Around Idaho: September 2016 Economic Activity

Information provided in this article is from 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

Region

  • Wilderness recreation areas across Northern Idaho are still obstructed due to both wildfires and prescribed burns. Several wildfires – some of which began as long ago as July – are still burning in Bonner and Kootenai counties. Crews have also begun prescribed burns to clear away fuel in all five northern counties. Source: Bonner County Daily Bee, Coeur d’Alene Press, Spokesman Review

Benewah County

  • After officer resignations left the city police department shorthanded, St. Maries signed an agreement with the Benewah County Sheriff’s Office to provide policing for the city. The agreement formalizes the role of the sheriff’s deputies in policing the city and places the city police under sheriff’s supervision. Source: St. Maries Gazette Record

Kootenai County

  • North Idaho College finished work on its new 110,000 square-foot Career and Technical Education (CTE) Facility. The Rathdrum facility, which will open at the end of the month, houses labs and classrooms for all of NIC’s CTE classes. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The University of Idaho was awarded a $2.8 million grant to provide online learning connectivity for rural school districts in northern Idaho. The project will support research on online professional development and is being administered by the Idaho Region 1 Math Center in Coeur d’Alene in partnership with the University of Rochester in New York. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The Coeur d’Alene City Council will make a determination on an annexation request concerning islands and submerged lands on Hagadone properties. If the city approves the annexation, it would pave the way for further Hagadone development. The Marina Yacht Club and Cedars Floating Restaurant – both owned by the Hagadone Corp. – currently operate on the land in question. Source: Spokesman Review

Openings in Coeur d’Alene

  • Panera Bread – sandwich restaurant and bakery
  • Santosha – women’s apparel store
  • Victory – sports bar
  • Accent Floors and Design
  • Perpetual Ink – tattoo and piercing shop
  • Yoke’s Fresh Market – grocer
  • Franko’s Dog House – specialty hot dog restaurant
  • Coeur d’Alene FRESH – artisan’s coop with 45 merchants selling handcrafted and home-made goods

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

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

Region

  • Lindsay Creek Vineyards in the Lewiston Orchards hosted a meeting of local business people and government representatives about the potential for culinary tourism in north central Idaho. The meeting, organized by Inland Northwest Partners, featured speakers from local businesses including Brush Creek Creamery and Pie Safe Bakery in Deary. Brush Creek Creamery has won prizes at national competitions for cheese makers, and currently is ramping up production from 400 pounds a week to 600 pounds. It moved into a renovated car dealership built in the 1920s on Deary’s Main Street last year. Pie Safe Bakery opened at the same time in that building. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  •  Cottonwood plans to spend $200,000 to resurface the runway at its municipal airport, which will begin after July 2017. The Idaho Department of Transportation Capital Improvement Program will cover half of the cost. The airport, established in 1949, is used as a point of transport by St. Mary’s Hospital when a helicopter is not available. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • White Bird, a city of 93 residents, is sprucing up to reflect its hometown pride, adopting the theme, “Proud to Live in White Bird.” The city is working to comply with state and federal environmental requirements since a 2014 lawsuit from the Idaho Conservation League challenged the city’s practice of discharging sewage into White Bird Creek without a permit. The city now is grappling with how to meet the terms of an agreement that settled the lawsuit. With only 83 water hookups inside the city limits, paying the $4 million required to upgrade its wastewater system to meet effluent limitation is challenging. City residents would have to pay $160 to $200 a month, in addition to monthly water usage charges, to build the system. The city is working with the Clearwater Economic Development Association and Mountain Waterworks, a Boise engineering firm, to come up with a plan the city can afford. Source: Idaho County Free Press

Latah County

  • EcoAnalysts Inc., one of Moscow’s larger technology transfer companies, is merging with Missouri-based Ecological Specialists Inc. The merger will allow both firms to offer services on the coasts and in the Midwest, according to a news release from the companies. EcoAnalysts, founded in 1995, provides analysis of aquatic biological communities such as algae, plankton, macroinvertebrates and fish. By examining what species are present or absent in a given body of water, EcoAnalysts can learn a great deal about the water quality and habitat quality at the site, whether or not biological impairment is indicated and the potential causes of impairment. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Brett and Nikki Woodland, owners of the Nectar and Bloom restaurants in Moscow, recently took on a 15-year lease for the Royal Motor Inn at Moscow. Following a massive remodeling and upgrading the wireless internet and cable, they now are ready to accommodate a more upscale clientele with plans to rename it the Monarch Motel. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Two new breweries in Latah County join three Moscow businesses seeking to turn the area into a destination for beer lovers. Christine and Doug Lohman transformed a hardware store built in 1904 on Kendrick’s Main Street into Hardware Brewing Co. Graham Lilly recently opened Hunga Dunga in Moscow. Hunga Dunga is housed in a metal building on Jackson Street, once used for storage by a feed store. Both breweries also serve food. of the other three businesses, Rantz & Raves also makes beer, while the Moscow Alehouse and Tapped serve niche brews from regional producers. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • A $259,000 project to improve a portion of the Latah Trail began in September. Quality Construction of Deary will pave a 2.5-mile portion of the trail in Little Bear Creek Canyon near Troy, laying a 10-foot-wide asphalt surface over the gravel trail. The Latah Trail Foundation completed a 22-mile trail section between Moscow and Troy. The trail connects to Paradise Path in Moscow and the Bill Chipman Palouse Trail between Pullman and Moscow. In recent years, it has expanded the trail between Troy and Kendrick. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The University of Idaho was awarded a $2.8 million National Science Foundation grant in September. Working with the University of Rochester, the UI College of Education will develop professional development materials for teachers in rural areas needing to advance their math education. Over the four years of the grant, researchers will develop online courses and video coaching. The program will ensure teachers in remote areas of Idaho are receiving instructional support, which should improve the educational outcomes for their students. Source: Spokesman-Review
  • The University of Idaho recently hired Dean Kahler for the newly created position of vice provost for strategic enrollment management at the university. University President Chuck Staben has made it his goal to increase statewide enrollment at the school by 50 percent by 2020. Kahler has served as vice chancellor for enrollment management at the University of Arkansas since 2012. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • A $175,000 grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust will help residents of Viola construct a roof for their new community center. The work on the new building on U.S. Highway 95 is expected to be completed in November. The center will contain a commercial kitchen and hold up to 175 people. Four years ago, the community’s former gathering spot, the 80-year-old Viola Women’s Club, was declared unsafe for more than a dozen people Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Nez Perce and Asotin Counties

  • With help from Idaho Department of Labor and local manufacturers, shop students at Lewiston High School are getting to use the latest technology. A nearly $25,000 grant from the department paid for a computer-operated plasma table, allowing students to make precision cuts in sheets of metal to create parts for fabricating projects made of metal. Another $25,000 grant from the department was used to purchase two new metal lathes for the school’s machine shop. The grants, which were awarded last spring, included a matching component that has brought materials and expertise from Lewiston-Clarkston Valley businesses into the classroom. Seekins Precision donated a milling machine and materials. Vista Outdoor donated tools and materials and sent employees to come in and work with students. Norco Inc. helped secure the lathe grant, and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories helped provide the match, offering tours of their facilities and time with their employees. Other partners include the Clearwater Economic Development Association, Clearwater Paper and Lewis-Clark State College. Department of Labor representative Kellye Sharpe said, “When the grant allows those kids to be connected to more current technology and opportunities that are available to them after they graduate from high school, then that’s a win-win for the school, employers and kids.” Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Lewis-Clark State College’s enrollment continues to grow. On the 10th day of school 3,424 students enrolled this fall is a 4.9 percent increase. To meet the growing need for on-campus housing, the college hopes to build a new residence hall for 150 students. The project’s expected cost pf $13 million would be partly covered by the state’s permanent building fund if the Idaho State Board of Education approves it. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Lewis-Clark State College President Tony Fernandez says it’s time that the college and the Lewiston School District join forces to educate vocational students suggesting they should build a facility to house both high school and college career professional-technical classes. The college’s current professional-technical programs, with about 500 students, include auto mechanics, automated manufacturing, engineering technology and welding. The college and school district have met with Clearwater Economic Development Association about funding opportunities. Employees with good technical skills are in high demand in the area. The facility may be located in the Lewiston Orchards, because the college has outgrown its original 50 acres of land on Normal Hill. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Vista Outdoor has committed to a $70 million expansion project for its Lewiston ammunition-making operations that will create at least 130 jobs over the next few years. The company, which spun off from ATK last year, plans to expand its Southport facility southwest of the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport. The new hires will include 10 engineers, who will be paid an average of $80,000 per year, and five technicians, who will be paid $54,000 per year or more. The rest of the jobs will be a mix of entry-level manufacturing and mechanical positions with pay ranges from $14 to $29 per hour. The Idaho Department of Labor will use its workforce development training fund to help the company train its new employees. Nez Perce County and the Idaho Department of Commerce provided tax incentives to encourage the company to expand in Lewiston. Vista Outdoor became north central Idaho’s largest private-sector employer this summer, after its employment grew from 1,200 in early 2015 to 1,400. Source: Lewiston Tribune; Idaho Business Review

Openings

  • Kitchen Counter, a lunch restaurant featuring locally grown food opened in the former New Hong Kong Café on Moscow’s Main Street.

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

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

Canyon County

  • Saint Alphonsus Medical Group has broken ground on a new clinic near the corner of Garrity Boulevard and Comstock Street in Nampa. The 16,000-square-foot facility will house 36 exam rooms, three procedure rooms and X-ray capability. The clinic will likely open this spring. Source: Idaho Press-Tribune; Idaho Business Review
  • Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), a missionary organization that sends people and aircraft around the world, is adding housing, a community center and an RV park expansion at its headquarters next to the Nampa airport. MAF also plans a 7,500-square-foot lodge with hotel-style housing and common areas, a 6,500-square-foot campus maintenance building, a playground and a 6,000-square-foot community center as Phase II of an extended master planning process. Source: Idaho Press-Tribune; Idaho Business Review

Ada County

  • Clements Concrete, a Boise ready-mix concrete company, has acquired the Boise asphalt and paving company C&A Paving Co. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Boise-based Wandervans, a company that rents vans for camping, announced that it has found an investor and will expand into four new markets in the next year. Those markets are Salt Lake City; Spokane, Washington; Seattle; and Portland, Oregon. Wandervans is also expanding its Boise presence, so that each location will have a fleet of 10 vans by the end of 2017. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • HP Inc. – one of the two companies created after Hewlett Packard Co. split last November – unveiled a line of printers it says are faster, smarter and more cost-effective than those offered by competitors. Much of the engineering, research and development, design and launch of the new line happened at HP Inc.’s Boise campus. HP hopes some of the new printers will help it crack what is known as the floor printer market, where businesses typically pay companies that sell printers, such as Fisher’s Technology in Boise, to service and repair large printers and copiers over time. Floor printers can print 11-inch-by-17-inch pages, known as “A3” in the industry. They are made by companies such as Xerox, Canon and Ricoh. HP Inc. also announced the purchase of Samsung Electronic Co.’s printer business for $1.05 billion. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Ferguson, Missouri, tech company Emerson has acquired the Boise business PakSense. PakSense provides monitors for shipping containers to customers needing to ensure their products are kept at safe temperatures. The leadership and staffing of PakSense will remain the same and will remain in Boise. Emerson has about 110,000 employees in offices around the world. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Nearly 1,500 new apartments are planned, under construction or already built within one mile of Eagle Road and Fairview Avenue. If all are completed, the apartments will increase Meridian’s multifamily capacity by more than one-third. Developers think the apartments will be filled, thanks in part to the city’s rapid growth from 35,000 people in 2000 to more than 90,000 today. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Developer Gardner Co. has submitted a $65 million hotel proposal for the lot bordered by 11th, 13th, Myrtle and Front streets where it once proposed two hotels. The development, Pioneer Crossing, will stretch the downtown core two blocks to the south and west with a planned hotel, restaurant, five-story office building and parking garage that will also house the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce. Source: Idaho Statesman; Idaho Business Review

Gem County

  • Garden City-based Community Development Inc. (CDI) will open its second affordable housing complex in Emmett in phases from December to May. Construction on the first phase of the development – the community building and six-unit housing structure – started in August on the 37-unit Ross Island at Moffett Cove. The $7 million Ross Island project is CDI’s second affordable housing complex in Emmett along with the 30-unit Autumn Court. CDI has 17 affordable housing communities in Idaho in Caldwell, Chubbuck, Nampa, Garden City, Emmett, Mountain Home, Post Falls and Rexburg. In all, CDI has developed 67 affordable housing properties in 12 states with 3,403 units. Rents at Ross Island will range from $431 to $636 per month targeted toward individual and families at or below 40 percent, 45 percent, 50 percent and 55 percent of the area median income. Source: Idaho Business Review

Valley County

  • Wellington Recreation Park at Smiths Ferry opened in late August. The facility is the first park operated by Valley County. The park features 18 camping vehicle pads to accommodate visitors just west of the Wellington Snow Park buildings along Idaho 55. The sites include fire rings, concrete pads for trailers and concrete picnic tables. Wellington connects to hundreds of miles of trails for ATVs and mountain bikers headed to West Mountain, East Mountain, Sagehen Reservoir, the Silver Creek Plunge on the Middle Fork of the Payette River, Warm Lake and Stanley. Source: McCall Star-News
  • A $2.2 million federal grant has been awarded to the city of McCall to rebuild a half mile of Mission Street south of Deinhard Lane and to close a gap in the city’s bike path system. The project is scheduled to be built in 2022, but could be moved up if certain actions take place. Source: McCall Star-News
  • The Payette National Forest has awarded the Cold Bear Stewardship Contract to Idaho Forest Group of Grangeville. The project is located on the New Meadows District near Lost Valley Reservoir and is the second of a dozen contracts planned as part of the Lost Creek Boulder Creek Landscape Restoration Project. The contract will see timber cutting on 892 acres and improvements on 14 miles of roads. The contract is expected to produce about 6.6 million board feet of logs for wood products, a Payette Forest news release said. Source: McCall Star-News
  • Land offered by the McCall Redevelopment Agency would be used as open space as part of a proposed downtown bed-and-breakfast and retail building, according to a proposal received by the agency. In late September, the agency board tentatively accepted a proposal from a development group composed of The Stoddard Family of Denver and Mike Maciaszek of McCall to acquire the 11,143-square-foot property at the intersection of Railroad Avenue and Pine Street. Preliminary plans call for a bed-and-breakfast inn with ground floor commercial space, including a meeting room, coffee house restaurant and wine bar. Source: McCall Star-News
  • Valley County took control of some Tamarack assets Aug. 29 for nonpayment of past-due property taxes. Ski lifts, the unfinished Mid-Mountain Lodge, three holes on the now-closed Osprey Meadows Golf Course and a zip line at the bankrupt Tamarack Resort west of Donnelly will be auctioned to the public on Monday, Oct. 17. Source: Idaho Statesman

Openings

  • Das Alpenhaus Delikatessen, a German deli and market, on Vista Avenue
  • Owyhee Tavern Steak & Sea, in The Owyhee building in downtown Boise
  • Native Grill and Wings on Marketplace Boulevard in Nampa
  • Freshii, a healthy fast-food concept with bowls, wraps and burritos, on Boise State University’s campus
  • Idaho Pizza Co. in the Hillcrest Plaza in Boise
  • Three new Pizza Huts throughout Boise
  • Umpqua Bank branch in Downtown Boise
  • Cyclebar, a cycling studio with spinning classes, at the Village in Meridian
  • The new Broadway Avenue bridge, near Boise State University in Boise
  • Mother Earth Brew Co. in Nampa
  • Mad Swede Brewing in Boise
  • CircusTrix Idaho, an indoor extreme recreation park, by Thanksgiving, in Nampa
  • Nerfed, an indoor Nerf toy arena in Boise
  • The Dixie Drain Phosphorous Removal Facility, funded by the City of Boise, on the Boise River between Parma and Notus
  • High and Low Second-Hand Store in Homedale

Closings

  • Speedy Burger, an independently-owned fast food restaurant in Boise
  • T-Shirts Plus, in the Boise Towne Square Mall
  • ITT Technical Institute in Boise
  • Pollo Rey, in Downtown Boise

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

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

Regional

  • The Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization is searching for a new leader following the resignation of Jeff Hough. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Blaine County

  • The Ketchum Innovation Center has moved from the industrial park to a downtown location befitting an office enterprise. The business incubator is operated by Ketchum Community Development Corporation. Its new location décor features corrugated metal and plastic, along with laminated strand lumber to create meeting and offices, lots of light in an open area and industrial chic environment. KIC offers pitch night for mentors to assist in funding or professional advice. The current start-up tenants include Modula S, Solu, AirProxima, MedCnect, Bigwood Skis and SnoFolio. The incubator is supported by the city of Ketchum and the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency plus rental payments from the tenants. Source:  Idaho Business Review
  • Blaine County School District experienced a jump in enrollment at the high school level this fall of nearly 20 percent, with the largest freshmen class in recent history. Elementary schools saw a loss of students, however. As of Sept. 2, there were 3,421 students in the school district, 51 more than the previous year’s start. The official count will be taken on Nov. 1. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Hailey businesses reported an uptick in summer sales. The Chamber of the Wood River Valley experienced a 10-15 percent increase in visitor contact that include visitors entering the Welcome Center, website requests and phone calls requesting information. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The city of Hailey increased wages for its lower to middle earning workers. The previous starting wage was $12 an hour, upped to $15 an hour. The middle of the pay scale moved from $15 -$20 an hour to $17 -$25 an hour. One impetus for the increase was to check turnover. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Ketchum’s annual Wagon Days had a big Labor Day crowd with a 26 percent increase in the number of rooms sold in Sun Valley and Ketchum, moving from 66 percent occupancy last year to 70 percent this year, according to Visit Sun Valley, which surveys hoteliers. Hailey had an 84 percent occupancy rate compared with 70 percent the previous year. Ketchum had 6,014 rooms available while Hailey had 1,043 rooms. The average daily rate was not released. Limelight Hotel will add to next year’s inventory with its opening scheduled for this December. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

 

Cassia County

  • The former Dutchmen RV plant has been purchased by Watco Companies, based out of Pittsburg, Kansas. The company offers a wide range of railcar services through subsidiaries that include managing short-line railroads such as Eastern Idaho Railroad with infrastructure throughout southern Idaho. It also leases and repairs railcars and locomotives and provides temperature-controlled warehousing/storage and distribution services. Transload and intermodal services are also part of their portfolio. Coldwell Banker Commercial Advisors, brokers of the deal, believe it one of the largest transactions in southern Idaho in the last few years. It is on a 121-acre parcel with potato storage buildings, manufacturing space and office space totaling 156,400 square feet. “This will be good for our area,” said Doug Manning, Burley economic development director. “It will be a very valuable piece of infrastructure for the community and I think it will lead to great things in the future.” Source: Times-News and Hoovers

Jerome County

  • Jerome High School was awarded a $10,000 check by the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program funded by Monsanto. The money will purchase equipment for an animal-handling lab and food science lab to enrich the agricultural curriculum. Source: Times-News

Twin Falls County

  • Twin Falls School District patrons approved a $1.77 million emergency levy to deal with the unexpected influx of students. Enrollment was up 270 students, 3 percent more than the previous year. The funds will be used to purchase additional math books, supplies and hire additional para-educators for the elementary schools. Source: Times-News
  • Twin Falls School District’s two elementary schools were constructed under budget allowing the remaining funds to be used for a new gym floor and bleachers at Twin Falls High School, along with security. Source: Times-News
  • Kimberly School District board approved a $79,000 emergency levy to handle an additional 100 students compared to the previous year’s enrollment at the start of the school year. Source: Times-News
  • The College of Southern Idaho was awarded a $2.2 million grant from the US Department of Education under the Title III Strengthening Institutions Program. Over five years, the project will focus on strengthening and improving services including dual credit, non-traditional students, Hispanic population, technology and communication access across all five campus locations. Source: Times-News
  • Ground has broken for Serenity Healthcare, a new skilled-nursing care facility in Twin Falls. The 36,000-square-foot, 60-bed facility will cost approximately $8.5 million and is scheduled to open August 2017. The facility will employ 50 staffers consisting of four registered nurses, 24 certified nursing aids and eight licensed practical nurses. A licensed clinical social worker will be on site and the resident-to-certified nurse ratio is projected at 7:1. This will be the third new retirement facility in Twin Falls after Grace Assisted Living opened in 2015 and the end-of-year projected opening of Canyons Retirement Community with independent and assisted living options A bank-prepared study estimated Twin Falls has an 85 percent occupancy rate for its nursing facilities. Source: Times-News

Openings:

  • A new Bronco Shop will open in Twin Falls offering Boise State gear.
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced it will build a restaurant in Twin Falls estimated to cost approximately $325,000. The company, established in 1993 intends to hire 25 to 30 workers in the first quarter of 2017.
  • A new Sleep Inn and full-service national franchise restaurant announced it will be starting construction spring 2017 in Burley. The opening is planned for spring 2018 with local business owners investing in the project.

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

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

Bannock County

  • Idaho State University and Center for Advanced Energy Studies researcher, Haiming Wen, working with three collaborators at the Idaho National Laboratory, has received a $500,000 grant to improve the strength and irradiation resistance of metals used in nuclear reactors. This project is comprised of two parts, $500,000 for research and development and around $2.4 million for facility access for neutron irradiation and post-irradiation examination. The $2.4 million goes to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Nuclear Science User Facilities. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The Hope and Recovery Resource Center officially opened its doors with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in late September. The nonprofit organization received a $150,000 grant from the state and offers a multitude of free services to people from all backgrounds recovering from drug or alcohol use, or who have mental health disorders. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Idaho State University, in collaboration with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Bureau of Rural Health and Primary Care, is offering live and online training, statewide, for Community Health Workers (CHWs). These trainings are anticipated to continue each fall and spring semester for the next several years with funding through the State Healthcare Innovation Plan. The class seeks to build the health workforce in Idaho by training more than 200 CHWs statewide and is offered at no cost to students participating in the initiative. Source: Idaho State University
  • Discount Tire store construction at the Pine Ridge Mall in Chubbuck is nearing completion. The new store will feature 7,000 square feet of space that includes a larger showroom and customer waiting area. Company officials say the store will employ between 15 and 20 full-time and part-time employees. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The Pocatello/Chubbuck school district is buying a fire truck. The truck will be part of the new First Responders Academy training. The training is for high school students interested in law enforcement, firefighting and emergency medical technician (EMT) careers. Classes will be taught by a retired police officer and a firefighter as part of the career and technical programs in the district. The training is only the second of its kind in the state. Source: KIFI/KIDK
  • Rue21, the trendy teen retailer at the Pine Ridge Mall, is adding more than 2,600 square feet of retail space, knocking out a wall and taking over the empty storefront next door. All this new space will accommodate Rue21’s plus-size line, called rue+. Source: Idaho State Journal

Bingham County

  • A ground breaking ceremony took place in Aberdeen to celebrate the beginning of construction on a new high school. In May, a super majority of voters approved an $11.85 million bond to fund this project. It is anticipated the new school will be ready for use by fall 2018. Source: The Morning News
  • Idaho Supreme Potatoes processing plant sustained significant damage from a large fire. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Local farmers, businesses and workers will likely be affected by the fire at the plant, but company officials are working quickly to restore operations. This fire was the second at a southeastern Idaho potato processing plant this month. Barely a week prior, the ConAgra Lamb Weston plant in American Falls had a potato cellar destroyed by fire. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • This year’s Eastern Idaho State Fair will go down in the record book as the highest-attended event in its 114-year history. More than 231,023 people – up from 2015 record of 229,992 – came to the state fair, setting an all-time weekly attendance record. The state fair board has announced they will extend the fair in 2017 by one day. Source: The Morning News
  • The Board of Aberdeen Gem Trail Foundation received a $73,080 grant from the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. The grant will combine with a local matching share of $50,650 to help construct the next stage of the walking trail. Very long term hopes envision the Gem trail running toward the American Falls Reservoir and making a large loop around Aberdeen. Source: The Aberdeen Times
  • Construction of the veterans’ memorial in Blackfoot, called Patriot Field, is nearing completion. This project has been funded by the county and matched with funds from Blackfoot Urban Renewal. The county is seeking private contributions for a statue and a granite wall which will list the missing in action (MIA) and killed in action (KIA) veterans. Source: The Aberdeen Times

Caribou County

  • The final environmental impact statement on the proposed Rasmussen Valley phosphate mine, located on 468 acres of land 18 miles northeast of Soda Springs, has been completed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service. The mine and reclamation plan have been proposed by Nu-West Industries doing business as Agrium Conda Phosphate Operations. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Agrium Inc. has announced a merger with Potash Corp. Across the globe, the new company will have 20,000 employees, a market value of $36 billion and annual revenue of $20.6 billion. The merger will allow for a $500 million cut in combined costs annually over the next few years. A new name will be announced before the deal closes in the middle of next year. Source: Idaho State Journal

Franklin County

  • Franklin city saw the beginnings of the sewer project get underway. The project has been in the planning and preparing stage for five years as engineers and government agencies have worked to get it approved. The new facilities will change the way Franklin disposes of the city’s wastewater by storing it in a wastewater pond instead of disposing it into the river. The wastewater storage pond will hold 26 million gallons of treated wastewater during the winter months. The city has purchased 110 acres of land, over which 90 acres will be watered with the treated wastewater. Final completion date for the project is July of 2017. Source: Preston Citizen

Power County

  • Power County Hospital should be seeing higher profits next year with about $60,000 in extra funds expected over the next year. The 2017 budget predicts profits for the hospital after a loss of about $120,000 in 2016. Source: Power County Press.
  • The Bureau of Reclamation awarded a $1.7 million construction contract to Yale Creek Inc., for an improvement project on the American Falls Reservoir. The project involves rehabilitation of the West Side boat ramp, parking area and restroom facilities located adjacent to the dam. On-site work is expected to begin this fall 2016 with completion March 2018. Source: Morning News.

Openings

  • Infinite Discs, a disk golf retailer in Pocatello
  • Hobby Lobby in Chubbuck
  • Pro Image Sports in Pine Ridge Mall, Chubbuck
  • Hope and Recovery Resource Center in Pocatello

Closing

  • Town & Country Gardens in Pocatello is closing its doors after more than a century in business.

Esther.Eke@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4331

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

Region

  • The Eastern Idaho region has smashed previous lodging records during the 2016 summer season. July’s lodging sales alone equaled about $11.7 million, a 15 percent increase from the July 2015 numbers. Source: Post Register

Bonneville County

  • The Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency has selected The Housing Company, Myers Anderson Architects and Bateman-Hall General Contractors for the renovation of the historic Bonneville Hotel at Park Avenue and Constitution Way. Source: Post Register
  • Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center’s Imaging Center has become the first provider in Southeast Idaho to offer 3D mammography. Source: Post Register
  • Wayside Saloon in Mud Lake burnt down on Sept. 15, even with the assistance of West Jefferson Fire Department, the Idaho National Lab Fire team and local residents, the building could not be saved. Source: Post Register
  • The Eastern Idaho State Fair broke the all-time attendance record at 231,023 people this year, slightly beating the 2015 attendance of 229,992. Source: Post Register
  • The Idaho Falls City Council passed a five-year plan for the Idaho Falls Zoo to change its managerial organization structure, increase marketing and add dynamic entertainment for visitors. Source: Post Register
  • A public bike repair station has been installed on the Idaho Falls river walk near Memorial Drive and B Street. Source: Post Register

Madison County

  • Sugar City announces plans for a new restaurant to move inside the old Sugar City Market building. There is also discussion to redo the parking lot and build multiple housing units on the back half of the property. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal
  •  The Thorton Interchange road construction is on schedule and is expected to be completed by late October. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

Lemhi County

  • The Scam Jam conference visited Salmon this month, a free conference focused on educating residents on how to prevent financial fraud and identity theft. Source: Post Register
  • Salmon City Council gave the go-ahead to start construction on the Island Park Bridge this fall. No expected completion date released.(Source: The Recorder Herald

 Jefferson County

  • The Jefferson Joint School District board unanimously approved a $550,000 emergency levy to help schools cope with 182 unexpected new students this year. Source: Jefferson Star

Openings

  • Carter’s store to open in Ammon Town Center by the end of September. Source: Post Register
  • Kneader’s store to open up in Ammon on Sep. 30; this will be a company owned store and the first in Eastern Idaho. Source: Post Register
  • Sonic Drive-In’s Rexburg location had its grand opening Sept. 5. It’s Idaho’s first Sonic Drive-In with inside seating for customers. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

Hope.Morrow@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 525-7268 ext. 4340