Thursday, December 26, 2019

Megaplex project announced for Snake River Landing

The Megaplex at Jordan Commons, in Sandy, Utah
Ball Ventures and the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies announced today a joint venture to develop a new Megaplex Theatre in Idaho Falls. The new theater, the first Megaplex in Idaho, will be located in Snake River Landing, a 450-acre mixed-use development on the south side of Idaho Falls between the Snake River and Interstate 15. The companies anticipate breaking ground on the project in the spring of 2020.

More details on the project will be announced as the groundbreaking date gets nearer, a Ball Ventures press release said.

Megaplex currently operates 18 locations in Utah and Nevada. The company dates back to 1999, when Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller opened a 17-screen Megaplex in Sandy, Utah, on the former site of Jordan High School. The company expanded beyond the Wasatch Front in 2012, opening locations in St. George, Logan, Cedar City and Mesquite, Nev. They opened the second IMAX screen in Utah in 2005, and now operate several.

“Our partnership with Ball Ventures delivers a natural extension to our current theater offerings in Utah and Nevada,” said Gail Miller, owner and chairman of Larry H. Miller Group of Companies. “Our mission is to enrich lives, and we see this as an opportunity to continue our legacy of providing quality, family-friendly entertainment to a rapidly growing area in Idaho. We look forward to building upon our commitment to support and enhance the communities where we do business.”

“Ball Ventures, a highly respected, first-class development firm, is the type of partner we seek when expanding into new markets,” said Steve Starks, chief executive officer for Larry H. Miller Group of Companies. “Snake River Landing is ideally located to serve communities from Blackfoot to West Yellowstone. Our Megaplex business model provides numerous amenities including state-of-the-art technology, luxury loungers, meeting and event space, a variety of concessions, and industry leading guest services. We look forward to providing quality entertainment options for the area’s families, nearby college students, and visitors.”

“We are so pleased to work with our friends at Larry H. Miller to bring Megaplex Theatres in Idaho Falls,” says Cortney Liddiard, CEO of Ball Ventures. “Across its many companies, Larry H. Miller Group has an incredible reputation for enriching the communities in which they operate. We are honored to work with Gail Miller and the LHM team to bring a first-class entertainment experience to residents of eastern Idaho.”

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Bank of Idaho announces staff changes

Tyler Kraupp
Bank of Idaho has made staffing changes to address future growth.

Tyler Kraupp has been named director of marketing for the bank, replacing Jarod Phillips, who is assuming the role of senior branch banking officer. “We look forward to leveraging Tyler's insights, expertise, and knowledge in this new role," said bank president and CEO Jeff Newgard. "He'll be a great asset to our team as we continue to find new ways to improve the bank’s brand and our impact on the communities we serve."

Newgard said Phillips' promotion should position the bank for continued growth. "We're equally excited to see Jarod return to his roots in community banking. He'll work with customer-facing staff to make the banking experience more consultative and personal. We place a high priority on building personal connections with our clients," Newgard said. "It's how we set ourselves apart from other financial institutions.”

Kraupp is a fifth-generation Idaho Falls resident with strong marketing and leadership experience. His previous posts include: entrepreneur of an acquired multi-award-winning creative agency, COO of a leading Idaho digital firm, and secretary of the Business Climate and Economics Development CUSP Panel in Idaho Falls. He serves as vice president of Breaking Boundaries, an Idaho Falls-based non-profit dedicated to helping individuals with HIV/AIDS and to promoting diversity.
Jarod Phillips

Phillips has worked for Bank of Idaho for more than 20 years and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to his new role. He will likewise continue to serve with organizations he is passionate about in the community and throughout the state. He will work closely with Kraupp to ensure a smooth transition as the bank continues its years-long support of countless community programs and organizations.

Bank of Idaho, established in 1985, has seen strong recent growth in the markets it serves. The company has broadened its footprint to include the Treasure Valley, where two full-service branches and one loan production office have been established in the last year. The bank recently completed a capital campaign to support its anticipated growth and began listing its stock for public trade on the OTC-QX market under the symbol BOID.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Idaho Falls airport adds new United flight to Denver, larger jets

The Embraer ERJ-175 regional jet, which United plans to begin flying into Idaho Falls twice a day.
Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA) has announced today that United Airlines will begin providing a fifth daily flight to Denver for the first time in IDA’s history. In addition to the new daily service, United has also announced that they are increasing the size of the aircraft for two of those daily flights.

The new Embraer ERJ-175 aircraft United will be adding will provide a huge increase in the amount of capacity available, adding 102 new seats, or 50 percent more capacity to the Denver destination. The new, larger aircraft also will add a first class seating section that has not previously been available with the smaller, 45 seat CRJ200 aircraft.

The new, expanded schedule provides ideal connectivity to more than 110 cities around the world in a single stop,” said IDA Executive Director Rick Cloutier.  “The new flights are specifically timed to make connections to new destinations such as London and Frankfurt … places where United has never provided one-stop service from Idaho Falls before.”

United has already announced and started selling the 5th daily flight to Denver, which will start June 4th. The new flights will also make it easier and faster to reach destinations on the east coast with only one stop in Denver.

The city is also set to begin construction soon on a terminal expansion. This expansion will add a three new gates and added area in the security screening and gate areas. The airport recently opened its brand new and upgraded baggage claim and improved airport security service with the TSA Pre Check line for approved passengers.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Oklo Inc. receives DOE Site Use Permit to build at Idaho National Laboratory

A sketch of what Oklo's 1.5 megawatt Aurora plant might one day look like
Oklo Inc., a company based in Sunnyvale, Calif., announced Monday it has received a Site Use Permit from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to build its Aurora plant at Idaho National Laboratory (INL).

According to a press release on Businesswire.com, the site use permit is an important step toward commercializing advanced fission technologies, and this the first issued for a non-light water nuclear power reactor. The permit outlines the responsibilities for each party regarding use of the site. The site use permit is in effect for the lifetime of the plant, and puts a requirement on a maximum licensing timeline for Oklo with the regulator before the start of operation.

The site use permit makes a site available to Oklo to build its Aurora plant, which utilizes a compact fast reactor to generate about 1.5 MW of electric power. This site is anticipated to be the location of the first-of-a-kind deployment of the Aurora plant.

Oklo co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Caroline Cochran said receiving the site use permit is an exciting step on the path to deploying advanced fission technology. “Oklo entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with DOE in 2017, and the site use permit is an important resultant milestone,” Cochran said. “DOE is clearly demonstrating its commitment to enabling commercial deployment of novel clean energy technologies, and advanced fission in particular. We are excited to be among the first to exercise this new process.”

Two years ago, the DOE Idaho Operations Office developed a new INL site permit application process, and Oklo was the first to complete the new process. Completion of the site permit process exemplifies the ability of DOE to support advanced reactor development and deployment. This also supports objectives laid out by Congress in legislation passed in 2018, the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA), as well as language in proposed legislation.

INL plays a key role in the development of advanced fission technologies. As the nation’s lead nuclear energy laboratory, INL will be a key collaborator with Oklo as Oklo licenses, constructs and operates the new plant. INL is also laying the groundwork for working with additional advanced reactor technologies to come. DOE recently established the legislatively authorized National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC) led by INL, which provides resources for testing, demonstration and performance assessment to accelerate deployment of new advanced nuclear technology concepts.

Oklo has been engaged in pre-application activities with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) since 2016 for the Aurora design, and is preparing to submit its first license application to NRC. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), an upcoming step before the Aurora plant is built will include preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement.

For-profit nursing, medical assisting school planned for 17th Street

Unitek Learning of Newport Beach, Calif., announced Monday it is opening a location for Eagle Gate College in Idaho Falls. The for-profit company plans to offer medical assisting and nursing programs at 1592 E. 17th Street, in the Hall Park Shopping Center, where Sports Authority used to be. A permit application was submitted Friday to the Idaho Falls Building Department for a 19,933-square-foot remodeling job.

The Idaho Board of Nursing gave Unitek initial approval in October to create nursing education programs for campuses in Idaho Falls and Boise. The two campuses will open in 2020, offering a range of programs in the nursing field. In a press release, the company said it plans to offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, a Master's Entry Program in Nursing, and a Practical Nursing program.

While the Idaho Board of Nursing has approved the development of these programs, they have not yet been approved by the school's accrediting agency or the Idaho State Board of Education.

"It has been another year of growth and opportunity for Unitek Learning, and we look forward to extending our reach in Idaho," said David Higley, Unitek's chief marketing officer.

Unitek Learning is the parent company of several institutions: Unitek College, Unitek EMT, Eagle Gate College, and Provo College. The company is also expanding into Reno, Nevada.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Auditorium district applies for building permit for Event Center

The cover page of the site plan for the Event Center. A building permit has been applied for. After more than eight years, this project looks like it is going forward.
It looks like all systems are go for the Idaho Falls Events Center. On behalf of the owner, Pioneer Front Properties LLC, CRSA of Salt Lake City applied for a building permit on Nov. 13 with the city of Idaho Falls.

The site plan itself was approved in late October, with the following caveat: Improvements on Pioneer need to be completed/accepted or a subdivision guarantee needs to be provided for prior to issuance of a Permit.

Here are a few numbers that might be of interest. The 123,697-square-foot project has been assigned a value of $51 million. For the inspections alone, the owner is on the hook for $383,854.63 in fees. This includes the commercial permit itself ($138,472.73), fire review ($22,225.63), plan check ($90,007.27), erosion control ($100), water services ($111,132) and sewer connection ($21,917).

There may be additional fees, e.g. electric line extension, street light, temporary power, “but these are what we presently have,” city permit technician Ken Hartog wrote to Idaho Falls Auditorium District Executive Director Rob Spear in a Nov. 25 letter. “Please pay only the Plan Check fee and the Fire Review Fee to get those processes started.”

The total cost of the project is $62 million, much more than the $35 million projected back in 2015. It got a major boost in July with a $4.5 million donation from Mountain America Credit Union, which bought the naming rights. The district has laid out a long-term debt financing plan, utilizing resources that will come from the transient revenue tax of the future, Spear told East Idaho News earlier this year.

Voters approved the formation of the auditorium district in 2011. Since then, the district has been raising money from donations and a bed tax at local hotel

For a look at all the documents, follow this link: https://trakit.idahofallsidaho.gov/etrakit3/Search/permit.aspx

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

INL inventors win four R&D 100 Awards

A team of researchers including Josh Daw (pictured here), Richard Skifton, Kurt Davis and Pattrick Calderoni received an R&D 100 Award for their work on High-Temperature Irradiation-Resistant Thermocouples.
Four Idaho National Laboratory technologies have been named winners of the 2019 R&D 100 Awards. Widely known as the “Oscars of Innovation,” the awards bestowed by R&D World recognize the winners as being among the top 100 revolutionary technologies of 2019.

Since their inception in 1963, the awards have celebrated research and development technologies from across the public and private sectors. Laboratories and companies from throughout the nation submitted nominations for judging. A panel comprised of more than 40 industry-leading experts then ranked the nominees based on their technical significance, uniqueness, and applicability across industry, government and academia.

Typically, the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories have dozens of finalists every year. Of 2019’s 162 finalists, 54 included the involvement of DOE national labs, with six technologies listing INL as the lead inventor and two labeling the lab as a supporting organization. With the inclusion of this year’s winners, INL has now won 22 R&D 100 Awards since 2005.

Winning technologies led by INL:

Electronic Neutron Generator Calibration System (N-meter)
David Chichester, Scott Thompson, James Johnson, Scott Watson, Robert Schley, Jay Hix

The N-meter is a portable, reusable, and adaptable device that has the capability to calibrate any electronic neutron generator (ENG), regardless of manufacturer. ENGs provide law enforcement officers and military personnel with the ability to detect the presence of harmful materials used in chemical, radiological and explosive attacks. The N-meter actively ensures that the devices are accurate and properly calibrated to perform any mission. By enabling this vital step for ENGs, the device can help protect Americans from nuclear threats, improve natural resource exploration, create biomedical advances and much more.

High-Temperature Irradiation-Resistant Thermocouples (HTIR-TC)
Richard Skifton, Josh Daw, Kurt Davis, Pattrick Calderoni

Until now, nuclear instruments have had difficulty obtaining precise reactor temperature measurements, forcing scientists to rely on estimates. Now, the High-Temperature Irradiation-Resistant Thermocouples (HTIR-TC) can be inserted directly into the fuel centerline to precisely read fuel temperatures at the reactor’s core. With more accurate information about core temperatures, engineers can make nuclear reactors safer and more reliable.  

Wireless radio Frequency signal Identification and protocol Reverse Engineering (WiFIRE)
Christopher Becker, Kurt Derr, Samuel Ramirez, Sneha Kasera, Aniqua Baset

WiFIRE helps combat wireless attacks by monitoring wireless networks in real time, giving users the ability to respond to security breaches as they’re occurring. Should it detect rogue devices, WiFIRE provides security measures like alerting law enforcement personnel, blocking unwanted data transmission, starting data and/or video recording for potential legal use, and even locating intruders before damage is done. The technology helps protect the nation’s critical infrastructure, making attacks on the power grid and water supply increasingly difficult.

Consequence-driven Cyber-informed Engineering
Robert Smith, Curtis St. Michel, Amanda Belloff, Andy Bochman, Sarah Freeman, Michael Assante

Consequence-driven Cyber-informed Engineering (CCE) is a methodology that provides users with knowledge and skills to protect against and prepare for serious cyberthreats against the nation’s critical infrastructure systems. CCE identifies processes and functions that must not fail, then outlines steps organizations must take in order for their assets to remain secure. By re-engineering key processes while armed with a full understanding of the attackers’ tactics and options, CCE reduces or eliminates digital pathways used by attackers to reach critical systems, effectively removing the targets with the highest consequences from the table.