Around Idaho: Economic Activity in February 2016

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.

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

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

Kootenai County

  • High-profile aerospace manufacturer xCraft moved from Sandpoint to Coeur d’Alene. xCraft gained national visibility after a successful and widely praised venture capital pitch on the popular show Shark Tank, where representatives demonstrated the core products: innovative and affordable recreational drone aircraft. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Post Falls School District is moving forward with several construction projects, including the construction of a new elementary school — which does not have a name yet — and new classrooms, auditoriums and gyms to be constructed for Post Falls High School and multiple elementary schools. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

  • The Kootenai County Commercial Market Review announced the market outlook for the local real estate industry. The outlook panel communicated cautious optimism about the future of the market and published encouraging statistics from 2015, including a 9 percent increase in commercial sales volume. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The city of Post Falls has acquired properties around its city hall as it moves forward with plans to create a city center. While site planning has not yet formally begun, the city conceptually plans to add more parking and to accommodate new food and retail businesses that are moving in nearby. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Benewah County

  • Several new reports were released indicating significant challenges for Benewah County infrastructure. Consulting engineers have indicated that major problems persist with the St. Maries water treatment plant, Plummer’s city sewer systems and local electrical grids. Local city councils are moving forward with plans to address these issues, but it is not yet clear what the total costs may be. Source: St. Maries Gazette Record

Sam.Wolkenhauer@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
(208) 457-8789 ext 4451

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

Clearwater County

  • Stephanie Deyo, owner of WebInk, provided the Orofino Chamber of Commerce a first look at the new Orofino Adventure Guide App, which is now available in the iTunes store and Google App store. The app offers maps of places to go fishing, hiking, biking and touring in the Orofino area. Source: Clearwater Tribune

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • Nez Perce-Clearwater Forest Supervisor Cheryl Probert signed the Final Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact – FONSI – for the Orogrande Community Protection Project on Jan. 29. The project will reduce forest fuels near private lands and roads near the Orogrande community southwest of Elk City and along the Crooked River road. It also will improve fisheries habitat. The associated timber sale will provide jobs for loggers and sawmill workers. Source: Clearwater Tribune
  • The big beagle that serves as a bed and breakfast at Dog Bark Park in Cottonwood is now appearing on billboards promoting Toyota’s new RAV4 Hybrid car with the tag line “Go Where No Neighbor Has Gone Before.” Dennis Sullivan and Frances Conklin own Dog Bark Park, where they carve and sell wooden dogs and other items. Source: Idaho County Free Press

Latah County

  • The Potlatch Depot is expected to fill with businesses. The Washington, Idaho & Montana Railway Historic Preservation Group, which owns the depot, recently received two grants – $5,000 from the Idaho Heritage Trust and $24,900 from the Inland Northwest Heritage Foundation – to help develop the upstairs portion of the historic building as a space for new businesses to launch. The upstairs provides space for 12 offices. The first tenant is Barry Johnson, a retired Army colonel who runs a private security, defense and organizational leadership consulting firm. Preserving the 110-year-old depot’s look is an important goal. Tenants will have the opportunity to work with peers on the second floor and will be provided with Wi-Fi. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • University of Idaho President Chuck Staben presented a report on the university’s return on investment at a January presentation to the Legislature’s joint budget committee. Given the higher wages earned by college graduates, as well as societal benefits such as lower unemployment and improved health, the university has a $1.1 billion positive economic influence on Idaho each year and returns nearly $5 in benefits for every $1 invested by the state, according to a new economic impact study done by Economic Modeling Specialists International, based in Moscow. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Washington State University Board of Regents learned in January that enrollment at Washington State University has risen by 600 since last January. Applications suggest another enrollment increase this fall. Resident applications are up 11 percent, while non-resident applications are up 39 percent. The board voted to begin the design and pre-construction of a $6.6 million Plant Sciences building, which will be part of a series of interconnected facilities encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration among scientists in the various colleges. It also would create modern lab space in horticulture, plant pathology, biochemistry and crop and soil sciences researchers. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, the largest private-sector employer in southeast Washington and north central Idaho, landed on Fortune’s 2016 list of the 15 best workplaces in manufacturing and production. The company also landed on last year’s list. On a scale of 100-percent, with 100 being the best, employees rate the company high averaging 93-percent in areas including management, professional development and training, company atmosphere, benefits and rewards. Source: KLEWtv.com

Nez Perce and Asotin Counties

  • The American Pride, a 150-passenger cruise boat, is scheduled to begin traveling the Columbia-Snake river system this summer. It will alternate weeks with the 142-passenger Queen of the West, visiting Clarkston from April through August. Three other boats bring passengers to Clarkston. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and barging advocates scored a sweeping victory Feb. 9 when a federal judge ruled the agency’s 2015 dredging program on the lower Snake and Clearwater rivers did not violate environmental laws, and that the agency was not required to complete a cost-benefit analysis as plaintiffs had charged. The judge’s ruling said that the plaintiffs, which included Idaho Rivers United, the Nez Perce Tribe and Friends of the Clearwater, not only were wrong on the merits but lacked standing, their complaints were moot and not ripe for a decision. The plaintiffs had charged in a lawsuit filed in December 2014 that dredging posed a threat to salmon, steelhead and Pacific lamprey and was not economically justified. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Openings

  • Loren C. Miller, chiropractic physician and spinal pain specialist, opened Quality Life Health Center in the former Wells Fargo Bank building, next to Berry’s Grocery in Craigmont in December. Source: Cottonwood Chronicle
  • The Paint Shop selling paints and related supplies opened next to the UPS store in the Renaissance Mall on the Pullman-Moscow highway. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Closure

  • Sport Town, a sporting goods retailer, is closing after 36 years at the Palouse Mall in Moscow. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

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

  • Albertsons will purchase seven Paul’s Markets in southwestern Idaho. Four of the markets will become Albertsons. They are located in Homedale, Kuna, Boise and McCall. The other three — in Caldwell, Mountain Home and Nampa — will close and Albertsons will maintain ownership of the properties. Source: Idaho Statesman and Idaho Business Review

Ada County

  • Sage International School purchased the former Parkcenter Mall in December. The 8-acre parcel with 130,000 square feet of building space will give Sage its first school year in 2016-17 where all 13 grades will be taught at one location. This will be the last school year with grades eight to 12 located downtown. The school is renovating 55,000 square feet of the mall space to house the upper grades, gathering space, science labs and the school’s first library. The estimated cost of the renovations is $3.2 million. Sage has leased and occupied 31,000 square feet at one end of Parkcenter since August 2014. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Boise education curriculum company PCS Edventures will supplement its core business by buying Boise drone designer UAV Thrust for $109,000. PCS, which has 20 employees at its headquarters off Parkcenter Boulevard, will provide research and development, drone hardware and a drone-related smartphone application. The company announced that it had secured an $825,000 contract to build and deliver drones to Drones Etc., a dealer in Salt Lake City. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • A10 Capital, a leading middle-market commercial real estate lender based in Boise and Dallas, received a $75 million investment from KKR, a New York-based private equity firm. A10 Capital specializes in commercial loans ranging from $1 million to more than $20 million per property and has funded more than 30 million square feet of commercial property. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Capital City Development Corp. plans to convert 400 hourly parking spaces downtown into monthly spaces to meet the demand for monthly leases. Currently, the waiting list for monthly spaces is 204, but this number will likely increase with the opening of the City Center Plaza office project and other downtown developments. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • A new outdoor concert series, “Summerfield Concerts” is slated to run from May to October at Memorial Stadium on Glenwood Street in Boise Source: Idaho Statesman

Canyon County

  • Gem Prep Charter School is planning to open this fall in Nampa. Gem Prep Innovation Schools, a public charter school which started in Pocatello, focuses on student growth through large and small group interaction as well as addressing each student’s individual academic needs. Gem Prep relies on face-to-face interaction with a teacher as well as technological resources. The school is expected to serve 250 students when it opens.  Source: Idaho Press-Tribune
  • Lloyd Square in downtown Nampa will be converted from a parking lot into a grassy event space. Lloyd Square is a former lumber yard that was redeveloped into a parking lot and multipurpose area in 2010. Work will start in March.  Source: Idaho Press-Tribune
  • Fiberguide, a company with a plant in Caldwell that creates fiber optic solutions for health care and technology industries, is expanding. Fiberguide makes specialty optical fiber in New Jersey, where the company is headquartered, and ships it to Caldwell, where it’s made into a wide variety of complex, high-precision assemblies. It will add 19,000 square feet to its Caldwell facility, increasing the size by almost 70 percent from the 28,000 square feet it currently maintains. The expansion is expected to be complete by April. In the past 18 months, Fiberguide has added more than 20 new employees for a total of 80 at the Caldwell plant. Source: Idaho Press-Tribune
  • A real estate holding company has offered to purchase a 10-acre property in Caldwell’s Sky Ranch Industrial Park for $1.41 per square foot or about $614,000. The space would be occupied by “Project QT,” a food processing manufacturer considering opening in Caldwell which would create 89 jobs that pay an average of about $45,000. The company would make a $5.5 million capital investment on the parcel. This offer comes on the heels of a party interested in a different 32-acre Sky Ranch parcel. If both deals go through, Sky Ranch would be entirely filled. Source: Idaho Press-Tribune
  • The College of Idaho has broken ground on a new 60,000-square-foot, three-story library. The new Cruzen-Murray Library was made possible through private donations from the Deborah Cruzen Murray and Glenn Richard Murray, Jr. Estate. The Cruzen-Murray library will hold books and journals, have private and group study areas, a 24/7 study space, multimedia classrooms, a cafe and public-use spaces. The college first announced plans for a new library in 2011. Source: Idaho Press-Tribune
  • The city of Caldwell has purchased the Sundowner Motel in downtown Caldwell. The motel has been closed since 2010. The property lies diagonally across from a mixed use entertainment and commercial center with a Reel Theater that is currently being developed by Gardner Company. Source: Idaho Press-Tribune

Openings

  • Homestead Bar and Grill opened on Linder Road in Meridian.
  • On a Roll, a sandwich shop, opened in downtown Eagle.
  • Speedy Burger opened near the Westgate Shopping Center on Fairview Avenue in Boise.
  • Wildflower Bakery has expanded and opened a storefront in Garden City. Previously Wildflower products were only sold at outlets such as Whole Foods or the Boise Co-op.
  • Eureka!, a gourmet burger restaurant will open in downtown Boise in August.
  • Westside Pizza and Westside Pizza Corporate Headquarters are opening on Overland Road. The company has 29 restaurants across the west. It will hire about 12 people for its corporate office.
  • Telaya Wine Co. and Coiled Wine opened in a shared space in Garden City.
  • Tin Roof Tacos opened on Broadway Avenue in downtown Boise.
  • Kibrom’s Ethiopian and Eritrean Restaurant has reopened on State Street after the Boise International Market fire.
  • Bowld Over and Mad Mac, two new food trucks, have begun operations in Boise after their owners relocated from Provo, Utah.
  • Albertsons will open four grocery stores in southwestern Idaho.
  • Horsewood Catering will expand from a catering business into a restaurant in downtown Caldwell.
  • Sumr’s Hair and Nails and Voodoo Tattoo opened in the same building on Idaho Avenue in Homedale.
  • Arrow Creek, a boutique women’s clothing story, is opening in downtown Weiser.

Closures

  • University of Idaho’s Caine Veterinary Teaching Center in Caldwell
  • Ben’s Crow Inn on Warm Springs Avenue in Boise in late summer
  • Paul’s Market in seven locations across southwestern Idaho
  • Grind Modern Burgers and the in-house brewery, Post Modern Brewers

  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

  • Exterior work construction and landscaping continues on the new Clif Bar bakery before its scheduled April 2016 opening. The company has been collaborating with the College of Southern Idaho on training new hires. Trainees implemented the spirit of Clif Bar aspirations by picking up trash along the Snake River Canyon rim. The five aspirations include sustaining of “Business, Brands, People, Communities, and Planet.” CLIF Bars, CLIF Kid Zbars and CLIF Kid Organic Zbars are products that will be baked at the new plant. Source: Times-Newsclif bar                     Clif Bar’s commercial bakery site as of Feb. 17, 2016. Photo: Jan Roeser
  • Glanbia has purchased thinkThin, a California-based company that makes protein bars and is majority- owned by TSG Consumer Partners. Glanbia is expanding with plans to double its production at a recently acquired cheddar cheese plant in Ireland. It opened a retail store in downtown Twin Falls in 2015 and has expanded its whey plant in Gooding. It currently has about 6,000 employees working in 34 countries. Source: Times-News
  • Idaho Power plans to start construction on a new Twin Falls Operations Center that will include office, fleet parking, maintenance and a dispatch center, all adjacent to its 65-year-old Operations Center in Twin Falls. Currently, personnel are spread out in different locations but the two-story, 26,496-square-foot-building is scheduled for completion by the end of 2016. Source: Times-News
  • Megan Beyer is the new regional manager for the Idaho Department of Labor’s south central office in Twin Falls, promoted from regional business specialist. Beyer has a five-year tenure with the agency.
  • Kimberly School District is placing a $14 million bond issue on the ballot choosing whether $14 million should be spent on a new elementary school and provide upgrades throughout the district over a 10-year period. The current elementary school enrollment is at 900, making it one of the largest elementary schools in the state. Total student enrollment growth was 4 percent from academic year 2014-2015, currently at 1,800 students. This high growth is not a recent trend; the district has doubled over the past 20 years with the subdivisions built in Kimberly. The super-majority needed to pass the bill will find the tax assessment will remain the same when a previous bond falls off the books this year. The estimated timeline for the new elementary school, should the bond pass, is June 2018. Source: Times-News

Minidoka-Cassia Counties

  • Hard-Core Ready Mix, a concrete manufacturer, is constructing a facility in Rupert. The construction supplier plans to open in April with 10-15 employees. The company will be able to generate 100 tons of concrete hourly. Source: Times-News

Jerome County

  • A group of Jerome residents is interested in starting a charter high school dedicated to building entrepreneurial and business programs. The group needs to go through the approval hurdles before Heritage School for Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship and Finance becomes a reality. The founders estimate a potential start date of fall 2017, starting with about 20 students and building up to 120 students eventually. Source: Times-News
  • An information gathering night was held at Jerome High to address concerns of parents and students about gaps in training and opportunities after high school. The goal is to heighten participation in certifications and program completions at community colleges and four-year universities throughout Idaho. The organizers, Magic Valley Education Idaho Regional Network, are part of the statewide Educate Idaho Network and are also looking for mentors throughout the business community that are willing to help out with advice, support and job shadowing or internships for these future workers. A similar event was also held at Twin Falls High School.

Blaine County

  • Ketchum voters will go to the polls in May to decide whether a $23.1 million city hall is in their future. The proposed city hall would include a police station and a fire station. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Sun Valley reported January 2016 room sales were up 8 percent from January 2015. That was 23,520 rooms by the night sold throughout the month, down slightly from the previous month, both December and January had a 54 percent occupancy rate. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The Hailey Public Library has been awarded $2,000 from the Donald W. and Gretchen K. Fraser Fund which will purchase a new reference and technology desk. It will provide service to library patrons seeking technology assistance and advice. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Hailey received an $18,000 grant from the Idaho Water Resource Agency in the assist homeowners in converting from irrigated greens to hardscape, xeriscape or drought tolerant plants. This will assist up to 20 homeowners and the savings will continue when the water bills are drastically reduced. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

New Businesses

  • Panera Bread has announced it will open this year in the Canyon Park West retail strip mall but construction has not started.

Closures

  • River Rock Grill in Twin Falls closed its doors after 19 years in business. The construction of a new Red Robin restaurant will follow. River Rock originated at Kimberly Nurseries and was called The Garden Café. It moved twice after that, changing its name when it finally relocated across town. Red Robin has not released construction dates.  Source: Times-News
  • Hancock Fabrics announced plans to close its store in Twin Falls sometime during April. The news comes after reports of its parent company filed bankruptcy. The company employs nine workers and estimates its inventory on Feb. 3, 2016, at almost $400,000 which will be liquidated at discounts to the public. The corporation is based in Mississippi and has been in business almost 60 years. Source: Times-News
  • Donnelley Sports in downtown Twin Falls will shutter its retail store after 40 years of operation. Its business plan is shifting to focus on team sports and equipment need, rather than general sports merchandise. Donnelley owners said they provide product to 350 different schools and athletic departments. The company reports its decision follows a long-term consumer shift to online purchases for sporting apparel and shoes. The company will move to a different location and keep its existing staff. The Burley store will remain open. Source: Times-News

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

  • The Bannock County Planning and Development Board approved a concept plan for the Deer Valley Reserve Subdivision in the Mink Creek area south of Pocatello. The proposed development is for a 13-lot subdivision on a 67-acre property near North Elk Road and Andy K. Lane. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • A new YourFIT program has been launched by Idaho State University in Pocatello: Your Future in Technology. Your Future in Technology (FIT) is a partnership between Bannock County, ISU and the Idaho National Laboratory. The goal is to get more students to study for technical degrees. A recent survey of eastern Idaho high schools found 96 percent of students either had little or no information about technical degrees. The YourFIT program aims to shed light on a variety of occupations that offer a bright future in Idaho with wages that range from $35,000 to more than $80,000 a year. One of the goals with this new program is to go to local high schools and educate students and parents about the opportunities with these degrees. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Changes are coming to Pocatello Regional Transit’s bus routes after the Pocatello City Council approved a series of changes to PRT’s bus service. Starting March 21, buses will run along five core routes instead of seven. The changes come after PRT was asked by the council to explore options at reducing department expenses. In the process, PRT listened to the public over the course of five months and two open house meetings. Source: Idaho State Journal

Bingham County

  • Optix Media of Pocatello will begin offering fiber optic Internet services in Blackfoot. Optix began laying fiber optic lines early this month after winning a competitive bid for $236,000. The new service is expected to be available later this spring. Source: Morning News
  • The city of Blackfoot recently announced that several properties would be subject to annexation for the first time since 2008. Businesses that would be annexed are near the intersection of Highways 39 and 26, west to the intersection of Highway 26 and W. Collins Road. Only business industrial zoning areas would be affected and properties under five acres in size will be considered. Source: Morning News

Caribou County

  • The Bonneville Power Administration announced it intends to fund the purchase of approximately 655 acres near the Blackfoot Reservoir, northeast of China Hat. The land is described as forested upland and riparian habitat adjacent to the Blackfoot Reservoir. The land acquisition serves as partial mitigation for the construction and operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System, including dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers. Source: The Caribou County Sun

Power County

  • The American Falls Fish Hatchery dodged a bullet Wednesday morning when 31 Union Pacific freight cars carrying soda ash derailed in a ravine about 100 yards from the Idaho Fish and Game hatchery. Hatchery manager Kevin Yelton said the soda ash had the potential to kill fish at the facility, but it did not reach the spring that feeds holding tanks at the site. Yelton said about 300,000 fish ranging in size from 3 inches to 12 inches are currently being held at the hatchery. No one was injured in the derailment. Source: Idaho State Journal

Openings

  • Gem Bats in Pocatello, a custom wooden bat manufacturer and retailer
  • Panera Bread in Chubbuck
  • Red Robin in Chubbuck
  • Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in Chubbuck
  • Black Bear Diner in Chubbuck
  • Museum of Clean in Pocatello

Closures

  • Coffee Town in Pocatello

 

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

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

Bonneville County

  • A pesticide used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to kill a rare potato pest has turned out to have nasty side effects for several eastern Idaho farmers. Methyl bromide, a highly toxic fumigant, was used as part of a treatment plan to eradicate pale cyst nematode following the discovery of the pest in Bonneville and Bingham counties in 2006. Now, some farmers have found that the pesticide contaminated a number of their crops grown on the treated fields and also caused severe health issues for some cattle. Nearly 10,000 acres of farmland remain under quarantine for pale cyst nematode and close to 3,000 are still classified as being infested with the pest. Agriculture officials are asking for $250,000 to conduct research on the problem, as well as dispose of 2,000 tons of contaminated hay in a local landfill. Source: Post Register
  • The Idaho Transportation Department is studying the stability of several rock slopes along U.S. 26 east of Swan Valley. The study has several purposes behind it, but one is to help determine how to better alleviate an ever-occurring problem: rock falls that create hazards for drivers. ITD says clearing and removing rocks has become an almost daily chore along some stretches of U.S. 26. Source: KIDK News
  • Idaho Falls’ urban renewal agency released a request for proposals for two major downtown projects. In one project, the Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency hopes a developer overhauls the historic Bonneville Hotel. The other project involves building a multi-story commercial and residential project on the northeast corner of Broadway and Memorial Drive. City officials hope the pair of projects could spur a downtown rebirth, bringing shopping and residents to the area. Source: Post Register
  • Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper announced the creation of the city’s community college citizen study panel. The 11-person panel was created to gauge Bonneville County’s need for a community college, what steps would be needed to convert Eastern Idaho Technical College into a community college and how much the project would cost. The research will be funded in part by $25,000 and $20,000 donations from the REDI Foundation and Idaho National Laboratory, respectively. Source: Post Register

Butte County

  • As part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s $220 million Grid Modernization Initiative, the Idaho National Laboratory will oversee four projects and collaborate on eleven more. Funding levels are expected to amount to roughly $10 million through September 2018. The projects follow a 2012 White House report that said outages caused by severe weather typically cost the United States economy between $18 billion and $33 billion a year from lost output and wages, spoiled inventory, delayed production and disruptions to energy distribution. The INL-led projects include: Smart Reconfiguration of Idaho Falls Power distribution network; Systems Research Supporting Standards and Interoperability; Diagnostic Security Modules for Electric Vehicles to Building Integration; and Weather Data to Improve Capacity of Existing Power Lines. Source: Post Register
  • A contractor team led by Texas-based Fluor Corp. has been awarded the next five-year cleanup contract for the U.S. Department of Energy’s desert site. DOE officials said the contract is valued at $1.4 billion. Fluor will be tasked with cleanup of toxic and radioactive contamination, watching overspent nuclear fuel and several other duties on the desert site west of Idaho Falls. It will take over both the existing cleanup contracts at the site, held by Idaho Treatment Group and CH2M-WG Idaho, also known as CWI. Source: Post Register
  • The long process of building a small modular nuclear reactor in the desert west of Idaho Falls has begun. The U.S. Department of Energy announced that it granted a site use permit for the reactor to Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, or UAMPS. The permit allows the Salt Lake City-based energy cooperative to find an ideal location for the reactor on DOE’s 890-square-mile desert site. Should the first-of-its-kind modular reactor pass regulatory requirements, construction on the project could begin by early 2020. Source: Post Register

Fremont County

  • A recent legal decision likely spells the end of a controversial gravel pit proposed for construction in Fremont County. In a decision filed Jan. 15, District Judge Greg Moeller said the Fremont County Commission should not have rezoned 80 acres of agricultural land just west of Teton city limits to allow for construction of a gravel mining operation. The decision will send the gravel pit rezoning issue back to the county commission. In order for the project to move forward, the rezoning issue will have to be approved by both city and county. Source: Post Register

Jefferson County

  • The Jefferson County Commission presented a plan at a public hearing to spend $162,500 on a bridge over the Great Feeder Canal head-gates, and was met with near unanimous approval. The proposal will include the $162,500 cash payment, along with $50,000 worth of in-kind work for barriers, signage and the construction of approaches on both sides of the bridge. Once completed, the county will be charged with maintaining the 106-foot-long bridge. Source: Jefferson County Star

Madison County

  • Construction of the Thornton Interchange overpass on U.S. Highway 20 north of Thornton will begin in March. The Idaho Transportation Department announced in a news release that the project is scheduled for completion in October. Western Construction Inc. of Boise, is the contractor for the $11.2 million project, which will elevate U.S. 20 to pass over 4700 South and will realign the county road north of its current location. Source: Post Register
  • BYU-Idaho announced the termination of its paramedic program. Students currently enrolled in the program will be allowed to finish their degree. At that time the program will immediately terminate. The program graduated an average of 25 students per year. Source: The Standard Journal

Openings

  • Walmart Supercenter in Rexburg
  • Teton Fitness in Ashton
  • Skate Hard in Idaho Falls

Closures

  • Arctic Circle in Rexburg
  • Chiz’s Restaurant in St. Anthony

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