Tuesday, August 29, 2017

INL to demonstrate solar-powered battery system for cooling buses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 28, 2017

Get Your Business Online workshop set Tuesday at Snake River Landing

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

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

Here is the agenda for the day:

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


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

10:30 a.m.: 

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

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

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

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

1 p.m.:

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


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

3 p.m.

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

Friday, August 25, 2017

Sarah's Candy Cottage closing after 19 years in business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

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

Source: Snake River MLS

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

INL accepting applications for community giving, economic development grants

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

Fiscal Year 2018 Community Giving Campaign

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

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

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

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

Fiscal Year 2018 Technology-based Economic Development Campaign

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 14, 2017

INL names two new distinguished postdoctoral appointees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Ground broken on new development at Memorial and Broadway

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 7, 2017

City of Idaho Falls building permit applications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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