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 décor 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.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Deadline nearing for parade registration

The Idaho Falls Fourth of July Parade has been going strong since the mid-'70s. 
Here’s a reminder that if you’re planning to be part of the Idaho Falls Fourth of July parade, you’ve got until June 1 to register.

Organized and executed by the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce, the parade kicks off at 9 a.m. For as long as anyone can remember, more than 100 floats have participated in the parade.

The Fourth falls this year on a Tuesday. The theme for this year’s parade is “Guardians of Freedom.” It starts on Fourth Street and John Adams Parkway and ends at Tautphaus Park.

Volunteers are still needed to help guide and direct floats the morning of the parade. If you are interested in helping with the parade, please email: programs@idahofallschamber.com, or call (208) 523-1010 ext. 1004.

There is a $50 parade entry fee and an additional $50 if you want to distribute candy or flyers.
To download the entry form, follow this link: https://idahofallschamber.com/4th-of-july-parade-registration-form/

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Pachanga's moving to A Street, across from Colonial Theater

It looks like Pachangas' move to 439 A Street is on, according to Randy Waters, managing director of SVN High Desert Commercial, who helped handle the real estate transaction.

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, and a peek inside this week show extensive remodeling is indeed going on.

Originally on Capital Avenue across from the Bonneville County Courthouse, Pachangas has been at the corner of Park Avenue and B Street for several years. A great location, to be sure -- consider that Alive After 5 is right across the street from May to September -- but Meza said things were set in motion early this year when his landlord, Thomas Development, the owner of the Earl Building, 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 to343 Park Avenue, next door to the Samoa Club.

As for the Park Avenue property, there is a Thonton Oliver Keller sign in the window. We'll be keeping an eye on what happens there as well as at Pachanga's new digs.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Deseret Book building new store on Pioneer Road

We got a question about the edifice going up just south of the Utah Avenue Wal-Mart, the type of question we’re always happy to oblige.

The building, at 750 Pioneer Road, will be the new home of Deseret Book, and it is going up in a hurry. The permit was applied for March 9 and issued April 11. Plans filed with the city of Idaho show a total square-footage of 105,443 and a valuation (based on that square footage) of $404,365.

Deseret Book has been located for years, at 950 Memorial Drive, near the newly-reopened Idaho Falls LDS Temple. There is also a store in the Ammon Town Center.

The Deseret Book company dates back to 1919, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Deseret Management Corp., the holding company for business firms owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In addition to running a chain of stores in the western United States, Deseret Book publishes under four imprints with media ranging from works explaining LDS theology and doctrine, LDS-related fiction, electronic resources, and sound recordings such as Mormon Tabernacle Choir albums.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Downtown Development board names new executive director

Catherine Smith
Catherine Smith has been selected as executive director of the Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation.

A fourth-generation Idahoan, Smith was previously eastern region director for the Idaho Community Foundation, where she helped families, businesses and community-minded establish charitable funds, and directed grants managed by the foundation. She has worked for Idaho Falls Arts Council and the Idaho Commission on the Arts as a regional public art advisor. She is an active member of the non-profit community, serves on a handful of local non-profit boards, and volunteers regularly for the Idaho Falls Zoo. She was named Distinguished Under 40 in 2013 and is a graduate of the Chamber Leadership Idaho Falls program.

Smith is coming to IFDDC just as two keystone projects downtown are about to get under way: the Oppenheimer Groups’ development of the Kelsch property at Memorial Drive and Broadway, where Savings Center used to be, and the rehabilitation of the Bonneville Hotel. Other downtown projects are in various stages of planning.

Smith is a graduate of the Art Institute of Portland, where she earned her bachelor’s degree. “I’m proud to be a part of this organization and am quite excited to work with the IFDDC board and downtown folks to continue to build for the future of downtown Idaho Falls,” she said.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Downtown Fire Station #1 opens doors

The crowd Monday at the dedication of Idaho Falls' new downtown fire station.
Monday was a big day for the Idaho Falls Fire Department and the city itself, as the new $4.3 million Downtown Fire Station #1 opened its doors at 343 E Street.

“The address, 343, has a significant meaning to us as it signifies the number of firefighters who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. We are here today to dedicate this station in their honor,” said Fire Chief Dave Hanneman, in remarks that preceded the department’s Color Guard and Pipes and Drums.

The building is the long-overdue replacement for Station #1, which had been on the Shoup Avenue side of City Hall since 1930, when Herbert Hoover was president. Insufficient room for modern equipment, claustrophobic conditions, and a crack in the floor were identified for decades as problems that could not be fixed, yet it wasn’t until 2014 that the City Council voted to proceed with a new station.

Planning for the new station began in April 2015, and ground was broken on Jan. 8, 2016. The General Contractor for the new 24,000 square foot facility was Morgan Construction, with design provided by CRSA Architecture. The total cost of the building was $4.1 million, which came in under the $4.3 million guaranteed price given by Morgan Construction.

For the first time in 35 years, the Fire Prevention Bureau and ladder truck are at the same location as the administrative staff.  At full capacity, the new station will also be living quarters for 11 firefighters.  The new station is a fully ADA compliant building with elevators. The administrative staff occupy the first floor, along with a training room that also functions as a City Coordination Center (CCC). The CCC seats 50 people and can be reserved by other city departments and community members.

There are two sets of double bays. The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) turnout room, located near the bays, is a state-of-the-art area with a ventilation system allowing fumes and contaminants to vent outside of the building, protecting firefighters and the facility.  
Upstairs is the living quarters for firefighters, captains and battalion chiefs. Firefighters are on shift 48 hours at a time, with up to 11 crew members, so the living quarters function similar to a house.  There are dorm rooms, showers, a dining room, kitchen, day room, training room with computers, and an exercise room. Firefighters are required to exercise for at least one hour per day to stay conditioned.

The brains of the building is an alert system with interconnectivity to dispatch. “During an emergency, the alert system will progressively wake pertinent personnel by turning on lights, followed by sound and voice, thereby reducing their heart rates upon notification,” Hanneman said. When the alert system goes off, EMS crews have less than 1 minute to get out on the call from anywhere in the building. Fire calls are less than 1 minute 20 seconds.

The central response area with monitors and radios is located near the pole leading down to the bays, giving crews up-to-date information before they get in the trucks and go on the call.

Monitors throughout the building also feed live call data to the firefighters, constantly keeping them informed of emergencies. The monitors in the fire prevention offices on the first floor display building plans, allowing staff to coordinate and discuss planning documents.

Monday, April 24, 2017

INL recognizes researchers, inventors at annual banquet

Cliff Davis, 2016 winner of INL
Lifetime Achievement Award
Idaho National Laboratory held its annual Laboratory Director Awards reception Friday night, celebrating achievements of 2016 and honoring researchers for their work. Thirty newly issued patents and two copyright assertions were recognized.

Award recipients were:

  • Community Award: David Snell 

  • Leadership Award: Yongfeng Zhang 

  • Mission Advancement Award: Richard Barney Carlson 

  • Mission Enabling Individual Award: Todd Taylor 

  • Mission Enabling Team Award: TREAT Safety Basis Team: James R. Parry, Anthony W. LaPorta, Charles P. Forshee, Doug Gerstner, Leslie A. Roberts 

  • Early Career Exceptional Achievement Award: Vivek Agarwal 

  • Exceptional Engineering Achievement Award: Shelly X. Li 

  • Exceptional Scientific Achievement Award: Robert V. Fox 

  • Lifetime Achievement in Science and Technology Award: Cliff B. Davis 

  • Outstanding Impact Award: Michael W. Snyder 

  • Research Technician of the Year Award: Cathy Rae 

  • Support Technician of the Year Award: Shaun Clements 

  • Inventor of the Year Award: Michael McKellar 

  • INL Vision Award: Radiological Security Source Disposition Team: Kathryn A. McBride, David L. Parks, John C. Zarling 

  • INL Vision Award: High-Value, High-Precision, High-Profile and High-Risk Machining Work Scope Team: Rex C. Buttars, William C. Fuger, Cory V. Jones, Ricky D. Popejoy, Mark D. Steffler 

  • INL Vision Award: Small Modular Reactor Deployment Team: Shannon M. Bragg-Sitton, George W. Griffith, James C, Kinsey, Corey K. McDaniel, Michael W Patterson 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Snake River Landing announces new project for entertainment, special events

An artist's rendering of what the new special event center at Snake River Landing will look like. 
Snake River Landing announced Thursday it is planning to open a new entertainment and special event facility this summer. This is the "Project X" BizMojo Idaho mentioned in a March 7 post after seeing the building permit application had been filed with the Idaho Falls Building Department.

A 9,000-square-foot building on approximately 4.5 acres near the Snake River, the facility is now under construction. When completed, it will feature a large indoor area for parties and special events and an extensive outdoor event area. Large, roll-up style doors are planned, to turn the indoor space into an extended indoor/outdoor venue. A 1,500-square-foot performance stage can be used for indoor or outdoor events as well.

For major outdoor events (such as the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration on July 4, as the fireworks are going to be at Snake River Landing this year for the first time), there will be an expansive 1.5-acre grass area adjacent to the building. A 1,700-square-foot kitchen area for caterer use during special events is part of the plan. All in all, the multi-purpose facility is designed to be flexible to the needs of a variety of events, including corporate gatherings, live performances, luncheons, non-profit events and community events.

The construction of the new facility is taking place in the newest phase of development within Snake River Landing known as Riverside Village. Located near the popular walking trail that encircles a 3.5-acre lake, it is a mixed-use area laid out to include retail shops, restaurants, and other entertainment establishments.

“As this area has grown over the years, we have received continual inquiries for medium sized event space,” said Eric Isom, chief development officer for Snake River Landing. “We look forward to operating a facility that can allow for year-around Snake River Landing events, as well as being able to offer it for private rental.”

The new facility will be owned and operated by an affiliate of Snake River Landing, which is owned and operated by Ball Ventures. The following local businesses have been involved in the design and construction: NBW Architects, Horrocks Engineers, Wind River Construction, HK Contractors and Seasons West.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Idaho National Laboratory awards STEM grants to Idaho schools

Idaho National Laboratory has awarded two eastern Idaho schools with Ultimate STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) grants, worth up to $10,000, to enhance and supplement their STEM learning  In addition, four Extreme Classroom Makeover grants worth up to $5,000 were awarded in southeast Idaho. Statewide, 19 STEM Mini grants worth up to $500 were awarded.

Teachers and principals from public and private schools throughout the state apply each year for INL STEM grants, which are awarded based on the educator’s plan, idea or classroom needs to bolster STEM education. The money can be used to purchase equipment and materials for classrooms.

“Too often, educators and administrators are not aware of the funding opportunities available in their own backyard,” said Amy Lientz, INL’s director of Partnerships, Engagement and Technology Deployment. “This type of funding allows for furthering student interest in STEM careers and helps to grow our talent pipeline, enabling a sustainable future workforce.”

Ultimate STEM Grant recipients are:

Chase Crook, Rigby Middle School, Rigby: $10,000, to purchase life science materials for the classroom.

Kristoffer Smith, Longfellow Elementary School, Idaho Falls: $9,987.07, to create a Makers Space for STEM at the school.

Classroom Makeover Grant recipients are:

Jared Gee, Sugar-Salem High School: $4,949.57, to re-image the Sugar-Salem High School science lab for chemistry and biology.

Troy Easterday, Castleford School District 417: $5,000, to purchase materials to teach energy efficiency in rural towns.

Heidi McJunkin, Snake River Montessori School: $1,046, to purchase a classroom set of computer coding curriculum.

Leslie Woodford, Pocatello Valley Montessori School: $1,000, to purchase a classroom set of complex math manipulatives to teach STEM.

"Getting students excited about STEM is critical to the future of INL, Idaho and the nation as a whole," said Anne Seifert, INL's manager of K-12 STEM outreach. "Today's students are tomorrow's scientists, engineers and technicians. Grants like these provide our teachers with the tools and resources they need to educate, prepare and spark student interest in STEM careers, and give them hands-on experience in STEM subjects that spark their passion for STEM that can drive innovation."

The Ultimate STEM grants, Extreme Classroom Makeover grants and STEM Mini grants are part of INL's effort to boost STEM education in Idaho. Funding for the grants comes from Battelle Energy Alliance, a nonprofit organization that operates the lab for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

This year's STEM Mini Grant recipients are:

Idaho Falls/eastern Idaho
Nathasia Christensen of Temple View Elementary, Idaho Falls: $274.50 to fund a classroom STEM garden.

Donna McCurdy, Arco Elementary: $444.91 for a classroom set of RAFT kits to teach physics and engineering.

Chris Brown, Parker-Egin Elementary: $500 to fund a family STEM night.

Sheila Jardine, Howe Elementary: $499.93 for coding materials for engineering and design.

Cathy LeDosquet, Teton Elementary: $500 for a classroom set of bins with math and engineering materials.

Cinnimon Schwartz, Malad Elementary: $450 for a classroom set of STEM engineering design kits.

EIRMC earns high hospital safety score from national organization

Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center has received its fifth consecutive “A” grade in the biannual Hospital Safety Score published by The Leapfrog Group. EIRMC is also the only hospital in Southeast Idaho to earn an “A” grade.    The designation recognizes exceptional performance in consistently meeting evidence-based patient safety guidelines.

“We have so many things to be proud of at EIRMC and our continued achievement of the Hospital Safety ‘A’ grade is one of them,” EIRMC CEO Doug Crabtree said in a press release. “This rating confirms our commitment to patient safety and quality car.  We have such a strong partnership between physicians and clinical staff as they work toward these important goals.”

The Spring 2017 assessment included more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals. An “A” grade recognizes exemplary performance in consistently meeting national evidence-based guidelines that ensure patient safety.

The Hospital Safety Score was compiled under the guidance of the nation’s leading experts on patient safety and is designed to give the public information they can use to educate themselves and their families.

Calculated in collaboration with The Leapfrog Group’s nine-member Blue Ribbon Expert Panel, the Hospital Safety Score compiles 26 measures of publicly available hospital safety data into a single “grade.” That score represents any hospital’s overall capacity to keep patients safe from infections and injuries as well as medical and medication errors.

To see EIRMC’s scores as they compare nationally and locally, visit the Hospital Safety Score website at www.hospitalsafetyscore.org. This site also provides information on how the public can protect themselves and loved ones during a hospital stay.

EIRMC has several initiatives aimed at safety, including:

  • Computer medication management: ensures that patients are given the right medicine, in the right dosage, and at the right time. Every hospitalized patient wears a bar-coded bracelet that the nursing staff scans every time medications are administered. 
  • Computerized Physician Order Entry: electronically processes physician orders for patient care. This tool has proven to reduce inaccuracies that may result from illegible handwriting, decrease medical errors, reduce costs — and ultimately save lives.
  • Multidisciplinary safety committees: broaden the scope and depth of experience and knowledge brought to patient safety improvement initiatives
  • Participation in a Joint Commission project to reduce surgical site infections
  • Yearly safety training: all employees and volunteers are required to complete this course and pass a detailed test.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

INL names new associate lab director for energy, environment, science, techology

Todd E. Combs
Todd E. Combs, presently the director of Argonne National Laboratory’s Global Security Sciences Division, will be coming May 1 to be Idaho National Laboratory’s associate lab director for Energy and Environment Science & Technology (EES&T).

At Argonne, Combs has led a multidisciplinary research team of over 200, working on preventing and responding to national and global security threats. Before that he spent nearly 14 months as Argonne’s interim associate laboratory director for Energy and Global Security, where he led an applied R&D organization of over 800 that addressed domestic and global sustainable energy and security issues. In that role, he oversaw research and operational activities of the energy systems, nuclear engineering, and global security sciences divisions.

He has managed Argonne’s advanced grid modeling program for DOE, and its relationship with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, he was an operations research scientist and served as group leader of the Transportation Planning and Decision Science group.

Combs’ research has included energy systems modeling and analysis for DOE, most recently related to critical materials supply chains. He has worked on modeling and simulation projects Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.

He holds a doctorate in operations research and master’s degree in operations analysis from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Title One adds Krisi Staten as business strategist

Krisi Staten

Kerry Berry
TitleOne has added Krisi Staten as its new business strategist. Staten comes from the Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation, where she has been executive director sine July 2014. Before that, she was a benefits specialist for Idaho National Laboratory. A native of Arco, she has extensive service on the boards of various eastern Idaho service organizations.

Also at TitleOne, Kerry Berry has teamed up with Heather Elverud as her escrow assistant.

TitleOne is a local title and escrow company serving western and eastern Idaho since 2000. Its offices are located at 1614 Elk Creek Drive. Its web address is http://www.titleonecorp.com/.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

New director named to head Center for Advanced Energy Studies

Dr. Noël Bakhtian
Noël Bakhtian has been named the new director of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, the research and education consortium between Boise State University, Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho State University, University of Idaho and University of Wyoming.

The announcement was made Tuesday by INL Director Mark Peters, who cited her experience in energy policy and technology. Bakhtian will start May 15, replacing Mike Hagood, who has been interim director since last fall.

Bakhtian most recently served as senior policy advisor for environment and energy in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Prior to that, she was the inaugural Energy-Water Nexus lead at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of International Affairs. She was technical lead on several grant programs for DOE’s Wind and Water Power Technologies Office,  and consulted on energy research and development and investment for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

While pursuing her master’s and doctorate from Stanford University’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, she did most of her research at NASA’s Ames Research Center, in its advanced computing division, coming up with new entry, descent and landing technology for Mars missions. After getting her Ph.D., she won an AAAS Energy and Environment Fellowship and worked in the office of U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.

Bakhtian also holds a master’s degree in engineering from Cambridge University, where she was a Churchill Scholar. Her research there involved unmanned ariel vehicles, gathering data from bird flight patterns in wind tunnels. Her bachelor’s degree is from Duke University, where she was a Pratt Fellow.

Bakhtian is a trustee of the Summer Science Program, a science education non-profit organization, and is the energy and environment associate editor for the Science & Diplomacy Journal.

“Dr. Bakhtian’s energy policy and technical experiences span the programmatic portfolio of CAES,” Peters said in a press release. “She will help forward the CAES mission of conducting advanced energy research, educating the next generation of scientists and engineers, and partnering with industry to advance our regional competitiveness.”

For a November 2016 interview Bakhtian gave the website chroniclevitae.com, follow this link: From Bench Science to Senior Policy Advising: An Interview With Noel Bakhtian.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

INL releases new open source software

This is probably going to be a little esoteric to those who come here wondering when, if ever, Costco is coming to Idaho Falls. But here goes.

Idaho National Laboratory has released a new open-source software free to the public on the lab’s GitHub website. The Risk Analysis and Virtual Environment (RAVEN) framework will be available for collaboration with the public to refine and improve the functionality of the system, to join forces with other researchers to expand the feature set, and to give industry a powerful and useful tool for accelerating technological advances.

RAVEN is a unique and powerful tool for risk analysis, offering capabilities not currently available in other software. It offers a fully integrated working environment, providing engineers and scientists new abilities to tackle challenging problems efficiently.

Operations such as analysis, data mining and model optimization can be performed based on the response of complex physical models through advanced statistical sampling generation, generating a high degree of realism and accuracy.

Monday, April 3, 2017

This week in history

My grandfather, Harry A. Menser, in 1918. He was already 30 when the United States entered World War I, this week in 1917. He was the grandson of a Civil War Union soldier himself.
Looking Back now runs in the Sunday Post Register. This is the column that ran in the April 2, 2017 issue. The United States entered World War I on April 5, 1917, but Company M from eastern Idaho was already on the move.

100 years ago
The day after President Woodrow Wilson's April 2, 1917 call to Congress for a declaration of war against Germany, businesses in Idaho Falls closed at noon and schools emptied so the community could bid farewell to the 138 men of Company M, bound for Boise on April 4. "The ranks of the local company have been added to largely by recruits from Roberts, Rexburg, Menan, Rigby, Shelley, Blackfoot and other nearby points and many from out in the county and adjoining counties," the Idaho Register said. Levi E. Lundberg was notified from headquarters in Boise that he was receiving a captain's commission. Other commissioned officers were to be chosen when the company arrived.

75 years ago
Idaho Falls was determined to get serious about enforcing traffic laws this week in 1942, as evidenced by a Page One editorial in the Post Register, which said, "There will be a few days of education, a few days of warnings in police court, and then there will be strict enforcement with attendant fines. ... A bad condition, made bad by the failure of previous administrations to do anything, has been greatly aggravated by the large number of bicycles that have come into the picture in the last few months. ... Strict enforcement will gripe a good many people who are not accustomed to being told they must observe stop signs, red lights, speed limits and other regulations needed to guarantee the orderly flow of traffic in a thriving city. But strict enforcement is necessary, and the Post-Register is happy to see the administration stiffen up."

50 years ago
A final decision on awarding the contract for the construction of Skyline High School was expected this week in April 1967. The Idaho Falls School District Board of Trustees met for two hours on April 1 with the architects, Lawrence E. Matson and Associates, accountant Gilbert Karst and attorney William S. Holden, in an attempt to hold the building's costs within the bounds of legal and financial possibility. With $2.6 million in hand, the district estimated it was $57,000 short of the amount they needed to have before the contract could be let to Taysom Construction of Pocatello, low bidders on the project.

25 years ago
Some buildings were closed this week in 1992 at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory's Chemical Processing Plant as crews from Westinghouse Idaho Nuclear Co. cleaned up radioactive flakes accidentally released from a smokestack on April 2. No ICPP workers were contaminated during the radiation alert. Officials said the solid, slightly radioactive materials were limited to an area of about 250 square yards.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Fin Fun officers named Idaho Small Business Persons of the year.

Fin Fun, an Idaho Falls company founded in 2010, sells swimmable mermaid tails in more than 180 countries.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has named Eric Browning, CEO, and Steve Browning, chief financial officer, of Fin Fun its 2017 Idaho Small Business Persons of the Year. The company markets swimmable mermaid tails and other products in more than 180 countries.

Fin Fun started as a home project in 2009, when Karen Browning of St. Anthony got a puzzling request from her granddaughter Emily, to make her a mermaid tail. "Having sewn for over 50 years, I laughed and said, 'I don't know how to make mermaid tails,'" she told BizMojo Idaho in 2014. "Well, she soon showed me that by ingenuity and working together, we could do it."

Using spandex swimsuit material and rigid material for the fin, Browning applied her sewing skills to the project. "It proved so popular as she and her sister Sarah swam in them that soon her friends were asking where they could get their very own tail," Browning said. She knew she was onto something. She began selling them on eBay and set up a store on Etsy.

As demand took off, Browning’s sons Eric and Steve, came back to eastern Idaho to run the company. Sales have increased from an average of 200 mermaid tails per month in 2011 to more than 500,000 mermaid tails sold in 2016. In addition to tails, the line includes a patented monofin, swimwear, animal blankets and other accessories. Fin Fun also has used the Internet imaginatively, offering finfriends.com, a page with "Mermaiden Tales," games, videos, contests and giveaways.

In 2015, the company moved to a 10,000-square-foot building on Lewisville Highway, acquired with an SBA CDC/504 loan.

“The Small Business Person of the Year Award is an opportunity to recognize the impact small business owners have on our local economy,” SBA Boise Acting District Director Shannon Madsen said. “Fin Fun has created more than 75 full-time and part-time jobs for the Idaho Falls area. I am honored to celebrate these dedicated, hard-working small business owners who are using innovation and creativity to make a difference in Idaho.”

Eric and Steve Browning have made a point of giving back to children’s causes, and Fin Fun has given a percentage of its profits to more than 18 charitable organizations annually for the past five years.

Small Business Person of the Year winners from 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam will converge in Washington, D.C. in May, when one of them will be selected as the National Small Business Person of the Year during the SBA celebration of National Small Business Week April 30-May 6, 2017.

A celebration honoring the SBA Idaho Small Business Persons of the Year will be May 5 in Idaho Falls, as part of National Small Business Week, which is held every May to recognize small business owners who demonstrate staying power. Winners must have been in business three years and shown growth in net worth and business expansion, increase in jobs and sales, innovativeness of products or services, response to adversity, and contributions to community-oriented projects.

“Steve and I are honored to be recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as Idaho’s Small Business Persons of the Year,” Eric Browning said. “We are grateful for our company’s rapid revenue growth and ongoing success.”

For more information about National Small Business Week, visit www.sba.gov/nsbw.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Black Rock moving to Park Avenue location, plans opening Thursday

Black Rock owner Chuck Chute at his new location
Saturday night was Black Rock Fine Wine and Craft Beer's last night at 439 A Street, where it has been for two years. It is preparing to open Thursday at a new, smaller location, at 343 Park Avenue, next door to the Samoa Club.

Owner Chuck Chute admitted that the move took him by surprise, but that his lease on A Street was up at the end of March. When the building’s owners, Jerry and Jeannie Frazzel, told him they had a prospective buyer for it he didn’t have much choice other than to relocate.

There are indications that Pachanga’s may be moving there. Panchanga’s owner Antonio Meza applied to the Idaho Falls Building Department on March 8 for a remodeling permit, and the permit was issued March 22. Meza said he started looking for a new location when Thomas Development, the owner of the Earl Building, where Pachanga’s has been for several years, told him they had a new tenant interested in their space.

Despite the smaller square-footage, Chute said he is trying to bring as much of what he’s done with Black Rock on A Street along with him to Park Avenue. The remodeling has been extensive, and the race is on to get it open by Thursday.

In some ways, being on the same block as The Celt Pub, Villa Coffeehouse, Samoa Club and Karen’s Park Avenue Club is going to have some advantages. “I really like the space,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A new franchise possibility for Idaho Falls?

The Pizza Press in Pasadena, Calif. The chain has announced plans to expand, possibly into Idaho.
It’s been kind of slow on the franchise restaurant front — a source of endless fascination for BizMojo readers, I know — but I ran across this in PR Newswire this morning and thought it might be a live one for any enterprising would-be franchisee.

According to the report, The Pizza Press Marks Fifth Anniversary With Plans for Nearly 150 New Stores & International Expansion by End of 2018,
The Pizza Press, a company based in Anaheim, Calif., is planning 30 new openings this year, including locations in Texas (Austin), Nevada (Las Vegas) and North Carolina (Chapel Hill, Raleigh). “The company is actively looking to expand into Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and Canada,” it says.

So there you have it. Does the greater Idaho Falls area need another pizza restaurant, you ask? Silly! There’s always room for one more.

Should the chain ever come here, it will be the second restaurant with a newspaper theme. Black Bear Diner, which opened earlier this year, also goes with this gimmick. As a former newspaper person who can actually remember the sensation of banging on a manual typewriter, I find this sort of cute but mostly sad.

Anyway, The Pizza Press. You first heard of them here.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Iteris opening office in downtown Earl Building

Iteris' Vantage Vector detection sensor
Iteris, Inc., a company based in Santa Ana, Calif., that specializes in traffic management and agricultural systems, is opening an Idaho Falls office in the Earl Building on Park Avenue. Development of the project has been managed by Thomas Investments and Thomas Development Co. of Boise.

Dating back to 1969, Iteris is the global leader in applied informatics for transportation and agriculture, collecting, aggregating and analyzing data on traffic, roads, weather, water, soil and crops to generate precise informatics that lead to safer transportation and smarter farming.

Its markets roadway sensors and vehicle detection systems for traffic intersection control and traffic data collection. Its products include Vantage series video detection system (such as VantageView, Vantage Vector), SmartSpan and SmartCycle, VersiCam, Pico, and Abacus.

In addition, the company’s transportation systems segment focuses on transportation engineering and consulting services, information systems and decision support systems. Its iPerform segment is concentrated on transportation performance measurement. In 2013, the company launched SmartCycle, which can detect vehicles and bicycles accurately with a single video detection camera facing a dedicated approach.

In agiculture, Iteris produces systems that process weather and agronomic data with land-surface modeling and machine learning to help farmers and agronomists simulate field conditions and determine how new products may perform on a crop. Growers can leverage the company's ClearAg Advisories to determine best times to plant, spray, fertilize and harvest.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

EIRMC, Blue Cross of Idaho, reach 'in network' agreement on private, ACA policies

Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center and Blue Cross of Idaho have reached an agreement that significantly impacts consumers who purchased Blue Cross of Idaho individual health coverage either privately or on the Idaho Healthcare Exchange. These two Blue Cross products are known as “Hometown East” and “Connected Care.”

There are two important elements to this agreement:

  • Emergency services provided at EIRMC will be covered as an in-network benefit. This includes basic ER care; intensive care (ICU); pediatric intensive care (PICU) for children; neonatal care (NICU) for babies; and emergency surgery as a result of an ER visit. ( EIRMC is the only hospital in Idaho Falls with Emergency Services, and the only hospital in the state with a Level I ICU.)
  • All other referral -based services obtained at EIRMC will be covered as in-network by Blue Cross of Idaho. Examples include -- but are not limited to -- maternity services; cancer treatment; cardiovascular services, including heart surgery; medical imaging procedures such as X-Ray, MRI, CT-scans; mammography; physical therapy; wound care; electro-physiology; stroke care; neurosurgery; in-patient behavioral health care.

Employees with Blue Cross of Idaho insurance through their workplace are not impacted by this change, as they have always been covered as “in network.”

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Two new permit applications for Idaho Falls projects worth watching


Recently we pointed out that the permit action in the city of Idaho Falls Building Office was bound to pick up now that the weather is getting warmer. Since then, two new permits have been applied for that we think ought to be of interest to the ever-patient BizMojo Idaho faithful.

The first, applied for March 3, is for work at 1976 West Broadway, a project called Iron Oak Retail Center, 5,200 square-foot retail building. The job value is estimated at $390,000, and the applicant is  Construction Solutions Co.. The owner is JET Real Estate Holdings, which shares the same Ammon address as Construction Solutions. If you want to see what the city has available online, here’s the link:
https://trakit.idahofallsidaho.gov/etrakit3/printPermit.aspx?permitNo=COM17-0025

Here is more information about the property from LoopNet, including a rendering:
http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/20140108/1976-W-Broadway-Idaho-Falls-ID/

The second permit application, far more tantalizing, perhaps because of its mysterious name — “Project X” — comes from our friends at Snake River Landing Development. It is for new construction at 1220 Event Center Drive. No square footage detailed, but the job value is estimated at $1.1 million, which would indicate it is not the long-anticipated Event Center. We will be staying on top of this one. Permit information is here:
https://trakit.idahofallsidaho.gov/etrakit3/printPermit.aspx?permitNo=COM17-0023

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Greater Idaho Falls Chamber picks new CEO

Robert “Chip” Schwarze has been selected as the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce’s new chief executive officer, starting March 1. Schwarze succeeds Michelle Holt, who stepped down after three years as CEO to accept a position at Eastern Idaho Technical College.

“Chip has extensive experience in leadership, and we are excited about the vision that he will bring to the chamber and our community,” said Eric Hess, chairman of the chamber’s board of directors.

Schwarze most recently worked as district director of the Boy Scouts of America in Olympia, Wash., where he was the lead administrator for three districts covering all of southwestern Washington. A graduate of Brigham Young University-Idaho, he has ties to the Idaho Falls area, as he previously worked as a financial advisor and sales manager in Idaho Falls for several years.

“As a former small business owner, I know what business leaders look for in their chamber,” he said. He and his wife have five grown children, three of whom reside in the Idaho Falls area.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

EIRMC announces Frist Humanitarian, Excellence in Nursing award winners

Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center has announced its Frist Humanitarian Awards, given annually by each Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) hospital. The award is named after the late Dr. Thomas Frist, Sr., HCA’s founder, and given to an employee, physician and volunteer.

EIRMC also announced its Excellence in Nursing Awards recipient, given in two categories: Professional Mentoring and Compassionate Care.

Frist Humanitarian Award (Physician) – Dr. Andrew Garrity, emergency room physician

Dr. Andrew Garrity
Dr. Andrew Garrity is a board-certified emergency medicine physician, and has been a member of the EIRMC medical staff for 18 years. His nomination spoke of his willingness to serve his patients and highlighted that no task is too simple, even getting blankets or drinks for his patients. In his nomination, several stories were offered to illustrate his compassion and kindness.

“A patient we had seen many times before was getting ready to go to jail after his medical clearance. He was a thin man and one who lives a hard life. The patient was standing with his arms cuffed behind his back, no shirt or shoes and pants falling down. As the scene unfolded, some of the ER staff were wondering what the cops were going to do about his pants. Dr. Garrity just walked up, said ‘Partner let’s do up your belt,’ cinched up his belt and walked away. One of the ER staff grinned and said ‘I want to be just like Dr. Garrity.’”

Another time, an older couple came in to receive care one evening. A diagnosis was given and prescriptions written. Upon discussing the plan of care with the patient and his wife, it was brought to light that they were on a limited income and getting these prescriptions would be a huge burden to the patient. Dr. Garrity handed the chart to the nurse and said ‘Please give them this envelope and do not tell them it was from me.’It was money for them to be able to get their prescriptions filled.”

As a Frist Award winner, EIRMC will make a donation in Garrity’s name to his charity of choice, the Idaho Falls Soup Kitchen.

Frist Humanitarian Award (Employee) – Kirie Brown, R.N., director of education & wellness

Kirie Brown
Kirie Brown serves as the director of education and wellness at EIRMC and was nominated by several staff members in her department. Each nomination was unique, but all mentioned how impressed they have been with her dedication to community and global service.

Brown has traveled several times to third world countries to teach neonatal resuscitation to doctors and nurses. To date, she has been to Nepal, China, Belize, Jordan, and parts Africa to teach people life-saving care methods for their infants right after birth. She often uses her own funds to make these trips possible.

As a Frist Award winner, EIRMC will make a donation in Kirie’s name to her charity of choice, the EIRMC Auxiliary.

Frist Humanitarian Award (Volunteer)– Dan Ashworth

Dan Ashworth
Dan Ashworth has been an EIRMC volunteer for four years and has volunteered over 2,300 hours of his time. A former member of the U.S. Navy, he remains passionate about helping his fellow veterans. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Vietnam Veterans of America and also works with several other organizations including the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and the Veterans Mobility Corporation (VMC). At the VMC, Dan helps to provide powered wheelchairs to veterans who would otherwise not have access to them.

While volunteering at EIRMC, Ashworth met the family of a veteran who was undergoing a leg amputation. The veteran would need a powered wheelchair after his recovery but had no means to obtain one. He was able to connect the veteran to VMC and he was given the organization’s 71st wheelchair.

A EIRMC, Ashworth volunteers in the Surgical Waiting Room, where he helps keep families informed of what is going on with their loved ones. This is a key role and provides families with much needed comfort during what would otherwise be a stressful time.

As a Frist Award winner, EIRMC will make a donation in Dan’s name to his charity of choice, the Veterans Mobility Corp.

Excellence in Nursing, Professional Mentoring – Kathy Fatkin, Ph.D, AHIP, R.N., Medical Librarian

Kathy Fatkin
Kathy Fatkin has been the medical librarian at EIRMC for 20 years and is a strong advocate for nursing excellence at EIRMC. She is known for encouraging fellow employees to always continue learning and even pursue advanced degrees
and serves as an exceptional mentor to many of our staff.

Her commitment to continual learning and professional growth led her to seek a doctoral degree in library science. She worked full time during the seven years that it took to finish her program. She spends many hours mentoring individuals who are currently working on advanced degrees. She also makes herself available to any nurse or staff member with clinical questions, assisting them with finding answers and providing patients with the best care possible.

Fatkin serves as the executive sponsor of the research arm of the EIRMC Shared Governance Council and utilizes her knowledge to advance nursing practices throughout the hospital. In so doing, she ensures that policies and decisions are in line with best evidence based practices.

As an Excellence in Nursing winner, EIRMC will make a donation in Fatkin’s name to her charity of choice, the National Park Foundation.

Excellence in Nursing, Compassionate Care – Malinda Barker, R.N.

Malinda Barker
Malinda Barker is a clinical supervisor in the EIRMC Post Anesthesia Care Unit in Perioperative Services. Her nominators described her as a selfless and kind person who cares greatly for her co-workers. She has a reputation for bringing in treats and goodies from her garden on holidays, birthdays, and other days, even on days off.

Her nomination called her a “tireless advocate for her patients.” Because of the area she works, Barker’s patients are coming out of anesthesia and not awake during her interactions with them. Rather than let that stop her, she goes out of her way to make sure each patient has the best experience possible and actively looks for ways to improve each patient’s experience. No job is too small, and nothing is too much to ask of her.

As an Excellence in Nursing winner, EIRMC will make a donation in Barker’s name to her charity of choice, City of Refuge.