Thursday, June 30, 2016

Idaho Falls' SnakeBite named Idaho's "Most Iconic" restaurant

When I read that an Idaho Falls had been named "Most Iconic" by PureWow.com, my first guess was it had to be Scotty's because of its flying saucers. But no, it turns out it was downtown's SnakeBite. The writeup is pretty barebones, and there is no mention of the fish tacos, but to be ranked alongside In-N-Out (California), Katz's Delicatessen (New York) and Dogfish Head (Delaware) has got to be good for business, right? Congratulations to Todd and Gina Thoulion and their crew.

The Most Iconic Restaurant in Every Single U.S. State: Dinner with a side of history

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Hospice of Eastern Idaho home ready to celebrate first anniversary

Hospice of Eastern Idaho, the area’s only non-profit hospice, will mark this summer the first anniversary of its in-patient hospice home opening in Ammon, at 1087 Curlew.

The home has enhanced end-of-life life care in southeast Idaho by making available a comfortable homelike atmosphere for up to 6 patients at a time. This option is available to hospice patients in need of short-term pain and symptom management, and to patients whose caregiving needs can not be adequately managed in their homes. Admissions may also be provided for family caregivers in need of short-term respite relief.

Many patients typically return to their places of residence after symptoms are under control, while others will experience their final days receiving palliative comfort care in this homelike setting.

There are 67 patients currently being served in their homes by Hospice of Eastern Idaho is 67. Referrals typically come from area hospitals, doctors and individuals familiar with the program. Consultation visits to are free of charge.

Financial support for this project is in progress. Individuals or businesses wanting to make a tax deductible contribution or memorial donation to the Hospice Home may do so online at hospiceofeasternidaho.com, or by mailing a check to Hospice of Eastern Idaho, Inc. 1810 Moran St. Idaho Falls, ID 83401.

For further information please contact Celeste Eld, executive director, or Lisa Long, community outreach, at 529-0342.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Canned food drive to be held during Fourth of July parade

The City of Idaho Falls and the Interfaith Community Service Program (ICSP) will be conducting a food drive during this year’s 4th of July Parade. All donated items will be used locally.

This year’s parade theme is Salute to American Heroes. Parade guests are asked to bring non-perishable food and paper good items to the parade. Mayor Rebecca Casper, City Council members and ICSP volunteers will be collecting the items along the parade route. Watch for them near the front of the parade lineup (entries 13 & 14).

“Our need for donated food items during the summer is extremely high," said Kaaren Parsons, executive director of the Idaho Falls Soup Kitchen. "The many generous donations received during the holiday months begin to run out, and we count on the Interfaith Community Service Program to help get us by until the fall.”

All of the donated items will stay in the community and benefit local organizations such as the Idaho Falls Community Outreach Center Soup Kitchen, Idaho Falls Community Food Basket and St. Vincent de Paul.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Idaho Falls company assembling Zika testing kits for U.S. Olympic Team members

The Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics and the Zika virus are in the headlines right now, but if you're looking for a local connection to those stories look no further than Printcraft Press.

Printcraft is the Idaho Falls company building the huge edifice that you can''t help but notice on your right if you're westbound on the Pancheri I-15 overpass. Along with printing, a significant part of its business is putting together medical testing kits. When the U.S. Olympic Team returns from Brazil this summer, the kits they'll be using to test themselves for Zika will have been put together by Printcraft for ARUP Laboratories, a non-profit owned by the University of Utah.

Printcraft CEO Travis Waters said they have been doing medical kits for about 15 years and that it represents about 40 percent of the company's business. ARUP (which stands for (Associated Regional and University Pathologists) approached him earlier this month about 500 Zika kits for the U.S. Olympic athletes.

The kit is fairly generic looking, a white box with red, yellow and black. When it comes to printing, the real challenge with any medical testing kit is getting the barcodes and numerical sequences right. "There is no room for error," Waters said. Quality control checks are done three times before they go out the door.

Although ARUP is a non-profit, Printcraft puts together kits for for-profit companies as well, including DNA paternity testing for Sorenson Genomics.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

DOE announces funding for energy technology partnerships

The U.S. Department of Energy Tuesday announced nearly $16 million in funding to help national laboratories and industrial partners move promising energy technologies to the marketplace.

This first round of funding through DOE's Technology Commercialization Fund will support 54 projects at 12 national labs involving 52 private-sector partners. Nine projects totaling more than $1.04 million involve Idaho National Laboratory.

“Moving research and development from the laboratory to market increases INL's impact,” said Amy Lientz, the lab’s director of Partnerships, Engagement and Technology Deployment. "Over the past decade, INL has signed 697 new technology license agreements, executed 145 competitive research and development agreements and completed 417 agreements with federal agencies and private-sector entities worth nearly $250 million. The nine INL projects awarded federal funds today will advance Idaho's role as an international clean energy and national security innovation hub.”

Projects include:

  1. Advanced Outage Control Center Dashboard with Predictive Tools, $60,500
  2. Commercialization Research and Development of Change Detection Systems for Nuclear Applications, $62,500
  3. Computer-Based Procedure System for Field Workers, $130,000
  4. Enhancing Lithium-Ion Battery Safety for Vehicle Technologies and Energy Storage, $119,005
Vibro-Acoustic Testing for Microstructure Characterization and Metrology, $150,000

  6. Additive Manufacturing as an Alternative Fabrication Technique for the Fabrication of Uranium Silicide Fuel, $150,000: Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Development of In-Core Three-Omega Thermal Conductivity Probe, $74,911: Radiation Detection Technologies, Inc. (RDT), Manhattan, Kan.
Enhanced and Miniaturized Wireless Valve Position Indicator Prototype, $149,600: Analysis and Measurement Services Corporation (AMS), Rolls Royce, Reston, Va. (US HQ’s), Westinghouse Electrical Corporation (WEC), Pittsburgh, Pa., Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Palo Alto, Calif.

  9. Vehicle Controller Area Network (CAN) Bus Network Safety and Security System, $150,000: Mercedes-Benz Research and Development North America, Inc., Sunnyvale, Calif.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A snapshot of Bonneville County home sales for early 2016

Going by the numbers for the first four months of this year, it looks like the real estate market in Bonneville County is off to a ripping start in 2016. If you want to drill down a little deeper, visit this link: http://www.snakerivermls.com/ and click the Marketing Statistics box.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Vietnamese restaurant, Cyclo, opening on Hitt Road

Cyclos -- three wheeled bikes -- are popular with tourists in Vietnam.
I'm as excited as anyone about the prospect of a Vietnamese restaurant in Idaho Falls. We've had Thai food covered for a while, and Indian food got a foothold two years ago with Tandoori Oven.

Now I notice that Cyclo will be setting up where Togo's used to be, at 2994 S. 25th East. I haven't had any luck tracking down the principals in this project, but my digging has gotten me this much information so far.

Cyclo Vietnamese Cuisine LLC is an Idaho limited-liability company filed on March 9, 2016. The registered agent on file for this company is Cody Do, and is located at 3260 N Lake Grove #101, Boise, ID 83713.

I will be keeping tabs on this. If you know anything, post here or on Facebook. This is social media, after all. Cheers!

FYI, Cyclo seems to be a pretty common name for Vietnamese restaurants in the States. The cyclo is a three-wheel bicycle taxi that appeared in Vietnam during the French colonial period after a failed attempt to introduce rickshaws. A double-seat cyclo is supported by the two front wheels, with the driver sitting behind.

INL to send six teams to entrepreneurial program this year

Idaho National Laboratory has gotten off to a fast start with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lab-Corps program, designed to guide innovation at national laboratories into the world of commerce and industry. Four INL teams participated in earlier rounds, and six INL teams will participate in the program’s third and fourth rounds this summer and fall.

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) created the Lab-Corps program in fall 2014 to help research scientists and engineers explore new ideas for meeting the needs of industrial users.

“DOE’s Lab-Corps program offers a new pathway to advance greater collaboration between industry and national laboratories,” said Steven Aumeier, an INL associate laboratory director and director of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES), a consortium that involves INL, the state of Idaho, Idaho State University, Boise State University, the University of Idaho and University of Wyoming.

Lab-Corps teams participate in a seven-week entrepreneurial boot camp, or “cohort,” facilitated by the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo. This involves in-person sessions and weekly webinars to help teams learn how to evaluate the market potential of their technologies and bring a new level of entrepreneurial awareness back to their research and colleagues.

One team has been chosen to participate in the summer 2016 cohort. It is led by Jake Gentle, an INL power systems engineer who also led development of GLASS (General Line Ampacity State Solver), a software package developed to calculate the effects of weather on power lines so operators can manage transmission for maximum efficiency and savings.

The teams selected for the fall cohort include:
  • Bioenergy Conversion Process (principal investigator Allison Ray), which allows researchers to produce high-quality feedstock from grass, wood and agricultural residues.
  • CellSage (principal investigator Kevin Gering), which involves deploying software to support battery performance and life-cycle determinations in diverse applications.
  • Electromechanical Recovery of Metals from Electronic Waste (principal investigator Tedd Lister), which retrieves critical and rare earth materials from such devices as cellphones and computers.
  • Change Detection Systems for Nuclear Applications (principal investigator Troy Unruh), a computer software program that aligns digital images for nuclear facility and national security applications.
  • Online Condition Monitoring of Spent Nuclear Fuel Dry Cask Storage Systems (principal investigator Ahmad Al Rashdan), which enables the non-invasive determination of the status and integrity of vented dry casks.
With competition from as many as 17 national laboratories, the first hurdle for participation in Lab-Corps is being selected. Each lab proposes one or more three-person entrepreneurial teams consisting of a principal investigator, an entrepreneurial lead and an industry mentor. In the first two cohorts, 14 teams from seven national labs were selected.

During the training, DOE assesses the viability of each team. This is done by an impartial panel of clean energy commercialization experts comprised of three representatives from private industry or venture capital and one from NREL. Scores to inspire continued improvement are given based on weekly presentations and rigorous questioning. The other basis for performance evaluation is the number of interviews each team manages to conduct with prospective customers or collaborators.

While the program’s aim is to teach researchers how to take their work to customers outside the national laboratory complex, Lab-Corps is also aimed at making national labs more accessible to businesses, said Tammie Borders, industry outreach coordinator for CAES and INL’s Energy and Environment Science and Technology Directorate.

For more information about the Lab-Corps program, visit http://energy.gov/eere/technology-to-market/lab-corps.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Energy Department announces more than $82 million in nuclear research funding

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, left, and Idaho National Laboratory Director Mark Peters, during Moniz's INL visit on Tuesday. (Instagram photo by INL)
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz used his visit to Idaho Falls Tuesday to announce more than $82 million is being awarded to nuclear energy research, development and infrastructure projects in 28 states. Overall, 93 projects have been selected to receive funding for nuclear energy-related research through the Nuclear Energy University Program, Nuclear Science User Facilities, and Nuclear Energy Enabling Technology programs. A number of recipients will also receive technical and regulatory assistance through the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative.

“Nuclear power is our nation’s largest source of low-carbon electricity and is a vital component in our efforts to both provide affordable and reliable electricity and to combat climate change,” Moniz said, visiting INL facilities with lab director Mark Peters and giving opening remarks at the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board meeting at the Energy Innovation Laboratory building on University Boulevard. “These awards will help scientists and engineers as they continue to innovate with advanced nuclear technologies.”

DOE is awarding nearly $36 million through its Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) to support 49 university-led nuclear energy research and development projects in 24 states. NEUP seeks to maintain U.S. leadership in nuclear research across the country by providing top science and engineering students and faculty members opportunities to develop innovative technologies and solutions for non-military nuclear capabilities.

Additionally, 15 universities will receive nearly $6 million for research reactor and infrastructure improvements – providing important safety- performance- and student education-related upgrades to a portion of the nation’s 25 university research reactors as well as enhancing university research and training infrastructure.

The awards are part of the first steps to implement the GAIN initiative that was announced November 2015, which provides the nuclear energy community with access to the technical, regulatory, and financial support necessary to move new or advanced nuclear reactor designs toward commercialization while ensuring the continued safe, reliable, and economic operation of existing nuclear facilities.

These awards complement the Office of Nuclear Energy’s Small Business Voucher Program, which will provide up to $2 million this year to help small businesses overcome critical nuclear technology and commercialization challenges. Of the eight vouchers announced, one involves INL, a partnership with Creare LLC of Hanover, N.H., investigating materials for continuous casting of metallic nuclear fuel.

The Department is also awarding $21 million for six Integrated Research Projects (IRPs), which include a jointly-funded project between the Office of Nuclear Energy and the Office of Environmental Management for enhanced glass forms for nuclear waste immobilization. The Office of Environmental Management will also fund two IRP projects for advanced nuclearized robotics capabilities. Collaboration between the Offices of Environmental Management and Nuclear Energy is part of Moniz’s effort to integrate the department’s research for advanced nuclear R&D and remediation efforts.

Since 2009, the Energy Department’s Office of Nuclear Energy has awarded approximately $464 million to 113 U.S. colleges and universities to continue American leadership in clean energy innovation and to train the next generation of nuclear engineers and scientists through its university programs. Visit neup.gov for more information on today’s awards and Energy.gov for information on all of the Energy Department’s efforts to continue American leadership in low-carbon nuclear energy innovation.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Jan Rogers appointed to national investment advisory council

Jan Rogers
Jan Rogers, CEO of Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho (REDI), has been appointed to the United States Investment Advisory Council (IAC) established by the Commerce Department in April 2016.

As one of 19 private and public sector leaders from across the nation, Rogers will advise U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on the development and implementation of strategies and programs to attract and retain foreign direct investment in the United States. Rogers will maintain her position with REDI along with the new federal appointment.

“I am honored to have been appointed to the IAC and look forward to providing counsel on issues that affect foreign investment into the United States, particularly in rural communities,” said Rogers, who will serve a two-year term.

Rogers has spent the last 15 years developing economies throughout Idaho including attracting 35 businesses, over $1 billion in capital investments, and 5,000 jobs. Prior to her current role at REDI, she served as the executive director of the Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization (SIEDO) for 14 years and has led efforts to attract a record-setting seven projects in one year to Southern Idaho, including Chobani’s second U.S. manufacturing facility in Twin Falls. Rogers has also served as the president of the Idaho Economic Development Association and is currently on the board of directors of the International Economic Development Council.

The IAC’s inaugural meeting will be held June 21, to coincide with the 2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit, a three-day event in Washington, D.C., that promotes FDI in the United States. The Summit will attract more than 2,000 participants from economic development organizations as well as U.S. and foreign firms, service providers, domestic and international media, and senior Obama administration and government officials.

Friday, June 10, 2016

EIRMC hosting Family Fun Day, Bike for Kids

Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center is hosting its annual Family Fun Day and Bike for Kids event Saturday at Snake River Landing. The theme is superheroes, so capes and superhero costumes are encouraged.

Besides the free lunch, games and music, the main attraction for kids is likely to be the Teddy Bear ER Clinic. Children can bring their bear and follow it through its hospital stay, from the ER, to the lab, then through radiology and surgery. The clinic aims to ease children’s anxieties and gain a better understanding of the hospital process. Teddy bears will be provided to the children (while supplies last).

There will be bounce houses, sports clinics, carnival games, and much more. For grown-ups, there will be several educational booths from local health resources. In addition, there will be caregivers from the NICU, PICU, Pediatrics, and Pediatric Therapies, so past patients and families can reunite with them.

The event is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Snake River Landing, and is free, although the hospital is asking that you bring one can of food per person to donate.

Bike for Kids is an organization provides adaptable bicycles for special needs children in our community. At 10:30 a.m. (registration starts at 9) there will be a 4 Mile Family Bike Ride. The bike ride ends at the EIRMC Family Fun Day. At 12:30, there will be a presentation by Bike for Kids and a giveaway of multiple adaptable bikes to pre-identified children. Lastly, at 1, Bike for kids will host smaller bike races for younger kids. Visit www.bikeforkidsidaho.com for race details and pricing info.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Now you can search Idaho Falls site plans and building permits just like the pros

Screen shot of trakit.idahofallsidaho.gov/etrakit3/
I don’t know if a lot of you are interested, but I know there are some development geeks out there who need to know exactly what’s being built, everywhere all the time. Have I got news for you! It’s now easier than ever to stay abreast of things, in Idaho Falls at least. That’s because everything is now online and available to anyone with a computer and Internet access.

The site is trakit.idahofallsidaho.gov/etrakit3/, and it represents another inevitable bow to modernity.

Until recently, I would stop at the City of Idaho Falls Building Department office on Park Avenue once or twice a week to look at the white looseleaf binder where they recorded site plans. If I saw anything interesting — Home2 Suites, Panera Bread, Carl’s Jr., etc. — I would ask to see the plans themselves, sometimes shooting pictures of them with my phone, like James Bond.

I have to admit, it was exciting to know I was getting a scoop and that there would be lots of people interested. Besides that, it was nice to catch up with my friends: Brian, Reggie, Ken, Brad, Deb, etc.

Today, I don’t even know where to find the papers, but if I want to see what’s new I can go to trakit. If you want to try it, it's basically a matter of finding the right pull-down menu, which in this case is Project Search. Go to Search By and scroll down to Project Number. In the box to the right, enter SITE16- or just 16-, and it will give you a list of everything that has been filed since the first of the year.

I don't think I'm divulging any state secrets here. Whatever the case, now you know how I get some of the news I post. I don't know whether Ammon will be going to a system like this anytime soon, which means I'll be driving out to their office every week. They always seem so glad to see me.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Horse racing at Sandy Downs set to start Saturday

Sandy Downs, the home track of IdaRacing, is set to open its season Saturday with a Belmont Block Party, where racing fans can bet on the 148th running of the Belmont Stakes, the coveted third leg of the Triple Crown. The gates open at 11 a.m. with live racing beginning at noon.

Thirteen races are scheduled for the opener, the Idaho Quarter Horse Racing Association’s Premiere Bitterroot Futurity Trials, with an estimated 130 two-year-old quarter horses hauling in from all across the Intermountain West to Idaho Falls for a chance to place in the top ten for the finals of an estimated $150,000 in purse money June 25 at Sandy Downs.

Due to the number of horses being brought in, horsemen are encouraged to book rooms early. Quinta Inns & Suites is a sponsor of IdaRacing and is offering discounted rooms (subject to availability) with the promo code IDARS1. Horse people are also reminded that the nomination and first payment deadline for the Hawthorne/Idaho Cup Futurity is June 15. Horsemen, track officials and staff are being asked to get licensed early on Friday, June 10 the by the Idaho State Racing Commission beginning at 2 p.m. at Sandy Downs, near the grandstands.

Entries will take place Tuesday, beginning at 7 a.m. with the draw happening around 1 p.m. under the grandstands.

Saturday’s event will feature the popular Indian Relay Racing, live music and fun for the whole family with the Colt Whitmore Show in between races. There are fun bounces and water works for the kids, many giveaways, free betting vouchers; free kids dogs (while supplies last) as well as good eats and ice cold beverages at this daylong trackside party.

Fans are reminded to come early and bet early to avoid being shut out at the windows. Post times listed are when the horses actually leave the starting gate beginning with the first race.

The 2016 live racing schedule at Sandy Downs will be as follows:

June 11, noon
June 25, 5 p.m.
Aug. 27 5 p.m.
Aug. 28 1 p.m.
Sept. 11 1 p.m.

Corporate sponsors this year include Sand Hill Media, Bingham Memorial Hospital, Hawthorne Animal Hospital, TEC Distributing & Coors Light, The Dakri Bernard Realty Group, LaQunita Inns & Suites and IdaBet.com! You can find a complete listing of all sponsors at IdaRacing.com.

Sandy Downs is located on East 65th (St. Clair Road) south of Idaho Falls. For further information visit IdaRacing.com or call 208-745- 8433. If you can’t make it to the track, watch the races from the comfort of your own home and wager online with Idabet.com or by phone toll-free at 877-782- 9994. Fans can open an account by logging onto Idabet.com or calling the Phone bet number. The service is available in all states where online betting is permitted. Idabet.com is licensed in Idaho, regulated by the Idaho State Racing Commission and the Oregon Racing Commission and is a service of eBet Technologies and owned by Idaho-based Intermountain Racing & Entertainment.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

DOE names INL's Stacey Francis Small Business Program Manager of the Year

Stacey Francis
The U.S. Department of Energy has selected Stacey Francis as the 2015 Facility Management Contractor Small Business Program Manager of the Year.

As Idaho National Laboratory’s Small Business Program manager, Francis has significantly grown the small business portion of INL’s contract portfolio. In Fiscal Year 2015, the program exceeded all six socioeconomic goals for the second time since Francis has been in charge of it, a press release said. Her efforts resulted in exceeding the small disadvantaged business goal by 40 percent and the woman-owned goal by more than 200 percent.

“These accomplishments help ensure the lab and government have access to the best competitive rates while supporting a sufficient small business base to ensure quality delivery of services and products,” said Rick Provencher, DOE-Idaho Operations Office manager.

“She is a great coach, and a great cheerleader for the entire small business team,” said Don Stevens, Strategic Sourcing and Procurement Support manager.

Within INL, Francis initiated the Procurement Primer, a presentation that provides training to INL employees interested in the procurement process. She also worked with Information Management to maximize the use of small businesses for a variety of staff augmentation needs.

As part of the INL outreach program, she renewed a local Small Business Workshop to help small business owners understand how to market their businesses to the government and government contractors. More than 30 small business owners attended, half of them newcomers to the government small business market.

Francis was recognized for her dedicated support to INL’s Small Business Program at the U.S. Department of Energy’s 15th Annual DOE Small Business Forum & Expo on May 24 in Atlanta, Ga.