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.