Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pioneer Road now links Sunnyside with Utah Avenue

Pioneer Road now connects to Utah Avenue, providing a straight shot under the Pancheri overpass and south to Sunnyside Road.
If you're looking for a straight shot from the middle of Idaho Falls to Sunnyside Road, Pioneer Road is now open and there is hardly anyone using it. All you need to do is go south on Utah Avenue past Wal-Mart. You'll see a sign on the right, where Arctic Circle now is.

Until last year, Pioneer connected Pancheri Drive with Sunnyside, cutting through farmland. When the new Pancheri overpass was finished last year, however, Pioneer was routed underneath it and over to Utah Avenue.

The road is going to become a lot more important once the Idaho Falls Event Center is built and running. Since it's old blacktop, widening and repaving are likely to be in order.

The land for the event center at Snake River Landing was recommended for annexation into the city at the last Idaho Falls Falls Planning Commission meeting. The matter now goes for a vote by the City Council, and if it is approved the Idaho Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau will be able submit a plat. If the center opens as planned in 2014, Pioneer Road will be one of the main routes to it from Sunnyside Road.

By then, the new Teton Volkswagen dealership ought to be finished. Brian Tomsett of the Idaho Falls Building Department said sign contractor inquiries he's been getting indicate Panda Express is interested in building on the corner of Utah and Pioneer Road.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bill's Bike Shop plans March 15 opening for new store

There are still plenty of bikes on the showroom floor at Bill's Bike Shop on Holmes Avenue, but within a month they will have been moved to the new store at Snake River Landing, scheduled to open March 15.
Bill's Bike Shop has set a date of March 15 for the soft opening of its new 10,000-square-foot store at Snake River Landing.

Sales associate Darrell Byerly said they will start moving the clothing and accessories this weekend to shelves that are already in place at the new store. The sign in front of the Holmes Avenue store, where Bill's has been since 1987, says the building is available for lease.

Owner Gary Wight bought the business in 2010 from Stan Murdock, whose family had owned Bill's since 1947. The new building will be a full-service bicycle shop from the ground up, with rooms for meetings and classes and a service department that will help them keep up with the massive amount of repair work they do.

When it came to finding a bike-friendly location, Snake River Landing, with its miles of paved trails and access to the Idaho Falls Greenbelt, presented itself as an ideal place. A 400-acre, master-planned community on the west bank of the Snake River between Pancheri Drive and Sunnyside Road, Snatke River Landing includes stores, offices, restaurants and homes in a development that includes parks, trails and water features.

"I wanted to be where it was bicycle friendly," Wight said.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Local banks announce promotions

There were two new promotions in the local banking sector, announced in press releases this past week.

Wells Fargo & Co. has named Grant Nelson its new business banking manager, serving the Idaho Falls and Pocatello markets.

With more than 25 years of experience at the bank, Nelson previously served as a senior business relationship manager in Burley. He also is a former manager of Wells Fargo's St. Anthony and Rexburg branches. Nelson was Southeast Idaho District manager in 2010 and was named to his most recent position as a senior business relationship manager in 2011.

He is a graduate of Utah State University in Logan, Utah, with a degree in agriculture education. He also has a master's degree in adult education from the University of Idaho.

D.L. Evans Bank has announced the appointment of Dee Darrington to investment representative for eastern Idaho. Darrington has a bachelor's degree in economics from Utah State University and an MBA from Idaho State University.

He has more than 16 years of experience in investment consulting and has been in banking for 19 years.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Study names Idaho Falls second happiest city in United States

Should we add "Have a Nice Day" to the water tower?
For a place nobody seems to know much about, Idaho Falls gets a lot of attention when it comes to stories rating places as "most liveable," "best quality of life," etc.

The latest is a story we spotted Sunday night on the U.S. News on NBCNews.com Web site, listing the happiest and most miserable cities in the United States. Wonder of wonders, among the happiest places Idaho Falls ranked second, behind Napa, Calif.

Before we go into more detail, here's a link to the page: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/22/17059015-here-are-the-happiest-saddest-and-most-miserable-us-cities,

I think that with an adequate budget for wine and regular reservations at Mustard's Grill, I could be very happy in Napa, Calif. I was surprised to see Idaho Falls beat out such places as Santa Cruz, Calif., Ashville, N.C., and Boulder, Colo., happening places that I think I could be very happy in.

The obvious question is, "How do they come up with this stuff?"

It turns out that these particular lists were based on a highly detailed survey of people on Twitter and the words they used. It released Valentine's Day by the University of Vermont, its title "The Geography of Happiness: Connecting Twitter sentiment and expression, demographics, and objective characteristics of place." It was put together by five people: Lewis Mitchell, Kameron Decker Harris, Morgan R. Frank, Peter Sheridan Dodds and Christopher M. Danforth. If you're a statistician, here's the link to the paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/1302.3299.

In a blog posting today, author Lewis Mitchell said the team plotted over 10 million geotagged tweets from 2011, looking for happy words.

"With a score of 6.25, we found the happiest city to be Napa, Calif., due to a relative abundance of such happy words as 'restaurant', 'wine', and even 'cheers', along with a lack of profanity," he wrote. "At the other end of the spectrum, we found the saddest city to be Beaumont, Texas, with a score of 5.82. In general, cities in the south tended to be less happy than those in the north, with a major contributing factor being the relative abundance of profanity used in those cities."

Idaho Falls posted a score of 6.21. Here's the chart that details all the words they were looking at to determine this score (click to enlarge):
So congratulations, Idaho Falls, the happiest town in the whole U.S.A. that doesn't have to resort to a bottle of fermented grape juice to find it!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Idahoan introduces new bacon-flavored mashed potatoes

Idaho Falls-based Idahoan Foods has added a new flavor to its line of flavored mashed potatoes: Bacon & Cheddar Chipotle. The newest product to come out of the Idahoan test kitchens, it comes in a four-ounce pouch that serves four. Gluten-free, it's made with Idaho potatoes and blended with cheese, chipotle pepper and bacon flavors.

For appetizer and meal concepts with the full recipes, go to www.idahoan.com/recipes. According to the company's press release, Bacon and Cheddar Chipotle Flavored Mashed Potatoes can be found at most Wal-Mart stores across the country. Wider distribution is expected later this spring.

Founded in 1960 in Lewisville, Idahoan has grown from 50 people to one of the world's leading producers of dehydrated potatoes, with seasonal employment peaks of nearly 500. In addition to its Idahoan retail brand, it manufactures food service products for restaurants, schools, cafeterias and hospitals. These include such offerings as mashed potatoes, hash browns and casseroles

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dancing With the I.F. Stars raises $15k for American Cancer Society

Jenna Schweinsberg, 2013 winner of Dancing With the Idaho Falls Stars
Congratulations to Jenna Schweinsberg of Snake River Landing, the winner Wednesday night at "Dancing With the Idaho Falls Stars."
In addition to looking fabulous and dancing divinely, Schweinsberg raised $4,645 for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. This is the fourth year the fund-raiser has kicked off Relay for Life, an annual event that culminates every summer with a big all-night gathering at Thunder Stadium near Bonneville High School.

As for DWTIFS's connection with Snake River Landing, it goes back to the beginning, as it was originally conceived by Michelle Ziel during the time she was marketing director there.

For the show, dancers are paired with young people from the Extreme Ballroom dance studio, who teach them a routine that lasts about a minute. Having participated myself, this year and last, let me assure you this is long enough. The other responsibility is to collect money, in advance and from the audience at the show.

The total this year was approximately $15,000. In addition to Schweinsberg, the top fund-raisers were: Sandy Moore, EIRMC, $2,816; Cindy Jones, Cargill, $2,352; and Dayne Dingman, Artcore Visual Studio, $1,707.

This was only the kickoff. If you would like to contribute to Relay for Life you can do so online at http://www.relayforlife.org/.

EIRMC hires new HR director, promotes another to head emergency services

Matt Campbell
Matt Campbell has joined Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center as the hospital's director of human resources. He brings 11 years of human resources management experience from his tenure with Melaleuca, Inc., where he was responsible for globalization of the company's HR departments. Campbell holds a Masters of Public Administration degree from the University of Utah. An Idaho Falls native, he enjoys youth sports coaching and spending time with his family.

Jared Rickabaugh
Also at EIRMC, Jared Rickabaugh has assumed a new role as director of emergency services. A registered nurse, he has held many positions at the hospital, moving from staff nurse to clinical team leader and then to the quality department as core measures coordinator before becoming clinical manager of the emergency department. During this time, Rickabaugh earned the CPHQ professional certification in quality improvement and won the HCA Mountain Division “Peak” Award for piloting quality management systems that were eventually adopted by the entire division. In addition, Jared and his emergency department team won a statewide Qualis Award, which is given in recognition of quality improvement initiatives that significantly reduce patient wait times.

Most recently, he served as the director of quality management. He said he is excited to resume an “active duty” role with his current promotion.

A native of Iowa, he holds a Masters of Business Administration from Idaho State University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Brigham Young University. He has served on the Board of Directors of United Way of Idaho Falls & Bonneville County, and is active in Boy Scouts and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Brooks Internet Software announces co-marketing agreement with OKI Data

Brooks Internet Software, Inc., an Idaho Falls company that has made a niche for more than a decade with online printing applications, announced on Wednesday a co-marketing agreement with OKI Data Americas, a subsidiary of OKI Data Corp. of Japan, a multi-national corporation that reported sales of nearly $5.2 billion in 2011.

The agreement ensures that OKI Data printer users will be able to easily access and deploy Brooks Internet Software applications for customized, end-to-end, enterprise printing systems.

"By offering Brooks Internet Software's printer management applications, OKI will be able to provide our enterprise customers with an array of solutions to manage all workgroup printing environments," said Keith Fenton, OKI's product planning manager for MFP Software and Solutions, in a joint press release issued on PR Newswire.

"Brooks Internet Software shares a number of enterprise customers with OKI Data Americas," said Dave Brooks, president of Brooks Internet Software. "Our co-marketing agreement with OKI Data expands the range of our joint support and systems, ensuring these customers can more easily manage and maintain their enterprise printing systems."

Headquartered in Mount Laurel, N.J., OKI Data Americas markets PC peripheral equipment and customized solutions, including digital color and monochrome printers, color and monochrome multifunction products, serial impact dot matrix printers, thermal label printers and POS printers. The company also serves the graphic arts and production market with the OKI proColor series.

Brooks Internet Software
 (www.brooksnet.com) develops TCP/IP network printing solutions that allow Windows-based computers to receive print data from platforms such as Unix and IBM Power Systems. The data can then be transformed, processed, formatted and delivered to a single destination or multiple destinations simultaneously. Its RPM Remote Print Manager supports major print protocols and also modifies data on demand, including deletions, insertions and appends, and can drive many printers directly at higher speeds. RPM can simultaneously send a single print job to multiple printers, format and send emails and archive to disk.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pace picks up on Idaho Falls construction projects

When there's a hole being dug, people want to know what it is going to be. On First Street, this will be Turtle & Crane's third assisted living unit.
Spring may be a month away, but since the weather warmed up (relatively speaking) the construction season is heating up around Idaho Falls. It might be hard to top the $83 million in project valuation that distinguished 2012, but with two new schools going up and a number of other projects being talked about it could be close.

If you've been out First Street past Woodruff Avenue, you might have noticed a big hole in the ground near Cardon's. It is going to be Turtle and Crane's third assisted living facility, and at 8,683 square feet it will also be the largest.

A foundation has also been poured at 2680 North Holmes, across from Vicker's, for The Gun Shop. Owner Casey Wheeler has laid plans for an 8,000 square foot store, with a valuation of $330,000, according to the city of Idaho Falls Building Department.

After a significant period of waiting, remodeling work is finally under way at 2196 Channing, behind Dixie's Diner, where the new Social Security Administration office will be going in. Morgan Construction is the contractor on the project, valued at $375,000 by the city.

Before they were awarded the bid, the Venture One commercial development company worked for three years with the General Services Administration to make a deal involving 6,100 square feet in the building that also houses the UPS Store and Batteries Plus. The space is being refitted to accommodate about 60 people.

For all the red tape, the upside is 10-year fixed lease with a five-year extension option, said Venture One owner Shane Murphy. The plan has been to have people moved in by April.

On the food front, a building plan has been filed for Carl's Jr. at the corner of West Broadway and Utah Avenue, where the Arctic Circle once stood. The architect on the project is Erstad Architects of Boise.

Last of all, Brian Tomsett of the city building department said he received a phone call from a sign company working with Panda Express, asking about regulations and height restrictions on Utah Avenue near Wal-Mart. Efforts to reach a person in the Panda Express real estate department were unsuccessful, but you can be sure we'll keep at it.

Tautphaus Park Zoo seeks vendor for cafe

The city of Idaho Falls' Tautphaus Park Zoo is looking for a vendor to operate the Kookaburra Kafe.

Copies of the request for proposals can be obtained at these locations:
  • The zoo administrative office, 2725 Carnival Way
  • The Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Division office, 520 Memorial Drive
  • On-line at www.IFREC.org.

“The Kookaburra Kafe is a vitally important part of zoo operations and the guest experience.” said Beth Rich, zoo superintendent. “We want to find the right people to join our team.”

The deadline to submit proposals is Friday. Proposals need to be turned in at the Tautphaus Park Zoo administrative office by then.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Idaho Falls allergist, family donate $1 million to Museum of Idaho

Dr. Gene Petty of Idaho Falls announces his gift to the Museum of Idaho in Idaho Falls.
Dr. Wendell Gene Petty, his wife, Margaret, and their family have made a $1 million donation to the Museum of Idaho to help pay for expansion.

Museum Director David Pennock announced the gift Wednesday. Petty, an Idaho Falls allergist, told reporters he hopes his family's gift will inspire others to donate to the Idaho Falls museum.

Pennock said the expansion plans are not yet final, and that they don't yet know how much it will cost or how much space they will add. The museum as it is now came into being 10 years ago when two buildings, the old Carnegie Library (later the Bonneville Museum) and the Masonic Lodge were remodeled and connected by the glass-fronted edifice that visually dominates North Eastern Avenue.

That expansion ago was made possible by Greg Carr, an Idaho Falls native who made a fortune in telecommunications then turned his attention to philanthropy.

Pennock said the extra space will help eliminate the need to shut the museum down when the staff is changing out exhibits, and that it will also provide more space for permanent exhibits. The new wing will be named after the Pettys.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New cheese steak shop opens in Idaho Falls

The Franklin's Famous Cheese Steak I ate for lunch Wednesday. It was the real thing. 

Anything that purports to be a Philadelphia cheese steak needs to be careful around me.

I am a native of the Delaware Valley. In 1980-81 I worked in Center City within spitting distance of the legendary Charlie's Water Wheel on Sansom Street. In Wilmington, Del., my hometown, there is still Casapulla's, where I make a pilgrimage any time I go to see my mom.

I know cheese steaks, which is why when I saw the sign for Franklin's Famous Cheesesteaks at 170 Elm Street (where Hot Diggity Dog used to be) I entered with some degree of trepidation.

It is my duty to write about new restaurants, because it's what BizMojo Idaho readers expect. How can you write about a place without eating the food?

Cristine Garza and her partner Scott Lee opened Franklin's at the end of December, and have done little in the way of advertising other than their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/FranklinsFamousCheesesteaks.

The verdict? Best cheesesteak I've had in Idaho Falls (other than the ones I've made for myself at home). The key is the roll, an amoroso, and the grill. Lee said he makes his steaks with provolone or cheddar, but not Cheez Whiz, which is what some Philadelphians swear by (but not me).

Anyway, it's nice to eat somewhere and have an altogether satisfactory experience. The shop is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The phone number is 881-5170.

Deadline nears for BIG innovation contest entries

Grow Idaho Falls, the city's economic development leader, is looking for people who think BIG.

In this case, BIG stands for the Business + Innovation + Growth Competition, to be held March 28 at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, 995 University Boulevard. The competition is an opportunity for entrepreneurs and inventors to show off their innovative or novel business ideas or products.

“We have a wealth of creativity right here in eastern Idaho with BYU-Idaho, Idaho State University,
Eastern Idaho Technical College, University of Idaho, Idaho National Laboratory and our surrounding community,” said Grow Idaho Falls CEO Linda Martin CEO.

Six finalists will be chosen to compete before a panel of judges. Winners will share in the $5,000 cash award. Applicants are required to submit a one- to three-page executive summary by Feb. 20 to: admin@growidahofalls.org.

“I expect we will see diverse business ideas and products, ranging from micro farming technology to computer apps to novel energy-saving ideas," said Stephanie Cook of INL’s Technology Deployment group. "Since this is the first competition in eastern Idaho, we are casting a wide net to capture great ideas, no matter the industry or segment.”

Participants are encouraged to work with the Small Business Development Center in their region to refine their executive summary and, if chosen as a finalist, perfect their financing pitch.

For more information, contact Martin at 208-522-2014.

Young Web entrepreneur starts consulting business to help self-employed

Tyler Kraupp
Kraupp is no stranger to self-employment. He started his first company at the age of 16. Now 22 and with a college degree in hand, Kraupp of Idaho Falls has launched a new online business called Knowble,  offering guidance to start-up companies and freelancers as they deal with the challenges of self-employment.

Knowble -- a conflation of "knowledge" and "noble" -- relies on a network of expert business mentors from around the United States offer customized advice on such topics as marketing, branding, pricing, inventory, taxes, client relations, pricing and contracts. For a monthly membership fee, clients have unlimited access to this team of online experts. The mentors represent a range of fields, including web design, marketing, and writing. 

"I'm excited to launch Knowble as a social entrepreneurial venture," Kraupp said. "All of our mentors are committed to helping small business owners."

"I remember the position I was in and my lack of business knowledge," he said. "I didn't know how to get clients, work with contracts, or how to report essential tax information. These are just some of the things we can assist with, all online. If a business owner has a specific challenge or question, our mentors can give them some direction and resources and hopefully educate the new business owner to success."

To find out more, visit www.knowble.biz. Or watch this video: http://vimeo.com/58397097

Monday, February 11, 2013

Melaleuca announces $1.13 billion in sales for 2012

Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot
Melaleuca announced Monday that its worldwide sales for 2012 were up 9.2 percent, amounting to $1.13 billion. The bulk of that growth occurred in the United States and Canada, although the Idaho Falls-based company has representatives selling household, health and wellness products in 16 countries.

Melaleuca started in 1985 with eight workers. When it posted its first million in sales the figure was written on a blackboard. In December, it announced it was building a new headquarters south of Idaho Falls. The cost then was estimated at $50 million, but it's more likely to be $60 million, CEO and President Frank VanderSloot said Monday.

Melaleuca's sales in the United States are now greater than Amway's, NuSkin, Herbalife and Shaklee. VanderSloot used the occasion of Monday's announcement to stress the difference between Melaleuca's consumer-direct marketing system and multi-level marketing, where inventories are sold from one level to the next.

No Melaleuca representative has ever wound up with a garage full of inventory he or she can't sell, he said. "Marketing executives refer customers directly to the company. We're the ones with the inventory, and the customer gets it directly from us."

None of this is terribly new information. "VanderSloot is insistent about not burdening new recruits with huge startup costs or a garageful of inventory," wrote Phyllis Bermann in a 2004 profile of VanderSloot that appeared in Forbes magazine.

VanderSloot said he rejected the multi-level business model early in 1985, and met with a considerable amount of scorn at the time. "They told me I would go broke, that we needed to sell case lots to make any money," VanderSloot said. "Yet here we are today. I think our 27-year history of consistent growth proves that consumer-direct marketing is superior to multi-level."

Dancing With The Idaho Falls Stars coming Feb. 20

I will be back on the Idaho Falls Civic Auditorium stage Feb. 20 to participate again in Dancing With The Idaho Falls Stars. This is no lie: I created quite a sensation last year, and I hope so to do again. I want people to say, "Wow, he's either got phenomenal nerve or he's the most ridiculous person I've ever seen."

It was a lot of fun, and it was particularly meaningful as my wife, Karen, was about to start chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. A year later she's got a full head of hair and is looking and feeling great. It is possible to fight cancer, but it takes a lot of courage and you need a mess of help.

If you want to donate in my name, here's a link to the American Cancer Society/Relay for Life page: http://www.relayforlife.org/. Or come by the Civic Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. and I will personally shake you down.

Facebook likes benefit critters

Schatzi, slightly nervous
Here's a nice example of social media in action. If you like Teton Volkswagen's Facebook page between now and Feb. 25, owner Mario Hernandez and his black lab Buddy will donate $5 to the Snake River Animal Shelter. How hard is that? With help from my miniature dachshund, Schatzi (whom we adopted five years ago right about now), I've already done it. You can too. Here's the link to Teton VW on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/TetonVolkswagen?fref=ts.

Just because she's so darned cute, here's a picture of Schatzi, perched on the sofa. I would nominate her for mascothood, but she isn't terribly comfortable around strangers and she's even more ill at ease with children.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Third Carl's Jr. planned for Idaho Falls

Good news for everyone who loves juicy burgers: Carl's Jr. No. 3 is planned for Idaho Falls.
Carl's Jr. will be building a third restaurant in Idaho Falls, at the corner of West Broadway and Utah Avenue.

The city of Idaho Falls Engineering Department received a site plan Thursday for the project, showing details for a 3,177-square-foot restaurant and surrounding landscaping and parking. City departments will review the plans for compliance with city regulations. After that, the company will submit a plat for final approval.

Ever since the first two Carl's Jr. restaurants were built in Idaho Falls, in 2011 and 2012, there have been rumblings that a third was being planned on the site where Arctic Circle was.

Kelly Grieve, spokeswoman for CKE Restaurants, said the company doesn't have a date set for the opening. It is more than three months away, however, because that's how far their calendar looks forward, she said. CKE has 14 restaurants in Idaho.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

EITC Foundation eyes busy spring

Spring is approaching, which means it's getting to be a busy time for the Eastern Idaho Technical College Foundation.

Everything is prelude to the Great Race for Education in July, the fund-raiser of the year, but here's what's on the plate for the near term:

From Feb. 11 to March 11, you can donate canned food items at any building on campus, where boxes are being put inside the main building entrances. This is happening because Erika Rico, an EITC scholarship recipient, heard the Soup Kitchen on South Boulevard is serving more than 100 meals a day and was in need of donated food. Erika asked to partnered with the foundation to host a food drive.

On Feb. 21, EITC Foundation will host a Greater Idaho Falls Chamber Business After Hours from 5 to 7 p.m. at DB's Steakhouse, 216 First Street. All are welcome to attend this fun evening of appetizers and networking, regardless of Chamber member status.

On April 10, the foundation will hold its annual scholarship ceremony, a special evening where our benefactors and selected students come together to celebrate their collective community achievement. This happens from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Shilo Inn Convention Center.

For more information about EITC and the EITC Foundation, visit http://www.eitc.edu/

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I.F. Advertising Federation awards banquet set for Friday night

The Idaho Falls Advertising Federation is holding its annual Gem Awards Banquet this Friday night at the Idaho Falls Elks Club. Tickets are $40 a person, $70 a couple or $195 for a table of six. To buy tickets online, go to this site: http://ifadfed.wordpress.com/ and then click on the red type that says ‘available here.’ To simply RSVP, contact Lisa Fischbach at (208) 705-7845 and tell her how many you are bringing, then plan on bringing your cash, checkbook or credit card to the door.

Who's afraid of the Smart Grid? Meeting set for Feb. 12 in Idaho Falls

Graphic illustration from www.switched.com
Idaho Falls Power, the Partnership for Science & Technology, the Center for Advanced Energy Studies and the Idaho National Laboratory will be hosting the third of four community meetings Feb. 12 to discuss various aspects of “Smart Grid” technology and what it might mean to eastern Idaho.

Scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies complex, 995 University Boulevard, the meeting is to cover the facts about “Smart Grids” and your health.

The technology, already used in much of the United States, is touted by proponents as the key to energy conservation, reliability and affordability. But if you're prone to suspicion, there are plenty of people on the air and on the Internet with their own ideas.

Was Smart Grid technology responsible for the power outage at the Super Bowl on Sunday? Or could Smart Grid technology have prevented it?

The groups pushing the Smart Grid have been aware of the backlash for some time. "The possible consequences of unfettered access to our personal data concerning energy usage, coupled with the connection of electrical devices to intelligent networks, are a frightening prospect. In short, the future capabilities of the Smart Grid are nothing less than the ability to control and access information from anything that plugs into the electrical grid," wrote Tim Kostyk of Arizona State University in a 2010 article titled, "Smart Meter Paranoia: Could a Simple Toggle Switch or Software Fix Solve It?"

And here's a link to a 2011 story on Switched.com: www.switched.com/2011/02/01/smart-meters-draw-misguided-opposition-from-left-and-right/

Idaho Falls Power has posted pages of information about the Smart Grid, including this section on health concerns: http://www.idahofallsidaho.gov/city/city-departments/idaho-falls-power/smart-grid-main/smart-grid-health-concerns.html.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Webinar on online fraud prevention set for Feb. 12

Don Bush
Online fraud specialist Kount (www.kount.com) is hosting a webinar Feb. 12 from 4 to 5 p.m. on how to boost sales, beat fraud and reduce chargebacks.

Everyone knows fraud hurts online businesses, but stopping fraud can also hurt online businesses.

The rise of card-not-present e-commerce transactions has created a new, sophisticated level of international criminals looking to steal from online companies. Retailers feel forced to impose hard-and-fast rules on which transactions to accept, and from where to accept them. But while this blanket approach stops many fraudulent transactions, but it also blocks many legitimate, honest consumers, hurting sales and damaging your brand.

The webinar, hosted by Don Bush, Kount's marketing vice-president, will review best practices for:
  • Increasing Sales Through Better Fraud Detection
  • Decreasing Fraud Losses While Maximizing Sales
  • Reducing Charge Backs Without Reducing Sales
  • Minimizing the Need for Manual Reviews
  • Why Too Many Rules Can Be Hurting Sales
A case study will focus on CDBaby, the largest online retailer of independent music on the web, and how it implemented a complete fraud protection platform. Doing this, CDBaby saw sales increase by nearly 5 percent within 60 days. The move reduced charge backs and fraud losses by more than 90 percent and allowed the company to expand to new markets without increasing the risk of fraud.
To register, follow this link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/425797129

Friday, February 1, 2013

Fairpoint Communications sells Idaho properties to Missoula group

FairPoint Communications, Inc. announced Thursday that it has completed the sale of the capital stock of its Idaho-based operations to Blackfoot Telecommunications Group of Missoula, Mont., for approximately $30 million in gross cash proceeds.

FairPoint's Idaho properties, which included Fremont Telecom and Fretel Communications, served more than 5,500 residential and business customers in eastern Idaho. With the sale, Blackfoot stands to expand its base by 25 percent and expand its fiber route miles by 25 percent, bringing its total fiber backbone route miles to 8,500. FairPoint also had a minority interest in Syringa Networks, a fiber network owned by several rural Idaho telcos, which is part of the sale to Blackfoot.

Blackfoot Telecommunications Group traces its origins to the founding of the Blackfoot Telephone Cooperative in 1954 and through its various organizations delivers telecommunications services to more than 20,000 customers in western Montana and Idaho. As a result of the sale, 11 FairPoint employees based in Idaho will be joining the Blackfoot organization.