Thursday, May 27, 2021

Allegiant to begin non-stop service from Idaho Falls to Portland on Friday

Idaho Falls Regional Airport will celebrate the inaugural flight of Allegiant Airlines from IDA to Portland (PDX) with a traditional “water salute” on Friday at 9:30 a.m.

A water salute is a traditional aviation ceremony to welcome a new flight, with fire fighting vehicles shooting arches of water over an aircraft as it taxis along the runway near the terminal. Passengers on the flight will also receive bags with celebratory “goodies.”

“This is a very exciting day for Idaho Falls as we celebrate a new flight that will open up a new segment of travel,” said Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper. “For the traveler, it means the start of a new era of travel options. And for all of us it indicates that eastern Idaho as a region and Idaho Falls in particular, are poised for some very promising growth in the coming months.”

The new route to the Pacific Northwest will be a direct flight twice a week from IDA to Portland. Originally planned as a summer service, the flights are now scheduled to run year-round.

“We are thrilled Allegiant has chosen to partner with IDA as they bring this new, year-round service to the region,” said Rick Cloutier Idaho Falls Regional Airport Director. “This new route is the beginning of three new flights this summer that will literally open up dozens and dozens of new options for travel with major connections all over the United States and internationally.”

The inaugural flight will depart from IDA at 9:30 a.m. The first flight from PDX to IDA will arrive later that day, at 1:30 p.m.  

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Schwarze selected for U.S. Chamber of Commerce leadership program

Chip Schwarze
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation this week announced Chip Schwarze, President/CEO of the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce, has been selected to participate in the fifth cohort of its premiere business leadership program. The Business Leads Fellowship Program trains and equips leaders from state and local chambers of commerce, economic development agencies, and trade associations with resources, access to experts, and a network of peers to build their capacity to address the most pressing education and workforce challenges.
Following a competitive application and selection process, Schwarze was selected along with 34 other state and local chamber executives and association leaders to participate in the fifth class of this program. The yearlong virtual program, which concludes with an in-person meeting in June 2022, will cover the entire talent pipeline, including early childhood education, K-12, higher education, and workforce development.

“Education and Workforce are at the top of most business owners’ priorities right now. I am excited to be a part of this prestigious program to bring greater resources to the businesses of eastern Idaho,” Schwarze said. The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce works with businesses across eastern Idaho.
“We created the Business Leads Fellowship Program in response to the needs of our state and local chamber partners,” says Cheryl Oldham, senior vice president of the Center for Education and Workforce. “They, better than anyone, see the critical link between education and economic development, and we are glad to be able to support them as they take on this critical leadership role in their community.”
Upon completion, Business Leads Fellows will join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s dedicated network of 200 chambers of commerce and statewide associations from around the nation who regularly engage on education and workforce initiatives.
For more information on the Business Leads Fellowship Program, visit the program’s website.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Reed's Dairy announces fifth store opening, in Kuna

By Catie Clark
Reprinted from Idaho Business Review

Reed’s Dairy is finally coming to Kuna. The Idaho Falls-based maker of ice cream and other dairy products will open its fifth store in Kuna this summer.

“We hope to open mid-to-late June,” Alan Reed told the Idaho Business Review. “If all the dominoes fall right, it will be mid-June.”

Reed’s Dairy has four stores in Idaho Falls, Ammon, Meridian and southwest Boise. The dairy also has a wholesale business with retailers across southern Idaho and northern Utah, like Gossner’s Cheese in Heyburn and Logan, selling Reed’s ice cream cones; and Kesler’s Market in Blackfoot, selling the dairy’s ice cream and milk products.

The stores sell the dairy’s milk, cheese and ice cream. They also sell ice cream cones and other ice cream treats. One signature Reed’s product is the Brown Cow, which is a float made with Reed’s chocolate milk with scoops of Reed’s ice cream added. Reed’s also offers a home delivery service of dairy products and eggs in selected areas in eastern Idaho and the Treasure Valley.

The family-owned business maintains its own herd of dairy cows in Idaho Falls, which gives the dairy quality control over milk and ice cream production. It also gives the Reed family the ability to create their own recipes and innovations for their products like Alan Reed’s innovation of using potato flakes instead of nonfat milk powder in the dairy’s chocolate milk.

The new Reed’s Dairy store in Kuna is 2,563 square feet, located at 1353 N. Meridian Road, Suite 101, in the same shopping development as Ace Hardware and Ridley’s Market. Malissa Jackson of Colliers represented the lessor; and Mike Erkmann and Ben Kneadler from NAI Select represented Reed’s Dairy for the transaction. The details of the lease transaction are not public; however, according to Colliers, retail spaces in the shopping development have listed lease rates of $18 to $22 per square foot for NNN lease terms, with NNN expenses estimated at $5.50 per square foot.

The irony is that Alan Reed tried to lease at this location in the fall of 2016: “I looked at this same location when we first came looking to come to Boise. Then my realtor called me up recently and said, ‘Alan, you’ll never guess what spot just opened up in Kuna!'”

The Reed family has been farming in the Idaho Falls area ever since Alan Reed’s great-grandfather moved to Idaho from Iowa. The family business started its dairy operation in 1955 and began packaging and selling its own dairy products in 1962. Reed’s started making its own ice cream in 1980.

The first Reed’s store is still located at the dairy farm on Highway US-20/Broadway in Idaho Falls, though the retail operation is now on its third building. The business opened its Ammon and Meridian stores in 2017 and in southwest Boise in 2018. In a previous interview, Alan Reed said he would be interested in opening a store in northern Utah soon.

Idaho Falls seeks comment on housing issues

The Idaho Falls Community Development Services Department is asking for help on the issue of housing in the city, seeking input through two separate surveys and virtual public meetings.

The first survey seeks input on the development of a five-year plan for housing, community development, and infrastructure. The plan is intended to provide guidance on the creation of policy in the areas such as housing, economic development, public services, public facilities, and infrastructure investment over the next several years.

Known as the “Consolidated Plan for Housing and Community Development,” the study is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The process is intended to help the city in its efforts to provide decent housing, to expand economic opportunities and to provide a suitable living environment.

In addition to the survey, there two virtual public meetings have been scheduled: Wednesday, June 2, from 10 a.m. to noon and again from
5 to 7 p.m. To register for the 10 a.m. meeting residents can go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4886154222620060172. For the 5 p.m. meeting the registration is located at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5308108302453540108.

The second survey is designed to help the city solicit input on impediments to fair housing choice. The goal of that survey is to help identify whether barriers and adverse policies exist in housing areas such as rentals and sales, lending, insurance, and the public sector. 

In addition to the survey, there are also two virtual public meetings to help gather the input and experiences from residents and those involved in the housing industry.  That meetings will be held on Tuesday, May 25, from 10 a.m. to noon and Wednesday, May 26, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“This survey and the public outreach have a significant influence on how the city will spend the nearly $2.5 million it expects to receive in grant funds over the next five years,” said Lisa Farris, Grants Administrator for the City of Idaho Falls.  “We hope as many interested parties as possible contribute their voice on how those funds should be spent by taking a few minutes to complete the survey or attending the virtual meetings.”

Those interested in participating can register online for the Tuesday meeting at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4894227936502743564.  Those interested in the Wednesday meeting can register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4409209168234976524.

Both of the surveys can be found on the City of Idaho Falls’ Community Development Block Grant website at https://www.idahofallsidaho.gov/299/Community-Development-Block-Grant. Both surveys are available in English and Spanish. Residents interested in obtaining more information can also call 208-612-8323. 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Hydrogen from Nuclear Power Test Set at Idaho National Laboratory

Reprinted from Powermag.com

By Darrell Proctor

A California company that introduced a new electrolyzer technology last year has announced an agreement with Idaho National Laboratory to test how nuclear energy can create clean hydrogen using the product.

San Jose-based Bloom Energy on May 18 said INL will use the company’s solid oxide, high-temperature electrolyzer to produce carbon-free hydrogen through electrolysis, powered by nuclear generation. Bloom on Tuesday said the electricity generated by nuclear facilities could produce “cost-effective hydrogen,” including during periods when the power grid has an ample supply of electricity. Rather than ramping down to prevent an oversupply of power, the plant can use its electricity to produce hydrogen.

INL, based in Idaho Falls, Idaho, is a nuclear science and technology lab. The facility’s team leads research, development, and demonstration projects to support and expand the use of nuclear energy. The group, like those in other countries, is involved with supporting the growth of a hydrogen economy, a sector with a rapidly growing market as governments and industries worldwide seek to decarbonize their operations.

‘Thermal and Electrical Power’

“The high-temperature electrolyzers take advantage of both the thermal and the electrical power that are available at nuclear power plants,” said Tyler Westover, the Hydrogen and Thermal Systems Group lead at INL. “This expands the markets for nuclear power plants by allowing them to switch between sending power to the electrical grid and producing clean hydrogen for transportation and industry energy sectors.” 

Bloom Energy’s electrolyzer, which the company announced in July 2020, converts water (or steam) into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can then be injected into the natural gas pipeline, or put into storage for future use in a fuel cell. The hydrogen also could be used by fuel cell-powered vehicles, or in industrial processes that consume large amounts of hydrogen.

The company on Tuesday said its electrolyzer “has a higher efficiency than low-temperature electrolyzer technologies, thereby reducing the amount of electricity needed to produce hydrogen. The steam supplied to the electrolyzers can also be generated by the thermal energy produced by the nuclear power plant, bolstering the overall efficiency of hydrogen production further.”

“There’s a heavy focus on carbon-free hydrogen production in establishing the hydrogen economy. As clean hydrogen innovation continues, the emphasis needs to be on efficiency to ensure that electricity from nuclear and renewable sources are used wisely,” Deia Bayoumi, vice president of product management at Bloom Energy, told POWER. Bayoumi said his group expects “to begin the electrolyzer demonstration with Idaho National Laboratory this year.”

Simulate Conditions

The Idaho lab plans to test Bloom Energy’s technology at its Dynamic Energy Testing and Integration Laboratory, a facility where researchers can simulate steam and load-following conditions as if it were already integrated with a nuclear power station. The simulations can provide the opportunity to model operations in a controlled environment.

Venkat Venkataraman, executive vice president and chief technology officer for Bloom, in comments shared with POWER said, “We must think creatively and seek all possible low, zero, and negative carbon solutions to benefit our planet. Harnessing excess energy to produce hydrogen is a solution with a positive impact on global decarbonization efforts and we look forward to working with the team at Idaho National Laboratory to make this a reality. As a result of this pilot, we expect to establish carbon-free hydrogen generation with the highest efficiency of any electrolyzer in the market today.”

An article in the April 2021 issue of POWER outlined the use of fuel cells to produce clean energy, including with the use of hydrogen. Several groups have begun participating in the market, including oil and gas majors such as BP, which recently announced details of what it called the largest hydrogen production project in the UK.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Island Park Realtor Karen Cameron earns national honors

Karen Cameron

C21 High Desert Realtors agent Karen Cameron, crushed it last year and she has the hardware to prove it, after being presented the Century 21 Grand Centurion Producer Award for 2020. This is the most prestigious award presented to Century 21 real estate professionals based on sales production within a calendar year. She earned the national distinction by selling a record number of properties in the Island Park area. She ranks number three in Idaho’s Century 21 offices and No. 31 nationally in 2020 Adjusted Gross Commission. Cameron is also listed seventh in the state for the number of properties sold within Century 21 offices.
“Karen is the only recipient in our C21 High Desert Realtors history, and one of only a few in the nation to be honored with the Grand Centurion award”, said company partner Kerry Howell. “Needless to say, we are ecstatic for Karen and also for everyone in the C21 Island Park office who helped handle this incredible amount of work.”
Cameron became a licensed realtor in Idaho and started her career at Coldwell Banker Eagle Rock in 1986. After getting a taste of the mountain-property life at Rainbow Realty in 1994, It was in 1996, when she became the designated broker for Henry’s Fork Realtors of Island Park, that the depth of her knowledge and expertise really began to grow, making her the go-to-agent for all matters Island Park. Cameron joined C21 High Desert Realtors in 2005 and has been building to Grand Centurion status since.
 “I love Island Park and the people I’ve come to know that have chosen the Island Park area to create their family memories. I really enjoy helping people, so this award is truly icing on the top of the cake for me, and thanks to my C21 High Desert team for the assist!” Cameron said. “It goes to show what a truly desirable area we all live in. Maybe we take it for granted being so close, but everyone wants a part of our gorgeous mountain life.”
Based in Idaho Falls, C21 High Desert Realtors was formed in 1996 and currently led by broker Patrick Malone and operating partners Kerry Howell, Randy Waters and Kevin Cutler.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Nick Terry joins TOK Commercial team in Idaho Falls

Nick Terry
TOK Commercial has added Nick Terry to its eastern Idaho brokerage services team.  Terry will specialize in selling commercial real estate investment properties.

A native of Idaho Falls, Terry brings 14 years of experience as a commercial lender at both Wells Fargo and Zions Bank. His skills in financial analysis, evaluation and deal-making strategies will benefit clients that he represents in buying and selling commercial real estate, particularly multi-family properties. His deep community involvement, professional accomplishments, and exceptional customer service will make him a valuable asset to TOK Commercial’s brokerage clients across Idaho.

From tenant and landlord representation to acquisitions, property management, and advisory services, TOK Commercial is Idaho’s largest full service commercial real estate company. The firm’s Brokerage and Property Management teams operate out of Idaho Falls, Boise and Twin Falls and serve clients in several western states, including Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Nevada and Utah.