Wednesday, August 7, 2019

DOE files for Versatile Test Reactor environmental impact statement

An artistic rendering of what the Versatile Test Reactor could look like.
The U.S. Department of Energy on Monday announced it has filed a notice of intent to develop an Environmental Impact Statement in its effort to build a Versatile Test Reactor by the mid-2020s. VTR's purpose is to test future fuels and materials for use in advanced power reactors.

Idaho National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in eastern Tennessee have been identified as possible locations for VTR. In addition, INL and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina are two locations being considered for the fabrication of the fuel needed to run the reactor.

“This testing capability is essential for the United States to modernize its nuclear energy infrastructure and for developing transformational nuclear energy technologies that reduce waste generation and enhance nuclear security,” U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in a press release.  “Lack of a domestic reactor with versatile fast-neutron-spectrum testing capability is a significant national strategic risk affecting the ability of DOE to fulfill its mission to advance the energy, environmental, and nuclear security of the United States and promote scientific and technological innovation.”

Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), an EIS is a necessary step for any major project like VTR. "Beginning the NEPA process at this time will ensure that all environmental factors are considered before the department makes a final decision to move forward with the project,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Rita Baranwal.

“DOE needs to develop this capability on an accelerated schedule to avoid further delay in the United States’ ability to develop and deploy advanced nuclear energy technologies,” she said. “If this capability is not available to U.S. innovators as soon as possible, the ongoing shift of nuclear technology dominance to other international states such as China and the Russian Federation will accelerate, to the detriment of the U.S. nuclear industrial sector."

During the first steps of this NEPA process, DOE invites the public to comment now through September 4 on what the department should include in the scope of the EIS draft version. Following that, the draft EIS analysis will be published and the public invited to comment on it for 45 days. DOE will evaluate comments before the EIS is made final. When final, the EIS will be published and made available to the public for 30 days before the department can issue a record of decision.

In addition to gathering written comments, DOE will host two interactive webcast scoping meetings to provide information about the VTR and the NEPA processes and gather oral and written comments. The webcast scoping meetings will be held Aug. 27 at 4 p.m. MDT and Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. MDT. To join the webcast scoping meetings by phone, participants can call toll-free in the United States at 877-869-3847.

Broulim's acquires Teton Clinical Pharmacy

Broulim’s Fresh Foods has acquired Teton Clinical Pharmacy and will expand services across eastern Idaho.

The acquisition became official Monday, according to a news release. The Teton Pharmacy on Jafer Court will close but Broulim’s will operate Teton locations on 17th Street in Ammon and West Broadway in Idaho Falls.

“The merging of these two local pharmacy businesses will increase access to healthcare services across southeast Idaho,” Broulim’s Pharmacy Supervisor Marcus Hurs said in the news release. “Teton Pharmacy’s bubble packing, compounding, and delivery services will be added to the Broulim’s locations. Broulim’s point-of-care services will be added to the newly acquired Teton pharmacy locations.”

Customers with Teton or Broulim’s will now be able to pick up prescriptions at any of the combined ten pharmacy locations. Patients can be screened for conditions and prescribed medications by the pharmacist to treat strep throat, urinary tract infections, flu, cold sores, and travel sickness prevention, with more services being planned for the future.

The 17th street location will be remodeled to make room for a new compounding room and bubble packing operation, with Joe Brown as the pharmacy manager. The Broadway location will undergo a few minor changes, with Michelle Misko as manager.

Pharmacy records for the Teton Pharmacy on Jafer Court will be transferred to the Broulim’s Fresh Foods at 2730 E. Sunnyside in Ammon.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Bank of Idaho continues expansion in Treasure Valley

Alan Mullins
Idaho Falls-based Bank of Idaho continues its expansion in the Treasure Valley with the announcement of a loan production office (LPO), now open in downtown Nampa’s Historic Library building at 101 11th  Avenue, Suite 215, Idaho Falls-based Bank of Idaho continues its expansion in the Treasure Valley with the announcement of a Loan Production Office (LPO), in downtown Nampa’s Historic Library building. The new office will offer a complete slate of commercial lending options.

“Bank of Idaho’s values line up directly with mine: developing meaningful relationships with small businesses, and commitment to community.” said Alan Mullins, VP area manager of loan operations. “When I heard that, I was immediately interested in joining their expansion efforts.”

"It’s great to work again for an independent bank that cares about fostering those types of small business relationships,” said Mullins, who started his career as a bank teller in Weiser. “Some of my best friends started out as clients back in the day."

Along with Mullins, the Bank of Idaho Nampa team is made up of Sean Edwards, commercial loan officer and Kelsey Pease, commercial loan assistant. The new office will offer a complete slate of commercial lending options.

Nampa’s Historic Library building was originally built for a bank in 1919. The Bank of Idaho is open now in the former library’s offices on the second story, while the acquisitions team is working to finalize arrangements for a permanent full-service branch location in Nampa.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Love at First Bite plans expansion to 5,000 square feet

Love at First Bite, one of the first stores at Snake River Landing, will be turning 10 this year and expanding in size.
Love at First Bite Mercantile announced Monday that it is expanding its gifts and oils shop at 901 Pier View Drive, in Snake River Landing. The expansion is under way and will increase the size of the store from around 3,000 square feet to nearly 5,000 square feet. This is the second expansion by the shop, which opened in 2009 with 1,500 square feet.

Located across from The Pier and the river, Love at First Bite is a unique, locally-owned shop that features truffles and old-fashioned candies and sodas, inspired cupcakes, eclectic gifts and an expansive line of specialty oils and vinegars known as the Twig and Vine Olive Oil Company.

"We have enjoyed being part of Snake River Landing since we opened nearly ten years ago," said owner Juli Richards. “With the growth in the area and in Idaho Falls, we are so happy to be able to grow along with it and to offer even more items in the shop.”

Love at First Bite will remain open during the expansion, which should be finished early this fall.

In addition to the Love at First Bite expansion, The Falls Apartments in Snake River Landing is also in expansion mode. Kartchner Inc. is currently developing 96 additional apartments, adding to the 228-unit complex that opened in 2017.

“It’s exciting to see businesses grow in Snake River Landing, particularly one that is locally owned and operated,” said Eric Isom, Snake River Landing's chief development officer. “With a positive environment, beautifully maintained grounds, steady traffic and ample parking, we look forward to seeing more businesses thrive in Snake River Landing.”

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.