Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Work progresses on new Deseret Industries store in Ammon

Looking east across the site of the future Deseret Industries store in Ammon.
In case you're wondering about all the dirt being moved in Ammon on 17th Street next door to Piano Gallery, that is the site of the new Deseret Industries store.

Site plans were filed in August, but the work has only started in earnest since the building permit was issued earlier this month. The project, on 6.45 acres, calls for a building of 48,605 square feet, 8,746 of which will be devoted to office space, to consolidate the Welfare and LDS Employment offices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the same building.

The store will replace the downtown Idaho Falls store at 450 E Street. Earlier this year Deseret Industries Marketing Manager Booke Yates told Local News 8 that the old store had served the community sell, "but was beginning to get a little run down." She said the construction team is also "evaluating the future" of the current Deseret Industries store location.

The new building has been designed by JRW Architecture of Rexburg.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

In 1966, Christmas shopping season started later, but with a lot more hoopla

Baloo the Bear makes his way through the streets of Davenport, Iowa, in a mid-'60s holiday season parade.
Now that "Black Friday" is in our rear view mirror, I find it interesting that the Christmas shopping season of 1966 officially kicked off on Dec. 3. That was the day the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce had made arrangements for a parade featuring marching bands, majorette squads, beauty pageant winners, Santa Claus, and -- most curiously -- 40 giant balloons from Giant Balloon Parades, Inc.

The mobile extravaganza was to begin at 9:30 a.m. on Memorial Drive in front of the LDS Temple and proceed to A Street, turn east on A to Yellowstone Avenue, then north to First Street, east on First to Holmes Avenue, then north on Holmes to the Country Club Shopping Center.

More than 200 youngsters, most of them Boy Scouts, had been brought into service to pull the balloons (characters from "The Wizard of Oz," "Alice in Wonderland" and "Aladdin and His Lamp," among others) along the parade route.

Some Googling reveals that Giant Balloon Parades was a company based in Newark, N.J. According to a 2006 article in the Quad City Times, Balloon parades were a hit in the '60s, the balloons were filled with air, not helium. They were mounted on big dollies and wheeled through the streets by costumed handlers.

With a portable air compressor they had to be filled just to a pressure of about four pounds to the square inch. "If we put in too much they’ll blow up,” a company representative told Jim Arpy, reporter for the Times-Democrat in Davenport, Iowa.

Anyway, I would be curious if anyone remembers this parade in Idaho Falls from 50 years ago. I can't imagine that it wasn't something to remember.

Monday, November 28, 2016

In honor of Cyber Monday, a trip back down Memory Lane, aka the 'Information Superhighway'

A screamin' machine in its day: The Leading Edge Model D. Initially priced at $1,495, it came with dual 5.25" floppy drives, 256 KB of RAM and a monochrome monitor.

In honor of Cyber Monday, when we are all expected to go hog wild online, I did a little digging to excavate the first story I ever wrote about the Internet. It appeared in the Post Register on April 10, 1994. In print.

Back then, we were calling it the "information superhighway." When was the last time you heard that term? Other headlines from that day's edition included, "Authorities say rapes often go unreported" and "Cobain's suicide perplexes local youth."

I think my home computer at the time was a Leading Edge 286, which I got from my brother-in-law in exchange for a microwave oven. It used 5 1/4-inch floppy disks and was handy for balancing my checkbook.

Anyway, here's the report:


Remember that old encyclopedia you had when you were a kid? The one in which Eisenhower was still president and the Piltdown man was still regarded as a revolutionary archaeological find?

OK, you were brilliant and got straight A's in spite of it. But think of how much easier it would have been if you'd had the latest information at your fingertips.

It's the computer age now. Although there's still lots of work to be done on the much-hyped "information superhighway," eastern Idahoans will soon have an easier time of getting linked up to the Internet, the worldwide network on which it's possible to get the latest information on practically anything.

SRVnet, a new non-profit organization based in Idaho Falls, is offering low-cost access to the Internet, access that has been limited until now to universities and government research agencies.

"My children just get on it and cruise," said Nancy Peterson, who is seeking investors and subscribers to help raise the $40,000 the association needs.

There are significant differences between SRVnet and commercial services like Compuserve, Prodigy and America OnLine. The people who run commerical services limit a user's exposure to what they want the user to see -- usually things for which they've been paid. The offer hook-ups to the Internet, but that involves a surcharge on top of the base cost, Peterson said.

With SRVnet, a user pays a set amount for a straight pipeline to the Internet. A "gold membership" costs $240 for two years, giving a user four free hours every month. Silver members pay $120 for one year, involving three free hours a month. Bronze members pay $10 a month for two free hours a month. Extra use in all three cases is billed at $3 an hour.

"If we could get 120 gold members and 120 silver members to sign up, we could begin," Peterson said. "The necessary documents have been filed and the equipment is waiting to be ordered."
If the effort falls through, all money will be refunded, Peterson said.

There will be a one-time charge of $29.95 for software, or users may purchase their own.
It's also essential to get a basic computer setup that can process information fairly fast. Any IBM compatible PC should be at least a 386 with Windows software (the programs will also run on Macintosh.) A regular telephone line will work fine, but the modem's capacity should be 9600 bps or more.

A good modem will cost around $150 to $200, Peterson said. PC prices vary and are coming down all the time. "In the next few years, you're going to see more and more people coming online," she added.

Anyone with children should be particularly interested in getting online with SRVnet, since the service will be very similar to the Internet access public schools will be offering. For business people, the Internet offers a competitive edge, both in gathering and putting out information. It's possible to start a bulletin board on the Internet that allows you to get your message out to anyone who has an interest in what you have to offer, Peterson said.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Retired city planner Renee Magee receives award for Smart Growth contributions

Renee Magee
Longtime Idaho Falls City Planner Renee Magee received the Charles Hummel Award from Idaho Smart Growth at its annual banquet, held last Thursday in Boise.

Named after Charles Hummel, an architect, historic preservationist and co-founder of Idaho Smart Growth, the award is given in recognition of an individual who demonstrates the same dedication to smart growth, and who exemplifies personal integrity and contributions to Idaho’s quality of life. Hummel died Oct. 22 at age 91.

Magee was Idaho Falls’ planning director from April 1997 to 2013. Since retiring, she has been active in guiding the Idaho Falls Historic Preservation Commission. She is active in Rotary and serves on the Museum of Idaho Board of Directors. She holds a master’s in city and regional planning from Ohio State University and a law degree from University of Wyoming.

As city planner and in retirement, Magee has been a guiding light in Idaho Falls’ downtown revitalization. With the Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency, she offered advice most recently on the Bonneville Hotel project, suggesting a mix of market-rate and affordable residential units with retail on the ground floor. Built in 1927 the five-story hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and most likely qualifies for historic preservation tax credits and low-income housing tax credits. A development team was selected in August for the project, cost of which has been estimated at roughly $10 million.

Other 2016 Smart Growth awards given Thursday included:

Martin Luther King, Jr. Way Livability & Storm Water Project; Pocatello – Transportation Award

This main road through Idaho State University was redesigned to serve pedestrians and transit better as well as to improve safety for all users. Landscape and green storm water treatments complete the improvements.

Blaine County Community Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan; Blaine County – Citizen Advocacy Award

This plan has implementation strategies in place and some elements have already been implemented. Kudos for tackling bike/ped planning at the regional level and conducting a health impact assessment as part of the process.

Willard Arts Center and Colonial Theater; Idaho Falls – Redevelopment Award

The project is a great example of infill redevelopment that includes historic preservation. More than a decade in the making, it clearly has succeeded in bringing more people downtown, stimulating cultural activity and economic vibrancy.

Teton View Regional Plan for Sustainable Development; Teton County – Planning & Policy Award

A high level of involvement and commitment is shown by the many players brought together to make this happen. The plan provides clear direction for the region’s growth and addresses regional resources beyond land use with an eye toward sustainability.

Idaho Avenue Placemaking; Meridian – Redevelopment Award

This is an example of the catalytic nature of the lighter, quicker, cheaper placemaking approach that helps trigger community development quickly. The first project to be implemented from Meridian’s Placemaking Downtown Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper action plan is an excellent example of repurposing underutilized road right-of-way to another use.

36 Oak; Garden City – Infill Award

NeighborWorks Boise is using infill as an approach to providing affordable housing and live/work options. This is a good example of cottage-style single-family infill that increases density somewhat without overwhelming the surrounding neighborhood and does a good job of fulfilling Garden City’s comprehensive plan.

Vista Avenue Healthy Corridor; Boise – Citizen Advocacy Award

Grow Smart Awards have never previously recognized a study, however this one by the Urban Land Institute showed very good community engagement and collaboration with the city’s LIV program and the neighborhood. As a result the study has stimulated conversation and excitement which gave the jury confidence it will be utilized and implemented.

Nampa Library Square; Nampa – Commercial Award

This development did a great job of recognizing community needs as reflected in the variety of services provided. Keeping the library downtown and using it as an economic catalyst, including a mixed use development with structured and bike parking, are strong smart growth elements of the project.

Highway 55 Payette River “Lardo” Bridge; McCall – Small Community Award

More than just an aging bridge replacement, in this project the city worked with ITD to accomplish community development goals that emerged from previous planning efforts with good public engagement. The project completes a gap in the walking and biking network and provides space for public art; it’s as much a placemaking project as it is a transportation project.

For more information about the Grow Smart Awards and Idaho Smart Growth go to

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

TEDxIdahoFalls seeking speakers for 2017 program

TEDxIdahoFalls has launched its search for presenters for the 2017 event, to be held in February 2017.

In the spirit of "ideas worth spreading," the global idea-exchange platform, TED, has created TEDx, a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. The local event is named TEDxIdahoFalls will feature TEDTalks video and live speakers to spark deep discussion.

The local event organizer, Brad Christensen, is leading the team curating speakers for the event. What they are really looking for are ideas, he said. “New ideas that originate in our community, but are widely relatable. Ideas or topics that may change perceptions, not something self-evident, are what make an exciting TED talk.”

All potential speakers are advised to visit and fill out the request form. Requests must be received by Dec. 31, and the panel will be chosen by Jan. 15, 2017.

Information for those requesting to attend will be available in January.

For updates, information may be found at, on FaceBook at and on Twitter at

Here's a TEDxIdahoFalls presentation from earlier this year, “Body Language: The Key to Your Subconscious,” from Ann Washburn.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

INL, REDI plan meeting to discuss lab's future, partnership opportunities

Idaho National Laboratory and REDI will be hosting an event in Idaho Falls Dec. 1 where the public is invited to learn more about Idaho National Laboratory’s future and how the lab can partner with businesses and community organizations.

INL leaders will be on hand to talk about INL’s people and their capabilities, how to access grants and research opportunities, STEM and university partnerships, as well as small business and tech-based economic development opportunities.

The time is from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at the INL Meeting Center, 775 University Boulevard.

Attendance will be limited so please register by Friday at
or email to secure a spot.

New Business: Caryn’s Kitchen

Caryn's Kitchen is open in the Idaho Innovation Center parking lot on North Yellowstone.
In the queue today ...

Writing to you as our new food truck is open and running:

Caryn's Kitchen is located at 2288 Yellowstone, Idaho Falls, in the Idaho Innovation Center parking lot.  Hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

We serve breakfast and lunch.  Egg sandwiches, pancakes, biscuits & gravy, omelets and more. Lunch is hot and cold sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers and Italian specialties on certain days. Meatball heros, chicken Parmesan heros, lasagna and some surprises. There are also specialties from the East Coast.
Come try some of our meals.

We understand that everyone's time is precious so you can also call in an order @ 390-7368 and we will have it ready for you. Our menu is on Facebook at Caryn's Kitchen Food Truck.

If there are any questions, please feel free to contact us.  Also, stop by for some great food.

Thank you.

4 Facebook Reviews

Monday, November 14, 2016

New Business: Classy Beauty Salon

If you’ve got a new business, feel free to email with a notice to help get the word out.

Pat Morf and Margi Vanover have bought A Touch of Class Beauty Salon and changed the name to Classy Beauty Salon. It is located at 590 2nd Street and the phone number is 208-529-3192.

Pat and Margi specialize in "traditional" hair styles, cuts and permanent waves. There is easy access for people using walkers or wheel chairs, and a quiet, pleasant atmosphere.

If you'd like to learn more, call or stop by Tuesday through Saturday. Hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Wal-Mart fueling station, Culver's coming along

Culver's is to be built at 946 Pancheri Drive.
I had a request to find out what’s going on in the Wal-Mart parking lot on Utah Avenue. A review of building permits in the city of Idaho Falls eTRAKIT system (which I have to admit I’m still getting the hang of) show that this is a Wal-Mart fueling station.

The actual address is 510 S. Utah Avenue. The permit was applied for June 22, the site plan was approved Sept. 6 and the building permit was issued Oct. 24. The total share footage of the project is 966,659.

Also down that way, Culver’s is coming along. The address will be 946 Pancheri Drive. The restaurant is 4,457 square feet. The permit was applied for Aug. 22.

If you want to look at it, here’s a link: Culver's Permit.  Pretty neat, huh?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Rexburg chamber selects new secretary

Hyrum Erickson
Rexburg attorney Hyrum Erickson has been selected as secretary of the Rexburg Area Chamber of Commerce and will also serve on the chamber’s four-member executive board.

Erickson joined the Rexburg firm of Rigby, Andrus & Rigby in 2008, after clerking for a district court judge in Boise. He handles all types of civil litigation, including appeals to the Idaho Supreme Court, as well as estate planning and probate. Erickson graduated from J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University.

Prior to law school, he worked as a legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Larry Craig in Washington. D.C. After law school, he served as a law clerk to Idaho District Judge Cheri Copsey in Boise. He also has served as chairman of the Rexburg chamber’s board. He and his his wife, Kirsten, have five children and enjoy hiking and camping together.

Erickson succeeds longtime chamber board member and past secretary Daryl Olsen of Alliance Title & Escrow, who recently relocated to Idaho Falls and was unable to continue his commitment to the board.

INL researchers honored at Idaho Innovation Awards

Luis Diaz Aldana and Tedd Lister of Idaho National Laboratory
The Idaho Innovation Awards honored inventors Tedd Lister and Luis Diaz Aldana of Idaho National Laboratory recently at a reception in Boise. This was the third major award Lister and Diaz Aldana received this year for Electrochemical Recycling Electronic Constituents of Value (E-RECOV), a process that uses an electrochemical cell to efficiently reclaim valuable metals and rare-earth elements from discarded electronic equipment. The technique leads to more thorough recycling of materials while significantly minimizing chemical use and waste generation, and can be accomplished domestically and economically. 

The annual Idaho Innovation Awards recognize innovations, innovative professionals and companies throughout the state. Stoel Rives LLP, a full-service, U.S. business law firm, has organized and hosted the program since 2006.

The technology was developed with funding from DOE’s Critical Materials Institute. Other awards won by E-RECOV include Federal Laboratory Consortium Far West Regional and TechConnect National Innovation Award. This patent-pending technology is also the focus of a collaborative Small Business Voucher project with Ohio-based eMaterials Recovery, LLC. The E-RECOV process is currently available for licensing. Interested parties can contact Ryan Bills for further information. You can learn more about E-RECOV in this video from the Idaho Innovation Awards or in this INL fact sheet.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Ohman takes seat on auditorium district board

John "Mick" Ohman
The Idaho Falls Auditorium District (IFAD) has added John “Mick” Ohman to its board of directors, filling the vacancy left by Ryan Meikle.

Ohman has been an attorney in Idaho for more than 40 years. He received his BSBA and Juris Doctor degrees from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. He is an active contributor to a wide range of local charitable organizations and activities, served as an officer in the United States Army, and has served as Chairman of the Idaho Transportation Board. He is a member of the Idaho and Nebraska State Bars, the United States District Courts, the United States Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.

The Idaho Falls Auditorium District was established in 2011 and is involved in the planning and eventual construction of an events center in the Snake River Landing development on the city’s south side. Board meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at the Business Development Center, 425 N. Capital Ave. For more information, visit

Monday, November 7, 2016

Idaho Falls real estate agent elected to Women's Council of Realtors executive committee

Chris Pelkola Lee
Idaho Falls real estate dynamo Chris Pelkola Lee was elected to the executive committee of the Women’s Council of Realtors at its annual national conference, which ended Sunday in Orlando, Fla.

Lee is the owner of simpLEE Home. A native of the Chicago area, she has been a licensed Realtor in Idaho since 2007 and a licensed associate broker since 2011. Her certifications include:

Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)
Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI)
Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR)
Performance Management Network (PMN)
Short Sales and Foreclosure Resources Certification (SFR)
REALTOR® Technology Certification (ePRO)

“I find I have become quite passionate about guiding my clients through the transaction process and helping them avoid potential pitfalls and inherent risks along the way,” she said. “The data is out there for everyone. My role is as a guide, trusted advisor and negotiator.”

The Women’s Council of Realtors dates back to the 1930s, when the National Association of Real Estate Boards witnessed a growth of women working in real estate and an increased participation of women at national conventions. A Women's Division had been created in 1924 by the California Real Estate Association, and in 1938 National President Joseph Catherine encouraged the formation of a national Women's Council after being impressed by the California group.

At the time, NAR was already 30 years old, but most decisions were still made by local boards — most of which were resistant to offering membership to women. However, the National Association was ready to recognize women in real estate, and a positive vote resulted in the formation of a women's division at the Annual Convention in Milwaukee in November 1938. Thirty-seven ambitious women represented nine states at that meeting for Women's Council's inception.

For more information about Lee, here is a link to her Facebook business page:

Friday, November 4, 2016

Idaho Business Review seeking Women of the Year nominees

The Idaho Business Review is taking nominations through Nov. 14 for its annual Women of the Year honors.

The award honors women who are shaping Idaho's economic and community well-being through their outstanding leadership, mentoring efforts and community involvement. Now in its 12th year, IBR's Women of the Year is presented by Hawley Troxell Attorneys and Counselors.

Two eastern Idaho finalists honored earlier this year were Rebecca Noah Casper, mayor of Idaho Falls, and Dana Boothe Kirkham, mayor of Ammon. No  arguing with their selection, but perhaps it would be a good idea to widen our scope a little more this year.

Nominations are open to successful women from public, private and
charitable businesses in Idaho. The application deadline is Nov. 30 and the finalists will be announced Dec. 16. The gala will be held in Boise on March 9. Women can be honored up to three times, earning them a place in the Circle of Excellence.

Here is a link to the nomination form:

Here’s a link to the program from last spring: 2016 Idaho Business Review Women of the Year

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Madsens retiring from craft business after nearly 40 years

The sign at Madsen's store on West Broadway, which has been open since 1999. Before then, Dale and Pat Madsen were in the Skyline Shopping Center.

After nearly 40 years of hard work and memories, owners Dale and Pat Madsen are retiring.

The Madsens have developed long-lasting relationships with their customers over the years.
Dale is often found on the floor of the store in his signature hat his children gave him several years ago. He’s a definite people person with a frugal nature and good business savvy, Pat said. Plus, he just loves what he does.

Their customers are not happy to see the store go. “We’ve had customers come in and say, ‘We aren’t sure how we are going to get on without you,’” said Dale.

The store as it is today got its start after Dale earned his degree in business management, and he found that working in the Sears management program in Utah wasn’t his cup of tea.

“I wanted to get back to where I grew up,” said Dale, who is originally from the Rigby area.
He and Pat had two small children at the time, and Pat remembers Dale calling her with the news.

“He told me he had quit Sears and had a job in Idaho Falls, and we didn’t even have a place to live yet,” said Pat.

But it all worked out just fine, she added. Dale went to work for the Ben Franklin store in the former Skyline shopping center at the corner of Broadway and Skyline in west Idaho Falls. It was a popular franchise variety store, and Dale thrived there. After four years, he bought the store from the owner.
As the business landscape changed, more people headed to big box stores for variety items, but

Dale’s store had a loyal following of those looking for unique crafts and fabrics. So in 1999, they bought the land and built the building where Madsen’s sits today, changing the name and focus to be crafts, fabric and framing.

“It was a big investment, but it worked out,” said Pat.

These days, Dale directs the day-to-day operations, while Pat takes care of payroll and ordering all of the fabric—a big job by itself, but one she has loved.

“I’ve been sewing since I was 8 years old,” she said. “People love our fabric. The quality is different.”

Pat said that the type of sewing people do has changed a lot over the years; many people used to sew their own clothes, but these days it is all about quilting.

“This has become the go-to place for the quilting groups in the area,” said long-time employee Sallie Hobbs.

Hobbs will miss the atmosphere of Madsen’s, where she will spend a lot of time cutting fabric up until closing day.

“Dale is optimistic and honest. It is a good place to work,” she said.

It’s also been a good place for the Madsen family. Dale and Pat have seven children and 24 grandchildren, and they fondly remember raising their children while juggling their time being small-business owners. In fact, the Madsens often brought their children to the store to help out with different things.

“When our kids get together they talk about all the stuff we made them do, like stocking yarn, building bikes, inventory, and building trampolines on Christmas Eve,” Pat said.

Although owning your own business is tough and isn’t something you do if you want to be a millionaire, it has its advantages, the couple said.

“Dale has been able to take the time to coach basketball and baseball,” Pat said.

Now, although Dale and Pat plan to keep their trampoline and swing set business open, they will be able to visit their family more.

“When it’s time to retire, you just know,” Pat said.