Tuesday, March 31, 2020

INL announces Equal by 30 campaign

Idaho National Laboratory announced today it has signed on to Equal by 30, a campaign where public and private sector organizations work toward equal pay, equal leadership and equal opportunities for women in the clean energy sector by 2030.

Twelve nations, including the United States, and over 100 public and private sector organizations from around the world have signed on to the Equal by 30 campaign. INL is the first national laboratory to join the campaign.

The laboratory has been taking concrete steps toward being an inclusive employer of choice for several years. It was recognized as a Top Employer by Professional Woman’s Magazine in 2019 and joined the Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy initiative earlier this year. Signing on to the Equal by 30 campaign is yet another step in the right direction.

“At INL, we are working hard to be more inclusive and diversify our staff, and we are absolutely committed to ending gender inequality in the workplace,” said Dr. Mark Peters, INL director.

Equal by 30 asks organizations, companies and governments to endorse high-level principles, then commit to measurable goals to accelerate the participation of women in the clean energy sector and close the gender gap.

INL already performs regular pay equity assessments and allows flexible working hours and telecommuting arrangements that help to support family-related responsibilities.

In addition, as part of its commitment to the initiative, INL will provide inclusive hiring training for all managers, continue to conduct laboratory-wide unconscious bias and inclusive leadership training to increase psychological safety and build trust, monitor INL’s inclusive culture and develop actions plans via a biennial survey, and continue to support the Idaho Women in Nuclear (IWIN) chapter of U.S. Women in Nuclear.

“Joining Equal by 30 is an affirmation of INL’s strong commitment to gender equality: It is the right thing to do! A diverse workforce helps ensure that INL is fully prepared to serve the national and international communities as we work to resolve the world’s pressing energy and security challenges,” said Dr. Marianne Walck, INL deputy laboratory director for Science and Technology and chief research officer.

Southeastern Idaho Public Health offers COVID-19 guidelines, strategies for coping

COVID-19 is a serious health threat, and the situation is evolving daily. The risk varies between communities, but given the increasing number of cases in southeast Idaho, the risk for community spread is increasing.

Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in a specific area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected. “Community spread is often a trigger to begin implementing new strategies tailored to local circumstances that slow the spread of COVID-19,” said
Maggie Mann, Southeastern Idaho Public Health District Director. Some areas are reporting
transmission of the virus due to travel or exposure to a known case of someone with the virus. Other
areas of Idaho such as Blaine and Ada counties are reporting community spread.

A COVID-19 outbreak could potentially last for a long time in your community. Depending on the
severity of the outbreak, your community may recommend community actions designed to help keep
people healthy, reduce exposure to COVID-19, and slow the spread of the disease.

Creating a household plan can help protect your health and the health of those you care about in the
event of an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community. Here is what you can do to prepare your family in case the virus spreads in your community:
  • Talk with the people who need to be included in your family plan.
  • Plan ways to care for those who might be at greater risk for serious complications.
    Know where to find local information on COVID-19 cases such as coronavirus.idaho.gov or
    Following the Governor’s Stay-Home Order
  • Establish ways to communicate with others (family, friends, co-workers and neighbors
  • Plan for potential changes in your workplace.
  • Discuss sick-leave policies and telework options.
  • Identify aid organizations in your community.
“As COVID-19, continues to spread around Idaho we are urging our communities to actively prepare
for the potential spread of coronavirus. We know that the spread of COVID-19 will occur. However,
everyone can do their part to slow the rate at which this virus is spread,” said Mann.

Continue practicing everyday preventative actions such as:
  • Limiting close contact with others as much as possible (about 6 feet)
  • Avoiding people who are sick
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and
  • water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs
  • using a disinfecting solution.
For more information, visit www.siphidaho.org or cdc.gov; call Southeastern Idaho Public Health’s
hotline at 208.234.5875; or watch SIPH’s Facebook Live segment every Monday – Friday at 11 a.m.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Bank of Idaho, INL help establish Community Commitment Fund

Jeff Newgard, Bank of Idaho CEO
Bank of Idaho and Idaho National Laboratory (INL), in connection with local non-profit leaders and public health team members, have initiated a public- community commitment fund in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

As of Tuesday, any person can visit a local Bank of Idaho branch and donate to the East Idaho Community Commitment Fund. This fund has been set up to help non-profit agencies and community partners who need emergency, rapid funding to continue operations, and help individuals in need or solve immediate issues caused by coronavirus (COVID-19). Agencies are asking individuals to consider donating to the fund. Any amount helps and will immediately be distributed to local non-profits with urgent community needs.

In coordinated efforts, Bank of Idaho and INL have both pledged $5,000 to kick off the fund and help local non-profits with immediate needs. “This Community Commitment Fund will provide the necessary immediate support, resources, and funding for nonprofits to continue serving our communities respectively during this very difficult time," said Monica Bitrick, Idaho Falls Family YMCA CEO and community liaison representing non-profits in east Idaho from Ashton to American Falls. "We truly appreciate the leadership and commitment from Bank of Idaho and Idaho National Laboratory to provide the very generous lead donations for the East Idaho Community Fund. We hope additional business and community leaders will consider supporting our non-profit community during this difficult time.”
Mark Peters, INL director

“The coronavirus is creating some very interesting times," said Jeff Newgard, Bank of Idaho President and CEO. "Much of the activity and response we are seeing to the spread is unprecedented. I’ve been in touch with many local officials and non-profit teams and the coordination, planning and preparedness throughout Idaho has been awe inspiring. We are committed to the communities we serve. After all, we are the bank with a heart.”

"At INL, we are committed to our communities, and proud to join a partnership that will help those in need as a result of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 virus,” said Mark Peters, INL Laboratory Director. “I encourage everyone to contribute what they can, while we protect our most vulnerable community members through social distancing. We appreciate our partners coming together. Looking out for each other, we will get through this, and make sure no eastern Idahoans are left behind."

A committee of business and non-profit leaders has been created to allocate funds appropriately to those with the greatest need. Agency leaders include Karen Baker, Museum of Idaho; Christine Wiersema, Idaho Falls and Bonneville County United Way; Karen Lansing, Habitat for Humanity; Misty Benjamin, INL Community Relations; and Tyler Kraupp, Bank of Idaho.

You can donate to the fund online or drive though any local Bank of Idaho branch and mention you’d like to make a deposit to the Community Commitment Fund. To view where the dollars are going and to learn more about the community partners involved, visit bankofidaho.com/community.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Mahana Fresh franchise planned for Idaho Falls

Although you may think you're never going out to eat again, so here's something that might remind you that life goes on and things might actually return to normal someday: Mahana Fresh, a healthy fast-casual chain based in Florida, is coming to Idaho Falls.

The building permit filed with the Idaho Falls Building Department shows plans for a remodel at 429 South Utah Avenue. The owner is listed as MCMM Utah LLC, and the permit applicant is Morgan Construction.

Mahana Fresh offers three sizes of bowls with customers choosing from fresh ingredients in a service line. There are bases like basmati rice, spinach salad or sweet potato noodles; veggies such as oven-roasted mushrooms, honey sriracha Brussels sprouts or Buffalo cauliflower; proteins ranging from Key West chicken or Hawaiian steak to ahi tuna or miso roasted tofu. Sauces are citrus ginger, creamy wasabi or coconut sweet potato, among others and topping it all are roasted almonds, avocado or cheeses.

The Big Mahana bowl that comes with two bases, two proteins, two veggies and choice of sauce costs $9.99. The Mahana bowl for $8.29 includes one base, one protein, two veggies and choice of sauce. There’s also a Lil Mahana option for $6.99. An upgrade to steak or tuna costs $1.50. For dessert, Mahana Fresh provides zucchini brownies, chocolate chip cookies or snickerdoodles.

Based in Sarasota, the company has been offering franchises since 2018. The company's website shows locations in Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Texas and Colorado. The Idaho Falls location will be the first in Idaho.

5 Generations of Service | Brian Wood, Wood Funeral Home

Brian Wood
Although Jon Wood did not want his children to feel pressured to go into the family business, his son, Brian, was drawn to it. “As a kid the only thing I knew about death was what I learned in scary zombie movies,” Brian said. “It wasn't until I was going to college that I started to help on Saturdays.” It only took a few weeks of helping out before he knew that he wanted to be a part of what his family had done for generations.

Brian trained in mortuary science in Arizona after completing a business degree locally. He was able to do an apprenticeship within the family business before going into the program. The emphasis within the program was very science-based, but there was also a portion of the program that was focused on counseling and grief support. “The counseling base is so important, to be able to guide people and help them through [grief],” he said.

Navigating death and dying might seem like it would be too hard for many people to do. “One generation after another has seen the great blessings and the great character it has built,” Brian said about why his family has been a part of this work for so long. “A lot of people wonder if we get desensitized to death, but that is not a good explanation of what happens to us. Death to us is as common as birth is to a nurse that works in the birth center. It's something that we see every day, but each family we serve we realize this is a new experience for them. We go in each time and assure them that we will care for their loved one like they are a part of our own family. We make sure they know we care,” Brian said. “Our staff is here to serve and care for them.”

Although you'd think that being in the funeral business would be so sad and hard, Brian feels differently about it. “Something about being in this business your body naturally learns how to compartmentalize the stress. Over time we have a place to tuck it and we can go home at night and be a dad or a husband. Depression and anxiety are important to recognize. We go through some really hard things,” Brian said. “Because we are so involved in serving mankind you'll see that funeral directors are a happier people. I don't feel the depression or the sadness, I feel the blessings. It's more of a feeling of being grateful to help other families. I have so much growth through this and it brings a lot of happiness.”

Feeling pride in the work he does through the service he gives to the community helps him to love the work he does. He admits that he feels the pressure of being the torch holder of the fifth generation but comes to work everyday knowing that he's here to serve others and no matter the outcome. Self-doubt is normal, and he feels you just have to do the best you can and move forward.

Just two years ago, Wood Funeral Home added a building to their Ammon campus that houses the crematorium. Brian is proud to be able to offer similar services to the loved ones of those being cremated as they do for those having burial, something he feels had been lacking in the community.

Brian has a son who, at age 11, is already talking about going into the family business. Wood Funeral Home very well may be working on the sixth generation that will continue to navigate the citizens of east Idaho through some of the hardest times of their life with dignity and respect.

For more information on Wood Funeral Home, please visit their site at https://www.woodfuneralhome.com/

Monday, March 16, 2020

Accidental Influencer | Mindy Rees, Hope on the Horizon

Mindy Rees
“I never intended on sharing anything,” says Mindy Rees. “For three years, the only people who knew he was sick were family and close neighbors.” After deciding to seek answers at the Mayo Clinic, Mindy finally posted on social media that she needed the prayers of others to help them find a diagnosis. That's when the flood gates opened and people were interested in their story and how they could help.

Soon after her husband Wyatt's diagnosis of ALS (amytrophic lateral sclerosis), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's Diesease, Mindy said she would post short but powerful updates, and it was at that time a friend encouraged her to start a blog. Blogging was popular then. Her friend said, “every time you post on your page it means a lot and people would like to know more.” Mindy said, “I realized that I liked to write and it was helping me to get all of these feelings out.”

The December after starting her blog in 2017, East Idaho News visited them with a surprise from Secret Santa. They told the story and then directed people to the blog who were interested in learning more about their story and about ALS. Mindy felt like it was perfect timing as the blog was already set up and going when they suddenly had the spotlight directed toward their story.

“There's nothing special about us,” Mindy Rees says as she relates the journey of her family and their challenges with ALS. “I started realizing it was helping other people. You don't realize how other people are going through something hard and saying ‘if she can do it, I can do it.'” Mindy explained that the blog helped her to visualize her blessings and think about all the positive in her challenging circumstances.

Mindy has been positive throughout this journey, “I'm naturally positive, but I saw so many other people going through things and so I never thought ‘why me'. I knew my own capabilities and I knew I could do it. This [disease] doesn't make Wyatt any less of a husband and father. I was determined that I would try to make things as normal as I could.”

Wyatt did not have a diagnosis for three years and there was no resources to help him. “I had to figure it out,” she says, “there was no one there to help us.” Mindy feels that her life experiences living on a dairy farm and being a gymnast taught her tenacity and problem-solving. “I've always had the attitude of if I'm going to do this I've got to figure it out.” That problem solving was what got her through when she had to get him in and out of cars and showers and other things they had to problem solve along the way. “I realized what I was capable of doing, I can do this.” Once they received his official diagnosis things got easier, resources were there and adaptive equipment gave him some freedom.

Despite the challenges of being a caregiver Mindy never considered placing Wyatt in a care center. “We all have our own threshold of physical, emotional capabilities of caring for somebody. My kids were little and even though they didn't have their dad in a normal way, they could run in after school. Everything we did was in my bedroom. I hope for my kids they saw that taking care of each other was how [we] loved each other,” she explained. The kids helped with caregiving activities including suctioning, feeding, and keeping blankets on him.

“The thing that gets you down the most is when you start feeling like you're the only one that knows what this is like. Even when you are at your lowest point or when you are going through something hard you have to be strong enough to still reach out and find somebody. I still had to reach out and find my tribe,” she said about others going through trials. “I had to find people I could relate to. You form a relationship and you get support.” This is another thing that the blog did for her, it helped her find her tribe. “When he passed away it was a sigh of relief. I'm not going to let this keep dragging me down. Yes, he's gone. Yes, it's hard. But he's better now,” she said.

Mindy recognizes that she made plenty of mistakes being a caregiver especially with not taking care of herself. Looking back she's not sure she'd do it differently. She does admit that it took a toll on her and she could have been more emotionally healthy but there are no regrets in how she took care of him. “I know I did my very best. I did all that I could do.” She sees how every situation is different and each caregiver has to do what is best for them and their loved ones.

Mindy's future includes nursing school, something she's always wanted to do even before Wyatt got sick and writing a book. Mindy starts school in the fall. She's recently started on the book. “I think it will help me in my healing.”

Mindy recognizes that ALS will always be a part of her life. During this journey, she has met many people and has great empathy for other's struggles. “I hope it makes me a better person. To not judge, just love people for who they are.” She believes that the lesson in this journey is to be a more loving and compassionate person and to teach her kids that although life isn't fair you shouldn't give up and there is always hope on the horizon.


You can find Mindy's blog at https://hopeonthehorizon6.wordpress.com/.

To learn more about ALS visit the ALS Association website at http://www.alsa.org/.

Ball Ventures announces plan for paid sick leave

In accordance with recommendations released Friday by Idaho Governor Brad Little, Ball Ventures, LLC, affiliates and partners announce plans to extend paid sick leave to employees who may contract COVID-19. Although Idaho does not require employers to pay workers who take a sick day, Ball Ventures management agrees with the recommendation from the governor and will take steps to help employees who may contract COVID-19 or employees taking time off to care for family members who contract the virus.

“The health and safety of our employees is our number one priority. They are our most valuable asset,” said Ball Ventures CEO Cortney Liddiard. “With the uncertainty of this unprecedented week, we hope to lessen the stress on our employees by extending paid sick leave to those who may contract COVID-19, as well as to employees who may need to care for ill family members without the additional concern about their next paycheck. As the governor says, it’s just good business practice.”

The announcement included affiliates and valued partners, including Tommy Ahlquist, CEO of Ball Ventures Ahlquist Development; Rusty Townsend, CEO of B&T Hospitality Management Services; Mario Hernandez, CEO Teton Auto Group; Ed Castledine, CEO of Saltzer Health; Rory Williams, COO of Sunterra Springs; and Mike Vickers, CEO of Rexburg Motor Sports. Collectively Ball Ventures, affiliates and partners employ over 1,200 people in Idaho and more than 650 people outside the state.

No employees of Ball Ventures or affiliated companies have tested positive for the virus, but the company is taking this opportunity to be proactive and plan various scenarios that may lessen the
impact on communities in which it does business. This proactive planning includes implementing a work-from-home policy for employees for whom their job duties permit, in order to contribute to containment efforts.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

INL's Dawn Scates named one of Idaho's Women of the Year

Dawn Scates
Dawn Scates, a distinguished scientist at Idaho National Laboratory, has been named one of the Idaho Business Review's 2020 Women of the Year. The 50 honorees were evaluated on criteria including leadership experience, professional accomplishments, mentorship and community service. They will be recognized at a March 11 gala, where an overall Woman of the Year will also be announced by the judges.

Scates joined INL in 1999 upon completion of her master’s degree in physics from Idaho State University, distinguishing herself with her work ethic and developing one-of-a-kind gamma spectroscopy systems to evaluate nuclear fission products and support the development of sustainable domestic energy sources. Refusing to be limited to one area of research, however, she has expanded her responsibilities by taking on a leadership role and is currently the manager of four Nuclear Science and Technology labs at INL.

Well known for her willingness to mentor junior staff, Scates is committed to helping her team members develop into sought-after researchers. “I love helping individuals become the best they can be,” she said. Scates emphatically believes in the power of strong mentors and credits her own childhood influences with starting her on the path to a career in the sciences.

In addition to facilitating the professional development of her employees, Scates also participates in STEM outreach activities within the Idaho Falls community. She enjoys performing demonstrations at local schools to awaken a desire in children to understand scientific principles. “Once I even brought a horse to a sixth-grade class to discuss laws of physics. That was a very popular visit,” she recalled. “I think it’s important to realize that science is all around us every day. I love seeing young people’s faces light up when they learn and understand a complex process and then in their own words are able to relate it to real-life circumstances. To me this is success.”

A mother of two teenage daughters, Scates is guided by an unwavering belief that leadership comes through our actions rather than just words. “You have to lead by example,” she said. “People mirror what you do, and I want to help develop the rising generation.”

Learn more about past INL Women of the Year winners here and here.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Owning Her Future | Christine Garner, Teton Smart Security

As Christine Garner was growing up, planning for her future was not on her mind. The child of Vietnam War refugees whose mother adopted end-of-the-world beliefs, Christine never believed that a college education or a business would be her reality. Overcoming obstacles early in life set her up to overcome the challenges that business would bring.
Christine Garner

Teton Smart Security is a commercial security company started in 2011. Christine admitted that she didn't have the entrepreneurial spirit, and starting their own business was a scary prospect. She talked her husband, Sean, who had security experience, into going back to school to get an electrical engineering degree. She was working at the time and they started having a family. Christine said this is when things changed for them. “I wanted to be home with my little boy,” she said, and so she told Sean she'd support him if he really wanted to start the business. Sean dropped out of school and started the business.

“Sean was so great at the technical, and I jumped in doing sales, and what we found was that we had no business experience. It's a whole other world. The business took a life of its own. It was terrifying because we didn't have the knowledge,” she said. “We went to the school of hard knocks.” Three years into the business their accountant advised them that they had two options. Either they close the business and get jobs, or figure out how to make the business work.

“I thought, there's no way our marriage would survive our business failure, but I didn't know what to do.” This is when they turned to the Small Business Development Center and were paired with David Noack, who changed their business and their personal life. “It took a lot of work,” she said, but after working with SBDC they were able to turn their business around and now it's thriving.

Her own journey inspired her to create a business called Envision Your Purpose. It is a purpose-driven vision board workshop. Christine guides attendees to discover who they are, where they are in their life, to identify their purpose in their life, to identify their goals and align that with their purpose.

“I used to be a skeptic. Just because you see something doesn't mean it's going to happen unless you work for it,” she said. “It's an empowerment tool that you use to visualize how to get closer to your goals.” This tool worked in their own business and they met revenue goals they never thought they could achieve by using it.

Christine's childhood helped shape her to overcome challenges. When she was 8 years old her mother moved them to Idaho because she believed that the West Coast was going to be destroyed by an earthquake. Christine's life became about survival and she lived in fear. When she was preparing to graduate from high school she convinced her mother to complete the FAFSA application for college tuition assistance. She says this is what changed her perspective. “I said, 'I can't live this life, I have got to plan for my future as if I'm going to live. I'm going to live the best life that I can, come what may,'” she said.

Christine and Sean have inspired their son to carry on the entrepreneurial spirit. He requested a snack shack for his sixth birthday and started Jojo's Snack Shack, where elementary kids come and pick their faviorite treats. “He loves it, and it's so fun.”

Her advice to other business owners is to read eMyth and Start With Why. Really understand your purpose for wanting a business. “Become educated, become more so you can be a great asset to your business,” she advised. “I would encourage anyone out there who has a purpose in them that they want to share with the world that they become clear and decide how to share it. Get clear.”


For more information about Teton Smart Security check out their website at https://tetonsmartsecurity.com/.
For more information about Christine's Envision Your Purpose workshops visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Envision-Your-Purpose-111576267098924/

Monday, March 2, 2020

Emotional Decluttering | Shelly Shumway, Life Empowered

Shelly Shumway

“I want [my customers] to have hope, to be able to get rid of the things that aren't them, so that they can shine through in their God-given gifts and talents and know whey they are here.” Shelly Shumway says of her work.

Teaching mindset and connecting the body and mind are the core of her process. “The body is designed to heal itself emotionally and physically,” she explains, and she feels that you have to work on both to really heal.

Family comes first, and Shelly is able to most of her work at home while being a mom to her five children. Because of technology, Shelly is able to use video conferencing to hold group coaching sessions as well as visit with her one-to-one clients. Shelly also teaches at conferences and retreats from time to time. Her dream is to be on a big stage and really impact multiple lives at a time.

Shelly's journey started about a decade ago with her own battle against anxiety and depression while trying to be the best mom and wife for her family. “I thought, why am I not okay? Why am I not okay being a mom and taking care of my kids at home?” she said. She read books and hosted a book club, and about five years ago she attended a seminar where she had a vision of her future being on stage teaching others. At that time she just knew she had to create a career around her passion.

She says her success is because she is willing to learn and then share what she has learned. She believes she's a shortcut to that education for her clients. She is a conduit of the information and then she teaches it to those who are open to learn. That, combined with an innate gift of listening and really hearing, has provided her clients with just word of mouth and no marketing. Her demographic has become women entrepreneurs who are interested in growing themselves personally. “I love them, because that's where I am,” she says. The people she serves are a lot like her. “They are influencers, and I see what's holding them back,” she says.

This journey has not come without challenges and one of those was overcoming her own self-doubt and fear. She also had to push through the limiting beliefs of her extended family, who could not understand why she would want to work and felt there would be a negative impact on her children. She explained that she had to work through the “mommy guilt” and other judgments that she was feeling in order to go forward. “It wasn't them changing at all, it was all me. I was able to give myself the permission, and it didn't matter what anyone else said,” she said.

One of the bold moves she made to calm her own fears was to join a beauty pageant. “Pageants were never on my radar at all. I didn't think it was a reality for me. I grew up shy and socially backwards,” she said. After listening to the advice of a friend who told her that the pageant would be a great way for her to grow, she decided to give in and applied. She used emotional tools and other methods of her own to prepare for the pageant and that whole process actually helped her create one of her current courses. She didn't place in the pageant but understood why she had to take the journey. “It was a tool for other people to have hope,” she said.

Shelly's advice to anyone looking to go into business for themselves: “When you first have a dream, keep it to yourself for a little while and let it germinate in the soil a little bit. Take care of it, don't necessarily tell your family about it yet, even if you have a great relationship with them. Well-meaning family sometimes squash our dreams and they don't even know they are doing it.”

Shelly also believes in finding a mentor and following their direction. She also has embraced her children into her business, even including her 3-year-old in her coaching calls.

Her clients have respected the fact that Shelly is a better coach not having to worry about interruptions or apologizing for her kids being present. “We don't have to separate, they can be one. Get rid of the judgement,” she says.


To redeem the offer that Shelly has for you, please go to http://bit.ly/TinyOffer.

If you'd like more information on Life Empowered, visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MyLifeEmpowered/. You can joing the  Emotional Decluttering group on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/EmotionalDecluttering/