Sunday, August 19, 2018

Cardamom Indian restaurant opening in downtown Idaho Falls today

The staff at Cardamom, a new downtown Indian restaurant, enjoy some down time Friday afternoon.
Here’s a heads-up for all of you people eager for a new place to eat: Cardamom, a new Indian restaurant in downtown Idaho Falls, is having its soft opening today.

Located at Park Avenue and B Street, the restaurant is owned by Sheba Bakshi-Sofi and her husband, Javed. A native of Kashmir, in the north of India, Bakshi-Sofi has lived in the United States for more than 40 years. She has worked for Nestle and Con-Agra Foods, and was most recently vice-president of international marketing for Melaleuca, Inc.

She left Melaleuca earlier this year to pursue her restaurant dream, and on Friday morning it was her former Melaleuca colleagues she invited to the restaurant for a trial run. “There were 40 to 45 people, which was more than I expected,” she said. “I told them ‘Don’t hold back, order anything off the menu you want.’”

Kashmir is unlike the rest of India in that it borders China, Russia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Its cuisine is a reflection of its crossroads status, and Bakshi-Sofi said they wanted to be eclectic when it came to Cardamom’s menu. “You’ll find dishes traditionally not on the big menus,” she said. “We do serve Chicken Tikka Masala, though.”

In addition to her husband, Bakshi-Sofi’s mother, Nasira Sofi, has been involved in menu decisions and training the staff. Cardamom has five people in the kitchen, led by head chef Jessica Guison and sous chef Stuart Stansifer. Emily Ketchum is taking care of the front-of-house.

Located in the Earl Building, 501 Park Avenue, Cardamom has capacity for about 70 dinners. Bakshi-Sofi said they are planning a grand opening for Sept. 7. “We have fallen in love with downtown,” she said. “Your have to really love what you do to make things happen.”

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Six GEM Fellows study at INL this summer

INL’s first GEM Fellows (from left): Jordan Galloway, Denise Owusu, Stephanie Jones, Diana Perales, Terrence Buck (program manager), Malik Hayes, Jorge Ramirez
As part of Idaho National Laboratory’s inclusive diversity efforts, the lab has recruited its first cohort of GEM Fellows. The six students arrived in June to begin their internship experience.

Established in the mid-1970s, the National GEM Consortium’s mission is to increase the involvement of underrepresented talent pursuing advanced degrees in science and engineering. GEM interns work as paid summer interns while completing their studies, offering public- and private-sector employers the opportunity to assess their abilities. The GEM partnership allows the laboratory to develop grant proposals with underrepresented universities, encouraging some to become GEM schools.

Terrence Buck, an INL senior inclusion and diversity consultant, manages the GEM program at the laboratory. A New York native, he has been a GEM board member for 15 years and brought the program to INL when he started working at the laboratory last May.

“The program is designed to identify, recruit and bring underrepresented talent to STEM,” he said. “The three most underrepresented groups are blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans. By recruiting these GEM Fellows to INL, we are providing them real hands-on experience at a leading research institution. Ultimately, we would like to see these experiences translate into full-time positions here at INL.”

Representatives from INL’s senior leadership team and the GEM CEO met last August to discuss INL’s mission and vision and determine if GEM and INL were a good match. “The team decided it was a good fit,” said Buck. “These fellowship interns will bring their unique backgrounds and innovative ideas to INL.”

The following are the first six GEM Fellows to begin their intern experience at INL:

Jordan Galloway, University of California, Merced
Field of Study: Chemistry, Ph.D.
INL Mentor: Dr. Shannon Bragg-Sitton

Malik Hayes, Georgia Institute of Technology
Field of Study: Computer Science, M.S.
Virginia Wright

Stephanie Jones, Northwestern University
Field of Study: Computer Science, Ph.D.
INL Mentor: Virginia Wright

Denise Owusu, Carnegie Mellon University
Field of Study: Energy Engineering & Technology Innovation Management, M.S.
INL Mentor: Dr. Shannon Bragg-Sitton

Diana Perales, Purdue University
Field of Study: Chemistry, Ph.D.
INL Mentor: Dr. Russell Watson

Jorge Ramirez, Purdue University
Field of Study: Materials Science, Ph.D.
INL Mentor: Dr. Gabriel Ilevbare

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Fall River Electric board names new director

Jeff Keay
Fall River Electric’s Board of Directors has selected Jeff Keay of Island Park to fill the remaining two years of board member Ralph Burton’s term, which expires in June 2020.

Burton moved from the area, leaving a vacancy the board was required to fill by appointment. Keay was one of four candidates who were interviewed by the full board. He lives in District 8, which comprises members residing in northern Island Park.

Keay is the retired deputy regional director of the U.S. Geological Survey, where he guided 13 scientific research centers with 1,500 employees in five western states. He holds a doctorate in wildlife resources from the University of Idaho. Keay has extensive experience in budgeting, ethical and safety issues, as well as policy development and implementation.

“Jeff’s experience and background will provide a new and exciting
dimension to our board. We look forward to his future contributions,” said Fall River Electric CEO/General Manager Bryan Case.

Fall River Electric’s board of directors consists of nine members from all parts of the co-op’s service territory. Each board member is elected to a three-year term by the owner-members. The board manages the business and provides direction to the co-op’s CEO, who has the responsibility for managing the day-to-day affairs.

The board meets monthly at the cooperative’s headquarters in Ashton. The minutes of their meetings are posted on the co-op’s website, www.fallriverelectric.com.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Planet Doom eyes September opening

It might be early August, but I know people who are planning their Halloween decorations right now — it’s that big a deal to them. Then there’s Brent and Brian Wilson, who are in a whole different league.

Commercial real estate agents by day (with Thornton Oliver Keller, a BizMojo Idaho supporter) the Wilsons are the driving force behind Planet Doom, 680 First Street, now Idaho’s largest all-indoor haunted attraction. For years it was Dr. Slaughter’s House of Terror, a creative non-profit project to benefit the Idaho Falls D.A.R.E. program. When that closed in March, after 18 years, Brent Wilson said he and Brian saw an opportunity.

“(We) used to build home haunts in Florida. When Brian relocated to Idaho Falls in 2015 we started doing it again because we love haunted houses.”

In 2017, their home haunt was voted “Best International Haunt” (Canadian Haunters Association) and “Best Walkthrough Haunt” (Halloween Yard Haunts and Props). They donated the proceeds to Snake River Animal Shelter.

The old Dr. Slaughter’s offered them a bigger, scarier venue. With the new signs up, they are continuing to remodel the prior haunted maze inside the 32,000 square foot location. they are planning to open in September.

Proceeds from Planet Doom will continue to benefit D.A.R.E. The Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/planetdoomhaunt.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Blaze Pizza, Costa Vida opening in Sandcreek Commons

Blaze Pizza and Costa Vida will be the next national tenants at the 40-acre Sandcreek Commons in Ammon, the second largest shopping center in eastern Idaho.

These eateries will fill most of Sandcreek’s 12th structure, which is now under construction along Sunnyside Road, said Eric Isom, chief development officer at Ball Ventures, the Idaho Falls developer of Sandcreek Commons.

The 8,600-square-foot retail strip still has 2,600-square-feet in the center of the building available for one or two tenants. Construction started at the beginning of June. Isom said he expects Blaze and Costa Vida to open in late fall.

The architect is Dixon & Associates of Salt Lake City, the designer of several of the Sandcreek Commons structures. The general contractor is R. Jay Taylor Construction of Ammon.

Blaze Pizza has four locations in Idaho. The first was built in Meridian in 2014, and others followed soon after in Boise, Nampa  and Twin Falls. Established in Pasadena, Calif., in 2012, ith more than 270 locations in 40 states, Blaze Pizza is the second-fastest-growing restaurant chain in the nation, according to Nation’s Restaurant News.

Costa Vida is a Utah-based chain that opened in 2003. With a heavy concentration in the Intermountain West, it has franchise locations as far east as Chicago and several on the West Coast.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Goddard named Bank of Idaho branch manager

Jennifer Goddard has been named retail branch manager of Bank of Idaho’s downtown Idaho Falls branch, at 399 N. Capital Ave. Goddard has 25 years experience in the credit union industry and brings “a wealth of experience and a sterling reputation to the table,” a company news release said.

Goddard’s duties will involve management of retail deposits, loans, and operations at the Capital branch. A Rexburg native, she hopes to contribute to the bank’s strategic plan of expanding its small business portfolio. Goddard is active in the community, serving on the board of the Idaho Falls Senior Citizens Center. For more information, call 208-524-5500.