Thor: The Dark World"
However, the film suffers from quite a few flaws. The storyline isn't all that enthralling, mostly because it's yet another superhero movie in where things go wrong (again) and the superhero must save the day (again). Still, who goes to a Marvel movie not expecting this? The loose, quick writing helps the film overcome that hurdle, but the sci-fi/fantasy vibe was a bit uneven for me. I felt this sequel went a little overboard on this aspect, which really threw me off because the first one had such a good balance of the two genres. The first film was also better in terms of character development, notably with the Asgardian warriors and the external subplot mortals. For a "central villian", Malekith didn't have that much substance to him, appear for only a few minutes of screen time each time onscreen. It came off as sillier and more over-the-top, now that I think about it, at times looking nearly like a parody of itself. The first film leaned towards a more theatrical tone.

It takes time for TTDW to pick up momentum, which was also the case with the first film (and "The Avengers," and "Captain America," and all the other ones, now that I think about it), but once the train is rolling everything is just fine.

Lightning has struck twice for Thor after all. The same can be said for Marvel, whose Phase Two movies are shaping up so-far, so-good. The second "Thor" improves slightly over its predecessor in being a dazzling, engaging fantasy that's only a touch darker yet much more amusing. Now I'm curious about how "Guardians of the Galaxy" will build up to the second "Avengers."

Nathan Cook is a graduate of Skyline High School now attending Boise State University.

NYT 'Room for Debate' posts nuclear power discussion

This was in the New York Times this morning, guaranteed to be of interest to a lot of people in eastern Idaho, where nuclear power has never been as stigmatized as it has been in other places.

Pay particular attention to Nathan Myhrvold, vice chairman of the board of TerraPower, the company contracting with the Idaho National Laboratory as it seeks to develop new technologies for nuclear energy. I'd be curious as to whether Myhrvold, former chief technology officer of Microsoft, was with Bill Gates last month when Gates and his retinue visited the lab's Materials Fuels Complex. I'm guessing he was.

"Ironically, people who argue against nuclear on environmental grounds may contribute to a far greater environmental catastrophe. Unfortunately the physics of climate change makes the here and now danger too easy to ignore," he says here.

Anyway, you're free to post your comment to the discussion by by following this link: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/11/14/is-nuclear-power-the-answer-to-climate-change/nuclear-power-needs-to-be-an-option.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

So long splash park, hello "Memorial Falls"

The "splash park" on the Idaho Falls Greenbelt is no more. It has been pared down to less than one-third of its proposed size, dressed up in red, white and blue, and renamed "Memorial Falls."

When it became obvious that public objections had become a serious problem for the city of Idaho Falls' proposal to build a big interactive water feature at Memorial and Riverside, Parks and Rec Director Greg Weitzel and designer Nate Durtschi of Rock Solid Landscape went back to the drawing board. Not wanting to give up on a fountain at the location, they enlisted local veterans' support for the idea of turning the feature into a memorial to soldiers in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

As for the splash part of the proposal, "the vets thought kids interacting is a great idea," Weitzel told the Idaho Falls City Council today at a morning work session. "When kid interact, kids learn," he said. Still, frolicking in the jets and the cascading water will not me the focus. "It can be played in, but that's not its purpose," he said.

Weitzel said he was very pleased by the turnout Wednesday night for the Greenbelt public meeting at the Residence Inn -- over 130 people -- and by the level of investment residents feel in the city's public spaces. "We do not have a shy public here in Idaho Falls," he said.

More than 1,000 people responded to a survey for the Connecting Our Community study, only slightly less than a similar study conducted in Salt Lake City. "We're taking the lead from the public," he said. "They're saying the Greenbelt is the number one resource we have."

The next step for Memorial Falls would be for the City Council to approve a design contract. Weitzel said he is hopeful the project might be finished in time for a dedication next July 4.

"We would be the first city in Idaho to recognize Iraq and Afghanisan vets," he said. "It's a perfect fit for Memorial Drive."

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Idaho Falls ranks second in national survey of "Best Small Cities"


Since the last national list on which Idaho Falls was ranked was of the nation's coldest cities (we were 18th), here's something a little more heartwarming.

Movato Blog ("The Lighter Side of Real Estate") has Idaho Falls coming in second behind Rowlett, Texas (suburban Dallas), on a list of "Best Small Cities to Move To."

  • The list was based on data from close to 100 cities with populations under 60,000. The six criteria were:
  • Cost of living
  • Crime
  • Median household income
  • Unemployment rate
  • Median home price
  • Homes for sale per capita

Information came from the U.S. Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics, FBI, and real estate market data.

Buttercup Bakery & Bistro opens on First Street

Neccia Hahn, owner of Buttercup Bakery and Bistro, 335 First Street.
Such is the nature of perfection that Neccia Hahn doubts she'll ever make the perfect loaf of bread, but she gets close often enough to keep trying.

Today is the opening day of Hahn's Buttercup Bakery & Bistro, 335 First Street. She is keeping it low key, but this is the culmination of more than a year of effort -- and 15 years of obsession.

Hahn's start, nicknamed "Levainna White," dates back to the Clinton administration (levain is a leavening agent used in place of yeast to rise bread dough) and is pretty much the source of all artisan bread she has made since.

"I think you're always trying to do better," she said.

In 2012, in preparation for her own bakery, Hahn went to the San Francisco Baking Institute, where she delved into the nuances of artisan baking. She and her husband, F.J. "Tiger" Hahn, started work on the First Street property earlier this year, remodeling and adding a deck in front.

Hahn is assisted by Beth Watson. Together, they will be making daily sourdough rounds, baguettes, bagels, pain au levain and chibatta. They will periodically making rye and challa, brioches for the holidays and, of course, sticky buns and cookies.

The bakery opens at 7 a.m. daily except for Sunday.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Natural Grocers on 17th Street open for business

The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors cut the ribbon Monday afternoon at the new Natural Grocers store on 17th Street.
Colorado-based Natural Grocers had a ribbon cutting Monday and is open for business today at its newest store, on Idaho Falls' 17th Street. Thus concludes a two-year saga that BizMojo Idaho has covered ever since Assistant City Planner Brad Cramer told me in 2011 that he'd received a cryptic phone call from people asking about a possible location for a 15,000-square-foot specialty grocery store.

The store will offer its first free cooking class in its dedicated demonstration kitchen and events facility on Thursday. Nationally recognized nutrition expert Cary Tamburro will show how to make "Smoothies to Jump Start Your Health."  Tamburro will demonstrate organic, gluten-free and dairy-free options.

Natural Grocers is well known for what it does not sell: any foods that contain artificial ingredients such as colors, sweeteners, flavors, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, or produce grown with synthetic pesticides, or meats with antibiotics or hormones.

Hours are Monday through Saturday from 8:56 a.m. to 8:04 p.m. On Sunday the store will be open from 9:56 a.m. to 7:06 p.m. "Come a little early, come a little late, customers are welcome inside," says the press release.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Grand Teton Chiropractic offers benefit to veterans

Dr. James Gardner
In honor of Veteran’s Day, Dr. James C. Gardner and the staff of Grand Teton Chiropractic are holding a “Thankful for Our Soldiers” benefit.

Today through Wednesday, all active duty military and veterans are eligible to receive free treatment at the Grand Teton Chiropractic office, 1220 East 17th Street. Make an appointment or call 529-1919 during office hours. Be prepared to show Military ID or DD 214 and your adjustment that day is complimentary.

"It’s our way of saying thanks for their service. But really, every day is an opportunity to say thank you," Gardner said. "So join us in our Thankful for our Soldiers Movement in showing our gratitude for those who have served, or are currently serving in our military."

Friday, November 8, 2013

Gasoline prices plummet in Idaho Falls

Vehicles lined up Thursday at the Good 2 Go Conoco Station at North Yellowstone and Hitt Road, where prices got as low a $2.66 a gallon for regular unleaded. (Melissa Bristol photo)
Gasoline prices in Idaho Falls dropped below $3 a gallon at some stations this week, with competition between two convenience stores at Hitt Road and Yellowstone going at it particularly hard.

"You're more likely to see an old-fashioned price war when prices are on the wane," said Dave Carlson, spokesman for the Idaho AAA office in Boise.

When Dad's opened its station on Hitt in early October, it was selling its Sinclair gas for 45 to 50 cents a gallon less, prompting the Good 2 Go Conoco station across the road to follow suit. "We thought it would kind of take root up and down the I-15 corridor, but it didn't," Carlson said.

Although wholesale rack prices were going down, a lot of dealers were engaging in profit taking, sometimes as much as 30 or 40 cents a gallon, Carlson said.

At lunchtime today, the price for regular unleaded at Dad's was $2.89. Across the road at Good 2 Go, the price was $2.94. The average price in town was $3.05, below the national average price on Friday for regular unleaded was $3.21 a gallon.

Prices are going down because supplies are ample and winter grade gasoline is cheaper to produce. "It should have been coming down well before now," Carlson said.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Jones Sew & Vac moving to First Street

The Jones Sew & Vac remodel is already underway, just west of the Calvary Chapel Thrift Store.
Jones Sew & Vac will be leaving its longtime location on Hitt Road to a remodeled spot on First Street, between the Rose Shop and Calvary Chapel Thrift Store. They are hoping for a Dec. 1 opening, said James Wilson, who handles ordering and receiving for both the Idaho Falls store and the one in Pocatello.

Wilson said the main consideration is space. The new location will have close to 4,000 square feet, compared to the 1,000 square feet they have at their present Idaho Falls location.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

INL scientist receives award from American Nuclear Society

Dr. Piyush Sabharwall
Piyush Sabharwall, a scientist in the Nuclear System Design and Analysis Division at Idaho National Laboratory, will receive the American Nuclear Society Young Members Excellence Award at the ANS annual meeting later this month. Each year the society gives the award to an early-career nuclear scientist who demonstrates outstanding technical abilities.

Sabharwall's research is in developing new technology for very high temperature nuclear reactors. He also works on ways to integrate nuclear power and renewable sources, like wind energy, into the power grid -- coupling a constant source with one that varies with the weather. Sabharwall's solutions could lead to a cleaner and more energy efficient future for the United States.

In addition to his own research, Sabharwall is a board director on the Idaho NASA Space Grant Consortia. Sabharwall came to INL in 2005.  He received his Ph.D. in 2009 from the University of Idaho, and completed a master's in engineering management this past spring by taking advantage of the U.S. Department of Energy's education program.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Happy's plans opening at new location Friday

The door to Happy Chinese Restaurant at its new Shoup Avenue location, with the Rogers Building reflected in the glass.
Happy Chinese Restaurant has closed on Park Avenue and plans to open Friday at its new location at 504 Shoup Avenue, where Grand Victorian Wedding Chapel was.

Jay and Lily Li came to Idaho Falls from Rexburg in 2003 to take over Happy's on Park Avenue, which originally started in the '80s. When it came time to find a new location that would give them more kitchen space, they didn't want to leave downtown and when the space at Park and B Street became available they put their moving plans in motion.

The new location has about 5,000 square feet, nearly twice what they've had on Park. The space will be about evenly split between the restaurant area (seating 135) and the kitchen, Lily Li said. "We will have better updated equipment for cooking," she said.

By the way, I think it's OK to say "Happy's" even though the name is Happy Chinese Restaurant just the same way it's OK to say "Chesbro's" even when the actual name is Chesbro Music Co.

More national fodder from the ongoing nuclear energy debate

I missed the local screening of "Pandora's Promise" last week, so I'm really on the lookout for any nuclear energy links that I think might be of interest to the local community. This has been a challenge since Dan Yurman closed shop on is Idaho Samizdat: Nuke Notes blog, but a lot of what he posted was pretty esoteric while I'm on the hunt for more general interest stuff.


This ran on the Salon.com Web site this morning: Climate experts to enviros: The time has come to embrace nuclear power.

Of course you can read the comments that follow this article, too, and read the links people post there.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Interesting nuclear power link from the New York Times

British Prime Minister David Cameron speaking Monday at the Hinckley Point B nuclear power station in southwest England. (New York Times photo)
I found this recent story from the New York Times  interesting for a number of reasons, not the least of which was a mention of Areva, whose uranium enrichment project west of Idaho Falls has been on hold for nearly two years. It pretty much sums up the challenges nuclear power is facing at the moment. Here's the link:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/22/business/international/britain-and-edf-sign-nuclear-plant-deal.html

Deck goes onto D Street bridge

On the way home Thursday, I thought it worth the effort to climb the dirt pile on the north end of the new D Street underpass project to get a level view of what's going on. The long-awaited project is scheduled to be finished sometime in 2014.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

What a difference two days can make ... walls go up at Scientech project

Two days ago we stopped by Scientech's building site at Snake River Landing and it was nothing but a foundation. Since then, the walls have gone up to give everyone a better idea of how massive this project is. The building are scheduled to be finished by the middle of 2014. We'll keep you posted periodically.

Idaho Falls still pursuing round-trip air service to Boise

The terminal at Idaho Falls Regional Airport.
Last week at the League of Women Voters' forum for City Council candidates (I'm running for Seat 2, as if you didn't already know) I was asked about Idaho Falls' air service and what it might take to get more flights and carriers. Since the candidates' answers were limited to one minute, it was kind of hard to go into much detail.

My short answer was that getting consistent air service into a community like Idaho Falls is a never-ending challenge. There's more than passenger numbers to consider. There are fuel costs, the size of the planes a carrier has in service and the money the carrier has invested in its fleet. The profit margins are very thin. The most pressing need for Idaho Falls is regular, affordable round-trip air service to Boise, but nobody has planes the right size to make such a route profitable.

For those of you who are more interested, here is a more detailed story.

A lot of cities the size of Idaho Falls would envy its three carriers providing jet service to major hubs and a technology base that provides a sizable number of business travelers.

But the very thing that is driving expansion of service to markets like Salt Lake City, Denver, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Los Angeles has made it tough to keep regular, affordable air service going between Idaho Falls and Boise.

"That's still our number one priority -- regular service between Idaho Falls and Boise," said Craig Davis, manager of Idaho Falls Regional Airport. "The challenge is finding the company that has the right-sized aircraft."

Planes are getting bigger and the routes are getting longer. In the early 2000s, the average size of a regional commercial airplane was 37 seats. Today, it's 55, and those seats have to be paid for, said Jack Penning of Portland, Ore., director of market analysis for Sixel Consulting.

Horizon Air, which had an Idaho Fall-Boise route for years, pulled out in 2010. Seaport Air, a regional carrier, opened a route in July 2011 only to announce less than six months later they were leaving.

With a direct highway connection between the two cities, Seaport said there was a "tipping point" on price where potential passengers would opt to drive instead of fly. What is making the flight to Phoenix possible is the same thing that is making inland regional routes harder to maintain, Penning said. "Smaller regional markets have been squeezed out because of a lack of appropriate aircraft."

What would be ideal for an Idaho Falls-Boise route would be a plane like the 19-seat Beechcraft 1900 turboprops Silver Airways uses on its routes in Montana. But Penning is frank about the challenges. "Airlines are reluctant to move craft away from established routes," he said. "You've got to convince them you've got something that will be viable." Moreover, there are few long-term guarantees. Silver Airways, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., announced recently that it is dropping its service in Montana in December.

Idaho Falls loses a lot of potential passengers to Salt Lake City, estimating leakage of 35 percent. The closer a community is to a major hub, the smaller its airport is likely to be.

But the airport still has a few things working in its favor. A study by Sixell Consulting estimated there are 294,557 people within 60 minutes of Idaho Falls. Within two hours' drive time, that number expands to 665,359. Also there is the number of people traveling on government business, mainly for  the Idaho National Laboratory. Without the lab, the airport would be a lot smaller. As it stands, the business travel helps Idaho Falls get what it wants.

"If they call up Delta Airlines and say, 'We need this,' Delta is going to pay attention," said former IFRA director Len Nelson, who retired in 2012.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

As the skies darken, construction work continues at Snake River Landing

Concrete slabs being poured at Scientech's new headquarters, two buildings to be joined by an enclosed walkway.
I passed through Snake River Landing today just to take a look at what's been done so far this year. It has been a busy year, for sure. Here are three photos, snapped on the fly, to give you an idea of the scope of the work that's been happening. As you can see, the weather is turning and one has to wonder how much more is going to get done before things turn frigid.

Also, it looks like MacKenzie River Pizza, at 1490 Milligan Road, will be opening in January. If that proves to be too long a wait, the one in Pocatello, at 4510 Pole Line Road, is slated to open in December.

Galusha Higgins & Galusha's new home, to be open after the first of the year. The accounting firm will be leaving its longtime downtown Idaho Falls location on B Street.
Banyan River Apartments, independent living housing for seniors from the same people who developed Rosselare at 12 Street and Hoopes Avenue.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Farewell to a friend and inspiration

Peg Reeves (1917-2013)
Before the week is over, I'd like to note the passing of my friend Peg Reeves, who died Wednesday at age 96.

Peg was a parishioner at my church, St. Luke's Episcopal, and one of my responsibilities as a vestryman was to make sure her hearing assistance device was always working. (I may make a motion at the next vestry meeting that her wireless receiver and earbud be retired and perhaps interred with her, if such things are allowed.)

The reason I mention her in BizMojo is she was one of my guiding lights in the mid-'90s when I was developing my style and tone for the weekly ShopTalk column in the Post Register, which I wrote for 12 years. Every Sunday at coffee hour Peg would have a question about some building she'd seen going up. I considered myself duty bound to find out -- how does one say no to a little old lady? -- but the dividend was that I would almost always have something to publish in ShopTalk.

After I left the paper a lot of people told me they missed my writing, which was why I started BizMojo Idaho two years ago. I missed the conversations with people like Peg that my writing afforded me.

Given her age, I don't think Peg ever read this blog or even looked at a computer, but that didn't matter because I could always talk to her in person on Sunday morning. I'll miss that, but will think of her anytime someone has a question about something they've seen around town.

Here is a link to her obituary: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/peg-reeves.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bill Gates makes quick tour of INL's Materials and Fuels Complex

Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates made a two-hour visit Wednesday afternoon to Idaho Falls to tour the Idaho National Laboratory's Materials and Fuels Complex.

In addition to everything else he does, Gates is the chairman of TerraPower LLC, a nuclear reactor startup company that has engaged INL to support certain design aspects of its traveling wave reactor. The visit Wednesday was arranged to demonstrate the lab's expertise and capabilities.

The Web page for TerraPower LLC, which has engaged the Idaho National Laboratory in a cooperative research agreement.
“Getting to visit INL was really enlightening," Gates told INL employees after his tour. "It was amazing to see reactor fuel characterization and how it can be conducted safely in a hot cell environment.”

INL has signed several Cooperative Research and Development Agreements with TerraPower over the past few years. These agreements allow TerraPower to receive technical insight and use the lab's capabilities.

At MFC, Gates toured the Fuel Conditioning Facility and the Hot Fuel Examination Facility, met with some of the researchers involved with TerraPower-related projects, and learned about some of the other nuclear-related research and capabilities available at INL.

Gates also spent nearly an hour talking with 250 INL researchers and scientists. He shared some background on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which was established in 2000, about the time he stepped down as chief executive officer of Microsoft. He said now he works full-time on the Gates Foundation and part-time at Microsoft.

“TerraPower has many cooperative projects, and there are lots of partnerships, but our work with INL is singularly important,” he said.

TerraPower has gained attention for both its traveling wave reactor design and the financial backing of clean technology investors. Several CRADAs established over the past few years enable the company to receive technical insight from the nation’s nuclear energy laboratories.

"We enjoyed showing off our experienced researchers and one-of-a-kind capabilities for Mr. Gates," said INL Director John Grossenbacher. "His interest in nuclear energy and INL's contributions helps the industry's future and reinforces the value of DOE's national laboratory complex."

"As the lead national laboratory for nuclear energy, INL focuses on challenging technologies that require long-term investigations by multi-disciplinary teams," said Kemal Pasamehmetoglu, INL's associate laboratory director for Nuclear Science and Technology. "When private companies such as TerraPower show interest in what we do and are willing to use our assistance in their efforts, we know that we are doing our job and making a meaningful impact on nuclear energy development."

TerraPower is a privately funded company headquartered in Bellevue, Wash. Since it was founded in 2007, it has grown to nearly 70 full-time professionals who engage diverse technical consultants and partners to responsibly improve options for global access to clean, secure and affordable electricity.

For more information, visit TerraPower at www.terrapower.com.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A list of links for those interested in the city of Idaho Falls election

A few of you probably know I'm running for a seat on the Idaho Falls City Council. I've refrained from posting anything about this on BizMojo Idaho because I don't want to be seen to be using this site to promote my political aspirations.

Before I decided to run, which was around Labor Day, I'd written two stories about the city races, the first in February, when Mayor Jared Fuhriman's announced he was not seeking a third term. That story also reported Councilwoman Sharon Parry's announcement that she was seeking the office. The second was in June, when Rebecca Casper announced she was running for mayor and I covered her press conference.

In light of my decision to run and the interest of fairness, I've taken both those stories down and instead am posting links to all the mayoral and council candidates' Web pages. Here you can read about them in their own words:

Mayor
Sharon Parry: www.sharonparry.org
Rebecca Casper: casperformayor.com
Brian LaPray: www.brianlapray.org
Tim Downs: timdowns4mayor.com

Idaho Falls City Council Seat 2
Dee Whittier: www.deewhittier.org
Jill Peterson: www.facebook.com/vote4jill2013
Paul Menser: www.facebook.com/menserforcitycouncil

Idaho Falls City Council Seat 4
Ed Marohn: http://edmarohn.com
Evan Bastow: sites.google.com/site/evanbastowforcitycouncil

Idaho Falls City Council Seat 6
Barbara Ehardt: www.barbaraehardt.com
Karen Cornwell: karencornwell.net

As far as I can tell, City Council candidates Alfred Higley (Seat 2), and Jillene Burger (Seat 4) haven't done anything online to promote their candidacies, Facebook or otherwise.

The election is Nov. 5, by the way. If you live in the city of Idaho Falls and are over the age of 18, you can vote for one candidate for mayor and one candidate in each of the council races. The city is not divided into districts. I have probably been asked that more than any other question.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Saving Center to be torn down, parking lot closed

Saving Center in downtown Idaho Falls is going to be town down and about 40 paid parking spaces will no longer be available after the end of the month.
Saving Center, on Memorial Drive between Broadway and A Street, is going to be demolished this winter.

The Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corp. sent an e-mail this morning to downtown businesses informing them that the parking lot at the old grocery store will be closed at the end of October.

About 40 people pay $15 a month to use the lot, said Bob Everhart, Downtown Development's executive director.

The building is owned by Vern Kelsch, who operated the independent grocery store for years. Everhart said work is scheduled to begin inside the building next week. He said the property ought to be more appealing without the building on it. "People can look at an open lot and get a better idea of what they might want to do with it," he said.

Meanwhile, the challenge is to find new parking places for the people who've been using the Saving Center lot.

There is free, all-day parking at the following locations:
  • E Street and North Capital Avenue
  • D Street and North Park Avenue
  • Constitution Way between Yellowstone and Shoup Avenue
  • Between Shoup and Park south of Chesbro Music
  • North Eastern Avenue between Birch Street and Broadway
"We appreciate the opportunity we have had to provide parking for you at such a reasonable price for several years, knowing this day would come sooner or later," said Mala Lyon, Downtown Development's parking administrator.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tacoma Screw erecting walls to Idaho Falls store

It's been a busy week at the North Yellowstone site where Tacoma Screw Products is building its new 10,000-square-foot store. Sixteen of these concrete panels, the heaviest weighing 36.5 tons, are due to be erected before the roof goes on. John Wolfe, the company's former CEO and current executive adviser, said the store will be much like the ones the 66-year-old company built in Boise and Twin Falls. The company typically employs three or four people to work in a store and three or four people to handle outside sales.

Home sales, prices up in Bonneville County

Looking at the Snake River Multiple Listing Service's numbers through the end of September, one would surmise that the comeback in the Bonneville County real estate market is not only carrying on, it is picking up steam.

Sales in the first three quarters of 2013 were up 16.5 percent over 2012. Homes were on the market an average of 16 fewer days.

More strikingly, the median price jumped up by 19.1 percent while the number of new listings jumped by 13.5 percent.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Guitar auction at Museum of Idaho set for Oct. 24

Riverbend Communications and Chesbro Music are hosting the 105.5 The Hawk Star Guitar Charity Auction Oct. 24 at the Museum of Idaho, 200 N. Eastern Avenue.

Those who attend will have the opportunity to bid on acoustic guitars hand-signed by country music stars including Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson, Trace Adkins, Chris Young and Luke Bryan. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a pink guitar signed by George Strait, Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, Thompson Square, The Band Perry, Martina McBride and Justin Moore will also be auctioned.

Proceeds from the auction will benefit several local charities: Family Crisis Center; East Idaho Public Health District; Help, Inc., United Way of Idaho Falls and Bonneville County; U.S. Marine/Toys for Tots; District 91 Education Foundation; District 93 Autism Program; and the Idaho Falls Arts Council.

The event begins at 6 p.m. and is open to the public, but RSVPs are required. Contact andrea@eiradio for an invitation. Or follow this link: http://www.1055thehawk.com/star-guitar-charity-auction/.


Here's a link 105.5 The Hawk's Facebook page, where you can read more: https://www.facebook.com/1055thehawk.

Last of all, here's video of Taylor Swift and Luke Bryan, neither playing guitar but singing Luke's mega-smash hit "I Don't Want This Night to End." By the way, this goes out to my former guitar student Courtney Marsh, a huge fan of both Taylor and Luke:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

New executive director named for EITC Foundation

Natalie Hebard
Eastern Idaho Technical College Foundation has selected Natalie Hebard as its new executive director. Hebard has been working as a labor relations administrator for the Idaho National Laboratory.

With a passion for community service, Hebard is active in several non-profit organizations, including the Good Samaritan Society, Young Professionals Network of the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce and the Idaho Falls Civitan Club.

“Natalie’s enthusiasm for higher education and helping others in the community is contagious,” said foundation chairwoman  Bobbe Crapo. “We are excited to see her utilize her relationship-building skills for the good of our organization.”

For more information about the Eastern Idaho Technical College Foundation please visit www.eitcfoundation.org.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Advertising Federation to host Lunch and Learn Thursday

Travis Powell
Travis Powell, sales manager of AlphaGraphics in Idaho Falls and Rexburg, will be the speaker Thursday at the Idaho Falls Advertising Federation's monthly "Lunch and Learn."

In an industry hit hard by the recession, online competition and increasing reliance on digital communications, AlphaGraphics has enjoyed consistent yearly double-digit growth since opening in April 2010, increasing its workforce 300 percent in that time.

There is research to show that consumers will spend up to 15 percent more to do business with someone they trust. With simple small steps, a business can make itself the vendor of choice for its clients. Powell will talk about techniques that can be used to add value to the customer experience, eliminating the all-too-easy crutch of being the lowest price in town.

Powell serves on the Board of Directors of Help Inc. and the Idaho Falls Advertising Federation, and was a recent winner of a Distinguished Under 40 Award from the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce.

The luncheon will be Dixie's Diner, 2150 Channing Way. Sign-in is at 11:30 a.m.

For more information, contact Lisa Fischbach at lisa@mightymcs.com.