Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Vietnamese, sandwiches and a new bar: Three new establishments coming to downtown Idaho Falls

For those of you who missed it, here is a link to a story by Ryan Suppe that the Post Register posted on Monday: https://www.postregister.com/business/vietnamese-sandwiches-and-a-new-bar-three-new-establishments-coming/article_e356ac39-d8fb-5517-84de-d1883c840962.html. More great news from downtown Idaho Falls.

INL plans Power Grid Test Bed expansion

INL's Power Grid Test Bed is a 61-mile, 138kV dual-fed power loop complete with seven substations and a control center, all linked with state–of–the–art communications and instrumentation capabilities.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Idaho Operations Office is inviting the public to review and comment on a draft environmental assessment that proposes to expand the capabilities of Idaho National Laboratory's (INL) Power Grid Test Bed (PGTB). The test bed supports research, development and testing activities to improve the safety, security and resilience of the U.S. electrical grid.

DOE is proposing to construct a new 16.5-mile, 138-kilovolt overhead electrical line on the 890-square-mile INL desert Site. The new transmission line will consist of approximately 300 power poles located next to an existing transmission line. The new line will run from INL’s Central Facilities Area through the Critical Infrastructure Test Range Complex and end at the Materials and Fuels Complex.

The new power line will provide uninterrupted power for INL site facilities. Currently, researchers conducting experiments must disable and isolate an existing power line to conduct their work. The existing line will provide engineers and research scientists with a dedicated transmission line for conducting energized experiments and testing to support U.S. national security missions. The proposed action will support current and anticipated future use on INL’s Power Grid Test Bed.

In addition to the power line, DOE’s Idaho Office plans to increase the size of fencing around a nearby substation to support larger equipment necessary for the addition of the power line. Several gravel test pads located at various points along the pathway of the transmission line will be constructed or modified to support testing of power grid equipment, including diesel generators, transformers, circuit breakers, switchgear, load banks, instrumentation, and battery trailers.

The document, entitled the Draft Environmental Assessment for Expanding Capabilities at the Power Grid Test Bed at Idaho National Laboratory (DOE/EA-2097) was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and is posted for public review at: https://www.id.energy.gov/insideID/PDF/Draft-EA-2097PGTB.pdf.

The 30-day public comment period on the draft environmental assessment will conclude on June 21, 2019. Comments can be submitted by mail to Jim Jardine, 1955 Fremont Ave., Idaho Falls, ID 83415-1203 or by email to pgtb@id.doe.gov. Paper copies of the document are available on request.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

TRPTA meeting set for this evening

TRPTA buses at the agency's central station on West Broadway.
Representatives from the areas formerly served by the Targhee Regional Public Transportation Authority (TRPTA) have organized a meeting to discuss the status of TRPTA’s affairs and to initiate conversation on the future of public transit options in the region.

The public meeting will be held at the Skyline Activity Center, 1575 N. Skyline Drive, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Agencies invited to attend include Bonneville County, Idaho Falls, Ammon, Iona, Rexburg, state and federal representatives, and others who are involved with or impacted by the recent TRPTA developments. An agenda is posted on the city of Idaho Falls website and can be found here: https://www.idahofallsidaho.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_05212019-725.

TRPTA's board voted to dissolve at an April 22 emergency meeting. The closure was the latest chapter in a troubled history that stretches back to 1994 and came after the Federal Transit Administration indicated concern regarding the agency’s lack of financial controls in November 2018. In February, FTA placed TRPTA on drawdown restrictions, prohibiting it from receiving capital expenditure funds, after a financial management report recommended corrective actions. Those restrictions led Idaho Falls, TRPTA’s biggest funding source, to withhold its funding.

TRPTA serves about 1,000 people monthly and provides more than 23,000 rides over the course of a year, according to board Chairman Michael O’Bleness. As well as running fixed bus lines, it provides rides to people with disabilities or who are medically fragile.



Thursday, May 16, 2019

Tru by Hilton scheduled to open June 11

This is what a Tru by Hilton looks like wherever one is built. The Idaho Falls Tru
is scheduled to open June 11.
Going by the website, it looks like the Tru by Hilton on Lindsay Boulevard will be opening June 11. “This hotel will soon be joining the Hilton Portfolio of Brands and is presently accepting reservations for June 11, 2019 and beyond” are the exact words.

Located at 680 Lindsay Boulevard, the hotel is owned by B&T Hotels IV LLC, which also own the Hilton Garden Inn next door and the Home2 by Hilton at Snake River Landing.

As a brand, Tru is aimed to appeal to a younger customer, in terms of both price and vibe. Hilton announced the Tru brand, its 14th, in January 2016, billing it as its re-entry into the midscale hotel segment. Its first-ever Tru property, in Oklahoma City, opened in 2017. ”I ultimately think this will be our biggest brand over time,” Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta said at the time of the brand’s announcement, pointing out that 40 percent of demand for hotel rooms is in the midscale segment, e.g. brands such as Comfort Inn by Choice Hotels and Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott.

Rates at Tru are in the $90 to $100 range. The brand is especially intended appeal to people in their 20s and early 30s who tend to favor modern design, public spaces where they can work and socialize, and advanced technology such as mobile check-in, according to the company’s webpage. Local snacks and drinks, including single-serving beer and wine, are available from a grab-and-go area. A build-your-own breakfast station is complimentary, and coffee and tea are free throughout the day. The play area features a large TV, and activities such as ping pong and foosball tables. Wi-Fi is free. Rooms come with either a king bed or double queen beds, in sizes of 231 or 275 square feet.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Community Food Basket plans "Hunger Games" fund-raiser

Community Food Basket Idaho Falls (CFBIF) has announced a new fund-raiser, the Community Food Basket Hunger Games, inviting teams to put their brains to the test in a series of challenges that will require quick-thinking skills and an adventurous spirit.

Bank of Commerce is a title sponsor of the event, scheduled to take place Aug. 17 at Freeman Park as the kickoff of an area-wide campaign to raise funds to purchase their current food storage warehouse. The campaign will end in the winter of 2020 as the organization celebrates 40 years of service to the community.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had to change warehouse locations several times over the past few years, which burdens our limited staff and doesn’t allow us to create consistent processes within the sorting and distributing of food,” Executive Director David Manson said. “We also have an extraordinary opportunity to apply for a matching grant to purchase the building if we can raise enough funds within the community. Our hope is that this facility is truly a legacy gift to the community and will eliminate the worry of where food may be stored next.” 


Idaho Falls City Councilmember and longtime CFBIF advocate Michelle Ziel-Dingman is chairing the event. “As someone who has personally experienced the devastation of food insecurity, I was honored for the opportunity to give back to an organization that has smartly leveraged resources to help those in-need. Community Food Basket Idaho Falls is a well-managed non-profit with strong leadership, dedicated partners and donors, and passionate employees who treat their clients as guests,” she said.
 
Sponsorship opportunities are available, as well as teams of four for a donation of $300. For more information, visit FeedIdahoFalls.org, call 208-709-3773 or email director@feedidahofalls.org.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Home prices show sharp gains in Idaho Falls metropolitan area

The line chart from the HPI Calculator for a $100,000 house in Idaho Falls
bought in Q4 2013. (Note: Your mileage may vary.)
I was told by an associate and a newcomer to town that the housing market in Idaho Falls is off the charts, so I thought it might be time to run some numbers with our old standby, the HPI Calculator from the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

This is a page where you can plug in numbers and find out how what home values in your community have done. For starters, I wanted to see what a home purchased for $100,000 in the fourth quarter of 2003 would have done in 15 years. The disclaimer on the page states that the numbers it crunches are based on the average appreciation rate of all homes in the area. “The actual value of any house will depend on the local real estate market, house condition and age, home improvements made and needed, and many other factors,” it says.

What the graph shows is that over 15 years that house would now sell for $173,443. An annual appreciation of 4.9 percent. Not bad, eh? The line graph shows a leveling off in the $116K to $120K range between 2011 and 2014, but incredible acceleration from the first quarter of 2015.

If you’d bought a $100,000 house in the fourth quarter of 2008, you’d see a lot less appreciation, 25.8 percent or nearly 2.6 percent a year. You would have been underwater from Q2 2009 to Q3 2016. Ouch!

Lastly, let’s look at what $100k would do over five years: Q4 2013 to Q3 2018. You’d be looking at a gain of $46,052, or an annual rate of appreciation of 9.2 percent.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

INL wins Federal Laboratory Consortium National Award

Dr. Peter Kong, chief technology officer at Cogent Energy Systems, developed the
background modular plasma technology at Idaho National Laboratory.
Idaho National Laboratory has been honored with a 2019 Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) National Award in the Technology Focus category for the successful transfer of small-scale waste-to-energy technologies to Cogent Energy Systems. The FLC is a formally chartered organization mandated by Congress to promote, educate and facilitate technology transfer among more than 300 federal laboratories, research centers and agencies nationwide. Honorees are recognized in eight categories.

The Technology Focus award recognizes technologies that have demonstrated innovation or creativity in the transfer of an energy product, technology or service. The award was presented at the FLC National Meeting in Orlando, held April 23 through 25.

The story starts at INL with research being conducted on the creation of nanoparticles. The modular hybrid plasma reactor that originated from this research evolved into a gasification system for Waste to Energy (WTE) applications. The resulting proprietary ionic gasification process—embodied in Cogent’s HelioStorm Gasifier—involves the direct-contact processing of combustible feedstock waste, such as biomass and municipal solid waste, inside an active plasma field at temperatures of 3,000 to 10,000 degrees Celsius. The result is a clean, high-energy synthesis gas (or syngas) that can be used to generate electricity or converted into many valuable end products, including hydrogen, liquid fuels, and chemical precursors.

Founded in 2012, Cogent Energy Systems of Merrifield, Virginia, was the recipient of the transferred technology. The company’s technology development takes place in Idaho Falls, Idaho, near INL, where the modular hybrid plasma technology at the heart of its HelioStorm Gasifier originated. In partnership with other organizations, Cogent has developed and demonstrated two full-scale waste-to-energy gasifiers, with plans for a complete end-to-end commercial demonstration system scheduled to come on line during 2020.

Cogent executed a license option agreement with INL in 2012 and exercised the option to license the technology two years later. INL stands ready to help Cogent leverage DOE programs and assets to achieve commercial success. In the relationship with Cogent, INL has taken the approach that a successful technology transfer requires a sustained effort that does not end with execution of the license agreement. INL Commercialization Manager Ryan Bills, along with Cogent’s Dr. Abraham Haspel and Dr. Peter Kong, were recognized for this accomplishment through the FLC Award.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Smart Foodservice Warehouse Store planned for Lindsay Boulevard near Motel 6

An interior view of a Smart Foodservice Warehouse Store
A few loyal BizMojo Idaho readers have asked what’s happening on Lindsay Boulevard near the Motel 6 and the offramp from U.S. Highway 20.

The property, at 1240 Lindsay Boulevard, is being developed into a 20,265-square-foot Smart Foodservice Warehouse Store. Until recently the chain was known as Cash&Carry Smart Foodservice. The site plan was approved in December 2018. Permits for foundation, plumbing, mechanical and electrical have been submitted. The job value is estimated at $2.4 million.

Headquartered in the Portland, Ore., area, the company has been operating throughout the Northwest for more than 60 years. As a wholesale food distributor and food service warehouse, it stocks food products, chef supplies, wholesale restaurant supplies, and catering supplies.

With 66 wholesale locations, the chain has stores in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Montana and Utah. In addition to Idaho Falls, stores are scheduled to open this year in Meridian, and Kalispell, Mont. Stores have already opened this year in Salt Lake City, Portland, Ore., Carson City, Nev., and Sacramento, Calif.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Idaho Falls City Council approves site plan for new Costco store

Costco plans to open a store in Idaho Falls in summer 2020
at the northwest corner of Lincoln and Hitt roads.
Costco plans to open a store in Idaho Falls the summer of 2020, as plans were unveiled Thursday night at the Idaho Falls City Council meeting. The council voted unanimously to approve the retail giant's plan to build in the city as part of Idaho Falls’ Economic Development Incentive Program.

Along with their application, a preliminary site plan was previewed for the northwest corner of Lincoln Road and 25th East (Hitt Road) in Idaho Falls.  The site plan includes a 150,000-square-foot retail facility as well as a 15 to 30 position fueling station.

According to a city press release, the Idaho Falls Costco is expected to bring more than 100 jobs to the city with full medical and dental benefits and salaries in excess of $15 per hour.  Construction is expected to begin in September of 2019 with an anticipated opening date of August 2020.

“Costco’s decision to locate in Idaho Falls was based on several factors, including the city’s ability to offer the Economic Development Incentive Program. Companies can qualify for this incentive primarily through creating a large quantity of new jobs in the community. Costco will do so, generating a substantial overall economic impact and spurring additional economic development in the northeast area of the city,” said Dana Briggs, economic development coordinator. “It has been a pleasure working with Costco Wholesale Corporation. The integrity of the company is evident in all coordination and communication. We look forward to continually working together as the Idaho Falls facility becomes a reality.”

The city’s Economic Development Incentive Program is designed to provide incentives to existing business expansion or new business location within Idaho Falls.

“Tonight’s announcement is terrific news for our community. 'When is Costco coming?' has been one of the most frequently asked economic development questions we’ve heard for years,” said Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper.  “I am very confident that Costco executives will find a very professional and competent group of city planning, building, inspection and permitting officials to help them through this process, as well as a more than enthusiastic customer base when they arrive.”

Casper praised city staff for their hard work and efforts to help bring Costco to the city.  “I am very pleased with the behind-the-scenes preparation that Dana Briggs, our city’s Economic Development Coordinator, and her City colleagues have been able to make with this project so far. The best is yet to come."

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Idaho Falls Auditorium District hires Rob Spear as new executive director

Rob Spear
The Idaho Falls Auditorium District has hired a new executive director, Rob Spear.

"After a three-month search, the board agreed that Rob is the right person for this position and we are excited to see him onboard with this project,” said Terri Gazdik, the board's chairwoman. Spear replaces Chip Scott who resigned earlier this year.

Spear comes from University of Idaho, where he served as the director of athletics. He holds a doctorate from the University of Idaho, an MBA from the University of Montana and undergraduate degree in business from the College of Great Falls (now the University of Providence).

According to the IFAD press release: "(Spear) is a proven fund-raiser who was responsible for several multi-million-dollar gifts to the University of Idaho; managed over $50 million in construction projects, ranging from athletic facilities to bio-engineering buildings; and has a history of developing and establishing positive relationships with community, state, federal and corporate organizations. Spear and his wife, Sandy, have always immersed themselves into community activities."

Spear was deeply involved in the plan to bring an events center to the UI campus and other facilities improvements, but was fired by the Idaho State Board of Education in August 2018 after a months-long probe into his handling  in 2013 of a sexual-assault complaint against a football player. The Idaho Statesman reported that two female students had spoken to police about the same player previously. According to the Statesman story, the student senate requested Spear resign his position, and several other former female student-athletes criticized Spear’s leadership. He was fired for convenience, so he is due a $181,958-per-year salary through Feb. 17, 2020. That amount will be offset by any income he receives from the auditorium district. The IFAD job pays $100,000 per year, according to reporting in the Post Register.

“I want to commend the IFAD Board for doing its due diligence and thoroughly understanding the facts surrounding my departure from the University of Idaho,” Spear said in the IFAD press release.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Brynne Hansen named AmeriTitle state title manager

Brynne Hansen
Brynne Hansen has been promoted to the position of assistant vice president and state title manager for AmeriTitle Idaho.

A longtime St. Anthony resident and proud member of a ‘potato family,’ Hansen started in the title industry in 1997.  Over the past 22 years she has held various positions, giving her a wealth of knowledge and insight.  She joined the AmeriTitle team 10 years ago, and most recently held the position of East Idaho Title Production Manager.

"(My) favorite part of my job is the relationships I’ve developed with my team and with customers, and I am excited to work more with the AmeriTitle teams across the great State of Idaho,” Hansen said. "Each transaction tells a different story and can present a different challenge."

AmeriTitle Vice President and Idaho State Manager Richard Hajek said, “Brynne is one of a kind; not often do you find someone so committed, energetic, competitive, and enthusiastic about Title Insurance and service.  I have no doubt that when Brynne or her team are involved in a file, they will provide the best product and service available in our industry.”

Brynne and her husband Jarrod have two children, Colter, 12, and Carson, 18, who is living in Boise attending Boise State University. She loves hunting, fishing, snow-machining, cooking, canning, and is an extremely involved baseball mom, spending a lot of time traveling and supporting her kids passion for baseball.  She can be reached by contacting the AmeriTitle Idaho Falls operation at 208-524-6600 or via email at Brynne.Hansen@AmeriTitle.com.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Lucy's New York Style Pizzeria moving to downtown location today

After close to 10 years on East Anderson Street, Lucy’s New York Style Pizzeria is moving to a brand new location today in The Broadway, at 560 West Broadway.

The move has been on for close to a year, as Lucy’s was announced as one of the contracted tenants in September 2017, when the permit applications were filed. The previous year, owner Geoff Padigimus told BizMojo Idaho that he was looking for a new location.

The new location on Broadway will be able to seat 114 people, twice as many as the East Anderson location. Hours of operation will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. It will close at 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Padigimus opened the Anderson location (previously a Pizza Hut) in late 2009, but Lucy’s started in Roberts. They now have four restaurants — three in eastern Idaho, one in Utah. He said his original idea was to do hot-and-ready pizza part-time and keep working construction, but the slowdown in the industry made him think again. This coincided with his introduction to Rich Franco, who showed him how to make New York style pizza. In fact, Lucy's was  named after Franco's bulldog, Lucy, and the pizza ovens and equipment came from Franco's kitchen on First Street.

New York-style pizza is made with a large hand-tossed thin crust, often sold in wide slices to go. The crust is thick and crisp only along its edge, yet soft, thin, and pliable enough beneath its toppings to be folded in half to eat.

Lucy’s does indeed offer pizza by the slice. The menu at the new restaurant will include several new items, including Nutella Pie, a dessert option. Padigimus told East Idaho News they are also looking to add new sauces like Alfredo or pesto.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Crmbl Cookies set to open at Sandcreek Commons

Crumbl Cookies will be opening this week at Sandcreek Commons, 2656 East Sunnyside Road, a multi-tenant retail building in Ammon. A soft opening is planned for  6 p.m. Thursday. Free cookie day is Friday, and the grand opening will be Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to midnight.

The menu offers chocolate chip and sugar cookies, with a rotating menu of cookie selections that change weekly. The shop’s customer-friendly location offers convenient access and ample parking, but cookie fans will also be thrilled to know Crumbl is a cookie bakery with late-night delivery options. More info on cookie specials and delivery can be found at www.crumblcookies.com.

Friday, April 5, 2019

INL celebrates 2018 accomplishments at banquet tonight

Idaho National Laboratory will celebrate tonight the achievements of some of its exceptional employees at the 23rd annual Laboratory Director Awards ceremony. The reception honors a wide range of talent among the diverse roles and responsibilities that make INL’s research possible.
The event will highlight outstanding achievements from 2018, including 21 newly issued patents, five copyright assertions and four R&D 100 Awards. INL, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, will recognize the work done over the past decades with a commemorative video, and employees will be recognized for their outstanding research and development accomplishments in support of INL’s mission.

"2018 was a great year of success at INL, thanks to our dedicated and talented staff," INL Laboratory Director Mark Peters said. "Tonight's ceremony is an opportunity to celebrate achievements and express our gratitude. Congratulations to our award winners, and to all in our workforce. This last year was truly a memorable one, and I appreciate everyone's passion and hard work."

Douglas Porter will be inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame at the five-patent level. Frederick Stewart and Mark Stone will be inducted at the 10-patent level.

The 2018 award recipients are:

• Community Award: Linda Montgomery
• Inclusive Diversity Award: Donna O’Kelly
• Leadership Award: Richard Farrar
• Mission Advancement: Partnership and Collaboration Award: High-Density Nuclear Fuel Fabrication Development Team: Steven Martinson, Adrian Wagner, Mark Borland, Blair Grover, Brett Horsburgh
• Mission Enabling Support Services Individual Award: Jana Beyerlin and Shawn Jensen
• Mission Enabling Support Services Team Award: Remote-Handled Low-Level Waste Disposal Team: Brady Orchard, Brett Welty, Stephanie Austad, Sadie Butler, Boyd Christensen, Bradley Cole, Pamela Crane, Reese Gannon, Stacy Nottestad, Abraham Romo, Jeffrey Sondrup, Steven Richards, Albert Wilcox
• Outstanding Impact Award: CyberStrike Team: Robert Smith, Daniel Noyes, John Yadon, Amanda Belloff, Ron Heaps, Joel Johnson, Trent Taylor, Timothy Conway
• Laboratory Award for Early Career Exceptional Achievement: Jeffery Aguiar
• Laboratory Award for Exceptional Engineering Achievement: Sergiy Sazhin
• Laboratory Award for Exceptional Scientific Achievement: Yoshiko Fujita
• Laboratory Award for Individual Lifetime Achievement in Science and Technology: Brad Norby
• Inventor of the Year Award: Henry Chu
• Operations Technician of the Year Award: Darren Nielsen
• Research and Development Technician of the Year Award: Richard Hatch
• INL Vision Award: CES-21 Team: Robert Caliva, Rita Foster, Jed Haile, Bryce McClurg, Bryan Beckman
• INL Vision Award: Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear Team: John Jackson, Lori Braase
• INL Vision Award: Nuclear Science User Facilities Team: Dan Ogden, Collin Knight, Lindy Bean, Jeff Benson, Renae Soelberg
• INL Vision Award: Carl Stoots

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

IF Advertising Federation awards banquet set for Friday

The theme for this year's event is Film Noir, courtesy of MCS Advertising.
The Idaho Falls Advertising Federation on Friday will hold its 2019 Gem Awards at The Downtown Event Center, on Park Avenue. Hosted by KPVI Television's, Matt Davenport, the local club invites all to see what solid work eastern Idaho delivers.

The event will start at 6 p.m. with a social hour, followed by dinner from Diabla's Kitchen. The event will include the handing out of awards for regional creative and marketing excellence. This will be followed by a dessert bar featuring sweets from Pop's Ice Cream and La Vanilla Bean.

Winners were notified of their wins, but exactly which awards -- Opal for recognition, Ruby for place and Diamond for excellence -- will not be revealed until show night. In addition to professional awards, student awards will also be recognized. The highest award, Best In Show, will be presented to the top standout entry.

The judging took place in January, and this year's judges were: Christal Gammill, managing director of Publics North America, Boise and the District 11 governor of the American Advertising Federation; Mel Mansfield, executive creative director, Davies Moore; and Allie Hoskins, Graphic Designer, KLIM.

The Mission Award, is awarded to an individual or organization that upholds and honors the mission of the American Advertising Federation. It is decided by the president and immediate past president of the Idaho Falls Advertising Federation Club. The recipient is unknown until the award is announced at the event.

"Honoring and exemplifying the focus of the American Advertising Federation is why we come together," said Adam Bostrom, president of the Idaho Falls Advertising Federation. "The Mission Award is our way of honoring colleagues, to show them how much their dedication to the industry is an influence and that they are recognized for integrity in business, creativity and advocacy."

This year's co-sponsor is the Downtown Event Center. The dessert bar sponsor is KPVI Television. Each attendee will leave with a gift bag, sponsored by the Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel, featuring items from business partners including Blue Phoenix Branding, College of Eastern Idaho Foundation, AlphaGraphics, Bank of Idaho and the Idaho Falls Advertising Club.

Within the awards, students who enter the creative show are recognized with awards and also with tickets. Student award winners are given three tickets, for themselves and two guests, to attend the event. These tickets are sponsored by partners, so these students have the opportunity to meet and socialize. These student tickets would not be possible without the dedication of the Bank of Idaho and IE Productions.

MCS Advertising is the sponsor of the creative look and feel to this year's event. The theme is Film Noir, and the MCS Team has worked on the collateral, promotion and print for the evening.

"Planning such a fun event would not be possible without the help of our amazing partners, within and outside the creative and advertising industry," said Andrea Todd, planning committee chair.

Tickets are still available until noon Wednesday, and are available at https://bit.ly/2VdJOww. Questions regarding the event can be directed to Todd at 208-569-9498 or the club website  https://ifadfed.wordpress.com/.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Expansion planned for The Falls Apartments

Artist's rendering of The Falls Apartments
Kartchner Inc. and Snake River Landing are planning to build 96 new apartments, an expansion of The Falls Apartments. The apartment community, at Snake River Landing, opened in 2016 with 228 units, so this will expand the number to 324. Work starts in April.

"The Falls Apartments is one of the many southeast Idaho communities we have taken a fresh approach to in the design and development process in order to bring something unique to the growing market,” said Troy Kartchner, president of Kartchner Inc. “Through this expansion, we will be fulfilling the need for large two- and three-bedroom apartments. Residents of the Falls Apartments greatly value the amenities we offer, along with the conveniences Snake River Landing provides that is within walking distance of our community.”

The Falls Apartments features 1, 2 and 3-bedroom options, including a limited number of furnished corporate units. Available amenities include a premium fitness center, an outdoor pool and Jacuzzi area, a 24-hour club room for gatherings, and a playground. Onsite management and 24-hour maintenance services are also available.

In addition to The Falls Apartments, Kartchner has also developed 34 single-family homes known as Legacy Creek, the first residential community in Snake River Landing.

“It’s a pleasure to work with Kartchner once again, and see the success and growth of The Falls Apartments,” said Eric Isom, Snake River Landing's chief development officer. “People who live and work here love the amenities of Snake River Landing, like the trails, water features and well-maintained grounds. They also enjoy the short walk to restaurants, shops and the greenbelt.”

For more information, go to thefallsapts.com or 208-529-0010.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Dutch Bros plans new store near Hillcrest High School

Students at Hillcrest High School next year
 will have no excuse for sleeping in class.
The city of Ammon building department received site plans this week for a Dutch Bros Coffee shop at the corner of Eagle Drive and Sunnyside Road. In addition to Kohl's and Modern Home, this places Dutch Bros' third Idaho Falls/Ammon location in close proximity to Hillcrest High School.

Charlie Allen, Ammon's building official, said the site plans have to be reviewed and the City Council must take action before any ground can be broken. Going by the usual pace of things, he said that ought to be in May or June.

Dutch Bros (pronounced as "bros," not "brothers"), of course, is the wildly popular coffee purveyor that opened two Idaho Falls shops last year, on Woodruff Avenue and 17th Street. Based in Grants Pass, Ore., it is the country's largest privately held drive-thru coffee company, with outlets in seven states, with more than 9,000 employees.

The company announced in October 2018 it had received a minority investment from TSG Consumer Partners, a company whose food and beverage investments also include VitaminWater, PopChips, Smart Balance and Pabst Blue Ribbon. The size of the investment wasn't disclosed, but Dutch Bros said it planned to nearly triple its outlets, from 300 to 800, over the next five years.

Radio Shack returns to Idaho Falls

Reese Clawson
Radio Shack is back in Idaho Falls, in the Albertson’s shopping center on the city’s west side, west of Ace Hardware. This is great news for us geeks who like a local place to find capacitors, resistors, potentiometers, fuses, jewel lights, etc.

The store is managed by Reese Clawson, who has a history with Radio Shack dating all the way back to 1982, when it was in the Yellowstone Mall. The new Idaho Falls store is one of two franchises owned by Vern Murray. The other is in Pocatello.

The Fort Worth-based company declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015. Once the domain of do-it-yourselfers, Radio Shack's corporate directors decided in the early 2000s to make a strategic shift toward selling cell phones and accessories. By 2014, mobile phones accounted for nearly half of the company's total sales, but this had its downside. When consumers gravitated toward buying cellphones directly from wireless operators, carriers began covering their rising costs by reducing payments to Radio Shack and other resellers. This was aggravated as well by an overabundance of stores, and the company's profit margins and sales slid disastrously. The chain emerged from the 2015 bankruptcy only to declare it again in 2017. It came out of the second bankruptcy in early 2018.

Clawson, the son of a ham radio operator, is happy to see the chain getting back to basics. There are plenty of items to make hobbyists happy, and gone are the cell phones and the DISH Network offers. “They’re not doing all the stuff that put them out of business,” he said.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Shopko to close remaining stores nationwide

Shopko will liquidate its assets and close all of its remaining locations, including its store in Idaho Falls, by mid-June.

The company was unable to find a buyer for the retail business and will begin winding down its operations beginning this week, the company said in statement released Monday. The decision to liquidate will bring an end to the brick-and-mortar business that began with one location in Green Bay, Wisc., in 1962.
 
"This is not the outcome that we had hoped for when we started our restructuring efforts," Shopko CEO Russ Steinhorst said in the statement. The company in February announced plans to close 250 stores, or about 70 percent of its locations, as it attempted to scale back the business and work through bankruptcy to  restore profitability and attract a buyer or investor.

That list was expanded at noon Monday with the inclusion of the 120 stores that Shopko had hoped to keep open, according to a document filed Monday in U.S. bankruptcy court in Nebraska. Prior to bankruptcy, Shopko employed more than 15,000 people nationwide, according to court documents.

Employees at Shopko headquarters, in Ashwaubenon, found out about the liquidation during an emergency meeting on Monday. Individual stores had team meetings to pass along the same information.

The bankruptcy court had scheduled an auction for Tuesday morning in the hope of driving up the price of initial bids that were submitted last week. On Monday, it announced the auction was canceled and a bankruptcy consultant would oversee  liquidation over the next 10 to 12 weeks.

The court filing indicates all store closures will be completed by June 16. The company said it continues to evaluate options for its optical business. Shopko had originally hoped to spin off the business into standalone locations as part of its reorganization. The optical business now becomes one of the assets it will look to sell in the liquidation process. The liquidation at the newly-identified closing stores will look much the same as what has occurred at Shopko stores that have already closed: Discounts will slowly increase over a period of weeks as the company looks to sell every bit of inventory and equipment on hand.

Shopko and its affiliates filed for bankruptcy protection on Jan. 16 citing assets of less than $1 billion and liabilities between $1 billion and $10 billion. It had sought a buyer that would keep a smaller number of the company's brick and mortar locations operating beyond bankruptcy.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Salon h.Davis moves to new, larger location

Salon h.Davis owner Niki Young
Salon h. Davis has opened at a new, larger location, at 3544 E. 17th St. Suite 103. Owner Niki Young said she has been looking for a few years for a place to expand from the 25th Street location, where she started the business in August 2009. Her choices were limited, however. “I didn’t want office space,” she said.

Last September, however, Young’s client Mary Shell of S2M Development told her about the 17th Street space. Shell and her husband, Mark, own the building. While 2,700 square feet was more than what Young was envisioning — “I would have liked something three times bigger instead of four times,” she said — the location was good and she had an idea for how she wanted the space to look.

It is a look she describes as “industrial glam.” The vents in the ceiling are exposed, there is an ornate chandelier in the lobby and waiting area. As far as appointments are concerned, the salon now has 10 stations, more than double the four stations on 25th Street. There are three pedicure stations, two treatment rooms and a break room for the staff.

Young, who named the salon after her grandmother, is planning a grand opening for April 6.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Car wash planned for southwest corner of Yellowstone and Sunnyside

L. Jones emailed last Friday to ask what is happening on the southwest corner of Yellowstone Highway and Sunnyside Road, where she saw activity. Our examination of building permits with the city of Idaho Falls Building Department today reveals there is to be a Pony Express Car Wash built there.

The new construction permit application from Wednesday is from Josh Howa, a Boise architect, and the owner is Seven Synergy Holdings LLC of Lake Havasu City, Ariz. The city collected $155,800 in fees, including $120,960 for water services (we can’t have a car wash without water, can we?) and $34,720 for the sewer connection.

This is the second Pony Express Car Wash in the area. One opened in Chubbuck in January, and was featured on Local News 8 with a story about its unique water reclamation system, which incorporates trenches and settling tanks. Check it out using this hyperlink: https://www.localnews8.com/news/pony-express-carwash-will-use-new-methods-for-water-conversation/954652818.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Fall River Cooperative offering scholarships

ASHTON -- Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative is once again offering scholarships to local area high school graduating seniors whose parents or guardians are members of Fall River Electric. A member is anyone who receives electric service from Fall River, whether at a permanent residence, a vacation property or commercial business. Over the history of this program, Fall River Electric has
awarded over a half a million dollars in scholarships to deserving graduating seniors.

Fall River Electric scholarships are valued at $2,400 and are paid in increments of $600 annually. In order to apply, graduating seniors must have at least a 2.0 grade point average (GPA) and provide a short written essay stating their educational goals and why they are deserving of a scholarship.

Applications are now being accepted from seniors enrolled in the following school districts:

  • Teton #401
  • Fremont County #215
  • Sugar-Salem #322
  • Madison #321
  • Jefferson #251
  • Ririe #252
  • West Yellowstone #69

Interested seniors or their parents or guardians may obtain a scholarship application by visiting the Fall River Electric website at www.fallriverelectric.com, then click “MYCOMMUNITY” and open the “Scholarships” tab on the dropdown menu to download an application.

Applications must be postmarked by Friday, March 29, or can be dropped off at any of Fall River’s offices in Ashton, Driggs or West Yellowstone. For further information or to answer questions, call Joni Amen at 208-652-7002 or email her at joni.amen@fallriverelectric.com.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Edward Jones adviser Mike Silver opening office at Snake River Landing

Mike Silver
Edward Jones financial adviser Mike Silver announced this week he plans to open a new office this summer at 901 Pier View Drive, in Idaho Falls' Snake River Landing development. "The new office should allow me to continue helping my clients reach their most important financial goals,” he said.

Begun in 2006, Snake River Landing is a mixed-use planned community now home to more than 30 businesses. “We enjoy providing a professionally setting and working with businesses to fit their needs,” said Eric Isom, chief development officer. “Edward Jones has been great to work with and we are excited for Mike Silver to join the Snake River Landing community.”

Located next to Love At First Bite, Silver's office will be open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm. More information can be found at www.edwardjones.com/mike-silver

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Idaho Falls Fiber begins pilot program signup

Screenshot from Idaho Falls Fiber web page
Idaho Falls Fiber has begun offering fiberoptic services to city residents within the identified boundaries of its pilot program. Anyone interested can visit www.idahofallsfiber.com or calling IFF Customer Service at 208-612-8725.

Idaho Falls Fiber has partnered for the rollout with four local internet providers: Direct Communications, Qwknet, SilverStar, and SUMO. Anyone in the pilot areas, on the city's south side, can visit the website and enter their address to determine fiber availability at their location.  Once a customer confirms availability, the sign-up continues by selecting a service package and provider.

“This is a milestone for Idaho Falls residents,” said Bear Prairie, general manager of Idaho Falls Power and Idaho Falls Fiber. “We’ve had great response from local internet providers and we’re now ready to roll this program out to the public. There has been a lot of support and interest from the community for this, so it’s an exciting time and we’re eager to start connecting customers.”

Once residents have signed up for service and selected their provider, Idaho Falls Fiber will schedule a site survey and appointment with the customer for the installation of the actual fiber to the residence.  Once the fiber is installed, the local internet provider will begin Internet service to the customer.

The Idaho Falls City Council approved the pilot program last September. “This kind of a public-private partnership is exciting," said Mayor Rebecca Casper. "It allows the city to focus on infrastructure, something we excel at and it allows local internet providers to offer services residents trust from companies they know. It captures the best of both worlds.”

The new website also provides pilot program area maps, information on how fiber optics works, billing and service details along with a wide variety of other frequently asked questions about fiber optics and the service.

As directed by the City Council, Idaho Falls Fiber will use data from the pilot program to examine the feasibility and costs associated with expanding high-speed fiber throughout the rest of the community.

“We are anticipating strong support and signups to join the network which will validate the demand in our community for this type of infrastructure,” Prairie said.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Downtown Development seeks three artists for 'Living Walls' project

The Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation's Public Art Committee has issued a request for proposals for three murals to be installed throughout downtown Idaho Falls. The locations downtown will be at: 1) Villa Coffeehouse; 2) The SnakeBite Restaurant; and 3) Willowtree Gallery. The murals will be installed this spring and summer.

The committee includes: Catherine Smith, Miyai Abe Griggs, Chloe Doucette, Lexi French, Amber Deschamps, Alyssa Callantine (Shorty), Georgina Goodlander, Carrie Scheid, Lisa Schulz, Kimmon Richards, and Chip Langerak.

"We believe this is an opportunity to share the community artist members’ visions and talents to represent and honor our community and the rich history and future.  Our goal is to facilitate conversations between downtown patrons and artists to create work that represents the unique qualities of Idaho and our cultures that make this city so beautiful,” said Catherine Smith, IFDDC's executive director.

IFDDC is committed to the use of public art to convey positive messages about the community and to activate underutilized private and public space for the public to enjoy. Living Walls is as a project aimed at bringing public and private walls to life. Through the years, we have seen the historical painted walls create dialogue in our community with both appreciation of the past and curiosity.

The mural design would be informed by the artist’s own research and approach to design. The artist should be able to communicate the approach to research and develop their artistic content relevant to downtown Idaho Falls. The RFP is open through May 1, after which the Public Art Committee will meet and select three proposals by May 15. Each artist will be compensated $2,500 for the mural and provided $500 for supplies. Applications should be submitted online at this link: https://seasonpresale1819.formstack.com/forms/living_walls

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Funding drive starts Monday for Ronald McDonald Family Room at EIRMC

Ronald McDonald Family Rooms are aimed at providing a home-like environment for parents and families of children receiving treatment at hospitals.
In support of a new Ronald McDonald Family Room in Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho is holding a "Fundraising for Families” campaign this week. Monday through Wednesday, the community is being encouraged to make donations toward the construction project.

Kicking things off, Fluor Idaho has made a leading gift of $10,000. Since the project was announced in December 2018, about $515,000 has been raised toward the $766,000 goal.

Construction of the family room is scheduled to begin soon, and an opening is planned for this summer. When finished, the Ronald McDonald Family Room will provide a home-like environment for parents and families of children receiving treatment at EIRMC.

When children are sick, the thing they need most is family. Ronald McDonald Family Rooms are aimed at giving parents and families a quiet place to prepare something to eat, take a shower, do laundry, watch TV, take a nap, or even stay the night, all within the hospital.

Assistance is provided by RMHC of Idaho staff and community volunteers. To make a donation, text the amount you'd like to give to 208-721-9077 or visit rmhcidaho.org/familyroom.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Annual INL Economic Summary details lab's importance to region, state

An annual economic impact summary shows that Idaho National Laboratory continues to be a major contributor to Idaho’s economy.

Highlights from the “INL Fiscal Year 2018 Economic Summary” include:

• INL’s total economic impact exceeded $2 billion in FY-18, a 6.4 percent increase over the prior year.
• INL directly employed an average of 4,349 workers during the fiscal year. That makes INL contractor Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) Idaho’s sixth-largest private employer and ninth-largest employer when compared to all public and private businesses.
• INL spent more than $148 million with Idaho businesses.
• BEA contributed $618,700 in charitable giving, technology-based economic development grants and K-12 STEM giving.

“To see the positive impact the laboratory has on Idaho’s economy is incredibly rewarding,” said INL Director Mark Peters. “Not just because we are helping improve the quality of life in our own backyard, but also because INL’s steady growth shows that we are serving our fellow citizens by striving to resolve the nation’s big energy and security issues.”

Information obtained in this report along with data from other sources, such as the recently released reports from the Idaho Technology Council and the Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho (REDI), helps INL to focus its efforts in STEM, education programs and workforce planning efforts.

The annual summary report was prepared by the Moscow, Idaho-based Emsi, a labor market analytics firm. The FY 2018 economic impact summary is available online at https://public.inl.gov/public/FY18EconomicSummary/index.aspx. The economic impact identified in the report only includes operations managed by Battelle Energy Alliance and does not include impacts of the U.S. Department of Energy cleanup contractor, the DOE itself or the Naval Reactors Facility.

INL is one of the DOE’s national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of DOE’s strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation’s leading center for nuclear energy research and development. Day-to-day management and operation of the laboratory is the responsibility of Battelle Energy Alliance.

See more INL news at www.inl.gov. Follow @INL on Twitter or visit the INL Facebook page.

Monday, February 25, 2019

KB's (Ketchum Burrito) opening location in Idaho Falls

Ketchum Burrito, branded KB’s, is going into the space previously occupied by Costa Vida in the Sagewood Shopping Center, 3000 S. 25 East. Earlier this month a building permit was granted to Skidmore Inc., the property owner, and the opening is planned for March 6, according to the company’s website.

KB’s has stores in Ketchum, Hailey, Twin Falls, McCall and Pocatello, as well as food trucks. The chain started in 1993 in Ketchum/Sun Valley, serving made-to-order burritos and tacos. The menu features multiple vegan options. It has been singled out for praise in the New York Times, which named it a “must stop” in it’s article of top 10 things to do in 36 hours in Sun Valley, Idaho saying, “Even when people are far away, they’re still thinking about the food at Ketchum Burritos. This cheerful laid-back burrito joint serves delicious fish tacos and offers a build-your-own burrito with.”

The website indicates they have live music on “Taco Tuesday” at several of their locations. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

JFA, Zachry Nuclear, enter into SBA mentor-protégé agreeement

JFoster & Associates of Idaho Falls has entered into an All Small Mentor-Protégé Agreement with Zachry Nuclear Engineering, Inc., which allows the two firms to pursue contracts set aside or reserved for small businesses by U.S. Government agencies.

With offices in Idaho Falls, Pocatello and Boise, JFA is an SBA 8(a) Disadvantaged Woman-owned Small Business that specializes in comprehensive technical and engineering services. Under the initial three-year agreement, Zachry Nuclear, as mentor, will encourage opportunities for business development and growth on behalf of JFA as it offers project management, environmental and technical support services to a variety of government and commercial customers.

Part of the worldwide Zachry Group, Zachry Nuclear is a corporation with more than 30 years’ experience in providing engineering analytical services to commercial and government nuclear facilities. It has been deemed a pace-setter in cyber security, transient and accident analysis, thermal hydraulics, radiological assessments, containment/environmental qualification, new plant analyses, nuclear software development, and plant design changes. Besides Idaho Falls, it has offices in Stonington, Conn., Cary and Charlotte, N.C., and Richland, WA. 

For more information, contact Julie Foster at (208) 709-0508 or Julie.Foster@jfaidaho.com.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

A few more Costco links for those who can't get enough

Will Costco come to Idaho Falls? It is a mystery inside a riddle wrapped in an enigma. Or something like that.
It looks like Costco fever is upon us again, so I wanted to share a source, admittedly unofficial, for all you folks who just can’t get the wholesale warehouse chain out of your mind. I've still got Himalayan pink salt I bought there in August 2017, when my wife and I last had a membership, so I'm thinking we're good for now.

This is all Costco has to offer on the subject of new stores opening: https://www.costco.com/new-locations.html. But I found this link from last month by Googling “Costco new store openings,” and it seems to offer information comprehensive and current as likely to be found anywhere: https://www.savingadvice.com/articles/2019/01/08/1052240_new-costco-locations-2018.html

Who knows how accurate it is or how many lives were lost in obtaining it, eh? But for those of you unable or unwilling to click through, here is the key information:

At the moment, the information regarding new Costco openings is limited, but so far we can expect the following:

New Costco Locations in 2019

• Coral Springs, FL (February 2019)
• Ipswich, AUS (February 2019)

Potential New Locations in 2019

Costco hasn’t officially stated where any other new locations for 2019 will be, but we will keep you updated. For now, the potential new locations for 2019 are:

• Bayonne, NJ
• Oklahoma City, OK
• Cypress, TX
• Loves Park, IL
• Bradenton, FL
• St. Cloud, MN
• Eagan, MN
• Harrison, NJ

There are approximately 19 planned warehouse stores in U.S. cities scheduled through 2022. These include:

• Murietta, CA
• Napa CA
• Pleasanton, CA
• Branford, CT
• Clinton, CT
• Athens, GA
• Sharpsburg, GA
• Meridian, ID
• University City, MO
• Ridgeland, MS
• Mooresville, NC
• Cherry Hill, NJ
• Patterson, NY
• Cranston, RI
• Bluffton, SC
• Dallas, TX
• El Paso, TX
• McKinney, TX
• Sherman, TX

Rest assured, we will continue to bird dog this story as it develops, as well as any news on Trader Joe's and In-N-Out Burger, the other two members of the "Holy Trifecta."

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Rigby hires Sharon Parry as P&Z director

Sharon Parry
The city of Rigby has hired Ririe resident and former Idaho Falls City Councilwoman Sharon Parry as its new planning and zoning director. Mayor Jason Richardson announced the hiring during the Jan. 17 Rigby City Council meeting.

From 1998 to 2005 Parry was a member of the Idaho Falls School District No. 91 Board of Trustees, serving as the district's liaison to the Idaho Falls Planning and Zoning Commission. For the last two years, she also served on the board of Bonneville County Planning and Zoning Commissioners.

After her term on the school board expired in 2005, she was elected to the Idaho Falls City Council in 2007 and she remained on the council until 2016.

Parry told the Jefferson Star that her goal with the city of Rigby is to build a relationship between developers and the city council and mayor. “That’s the number one thing,” she said. “We are all in the same boat, so we might as well paddle together.”

Friday, February 8, 2019

Idaho Falls schedules meetings on airport development, zoning

The City of Idaho Falls Community Development Services Department has announced the first of several meetings to discuss future development around the Idaho Falls Regional Airport.

The Idaho Falls City Council recently approved a moratorium on development around the airport in an effort to allow Community Development Services to work with IDA and the public on plans to ensure the public safety and future viability of the airport.

“We plan to host several meetings for the public and stakeholders in the area so they can learn about the importance of this critical area and  give their input as we develop the codes that will govern future land uses there,” said Community Development Services Director Brad Cramer.  “We want to make sure we are planning uses that are safe for the public and allow for the future viability of the airport while ensuring the best and highest uses for the surrounding lands.”

The first meeting will be an open house on the Airport Overlay Zone. That meeting will be held Feb. 12, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Ethel Boyes Elementary School. The open house will feature displays showing the basic parameters of the code and explain how it applies to properties in the city. It will also demonstrate how development around the airport has occurred over the years and why the code and protecting the airport is so important. Staff will be on-hand to answer questions.

The second meeting will be a stakeholder meeting for those with interest in land north of the main IDA runway and east of the Snake River.  That meeting will be held on February 21, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Ethel Boyes Elementary.

That meeting will feature an introductory presentation followed by group discussions related to topics specific to the future of those impacted areas. Invitations will be sent to property owners and known stakeholders in the area, but the meeting is open to anyone who would like to attend.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Real estate numbers from 2018 hold steady; median price up, homes selling faster

Looking at the 2018 sales numbers for single family homes and condos in Bonneville County, it would appear that the market is chugging along for a third straight year. There was a slight slowdown in the number of homes sold and a dip in the number of new listings, but the median price is up to an all-time high and properties are selling faster than ever.

The other thing that struck me from looking all the way back to 2006 was how bad things had gotten in 2011-12. Everyone thinks the darkest days were 2009 -- and if you were in sales, they were dark days indeed -- but I remember someone telling me then, "It's going to get worse. This market is always about two or three years behind what's happening everywhere else."


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Visiting Angels of Eastern Idaho receives Leader in Excellence Award

Visiting Angels of Eastern Idaho has received a Leader in Excellence award from Home Care Pulse, the industry's leading firm in satisfaction research and quality assurance. The company was also named the Provider of Choice and Employer of Choice in eastern Idaho for the 4th year in a row. These awards are granted based on client and caregiver satisfaction scores gathered by Home Care Pulse.

“We are happy to recognize Visiting Angels of Eastern Idaho as a Leader in Excellence,” said Erik Madsen, CEO of Home Care Pulse. “We’ve been impressed by their commitment to their clients and caregivers, as well as the quality of the overall care they provide. They really stand out in their market as a top home care provider.”

Visiting Angels of Eastern Idaho opened its doors in 2015 with a unique approach to senior home care. Over the years, seniors and their families have embraced a companion-based solution whereby each senior has a designated "Angel," avoiding a shuffle of caregivers for home visits. This results in lasting relationships with extraordinary care and high job satisfaction for the caregivers.

“We are so honored to receive this distinction,” W. Scott Holmes, Visiting Angels of Eastern Idaho's owner and CEO, said in a news release. “We have the most amazing team of Angels who put their heart and soul into every visit. To be honest, we are still a bit in shock that an agency in a smaller community such as ours can achieve this ranking!”

Visiting Angels of Eastern Idaho is a local franchise with offices in Idaho Falls and Pocatello. As one of over 600 locations, it provides a range of helpful services for seniors, including companionship, personal care, light housekeeping, meal preparation, errands, and respite for family
caregivers. For more information, call 208-529-2734 or visit visitingangels.com/easternidaho.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Bank of Idaho names Caleb Dimick head of retail and commercial banking

Caleb Dimick
Bank of Idaho has announced the promotion of Caleb Dimick to Senior Vice President of Retail and Commercial Banking. The title is new, but the role is not.

"He's been functioning at this level for the past year, and he's worked hard at it," said Bank of Idaho President and CEO Jeff Newgard. "We're really proud of what he's accomplished during that time, and we are happy to give him the recognition he's earned."

A specialist in small business lending, Dimick has focused both on retail services and commercial lending, ordinarily the work of two executives. "The integrated role was one that was completely untested here, but the way Caleb led us through the transition, his team never missed a step," Newgard said.

Dimick's advancement coincides with expansion on many fronts at Bank of Idaho. This month, the 33-year-old, Idaho Falls-based institution opened an office in downtown Boise, its eighth full-service branch. The bank is also awaiting completion of new office space for its Wealth Management department at The Broadway, the new structure at the corner of Memorial and A Street in downtown Idaho Falls.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

New Shoshone-Bannock Casino opening set for Feb. 13

An artist's rendering of the new Fort Hall casino
 The Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel has announced Feb. 13 as the date for the opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting at it new casino.

The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes broke ground in 2017 on the 85,463-square-foot casino addition, connected to the west side of the Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Events Center.

Beginning at 11 a.m. the ceremony will include remarks from tribal leaders, casino hotel executive staff and project management team members. Celebrating the cultural significance on a project this size, the program will feature traditional dancing and an honor song from a drum group. At the conclusion of the ceremony, a celebratory ribbon cutting will take place, to symbolize the project’s
completion and that the property is open for business. At that time, the public will be invited in to experience the new gaming floor.

The celebration will not end there, however. On Saturday, Feb. 23, the Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel invites the public to participate in the grand opening celebration. During the day, multiple promotions, activities, entertainment and giveaways will be highlighted. Details will be released regarding specifics, times and where guests can find additional information.

For questions or quotes, please contact Andrea Todd at andrea.todd@shobanhotel.com.

In addition to the casino floor, there will be an addition to the north side of the event center, more than 300 new parking spaces, a new bingo hall, buffet and lounge.

The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes owns and operates three gaming properties including the Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel, Sage Hill Casino and Travel Center, and Bannock Peak Casino and Truck Stop. The economic growth plan continues to evolve for the health and benefit of the tribal membership and the eastern Idaho region.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Idaho Falls airport reports sharp jump in passengers in 2018

More than a quarter-of-a-million passengers traveled through the Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA) during 2018, according the most recent numbers compiled by airport personnel.

The total of 320,000 passengers is an increase of more than 30,000 passengers from 2017, reflecting a 10 percent increase over the previous year and the highest totals for the airport for more than a decade.

“Those passenger figures are pretty significant, especially when you consider we were closed for an entire week this year to renovate the runway,” said IDA Director Rick Cloutier, in a press release from the city.  “Had we not been shut down during that time, those number would have been much higher.”

With the exception of Boise, more than twice as many passengers used IDA in 2018 than any other regional airport in Idaho.

IDA currently has seven non-stop destinations to serve Idaho Falls travelers, which is more destinations presently offered at any airport in Idaho with the exception of Boise.  In 2019 there are already additional available seats on larger aircraft that are scheduled to fly through Idaho Falls with additional frequency.

In addition to the recently improved runway and taxiway at IDA, the airport has also upgraded passenger amenities, renovating the restaurant on the main floor and adding the first-ever restaurant with beverage service to the secure, upstairs section of the airport.  Future improvements are also in the works, including expanding the number of passenger boarding gates, improved traffic and security and a new baggage claim.

“We are working very hard to try and bring even more flights and additional airlines to Idaho Falls,” said Cloutier. “Our renovations and improvements are all part of that effort.  It takes time, for sure, but we are working every day to bring more destinations to the residents of Idaho Falls and provide a premium experience for our passengers.”

Friday, January 18, 2019

Idaho Falls ShopKo store to continue operation as company pursues bankruptcy

The Idaho Falls ShopKo store appears to have escaped the bankruptcy axe.

The Green Bay, Wisc.-based retail chain announced this week it was closing more than 100 stores across the Midwest and West, including three in western Idaho and 13 in Utah. But the Idaho Falls store, at 800 East 17th Street, and its store in Pocatello, both of which date back to the mid-1980s, were not on the list of stores closing as part of the company's restructuring under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. (Link: http://info.shopko.com/closing-locations.pdf)

The stores remaining open are to be sold through a court-supervised auction process. Company spokeswoman Michelle Hansen said Thursday the retailer is exiting the pharmacy business and has already sold many of its pharmacies to Kroger, CVS and other buyers. The Idaho Falls and Pocatello locations were not included on the list of ShopKo pharmacies that have already changed hands.

Hansen said the pharmacies should remain open under Shopko until a buyer emerges. She said Shopko will post updates at http://info.shopko.com. She said Shopko will notify customers when a pharmacy will close and to where their prescriptions have been transferred.

Founded by a pharmacist in 1962, ShopKo went public in 1991. It was purchased by Sun Capital Partners, a private-equity firm, for about $1.1 billion in 2005. The company has operated 363 stores in 24 states, according to its website, and operates a regional distribution center on Gowen Road near Interstate 84 in southeast Boise.

"This decision is a difficult, but necessary one," Russ Steinhorst, Shopko's CEO, said in a press statement. "In a challenging retail environment, we have had to make some very tough choices, but we are confident that by operating a smaller and more focused store footprint, we will be able to build a stronger ShopKo that will better serve our customers, vendors, employees and other stakeholders through this process."



Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Idaho Falls logs first commercial business permit application of 2019

The old Pizza Hut building on West Broadway
I've worked at many papers that had a "First Baby of the Year" promotion, in which the family of first baby born at the local hospital would receive all sorts of prizes from the hospital and local businesses. The family would get its photo on Page 1, and everyone would saw "Awwww ..."

Here's the BizMojo Idaho equivalent, albeit with no prize other than the incomparable value of publicity: The First Commercial Business Permit of 2019. And the winner is ...

Jeff Maier, who is undertaking an estimated $100,000 remodel of the Pizza Hut at 1970 West Broadway. The square footage is 2,674, and the contractor is Black Enterprises LLC of Boise. The only other detail is that the remodel is restaurant to retail.

The old Pizza Hut building in question has been empty since the business relocated to the nearby Iron Oak Retail Center. We'll keep you posted as we learn further developments.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Bank of Idaho opens Boise branch

Jeff Newgard
Bank of Idaho has expanded westward, opening its newest location, in downtown Boise's CenturyLink Building, Jan. 7.

This will be the bank's eighth full-service branch. Bank of Idaho started as Bank of Eastern Idaho with its first branch in Idaho Falls in 1985.

Adhering to the company's business model, the Boise branch will specialize in a consultative approach geared toward helping small businesses by building long-term, personal relationships.

“We work hard to learn about our customers," President and CEO Jeff Newgard said. "We strive to gain a deep understanding of their goals and aspirations so we can anticipate their needs and give them the right tools to succeed. Then we make decisions at a local level, which sets us apart from
large-scale institutions."

The Bank of Idaho Boise team will be made up of familiar faces from the area: Tony Vahsholtz, v.p.
area commercial manager; Melissa Montierth, retail branch manager; and Rob Cochems, credit
analyst. More hires are expected in the next month.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Ferrell's, which has been at the southwest corner of Broadway and Park Avenue since 1950, will be moving. Developers have announced plans to remodel the building, which was once the downtown JC Penney store. 
Ferrell’s Clothing, a downtown mainstay since 1950, is moving to 3194 S. 25th East, in the Sagewood shopping center next to Kiwi Loco, where David’s Bridal used to be. A moving sale is planned for this month.

The move itself has been in the works since Dana and Teneal Wright bought the business from Teneal’s father, Brent Tueller, in June 2018, according to an announcement from the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce, which has named Ferrell’s its January 2019 Business of the Month.

At 417 W. Broadway, Ferrell’s is where the parents of countless Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts and LDS Missionaries have gone shopping for their sons. Before Ferrell’s opened there is was the JC Penny store. Dave Anderson brought the business there, and in the 1980s Tueller bought the business from him.

“I’m grateful we could buy the business from my dad so that he can retire, but it’s still a little sad,” Teneal Wright told East Idaho News in November. “All the memories (of this location) will always be close to our hearts.”

“The building has been for sale since I started working here in 2004. We just never expected it to sell very fast,” Dana Wright said. “Some developers downtown bought this building several weeks ago and they’ll be restoring it.”

“Knowing they’re not going to just demolish it and tear it down — that makes me feel better,” Teneal says. “Now we can always drive by and say ‘That’s where Ferrell’s was.’ I know they’re going to make the building beautiful and it’ll be a good thing.”

In case you're wondering what happened to David's Bridal, the Pennsylvania-based company filed for bankruptcy in November 2018. In a classic case of "pump and dump" capitalism, a private equity firm bought the company in 2012 for more than $1 billion. The high level of debt the company had to take on under the deal left it little room to invest in its digital business or marketing. It missed its first interest payment in October 2018 and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection owing between $500 million and $1 billion to creditors, according to court records.

“While David’s Bridal used to be the dominant force in bridal outfitting, it gradually became less relevant,” Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail, told CNN. ”David’s Bridal is a classic case of a retailer with too much debt and a challenged business model.”