Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Credit Union buys primary naming rights to Idaho Falls event center

An artist's rendering of what the event center might look like.
The Idaho Falls Auditorium District announced on Tuesday a new long-term partnership with Mountain America Credit Union that includes naming rights to the long-anticipated facility.

"Partnerships of private enterprise and government are absolutely necessary in order to make projects the size of this one a reality,” said IFAD Board Chairwoman Terri Gadzik in a press release. “They have stepped up to the plate to help the event center team change the face of the economy in eastern Idaho forever."

Mountain America has purchased the primary naming rights to the Mountain America Center for $4.5 million. The credit union has more than 840,000 members throughout five states, including 15 branches in Idaho, and has reported $9 billion in assets. Previously, Mountain America purchased naming rights to the Mountain America Performing Arts Centre in Sandy, Utah, where its headquarters are located.

The total cost of the Idaho Falls project has been estimated at $62 million. No date for groundbreaking has been announced, but infrastructure is being built on Event Center Drive at Snake River Landing, which has donated the land. IFAD has posted a $10 million private fund-raising goal, of which Mountain America's contribution represents 45 percent.

The district reported $11.7 million in assets at the end of May, including more than $10 million in its accounts. It has raised $12 million from a 19 percent hotel bed tax, which voters approved of in a 2011 vote. Certificates of participation, a lease-financing tool, will allow the district to sell shares of the event center’s lease revenues.

The center has been envisioned as the home for a new Idaho Falls minor league hockey team and also a venue for concerts, sporting events, conferences, and other community events. The design of the 48,000-square-foot venue features an arena with seating for up to 5,500 people and a state-of-the-art convention center with flexible configurations.

As naming rights partner, Mountain America’s branding will be visible throughout the facility, with Mountain America Center prominent on the interior and exterior of the building, including a digital marquee sign along the freeway. Additional naming rights opportunities are available inside the facility.

“IFAD is committed to delivering an event center to the Idaho Falls community,” said Rob Spear, IFAD's executive director. “Today Mountain America provided us with the financial momentum needed to move this project forward.”



Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Great Race fund-raiser in need of volunteers

CEI Foundation is still in need of volunteers for its premier annual fund-raiser, The Great Race for Education, which takes place this Friday at Snake River Landing.

Since it began more than 10 years ago, the Great Race has raised more than $300,000 for scholarships at College of Eastern Idaho, formerly Eastern Idaho Technical College. Each year has a different theme. This years is the “Flamingo” Edition.

The foundation is looking for people who are not team owners or on a team. The time commitment is from approximately 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.

"Students this is a great way for you to fulfill your community service and see all the wonderful people who help provide scholarship opportunities," a CEI press release said. "If you commit to assist we just ask that you do show up and check your e-mail for volunteer information."

More than 100 volunteers are required to assist at race stations, set up field challenge challenge stations, judge challenges at the main event area and clean up. CEI employees who are interested need to ask their immediate supervisor for permission to assist.

To volunteer, follow this link to the Great Race webpage: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b054ca5a72faafa7-july

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Idaho Falls assistant city attorney recognized as 'Rising Star'

Michael Kirkham
Idaho Falls Assistant City Attorney Michael Kirkham was recently recognized by the Idaho Municipal Attorneys Association with the 2019 Rising Star Award at its annual conference in Boise.

The Rising Star Award is one of four Service and Achievement Awards that are given out to attorneys around the state for their exemplary performance. The award recognizes lawyers who are newer to the practice of municipal law. Kirkham has worked for the city of Idaho Falls for five years.

“(We are) fortunate to have Mike Kirkham as a part of our legal team,” said Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper. “He never fails to make a positive contribution in part because he has a bright mind and excellent legal instincts. And because of this, he is trusted by his colleagues both in the city and across the state.”

To earn the award, an attorney must provide outstanding service, show a willingness to learn, develop expertise in municipal law, and demonstrate an excellent attitude and reputation. According to the nomination, Kirkham was recognized for being hard working, well organized, personable, and for devoting outstanding time and effort to the IMA and community legal efforts.

“Mike has been a tremendous asset to our office,” said City Attorney Randy Fife. “We appreciate his professionalism, enthusiasm and dedication to the community and to the legal profession.”

Among some of his legal accomplishments include briefing and arguing successfully at the Idaho Supreme Court that the Statute of Limitations on contracts does apply to state government subdivisions, such as municipalities. Kirkham is also a recognized expert in the Idaho Public Records Act, has presented at IMA and freely given help to other municipal attorneys.

In his spare time, he has worked as an adjunct professor at Brigham Young University-Idaho and taught classes on various topics around the state. He is a grader for the Idaho State Bar test and currently serves on the IMA Board.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

INL transfers technology to industry throughout region and beyond

INL’s development of a High-Temperature Irradiation-Resistant Thermocouple, which can withstand temperatures of over 1,250 degrees Celsius, has relied on collaboration with Idaho Laboratories Corp., a company with operations in Idaho Falls.
NOTE: This story appears on the INL.gov website. Having covered INL tech transfer off and on since the 1990s, when I was business reporter for the Post Register, it was interesting to see new developments. 

Technology transfer at Idaho National Laboratory has come a long way since 1980, the year President Jimmy Carter signed the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act, directing national labs to shepherd government-developed innovations into the private sector.

“Our core business has always been trying to get technology out of the lab and into the hands of people who use it,” said Jason Stolworthy, INL’s Technology Deployment director. “Technology advancements often result in profound societal benefit when commercialized, and we work with entrepreneurs, start-ups and innovative companies to turn INL’s innovations to products and services that improve our lives.”

From its inception, technology transfer required a paradigm shift in thinking at the national labs, said Ken Koller, who was a co-director of a former site contractor’s Technology Transfer Group along with Dr. Jane Welch, and is now CEO of Advanced Ceramic Fibers, an INL spinoff. By the mid-1990s, the U.S. Department of Energy incentivized technology transfer in the lab’s management and operations contracts. By Fiscal Year 1997, Idaho’s national lab accounted for seven of the 19 spinouts from national laboratories.

By mid-2019, INL had more than 300 active licenses across the United States. The greatest challenge is making a match between a lab-developed technology and someone who can realize a use for the technology. “It’s like matching a unique piece of art with a buyer,” Stolworthy said. “We have to find someone who understands its full value and potential. Plus, for a technology, they also need to be capable of commercializing it.”

In some cases, companies with INL-licensed technologies have headquarters in places like Virginia, Rhode Island or Texas, but have kept research and development teams in eastern Idaho, near the lab that hatched their innovations. Regionally, six companies in various stages of maturity offer examples of how the lab deploys technology to increase regional and national competitiveness.

To read the full story, follow this link: https://inl.gov/article/idaho-lab-transfers-technology-to-industry-throughout-region-and-beyond/

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Cellar to host Murder Mystery Dinner July 24


The Cellar, at 17th Street and Ammon Road, is planning its first Murder Mystery Dinner for July 24. Host Bryan Hewett says space is limited, that they will be capping it 40 people. In other words, reservations are required. Time is 6 p.m. and the cost is $35.

“This is an interactive dinner, so be prepared to interact and have fun,” he said. The director will be assigning roles, each person to please email their reservation to murdermystery.cellar@gmail.com.

“If you call in to make the reservation or go online, please make sure you let us know it's for the murder mystery dinner,” Hewitt said. You will then be asked for your email and put on the Mystery Dinner list, which offers exclusive insights, hints and tips.

“Don't worry, these aren't tough roles where you have to rehearse or anything,” he said. “Just show up ready to have fun.”

Participants are welcome to dress for the occasion. As the date gets closer all details will be clearly communicated.

Dinner will be served buffet style, in order for players to mingle and gather clues. There will be prizes, fun giveaways throughout the night and a whodunnit prize at the end.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

INL awarded Technology Commercialization funding for 13 projects

Source: U.S. Department of Energy
Idaho National Laboratory has received funding awards for 13 projects proposed to the Department of Energy’s Office of Technology Transitions Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF). TCF was created in 2005 to promote promising energy technologies across DOE’s national labs. Overall funding awarded by DOE this cycle totals over $24 million across 12 national labs. INL was the most awarded laboratory with 13 winning proposals, receiving $2.18 million in TCF funds and equivalent matching funds from partners for a total of $4.36 million in funding.

Each project was selected for its potential to advance promising commercial energy technologies and strengthen partnerships between INL and private sector companies.

Topic 1 projects identify technology maturation activities to attract a private partner. Each Topic 1 project is matched with non-federal funds from a private sector partner or through the INL Royalty Fund. INL’s Topic 1 winners are:

Switchable Solvent Water Extraction for Material Processing and Isolation, $150,000
Principal Investigator: Aaron Wilson, Energy & Environment Science & Technology
Partner: Trevi Systems

Computer Programs for Analysis of Thermally Reactive Tracer Tests in Geothermal Reservoirs, $150,000
Principal Investigator: Mitchell Plummer, Energy & Environment Science & Technology
Partners: Geothermal Science, Inc. and Ormat, Inc.

Full-set Transformer Protection Barrier Manufacturing and Technology Commercialization Demonstration, $125,000
Principal Investigator: Todd Johnson, National & Homeland Security

Idaho National Laboratory Wireless Project, $150,000
Principal Investigator: Kurt Derr, National & Homeland Security

Advanced Manufacturing of Electrochemical Sensors for Molten Salt Applications, $75,000
Principal Investigator: Prabhat Tripathy, Nuclear Science & Technology
Partners: Boise State University and Inflex, LLC

Fabrication of Near-net-shape Metallic Components from Oxides, $75,000
Principal Investigator: Prabhat Tripathy, Nuclear Science & Technology
Partners: Boise State University and Inflex, LLC

High Temperature Next Generation Compact Heat Exchanger Development Using Additive Manufacturing Techniques with Embedded Sensor Capability, $150,000
Principal Investigator: Isabella van Rooyen, Nuclear Science & Technology
Partner: NuScale

Advanced Flow Meter for Extreme Environments (AFMEE), $100,000
Principal Investigator: Piyush Sabharwall, Nuclear Science & Technology
Partner: MicroNuclear

Rapid Field Chemical Detection Method of Actinides, $42,500
Principal Investigator: Catherine Riddle, Nuclear Science & Technology

Scintillation Hydro-Gel for Isotopic Neutron Emitters (SHINE) Neutron Detection Material for Nuclear Reactor Monitoring Systems, $37,500
Principal Investigator: Catherine Riddle, Nuclear Science & Technology

Neutron Spectrum Generator, $75,000
Principal Investigator: Wade Scates, Nuclear Science & Technology

Topic 2 projects cooperatively advance a lab-developed technology in collaboration with a private sector partner to bolster commercial application. Each Topic 2 project is matched with funds from a private sector partner. INL’s Topic 2 winners are:



Application of Advanced Preprocessing Technologies for Biopower and Biobased Products, $300,000
Principal Investigator: Jaya Tumuluru, Energy & Environment Science & Technology
Partner: Lignetics, Inc.

Highly Dynamic Electronic Work Instructions for Advanced Reactors, $750,000
Principal Investigator: Johanna Oxstrand, Nuclear Science & Technology
Partner: GSE Systems

Meeting tonight on South Downtown I.F. Development Plan

The City of Idaho Falls Community Development Services Department will hold an informational meeting tonight with residents of the south downtown area and the public to talk about the Idaho Falls South Downtown Plan, a proactive planning document designed to guide development for the future in the south downtown area.

The meeting will be held at the Idaho Falls Library. The first meeting with residents will begin at 6 p.m. and the open house for the public will begin at 7 p.m. Both meetings will be held in Meeting Room Two.

In 2018, Idaho Smart Growth, in partnership with the Greater Idaho Falls Association of Realtors, conducted background research and initial public outreach for the Idaho Falls South Downtown Plan. Building on that work, the Community Development Services department formed the South Downtown Steering Committee, comprised of residents, landowners, developers, and interdepartmental city staff.

In April, a design charrette was conducted with the steering committee to formulate ideas to aid in the development of the area. The charrette allowed feedback that provided a framework for the draft plan. That framework will be the plan presented to residents and the public at tonight's meeting. Residents and the public are being asked to provide critical feedback and recommendations to be incorporated into the draft South Downtown Plan.

“The south downtown area’s central location and proximity to amenities makes it prime for reinvestment," said Community Development and Services Director Brad Cramer. "The South Downtown Plan is intended to be a proactive planning document which guides development in the area’s future. Guiding this evolution through a shared community vision is paramount to preserve the areas historic character and to facilitate positive business development.”

Thursday, June 20, 2019

EIRMC ER nursing unit named No. 1 in HCA system

The emergency room staff at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center
Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center's emergency department has been recognized as the best out of 185 HCA Healthcare hospitals nationwide. Nurses at EIRMC were recently recognized with the HCA Unit of Distinction award for driving excellence in clinical care and demonstrating outstanding performance in delivering compassionate, high-quality patient care.

“The Unit of Distinction Award is given only to the highest-performing ERs in HCA Healthcare,” said Matt Reeves, EIRMC's manager of Emergency Services. “Earning this award is a true acknowledgement of the outstanding caliber of emergency care that we deliver. It takes a high-performing team of nurses -- each demonstrating a deep level of commitment -- to achieve results like these.”

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Idaho Falls Parks & Recreation to unveil survey results tonight

The Idaho Falls Parks & Recreation Department will roll out the results of their communitywide RECreate IF survey at a public meeting tonight at 7 p.m. at The Waterfront at Snake River Landing.

“This is important to our community because it gives us information that will help us craft RECreate IF, which is our strategic plan and our comprehensive master plan," said Interim Parks & Recreation Director P.J. Holm. "Together those plans will help us determine what, where and how to build for the future of Idaho Falls Parks & Recreation facilities.”

The survey was mailed to Idaho Falls community members in April, and garnered hundreds of community responses.  It was also available for people to take online, to provide their input and suggestions.

“The mailed surveys had a really great response, well beyond what we’d hoped, that will provide us with statistically valid data for our plans,” Holm said. “The online component was also important, as it gives us more of a qualitative understanding of the how the community feels. Both those pieces together give us a pretty complete view of the direction we should be heading.”

The meeting is open to the public. Results from the survey, and information about RECreate IF will also be posted on the department’s webpage, located at www.idahofallsidaho.gov and at www.ifparkplans.com.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Fall River Electric Co-op annual meeting set for Saturday

Fall River Electric Cooperative’s annual meeting for owner-members, featuring the theme “People, Power, Purpose,” is set for Saturday in Ashton and will highlight another outstanding year of achievements.

First established in 1938 by farm families around the Ashton area, the cooperative now boasts over 14,000 members and more than 17,000 meters that receive power transmitted over 2,300 miles of lines. Fall River’s service area includes all of Teton Valley, Island Park, West Yellowstone and rural portions of Fremont, Madison and Jefferson counties. It is one of only three electric cooperatives in eastern Idaho.

The annual meeting is free to all customers that receive power from Fall River Electric. The day will start with a free breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns and a beverage, to be served from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. inside North Fremont High School in Ashton. In celebration of the co-
op’s excellent year, the first 500 members attending will receive a free ceramic knife set with peeler. Attending members may also enter a drawing for a $1,000 energy credit as well as thousands of dollars in other prizes.

As a family event, Fall River’s annual meeting will feature kids’ activities including bucket truck rides, bounce houses, face painting and rides in the Fall River Propane train. Nearly two dozen vendor booths offering information and free prizes will be featured, too. Vendors include an RV dealer, financial and health care providers and local agencies. Smokey Bear will also be in attendance, courtesy of the Ashton district office of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.

For the first time ever, Fall River will provide a free Medicare seminar, conducted by representatives of the Ballard Insurance agency.

During the annual business meeting, which starts at 10 a.m., owner-members will be finalizing the election of three board of director members from a field of ten candidates as well as a couple of proposed bylaw changes Members will also receive a financial report. In addition to the board election, Anita Decker, former executive director of the Northwest Public Power Administration will be a guest speaker during the business meeting.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

New property management company offers help with rentals

Blue Pine Property Management has opened at 1820 E. 17th Street, Suite 135, specializing in managing residential real estate in Idaho Falls and surrounding areas.

"The community is growing quickly and the rental market is very strong," said Tyson Luthy, who started the company in April after more than seven years in the property management business. "We have developed a very owner-friendly management system that includes a 'vacancy guarantee' and 'pet guarantee' at no additional cost. These guarantees protect a property owner against potential vacancies or pet damages."

Blue Pine also owns rental properties in Idaho Falls. "We can relate to the concerns that property owners sometimes have," he said. "We believe that good management is the key to minimizing risk in real estate, and our experience and knowledge of the local market has allowed us to consistently help investors grow their portfolios and reach their financial goals."

The company offers flexible terms and a month-to-month management agreement that can be cancelled at any time. "We stand behind our work and don't want anybody to stay with us just because they are stuck in a contract," Luthy said.

For more information, visit the company's website, www.bluepinepm.com, call (208) 243-9492 or email info@bluepinepm.com.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Who remembers the age of the switchboard?

Switchboard operators in New York City, courtesy of the New York Daily News photo archive.
Raise your hand if you can remember when your phone number began with JAckson. Hmmm ... not many of you, are there?

Hard to as it may be to believe, but there was a day when the prefix to every number began with a word, its first two letters capitalized. Idaho Falls was JA, for JAckson. "JAckson 3-7393" may sound like a Wilson Pickett song (dating myself again), but it's actually the number I had for more than 30 years.

According to the Telephone EXchange Name Project, Blackfoot was SUnset, Rexburg was either ELmwood or ELwood and Rigby was SHerwood. There is a database where you can go to look up any town or city in the U.S.A. This makes me so glad we have the Internet.

Here's the cherry on top: A chart of Ma Bell's officially recommended exchange names. According to it, my smart phone number, 821-1285, should begin with one of the following: TAlbot, TAlmadge, TAylor, VAlley or VAndyke. I think Taylor rolls off the tongue best, e.g. "Hey man, call me at TAylor 1-1285." Of course, now you have to dial the area code first, another sign our world is in decline.

The past has so much to give us that's fun and fascinating. Could we marry the conveniences of the present with everything from the past that makes us smile? Or does the past make us smile because it's the past? In 50 years, maybe people will think of selfies as fondly as I do of my old phone number, OLympia 5-9822. I doubt it, but who knows? I don't expect to be around to find out.

Monday, June 10, 2019

INL Resilience Optimization Center established to help federal agencies, private industry

With impacts from natural disasters and human-caused incidents on the rise, resiliency — the ability to withstand impacts and rapidly recover from different degrees of disruption — has become a top priority.
With impacts from natural disasters and human-caused incidents on the rise, resiliency – the ability to withstand impacts and rapidly recover from different degrees of disruption – has become a top priority in the first two decades of the 21st century. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, disaster declarations between 2005 and 2014 rose 35 percent compared to the previous decade, costing $106 billion in federal assistance. Cyberattacks — more than half of which are preventable — cost an estimated $400 billion annually worldwide.

Now Idaho National Laboratory has established the INL Resilience Optimization Center (IROC) as an innovation center for system resilience and risk management. The center draws from INL’s extensive track record as a world leader in critical infrastructure systems analysis and security, as well as its unique, large-scale test ranges.

“Our national defense, economic prosperity and quality of life have long depended on critical infrastructures such as energy, water, transportation and telecommunications,” said IROC director Ron Fisher. “The rapid proliferation of telecommunications and computer systems all connected to each other has created new dimensions of vulnerability and risk to every organization. INL has been focusing on this in unique ways for a long time, and the IROC is INL’s commitment to offer resilience solutions to the nation.”

The IROC can organize multidisciplinary teams and lab-wide lifeline-infrastructure capabilities that are scalable to any asset, system or network, regardless of function or geography. Its experts also can analyze the resilience impacts posed by cyber-physical relationships and infrastructure dependencies and interdependencies.

In short, the IROC is a highly collaborative center that employs tools and resources from across the federal government, along with commercially available resources. By leveraging existing expertise, tools, test infrastructures and other partner capabilities, the IROC can comprehensively analyze the state of stakeholder resilience and provide optimized solutions that will yield observable results.

Forming a plan to enhance the resilience of critical infrastructures requires owners/operators to determine the ability of the system to withstand specific threats and then return to normal operations following degradation. Thus, a resilience methodology requires comprehensive consideration of all parts of critical infrastructure systems—from threats to consequences. The methodology must generate reproducible results that can support decision-making in risk management, disaster response and business continuity.

With the ability to provide personal attention to individual challenges posed by resilience gaps, the IROC can optimize a broad range of solutions to fit distinctive situations for federal agencies and private companies.

For more information, visit https://resilience.inl.gov or email resilience@inl.gov.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

INL releases grid cybersecurity open source software

INL researchers Rita Foster and Jed Haile demonstrate the capabilities of INL's Structure Threat Intelligence Graph (STIG) software. The product helps electric utility operators visualize and share cyber threat intelligence information.
A revolutionary new cybersecurity tool that can help protect the electric power grid has been released to the public on the code-hosting website GitHub. Developed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory, the Structured Threat Intelligence Graph (STIG) software allows utility owners and operators to easily visualize, share, create, and edit cyberthreat intelligence information.

The ability to share threat intelligence is essential for protecting critical infrastructure like the electric power grid, water treatment facilities, oil refineries, and manufacturing plants from cyber exploits. Prior to the development of this software, threat information was too complex and cumbersome to share, limiting its application in operational environments. The new software standardizes the collection via Structured Threat Information eXpression (STIX) and converts complex data on cybersecurity vulnerabilities into a visualization that is easy to understand and act on. With STIG, utility owners and operators have a common system for sharing threat intelligence information, thus increasing the chances of detecting and mitigating cyber exploits before they lead to a cyberattack. 

“We’ve been working on the development of this tool for quite a while and have had success testing it with a major utility,” said Jed Haile, INL cybersecurity researcher and tool developer. “This software helps analysts process new threat information rapidly and makes it easier for them to find or create relationships between pieces of information.”

By releasing the open-source code on GitHub, INL researchers hope other developers will take on the challenge of making the tool even better and ultimately helping to better protect the nation’s critical infrastructure systems. In addition to Haile, INL Infrastructure Security Strategic Adviser Rita Foster and cybersecurity researchers Justin Cox and Zach Priest were instrumental in the tool’s development.

The team has been working closely to test the software with Southern California Edison, a principal member of the California Energy Systems for the 21st Century (CES- 21) Program, and the primary electricity supply company for much of Southern California. The company provides 14 million people with electricity across a service territory of approximately 50,000 square miles. Southern California Edison sponsored the research that led to the development of the software. Seeing the potential for wider application of structured threat sharing, the California Public Utilities Commission approved a request to release the open-source code.

The tool is available for free download at: https://github.com/idaholab/STIG.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Google makes good in class action settlement

$26.49 means never having to say you're sorry ...
Years ago BizMojoIdaho got bounced as a Google AdSense account for alleged violations of fraudulently urging people to click on the ads. Appeals were fruitless, as were attempts to restore the account.

My only explanation was that the Internet giant had taken umbrage at a tongue-in-cheek post from 2012 in which I didn't encourage readers to indiscriminately click on the ads but didn't discourage them from exploring the possibility of becoming a 7-11 franchisee. I was just having some fun, but within months I was busted. "What a humorless bunch!" I thought. I even got to talk to an actual Google guy from Chicago at a Chamber of Commerce event and he told me, "Yeah, they take a dim view of that." But it turns out it was a bigger deal than just me -- something I kind of knew all along -- and when I got a letter or email (not sure which) about a class action lawsuit, I signed up. What did I have to lose, right?

Now it looks like my wrongs have been avenged, to the tune of $26.49. According to this story in MediaPost.com -- Google's $11 million AdSense Settlement Gains Final Approval Ad -- this represents a fraction of what I may have earned if my account had been left up and running. Also note the lawyers made $3 million off this circus, but what else do you expect? Anyone have any suggestions on how to spend my settlement? Or should I wait for my Lumber Liquidators class action check to arrive? I'm sure it will be equally handsome.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Johnson Brothers opens new, expanded showroom in Boise

Johnson Brothers, a mainstay of Idaho Falls since 1905, has expanded in the Treasure Valley, relocating their design center and showroom to a facility with nearly three times the retail space of their old one. They will be hosting an open house June 20 at the new location, 2230 Cole Road, Suite 130, only minutes away from their previous site.

“This move allows us to further showcase our extensive product lines,” said co-owner Chris Sargis. “We’ll have interior and exterior doors, as well as windows, hardware, millwork, and specialty products readily visible. With trends shifting toward larger doors and windows, our expanded showroom will allow for the latest and greatest to be on display for customers to see and touch.”

The additional square footage will also provide both customers and staff with a comfortable design center where ideas can be fleshed out and visions brought to life.

The progressive retail and wholesale sales division, strategically located near other industry suppliers,
provides building products to users throughout the Intermountain Northwest region. “This move will help Johnson Brothers continue to grow and remain relevant in the Treasure Valley and beyond,” Sargis said. “The local market is still gaining momentum, so we’ve evolved into a true retail
location that services both end users and local contractors alike.”

Johnson Brothers carries general construction products from major manufacturers, including custom hardware, plastic laminate, casework, doors, windows, stair parts, commercial hardware, and fine architectural millwork. It also offers a broad spectrum of unique, niche and every-project items. The company offers personalized services, such as project management assistance, shop drawings, special orders, and value engineering.

Having been family-owned and operated for nearly 115 years, Johnson Brothers is an industry leader in the region. The company stands behind their employees and credits them as key differentiators from other supply firms.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Volunteers sought for 4th of July parade

The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce is seeking volunteers for the annual 4th of July Parade. Several tasks will be involved. All volunteers will receive a thank you bag with great gifts inside.

This is a great opportunity to connect with local people and businesses. If you are available on July 4 from 8 a.m. to noon, follow this link to volunteer or call 208-523-1010 #3.

As in past years, the parade route will start on Fourth Street, proceed west to South Boulevard, then south, ending at the intersection of Rogers Street and South Boulevard.

The 2019 Grand Marshal is Dr. Mark Peters of Idaho National Laboratory.

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.