Around Idaho: January 2017 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

Kootenai County

  • The city of Rathdrum has announced plans to form an urban renewal agency. The goal of the agency will be the development of Rathdrum’s large vacant areas which are currently zoned for light industrial. Rathdrum is home to two technical schools, and city officials expressed hope that development of the industrial areas will help keep graduates from these schools working in the city. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Empire Unmanned – a northern Idaho manufacturer of unmanned aerial vehicles – has announced that it will offer a certification course for commercial drone pilots. The company’s sales tripled in 2016 as commercial uses for drones have proliferated. The certification course, which will be offered at North Idaho College, will reflect the evolving regulatory requirements promulgated by the Federal Aviation Administration. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The Coeur d’Alene school board voted in favor of a $35.5 million bond measure and a $32 million operating levy, both of which will be put before votes in March. The measures come amid rapid enrollment growth which has left Coeur d’Alene schools significantly overcrowded. Due to rising assessed property values, tax rates would not increase even if both the bond and the levy are approved. Source: Spokesman Review

Shoshone County

  • Hecla Mining Co. released a preliminary fourth quarter report showing that its gold and silver production rose sharply in 2016. As a result of continued investment during recession years, Hecla built up significant new production capacity. 2016 will be the third consecutive year that Hecla has broken its 125-year production record. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Bonner County

  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin repairs on the Lightning Creek levee. The levee, which provides flood protection for the city of Clark Fork, was damaged during flood events in December 2015. Source: Bonner County Daily Bee

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

Clearwater County

  • The Idaho National Guard’s Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Pierce graduated its second class of the year on Dec. 17. At the end of 22 weeks, a few students completed high school, a few others their GEDs and the rest earned enough credits to catch up and return to regular high school programs. Students at the academy are youth in danger of dropping out of high schools across Idaho. The next class of cadets arrived in mid-January. In addition to classes and boot-camp activities, the cadets spend time volunteering in communities throughout Clearwater County. About 60 people work at the academy, which opened in January 2014. Source: Clearwater Tribune
  • Bald Mountain, the 140-acre ski hill along the Gold Rush Historic Byway, opened the day after Christmas. Created by Potlatch Corp. 58 years ago, Bald Mountain offers 19 runs over a wide variety of terrain accessed by a rope tow and t-bar. Free bus rides to the hill start in Orofino, and pick up residents of Weippe and Pierce. With plenty of snow, the hill expects to be open until mid-March. The hill may attract more tourists, after Liftopia named Bald Mountain as one of the West’s best values in its 2016-17 Best in Snow awards. Liftopia operates online and mobile technology platform serving the ski and mountain activity industry. Source: Clearwater Tribune

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • A former Blue North Forest Products building in Kamiah burned down Jan. 19. The mill closed last May, putting 66 people out of work. Idaho Forest Group purchased the mill’s assets after it closed. In October, it sold most of the mill’s inventory at an auction. A major mill operated there for more than 40 years — first as a Weyerhauser mill and then after 1996 as Three Rivers Timber. It employed 120 people until the recession took a toll starting in 2008. In November 2008, the mill closed, putting 90 people out of work. A couple of years later, it reopened as Blue North. A lack of timber and pressures from the high value of the U.S. dollar that increased Canadian competition forced this May’s closure of the mill. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Idaho County’s two small ski areas benefitted from all the snow that fell in December and January. Cottonwood Butte opened Dec. 26 hosting a record 179 skiers and snowboarders. In early January, it boasted 36 inches of powder at the summit and 30 inches at the base. Snowhaven near Grangeville also has enjoyed great conditions and turnout of skiers, snowboarders and snow tubing enthusiasts. Together, the two ski areas employ about a dozen people. They impact the local economy by bringing visitors from as far away as Lewiston and Clarkston and by providing amenities that make the Camas Prairie a more attractive place to live. Source: Cottonwood Chronicle

Latah County

  • Two of the largest grain dealers in the region plan to merge into one company in June. Members of Pacific Northwest Farmers Cooperative, based in Genesee, and Cooperative Agricultural Producers of Rosalia, Washington, approved the merger in December. The Rosalia cooperative is a farmer-owned company that receives wheat, barley, peas and lentil crops at 21 elevator locations in Stevens, Spokane and Whitman counties in Washington and Benewah, Kootenai and Bonner counties in Idaho. It holds ownership in a barge-loading facility on the Snake River and rail-loading facilities on two regional railroad systems. It employs 55 people. Pacific Northwest Farmers Cooperative, formed in 2008, has 26 facilities in 17 locations. It also has ownership in barge terminals on the upper Snake River and two rail-loading terminals. The new company to be known as Pacific Northwest Farmers Cooperative will benefit from their combined resources and economies of scale. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  •  The University of Idaho only has half as many students studying to become teachers as it did 10 years ago. This year, 241 students are enrolled in education. Education programs across the nation have seen a decrease in the number of students preparing for teaching careers. That’s caused a critical reduction in the supply of teachers. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Sojourners’ Alliance, a homeless shelter in Moscow, began accepting residents Jan. 31. The shelter shut down Sept. 1 after losing federal housing funds. It now has raised enough money to reopen the shelter. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Nez Perce and Asotin, Washington, Counties

  • Clearwater Canyon Cellars recently moved its winery and tasting room out of the Port of Lewiston’s incubator to Tenth Street in the Lewiston Orchards, adjacent to its vineyards. Vintner Coco Umiker played an important role in the 2016 recognition of north central Idaho and southeastern Washington as an American Viticulture Area, an important step for selling wines outside the region. A Seattle Times list of 2016’s top wines included Clearwater Canyon’s 2014 Phinny Hill Vineyard carmenere. The list said, “The Northwest’s rising star of wine making lives in Lewiston, Idaho and her name is Coco Umiker.” Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • One of Lewiston’s premier tourist events is being extended for two more years. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) gave Lewis-Clark State College two more years to serve as the host of the college association’s annual baseball tournament. Now, it will host the Avista-NAIA World Series through 2021. That will be the 22nd straight year the series will be held in Lewiston and the 30th overall. LCSC currently is making $1.75 million in improvements at Harris Field. Funded mostly by private donations, they include new seating and the installation of a video display board. The improvements will be completed before this year’s 10-team double elimination tournament begins May 28. Source: Clearwater Tribune
  • Broemeling Steel & Machine is expanding and plans to move into the Port of Lewiston’s Harry Wall Industrial Park. The manufacturer of structural steel products soon will break ground on a 15,000-square-foot building. It hopes to move there in May. The company currently is looking for four new additional employees, which will bring its employment up to 16. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Nez Perce County commissioners approved a zoning classification for small, low-impact industrial concerns. That will allow Obenauf’s, a small manufacturer near Peck, to expand. The company, which employs about 10, makes leather care products developed by the company’s owner Marv Obenauf. About 550 people live in the Peck zip code area. Obenauf’s is one of two manufacturers there. The other is S.D. Meacham Tool & Hardware, a CNC machine shop that makes reloading tools for black powder cartridge rifle competitors. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  •  MOD Pizza, a Seattle-based chain of 180-plus restaurants, currently is remodeling the former Kentucky Fried Chicken building on Lewiston’s 21st Street. MOD stands for Made-On-Demand. The average MOD Pizza employs about 30 people. The Lewiston restaurant is slated to open this summer. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Opening

  • Red Bento, a Japanese restaurant, opened at Thain Road and Stewart Avenue in Lewiston in early January. Source: Lewiston Tribune

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

Ada County

  • Los Angeles developer Eran Fields expects to start construction in March on student housing projects in Boise. He is developing them in partnership with CA Student Living, a division of Chicago-based CA Ventures, which operates about 30 student housing complexes in state university cities across 15 states. The Boise project tentatively is called The Identity and will include 94 apartments with 295 beds on a triangular property wedged into Boise Avenue, Beacon Street and Oakland Avenue. The estimated completion date is July 2018. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Developer Chad Olsen wants to build eight apartments on the northwest corner of 15th and Front streets in downtown Boise. He will try to preserve the nearly 9,000-square-foot warehouse currently standing on the property. He expects to shore up the existing load-bearing walls so that they’re strong enough to support a second floor. His plans call for two- to four-bedroom units that range from 1,350 square feet to 1,850 square feet. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Old Boise General Manager Clay Carley is in partnership with Middleton, Wisconsin-based, The Raymond Group on a proposal for an eight-story, 144-room hotel with a 675-space parking garage. The development would occupy a 1.1 acre parcel that is currently a surface parking lot on Front Street between Fifth and Sixth streets, across from the C.W. Moore Plaza. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Idaho Humane Society will build a 43,000-square-foot veterinary hospital, adoption center, retail space and public education center on Overland Road just west of Wal-Mart. IHS proposes a two-story structure with 5,840 square feet upstairs for administrative offices. The hospital square footage will more than double from about 4,000 square feet at the existing facility to 9,700 square feet with five exam rooms instead of two. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Rose Room events center in Boise’s historic Union Block is set to close. Redwood City, California-based Balsam Brands will take over 17,000 square feet of space in the building – including the event center, space currently used for small offices and an overflow dining room. Balsam currently has space in Meridian in the Central Valley Corporate Park. The company says it will relocate to the new, high-profile space in the downtown core. Source: BoiseDev.com
  • Twenty-five technology workers will lose their jobs when Macy’s.com closes its Boise office. But the Idaho Technology Council, (ITC), held an open house Jan. 12 to help find them new employers. The 25 Macy’s.com employees are part of Macy’s Digital Technologies Group. They’re trained in a variety of technologies, including front and back-end mobile, website development and automation testing. ITC wants to ensure that the 25 remain in the Treasure Valley, where the labor market for developers and other skilled positions is tight. Source: Idaho Business Review

Canyon County

  • Kendall Auto Group has bought Nampa’s Edmark Superstore, which combines two of Idaho’s largest auto dealers. Kendall is a Boise company with dealerships in Idaho, Oregon and Alaska. Edmark is a Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac, Buick and Kia dealership in the Idaho Center Auto Mall. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The two new hospitals planned for Canyon County are on schedule to open this year. The new Saint Alphonsus hospital will open early this summer near the corner of Interstate 84 and Garrity Boulevard, replacing the organization’s hospital on 12th Avenue Road with a five-story, 240,000-square-foot facility. Across I-84, at the corner of Midland Boulevard and Cherry Lane, is the construction site of the new St. Luke’s hospital. The 200,000-square-foot, 87-bed facility will be an addition to the existing St. Luke’s health plaza, which has been open since 2012 in Nampa. Source: Idaho Press-Tribune

Elmore County

  • Atlanta Gold continues to dump arsenic into a tributary of the Boise River and now has been forced to shut down another operation in a historic gold mining area southeast of Boise because it has no permit. The Idaho Department of Lands issued a cease-and-desist order in September after inspecting the site off Blacks Creek Road, where it found mining going on without a reclamation plan or a bond, a direct violation of the Idaho Surface Mining Act. Source: Idaho Statesman

Valley County

  • A total rebuilding of streets in downtown McCall, including sidewalks throughout and plazas at intersections, is proposed to start in 2018 under plans outlined by the city. A series of open house meetings took place in late December to allow the public and business owners to discuss the project, to be funded with the city’s new local-option taxes for street improvements. Source: McCall Star-News
  • An Eagle investor and Salt Lake City businessman Walter J. Plumb III are making a second push to acquire the Osprey Meadows Golf Course at Tamarack Resort. Ultimately, they want the entire ski resort near Donnelly, where they initially want to invest up to $25 million. James Roberts, managing member of Eagle investment firm JBR Holdings, is talking to various Tamarack ownership entities and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to square away a viable purchase ahead of a Feb. 21 Valley County tax deed auction on 18 undeveloped parcels at Tamarack, Roberts said. Roberts and Plumb in May 2016 signed a purchase agreement for Osprey Meadows but later withdrew as efforts to acquire the remainder of Tamarack Resort assets failed. Source: Idaho Business Review

Openings and Expected Openings

  • Longdrop Cider is opening a tasting room on Capitol Boulevard in downtown Boise.
  • In March, The Gas Lantern Drinking Co. will open on Capitol Boulevard in downtown Boise.
  • In April, White Dog Brewing Co. will open on Fulton Street in the vacant Grind Modern Burger location.
  • Smoke & Thyme, a 40-foot mobile kitchen, plans to open soon in the alley next to White Dog Brewing Co.
  • Tap and Cask has replaced Tilted Kilt on Broadway Avenue in Boise.
  • The Lift 2 Bar and Grill has rebranded and reopened as The Shed in the Lusk Street neighborhood.
  • Camel’s Crossing has applied to convert and remodel the old Acquired Again antiques space on Alturas Street, behind Hyde Park Pub & Grill.
  • Starbucks Coffee will open its first branch in Caldwell on Cleveland Boulevard near East Linden Street at the end of February.
  • Masi Mara, a women’s accessories boutique, has opened on Fairview near Five Mile in Boise.

Closings and Expected Closings

  • Zions Bank has closed its branch on Fairview Avenue at Cole Road. Zions is left with only one branch in Boise city limits – in the 8th & Main building in downtown Boise.
  • The Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe in downtown Boise has closed. A prior location in Eagle closed in February of last year.
  • The Tilted Kilt has closed on Broadway Avenue in Boise.
  • Got Sleep? – a small mattress outlet in Boise Towne Square – has closed. The store was a brand of Sleep Country USA, which was purchased by Mattress Firm.
  • U.S. Bank is closing its branch in Grandview by March 2017.

 

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

Blaine County

  • Tourism is expected to peak in August with the total eclipse of the sun. The prime viewing area includes Ketchum and Sun Valley. Astronomers estimate that on Aug. 21, 2017, the sun will be fully eclipsed by the moon for a full minute. The impact is comparable to a full-moon night but happening during the light of day. This is the only total eclipse that will reach Idaho in this century. Source:  Idaho Mountain Express
  • Demi Moore and Bruce Willis announced they have donated the Liberty Theatre in Hailey to the Company of Fools theater company. The property has been owned by the two since 1995 and have an agreement in place allowing Company of Fools to use it.  The company moved from Richmond, Virginia, to Hailey in 1996. The Sun Valley Center for the Arts will assume responsibility for future upkeep and maintenance, allowing others to use the facility. The theater was originally located across the street, built in the early 1900’s. In 1938, a new structure was constructed and continues as an iconic landmark of downtown Hailey. Source: Times-News
  • Sun Valley Resort reported its highest single day skier count at 9,000 on Dec. 28, 2016. Source:  Idaho Mountain Express
  • Limelight Hotel held its official grand opening. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Cassia County

  • River Bend Business Park announced development of a four-story, 80-room Hampton Inn by Hilton expected to be operational by early 2018 and employing about 25 workers. To complement the new hotel property, a surf-and-turf style restaurant will be part of the design. The 23-acre property rests on the banks of the Snake River with large window views, patio seating and a full bar. Another 18 lots are available for retail or office development. “It’s really cool to see this development take place,” said Brent Tolman, a regional business specialist with the Idaho Department of Labor. “It really fits in with the city’s master plan.” Source: Times-News

Twin Falls County

  • Black Bear Diner announced it will build a new restaurant in Twin Falls, existing locations are in Boise and Pocatello. Source: Times-News
  • Pillar Falls Plaza announced plans to build a mixed use development on the canyon near the Pillar Falls rock formation across the Snake River. The mixed use plans call for a hotel, condos, retail and office space. Source: Times-News
  • Alan Horner, president, CEO and board chair of First Federal Bank has stepped down after 27 years with the local institution. He has been active in civic and economic develop endeavors throughout his career and he will continue as chairman of the board. Jason Meyerhoeffer, a long-standing executive with the bank, is the new CEO and president.  Source: Times-News
  • Single family housing permits for the city of Twin Falls during 2016 increased by almost 11 percent from 2015. The lowest permit draw year was 93 in 2011 while the boom years were 2005 and 2006 with 664 and 547, respectively. Source: City of Twin Falls
  • The city of Twin Falls instituted a state of emergency in case wide-spread flooding would have occurred after a holiday blizzard piled up snow and warm temps were predicted to move in. The preparedness statement was later canceled. “We took steps to prepare the city in the event that flooding threatened our community’s health and safety, but we’re fortunate that it didn’t reach that magnitude,” said Twin Falls Mayor Shawn Barigar. “During the storm our community demonstrated incredible resilience by aiding others in need, working with our city workers to prevent flooding, and being patient with service disruptions. We are asking the community to continue being patient while we work to repair the damage and restore services to normal operation.” Source: KMVT

Openings

  • Wiseguy Pizza moved from its founding location 13 years ago in Hailey to a newly constructed 3,000-square-foot restaurant, also in Hailey. The pizzeria has three restaurants in Idaho:  Hailey, Sun Valley and Boise. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The Community School’s new Ketchum Campus opened its newly remodeled facility, located in the former Smith Sports Optics headquarters, part of a light-industrial park. The new living spaces, gym and cafeteria were open to the residential students when school resumed in the new year.  Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Horrocks Engineers opens its first office in Twin Falls, renovating a former Sears service center that has sat vacant for years. The engineering firm has offices in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and Utah. Plans are to have five to 10 workers by mid-February. Source: Times-News
  • Gooding’s first new animal shelter is opening to just dogs initially and will include cats at a later date. The facility will be the first to serve both the city and the county. In the past, local veterinarians have leased out space to the municipality. Source: KMVT

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

  • Jakers Bar & Grill is moving into the former Ruby Tuesday location on Via Caporatti Drive in Pocatello. The restaurant will open around April or May. According to a Jakers press release, 60 part-time and full-time jobs are expected. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Idaho State University end-of-term fall 2016 enrollment shows an increase of 60 students, a 0.4 percent jump to 13,629, from last fall end-of-term enrollment. The official census day for spring 2017 enrollment is March 15. Source: ISU Marketing and Communications
  • Lithia Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram of Pocatello has moved to a new location behind Wal-Mart in Chubbuck. A ribbon cutting was held early January, a little under a month after Teton Honda moved into a new building in the same location. The dealership spent about $5 million locally to build at the new location using local contractors and subcontractors. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Comic Con is coming to Pocatello. From Sept. 29 through Oct. 1, Snake River Comic Con will be taking over the Red Lion Hotel, the Clarion Inn and the Mountain View Event Center. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Idaho Central Credit Union headquarters prepares to double in size as a $30 million campus expansion is planned to open early 2019. The credit union moved into its existing headquarters with 107 people, and has grown to about 400 employees. In the coming years, as the campus expansion nears completion, ICCU plans to hire more than 100 additional workers. Source: Idaho State Journal

Bingham County

  • Shelley plans to add more than 100 new homes as several housing developments are in progress. Developers Brent Christensen and Doug Murray are working on the zoning of two separate housing development – one near Ash Street and the other near Shelley City Park. In addition, the Bingham County Board of Commissioners recently approved a new 48-lot subdivision, Copper Meadows, to be built around Riverview Elementary School north of Shelley. Copper Meadows, which is being developed by Ball Ventures, will connect to Shelley water service and will eventually lie within the city limits, pushing the boundary of Shelley north towards the Snake River. Source: The Shelley Pioneer
  • The Shelley City Council awarded Forsgren Associates an engineering contract for a planned water project, which includes the construction of a new 800,000-gallon tank along with a new 16-inch water line from an existing well and a generator for well pumps. The total cost of the project would be around $1.6 million. The city has applied for a Community Development Block Grant of up to $500,000 to fund part of the project. The remaining funds would come from the city’s savings and from a retired Shelley Urban Renewal District. Source: The Shelley Pioneer
  • Construction and repair will begin on Shelley High School’s track field in spring 2017. The Shelley Joint School District #60 has allocated $78,000 – $100,000 to complete the work. Source: The Shelley Pioneer

Caribou County

  • The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service issued separate records of decision approving the plan by Agrium Inc. to open the Rasmussen Valley Mine 18 miles northeast of Soda Springs. Agrium officials say the Rasmussen Valley Mine will replace the nearby North Rasmussen Ridge Mine, which will be mined out later this year. They are hoping to have the new mine operational by late 2017 or early 2018. Source: Idaho State Journal

Franklin County

  • A conservation easement to protect 358 acres on the rim of the Oneida Canyon was signed and recorded. This legally binding agreement was the result of an ongoing partnership between the Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust, the Bear River Environmental Coordinating Committee and PacifiCorp. Source: Caribou County Sun.

Oneida County

  • The Malad City Council approved refinancing of the city’s Series 2009 U.S. Department of Agriculture Water Revenue Bond loan. With a $120,000 contribution from the city, the term of the new funding was reduced by seven years and will save the city $444,473 gross. Source: The Idaho Enterprise

Power County

  • The American Falls School Board will ask taxpayers for a scaled-down version of the failed bond from last May. Instead of $12.5 million, the district will ask for a little less than $9 million. This will be the third time the board has asked for a bond to improve the American Falls Intermediate School. Source: Power County Press

Openings

  • X-Caliber Cuts & Color in Old Town Pocatello
  • Food for Thought Take Out in Old Town Pocatello
  • Gillie’s Food Stop in Pine Ridge Mall, Chubbuck
  • Main Steam Coffee & News in Old Town Pocatello
  • Mountain View Event Center in Pocatello
  • S. Jeshua Ministries in Pocatello

Closings

  • Ruby Tuesdays in Pocatello

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 Idaho National Laboratory released a report stating the lab contributes a positive value of $1.9 billion to Idaho’s total economic output. This represents an increase of 20.4 percent, or nearly $324 million, between 2015 and 2016. Source: Bizmojo
  • NuScale Power is a step closer to seeing its nuclear reactor built in eastern Idaho after completing a 12,000-page design application for federal regulators last month. NuScale executives plan to deliver the document describing the first-of-its-kind small modular reactor design to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The NRC application review process is expected to take more than three years and cost NuScale $45 million. Source: Post Register

Bonneville County

  • The Museum of Idaho has received a $10,000 grant from the Rea Charitable Trust Grant (Wells Fargo) for its expansion project. The museum has issued a Request for Qualifications and anticipates having the architectural plans for the expansion during early 2017, with the goal of breaking ground in the fall. Source: Post Register
  • School District 91 has big plans for the upcoming year. In early January plans were released that will push to have Idaho Falls High School re-built and Skyline High School remodeled – a combined expected expense to cost more than $100 million. Source: Post Register/ East Idaho News
  • Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center donated 30,000 canned goods to community food basket this month. These donations were sparked by EIRMC’s 30th year anniversary in eastern Idaho. Source: East Idaho News
  • Sixty-five people are out of work after a fire destroyed a warehouse in Ucon. Fire officials say the Snake River Plains Potato Warehouse is a total loss after the fire in early January. Source: Post Register
  • Bonneville County home sales are on the mend, surging well ahead of 2015 and even 2007. Last year home sales were in triple digits for all 12 months. Home sales in 2016 rose 17 percent over 2015. Homes sold faster, while at the same time the median price rose 9.8 percent. Source: Bizmojo
  • The Bonneville County Elections Office certified 2,852 signatures for a petition proposing Eastern Idaho Technical College evolve into a community college, Elections Supervisor Brenda Prudent said. The Citizens for Affordable Higher Education petition needed 1,000 certified signatures to move forward. The State Board of Education will review the proposal and determine whether eastern Idaho needs a community college. If approved, the initiative will proceed to the Bonneville County Commission, which will decide whether to place it on the ballot. Source: Post Register
  • Art Baker and Jenny Bueno have set up shop as specialty coffee roasters in Idaho Falls’ Idaho Innovation Center on North Yellowstone. Their business and coffee grounds are named Chapolera Coffee. Source: Bizmojo
  • After nearly two-and-a-half years in limbo, the WestBank Restaurant, Lounge & Convention Center had its grand reopening in Idaho Falls Dec. 31 with a New Year’s Eve bash. Source: Post Register
  •  Shelley High School will get a new track in spring. Construction and repair will begin on Shelley High School’s track field in spring of 2017. The district has allocated $78,000 to $100,000 to complete the work. Source: Shelly Pioneer

Madison County

  • Campus enrollment at Brigham Young University-Idaho hit a record high in 2016 with 32,747 students — a 6.5 percent increase over the 2015 campus enrollment of 30,744 students. Enrollment in BYU-Idaho’s online programs also continued to grow; the university served more students online than on campus last year. Online students, including those enrolled in the fledgling Pathway program, numbered 33,627 last year — an increase of nearly 18 percent over 2015. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

Lemhi County

  • The Idaho Transportation Department is prepping for extensive construction on I-15, scheduled to begin in spring of 2017. This will be a multi-project event stretching the 140 miles of the interstate. Source: The Recorder Herald

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