Around Idaho: June Economic Activity

Information provided in this article has been gathered from various sources throughout the state, including professional sources, news releases, weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.

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

STATEWIDE

  • The number of housing units in Idaho increased by 6,000 between July 2013 and July 2014. While about a quarter of the state’s housing units are in Ada County, nearly 3,000 of the new units were built in the county, representing about half of the growth of new housing units in the state. (From Boise State Public Radio)

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

Benewah County

  • The Coeur d’Alene Tribe celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Benewah Medical Center in Plummer June 5. The clinic and wellness center is open to all area residents. Services include medical, dental, pharmacy, lab, X-ray, counseling services, community health and wellness. The center’s managers plan to add dialysis, optical services, alternative medicine — like chiropractic, acupuncture and therapeutic massage — outpatient medical and dental surgery, other specialty services and child care over the next few years. When the tribe opened the center in 1990, it employed 14 people. Today, the 50,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art medical facility employs 150 and has an $18 million annual budget.
  • The Idaho Transportation Department plans to spend about $10.7 million to restore three miles of pavement on U.S. Highway 95 between Sheep Creek Road and Smith Creek in the southern end of the Coeur d’Alene Reservation.

Bonner County

  • Sandpoint celebrated the reopening of its train depot in late May, after BNSF Railway and Amtrak completed a $1 million project to save and renovate the 99-year-old depot. The Idaho Transportation Department paid for almost all of the renovation. Amtrak’s Empire Builder train serves the station, which is owned by BNSF. The Sandpoint depot is the only Amtrak stop in Idaho and the oldest remaining active passenger depot on the old Northern Pacific Railroad.
  • Samdpoint’s historic Panida Theater, built in 1927, is under renovation to keep it available for movies and live presentations. In early July a $1.4 million project will begin to fix the ceiling and install a fire suppression system. Since 2009, the theater’s original 144 wooden seats and the stage curtain have been replaced, the marquee and the building’s exterior have been renovated, asbestos was replaced with modern insulation and sewer connections have been improved. The overall restoration of the theater, which began in the mid-1980s, is about half complete. Although the main theater will be closed during the sprinkler/ceiling installation, the Little Theater will remain open to host two children’s summer musical theater camps and an improv workshop.
  • Mill Town Distillery is the first craft distillery in the Sandpoint area. Currently, it sells its No. 217 corn whiskey — an un-aged, 80-proof whiskey distilled from a 100 percent corn mash — at Idaho State Liquor stores. In the future, it also plans to produce other whiskeys, rum and vodka.
  •  Sandpoint’s busiest tourist season is during July and August, although it also serves tourists year-round, including the ski season. Hotel Ruby on Highway 95 in Ponderay was remodeled this spring, adding a breakfast room and living room with a fireplace. A new building on its north wing includes a pool, two 10-person hot tubs, a fitness room and a sunning patio. EstateOnThe-LakeBandB is a luxurious bed and breakfast with four suites with lakefront views. It’s on Lakeshore Avenue in Dover, three miles west of Sandpoint.

Kootenai County

  • North Idaho College broke ground in June on a $15 million, 110,000-square-foot Career and Technical Education Facility next to the Kootenai Technical Education Campus on Lancaster Road near Rathdrum. The building, which will be open for classes in fall 2016, will house eight professional-technical programs currently located in Coeur d’Alene. Programs include automotive technology, collision repair, computer-aided design technology, diesel technology, industrial mechanics, millwright, machining and welding. KTEC offers professional-technical programs to juniors and seniors from the Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls and Lakeland school districts. NIC has worked with KTEC to align the curricula of the two facilities to avoid duplication. The new facility represents the college’s emphasis on improving technical education and providing the workforce training vital to the long-term success of northern Idaho’s economy.
  • Hagadone Hospitality Co. is asking the city of Coeur d’Alene to vacate property so it can build a tower with 200 guest rooms next to the Coeur d’Alene Resort. The 19-story tower would face west and run from Sherman Avenue on the north to the resort’s parking garage on the south. Lack of space forces the resort to turn away many large group conferences. Economic Modeling Specialists International of Moscow conducted an economic impact study estimating the extra rooms would generate an additional $65 million a year for the local economy, not including an economic boost from construction.
  • Bankcda, a community bank founded in Coeur d’Alene in 2001, reached $96.8 million in assets this year. After struggling during the recession, the bank returned to profitability last year. The improved business climate in Coeur d’Alene has resulted in fast growth in new business and an uptick in financing for commercial construction and commercial buildings.
  • Lake City Development Corp., Coeur d’Alene’s urban renewal agency, recently changed its name to ignite cda and will spend $54,269 for rebranding. Last year, the urban renewal agency commissioned Robinson Research to conduct a 600-person phone survey to assess the public’s perception of the agency. The survey showed that most people didn’t understand the role played by the agency in various development projects.
  • Kootenai County officials discussed potential pay raises as high as 8 percent for fiscal year 2015 – an increase that could cost $2.6 million. This followed results of a market survey on employee pay in Spokane, Kootenai and Bonner counties, some of the area’s larger cities and Idaho and Washington State government. No action has been taken by the board of county commissioners on the subject.
  • Northwest Specialty Hospital in Post Falls was one of just 250 hospitals out of 3,500 nationwide to receive a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The rating is based on patient rankings of their experiences. The hospital, owned by local physicians, opened in 2003 to provide surgical care.
  • Hagadone Marine Group recently opened a new floating showroom on Blackwell Island in Coeur d’Alene. The 35-slip showroom allows it to bring its 150-boat inventory together. It now shows the Inland Northwest’s largest boat inventory all at one destination. Last year, the company, which opened in 1944, enjoyed record sales. Boating Industry magazine ranked Hagadone Marine Group No. 16 among the Top 100 Dealers in the U.S.
  • About 50 luxury homes valued at more than $30 million are in development or construction at the Riverstone mixed-use development in Coeur d’Alene. That’s the fastest growth in a neighborhood in Kootenai County since the recession began. In addition to the houses, Riverstone is extending a boardwalk along the Spokane River with boat slips for the waterfront lots. Whitewater Creek Inc., an affordable apartment developer based in Hayden, plans to construct an 80-unit rental complex for senior citizens on 10 acres near Seltice Way on the north edge of Riverstone.
  • Popular Puget Sound seafood and steakhouse chain Anthony’s Restaurants plans to build its first Idaho restaurant at the Riverstone Development. Construction will begin in August. When it opens in June 2016, it will be the chain’s 19th restaurant.
  • Five expansion projects are in the planning or construction stages in the Post Falls School District, financed by a $19.5 million bond measure approved by voters in March. A $3.1 million project underway at River City Middle School in Post Falls will add 12 classrooms and expand the kitchen. Contractors Northwest Inc., of Coeur d’Alene, is the contractor on the project, which it will complete before school opens this fall. The district also plans to build a $10 million elementary school with a 500-student capacity at the northwest corner of Greensferry Road and Bunting Lane in Post Falls by fall 2016. Also planned are an auditorium expansion and a gym addition at Post Falls High School and a two-classroom addition at West Ridge Elementary School.
  • A Jack in the Box is under construction on Highway 41 in Post Falls. When it opens in September, it will be open 24 hours a day and employ about 35 people.
  • The Bates Motel, a 12-room motel that’s been a long-term presence on Sherman Avenue in downtown Coeur d’Alene, recently was refurbished and reopened as The Lighthouse Motel.

Shoshone County

  •  A new owner has reopened the renowned restaurant The Snake Pit – also known as the Enaville Resort – on the Coeur d’Alene River. The Kingston restaurant and bar may be Idaho’s oldest. It opened in 1880. The rustic wooden restaurant with its quaint memorabilia is a favorite with tourists.
  • The Shoshone County Women’s Resource Center in Wallace recently became the Shoshone County Crisis and Resource Center, with an expanded mission to assist victims of domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault and other violent crimes. It plans to open an office in Kellogg in July.
  • Wallace Brewing Company, which opened in 2008 in downtown Wallace, won two medals from the North American Brewers Association. Its 1910 Black Lager garnered a gold medal, while its Wallace Strong Ale took bronze. Distributed in the 10 northernmost Idaho counties, northwest Montana and the Spokane area, the brewing company recently began selling in southern Idaho and the Seattle area. In addition to its owners, it has two full-time employees, an intern and a few part-time workers
  • Hecla Mining agreed to pay $600,000 in fines for releasing heavy metals and other pollution into the South Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River between 2009 and 2014. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency listed alleged violations of the company’s federal discharge permit at the Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan.

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

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

Region

  • The Idaho Department of Agriculture awarded $67,000 from its specialty crop grant program to assist with the launch of the Lewis-Clark Valley AVA – American Viticultural Area. Clearwater Economic Development Association will use the funds to help make grape-growing and wine-making important industries in the valley again. In the 1870s, settlers began growing grapes in Lewiston. The region’s wines were sold throughout the Pacific Northwest and won many awards. In 2011, local grape growers petitioned the Treasury Department for recognition as an AVA, which helps generate reputation for an area’s wine grapes. The proposed AVA is 479 square miles — 72 percent in Nez Perce, Latah and Clearwater counties in Idaho and 28 percent in Asotin, Garfield and Whitman counties in Washington. Currently, there are four bonded wineries and 16 vineyards growing almost 100 acres of grapes. It looks likely that the new AVA will be recognized next spring.
  • Due to a lack of machining, fabrication and electronics skills, efforts are underway to create entry level training in those areas, to be supported with hands-on learning for local manufacturers. The program will be offered to high school students and adult learners through online classes offered concurrently with the high school academic year and followed with summer training programs at local colleges and the University of Idaho. The goal is to develop a pool of applicants to meet the highest priority occupational needs of the “Metal Supercluster” — metal fabrication, equipment manufacturers, aluminum jet boat makers, ammunition and gun fabricators and machine shops — in north central Idaho and southeastern Washington. The training program design will be based on University of Idaho research, the direct input of manufacturers, workforce training expertise of Lewis-Clark State College and the Idaho Department of Labor. Clearwater Economic Development Association is facilitating the planning, coordinating stakeholder activity and managing grant resources. A U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business Opportunity Grant provided the funding for research and planning. Technical training, including computer-aided design and business skills, will be offered to high school students and will include mentorships and career counseling. Each technical area – machining, fabrication or electronics – will be a one-year program. The University of Idaho plans to apply for grant funds for program start-up through the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education Program. Education partners have begun conversations at the state level to determine possible funding mechanisms for long-term sustainability.

Clearwater County

  • Progress has been made toward the development of a lime quarry on Upper Fords Creek Road six miles east of Orofino, according to Clearwater County Economic Development Director Loren Whitten-Kaboth. Klepfer Mining Consulting Firm has submitted an exploration plan to the landowner, the Idaho Department of Lands, on behalf of the mining company, which seeks to be a tenant. All permits required for cleaning and clearing the washouts and repairing the rail line have been obtained. The mine operated from the 1950s into the 1980s. Over the years, other lime mines operated in the area, and some also turned the lime into cement. The quarry is expected to employ 35 to 50 people.
  • Joint School District #171, based in Orofino, is in the midst of several technology improvement and general maintenance projects this summer. Last year’s school facilities levy is paying for installation of new heat pumps at Timberline. The renewal of federal forest funding through Secure Rural School for this year and next made other projects possible. A new fence will soon surround the football and PE field at Timberline school between Weippe and Pierce. Part of the kitchen floor will be replaced. Orofino High will get new windows in every classroom, and new flooring will replace old carpets in hallways and the offices. Cavendish School also will get new carpet.
  • This fall, the district will have over 570 Chromebooks that will be available to all students in second through sixth grades and stored in locked portable carts that include a charging station. In addition, Chromebooks and PCs will be available for other students as needed. The district is purchasing 15 desktops PCs for high school’s Solidworks (computerized drafting) program and the Idaho Digital Learning Lab, which allows students to take classes digitally that are not offered at the high school. A $20,000 grant from the Idaho Community Foundation will allow the district to buy computers for the Orofino High library. The district now has 1 Gigabit per second fiber connections between all valley locations, up from one-tenth or even one-fiftieth of that speed a year ago.

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • In May, the Idaho Department of Commerce awarded a $300,000 Idaho Community Development Block Grant to White Bird for a wastewater system project. This fall, the city will begin replacing some sewer lines and manholes to prepare for an $857,000 project that will upgrade sewer lagoons with new rapid infiltration liners and improve treatment equipment including aerators. A grant award from U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development is awaiting Idaho Department of Environmental Quality approval of the city’s proposals. In May 2015, White Bird voters approved a $2.5 million bond that will pay the rest of the cost. Deteriorating pipes and equipment have resulted in severe inflow and infiltration issues.
  • A $150,000 Idaho Community Development Block Grant recently awarded to Cottonwood will help pay for improvements to the community center. In September, city maintenance crews will begin work on the $237,000 project to improve accessibility, upgrade the kitchen, add a bathroom and remodel the basement so it can be used as a senior center. Work is expected to be complete by the end of January.
  • A major construction project at the Idaho County Airport led to the cancellation of what would have been the fourth annual Warbird Weekend. The construction project forced the event planners to move it up two weeks, which conflicted with shows in Nampa and other Northwest cities. Planners already are working on plans for the second weekend in July 2016. Warbird Weekend displays World War II-era planes and shows off the Idaho County Airport and its two major tenants — smokejumpers with the U.S. Forest Service and Anderson Aeromotive, which specializes in overhauls Pratt & Whitney and Curtiss-Wright radial aircraft engines.
  • The U.S. Forest Service will allow miners to use bulldozers, trucks and all-terrain vehicles — and make daily motorized trips into Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area in southern Idaho County — as they try to prove claims at the Golden Hand Mine in the Payette National Forest. Both the Wilderness Act and the 1872 Mining Act allow mining in a wilderness area when the mines were staked prior to wilderness designation. The Golden Hand was staked before the wilderness area was designated and is on the area’s edge.

Latah County

  • The Latah Recovery Center will open later this summer in the former Wheatberries bakery building in downtown Moscow. It is one of four centers funded by the Idaho Legislature based on a request from the Idaho Association of Counties. The other three will be in Ada, Canyon and Gem counties. Each center will use $250,000 to cover the first year’s start-up costs. Each will serve as an accessible hub of information and programming for residents in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction or dealing with mental illness. A 2013 study conducted by Gritman Medical Center found an estimated 7,000 Latah County residents with drug, alcohol or mental health issues.

Nez Perce and Asotin, Washington, counties

  • Lewiston travelers flying out of Nez Perce County Regional Airport will enjoy better flight schedules starting Aug. 23, because of changes Alaska Airlines will make to its schedule. Currently, locals can’t fly to Boise and back on the same day. So, they are forced to stay overnight in Boise. After Aug. 23, they will be able to fly round-trip to Boise on the same day. Additionally, the flights will connect with Alaska’s nonstop flights from Boise to Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, San Jose, Salt Lake City and San Diego. Alaska will also remove the stopover at the Pullman-Moscow airport from the flights between Lewiston and Seattle, providing nonstop service. Service to Pullman-Moscow will not be reduced. The Alaska Airlines flights will continue to be on the 76-seat Bombardier Q400 aircraft operated by Horizon Air. Increased boardings at the Lewiston airport, especially heading to Seattle, allowed the service improvement.
  • More than 20 port tenants, farmers and business leaders spoke at a June 11 hearing in support of the Port of Lewiston’s $2.15 million fiscal year 2016 budget, while five people expressed doubts about some port actions. The port uses a property tax levy to pay for infrastructure development at its various business and industrial parks. This fiscal year, the port plans to install a fiber-optic network in Lewiston, which will speed up data transfer, telephone calls and Internet services available to businesses. Total payroll of the port’s employees has dropped by $233,000 to $367,000 since positions were eliminated this spring as the result of the Port of Portland no longer being able to take containerized shipments. The port’s ability to good infrastructure helped bring several businesses here, including the Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories plant that opened three years ago.
  • Lewis-Clark State College and Lewiston hosted the NAIA World Series for the 25th time this May. Ten of the best college baseball teams throughout the U.S. gather in Lewiston around Memorial Day every year for a week-long, double-elimination tournament. The tournament fills hotels and restaurants with the teams, their supporters and other spectators. Lewiston offers the tournament several advantages: a history of successful, well-attended tournaments; good weather conditions; and a title sponsor, Avista. Altogether about 36,000 people attend the series every year. Hundreds of people fill motels, restaurants and stores for a week.
  • Clearwater Paper Corp. recently agreed to pay $1.1 million to settle allegations of federal Clean Air Act violations at its Lewiston pulp and paper mill that employs 1,370. The Spokane-based company will pay a $300,000 civil penalty and spend $800,000 on stricter pollution controls at the pulp mill.

Openings

  • New owners have transformed Scotty’s 3rd Base Grill in the Lewiston Orchards into KC’s Burgers and Brews. The restaurant specializes in hamburgers, chicken, salads and microbrews.
  • Dynamic Physical Therapy opened in June across Lewiston’s 21st Street from Albertson’s.

 Closing

  • Pilgrim’s Nutrition Center closed its Moscow store at the end of June after selling health supplements there since 1979.

 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

Region

  • This year’s onion production for southwestern Idaho was 8 percent above average. Prices look to be high this year as well, as an early onion crop in Texas was waterlogged by heavy rains. (From Weiser Signal American)
  • The demand for new homes has outpaced the supply in the Treasure Valley. The median price of a new home in Ada County has increased 73 percent since April 2010, the lowest point during the recession. In Canyon County, the median price has increased 63 percent since 2011. In April 2015, the median new home price was $279,329. Canyon County’s median new home price was 46 percent lower at $191,400. (From Idaho Press-Tribune)
  • Rental rates have also been rising as a result of low vacancy rates signaling a tight renters market. The single-family residential vacancy rate in Canyon County was 3.4 percent. In Ada County it was 1.7 percent. The multifamily vacancy rates for the counties were 3.7 percent for Canyon County and 4 percent for Ada County. (From Idaho Press-Tribune)

Canyon County

  • The Canyon County Courthouse will undergo a substantial renovation this year in three phases. The final phase is expected to be complete after summer 2016. (From Idaho Press-Tribune)
  • The College of Idaho is considering selling the former Penny Wise Drug building in Caldwell. Penny Wise recently closed after being in business since 1961. The two-story building has about 20,000 square feet. (From Idaho Business Review)
  • Notus hopes to open a new elementary school by fall 2017. Voters recently passed a $4.8 million bond measure supporting the construction. The district’s superintendent said he hopes to break ground on the school in early 2016. (From Idaho Press-Tribune)

 

Boise Metro Area

  • Meridian was the 9th fastest-growing city in the nation, growing at a rate of 5.1 percent between July 2013 and July 2014. (From Idaho Statesman)
  • Wildflour Bakery has begun construction on a new facility in Garden City. The new building will sit on a .17 acre lot at 42nd and Adams Street. (From Idaho Statesman)
  • Macys.com has leased 7,569 square feet in the U.S. bank building downtown. Macys.com has not confirmed that they are moving any employees into the building, although other sources suggest that that the new office will house a website test automation team. (From Idaho Business Review)
  • Two new affordable housing developments are coming to Garden City in the near future. Neighbor Works Boise, a branch of the nonprofit residential development NeighborWorks, has broken ground on a new affordable housing development near the River Front District on E. 36th and Carr streets. Each of the 24 units will range in size from 600 to 2,000 square feet. Developer VCD and affordable housing management company Northwest Real Estate Capital Corp., continue work on The Trailwinds, a 64-unit rental complex at 42nd and Adams St. (From KTVB and Idaho Business Review)
  • Coiled Wines will join Telaya Winery’s new Garden City building. Construction is underway on the two-story, 11,000 square foot building that was formerly a parking lot for the Riverside Hotel. (From Idaho Business Review)
  • Buffalo Wild Wings is slated to occupy an anchor, ground-level spot in Gardner Company’s new City Center Plaza when it opens in early 2016. (From Idaho Statesman)
  • Power Engineers, an engineering firm based in Hailey with a 400-person office in Boise, is taking part in a trade mission to Tanzania and Malawi in Africa. Power’s federal global department manager will meet with stakeholders in the energy sector in those countries. (From Idaho Business Review)
  • Concordia Law School, a branch of Concordia University based in Portland, Oregon, has received provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association. Eleven students graduated from Concordia in June and nine of them are planning to take the bar exam. (From Boise State Public Radio)
  • AppDetex, a company that protects brands on mobile applications, has raised $2 million from investors to help grow the new startup. Much of the money will be used to hire new employees. (From Idaho Business Review)
  • A Boise couple has developed an app that helps diagnose autism. Rob and Sharon Oberleitner started the company, now called Behavior Imaging, and it has received $3 million in grants in the past several years. Now, the company’s various products for helping recognize autism in children are used by 40 states. (From Idaho Statesman)
  • A Primary Health urgent-care clinic is slated to open in early 2016 near the Fred Meyer supermarket in Garden City. According to Primary Health Medical Group, there are currently no urgent care clinics in Garden City. (From Idaho Statesman)

Elmore County

  • Mountain Home’s Planning and Zoning Commission granted a conditional use permit for the expansion of St. Luke’s Elmore Medical Center. There are three phases planned for the expansion. No completion date has been announced. (From Mountain Home News)

Gem County

  • Gem County’s cherry crop was decimated this year due to variable weather. Some orchards reported a loss of 90 percent of their crop, and many fruit trees will have to be replaced as their predecessors did not survive the unseasonably late freeze. (From Emmett Messenger-Index)

Payette County

  • The Bureau of Land Management put over 6,000 acres of subsurface mineral rights up for lease in the Little Willow Creek Region in Payette County. Of those, 997 acres are owned by the BLM and 5,352 acres are split estate land, in which the BLM owns the subsurface mineral rights. The parcels were leased for $3.87 million.

New Locations

  • Bluebird Quilt Studio has moved into a new home on 14th Avenue South in downtown Nampa. (From Idaho Press-Tribune)
  • Dunkley Music in downtown Boise is moving to Eagle Road in Meridian. (From Idaho Business Review)

Openings

  • Water’s Edge Event Center in Eagle.
  • Panera Bread at the Treasure Valley Crossing in Nampa.
  • Prost! Boise in downtown Boise.
  • Rocket Express Car Wash on Fairview and Cloverdale in Boise.
  • Sonic Drive-In on Linder and McMillan in Meridian.
  • D.L. Evans Bank regional headquarters office and branch in downtown Boise.
  • Fly! Boise, a company offering flying trapeze classes to the public, in Garden City.

Closings

  • Nelson School Supply in downtown Boise.
  • Auld Memories, a vintage clothing store, in Weiser.

  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

Agriculture

  • State personal income estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed states dominant in agriculture and mining experienced losses between the fourth quarter 2014 to first quarter 2015. Idaho lost ground quarter-over-quarter due to weakening milk prices and pre-harvest barley that suffered during monsoonal weather patterns in August. Sprouting in the fields occurred due to the moisture content negatively impacting both the yields and the quality of the barley.milk prices

Blaine County

  • Community School awarded 33 graduating seniors with diplomas. The commencement speaker was Charles Conn, warden of the Rhodes House and CEO of the Rhodes Trust, which administers the Rhodes scholarship program providing for awardees to attend Oxford, England. Conn is a former school board member and Ketchum city councilman.

Cassia County

  • Dean Cameron of Rupert was tapped by Governor C.L. ‘Butch’ Otter to lead the Idaho Department of Insurance necessitating a step down from his long-standing position as senator for District 26.

Gooding County

  • Glanbia Foods is expanding its workforce at its Cheese Innovation Center in Twin Falls and its whey plant in Gooding. The Idaho Department of Labor approved $167,000 of Workforce Development Training funds to be used to train approximately 40 workers earning an average of $20 an hour. Glanbia, based in Kilkenny, Ireland, is a vertically integrated company that provides a wide range of skilled jobs with solid benefits. The cheese industry carries a high multiplier due to its extensive supply chain with an estimated 2.5 jobs created for every new job — the job multiplier estimated by EMSI, Inc. is 3.69.

Openings

  • Kim Long Restaurant opened in Buhl featuring Chinese food.
  • Sun Valley Lodge reopened after significant remodeling to include a spa, suites, an updated bowling alley and swimming pool.
  • Fisher’s Technology held a ribbon cutting at its new office in downtown Twin Falls.
  • Stokes Market opened a new store in Burley.
  • Maverik opened a new convenience store in Rupert.
  • The former Bald Mountain Hot Springs Hotel has been relocated to Hagerman, where it is now a hunting lodge.

Closures

  • Montana Steak House restaurant closed in Twin Falls after a 15-year run.
  • Veggie Evolution of Hailey is picking up and moving its operations to California, closer to its organic produce supply chain. Its corporate headquarters will remain in Hailey.

New Construction

  • WOW Logistics held a ground breaking for its new 193,000 square foot warehouse expansion in Jerome.
  • PerforMix, a subsidiary of Agri-Beef, hosted a ground breaking for its new plant on 10 acres in Rupert.

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

SOUTHEASTERN IDAHO – Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Caribou, Franklin,  Oneida  & Power counties

Bannock County

  • A new state-of-the-art theater at Chubbuck’s Pine Ridge Mall opens July 8. Similar to IMAX theaters, the new BigD Theater will feature a 63-foot by 27-foot screen and leather upholstered seating in a 363-seat amphitheater. The theater will be part of Carmike Cinema’s existing theater complex adjacent to Pine Ridge Mall.
  • Pocatello Regional Transport will replace seven 1998-era buses with 2005 models donated by the Utah Transit Authority. The newer buses have a projected lifespan of five more years.
  • The Pocatello Development Authority is giving the city an additional $300,000 to help pay for the property the city purchased and sold to Hoku to build a manufacturing plant. The PDA paid the city $450,000 last year to defray property costs. Hoku, a maker of polysilicon used for solar panels, filed for bankruptcy liquidation in 2013. The PDA is hoping to eventually earn the deed to the property for development.

Bingham County

  • Voters approved liquor sales at a planned new Fort Hall casino and existing event center in the May 29 Fort Hall Reservation election. Sho-Ban Tribal business chairman Nathan Small lost his seat on the business council, finishing fifth for four seats on the council. He had been on the council for eight years, serving as chairman since 2009.

Franklin County

  • Health West plans to open a medical clinic in Preston in September using a $700,000 grant award, which is part of $101 million Affordable Care Act grant. The new clinic, staffed with one full-time physician and two nursing staff, will provide health care at reduced rates. Health West is a nonprofit organization that currently operates clinics in Aberdeen, American Falls, Chubbuck, Downey, Lava Hot Springs, McCammon and Pocatello.
  • Franklin County irrigation companies have added boat check stations on reservoirs in an effort to prevent mussel infestation. Boats are inspected for quagga mussel, which attaches itself to the outside of the craft. The destructive quagga mussels can clog water intake pipes and wreak havoc on area irrigation systems.

Oneida County

  • More than 400 people attended a fundraiser in Malad to raise money to develop 24 acres of the Malad City Park. The event featured political radio commentator Glenn Beck. It isn’t yet known how much was raised at the event.
  • Malad will celebrate its Welsh heritage at the annual Welsh Festival June 26 – 27. The festival, which features Welsh and Irish music, dancing, stories and food, draws visitors from the region and beyond. The event has been covered by the BBC – British Broadcast Company – in the past.

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

EASTERN IDAHO – Bonneville, Butte, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison & Teton Counties

Bonneville County

  • Eastern Idaho Technical College announced the retirement of long-term president Steve Albiston. He has been with the school for 34 years. EITC has hired Rick Aman, a retired community college administrator, as the interim president until a new president is found.
  • Morgan Construction announced plans to develop a new 42-acre shopping center, Jackson Hole Junction, in Idaho Falls. The proposed development includes space for a big box store, a hotel, banks and office space. Morgan has applied to have the land annexed into the city to connect to city utilities. Plans also call for a new access road and a traffic light to accommodate expected increased traffic flow.
  • Uber recently expanded service to the Idaho Falls area. Uber is a shared-economy car service that allows passenger to request a car through a smartphone app. Uber plans to hire around 20 drivers to serve the area.
  • College of Southern Idaho has opened an Idaho Falls Center. Fall semester classes begin Aug. 24 and the local center will offer 47 classes with three degrees. Classes are available from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., with online class options as well.

Butte County

  • The Idaho National Laboratory plans to attempt another test run through the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit. The first-of-its-kind facility was built to treat 900,000 gallons of liquid radioactive waste but has not made it past testing. The facility had an initial estimated construction cost of $461 million, but has surpassed $800 million since construction began in 2007.

Clark County

  • A proposed Waste-to-Energy plant in the Clark County Renewable Energy Park will not come to fruition. The concept of the facility was to gasify municipal solid waste from Clark and the surrounding counties to make electricity. Costly research and design problems have ultimately put the project on hold and no longer appears to be feasible.

Custer County

  • The Sawtooth Interpretive & Historical Association received the 2014 Sister Alfreda Elsensohn Museum Award for Outstanding Service. The award is given annually by the Idaho Humanities Council, the Idaho Sate Historical Society and the Idaho Heritage Trust. It includes $10,000 to be used by the winning organization to continue their educational efforts.

Fremont County

  • The Idaho Falls Resource board recently adopted a $10.5 million budget for 2016 to expand Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer – ESPA- recharge projects. One of the immediate projects to share in this funding is to enlarge the Egin Lake recharge area. Egin is one of many potential recharge locations in Fremont County that show promise as quality recharge locations requiring minimal capital investment. While the board has been able to recharge the ESPA by about 75,000 acre- feet this year, the volume of water in the ESPA has declined by about 200,000 acre-feet per year since the early 1950’s. The board is expected to add several more development projects to help stabilize the declining aquifer in coming years.

Jefferson County

  • Great Oaks, an assisted living center in Rigby, has been bought by Amy Rackham and renamed Sage Grove Assisted Living. Rackham has been running the center for six years. Rackham is remodeling the building and plans to hold a grand opening sometime late July. Jefferson County’s Public Works department is considering purchasing a depleted gravel pit north of the County Line Landfill. The county has considered expanding their current landfill, as well as increasing their current fuel storage to take advantage of low fuel prices – the depleted gravel pit could provide a low-cost solution to both problems.
  • Jefferson County recently held its 76th annual Rigby “Stampede Days.” The two-day event featured a parade and rodeo, as well as a community breakfast sponsored by the Rotary Club. The city recently completed a renovation project of their rodeo grounds including improved parking, lighting, and walking paths around the rodeo grounds.

Lemhi County

  • The City of Salmon has hired Northwest Engineering to design the new Island Park Bridge. The city had to close the existing bridge after a study found it was near the point of failure and unsafe to cross. The city needs to replace the bridge quickly because it has been the only connection to the city’s Island Park where the backup water pump station is located.

Madison County

  • Mountain America Credit Union has begun construction on their new location in Rexburg. The bank has been located in a small modular unit, but will move into a permanent facility later this year. The new bank will be located where the original Artco building used to be.
  • Construction has finally begun for the new Walmart Supercenter just off highway 20 in Rexburg. The company announced in 2013 their plans to build the new store that would open in 2016. In addition to the general merchandise, the new location will offer full-service grocery, bakery, vision center, tire and lube center, and a drive-through pharmacy. Once the store is completed, the company plans to expand their employment to around 300. Walmart also recently announced that by February 2016, all full- and part-time employees will receive minimum pay of $10 per hour, $2.75 above Idaho’s current minimum wage.

Teton County

  • Fitzgeralds’s Bicycles in Victor was recently purchased by Derrick Nobman, who owns a similar business in Long Island, New York. Scott Fitzgerald opened the store in 1992, selling a variety of mountain bikes, as well as the trendy fat bikes that allow riders to cross both dirt and snow.

Openings

  • Mountain View Equipment Company – Idaho Falls
  • Trade Home – Idaho Falls
  • Sage Grove Assisted Living – Rigby
  • Printcraft Press – Idaho Falls
  • Candy Junction – Idaho Falls
  • The Ice Cream Truck – Rexburg
  • Salon Savvy – Rigby
  • CSI Idaho Falls Center – Idaho Falls

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