Thursday, April 30, 2015

ISU students to talk about advertising presentation

The Idaho State University team that presented in the American Advertising
Federation's National Student Advertising Competition earlier this month.
Members and guests of the Idaho Falls Advertising Federation will get an exclusive peek at Idaho State University’s National Student Advertising Competition presentation for Pizza Hut at the next Lunch & Learn educational series, May 21 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Dixie's Diner.

The event is open to the public. Cost is $12 for members and $15 for non-members and includes lunch.

What is the NSAC? Each year the American Advertising Federation teams up with a major corporate client to challenge more than 200 college chapters to develop an integrated marketing campaign for a specific product, service or brand. AAF college chapter teams conduct primary and secondary research into consumer behavior, identifying the target market’s wants and needs. Then they develop a plan to communicate the client’s message.

After the research is complete, student teams create a comprehensive campaign to pitch at the AAF District 11 competition. District 11 includes Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. This year the competition was held in Boise on April 10.

This lunch will be a great way to see some of the area’s freshest talent coming and hear about what it’s like to work on a campaign for a national client. The presenters will be brining all their creative work, and copies of the case and plans book they designed and submitted.

For more information, follow this link: IFAF.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A blast from the past on the subject of working women

Norman Rockwell's 1943 painting of "Rosie the Riveter."
While looking through the Post-Register of April 30, 1940 (researching the Looking Back column that I write for the paper), I saw a story about a survey conducted by the local Business and Professional Women's Club. Some of you might find it interesting, others appalling.

As part of a national effort, the club's research committee, headed by Lucille Rennie, interviewed 134 employers, asking four questions:

  • Do you refuse to hire married women?
  • Would you dismiss an employee upon her marriage?
  • Would you refuse to promote married women?
  • In the event of pregnancy, would you re-employ a woman after the child is born?

Most employers said they were favorably inclined toward having married women in the workplace, saying they brought level-headedness and stability. They had reservations about mothers of newborns, however, and everything was of course contingent upon the husband's approval.

The one exception was the Idaho Falls School Board, whose representatives said they weren’t inclined to hire married women and that any single woman who decided to get married wouldn't be getting a new contract.

The story said the survey could be a useful pointer to the Idaho Legislature. "Laws have been introduced in many state legislatures in the past few years with the idea of removing the married woman from the payroll. In most states this proposed legislation has failed as unconstitutional and in violation of the rights of the citizen. (In) some states, however, some such legislation has been enacted."

Given the date of the story, let's remember that Pearl Harbor is less than a year-and-a-half away and that following the United States' entry into World War II any objections to working women -- married or single -- would take a backseat to the war effort.

On that note, you might be interested to know that  Mary Keefe, the woman who posed as Rosie the Riveter for Norman Rockwell's famous Saturday Evening Post cover, died on April 21, at age 92. Here's a link to the story in the New York Times: Mary Keefe, Model for Rockwell’s ‘Rosie the Riveter,’ Dies at 92.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Nominations for Hometown Hero awards being sought

The Idaho’s Hometown Hero Organization Committee would like to know, “Who is
your hero?”

The JRM Foundation for Humanity has begun taking nominations for the 2015 Idaho’s Hometown Hero Medal. Established in 2011, the medal pays tribute to those who show unique characteristics, achievements and commitment to creating better, safer communities across the state of Idaho.

This year's theme is "Empowering Women,” and the selection committee is seeking to honor men, women and youth who are serving and making a difference in the lives of women.

The Idaho’s Hometown Hero Medal was founded by Drs. Fahim and Naeem Rahim and is sponsored by the JRM Foundation for Humanity, a not-for-profit organization.

The selected medalists will be honored at the 5th Annual Idaho Hometown Hero Awards Ceremony and Gala Celebration, Sept. 12 at the Stephens Performing Arts Center in Pocatello.

Nominations will be accepted through Aug. 10. Visit the Web site for more information or to make your nomination.

BizMojo Idaho avoids 'Mobilegeddon' ... have you?

The link to learn more about mobile friendly pages is
After hearing about "Mobilegeddon" this morning at Square One, I decided it was of utmost importance to heed the Google gods' dictate that my Web site be made pleasing to them.

For those of you wondering what I'm on about, I refer you to this link: Google Algorithm Changes: Prepare For the Mobile Apocalypse! It was published a month ago on the Business 2 Community Web page, and despite the alarming headline it points out the obvious, that anyone who doesn't have a mobile-friendly Web site ought to get cracking.

In my case, it needed to be done. Since the beginning of the year, 46 percent of my 23,552 page views have been on mobile devices. More tellingly, 51 percent of my new users have been mobile.

It was easy, possibly because I'm on Blogspot, which is a Google platform. In any event, when you click the links to off Facebook you won't need to expand the page and slide it all over the screen to read my posts. Better yet, this will help with the site's optimization, which means any business I write about will be getting some juice from the inbound link off the BizMojo Idaho page.

Cabela's expects 1,500-plus for May 14 grand opening

Curtis Smith, manager of the new Cabela's store in Ammon. 
Cabela’s in Ammon is entering the homestretch to its May 14 opening, with 165 people hired to staff the 44,000-square-foot store.

Although they have been very busy, Store Manager Curtis Smith and Operations Manager Jason Porter have already had a few opportunities already to experience eastern Idaho’s outdoors. On a recent hike up Palisades Creek, they saw mountain goats and moose. After moving here from St. Louis, their perception of the local market prompted them to more than double the size of the store’s fly-fishing section.

The Ammon store represents a new direction for Cabela’s, which until recently built much larger stores. “(The new format) allows us to get into communities where a 180,000-square-foot store wouldn’t work,” Smith said.

But Cabela’s knew the Idaho Falls-Ammon market would be a winner, based on all the online and catalog sales it has done with people in this area. What people from here have ordered in the past played a large part in determining what inventory is being stocked in the store.
Anyone who wants to order online or from the catalog can have it delivered to the store and save themselves shipping costs.

Smith said they expect between 1,500 and 2,000 people for the grand opening, which is at 10 a.m. There will be no ribbon cutting. Instead, it will be severed by an arrow shot by Shelby Richardson, one of the store’s archery outfitters (the term Cabela’s uses for employees), who was one of three finalists in a shooting contest, then wrote an essay in a contest personally judged by Cabela’s CEO Thomas Millner.

Monday, April 27, 2015

In-N-Out in Idaho? Not likely, at least for now

Here's some In-N-Out to get you going on a Monday. You're still going to have to drive to Utah, Nevada or California to get, it, at least for the foreseeable future.
One thing I have come to appreciate in the years I have been doing updates on local business is that readers can’t get enough news about chain restaurants’ plans for this area.

Carl’s Jr., Chick-fil-A, Dickey’s Bar-B-Cue, Togo’s … it’s all good. Here’s news that’s been reported but bears repeating: Noodles & Co. on Hitt Road near the Grand Teton Mall is opening May 4.

Truly though, is there anything that could excite people here more than In-N-Out Burger? Some of you started salivating when you saw the headline, I’ll bet. I rest my case. I recently got a question from a reader and figured it might be time for an update. Are they coming here? It’s possible, but at this stage you’d probably have as much luck getting a definitive answer from a Magic 8-Ball.

Companies like In-N-Out never say anything until they’re ready to make an announcement. The answer could be no one day and yes the next. In-N-Out doesn’t franchise and its policy is to not build a restaurant too far from one of their distribution centers.

"At In-N-Out Burger, we make all of our hamburger patties ourselves and deliver them fresh to all of our restaurants with our own delivery vehicles," In-N-Out vice president of planning and development Carl Van Fleet told Business Insider earlier this year. "Nothing is ever frozen. Our new restaurant locations are limited by the distance we can travel from our patty-making facilities and distribution centers."

They have a distribution center in Draper, Utah, which is less than a day from here, but is that close enough? The history of In-N-Out in Utah is interesting. In June 2007, the company’s customer service department started getting calls from people asking if In-N-Out had opened a location in American Fork under a different name, Chadder’s. The look was similar, as were trademarked items on the menu. When In-N-Out's general counsel paid a visit he requested an “Animal style Double-Double with Animal fries.” He got what he asked for, and on the basis of that Utah District Court Judge Ted Stewart issued a temporary restraining order. Chadder's changed its color scheme and practices.

In 2009, In-N-Out opened a restaurant in American Fork, less than a mile from the Chadder's restaurant. After that, seven more In-N-Outs popped up in the Salt Lake Valley. Chadder’s went out of business.

Since then, In-N-Out has shifted its focus to Texas. Here’s a map showing the counties where they have restaurants. The nearest to Idaho is in Riverdale, north of Salt Lake City. Is expansion northward possible? Of course, but simple geography would suggest that more locations in Utah would be likely before anything came here.

Rest assured, we’re keeping an eye on it.

Friday, April 24, 2015

D.L. Evans building kiosk at Pancheri and Crane Drive

While another branch office could be in the future, at the moment D.L. Evans is putting an ATM kiosk at the corner of Pancheri and Crane Drive.
There are three new developments on the retail financial front this spring in Idaho Falls.

Number one, D.L. Evans Bank, fresh off opening a new branch in Ammon, is building a drive-through kiosk on the corner of Pancheri and Crane Drive. Idaho Falls already has one such kiosk, the one built installed by Wells Fargo north of the new Walgreen’s at Skyline Drive and West Broadway.

Expect to see more of them, as they represent a growing trend in the industry. Analyst Nancy Bush of NAB Research told National Public Radio last year that instead of spending on real estate and staffing, banks can install street-corner ATMs and pay fewer employees to video chat from remote call centers. That doesn’t mean branches are going to go away altogether. “They still see the branch as their biggest revenue generator,” she said.

On Outlet Drive, north of the Sleep Inn and Double Down, Westmark Credit Union has filed site plans at the Idaho Falls Building Department for a new 4,694-square-foot branch office. This will be its fourth office in the Idaho Falls area.

Officially know as West 33rd South, Outlet Drive extends north from West Sunnyside Road all the way up to a point where it becomes Bellin Road.

As for the third piece of news, H&R Block has filed plans with the city to locate in the Railway Crossing Center on Utah Avenue next door to the Jamba Juice that will be going in.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Costco-watching site makes no mention of plans for Idaho Falls

I got a Costco question this morning, so I figured it might be time to check and see if there has been any action. In 2012 I discovered a site (this isn't a local phenomenon, you see) that features frequent updates on where the chain is building and planning new stores.

Judging by the link, which you can find by clicking here, you fans are going to have to continue driving to Pocatello for a while. The list of stores opening imminently is as follows:

Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico -- April 30, 2015
Wichita, Kan. -- June 3, 2015
Mobile, Ala. -- June 4, 2015
Rochester, N.Y. -- June 5, 2015
Perrysburg, Ohio -- June 18, 2015
Pleasant Prairie, Wis. -- June 19, 2015
Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico -- June 2015

Beyond that, there are stores opening in Japan, Taiwan, Spain, Korea and Canada. Indeed, the world may be Costco's oyster, but poor little Idaho Falls is chopped liver. Sorry.

Broadway Ford's rubble to be used for FEMA training exercise

Demolition work at Broadway Ford on West Broadway Tuesday morning. The new showroom is in the background.
Demolition of the old Broadway Ford building on West Broadway started Monday and continued today, but the rubble will not be cleared away until after the Idaho Falls Fire Department’s Urban Search & Rescue team conducts a training exercise there Wednesday night from 5 to 9 p.m.

USAR is a program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and involves the location, rescue and stabilization of victims trapped in confined spaces. The program prepares first responders on various emergencies or disasters including earthquakes, storms, floods, dam failures and hazardous material releases.

Over the past few days, objects have been placed throughout the empty Broadway Ford building in preparation for the drill. After the demolition crew brings down the building upon the objects, the IFFD’s Technical Rescue Team will attempt to locate and “rescue” them.

“We are very pleased that the owners of Broadway Ford could make this building available for such a unique training opportunity,” Idaho Falls Fire Chief Dave Hanneman said in a press release. “We would also like to thank TMC Contractors and Morgan Construction for allowing us access to the building for fire training over the last couple of weeks.”

Broadway Ford moved to a new, state-of-the-art facility in early March. Spokeswoman Ann-Michelle Jones said that after the old building is cleared away the site will be landscaped, after which a grand opening will be held.

Regional cooperation stressed at Mayors' Business Day

Since it started in 2009, the annual Mayors' Business Day in Idaho Falls has gained an increasingly regional focus.

Today at the Shilo Inn, four mayors -- from Idaho Falls, Ammon, Shelley and Blackfoot -- stressed the need for a coordinated effort toward economic development.

"If we can work together, there is so much potential here," said Ammon Mayor Dana Kirkham, who said she has high hopes for the Regional Economic Development Corp. of Eastern Idaho, more often referred to as REDI.

REDI was recently formed by the merger of Grow Idaho Falls and Bingham Economic Development. Kirkham pointed to what happened in the Denver metro area who traditional resource-based economic mainstays began to wane in the 1980s. In the face of a slumping economy, the economic development organizations pooled their resources and focused on the area's asset -- universities, a national laboratory and defense contractors. With a streamlined central point of contact, the economy came back stronger than ever.

"I believe that story can happen here," she said.

Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper said eastern Idaho communities need to develop the tools that will help them bring better paying jobs. That can be anything from curb appeal, e.g. sidewalks, parks and signage, to tax breaks, grants and innovative financing opportunities. "More opportunity, that's what drives this," she said.

Casper said it's not so much about greed as it is about building a community where people don't have to work two jobs to get by, "so they can read to their kids at night."
"(Free enterprise) is a system that requires internal motivation that causes us to want to engage in the marketplace," she said.

In Shelley, the latest success story is the opening of Golden Valley Meats, which could have gone somewhere else had economic incentives not been offered, said Mayor Stacy Pascoe.

Shelley is relatively new to the economic development game and welcomes the opportunity that REDI offers, he said.

"There isn't very much for people already in the workforce for people who want to better themselves," he said, adding that help from the state for people who want to get more educated might be money well spent.

Blackfoot Mayor Paul Loomis said that while agriculture and manufacturing has sustained the economy, he would like to see more diversification, especially in the retail sector.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Jamba Juice files plans for Utah Avenue location

The shopping center off South Utah Avenue where Jamba Juice has plans to locate a second Idaho Falls area location.
Jamba Juice will be adding a second location in the Idaho Falls area, in the Railway Crossing center that is being built at Utah Avenue and Simplot Circle.

According to building plans at the city of Idaho Falls Building Department, Jamba Juice, which has had a store in the Ammon Town Square for years, will occupy an 1,1800 square-foot section at the south end of the commercial center, which is being built by Morgan Construction across the street from Carl’s Junior and Wal-Mart. An opening date has not been announced, as the nine-unit center is still being framed.

The franchisees of this store are Ryan and Julie Arfmann, whose company Juice It Up, Inc., operates the Jamba Juice in Ammon and one in Twin Falls.

Founded in Emeryville, Calif., in 1990, Jamba Juice has grown to more than 800 locations in 26 states, as well as the Bahamas, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico and South Korea. There are approximately 287 company-owned locations and 517 franchise-operated stores in the United States of America, in addition to the 45 international stores.

Casper nominates accountant to fill council vacancy

Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper announced today she has nominated David Smith, a local accountant, to fill the City Council seat that has been vacant since the March 1 death of Dee Whittier.

An Idaho Falls native, Smith was selected from a list of eight people who had applied for the council seat. In a press release this morning, Casper said she planned to present her recommendation to the City Council at their regular meeting Thursday night. She cited Smith's long experience in forensic accounting a key element, replacing the financial acumen the council lost with Whittier's untimely death.

Smith was also a member of the Citizens Review Committee that studied the city's Municipal Services division in 2014. His community service includes Idaho Falls Exchange Club, the United Way of Idaho Falls and Bonneville County, the Idaho Falls Family YMCA and the Eastern Idaho Economic Development Council.

He and his wife, Karen, a recently retired city employee, are the parents of five children.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Idaho Falls market deemed low risk for real estate investment

Employment analysis for the Idaho Falls market. Note the increase in local retail trade jobs.
Local Market Monitor, a Cary, N.C.-based company that keeps track of fundamentals in 300 markets across the United States, has identified Idaho Falls as a medium-to-low-risk place for anyone looking to invest in rental property.

According to the summary for March, home values in the market are forecast to increase 5 percent over the next year, slightly behind the national forecast of 5.7 percent.

“There was a modest housing boom and bust, but home prices have been flat in recent years,” it said. “Rents are very low. Population growth has been average. Job growth will increase housing demand, but mainly for rentals. Home prices were flat in the past year. Expect an improving housing market the next few years.”

Here are other highlights of the report:

Job Growth
In the past 12 months, jobs in this market have grown by 3.4 percent. This compares to a national increase of 2.4 percent.

Home Prices 
Home prices in this market peaked in Q1 2008 at $190,976. Since their peak, prices have fallen by 13%. In the last 12 months, prices have gone up by 2 percent. The average home price in this market is currently $165,245.

The population in this market grew 0.6% in 2013, while the US population grew 0.7%.

In 2013, net population migration was -0.6%. While migration tends to be small, it can have a large effect on demand for real estate.

We forecast rents to increase 14 percent over the next three years in this market, to an average of $877 per month, partly due to higher inflation.

Housing Permits
Total housing permits in February 2015 were up 172 percent from last year. Single family permits were up 172 percent.

Jobs were up 3.4 percent in the past year, compared to the national gain of 2.5 percent..

The Unemployment Rate in January 2015 was 4.2% versus 5.2% last year.
The Financial Capitalization Rate shows the average return on investments with similar perceived risk as residential investment properties - such as BBB corporate bonds - but without taking into consideration the special local risks measured by the Local Market Risk Premium. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Bitrick honored by Idaho Business Review 'Accomplished Under 40' judges

Monica Bitrick
Monica Bitrick, CEO of Bitrick Consulting Group (and a frequent contributor to BizMojo Idaho), has been named a 2015 Accomplished Under 40 honoree by the Idaho Business Review.

This is the 16th year the Idaho Business Review has recognized professionals under the age of 40 who have made big differences at work and in their communities. More than 200 people were nominated, and of those 90 completed the application process.

Bitrick came to Idaho Falls in 2007 to be director of human resources for Advantage Employer Solutions. Before that, she was employed by 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. She started her own company in 2013, and is also a founder to the Square One business development network.

She also has done volunteer work with non-profit organizations, including 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 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 a full list of honorees, follow this link: 2015 Accomplished Under 40.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

First quarter home sales up in Bonneville County

Home sales in Bonnville County jumped sharply in the first quarter of 2015, to a level not seen since the economic meltdown of 2008.

With 308 homes sold, sales were up 28.4 percent over the first three months of 2014. The average time it took for a home to sell dropped under 100, the first time since 1007, while new listings climbed to 535.

The median price of a Bonneville County home remained roughly where it has been since 2012, around $137,000. A median is the number at which half the homes on the market sold for more than that amount and half the homes sold for less. The average median price for the past 10 years was $140,658.

What would a home that bought for that price in 2006 be worth today? A little more, but not much, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's HPI Calculator. Going by sales in the Idaho Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area, a home that sold for $140,658 in the first quarter of 2006 would have been worth $143,694 at the beginning of 2015, a jump of 2.16 percent. That home's value would have peaked in the first quarter of 2008 at $164,130, then tumbled to a low of $137,711 in the second quarter of 2011.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Chukars hire new broadcast director

Alex Cohen at his last job, in Melbourne, Australia. Cohen has joined the Idaho Falls Chukars broadcast team for the 2015 season.
Alex Cohen has joined the Idaho Falls Chukars as the newest member of its broadcast team. He will be with the team for all its road games and join John Balginy in the booth for all Chukars home games this season, according to a news release from the club.

A native of Philadelphia, Cohen has six years of experience in professional baseball. In 2014, he worked for the Oakland Athletics in the team’s media and broadcasting department. Last fall, he traveled to Australia to serve as the play-by-play broadcaster for the Melbourne Aces of the Australian Baseball League. In addition, he served as the play-by-play broadcaster for 2015 ABL All-Star Game.

Balginy will once again be heard through the airways this summer for all Chukars home broadcasts. All games will be broadcast on ESPN 980 AM, 105.1 FM, 94.5 FM (Pocatello), and online on either or

For a look at Cohen’s resume and examples of his work, follow this link: Sportscasters Talent Agency of America.  He can be found on Facebook here and his Twitter feed is here.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Idaho Falls Civitan Club seeks to recruit new members

Idaho Falls Civitan Club is hosting a “seek event” April 21 at Catered Your Way, 2161 E. 17th Street, to recruit and educate anyone interested in learning more about the Civitan Club. The event is from 6 to 8 p.m.

In Idaho Falls, the Civitans are best known for fund-raising events such as Alive After Five and the Annual Indoor Pub Golf, with all funds going toward projects benefitting the community.

Civitan International is an organization of community service clubs with roughly 40,000 members across four continents. Each club works to help others and fulfill needs in their community, with a special emphasis on helping people with developmental disabilities. Civitans also continue this mission through fund-raising for the UAB Civitan International Research Center, a world-class medical facility dedicated to researching developmental disabilities and other cognitive disorders.

For more information, visit our local Web site and the International Web site,, or call 1-800-CIVITAN.

Advertising Federation to host speaker on Web site upkeep

Brittany Hargis
In real estate, there’s a euphemism called “deferred maintenance,” and it applies just as much to a business’ online presence.

Plenty of Web sites are out of date or tired looking, taking up space and not doing the owner a whole lot of good.

At its monthly Lunch and Learn session this Thursday at Dixie’s Diner, the Idaho Falls Advertising Federation will hear from Brittany Hargis, general manager of Manwaring Web Solutions. Based in downtown Idaho Falls, her team specializes in Web design, development and marketing. For more than 15 years, the company has designed custom Web sites that are functional and easily found online.

First impressions are critical. What do your potential customers see when they end up on your website?

Sign-in is at 11:30 a.m. and the program runs until 1 p.m. Cost is $12 for IFAF members and $15 for non-members and includes lunch!

To RSVP follow this link to the Facebook event posting:

The following week, on April 23, the Advertising Federation will hold its annual mixer and media auction at the Willard Arts Center. This is a great opportunity to buy advertising packages and expertise, with proceeds going to help the Idaho Falls Soup Kitchen.

Cost of admission is three cans of food or $5. Hors d'ouevres will be served. The silent auction begins at 7 p.m. Follow this link to the Facebook event posting:

Friday, April 10, 2015

EIRMC announces Frist award nominees

Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center announced Thursday this year’s nominees for the Frist Humanitarian Awards, given annually in recognition of the humanitarian spirit and philanthropic work of the late Dr. Thomas Frist, Sr., a founder of Hospital Corporation of America, EIRMC’s parent company.

For years, each HCA hospital nominates an employee, physician and volunteer. New this year is the Excellence in Nursing Award.

The EIRMC nominees are:

Tim Schwartz, employee, physical therapy

Schwartz has been with EIRMC for more than 14 years. On the job, colleagues in Wound Care say he always has a smile and a kind-hearted way of putting patients at ease.  He’s a Boy Scout leader, volunteer ski patroller, a supporter of Idaho Falls Lacrosse, and even volunteers at football games to move the chains on the fields. Tim also works with youth in his church. Tim was nominated by his colleagues in Wound Care. As a Frist Award nominee, EIRMC will make a donation in Tim’s name to his charity of choice, Livestrong.

Dr. John Miller, physician

Miller is a critical care medicine physician who works in EIRMC’s Intensive Care Unit. He has a reputation as a great supporter of nursing and has been very generous with the local chapter of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, sometimes teaching at educational events for the organization. His nomination said, “He is a true humanitarian and puts needs of others above his own consistently. He is an exceptional physician. He is kind and compassionate and generous. He is a great human being who truly loves his fellow man.”

As a Frist Award nominee, EIRMC will make a donation in Miller’s name to his charity of choice, Hospice of Eastern Idaho.

Judy Osborne, volunteer

During her five years at EIRMC, Osborne has volunteered more than 1,500 hours. She works at the information desk and in the surgical waiting room seeking out ways to make a difference and provides comfort without being asked. Marchelle Jensen, manager of volunteer services, called Osborne “an inspiration and a remarkable person who is loved by patients, families, employees, and her fellow volunteers.”

As a Frist Award nominee, EIRMC will make a donation in Osborne’s name to Habitat for Humanity.

Cindie Larsen, R.N., Excellence in Nursing Award Winner

Larsen is a nurse on the fifth floor. One of her nominators said this about her: “She is so positive with her interactions; she brings everyone together in a common friendship.” She also gives dancing lessons to cancer patients, a reflection of her steadfast compassion and commitment to patients. As a Frist Award nominee, EIRMC will make a donation to the American Cancer Society.

Portrait of an artist of a different time

Henry Allen Nord's painting "Labor at Rest," donated to the Idaho Falls Municipal Library in April 1940, still hanging in the Museum of Idaho. Another mural was hung at the same time, but has gone somewhere else in ensuing years.
While researching a writing this week’s “Looking Back” column for the Post Register, I came across a name I didn’t know, Henry Allen Nord, an Idaho Falls native most famous for his mural work in the 1930s and the artist responsible for the largest piece of public art produced by the New Deal.

Born in 1904, Nord left Idaho Falls as a young man to attend the Art Institute of Chicago and later Yale University. After graduating, he moved to Southern California, where he did his work an taught.

His parents, Nels and Hannah Nord, remained here, however, and in April 1940 he returned to Idaho Falls to donate two large paintings to the Idaho Falls Municipal Library, which at that time had been significantly remodeled and expanded (it is now part of the Museum of Idaho.)

One of Nord’s paintings, “Labor at Rest,” still hangs above an office door at the museum’s south end. The other larger painting, the mural “Men and Horses,” is no longer hanging and its whereabouts are unknown, said Museum Curator Claire Smith.

I got interested in Nord, and discovered that after graduating from college he moved to Long Beach, Calif., where his most famous work still exists, a tile mosaic entitled “Recreations of Long Beach.”
Nord's mosaic mural in Long Beach, Calif.

Celebrating Long Beach's love of recreational living, this was the largest piece of public art to emerge from the New Deal. Nord started it in 1936 and, with assistance from Albert Henry King and Stanton MacDonald-Wright, finished it in 1938. It graced the facade of the old Long Beach Municipal Auditorium until the building was torn down in the 1970s. In 1982, it was relocated to its current space at 3rd Street and Promenade, where it now caps off the north end of the popular strip.

Plenty of people today have strong views about the government’s role in funding art projects, but I think it is interesting to go back 80 years to the Depression and look at attitudes then.

As administrator of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Civil Works Administration and the Works Progress Administration, Harry Hopkins noted that “artists were starving the same as everyone else.” He believed that paid work was psychologically better for unemployed people than simply giving them money, and the Public Works of Art Project was established in December 1933. Over six months, $1.3 million was spent, employing 3,749 qualified artists, resulting in more than 15,000 pieces of public art.
In his 1934 report “Implications of the Public Works of Art Project,” Program Director Edward Bruce wrote, “It has, as many of the artists expressed it, broken down the wall of their isolation and brought them in touch and in line with the life of the nation.”

A few other things about Henry Allen Nord: When World War II started he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Too old to serve in combat, his mission was to help design camouflage.

He died in 1981 and is buried in Idaho Falls’ Rose Hill Cemetery along with his parents; his wife, Dorothea, and daughter, Carolyn, both of whom died in 1969; and his older brother, Lawrence, who died in 1904.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Traffic signal being installed at First Street and Ammon-Lincoln Road

Workers from Wheeler Electric installing the foundations of the new traffic signal at First Street and Ammon-Lincoln Road.
Any driver who has lived in the Idaho Falls-Ammon area for any length of time has come to know the intersection of Ammon Road and First Street as one of the worst.

Get ready for the end of an era. The four-way stop at the intersection is being replaced by an up-to-date four-way traffic signal, courtesy of the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council, which identifies high-risk traffic areas. The work should be done by early May.

The state agency is administering roughly $340,000 in Federal Highway Administration funds on the project at the Ammon intersection, probably best known for Country Corner on the southwest side.

Steve Sprague, LHTAC’s safety construction coordinator in Boise, said the signal will include detectors and preamps for emergency vehicles. Although new curb and gutter are being done to make the intersection compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, paving the roadway is not part of the project. “Hopefully, paving comes in later as part of the improvement,” he said.

Melaleuca adds new market in Poland

One year after entering Austria, Melaleuca has expanded into Poland. Starting April 1, the Idaho Falls-based company began signing up customers there.

“We are eager to share our superior, natural health products with the citizens of Poland,” said Pieter Kiepe, Melaleuca’s European general manager said in a press release. “Opening Poland enables us to expand our Melaleuca family, offer wellness products to more customers. Melaleuca recognizes Poland’s potential for growth because consumers are increasingly interested in effective wellness products that are economically friendly and safe in the home.”

Poland has one of the largest populations in Eastern Europe and a robust economy. Kiepe said that Melaleuca’s marketing executives (i.e. salespeople) in Europe, some of whom are Polish by descent, have been clamoring to see the market opened and were excited when Melaleuca shared its plans earlier this year, talking with their personal connections right away.

With this announcement, Melaleuca now operates in 19 countries worldwide, six of them in Europe. While the majority of its business comes from its U.S. and Canadian operations, sales from overseas accounted for 45 percent of the company’s 2014 revenues, which topped $1 billion.

Melaleuca does business in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Poland, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.

Grade school teacher seeks help for robotics class

Price on is $350.
This is a post I read on Facebook last night that I am reprinting in hopes that someone in the business community -- or the community at large -- might be willing to help.

It is from Seth Callister, who teaches a fifth grade class at Templeview Elementary School. Besides knowing Seth as a fellow guitar player, I had the pleasure of substitute teaching his class last week. A nicer bunch of kids I have not encountered.

Templeview is not what I would call one of the more affluent schools in Idaho Falls School District 91. From what I'm able to seek, a lot of the families are of limited means

Here is what Seth put up on Facebook Monday night:

Friends, I REALLY need your help. We're trying to have a robotics club at our school. Last year another school let me take a Lego kit to make robots for a competition as a pilot program for our school. That kit is no longer available for our use. I got four partial VEX Robotics Kits from another school but it's nowhere near enough! Today we started. We had over 30 students come! Their enthusiasm is extremely high. Does anyone out there have Lego Robotic Kits or VEX Robotic Kits that we could use for two months, or, even better, have kits you no longer use and would be willing to donate? Or if you would like to donate so we can purchase some that would help. One VEX kit costs $325 on eBay. I've heard before that the Lego kits are about the same price. The Lego kits are simpler, while the VEX kits require higher level of thinking. HELP!

This seems a little modest to be a candidate for or anything like it. If you want to help, the phone number at Templeview is 525-7660.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Economic development agencies merge to form REDI

There was a shift Monday in eastern Idaho’s economic development landscape as two agencies — Grow Idaho Falls and Bingham Economic Development — joined to form the Regional Economic Development Corporation for Eastern Idaho, REDI for short.

The merger was announced at Golden Valley Natural Foods in Shelley. “(REDI) is a vital partnership that allows us to offer prospective and existing companies the best locations, business and talent options to meet their needs,” said Bank of Idaho CEO Park Price, a member of REDI’s executive board.

Both organizations have been on the scene for years. Grow Idaho Falls started in the 1990s as Initiative 2000, then became the Eastern Idaho Economic Development Council. The name change to Grow Idaho Falls happened around 2003.

According to a news release, merger talks began in September 2013. “(There) was a compelling reason to change our strategy and combine forces for the benefit of business expansion, retention and job growth,” Price said. “Together, we represent the second largest workforce in the state of Idaho. … REDI builds on what we’re already doing and takes it to the next level with a unified voice and focus on putting business needs first.”
Darlene Gerry

Darlene Gerry has been named to serve as REDI’s interim executive director as a search committee looks for someone to fill the position. Gerry retired in 2014 from her job as Idaho State University’s executive director of research innovation. Her partners on the REDI executive search committee are Scott Hinschberger, Sylvia Medina, Roger Plothow and Mark Baker.

“REDI is about more than Bingham and Bonneville counties,” Gerry said. “It’s about the region in the broadest sense. When we work collaboratively to attract companies looking to relocate and to help our existing industries grow, we all win.”

On a separate but related note, the city of Idaho Falls is advertising for its own economic development coordinator. The job description reads: “This position assists in the recruitment, retention, expansion, and promotion of business to further economic and business developments in the city; participates in administrative and operational activities associated with economic business development; researches and formulates long-range goals for the city; develops policies and procedures, position papers and negotiates with administrative and/or elected officials regarding incentives for various types of projects that will further benefit the community’s economic development efforts. Interfaces and coordinates with the development community, local businesses and various city divisions, and staff.”

Salary range is advertised at $59,612 to $83,616 annually. Applications are being taken through 5 p.m. Thursday.

St. Vincent de Paul opens new Holmes Avenue store

St. Vincent de Paul has relocated to 805 South Holmes Avenue, the building that was the longtime home of Bill's Bike Shop.

The thrift store hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The social services office, which opens Wednesday, is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with an hour off for lunch at noon.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a Catholic Church organization dedicated to assisting those in need and seeking charity and justice.

Phone numbers are 528-9979 (store) and 522-6280 (office).

The Grille opens for business today

Ammon's newest eatery, The Grille, is officially open for breakfast and lunch. The official address is 929 S. 25 East, but if might be more instructive to say it is next door to World Gym. It is owned and operated by Pam and Doug Ferguson, a mother-son team. They are open daily from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Here's a picture of the Rodondo Omlette, one of the many entrees on the menu. Find out more at The Grille.

Friday, April 3, 2015

How bad are Idaho's bridges? Survey points to deficiencies

The next time you drive over a bridge in Bonneville County, you might want to cross your fingers.

An analysis of the recently-released 2014 U.S. Department of Transportation National Bridge Inventory database shows there are more than 61,000 structurally deficient bridges in need of significant repair all across America. Idaho is home to 406 of them.

The analysis, conducted by American Road & Transportation Builders Association  Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black, shows cars, trucks and school buses cross Idaho's 406 structurally compromised bridges 533,126 times every day.

Not surprisingly, the most heavily traveled bridges tend to be on the Interstate Highway System, which carries the bulk of truck traffic and passenger vehicles.

In Idaho Falls, the northbound and southbound lanes of I-15 at Broadway and John’s Hole, all built in 1962, have been classified as functionally obsolete. Another heavily traveled bridge past its prime is the U.S. 20 overpass at Lewisville Highway. But the most heavily traveled is SM 7406 on 17th Street between South Boulevard and Calkins Avenue, over the Butte Arm Canal.

The bridge problem could get a whole lot worse soon, Black said. The federal Highway Trust Fund, the source of 52 percent of highway and bridge capital investments made annually by state governments, has suffered five revenue shortfalls between 2008 and 2014. Over that period, it has been bailed out with nearly $65 billion in revenues from the General Fund just to preserve existing investment levels. Without action from Congress, the latest extension expires on May 31. Nearly a dozen states so far have canceled or delayed road and bridge projects because of the continued uncertainty over the trust fund situation.  ARTBA expects that number to increase as the deadline nears.

"State and local governments are doing the best they can to address these significant challenges, given limited resources," Black said. Bridge investments have been growing in recent years, but it has come at the expense of highway and pavement spending, which has dropped over 20 percent in the last five years.

"Without additional investment from all levels of government, our infrastructure spending will be a zero-sum game," she said, noting that there is a current backlog of over $115 billion in bridge work and $755 billion in highway projects. “Many of the most heavily traveled bridges are nearly 50 years old. Elected officials can't just sprinkle fairy dust on America's bridge problem and wish it away," Black said. "It will take committed investment by legislators at all levels of government."

Bridge decks and support structures are regularly inspected by the state transportation departments for deterioration and are rated on a scale of zero to nine—nine being "excellent" condition. A bridge is classified as structurally deficient and in need of repair if its overall rating is four or below.
While these bridges may not be imminently unsafe, ARTBA believes that signs should be posted so the public understands they have structural deficiencies that need repair.

The ARTBA analysis of the bridge data supplied by the states to the Transportation Department also found:

• Idaho ranks 35th place nationally in the number of structurally deficient bridges— 406.
• Idaho ranks 24th place in the percentage of its bridges that are classified as structurally deficient — 9 percent.

State specific bridge information from the analysis—including rankings and location lists of the 250 most heavily travelled structurally deficient bridges in the nation and top five most heavily travelled in each state—is available at

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Advertising Federation lists Gem Award winners

The Idaho Falls Advertising Federation gave the following Diamond Awards at its recent annual banquet.

Category: Poster Campaign
Winner: Artcore Visual Studio
Client: The Rex and Tiffany Redden Foundation

Category: Logo or Trademark Design
Winner: Soapbox Agency
Client: BYU-I Food Science Dept

Category: Animation or Special Effects – Video Film or Digital
Winner: Soapbox Agency
Client: BYU-I Food Science Dept

Category: TV Campaign, Local, Budget Larger Than $20,000
Winner: East Idaho Credit Union
Entry Title: Brand Launch
Winner: East Idaho Credit Union
Entry Title: Get Ready

Category: TV Campaign, $5K-$20K
Winner: IE Productions
Client: Bank of Commerce
Entry Title: Our Bank of a Lifetime

Category: Complete Campaign Regional/National
Winner: IE Productions
Client: Eastern Idaho State Fair
Category: Radio Single 60
Winner: IE Productions
Client: Eastern Idaho State Fair

Category: Billboard Campaign
Winner: IE Productions
Client: Eastern Idaho State Fair
Entry Title: Feed Your Need For Fun

Category: Single, 3-D Direct Marketing
Winner: IE Productions
Client: Eastern Idaho State Fair

Category: Social Media
Winner: Idaho State University
Entry Title: Ultimate Bengal

Category: Photography
Winner: Idaho State University
Entry Title: Class of 2014 photos

Category: Advertising for Arts & Sciences/Poster
Winner: MCS Advertising
Client: Idaho Falls Arts Council

Category: Magazine, Fraction Page
Winner: MCS Advertising

Category: Sales Kit/Packaging
Winner: Printcraft Press

Category: Radio Single 60
Winner: Riverbend Communications
Client: Scare Tower & Straw Maze

To see the complete list of winners, please visit

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Rubio visits Idaho, speaks at Melaleuca headquarters

Presidential aspirant and Florida senator Marco Rubio shakes hands after speaking Wednesday morning at Melaleuca world headquarters near Idaho Falls. 
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., made his first visit to Idaho Wednesday morning, dropping a strong hint that he will be soon making his candidacy for the White House official.

Speaking to an audience of about 400 people at Melaleuca world headquarters, near Idaho Falls, Rubio gave his positions on immigration, foreign affairs, the national debt and economic development.

The speech was at the invitation of Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot, who contributed prominently to the campaign of the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.

Rubio called it “improbable” that he, the son of a bartender and made who emigrated to the United States from Cuba in 1956, should be where he is today.

In most parts of the world, people don’t have much opportunity to rise above the station to which they are born, he said. “(Here) they have a God-given right to go as far as their talent and their work will take them.”

Rubio said that under President Barack Obama the United States has been on “the path of decline.” A change in policy is needed, he said, “and the best way to change policy is to change the people who are making it.”

Like other Republican hopefuls he called for an end to Obamacare, labeling it a burden to business and a drag on growth. On other economic issues, he said he is for simplifying the tax code and reforming the nation’s education system.

“We are stuck with a 20th century higher education system,” he said, stressing the need for more training in vocational fields and transparency when it comes to student debt loans.

The American Dream is not about getting rich, he said. It is about having a good enough job to make ends meet, being able to save for a comfortable retirement and for families to have the freedom to do what they enjoy doing. “We have a unique and special obligation not just to preserve it but to expand it,” he said. “If we lose it, we lose what makes us different.”

With regard to international affairs, Rubio said the United States must stand up to radical Islamic jihadism and tyranny around the world. “If America can’t lead on the global stage, no one else can,” he said.

Taking questions from the audience, Rubio called the nation’s current immigration system unsustainable. The problem of 12 million immigrants inside the United States without documentation has to be addressed realistically, he said. If a new immigration system can be enforced fairly and effectively, “I think the American people are willing to be reasonable.”

On the subject of the national debt, Rubio said he favors policies that create dramatic economic growth coupled with fiscal discipline. “We can’t cut or tax our way out of this debt,” he said.

With a mother on Social Security and Medicare, he said he has no plans for changing those programs for people in their 50s and up. For younger people, however, “(they) are going to look different than they have in the past,” he said. “Do we do it now or do we wait until it’s a crisis?”

Zions names new president for eastern Idaho

Merri Johnson
Zions Bank has named Merri Johnson its Eastern Idaho region president.

Johnson joined Zions in 2001 as a customer service manager in the Idaho Falls Downtown Financial Center and later was promoted to operations manager for the region. She has served as financial center manager, commercial loan officer and consumer loan officer.

In her new position she is responsible for the “strategic direction, market share growth and profitability of the region’s 13 financial centers,” according to a Zions news release. She also directs the region’s retail sales and service, small business lending, financial center operations and community relations efforts.

Zions Bank operates 25 full-service financial centers in Idaho and 100 financial centers in Utah. The company's Web site is