Friday, September 22, 2017

INL plans to host power grid integration demo next week

Researchers in INL's Real Time Power & Energy Systems Innovation Laboratory in Idaho Falls 
A team of researchers in the U.S. and Europe is poised to globally integrate electrical grids in a way that resonates with the creation of the internet more than 50 years ago.

The group convenes at Idaho National Laboratory Tuesday, Sept. 26, for a live demonstration of the Real-Time Super Lab (RT Super Lab) concept, which will study how electricity can be rerouted across vast distances to address disruptions. The team envisions that large-scale blackouts can be prevented by moving electricity intercontinentally, the same way utilities currently do regionally but at a much larger scale. Such global interaction can prepare America for next-generation power system challenges, reduce the cost of outages and make electrical power grids of the future more resilient.

The effort builds on work done between the U.S. Department of Energy’s INL and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories and five universities, two of them in Europe, have joined INL to explore the idea that electrons can be sent around the world the same way as digital packets of zeros and ones over the internet.

“This is more than computers talking to each other,” said Rob Hovsapian, INL’s Power and Energy Systems department manager. “We are developing capabilities for geographically distributed real-time grid simulation with shared assets at INL, other national labs, universities and utilities.”

In 2015, INL and NREL successfully demonstrated the capability to connect grid simulations at their two labs for real-time interaction over the internet. Both INL’s Power and Energy Real-Time Laboratory and NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility have the capability to merge computer-based simulations of the power grid with actual hardware such as wind turbines, solar inverters, batteries and electric vehicles — a capability called "power hardware in the loop."


The two national laboratories were able to connect their Digital Real-Time Simulators and achieve grid simulation such that the hardware or software at one lab could directly interact with hardware or software at the other lab.

Leveraging assets and expertise at other national labs and academic institutions, the RT Super Lab concept brings more assets into the mix, with the following participants contributing specific capabilities:

  • Sandia National Laboratories’ Distributed Energy Technologies Laboratory
  • Colorado State University’s high-performance computer-based energy management system
  • Washington State University’s Smart Grid and Microgrid Laboratory
  • University of South Carolina College of Engineering and Computing’s Integrated Grids Laboratory
  • RWTH Aachen University’s co-simulation framework
  • Polytechnic University of Turin’s high-performance computer-based Energy Management System
  • 
NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility
  • 
INL’s Power and Energy Real-Time Laboratory


"Joint collaboration via a Ph.D. researcher exchange between RWTH and INL was a key factor in creating scientific tools and techniques featured in this demonstration," said Manish Mohanpurkar, INL’s Power and Energy Systems group lead. “INL and NREL research also made the project possible by addressing data latency issues and improving available bandwidth.”

The Wide Area Network demonstrations that took place between INL and NREL showed that most data packets took less than 17 milliseconds to travel from point to point. To mitigate data latency issues (like those that create cellphone echoes and delays), researchers used advanced methods from the fields of signal processing, filtering theory and data compression.

Along with rapid strides in interconnecting grid laboratories globally, another active research approach will enable additional significant measurements to be exchanged between two connected real-time simulators. The preliminary results are promising and the method will be utilized for geographically distributed real-time simulations connecting laboratories all across the world.


Power systems around the world are undergoing fundamental transitions to achieve long-term sustainability, reliability and affordability. The RT-Super Lab allows simulation of large-scale systems, simultaneous development across different domains and a flexible collaboration that preserves the confidential details of individual groups.


The ability to move electricity around the globe rather than only within isolated networks holds the possibility of vast savings on infrastructure and energy consumption.


“It’s always easier and cheaper to transfer electrons than fuels,” Hovsapian said.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Apple Athletic owner files for Planet Fitness on Woodruff Avenue

The interior of a Planet Fitness gym somewhere in America. (Photo: Planet Fitness)
It looks like Apple Athletic Club owner Steve Vucovic could be expanding his fitness empire in Idaho Falls this fall. Vucovic and a partner, Keith Larsen, applied Aug. 30 to the city of Idaho Falls Building Department for a building permit for a 240,000-square-foot remodeling job at 200 South Woodruff Avenue, for a Planet Fitness Health Club. Vucovic said last week they were still negotiating a lease, but the building permit was issued Tuesday.

North of Smith’s, the space has been empty since Curtiss-Wright Flow Control Scientech relocated its offices to Snake River Landing in 2014.

With more than 1,400 clubs in the United States, Planet Fitness is one of the largest fitness club franchises. Based in Hampton, N.H., the company dates back to 1992. It opened its first franchised location in Florida in 2013, and in February 2016, the franchise was added to the Franchise Times "Fast and Serious" list of top franchises (No. 1). That same year, Forbes magazine ranked Planet Fitness No. 4, and the company ranked in the top 50 of the Entrepreneur magazine Franchise 500 in 2017.

The club's two membership levels are $10 and $19.99 per month: the $10 per month level includes access to cardio and strength equipment, unlimited group fitness instruction and pizza and bagels once a month; the $19.99 per month (“Black Card”) level allows members to bring one guest per day at no charge, access to all Planet Fitness locations, and access to extra amenities, such as tanning booths and massage chairs.

The company advertises "no judgment,” with "judgment free zone," signs plastered across its gyms and signs on the equipment reminding members that they "belong." Planet Fitness famously serves free pizza on the first Monday of the month and bagels on the second Tuesday of the month.

The target demographic is people who are just getting used to working out or people who really, really hate exercising. There are no classes, just two circuits, a 30-minute full-body circuit and a 12-minute ab circuit.

"We're going after the first-time exercises or casual user," CEO Chris Rondeau told Business Insider in 2015. "Gym intimidation is real."

Friday, September 15, 2017

DOE announce $19.7 million for tech commercialization, including INL work

Source: https://energy.gov/science-innovation/innovation/commercialization
Idaho National Laboratory had seven projects included on a list released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced $19.7 million in Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) projects, aimed at helping businesses move promising energy technologies from DOE’s national laboratories to the marketplace. This second department-wide round of funding through the Office of Technology Transition was in support of 54 projects across 12 national laboratories involving more than 30 private-sector partners.

The TCF works to expand the commercial impact of DOE’s portfolio of research, development,
demonstration, and deployment activities in two topic areas: Projects for which additional technology
maturation is needed to attract a private partner, and cooperative development projects between labs
and industry partners designed to bolster the commercial application of a lab developed technology.

The seven selections that involved Idaho National Laboratory included:

  • Event Model Risk Assessment using Linked Diagrams (EMRALD), $61,906
  • Produced Water Treatment using the Switchable Polarity Solvent Forward Osmosis (SPS FO) Process, $150,000
  • RAVEN Code Commercial Deployment for Industrial Related Applications, $250,000; Private Partner: FPoliSolutions, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Integration of PHISICS into the AREVA reactor design suite for commercial application to High Temperature Reactors, $300,000; Private Partner: AREVA NP Inc., Lynchburg, Va.
  • Pathway to Commercialization of Weather Based Dynamic Line Rating with CFD using INL’s General Line Ampacity State Solver (GLASS) software $300,000; Private Partners: Schneider Electric, Burnsville, Minn.; WindSim Americas Inc., Westlake Village, Calif.
  • Seismic Isolation of Major Advanced Reactor Systems for Economic Improvement and Safety Assurance, $710,000; ; Private Partners: Southern Company Services Inc., Birmingham, Ala.; TerraPower, Bellevue, Wash.; X-energy, Greenbelt, Md.
  • Highly Scalable Computer-Based Procedure System for Field Workers, $750,000; Private Partner: NextAxiom Technology, San Francisco, Calif.

DOE’s national labs have supported critical research and development that has led to many technologies in the marketplace today, including the batteries powering electric vehicles, the foundation of Internet servers, and the optical digital recording technology behind DVDs.

“Accelerating the transition of energy technologies from the laboratory bench to the marketplace is an
important component of increasing America’s economic prosperity and energy security,” Perry said.
“This second round of TCF projects highlight the incredible value of DOE’s National Laboratories and the importance of bringing the Department’s technology transfer mission to the American people.”

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Taste of Downtown set for Friday

Taste of Downtown will be held Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. on the 300 block of Park Avenue, featuring ten local downtown restaurants, bars, and pubs. Arguably, Idaho Falls’ single-best food and beverage event, this is the fourth year for Taste of Downtown.

There will be live music provided by Liar & Dan. Guests can watch how different chefs, employees and owners bring everything together and enjoy food right on the spot, said Catherine Smith, executive director of the Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation. “This event isn’t just entertaining and delicious, it also gives everyone a greater appreciation for our local cuisine and entrepreneurship right here in our own downtown,” she said.

Taste of Downtown tickets will be available at the event. Tickets are $1 each. Participating restaurants include: City Bagels & Bakery, BlackRock, A Street Soup Market, Villa Coffeehouse, SnakeBite, Pachangas, The Celt, Persnickety Lemon Deli, Diabala’s Kitchen, and Grandpa’s Southern BBQ. Each restaurant will set their “taste” amount, or ticket amount, for a variety of dishes available at each booth. Proceeds from this event go to the local nonprofit, CASA-Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Taste of Downtown is produced by Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation and Bank of Idaho. For more information, check out their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/IFDDC/, or visit www.downtownidahofalls.com.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Modern Home in Ammon to scheduled to open in November

An aerial view of the Modern Home store in Ammon, taken in late August. 
Here’s a little more information on the Modern Home store being built in Ammon, on Eagle Drive near Kohl’s.

“It’s a pretty new development for us,” said Alan Sparks, the owner. “It started in idea form in the fall of 2016.  My wife and I discovered Idaho Falls after a vacation and dropping our oldest son off at BYU-I. It was funny how fast we fell in love with the area and how we couldn’t get it out of our mind.”

Sparks has run two furniture stores in Arizona: Sparks Homestore in Thatcher Home Furnishings Direct in Cottonwood. “We have a great management team in place that are doing a great job running our Arizona stores,” Sparks said. “Being in the furniture business and still working for a living, we knew the only way to be able to move here was to open a new store in Idaho Falls. In June of this year that dream came true and boy do we love it!”

The name Modern Home represents a commitment they’ve made to keeping their inventory up to date, in style and current, “a place you can go to get inspired and find great deals as well,” he said. The store will open the first part of November, with hiring to begin in the first part of October.

The store is 25,000 square feet. Brands will include Tempurpedic, Sealy, Klaussner, Ashley, Benchcraft, Southern Motion, and more.

“Please wish us Arizona folks luck this winter,” Sparks said. “I am not sure we fully know what it means to go through an Idaho winter!”

Thursday, September 7, 2017

New furniture store being built on Eagle Drive

The artist's rendering on Modern Home's Facebook page.
We’ve had a few readers ask about the building going up in Ammon on Eagle Drive near Hillcrest High School and Kohl’s. While I haven’t had the time to visit the friendly people in the city of Ammon building department to look at the actual plans, I have learned that it will be a new mattress and furniture store called Modern Home.

For a look at the Facebook page, here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/modernhomeidaho/. There are 537 likes as I look at it right now. Let’s see where that number is at the end of the day, once BizMojo has written them up, ha ha!

According to the information there, they will be hiring in October. As soon as I hear back from Alan Sparks, the person on the Facebook page who appears to be answering all the questions, I will have a more detailed report.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

REDI names Dana Kirkham new STAR director

Dana Kirkham
REDI, eastern Idaho’s economic development organization, has named Dana Kirkham to be its Science Technology and Research (STAR) director. Currently serving as Mayor of Ammon, Kirkham will start part-time with REDI on Monday and take on full-time duties when she leaves office at the end of the year.

Jan Rogers, REDI’s CEO, cited Kirkham’s experience in local government, her background with the federal government, CIA and State Department, and her strong legislative experience. “Dana will bring impressive skills to support STAR efforts throughout the region,” she said.

REDI advertised in mid-July that it was creating a position for a person to focus on the region’s science, technology and research sector, on track to reach nearly $4.5 billion in capital investment. Support from Battelle Energy Alliance, the company running Idaho National Laboratory, and Fluor Idaho, the company in charge of cleanup work, and other high-tech industry partners made the position possible.

“Whether it is building our first-of-kind small modular reactor, expanding our work in cyber security, or strengthening our supplier and subcontract environment, the timing is right to find a STAR Director to advocate and champion our region both regionally and nationally,” INL Director Mark Peters said.

Kirkham said she will be focusing specifically on federal programs across the region. “Managing and expanding these key sectors will benefit the whole region by creating more STAR related opportunities,” she said.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

INL to demonstrate solar-powered battery system for cooling buses

Motor Coach Industries supplies buses to Idaho National Laboratory and collaborates on research to make them more efficient and environmentally friendly.
Idaho National Laboratory will demonstrate a new solar/battery-powered system for cooling motor coach buses Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the Energy Innovation Laboratory meeting center, 775 University Blvd.  The demonstration is being held in conjunction with a forum for industry leaders being held at INL.

The Motor Coach No-Idle Proof of Concept research initiative will demonstrate how a bus at standstill with the engine turned off – for example, waiting before loading passengers – can keep the passenger coach comfortable by drawing on solar-powered batteries to run the HVAC (heating-cooling) system.

The solar panel system charges the batteries to help power and increase the run time of the air-conditioning units. This reduces the amount of typical idle time needed by buses that run diesel-powered engines to cool the coach interiors when at standstill. The system addresses a growing challenge of federal and state regulations that require bus operators to reduce fuel emissions or face penalties.

With funding support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sustainability Performance Office, INL formed a research and development partnership with Bergstrom Inc., a prominent cab climate systems designer/builder, and leading bus manufacturer Motor Coach Industries (MCI) to design and modify a bus cooling-ventilating system to sharply reduce idle emissions.

Bank of Idaho to present endowment check to College of Eastern Idaho

Bank of Idaho will be presenting a check for $12,000 Thursday morning to the newly formed College of Eastern Idaho, to establish a scholarship endowment with the CEI Foundation.

The presentation will be at 11 a.m. at CEI’s main office, 1600 S. 25th East. Dignitaries expected to attend include Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper, Ammon Mayor Dana Kirkham, College of Eastern Idaho officials, foundation directors, and members of the Board of Trustees. An informal reception will follow.

Seeing the conversion of Eastern Idaho Technical College to a four-year community college is something Bank of Idaho has fully supported since the idea was first introduced several years
ago, said Jeff Newgard, the bank’s president and CEO. “We had great momentum with public interest in an affordable 4-year college,” he said. “We felt the timing was perfect, and by jumping in and establishing the fund and holding our first annual golf tournament, we know we can make a big difference for students who need some help pursuing a college education.”

To benefit CEI, Bank of Idaho held its first ”Swing for the Green” golf tournament in late June, with 25 teams participating. It was co-hosted by three LPGA Professionals who have committed to returning next year.

“We know that the ripple effect of a four-year community college will benefit every small business in our community in a big way,” Newgard said. “We hope to get the word out about the endowment fund because we aren’t stopping here. Bank of Idaho is proud to support CEI and the pursuit of educational excellence in our community.”

For details on how you can join Bank of Idaho in contributing to the Endowment Fund for Higher
Education, contact Bank of Idaho’s vice president of market development, Jarod Phillips, at 208-524- 5500 or via email at j.phillips@bankofidaho.net.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Get Your Business Online workshop set Tuesday at Snake River Landing

Ball Ventures is hosting an all-day Get Your Business Online workshop Tuesday at Snake River Landing. Experts from Google will be on hand to show business owners how to add or update information on Google Search and Maps, optimize and promote their websites and more.

The free workshop will start at 8:30 a.m. at The Waterfront at Snake River Landing, 1220 Event Center Drive. Register online at https://events.gybo.com/events/261/register.

Here is the agenda for the day:

8:30 a.m.: 
Check-in and registration



9 a.m.: GROW YOUR BUSINESS ONLINE

  • Learn the basics of how customers find your business online.
  • Learn how to promote your online presence with methods like search engine optimization (SEO) and online advertising.
  • 
We also introduce tools to help you run your business online, including Google Analytics and Google Apps for Work.


10:30 a.m.: 
GET FOUND on SEARCH and MAPS

Want to get found on Google Search and Maps? Learn the easiest way to help your business be found online.
 This presentation introduces Google My Business, a free tool to manage your business information across Google.

Following the morning workshops, Zions Bank and Snake River Landing invite you to an afternoon of special programming designed to help you better understand the local small business economy.

It will feature some of eastern Idaho's most successful entrepreneurs.
 Complimentary lunch and refreshments will be served.



12:15 p.m.: Lunch with Robert Spendlove
Spendlove, Zions Bank senior vice president of economic and public policy, will give a talk about eastern Idaho's economy.



1 p.m.:
 IDAHO SMALL BUSINESS RESOURCE PANEL

Moderated by Katie Sewell, State Director, Idaho SBDC 
Hear about resources in Idaho that can help your business grow.
 Panelists are Bryant Searle, Zions Bank Business Development Expert; Dave Noack, SBDC Eastern Idaho Regional Director; Bill Woods, SCORE Chapter Chair



2 p.m.: SMALL BUSINESS GROWTH PANEL

Hear from a panel of CEOs that grew their businesses from a local favorite to national or international success. Panelists are Steve Browning, CFO, FinFun (SBA Idaho Small Biz of the Year 2017); Kade Kraus, CFO, KLIM; Jeff Krantz, Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener LLC (Idaho SBDC Success Story 2013)
; Sarah Marshall, Off The Grid Investigations LLC (Idaho SBDC Success Story 2017)



3 p.m.
: NETWORKING RECEPTION

Enjoy complimentary refreshments and treats courtesy of Snake River Landing while networking with 
panelists, business leaders, and other entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Sarah's Candy Cottage closing after 19 years in business

Add caption
If you’re planning to say goodbye to Sarah’s Candy Cottage you have until Saturday at 6 p.m. Idaho Falls’ top purveyor of sweets is closing its doors for good after nearly 20 years in business. The fixtures are being sold off next week, and according to East Idaho News the building, at 221 N. Woodruff Avenue, is slated to be torn down.

Mike Swendsen and his daughter, Liz Yasaitis, opened Sarah’s in 1998 at 1503 E. 17th Street, where Great Harvest Bread Co. still is. They moved to their own store on Woodruff a few years later.

According to their Facebook page, the store is being “retired.” Twenty years for a small business like Sarah’s is a great run. Times change, people's lives change and the world moves on.

If you're curious, here is the business profile I wrote about them for the Post Register in July 1999:

For those people whose knowledge of licorice extends only so far as Twizzlers in the candy machine, Michael Swendsen has a message he wants to impart: There is a whole world' s worth of licorice to be experienced.

The same goes for chocolates and fudge. Swendsen, owner of Sarah' s Candy Cottage in Idaho Falls, is ready to give anyone who walks in his door a sample of what' s available. It may be from England, Germany or Australia, or it might be from his kitchen. All Swendsen wants it to be is special.

"We felt like there was an opportunity to open an old-time candy store, with toffee, peanut brittle, scratch made fudges and truffles," he said. "We cater to a little different customer."

The shop, named after Swendsen' s daughter, Sarah, now 28, is located in the same 17th Street building as Great Harvest Bread Co. This is a fortunate arrangement, because the people who are looking for specialty baked goods are likely to be the same people inclined to buy specialty candies.

Swendsen is generous with his samples and estimates that 15 to 20 percent of his gross is given away. "Feed them on their way through and get them to buy on the way out," he said.

The store has only been in operation for a year, so there is a great deal to be done to raise public awareness. But Swendsen is hoping the national trends are on his side. In the past 15 years, candy consumption in the United States has increased dramatically, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce. In 1984, the average American ate 18.9 pounds of candy. In 1997, the last year for which figures were available, the number was 24.9 pounds.

Likewise, candy sales in 1984 were $6.6 billion. In 1997, that number was more than double, $13.3 billion. Total candy consumption in 1997 was 7.1 billion pounds, of which 3.1 billion pounds was chocolate.

Swendsen first got interested in candy when he had the Helmsman restaurant in downtown Idaho Falls, then the Bylander, a combination delicatessen and bakery. "I've always been interested in the making of candy," he said.

Since 1978, Swendsen has run Phase Applications, a company that services substations for rural electrification associations and utilities. But that business wanes in the winter, exactly the opposite of candy making operations, which have their busiest time from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Three years ago he bought Candyland, in the Teton Plaza. But that store didn' t have a kitchen, dealing only in commercial candies. "My interest was really in making candy," he said.

Swendsen has two candy makers working for him, Ray Franco and Eva Niederer. He makes items himself, but admits he is "very young in the craft."

"It's a trade, like a butcher," said Bill Mundy, of Schurra' s Candy Factory in San Jose, Calif., a business that has been around since 1912. "There are good butchers and bad butchers. How good do you want to be? How much pride do you take in your work?"

In a major metropolitan area, with competition from 15 See's Candy stores, Mundy relies on customer loyalty and promotions to give him visibility. When the symphony has a fund-raiser, he puts chocolates on the tables in exchange for an ad in the program.

Said Swendsen, "There are people who have a passion about what they do. I do this because I love it. It's an expression of something I really enjoy." To make good candy, getting good ingredients are important.

Swendsen buys the best he can find, which might mean buying a quart of Amaretti vanilla for $120. The shop also has factory-made candy for sale, and a large selection of sugar-free candies for diabetics. He said there has been a significant number of customers from Jackson, Wyo., who tend to come in on Saturday.

"People are longing for skillfully produced goods and services, and presentation beyond mass merchandising. We really want to make people feel welcome."

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Home prices up, sales times down, for first seven months of 2017

Source: Snake River MLS

Here’s a little snapshot of the real estate market for the first seven months of this year. The numbers show a little bit of a slowdown from last year in terms of homes sold and new listings. That said, homes are selling faster and for significantly more.

From the investment standpoint, real estate is looking really good — depending of course on when you got in. The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s HPI-Calculator shows that if you bought a $100,000 home in Idaho Falls in Q2 1987 — 30 years ago — that property would be worth $247,505 today. That’s a climb back from the dip it took in 2011, when it went down to $193,564 in the second quarter, from its previous high in Q2 2008 of $232,923. The good news is that you were never underwater, provided that you didn’t do anything silly.

If you bought a $100,000 home in Q2 2007, it would be worth $109,554 in Q2 2017, according to the calculator. If you bought it in Q2 2012, it would be worth $126,374.

Good news for everyone. Just remember, however, numbers are numbers, and real worth depends completely on the money someone is willing to hand you.

To look at the HPI-Calculator, here's the link: https://www.fhfa.gov/DataTools/Tools/Pages/HPI-Calculator.aspx

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

INL accepting applications for community giving, economic development grants

Battelle Energy Alliance, which manages Idaho National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy, announced Monday that it is accepting applications for the fiscal year 2018 Community Giving and Technology-based Economic Development campaigns. Each program focuses on a distinct audience and purpose. Applications for charitable or philanthropic donations for both programs will be accepted through Oct. 16.

Fiscal Year 2018 Community Giving Campaign


The INL Community Giving program provides BEA corporate-funded donations in select areas, such as human services, health, environment, arts and civic projects.


“The Community Giving program is focused on eastern Idaho, where INL’s employees live and work, and prioritizes organizations that support children and people in need,” said Lori Priest, contributions administrator. “That includes efforts to feed the hungry, provide basic shelter to those without, and improve quality of life."

Since 2005, the program has provided support for a variety of outreach efforts.


“It is our responsibility to be good neighbors and make a positive contribution to our community,” said Amy Lientz, director of INL’s Partnerships team. “It’s also a privilege for those of us fortunate enough to work at INL to help our friends and neighbors in need.”


Fiscal Year 2018 Technology-based Economic Development Campaign

The INL Technology-based Economic Development program targets projects aimed at spurring regional economic development, technology-based economic development, talent pipeline and entrepreneurship in the area.


“We enjoyed great success in 2017, supporting projects throughout Idaho: in the Panhandle, Sun Valley, north-central Idaho, and Butte County,” said Stephanie Cook of INL’s Economic and Workforce Development team. “Our goal is to continue investing in creative projects that support INL’s research priorities, grow the talent pipeline, and enhance the regional and state economies.”

Eligibility criteria: Organizations must be 501(c)(3) nonprofit entities. A copy of the IRS tax-exempt letter must accompany the form. INL’s charitable donation program does not fund political or religious organizations, emergency response, courtesy advertisements, athletic programs or events, individuals, contests or extracurricular school activities. This funding does not include requests for K-12 education donations.


For further information on K-12 science, technology, engineering and math educational funding requests and grant cycles, contact Brenda Greenhalgh (brenda.greenhalgh@inl.gov).

Applications submitted after the Oct. 16 deadline will not be included in the review process. Decisions about 2018 contributions will be made by Dec. 15. Notifications will be sent to requesting organizations informing them of funding awards. Funds will be for projects for the period of Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018.

For full details on both programs, or to download the 2018 request for donation form, visit INL’s website at www.inl.gov. From there, select Menu on the top right, then choose Partner with INL, then choose either Community and Education Outreach or Economic and Workforce Development.

Monday, August 14, 2017

INL names two new distinguished postdoctoral appointees

Dr. Thomas V. Holschuh II
Idaho National Laboratory has named Dr. Thomas V. Holschuh II and Abdalla Abou Jaoude as its first two Deslonde de Boisblanc Distinguished Postdoctoral appointees.

The appointments are designed for early career scientists and engineers to perform leading-edge research and development for advanced power reactor design and development, and to support ongoing studies at INL research reactor facilities. It is named in honor of Deslonde de Boisblanc, best known for designing the Advanced Test Reactor’s famous clover-leaf core, which allows multiple nuclear fuels and materials to be tested at the same time in the same reactor at different power levels.

“The arrival of the first two Deslonde de Boisblanc Distinguished Postdoctoral appointments will help inspire our research and bring fresh perspectives to INL – something that will leave a lasting impact,” said Dr. Kelly Beierschmitt, INL deputy laboratory director for science and technology and chief research officer. “Without de Boisblanc’s inspiration, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

Holschuh graduated from Oregon State University with a doctorate in nuclear engineering in June 2017. His doctoral research evaluated using a new detecting method, the Cherenkov Radiation Assay for Nuclear Kinetics (CRANK) system, to accurately determine reactor kinetics parameters. Holschuh will be using the same technique to perform observations of INL’s Transient Reactor Test Facility (TREAT) under the guidance of his future mentor, Dan Wachs, who leads the transient testing experimental program.

Abdalla Abou Jaoude
“We've been working with Tommy for several years and are looking forward to his return to INL,” said Dr. David Chichester, an INL directorate fellow and Holschuh’s mentor during his graduate internship. “With key skills in reactor physics and radiation science, he's going to be making important contributions to our nuclear energy and nuclear nonproliferation research programs.”

The second appointee, Abdalla Abou Jaoude, is scheduled to begin his appointment in January 2018, following the completion of his doctorate in December 2017. Abou Jaoude is currently a postdoctoral candidate in nuclear and radiological engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His postdoctoral research focus is neutronics, core design, simulation methods and nuclear nonproliferation. When his appointment begins, he will work with mentor Gilles Youinou on the design and evaluation of a mixed-spectrum molten chloride test reactor.


"Abdalla has an exceptional ability to see the big picture when it comes to a reactor design. He has all it takes – motivation, scholarship and talent – to become a leader in advanced reactor development," said Dr. Anna Erickson, Abou Jaoude’s supervising professor at GIT.

INL’s first distinguished postdoctoral appointee, Dr. Cheng Sun, was named to the Russell L. Heath distinguished postdoctoral appointment in October 2016.

“Appointing two excellent researchers to the first de Boisblanc postdoc positions reflects on the high caliber of the applicants in a very competitive selection process. These individuals will help define a new standard of excellence in advanced reactor design and application at INL,” said Dr. Sean O’Kelly, associate laboratory director for the Advanced Test Reactor.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Ground broken on new development at Memorial and Broadway

An artist's representation of what The Broadway will look like
With the ceremonial spading of dirt by city officials and business leaders, work got underway Monday on The Broadway on the site of the old Saving Center at Broadway and Memorial Drive.

The complex will consist of a 9,600-square-foot single story retail building and a three-story mixed-used building incorporating retail, restaurant and office space, with residential condominiums on the third story. Spaces are divisible up to 1,200 square feet. Between the two buildings there will be a plaza for food, music and entertainment.

The property was bought in 2015 by the Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency, which had conducted a study analyzing demand for downtown housing estimating demand for housing units between 455 to 502 units. The board also approved the purchase of an option on the Bonneville Hotel at Constitution Way and Park Avenue.

In February 2016, the Oppenheimer Development Corp. responded to the IFRA’s request for proposals on the .95-acre property.

Bank of Idaho, Parsons, Beahle & Latimer, Smokin Fins (a Colorado-based seafood restaurant chain), and Lucy’s Pizzeria have been listed as prospective tenants. Leasing arrangements are being handled by Thornton Oliver Keller. For more information, follow this link: The Broadway.

Monday, August 7, 2017

City of Idaho Falls building permit applications

Here is a list of building permit applications filed with the Idaho Falls Building Department since July 1. These are the ones we found significant. If you want every sink replacement remodel, visit the Building Department’s site using this link: https://trakit.idahofallsidaho.gov/etrakit3/Search/permit.aspx

COM17-108
Commercial Building (Remodel)
Site: 2188 Channing Way
Applicant: Morgan Construction
Owner: Channing Square Properties, Hayden, Idaho
Job Value: $73,974
Applied Date: Aug. 4
Description: Home Care Medical, 2,773 sf

COM17-107
Commercial Building (New Construction)
Site: 344 Memorial Drive
Applicant: Rory Heggie Architecture
Owner: 1F1 LLC
Job Value: $370,000
Applied Date: Aug. 4
Description: The Broadway Garage, 22,255 sf

COM17-105
Commercial Building (New Construction)
Site: 3340 S. 25th East
Applicant: 33Z Builders
Owner: Washington Federal
Job Value: $85,000
Applied Date: July 31
Description: Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, 49,604 sf

COM17-104
Commercial Building (Addition)
Site: 1255 N. Holmes Avenue
Applicant: Ron’s Tire
Owner: SLS1 LLP
Job Value: $14,000
Applied Date: July 27
Description: Ron’s Tire Entry Canopy

COM17-101
Commercial Building (Roof)
Site: 290 Constitution Way
Applicant: V and R Roofing
Owner: Mountain States Telephone Co. (QWEST Corp.)
Job Value: $590,000
Applied Date: July 27
Description: Roof replacement

COM17-0099
Commercial Building (New Construction)
Site: 1055 Foote Drive
Applicant: Evergreen Holding (Farmington, Utah)
Owner: Evergreen Holding (Farmington, Utah)
Job Value: $650,000
Applied Date: July 19
Description: Grandview Mini Storage, 87,367 sf

COM17-0097
Commercial Building (New Construction)
Site: 1601 Antler Drive
Applicant: Roth Properties
Owner: Steve Fransen
Job Value: $500,000
Applied Date: July 12
Description: Alpine Castle Lake Insurance, 8,270 sf

COM17-0095
Commercial Building (Remodel)
Site: 3100 Channing Way
Applicant: ALC Architecture
Owner: EIRMC
Job Value: $25,000
Applied Date: July 6
Description: EIRMC Dialysis remodel


Friday, July 28, 2017

EIRMC names new chief medical officer

Dr. R. Lee Biggs
Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center has added Dr. R. Lee Biggs as chief medical officer on its administrative team. Biggs comes to EIRMC after a 26-year career as a captain and physician in the U.S. Navy.

As chief medical officer, Biggs leads clinical initiatives that support consistent clinical performance and excellence across the hospital.

Biggs attained his undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University, a master’s in public health from George Washington University and his medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. His medical specialty is as an obstetrician-gynecologist and he has maintained professional certifications with the American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology and the American Association for Physician Leadership/American College of Physician Executives.
 
In his clinical and leadership roles, Biggs has severed as a chief clinical officer, medical staff president, director and department head.  He has championed and led innovation in physician development, process improvement, quality and patient safety.  In 2010, he received the Department of Defense Patient Safety Award for advances in obstetrical and team-centered care.  In addition, he has served on the Navy’s advisory boards for primary care and unplanned pregnancy.

Throughout his Navy career, Biggs has had postings at seas in addition to tours of duty in Naples (Italy), Virginia, South Caroline, Afghanistan, Guam, Pennsylvania, and Washington. D.C.

He is a native of Asheville, N.C. and is married to Marie Holland Biggs. They have one son and one daughter. Having lived all over the world, the lure of the west has brought Dr. Biggs to EIRMC and Idaho. He is an avid cyclist, cross-country skier and outdoor enthusiast.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Float Fix: Sensory deprivation in Idaho Falls

Years ago — and I mean many years ago, like 1980, when I was working an office job in Center City Philadelphia — I read an article about sensory deprivation tanks and their supposed benefits. These included the promise of getting nine hours’ worth of sleep in less than an hour, and not just light sleeping but Delta Sleep. “Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream,” to quote the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.”

Basically, what a sensory deprivation tank involves is water at near body temperature with so much salt in it that you float nearly on top as you do on the Dead Sea in the Middle East or on the Great Salt Lake in Utah. A genuine sensory deprivation tank is fully enclosed, so that when the door shuts you are in complete darkness.

David Hay, owner of Float Fix in Idaho Falls
For a claustrophobic, this would be a nightmare, so some of you might be ruling it out even as you read this, but it always sounded intriguing to me. So one day, I randomly googled “sensory deprivation idaho falls” and discovered that we indeed have Float Fix in the Three Rivers Health Center, 1421 First Street. It is part of David Hay’s massage business, in what used to be Essence of You and, long before that, the Hatch Mansion.

Eager to satisfy my curiosity after all these years, I set up an appointment. What Hay has set up is not total enclosed isolation, but a 9-foot-by-9-foot pool in a dark room, filled with 300 gallons of water and spiked with 900 pounds of magnesium salt. The lights are low, the decor soothing. It's very nice.

“We’re just flooded with sensory stuff these days,” said Hay, whose first experience with sensory deprivation was five years ago in Utah. For the first-timer, the real challenge is turning off the voice in your head. “If you can’t hear it anywhere else, you will in there,” he said.

The process goes like this: you go in, strip down, take a shower, put in earplugs, climb in and … float. If there is one thing I wish I’d had it would have been a floatation noodle to go under my ankles, so I could stop thinking about whether my legs were sinking and pulling me down. (I know this is silly in shallow water, but that’s the way I am.)

For a while, I had thoughts drifting from one place to another, but I think I did go to sleep eventually. In time, I was awakened by the sound of my own snoring, which was a clear tipoff I'd gotten some shuteye. When they knocked on the door after an hour I said, “Has it been an hour already?” — another good sign.

Hay said he’s only had one customer who couldn’t shut off his interior monologue, an 18-year-old who got out after ten minutes, took a shower and got dressed again. Likewise, there has only been one person they had trouble “bringing back,” an Iraq war veteran who, once he finally went out, really found the relaxation he’d been seeking.

A lot of customers are people passing through, but word is growing locally. “We get a lot of date nights. One of them will do the float while the other does a massage, and then they’ll switch,” Hay said.

If you want more information, call (208) 403-6392, or visit the Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Floatfix/.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

REDI seeks STAR director to address science, tech, research growth

REDI CEO Jan Rogers
In recognition of the growth in eastern Idaho’s science, technology and research sector – STAR –Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho (REDI) announced today they are looking to hire a Science Technology and Research (STAR) director.

This person will report to REDI’s CEO Jan Rogers and serve as the primary spokesperson for topics and actions tied to STAR industry representatives. “This important new position for Eastern Idaho will be solely dedicated to overseeing the unprecedented interest in our science, technology and research sector, currently on track to reach nearly $4.5 billion in capital investment,” she said.

“Thanks to the support of the Idaho National Laboratory, Fluor Idaho and numerous industry partners, we will have a highly skilled person in place to manage and expand our region’s core sectors.”

Eastern Idaho offers a wide range of higher education opportunities: a Department of Energy national laboratory, three major science and research labs, and advanced manufacturing.  Hiring a STAR director is vital to moving this industry cluster forward and keeping a focus on opportunities in the region.

“A leader that brings together eastern Idaho’s existing talent and assets uniquely available in our region is critical to INL’s future success,” INL Director Mark Peters said. “Whether it is building our first-of-kind small modular reactor, expanding our work in cyber security, or strengthening our supplier and subcontract environment, the timing is right to find a STAR Director to advocate and champion our region both regionally and nationally.

Steve Laflin, president and CEO of International Isotopes, said he appreciates REDI’s new focus for this regional cluster. “The region has a rapidly growing set of opportunities not only at INL but with surrounding businesses in the area,” he said. “Full-time focus on our science and research industry sector will help us better capitalize on the synergy of nuclear technology with medical isotope production and generic radiopharmaceutical drug manufacturing.”

Anyone interested in applying for the position is invited to visit www.easternidaho.org to review the STAR director job qualifications.  Click on the About Us tab, then Career Opportunities.  Applications will be accepted until Aug. 6.

Monday, July 17, 2017

High end portraiture studio opens in Idaho Falls

Looking like he belongs in The
New Yorker, here's Damond Watkins
posing for Studio M. Not 
everyone
can pull off this classic look.
Mark Richardson and Mark Hargis are betting that in the age of selfie proliferation there are still some people willing to pay for a quality portrait photograph. The two have opened Studio M, a new large format studio in Idaho Falls at 255 B Street, Suite 207.

“Our speciality is large format portraits that capture a person's personality or show them in a unique and interesting way,” Richardson said. “We believe that in the day of cell phone cameras and selfies, people are starting to see the value in true professional and traditional large format portrait prints that can become a focal point in the home and a treasured heirloom.”

Sessions are by appointment only. The sitting fee is $500, with a complimentary 11-by-14 print and a selection of images from the session optimized for social media. High resolution digital files are available for purchase online after the session.

“We create portraits, rather than images, that accurately portray our clientele -- whether individual or family. We feel that quality portraiture deserves to printed on a large scale and incorporated into the most intimate spaces of our lives," Richardson said.

For those seeking an even more rare and unique photographic experience, Studio M offers large format sheet film as a medium. There will always be a classic look to a portrait made on large format film, and film still remains the medium of choice among experienced portrait photographers. Pricing starts at $1,000 for a portrait session, whether family or individual. Digital files and fine art museum-quality prints are an additional cost.

For more information, visit the Web page at https://www.studiom.photos/. For a look at the studio does, they’re also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/studio_m_photo/.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

C-A-L Ranch Stores plans grand opening for new store July 21

C-A-L Ranch Stores, a company with roots in the Idaho Falls area that go back more for more than 60 years, will be holding a grand opening next week for its new store, just north of Wal-mart on Hitt Road. The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place July 21 at 11 a.m.

The new store, is C-A-L Ranch’s flagship store, offers 70,000 square feet of retail space, more than double the size of its longtime store on Anderson Street. In addition to the new retail facility, C-A-L Ranch is constructing a 30,000-square foot office space on Curlew Drive that will serve as corporate headquarters for the entire 25-store company. The store was built by Tom Stuart Construction and the office, to be completed later this year, is being built by Guardian Homes.

After the ribbon cutting, there will be drawings, door prizes, games, and savings throughout the store. Hot dogs for 25 cents will be available on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with proceeds benefiting Bonneville County 4-H.

The ranch and home retail company was founded in 1959 by Clinton Murphy and his sons Allen and L. Wayne Murphy. After crossing Montana in search of a suitable place for a store, the family decided to turn south and try their luck in Texas. On their way there, they stopped in Idaho Falls and recognized it would be a good place to root their business.

After a year, the company outgrew its 1,800-square foot building on the corner of Curtis and West 18th Street and relocated to a building in front of the stockyards on Yellowstone Highway. Twelve years later, it moved to Anderson Street, its home until now.

The new store features hundreds of products ranging from ranch and farm supplies to home d├ęcor and western apparel. Currently, C-A-L Ranch has 25 stores across Idaho, Utah, Nevada and Arizona.

For nearly 60 years,the company has remained locally owned and operated. Longtime Idaho Falls resident and C-A-L Ranch employee Jerry Ward and his family currently own the company and continue to build its reputation as one of the region’s leading ranch, home and farm stores, with excellent selection and world-class customer service.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

EIRMC relocates, renames Women's Imaging center

Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center’s Imaging Center has a new name and a new home. Formerly at 1070 John Adams Parkway, Eastern Idaho Women’s Imaging is now at 2860 Channing Way, Suite 121 (the Medical Office Building west of the hospital’s emergency room.)

Eastern Idaho Women’s Imaging offers 3D and 2D mammography, breast and abdominal ultrasounds, stereotactic breast biopsies and bone density testing. The new facility is easily accessible without entering the main hospital and offers spacious, updated rooms, increased privacy, and a spa-like feel for patients.

In addition to state-of-the-art services, it offers an all-female staff with advanced certifications, and Saturday and weekday evening appointments are available.

There will be an open house Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. The staff will be on hand to give tours and answer questions, and light refreshments will be served.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Culver's, Eagle Rock Indian Motorcycle, now open

Brian Tomasko, seated on his new Chief Vintage, with Eagle Rock Indian dealership owner Todd Williams.
Two projects in or near the Taylor Crossing on the River project have opened in the past week: the eagerly anticipated Culver’s, at 946 Pancheri Drive, and Eagle Rock Indian Motorcycle, at 845 Milligan Road.

Culver’s is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. If you go to their web page, https://www.culvers.com/restaurants/idaho-falls-id-pancheri-dr, you will see that today’s flavor is Brownie Thunder and tomorrow’s is German Chocolate Fudge.
Today's flavor at Culver's:
Brownie Thunder

This is the fourth Culver’s in Idaho. The first was opened in Twin Falls in 2014, by Eugene Smith, a fourth-generation Wisconsin dairy farmer who left agriculture and moved west to open a franchise. As an alumnus of Ricks College, where he studied dairy farming, Smith had some experience with eastern Idaho.

The chain dates back to 1984, when George Culver, his wife, Ruth, son Craig, and daughter-in-law Lea, opened the first Culver’s Frozen Custard and ButterBurgers in Sauk City, Wisconsin. Franchising began in 1987, and after a shaky start the chain expanded into Milwaukee and Madison. By the end of 2011, there were 445 Culver’s restaurants in 19 states.

Eagle Rock Indian opened on Friday and sold its first bike the same day, a Vintage Chief to Brian Tomasko. I have reposted the photo from their Facebook page, and it is gorgeous.

Indian is a company that dates back to 1901, when it was founded in Springfield, Massachusetts. In the 20th century it was a longtime competitor with Harley-Davidson in the U.S. motorcycle market. Chiefs, Scouts, and Junior Scouts were all used in World War II, but none could unseat the Harley-Davidson WLA as the motorcycle mainly used by the U.S. Army. The company went bankrupt in 1953.

In the years that followed, however, Indian’s legend was valuable enough for companies to want to revive the name. The latest iteration was formed in 2006, in Kings Mountain, N.C., where it manufactured Indian Chief motorcycles in limited numbers, with a focus on exclusivity rather than performance. In 2011, Polaris Industries, parent company of Victory Motorcycles, announced its intention to acquire Indian. The company’s production facilities were moved to Spirit Lake, Iowa, and in March 2013, Indian unveiled its new 111 cubic inches (1.82 L) "Thunder Stroke" engine and began to sell the newly designed motorcycles based on it.

For more information, visit http://eaglerockindianmotorcycle.com. The Idaho Falls showroom is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m to 6 p.m. They’d probably appreciate it if you ate your ice cream outside.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Pachanga's in transition, hopes to open on A Street by month's end

The new signage at Pachanga's, with the Willard Arts Center reflected in the window.
If you were downtown Saturday night it was your last chance to eat at Pachanga's at its longtime location at the corner of Park Avenue and B Street. The restaurant is packing up and moving to 439 A Street, formerly the site of Black Rock Fine Wines and Craft Beer and, before that, Vino Rosso.
On Saturday, much work
inside remained to be done.

Pachanga's owner Antonio Meza of Pachangas applied to the Idaho Falls Building Department on March 8 for a building permit to remodel the property. Now that the push is on, the hope is for the new restaurant will be open in a week, two at the most.

Pachanga's started on Capital Avenue across from the Bonneville County Courthouse, but after its business outgrew that location it moved to the Earl Building. Meza said things were set in motion early this year when his landlord, Thomas Development, told him they had a new tenant interested in their space.

He then learned that Jerry and Jeannie Frazzell were looking for a buyer for their property, which had been remodeled as Black Rock Fine Wines and Craft Beer in 2015. Black Rock's lease was up at the end of March, which put owner Chuck Chute in a scramble pattern, but by the end of March he had moved his operation to 343 Park Avenue, next door to the Samoa Club.

There is a Thonton Oliver Keller sign in the window at Park and B.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

State board appoints five College of Eastern Idaho trustees

This report is reprinted from Idaho Education News (IdEdNews.org)

The Idaho State Board of Education Wednesday unanimously granted the College of Eastern Idaho permission to begin offering associate of arts degrees to current and future enrollees. The board also unanimously appointed five trustees to govern the school until at least November 2018, when the seats will be on the ballot in Bonneville County.

Here’s a list of the trustees:
Stephanie Mickelsen, Zone 1.
Calvin Ozaki, Zone 2.
Park Price, Zone 3.
Craig Miller, Zone 4.
Carrie Scheid, Zone 5.

(Click here to view the county’s community college zones, as well as candidate resumes.) The State Board selected the trustees from 54 applicants.

“We met and reviewed the candidates carefully,” said board member Richard Westerberg. “There were many, many (who were) qualified.”

Associate degree offerings and a board of trustees mark two key steps in EITC’s expedited transformation into a community college. In May, 71 percent of Bonneville County voters approved a ballot measure to turn EITC into a community college. The only remaining step is for trustees to hold their first official public meeting, said EITC president Rick Aman.

“We are currently looking at holding that meeting as early as this coming Monday,” Aman said.

EITC already offers an associate of applied science degree, a career-technical certification aimed at helping students immediately enter the work force. An associate of arts degree is designed as a starting point for students hoping to earn a bachelor’s degree.

The school plans to add its third — and final — community college offering this January: an associate of science degree. Students hoping to earn that degree can enroll in the associate of arts program during the fall semester that begins on Aug. 21, and transfer credits toward the other degree later.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Band to give free concert Monday night in Freeman Park

A detachment from the Idaho Army National Guard’s 25th Army Band will be giving a concert Monday at 7 p.m. at the Freeman Park band shelter, 1290 Science Center Drive in Idaho Falls. The concert is free and open to the public.

 The woodwind and brass detachment consists of two musical performance teams – “MAYDAY” and “ALL BRASS, NO AMMO.” The teams perform concerts throughout Idaho each year and are under the supervision of Sgts. Jeremy Otstot and Richard Eisele.

The band performs multiple styles of music including the traditional marching band, 1940’s era big band, small combo jazz standards, as well as today’s popular music. The detachment will be performing a family-friendly mix of music to include patriotic marches and today’s hits.

The 25th Army Band was originally formed in Caldwell in the fall of 1925 and is currently under the command of Chief Warrant Officer (CW4) Kevin Durfee and First Sergeant Mike Simon.

The band, stationed at Gowen Field in Boise has members from Idaho, Oregon and Washington who vary in civilian occupations from a college student, to schoolteacher to engineer.

Tours for the unit have included military installations throughout the United States, and in past years have included trips overseas for performances at American Embassies in France and Costa Rica.

The focus of the 25th Army Band’s 2017 tour is Eastern Idaho. For more information, follow this link: http://www.music.army.mil/organizations/pages/?unit=25AB&p=performances

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

GAIN announces $4.2 million in vouchers for project involving INL, other national labs

The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) announced Monday that 14 businesses will be provided nuclear energy vouchers worth pproximately $4.2 million to accelerate the innovation and application of advanced nuclear technologies. This follows an earlier announcement by the U.S. Department of Energy awarding nearly $67 million in nuclear energy research, facility access, crosscutting technology development, and infrastructure awards in 28 states.

The GAIN nuclear energy vouchers provide advanced nuclear technology innovators with access to the extensive nuclear research capabilities and expertise available across the U.S. DOE national laboratories complex.

Idaho National Laboratory (INL) leads the GAIN initiative. “DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy established GAIN to provide the nuclear innovator community with assistance to address a range of technology needs,” said Director Rita Baranwal. “Through these vouchers, GAIN encourages accelerated nuclear technology innovation and promotes progress in the private sector.”

GAIN nuclear energy voucher recipients do not receive direct financial awards. The GAIN nuclear energy vouchers provide access to national laboratory capabilities at no cost to the voucher recipients.

The two businesses selected to receive 2017 GAIN nuclear energy vouchers for work with INL included:

  • MicroNuclear LLC, of Franklin, Tenn., for development of the Microscale Nuclear Battery Reactor System
  • GSE Systems Inc., of Sykesville, Md., for human factors engineering allowing them to move to digital control systems.

GAIN awarded the first round of nuclear energy vouchers in 2016. DOE established GAIN to provide the nuclear community with the technical, regulatory and financial support necessary to move innovative nuclear energy technologies toward commercialization, while ensuring the continued safe, reliable and economic operation of the existing nuclear fleet.

For more information, follow this link: GAIN Announces Second Round of Nuclear Energy Voucher Recipients.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Big Dog sets Friday for grand opening of new Ammon showroomn

The new Big Dog store in Ammon sits where Billman's used to be.
Big Dog TV & Internet is holding a grand re-opening of its new location in Ammon, 2565 East 17th Street, Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.

The new building, next door to where Big Dog used to be, has been months in the making. All in all, there have been some big changes to the corner, with Discount Tire well under way and the new Deseret Industries store taking shape.

“Our team is so pleased to get this new location in Idaho Falls opened,” said Big Dog owner Brad Barrott. “We are now poised to better serve this part of Idaho, and with our new showroom we can better demonstrate our fabulous TV and Internet options for our customers.”

The grand opening will offer free food from Pitmaster’s BarBQue Company, and signups for many free prizes, including golf passes to Idaho Falls courses, passes to Gravity Factory, a $50 Cabela’s gift card, .22-caliber rifle from Sportman’s Warehouse and the grand prize of a Traeger Grill/Smoker.

Big Dog TV & Internet is a DISH Premier local retailer with nine locations in Idaho, Colorado, Iowa and Puerto Rico. It offers internet services from CenturyLink and HughesNet Satellite.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Fall River Co-op sets annual meeting for Saturday

Beth Looney
Fall River Electric Cooperative’s annual meeting for owner-members, set for Saturday in Ashton, will feature a presentation from PNGC Power’s CEO Beth Looney.

PNGC Power, based in Portland Ore., provides sophisticated power management services to 14 electric cooperatives in the Northwest and represents nearly 200,000 utility customers, including those of Fall River Electric. Their services include ensuring lower, more stable long-term power costs, energy conservation efforts and helping to meet the challenges that their
member cooperatives face.

Looney will share with owner-members of Fall River what the future of power production and wholesale power rates will be in our region. Her presentation will be part of Fall River Electric’s business meeting, which will also include the results from the election of board members in three of the co-op’s nine service territory districts. Since Fall River Electric is owned by its customers, the board represents the interests of all owner-members and manages the business affairs of the cooperative.

The annual meeting will be held from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at North Fremont High School, 3581 East 1300 North in Ashton, just east of downtown. Other business meeting topics will include an audit report, presentation of high school scholarship winners, and a review of the cooperative’s accomplishments during 2016 and plans for future projects and initiatives.

Fall River Electric’s annual meeting will also feature a free breakfast of pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns and a drink.

Cooperative owner-members may also visit nearly two dozen area businesses and public organizations at the Cooperative’s Health, Energy & Community Expo.

Thousands of dollars in free prizes will be given away, including a $1,000 energy credit that is enough to pay the power bill of an average home in Fall River’s service territory for a full year. There is no charge to register for the free prizes, but members must be present to win. There will also be bounce houses, games and other activities for children, too.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Northwest Cosmetics acquires California company

Northwest Cosmetic Laboratories of Idaho Falls has acquired Dream Team Beaute of Sun Valley, Calif., a cutting-edge color cosmetics innovator that has seen rapid growth since it was founded in 2013.

A major formulator and manufacturer of skin care and cosmetic products for private labels, Northwest Cosmetics dates back to 1995, when it was started by Doug Rooney and Gary Voigt in a small building on Holmes Avenue. Rooney, a cosmetic chemist, made his first batches of makeup on a hot plate in a small rented office. With a vision of creating quality skin care and cosmetic products for the most popular and prestigious brands in the world, they built their company on a “no surprises” philosophy.

The company expanded in 1998, to a 15,000-square-foot building on Technology Drive, which has been expanded over to 47,000 square feet. In 2013, the company added a 23,000-square-foot building for research and development, production and warehousing lab and a 30,000-square-foot, 30-foot tall, high-rise warehouse building. In 2016 it broke ground on a 79,000-square foot expansion, expanding its capacity to a combined 178,000 square feet in four neighboring buildings.

The company is now owned by Clearview Capital Fund and is run by Matt Bryant, who took over as CEO around 2010. CEO. Gary Kurtz, the company’s marketing director, told the Idaho Business Review in 2016 that NCL intends to stay in Idaho Falls. The location doesn’t deter client cosmetics and health care products companies, he said.

The Dream Team Beaute acquisition will elevate NCL’s existing color capabilities while adding new offerings in pressed and loose powders. Dream Team co-founders Kimberly Clark and Esme Mancia will continue to lead the Dream Team division and drive new business opportunities for the combined company.

The integration of the two companies will take place over the summer. Dream Team’s California location will allow NCL to provide additional development services for existing West Coast customers as well as prospective customers.

“We have been seeking an acquisition that would complement our brand and bring in a new element of innovation,” said Bryant, in a press release. “We found these great attributes in Dream Team and its talented founders, Kimberly Clark and Esme Mancia. The prospect of blending their experienced and forward-thinking people with our team will result in cutting-edge cosmetics and unique services that can only be found in our family of companies. Together, we will offer more prolific capabilities and talent, including pressed and loose powders."

“This combination with NCL will help Dream Team continue to grow its reach beyond color,” Clark said. “Our capabilities complement each other very well, and we can leverage NCL’s organization and infrastructure to bring more resources to serve our customers.”

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Eastern Idaho Visitors Center moving to River Parkway

The new location of the Eastern Idaho Visitors Center, which is slated to open Monday.
The Eastern Idaho Visitors Center is moving from its current location on North Capital Avenue to 355 River Parkway. The visitor center will be closed on Friday and begin serving the public in the new location Monday.

Chamber CEO Chip Schwarze said the move was initiated to better promote tourism in eastern Idaho and to meet growing needs of local residents. The chamber will maintain its long-term partnership with the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service in its new location, where it will continue to offer their maps, permits and gifts.

“What an amazing location for a visitor center, right across the street from our greenbelt and the falls,” Schwarze said. “I am sure this Visitor’s Center will be something the whole community will be proud of.”

In addition to providing tourist information for the entire region, the new visitor center will have a new gift and souvenir shop. The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce will move in as soon as the remodel of their new office space is completed.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Salt Lake-based law firm opens office in Idaho Falls

Lee Radford
The Salt Lake City-based law firm of Parsons Behle & Latimer is opening a law office in Idaho Falls, with four attorneys from the Idaho Falls office of Moffatt Thomas becoming part of the firm: C. Edward Cather III, Lee Radford, Jon A. Stenquist and Bradley J. Williams. They will continue to practice in their offices at Snake River Landing, 900 Pier View Drive, Suite 206.

The move was approved by Parsons Behle & Latimer shareholders in a meeting May 24 and became effective June 1, according to a news release from the firm.

“Combining with Parsons Behle & Latimer provides our clients with the deep resources of a regional firm,” Lee Radford said in the release. “By combining with Parsons Behle & Latimer, we can provide the best client service and the highest degree of legal ability for eastern Idaho business.”

Parsons Behle & Latimer has more than 135 attorneys, serving clients in natural resources, manufacturing, technology, real estate, banking, retail, utility and health care industries. Founded in 1882, the firm has offices in Boise, Idaho Falls, Las Vegas, Reno, Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

New loan fund for small businesses established

The Montana & Idaho Community Development Corp. and Capital Matrix have established a new loan fund to provide financing to “nearly bankable” small businesses in Idaho. The fund will allow Montana & Idaho CDC to further increase its lending to startups and existing businesses that cannot access all or part of the financing they need from a bank.

Capital Matrix, a private, non-profit corporation licensed and regulated by the U.S. Small Business Administration to administer the SBA 504 loan program, has partnered with Montana & Idaho CDC since it began lending in Idaho five years ago. The establishment of the new loan fund furthers Montana & Idaho CDC’s support of small business and economic development in the state. As loans originated from the fund are repaid, those proceeds will be recycled and go back into the fund to be loaned out to new eligible borrowers.

Montana & Idaho CDC specializes in providing loans for business startups, business purchases and existing businesses that are light on collateral or cash flow. In 2016, 52 percent of its small-business loans, amounting to $5.1 million, went to entrepreneurs and small-business owners in Idaho. Loans range from $1,000 to $2 million and can be used for purposes such as purchase of real estate, equipment, inventory or an existing business, or for remodeling or working capital. Loan clients also receive one-on-one technical assistance in financial management, marketing, sales management and other area of business management.

For more information about the new loan fund or to apply for a loan, contact Mike Trueba at 844-728-9234 ext. 240 or miket@mtcdc.org.

EIRMC recognized for lactation care resources

The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and International Lactation Consultant Association have recognized Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center for excellence in lactation care.

EIRMC has received the IBCLC Care Award in recognition for staffing professionals who hold International Board Certified Lactation Consultant certification and providing a lactation program for breastfeeding families. In addition, the facility demonstrated that it has recently completed activities that help protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.

IBCLC consultants focus on preventive care, so they are available during pregnancy to assess and provide information on how to successfully initiate breastfeeding. They continue that assistance after the baby is born by helping families overcome breastfeeding challenges, providing accurate information, and continuing to support them as their baby grows. They assist families returning to work or school, help families in more unusual situations such as breastfeeding more than one baby or nursing a sick or premature infant, and help train nursing staff to manage basic breastfeeding care.

There are currently more than 28,000 such consultants in 105 countries. The program is independently accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

In addition to finding IBCLC professionals at EIRMC, families can also find an IBCLC near them by visiting www.ilca.org. Follow the “Find a Lactation Consultant” link and search for an IBCLC by postal code, city and state, or country.  

For more information about the IBCLC Care Award program, contact IBLCE at award@iblce.org.