Monday, July 22, 2019

City of Idaho Falls to hold meeting, open house on EPA grant

The city of Idaho Falls Community Development Services Department will be hosting a community meeting and open house to discuss the Brownfield Assessment Grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The meeting will be held Tuesday from 3 to 5 p.m. at 574 East 4th Street (the former Boy Scout Office).

Last year, the city, the Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency, and Bonneville Metropolitan Planning Organization received a three-year grant from EPA for $600,000. Since receiving the grant, project staff have done background work such as creating a brownfield inventory.

While the grant monies may be used anywhere within the city, the focus of the grant work is primarily within the city core, covering areas including Northgate Mile, First Street, downtown and the south downtown areas. As the project now moves towards more public activities such as reuse planning and environmental assessments, city staff and the project’s lead consultant from Stantec hope to use the meeting to accomplish a variety of purposes.

“We want to make sure that those who come to the meeting will be able to understand the purpose of the grant and learn how property owners can directly benefit from the funds,” said Brad Cramer, director of the Community Development and Services Department.  “We also want to seek input on properties and areas where the community members feel the grant should be used for revitalization.”

Staff will also be scheduling appointments with interested property owners to provide technical assistance on environmental, cleanup, and other redevelopment issues on their properties. For more information on this event or to schedule an appointment, please contact Kerry Beutler, the city's assistant planning director at 208-612-8278.

Bank of Idaho Holding Co. completes private placement of stock

Jeff Newgard
Bank of Idaho Holding Co., the parent company of Bank of Idaho, announced Friday that it has completed a $15 million private placement of its capital stock. The investor in the private placement consisted of certain affiliates of Castle Creek Capital LLC, a well-established, sophisticated institutional investor that specializes in the community banking sector.

Proceeds from the private placement will be used to facilitate strategic initiatives and support the company's organic growth and market expansion activities throughout the state of Idaho. While Castle Creek will join the company’s shareholder base, the existing management team and board of directors will continue to lead the
bank’s efforts to provide exceptional products and services to the customers and communities that the bank serves.

"This is a momentous day for Bank of Idaho. We are excited to see the opportunities these resources will bring us as we strive to further differentiate ourselves as the preferred financial institution for small business banking throughout the state,” said Jeff Newgard, the bank's president and CEO. “As a result of this capital raise, we have significantly strengthened our balance sheet to support the next stage of our company's strategic initiatives. This represents a solid vote of confidence for our strategic
plan, as we continue on a path to providing a truly unique and personal banking experience for our small business clients across the state.”

Hovde Group LLC served as the sole placement agent for the transaction. Ernest J. Panasci, Partner at Stinson, LLP, served as legal counsel to Bank of Idaho Holding Co. for the transaction.

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.