September Economic Activity Around Idaho

Information provided in this article has been gathered from various sources throughout the state, including local newspapers and other media.

Statewide
Northern Idaho
North Central Idaho
Southwestern Idaho
South Central Idaho
Southeastern & Eastern Idaho

STATEWIDE DEVELOPMENTS

  • For the first time since 1996, cheese is Idaho’s largest export. Milk products have always been a major export with whey and dry milk powder leaders. Almost three-quarters of Idaho’s dairy production is in southern Idaho, where several large milk product plants including Chobani and Glanbia are located. Idaho was the fourth-largest dairy producing state in the nation last year after New York, California and Wisconsin. This year, it’s on track to take New York’s spot at No. 3.
  • The value of all goods and services sold in Idaho rose more than twice as fast as the national average last year, but per capita output still ranked among America’s lowest, new federal data show. Idaho’s inflation-adjusted gross state product increased 4.1 percent in 2013, the fifth-highest rate of growth, lagging only North Dakota, Wyoming, West Virginia and Oklahoma, according to a U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The state ranked 50th in the per capita value of real gross state product at $36,000. Growth slowed in the second half of 2013. Fourth-quarter output occurred at a rate of nearly $58 billion a year in 2009 dollars.

Ethan.Mansfield@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
(208) 332-3570 ext. 3455

NORTHERN IDAHO – Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai and  Shoshone counties

Regional Developments

  • The Avista Foundation has awarded a $10,000 grant to St. Vincent de Paul North Idaho to help purchase a building from the city of Coeur d’Alene as a one-stop location for 24 different human care services in collaboration with 19 different agencies.
  • Avista has filed its 2014 Natural Gas Integrated Resource Plan with state regulators in Washington, Idaho and Oregon. The plan forecasts sufficient natural gas resources well into the future, indicating access to natural gas supply through the acquisition of additional pipeline resources will not be needed until 2034 or later. The plan is submitted to the public utility commissions every two years as part of Avista’s regulatory commitment.

  • Spokane Turbine Center, an aircraft repair school, has first right of refusal for two parcels of land on the west end of Spokane’s Felts Field, meaning if another party makes an offer to lease the land, the airport must give Spokane Turbine the first option to do so. The nonprofit provides operational and mechanical training for missionary pilots of turbine-engine planes.
  • Spokane’s economic development corporation, Greater Spokane Incorporated, has a new CEO — Steve Stevens.
  • The expansion and remodel of the adult cardiac intensive care unit at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital is underway. The project will add 12 critical-care beds to the unit, giving it 34 beds. Once that work is completed, the current 22-bed unit will be remodeled. The project is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2016.
  • Hewes Marine Co, of Colville, Washington, is expanding its aluminum recreation boat production facility. The $2 million project will add 19,000 square feet to its existing factory for a total of 59,000 square feet. The company has 105 employees and will add another 30 jobs because of the expansion.

Benewah County

  • The UpRiver Elementary School was awarded a $17,260 federal Title 1 grant to provide additional training for teachers and for supplies.

Bonner County

  • Lead-Lok was purchased in the spring by New York-based Graphic Controls. The company plans to add 20 more jobs over the next year and invest $1.5 million in facility and infrastructure costs to expand the current Bonner Business Center location. With the new agreement, the city will make improvements to the center using Graphic Controls’ lease payments, according to the Bonner County Daily Bee. It will also mean that after five years, the Bonner Business Center fund should have more than $400,000 in surplus funds, which will help clear up the center’s maintenance backlog. Finally, the agreement should pave the way toward the construction of a new, larger facility in the future. With the expansion and terms in place, the other six current tenants and eight users of the industrial kitchen will have to find new accommodations.

Kootenai County

  • Innovation Collective — a group that encourages north Idaho to establish a tech startup hub — hosted the first Think Big Festival in Coeur d’Alene. The conference was designed to bring together factions of the community to collaborate and begin the development of a robotics culture in Coeur d’Alene. A memorandum of understanding was established among Innovation Collective, Kootenai Health, Jobs Plus and the University of Idaho to work together in moving forward in the robotics and high tech industry.
  • The new $1.8 million U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ outpatient clinic in Coeur d’Alene opened in early August. The 16,200 square-foot building has 16 exam rooms and two procedural rooms to accommodate seven providers, specialists and support staff.
  • Kootenai Health has become an affiliate of the renowned Mayo Clinic Care Network, one of only 30 national affiliates of the prestigious network. The arrangement will provide advanced medical information and technology for medical staff, which will allow patients to stay closer to home for health care at a lower cost, says Kootenai Health CEO, Jon Ness. Kootenai Health is the first Mayo Clinic affiliate in Idaho and in the Pacific Northwest.
  • A five-day, technology-based Dig’nIT Java camp took place in the University of Idaho-Coeur d’Alene complex in Harbor Center in August. The Dig’nIT — Digital Innovation Generating New Information Technology — camp for youth 12 years and older included workshops about Java programming, building and programming LegoNXT robots and coding.
  • Coeur d’Alene Convention and Visitor’s Bureau has launched a new Prospector Award program that encourages community members to bring groups, corporate events and convention business to Coeur d’Alene. Award recipients will be recognized at the Coeur d’Alene chamber’s monthly Upbeat Breakfast event and in a series of ads in the Coeur d’Alene Press. For more on the Prospector Award, visit coeurdalene.org or call 664-3194.
  • Kootenai County’s third branch of Spokane Teachers’ Credit Union is under construction at The CrossRoads Coeur d’Alene retail center. The 4,242-square-foot location should open in January. It will have a staff of seven.
  • The Renaissance, an assisted living community in Coeur d’Alene, has begun construction on the third of five planned 7,500 square-foot buildings. The phase currently under construction includes a one-story, $560,000 building that will have 16 beds in individual rooms. The first two buildings are fully occupied and have been in operation for 15 months. The Renaissance currently has a staff of 18 and expects to hire an additional 10 employees when the third phase is complete.

Openings

  • The Gallery on Main opened in St. Maries
  • Lavadog, a Hawaiian-style hot dog place, opened in Hayden
  • Pawn, Inc. opened in Dalton Gardens
  • Big Dan’s Nutrition opened in Hayden
  • Well-ness Bar opened in Coeur d’Alene
  • Angel Botanicals & Gifts opened in Coeur d’Alene
  • Memory Lane Gems opened in Coeur d’Alene
  • Chamira, a women’s clothing and accessories store, opened in Coeur d’Alene
  • Bright Futures Preschool and Kindergarten opened in St. Maries
  • Goat Mountain Pizzeria opened in Bonners Ferry
  • Alberto’s Mexican Restaurant reopened in Bonners Ferry
  • Climbworks opened in Coeur d’Alene
  • CdA Nails & Spa opened in Coeur d’Alene
  • Buffalo Wild Wings opened in Coeur d’Alene
  • Vault Coffee opened in Coeur d’Alene
  • McAllister Technical Services opened in Coeur d’Alene
  • Sewinjeaniusopened in Coeur d’Alene

Closures

  • Beachhouse Bar & Grill closed in Coeur d’Alene

Alivia.Metts@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
(208) 457-8789 ext. 3486

NORTH CENTRAL IDAHO  – Clearwater, Idaho, Latah, Lewis and Nez Perce counties

Nez Perce Tribe

  • The Nez Perce Tribal Police Department plans to hire three officers and open a substation in Kamiah, where two officers will be on duty every day. That will increase response time in the eastern part of the reservation, which is 60 miles from Lapwai. The police department has applied for funding for a modular police station that will include holding cells and an evidence room. The tribal police force now numbers 20, its largest size since the tribe took over policing from the Bureau of Indian Affairs almost two decades ago.

Clearwater County

  •  Clearwater County commissioners declared a state of emergency Aug. 18 after hail caused severe damage to wheat farms on the Weippe Prairie. The storm damaged about 1,200 acres of spring wheat near Fraser.
  • The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality announced the award of a $30,000 wastewater planning grant to the city of Pierce to evaluate the existing wastewater system to address compliance issues, determine future capabilities and develop alternative plans for needed improvements.
  • The Idaho Correctional Institution – Orofino is an all-male prison holding an average of 565 inmates. About 140 are minimum security and work as “Redshirts” helping with firefighting, building and landscape maintenance and other community activities. Prison programs including ones for substance abuse, remedial education and employment are successful. Idaho’s recidivism rate is below 35 percent, which is the recidivism rate nationally. A new program allows screened inmates to learn about dog handling. The program is expected to boost inmates’ self-esteem and further reduce recidivism.
  • The second class of 100 cadets started Aug. 4 at the Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Pierce, the National Guard school for Idaho teens at risk of dropping out. Each class lasts about 5 ½ months, then graduates participate in mentorship and follow-up programs for another 12 months in their own communities. Community service is an important component of the school’s program. Students have volunteered at the fish hatchery at Dworshak, cleaning Hell’s Gate State Park and the Weippe cemetery, the Veterans Administration nursing home in Lewiston and various community events.
  • MC Concepts recently expanded to a new location on Highway 12 where the old Camp, Cabin & Home had been, allowing the company to expand into used recreational vehicles and cars. The business opened four years ago and currently sells new and used vehicle parts and accessories and has a service shop, providing services for motorcycles and ATVs.

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • Idaho County elected officials and employees will receive a 2 percent raise in the 2015 budget approved by county commissioners Sept. 2. The heads of each department will determine how to distribute the raise. The county’s budget for 2015 is $18 million. It jumped from, 2014’s $14.5 million because of a $3.8 million Federal Aviation Administration grant to improve the county airport runway. Taxes will not be raised in 2015. Commissioners are assuming the county will continue to receive payments under the Secure Rural Schools Act. Last year, Idaho County received $7 million for its schools and independent highway districts.
  • Lewis County commissioners approved a 3 percent salary hike for all county employees and elected officials except themselves. There had been no pay raises for several years. The total budget for 2015 is $2.9 million, up from $2.8 million this year, and taxes will not be raised.
  • Bud’s Power Sports has moved from downtown Cottonwood to a new building a mile south of town on U.S. Highway 95. Business at what was formerly known as Bud’s Saw Shop had been steadily increasing over the past four years but has boomed since the move in June. The operation sells and repairs all-terrain vehicles, snow machines, lawn mowers along with clothing and accessories. Since the move, the payroll has grown from nine to 12 and is expected to expand in the future.
  • Central Idaho Counseling PLLC formed in McCall in 2014 to reach out to rural communities and offer mental health services to those who had limited options because of distance from existing providers. It recently announced it’s taking clients in the Grangeville, White Bird, Lucille, Riggins and New Meadows areas. The group helps individuals who are struggling with depression, anxiety, relationship issues, trauma and everyday life stress. Additionally, full-time geriatric social worker offers counseling services to help people challenged by issues related to the aging process.

Latah and Whitman Counties

  • A 107-year-old school house in Potlatch was recently transformed into the White Pine Manor, an affordable housing complex for low income Idahoans. The nonprofit Syringa Housing Corp. kept the schoolhouse design, while making it suitable for housing. The remodel allows the town to keep some of its history while enjoying the economic development benefits of affordable housing. The building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was built when the Potlatch Co. created the company town of Potlatch.
  • A contractor’s failure to finish projects on schedule led to the Moscow School District starting two weeks later than scheduled. Bathrooms were not completed in any of the buildings, and the new science area at Moscow High School was not ready. Classes started Sept. 8.
  • Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories continues to expand. Employment on its Pullman campus has reached 2,000, and it currently is trying to fill 130 additional jobs. The company is internationally known for the high quality of equipment it designs and manufactures to monitor and control electrical systems. About two dozen of the jobs are in manufacturing assembly. Assembler positions start at $12.50 an hour.
  • Livability.com named Moscow one of the top 10 college towns in the nation for its ability to foster creativity, social interaction and recreational pursuits. They also share a synergy with the college that influences the entire community, providing dynamic settings while keeping with the traditions that honor the past. The top 10 in order are Ames, Iowa; Logan, Utah; Oxford, Ohio; Fayetteville, Ark.; Tempe, Ariz.; Charlottesville, Va.; Champaign, Ill.; Moscow, Idaho; South Bend, Ind.; and Hattiesburg, Miss.
  • Alturas Analytics landed on INC. magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in 2014. It ranked 1,972. Alturas Analytics is a technology transfer company from the University of Idaho. Created 14 years ago as a spinoff from Anatech Labs in Moscow, the company at Alturas Technology Park in Moscow tests the effects of drugs that are being developed. It also has helped the military develop anti-chemical warfare agents soldiers can inject as antidotes if they are gassed. Each drug requires the development of a unique test that can be applied consistently and meet the standards of the federal Food and Drug Administration. Testing is increasingly complicated as drugmakers introduce remedies that work at lower levels or change more than once after they enter the body.
  • In August, earth-moving equipment began preparing the ground for the new Viola Community Center near the intersection of Viola and Rothfork roads. The former community-gathering spot, the 80-year-old Viola Women’s Club, was declared unsafe for more than a dozen people, so the community needs a new place to hold elections, weddings, funerals, senior activities and meetings. The new structure will be much larger than the old center and provide a commercial kitchen and better parking. Community members donated $131,000, land, supplies and time to develop the center.
  • The Moscow Chamber of Commerce and University of Idaho have selected a marketing firm to lead a community branding project that will begin soon. BHW1, a Spokane-based marketing firm, won the bid. The Moscow Chamber of Commerce will spend $30,000 of an Idaho Tourism grant on the project with an additional $20,000 coming from the city and the university. The project will develop a united, comprehensive branding and marketing strategy for the Moscow community, encapsulating what makes Moscow unique. It will help market the community to businesses seeking to relocate, tourists, potential students, university faculty and staff and families looking for an attractive place to live. “Moscow is a quintessential college town with a quality of life that offers a unique experience for students, faculty and staff,” said University President Chuck Staben in a press release sent by the chamber, city and university. “Getting that message out will help the university continue to prosper, benefitting the entire community.”
  • The Idaho State Board of Education unanimously approved the changes proposed by the University of Idaho after a 14-month program prioritization process mandated by the board in 2013 for all of Idaho’s public four-year schools to ensure all programs still serve their intended purpose. The university proposed eliminating six academic degree programs, consolidating or restructuring another 18, consolidating information technology services, addressing compliance concerns and funding athletic scholarships solely with donations. The school has already implemented some other changes that did not require board approval including closing the Student Health Pharmacy and the community partnership office. Those closures created about $700,000 in savings.

Nez Perce and Asotin, Wash., Counties

  • An 81-room Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites is planned near the Village Centre Cinemas in Lewiston. The $5.1 million hotel would include an indoor swimming pool, fitness area and breakfast bar but no restaurant or conference rooms. Kenaston Corp. has been selected as the general contractor for the hotel, which should open next summer.
  • After 20 years, a statewide program based at Lewis-Clark State College is being phased out after failing to secure the grant to continue. The Lewis-Clark Service Corps AmeriCorps program provided tutors and mentors to schools, prisons and nonprofit groups throughout Idaho. Cuts to the federal grant program that funded it had reduced the Service Corps from 120 positions at its peak to just 25 last year. AmeriCorps members receive a $12,100 yearly living allowance during their time of service and an education award at the end to help with student loans or graduate school. The agencies where the Service Corps members worked were required to provide a 50 percent match.
  • Lapwai School District voters rejected a maintenance and operations levy in August for the second time this year. The $250,000 levy, half the amount rejected in May, was defeated 317 to 464. The district had not run a supplemental levy since 2009, but reductions in state funding and federal impact aid in the years since resulted in the school board’s decision to seek the additional financial support. The one-year levy would have cost about $1.80 per $1,000 of taxable value. After the election, the board announced that it couldn’t afford a physical education teacher for Lapwai High School and that other positions would be eliminated. This will be the district’s second year without music, and foreign language will be offered through the Idaho Digital Learning Academy instead of replacing a teacher who retired.

Kathryn.Tacke@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
(208) 799-5000 ext. 3984

SOUTHWESTERN IDAHO – Ada, Adams, Boise, Canyon, Elmore, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, Valley & Washington counties

Ada County

  • The Elks Rehab System hospital and clinic closed Sept. 30. St. Luke’s is launching its own expanded rehab program to fill the void. An estimated 80 percent of the over 500 Elks employees are being absorbed by St. Luke’s, which has a statewide workforce of about 13,000 people.
  • Clothing retailers Anthropologie and lululemon athletica have moved from downtown Boise to the Village at Meridian, reducing what is a strong downtown retail presence compared to many other downtown areas. The Village, which opened in 2013, now has 50 percent of the existing buildings occupied and 78 percent of the space leased.
  • Newt & Harold’s, a fixture for Boise snowboarders and skateboarders for 30 years, is closing. The owners, Lori Wright and Lori Ambur, cited the difficulty of competing with the rising online marketplace.
  • An extension of Idaho Highway 16 including a bridge across the Boise River connecting State Street and Chinden Boulevard has been completed. Construction lasted two years. The total cost of the project was $111.1 million.
  • The Snake River Alliance is getting a new leader. Kelsey Jae Nunez is taking over as executive director following the departure of Liz Woodruff, who left to work in the nonprofit sector.
  • The Boise Hub, a new business incubator and co-working space, opened in Boise in September. It includes a program called Collabortank that provides freelance work for computer programmers, graphic designers and other content creators. Companies in the Hub will find freelance work for creative professionals who also want a dedicated office space. Southwestern Idaho already has several workspaces for entrepreneurs and incubator and training programs for new businesses including the TeCenter, the Watercooler, the Greenhouse and Nebula Shift in Boise. The Idaho Small Business Development Center, local colleges and universities and other groups also offer training programs for entrepreneurs.
  • The Idaho Hospital Association has hired national hospital lobbyist and Boise native Lisa Kidder Hrobsky as its new chief executive and president. She replaces Steve Millard, who is retiring after 23 years as president and 40 years with the association. Kidder Hrobsky currently is vice president of legislative affairs for the American Hospital Association in Washington, D.C.
  • Boise has slightly outperformed the national average in several key economic measures since the start of the recession but still needs to do something about its low wages, according to Washington Trust Bank Economist and Chief Investment Officer Steve Scranton. Scranton, who works at the bank’s Spokane headquarters, said Boise’s overall economic performance is on par with Spokane and Portland though all the cities lag behind Seattle, where large companies have fared particularly well in recent years.
  • Three reconstructive orthopedic surgeons are teaming up to launch a $3.2 million Saint Alphonsus Joint Preservation and Reconstruction Institute adjacent to the Saint Alphonsus’ Boise campus. Construction started Aug. 5, and the one-story, 17,334-square-foot facility should be ready for the doctors by March.
  • The nononprofit Sportsplex Idaho is planning a 185,000-square-foot indoor sports facility with 12 multi-purpose courts and an arena that seats more than 3,000 for games or other events. Sportsplex leaders say the Meridian project has a $40 million price tag. Many coaches say basketball courts are in short supply in the area.
  • State Schools Superintendent Tom Luna, who has pushed for No Child Left Behind, statewide achievement testing and Common Core, will take a new job in January as an advocate for science, technology, engineering and mathematics instruction. Luna, who did not seek a third term, will go to work for the Indianapolis-based Project Lead The Way, a nonprofit that sells STEM-based curriculum, reaching up to 750,000 students nationally.
  • West Ada School District’s attempt to ease overcrowding with new schools failed to get the two-thirds majority needed for passage. Voters turned down the $104 million bond. Just over 37 percent voted against the bond, well over the third needed to block it. Turnout was light at only about 10 percent.

Adams County

  • Angela and Jeff Wyant plan to buy and renovate the former Buckshot Mary’s building in downtown Council. The couple plans to expand Angela Wyant’s nail salon, “Abundance,” and add some additional services.
  • Adams County commissioners have set the 2015 county budget at over $9 million. It includes a 3 percent raise for county employees, $15,000 to support college students from the junior college fund and a $1.4 million for the Road and Bridge Department to finance capital projects. The assessed value of county property increased $15 million to $409 million.
  • The construction of a new dollar store is underway in Meadows Valley.
  • The Council School District’s $156,000 levy passed with 63 percent of the vote. The levy will add nearly $78,000 to the district’s annual budget each year for two years. The school begins receiving the funds in January.

Boise County

  • Boise County commissioners are discussing legalized limited gambling in certain areas of the county. In May, a citizens committee was formed to research the possibility. The commissioners recently voted unanimously to put an advisory vote on the Nov. 4 ballot to determine if county residents want to allow gambling in the county’s cities.

Canyon County

  • The owner of a for-profit, online-only college has been ordered to stop operating in Idaho by the attorney general’s office. Philip Braun ran the Caldwell-based Canyon College of Idaho Inc., which sold online degrees and college credits. The business filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in June. Customers complained that their purchased degrees and college credit were not accepted by accredited universities or employers.
  • Nampa-based IOIx Software has been acquired by Ritter Insurance Management, renamed eBroker Software and is now expanding its workforce in Idaho and in the states where it offers services to health insurance agents. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The founder and now president of eBroker, David Wotten, said the acquisition will not change the company’s focus. But it will allow it to expand from 11 to to 16 workers in Nampa, mainly by adding web developers and technical support staff.
  • The Nampa City Council unanimously approved a downtown location for Boise-based PreFunk Beer Bar. Idaho law prohibits bars from going in within 300 feet of a church, but allows city councils to grant exceptions to the law. The Tabernacle of Faith church is located within 300 feet of the site chosen for the Nampa PreFunk.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently wrapped up its investigation into the April 30 fatality at Rule Steel and fined the company $4,500, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Roy Frazier of Nampa died after a steel beam he was moving with a forklift fell and pinned the 53-year-old man, according to the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office. Frazier died after fellow employees removed the beam.
  • A second Terry Reilly Clinic is opening in Nampa this spring. The new clinic was made possible by a $5 million federal grant and about $100,000 from the city of Nampa for the purchase of the land. When the new, 30,600-square-foot facility is completed, it will have the capacity for an additional 10,000 patient visits each year. The new clinic will provide medical, laboratory, pharmacy, X-ray and behavioral health services. It will have 36 exam rooms and four treatment rooms.
  • A Notus School District bond came up four percentage points short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass. The $4.4 million bond would have allowed the district to build a new elementary school to replace the nearly 90-yearold structure it now uses.  The Wilder School District will be able to stave off any deep budget cuts after approval of a two-year, $290,000 supplemental levy.
  • Turboprop and jet charter service Mountain Aviation has been acquired by private investors. A spokesman for the company said it will continue its operations in Boise and Sun Valley.

Elmore County

  • The Western Elmore County Recreation District has approved construction of Phase I of its community center. The building will be 23,685 square feet and cost just under $4.5 million.

Gem County

  • Reclaimed Lumber Products owner Titus Gilman is building a 7,500-square-foot wood processing plant in Emmett to repurpose boards from old buildings for use in new construction. Currently, Gilman operates a shop between Nampa and Star employing eight people. He plans to split the staff between the two locations and hire more staff as needed. Ultimately he wants to expand into the Emmett plant.
  • Kincaid Law has opened in Emmett. The firm assists gun owners, dealers, and manufacturers navigate all aspects of state and federal firearms laws and designs asset protection plans.

Owyhee County

  • Voters in the Bruneau-Grand View School District approved a one-year, $600,000 levy. Sixty percent of the voters supported the levy.
  • The city of Marsing completed a dome to capture methane from the city’s wastewater. The captured methane will be used to produce electricity for the city. It is expected to save $5,000 a year on the city’s electricity bill. The dome cost$8,300.

Payette County

  • Increased property values in the city allowed the Payette City Council to decrease property taxes while increasing the budget by over $500,000. Property taxes comprise about 59 percent of the cith budget.
  • The Fruitland City Council has approved a $23.2 million budget for 2015. By far the largest expenditure in the budget is $15.9 million for sewer operations. Most has been loaned to the city by the Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to build a new wastewater treatment plant.
  • Voters in New Plymouth have approved an $8.6 million school bond issue by nearly three to one. The district repayment will total about $12.3 million over 20 years. The bond issue will raise property taxes by 79 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The money will be used to remodel and add on to each of the district’s buildings.
  • A special baseball field that will allow people with disabilities to play the sport has received $50,000 from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation. The grant was awarded to the Killebrew Miracle League of Payette.

Valley County

  • Valley County commissioners have proposed increasing property tax revenues from $5.9 million to $6.47 million in 2015. The increase would cover declining support from from the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program that compensates the county for tax-exempt land owned by the federal government.
  • The Southern Valley County Recreation District has received a $200,000 grant from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation to build the Cascade Aquatic and Fitness Complex. The district has put out a call for bids for the exothermally heated pool. Five general contractors have expressed interest.
  • The McCall City Hall is undergoing a $55,000 remodel, that started in late August. The work will make the building more energy efficient, which will save on operational costs.
  • Valley County commissioners approved the purchase of 7.2 acres of land at the Wellington Snow Park in Smiths Ferry from Potlatch Corp. for $57,800. The bulk of the cash is from an Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation grant. The purchase ensures access by snowmobilers and ATV riders to a trail system connecting the entire area.
  • A proposed 1 percentage point resort sales tax increase in McCall will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot. It will require 60 percent support to pass. The additional tax would be spent on sidewalks along heavily traveled streets and bicycle and pedestrian paths in addition to water, sewer and street improvements.

Washington County

  • Next Step Studio, a dance studio in Weiser, is moving to a larger location.
  • Midvale School District’s $234,000, four-year levy has been rejected by voters. It would have financed completion of construction of a gymnasium and secondary school building at Midvale High School.

Ethan.Mansfield@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
(208) 332-3570 ext. 3455

SOUTH CENTRAL IDAHO – Blaine, Camas, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls counties

Twin Falls County

  • The Idaho Space Grant Consortium with offices at the College of Southern Idaho and in Moscow was awarded a $500,000 federal grant to enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs, commonly referred to as STEM occupations. A minimum of 40 students will receive $5,000 scholarships toward STEM degrees. The grant will also finance increased investment in robotics courses, “Women in STEM” workshops presented by guest STEM professionals for high school and college students and the development of a peer mentoring program for students. Community college professors can apply for funding of professional development and research activities in the STEM programs.
  • The College of Southern Idaho Board of Trustees approved president emeritus status for former President Gerald Beck. The title was bestowed on the retiring president for his long career at the school and his “distinguished professional contributions.”

Openings

  • The Advanced Technology and Innovation Center at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls
  • The Valley Store in Bellevue
  • Syringa Mountain School in Hailey
  • Mini-Cassia Animal and Food Science Facilities at Burley High School
  • Bobcat Corner, a convenience store and fuel station, in Burley
  • Idaho State University Credit Union in Burley
  • Small Engine That Can, a mechanic and repair shop, in Burley

Jan.Roeser@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
(208) 735-2500 ext. 3639

SOUTHEASTERN & EASTERN IDAHO – Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Bonneville, Butte, Caribou, Clark, Custer, Franklin, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison, Oneida,  & Teton counties

Bannock County

  • Allstate Insurance in Chubbuck will close its roadside service division, which employed 120 people. The company said most of those workers will be hired by the insurance sales and service operation at the same location. Those jobs are generally higher paying.

Bingham County

  • Simplot’s Aberdeen plant is in the processing of shutting down. The plant, which announced that it would be closing in November 2011, has delayed closing twice. However, the decommissioning of the plant is in full swing, with portions of employees being laid off during August and September. When the company originally announced the plant’s planned closing, it employed more than 250 workers.

Bonneville County

  • Bonneville County hosted the first Intermountain Energy Summit Aug. 19-20 in Idaho Falls. The summit brought together industry and government leaders to discuss the region’s energy future. Congressman Mike Simpson, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz were among the speakers.

Franklin County

  • Restoration continues on the 119-year-old Oneida Stake Academy, which the local school district used from 1922 to the late 1990s. It was originally built as a secondary school for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The building is now used for receptions and other events, and the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation hopes to eventually make the academy building a community center for the people of Preston.

Fremont County

  • County residents want to vote on proposed national monument status for Island Park at the November election. The national monument would include Mesa Falls and other features in the Island Park area.

Butte County

  • The Idaho National Laboratory received an award for the construction of its Energy Innovation Laboratory. The Engineering News-Record magazine voted the building as the best 2014 “Green Project.” The design uses 48 percent less energy than similarly sized structures built to minimum standards.

Lemhi County

  • Thompson Creek Mine has announced that if it fails to sell its central Idaho molybdenum mine by the end of the year, it will close. Thompson Creek recently laid off 30 employees and plans to lay off another 150 by year end.
  • Shopko plans to open a store in Salmon next spring. The company plans to build a 36,000-square-foot store along U.S. Highway 93 southeast of downtown. Complete details will be available in the coming months.

Teton County

  • Lin Heffner, executive director for Mountain Bike the Tetons, announced that the Teton Region was awarded Silver Ride Center status by the International Mountain Bicycling Association. Heffner also announced that the association has designated the Grand Targhee Loop an official Epic Trail, elevating the 25-mile loop to bucket list status for riders around the world.

Dan.Cravens@labor.idaho.gov,
Regional Economist (208) 236-6710 ext. 3713

Christopher.StJeor@labor.idaho.gov,
Regional Economist (208) 557-2500 ext. 3077