Around Idaho: May 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 Coeur d’Alene entered into an agreement to purchase 47 acres of waterfront property, which was vacated when Stimson Lumber closed its operations there in 2005. Several private sector efforts to develop the property have fallen through over the years due to ambiguity regarding the lot’s zoning and environmental cleanup requirements. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The city of Post Falls plans to pursue an Idaho Community Development block grant to add additional parking in the city center. Inadequate public parking has led to a several cases of illegal parking and damage to private property. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Kootenai County Commissioners approved several changes to the Citylink bus system, including new fares and reduced hours of operation. The changes reflect the need to pursue a more sustainable and effective public transportation service. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The Innovation Collective plans to turn the historic Elks Building in downtown Coeur d’Alene into the “Innovation Den,” which will include office space, a coffee shop, meeting space and a private bar. Among the tenants already lined up are a robotics company, a venture capital firm and an intellectual property law firm. Source: Spokane-Kootenai Journal of Business

Shoshone County

  • Construction has begun on a new wastewater facility in Smelterville. The $18 million project is funded by a bond, which was passed in 2014. The new plant will meet tighter ammonia discharge standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Source: Shoshone News Press
  • Idaho Panhandle National Forest supervisors have approved an expansion of the Lookout Pass ski resort after a series of public meetings and environmental impact studies. Source: Shoshone News Press

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

  • Clearwater County Economic Development (CCED) is working on several infrastructure projects that will make communities safer, more attractive or provide significant cost savings. The Albertson Foundation requested the organization’s involvement in building programs to foster development, skills and knowledge in local youth. CCED is working with the city of Elk River to build a new fire station. It’s also helping the Elk River library and Clearwater-Potlatch Timber Protective Association with better internet connectivity options. Pierce just converted to woody biomass to heat the community center and its pool, which will reduce annual heating costs by tens of thousands of dollars. In Orofino, CCED recently held a meeting about the design of a proposed skate park and is working to secure funding. Source: Window on the Clearwater

Idaho and Lewis County

  • Voters in three local districts passed one-year supplemental levies May 16. About 82 percent of voters approved a $525,000 levy proposed by the Salmon River School District in Riggins. In the Cottonwood School District, 70 percent of voters approved a $350,000 levy. The Nezperce School District’s $445,000 levy won 79 percent voter approval. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Latah County

  • The Federal Aviation Administration approved a $15 million grant to help fund 2017 construction activities at the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport. It also will pay to design and procure an Instrument Landing System, estimated to cost $3.5 million. DeAtley Construction, based in Clarkston, Washington, was the major contractor for the first phase of the $119 million runway realignment project and again for the second phase. The project is scheduled for completion by October 2019. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Moscow Brewing Company, a brewpub, re-opened in April after being closed for a year. Aaron and Leah Hart and her brother Andy Severson now own the nanobrewery where they craft eight different beers. The business opened in 2013. Its name came from the original Moscow Brewing Company, which made beer from the late 1800s through the 1920s. Moscow has become a hub for breweries and wineries. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The Troy School District’s one-year, $995,000 supplemental levy was approved by 79 percent of voters May 16. The levy’s amount was the same as last year, and the estimated rate is $7.07 per $1,000 of assessed market value, after the homeowner’s exemption. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Seventy percent of voters in the Whitepine Joint School District — serving Deary, Bovill and Elk River — approved a one-year supplemental levy of $850,000. The levy rate is $4.71 per $1,000 of taxable value after the homeowner’s exemption. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Nez Perce and Asotin Counties

  • Lewis-Clark State College (LCSC) was awarded an $839,809 National Science Foundation grant to create technical career pathways for rural manufacturing. The funds will be used to address the workforce needs of metal manufacturers in north central Idaho. Metal fabricators include ammunition and firearms makers, machine shops, a foundry, jet boat and trailer builders and equipment manufacturers. All have common workforce needs for welders, machinists and fabricators. The grant is a collaborative effort with LCSC, Clearwater Economic Development and the University of Idaho. During two academic years, up to 90 high school students will complete online coursework on workplace skills, 3D modeling, applied STEM, computer-aided-design, introduction to engineering design and electro-mechanical technician. Students also may attend summer academies in machining and electronics. Students will have opportunities to work at local manufacturers, as well as receive classroom learning and soft-skill development. College credit may be awarded to program participants through Idaho’s new SkillStack program, providing credentials for skills that meet industry defined standards. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Port of Lewiston continues to expand its fiber-optic network, upgrading telecommunications in more areas in Lewiston. The port plans to spend $375,000 on the network in the fiscal year that starts July 1. The new capacity will serve a medical professional park near the airport, downtown and along Bryden Avenue. The network, which cost the port $1.25 million over the past two years, already reaches many of the city’s largest employers including Vista Outdoor, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and Lewis-Clark State College. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Port of Lewiston is winding up an $850,000 project at its Harry Wall Industrial Park at the base of the Lewiston Hill to level 15 acres and extend water and sewer lines. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Vista Outdoors announced in May that it would postpone the second phase of an expansion project in Lewiston because of the decreased demand for ammunition. In phase one, the company is constructing a new $70-million rimfire ammunition plant near the airport, which will be completed this year. It will improve efficiency, helping the company weather the decline in demand. The second phase, a $29 million investment, will be postponed for an indefinite period. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Walla Walla Community College is preparing to open a technical center on its Clarkston campus by this fall. General Contractor Kenaston Corp., of Lewiston finished construction of the 15,000-square-foot Workforce and Business Development Center in May. The business development wing will offer accounting, business management and entrepreneurship programs. The center will allow the college to start new technical programs to meet the needs of local businesses. This fall, it will train 16 students each in welding and plant operations mechanic programs. Soon after, the college will launch a machining program. The school plans to provide customized job skill training for employees of local businesses. It also has an existing agreement with Clarkston and Asotin high schools for dual credit classes and hopes to expand those opportunities to other schools in the area. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • More improvements are underway in downtown Lewiston. John and Vikky Ross and Nikky Hites recently acquired the 20,000-square-foot Mill End Fabric building on Main Street. They plan to refurbish the 100-year-old building to provide space for shops, offices and a gym. Work may be completed as early as October. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • RCCH HealthCare Partners, based in Tennessee, has acquired St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, turning it into a for-profit facility. Founded in 1902 as a Catholic hospital, it now employs about 1,000 people. Source: Lewiston Tribune

 Opening

  • The Orange Hippo Bakery opened in a space it shares with Kenzie’s Koffee in Asotin, Washington. Its specialties are doughnuts and maple bars. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Washington-based Zip’s Drive-In, a fast food restaurant, recently opened in Lewiston, Source: Lewiston Tribune

Closing

  • Hay’s Produce, which sold fruits, vegetables, bedding plants, Christmas trees, pumpkins and locally processed jam, closed in Clarkston. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Lewiston’s RadioShack on 21st Street closed April 23. It is one of 200 stores closed this spring as the nationwide chain goes through bankruptcy for the second time in two years. 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

  • A remodeled Macy’s in downtown Boise is the new headquarters for Athlos Academies, a charter school support company. Athlos provides curriculum and other support to 30 charter schools throughout the country. Athlos’ buildings include a hardwood gym floor and a miniature football field. Both represent the company’s dedication to strong bodies as well as strong minds and characters. The new headquarters also features a gym and football field – with blue turf in recognition of Boise State University. The renovation took about a year at a cost of $1.5 million. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • After more than seven years in business, Usful Glassworks (pronounced “useful”) has closed. The Boise nonprofit provided jobs training, coaching and guidance for more than 300 people in the community as workers turned wine bottles into new household items. Usful operations were staffed by Treasure Valley residents, including refugees and homeless individuals, who needed job training and experience. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The city of Boise has brought on Gardner Co. to help plan and build the new version of the Boise Main Library. The initial $20,000 contract will fund consulting on the details and scope of the project. The contract also names the team of Salt Lake City-based Gardner’s Boise office, Boise construction firm Jordan-Wilcomb and Okland Construction of Salt Lake City to serve as construction manager/general contractor to build the new library. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • A pair of Boise architects have started a firm with a third partner in a former liquor store in downtown Boise. Clint Sievers and John King started Pivot North Architecture in September and teamed up with Gary Sorensen, and have hired five people since then. The firm was recently selected as the top finalist in the Ash Street project, a set of 30 townhomes with retail on a .71-acre parcel across from Payette Brewing in downtown Boise. Boise’s Capital City Development Corp., which put out the request for proposals for the $7 million project, requires that the apartments be affordable for individuals and families earning between 80 percent and 140 percent of the local median wage. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Zeppole Baking Co. will soon expand with a new 6,940-square-foot space set to be operational by the end of June in the Federal Way Commerce Center on McGregor Court. The bigger bakery will allow Zeppole to introduce new products and expand distribution, which now is limited to the Treasure Valley, Twin Falls, McCall and Ontario, Oregon. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • McCall developer Tim Nau intends to build a 10-unit, energy-efficient, townhome-style condominium complex near the Boise downtown library. The River Street Lofts would include two buildings, each with five condos featuring three bedrooms and two bath. Because the lofts will be constructed with LOGIX insulated concrete forms, the condos would be more than 50 percent energy efficient with reduced noise penetration from outside or neighbors. The condos would be 1,332 to 1,370 square feet with an anticipated price of about $375,000. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Boise Public Library’s newest branch at Bown Crossing in east Boise, opened to the public May 18 with a 40,000-item collection of books, DVDs and video games. The project budget was $8.6 million, with $7.6 million coming from the city’s capital contingency fund and $1 million provided by Friends of the Boise Public Library and the Library Foundation. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine in Meridian can begin construction after receiving the necessary approval from a national accreditation agency. The American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation has awarded the proposed medical school its pre-accreditation status. This allows the school to break ground so it can open its doors to students in the fall of 2018. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Chubbuck-based Idaho Central Credit Union (ICCU) intends to open its first Kuna branch in mid-July at the Merrell Towne Center shopping center. Kuna is the largest Treasure Valley city without an ICCU. The credit union has owned property at the Meridian and Deer Flat roads intersection since 2007. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Albertsons plans to move into a former Shopko store in Meridian in the Meridian Crossroads shopping center. The Boise-based grocery chain filed an application with the city of Meridian to remodel and move into the empty building. Source: Meridian Press
  • Boise State University broke ground May 2 on the fine arts building along Capitol Boulevard. The five-story, 97,222-square-foot structure will serve as the new, consolidated home for all visual art disciplines that are now scattered among seven buildings on campus. Boise State has been planning a fine arts building since 2012. The $42 million project will be funded in part with $5 million from the state permanent building fund and $5 million in private philanthropic funds. Bonding and other university funds could cover the rest. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Boise High School is acquiring three new sports practice fields developed on 15 acres near Fort Boise — one for football, one for soccer and a combined field for the two sports. Beniton Construction of Meridian broke ground on the fields with a projected completion in the spring of 2018. The school district’s savings account and plant facilities fund is carrying the $2.4 million investment. Boise High is the oldest of the high schools in Boise and is located in urban Boise, thus having a smaller footprint than the other schools at 11.5 acres. Borah High has the most ground at 54 acres, Timberline High at 45 acres and Capitol High at 40 acres. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Trailhead, a Boise-based non-profit organization dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs, has launched a software developer apprenticeship program with help from a $200,000 Idaho STEM Action Center grant. The Idaho STEM Action Center is a conduit for $2 million the Idaho Legislature allocated to increase technology skills and workforce across the state. Trailhead also hosts a front-end coding program that enables students to build interactive web pages and applications, potentially providing candidates for the apprenticeship program. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • GoodWell, a newly established Boise nonprofit, offers certification to organizations around the world based on key metrics such as positive labor practices and empowered employees. Peter Gombert, founder of Balihoo, a Boise-based software developer, also founded GoodWell after traveling overseas and seeing human rights abuses. According to its website, “The metrics are intended to reflect the minimum behavior deemed for companies to be humane in the world today.” The group recently held a celebration at Trailhead to announce its first certified organizations – the city of Boise, Drake Cooper, Flynner Design and Build, Retrolux, Murie Design, Oliver Russell and ULedger. There are more certifications pending. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Grove Plaza grand reopening coincided with the first Alive After Five concert of the season June 7 in downtown Boise. The event featured a rededication of the new fountain and music from three bands. Work began on the plaza renovation in May 2016 and was estimated to cost $4.85 million, according to Capital City Development Corporation. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Ada County hit a record high home price in the first quarter of 2017. Five other housing markets hitting similar records include Salem, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Greeley and Fort Collins, Colorado; and Provo, Utah. ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s largest multi-sourced property database, surmises that retiring baby boomers want the recreational aspects of the Northwest, unlike their parents who chose Arizona and Florida as retirement communities. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The new $1.7 million Hillsdale Park is under construction with plans to open in August. The 10-acre park will provide the playground for the Hillsdale Elementary School, parking for the new South Meridian YMCA when it opens in March 2018, playing fields and possibly home for a new library branch. This complex was originally a smaller-scale collaboration between developer David Turnbull and third-generation farmer Marti Hill, but expanded to include much more after input from the community. Source: Idaho Business Review

Canyon County

  • The Peppertree Nampa Civic Center Inn held its grand opening in early May. This project had been in motion for more than 17 years and has finally been completed. The $5 million Best Western Plus hotel, located next to the Nampa Civic Center, has 82 rooms. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • A second Banana Ink store recently opened in downtown Nampa. The store features Idaho-themed hats, sweatshirts, T-shirts, scarves and other apparel. Other items carried in the store feature designs, jewelry and other items that are Idaho-themed and support the buy local philosophy. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Capitol Distributing, a distribution center that serves Jacksons Food Stores, plans to relocate from Meridian to Caldwell in a new facility that would be twice as big. The company is owned by John Jackson, the same owner of Jacksons Food Stores and Jackson Energy. Capitol Distributing distributes to 450 convenience stores including 240 Jacksons stores. Capitol Distributing intends to buy a 56-acre property owned by the Caldwell Urban Renewal Agency at the southwest corner of Skyway Street and KCID Road for the new distribution center. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Voters in Wilder rejected a two-year plant levy to remodel a rural fire station for use as a city library. The vote was close at 48 percent for and 52 percent against the measure. The levy needed 55 percent approval to pass. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Snake River Winery and Peaceful Belly Farms are joining forces on 33 acres in the Sunnyslope region of Canyon County. Peaceful Belly is relocating from Dry Creek to the new property owned jointly by the two businesses. Snake River Winery, which closed its Boise tasting room in Bodo, plans to reopen at the Sunnyslope property in August or September Peaceful Belly plans to establish a produce stand near the tasting room. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Nampa will open Treasure Valley Leadership Academy (TVLA), a new charter high school, in August. It is the second innovation school in the Nampa School District. TVLA will be located in a former church with a freshman class of approximately 55 students and eight teachers. The school will blend internet learning and traditional teacher-based classroom instruction, and students will help develop their own goals and curriculum with teachers serving as mentors. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Fresca Mexican Foods broke ground on a 190,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Caldwell’s Sky Ranch Business Park. The move from Boise to its new facility later in the summer will more than double its current plant size and brings up to 200 jobs to Caldwell. The company will also be able to double its production capacity in the future. The company makes more than two million tortillas a day, supplying them to the food service industry including schools, restaurant chains, colleges and distributors with an international reach to Australia, Asia, South Africa and Canada. Locally, a small line of retail product is available at the Boise Co-Op, Whole Foods and Rosauers, branded Tortilla Revolution. A Taco Time franchisee founded the company 40 years ago when he could not find quality tortillas to supply his restaurants. Taco Time continues to be a client. Source: Idaho Press Tribune

Gem County

  • The city of Emmett continues to work with the Looking Glass Academy to determine safe walking alternatives, sidewalk projects, improvements to crosswalks near schools and signage. Source: Messenger Index

Owyhee County

  • Marsing held its annual Wine and Art in the Park festival, sponsored in part by the Sunnyslope Wine Trail. The event attracts 35 vendors, live music, a raffle and birds of prey presentations along with alpaca demonstrations. Source: The Owyhee Avalanche
  • Owyhee County Commissioners renewed support for the Western Alliance for Economic Development group providing $7,000 in cash support and $3,000 in-kind support. The communities of Homedale and Marsing declined to support the organization. Source: The Owyhee Avalanche

Valley County

  • A 36-unit affordable housing apartment complex broke ground in Donnelly in January and is slated for completion by November. The $8 million project, called Northwest Passage Apartments, includes 10 one-bedroom apartments with monthly rents of $426 to $603, 18 two-bedroom units at $513 to $720 per month and eight three-bedroom units at $675 to $800 per month. Four units will be market rate. Tenants will be people who earn between 40 and 55 percent of the Valley County area median income. The Donnelly apartments join 72 affordable housing units built in McCall by the Housing Company in 2011 and 2016. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Albertsons, which acquired the Paul’s Market chain in April 2016, is renovating the McCall store with a resort look including timber beams and stonework. Construction, which includes adding a second story with 7,000 square feet, should be completed by mid-August. The addition will include a pharmacy and a Starbucks with indoor and outdoor seating plus a two-sided fireplace. MJT Construction of Eagle is the general contractor. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Sewer service in the McCall area will be provided by one operator following a vote on May 16 to allow consolidation of service. The move should reduce costs as well as end the tension between the city and the sewer district. Payette Lakes Recreational Water and Sewer District now will be the sole operator. Voters also approved spending $22 million to help pay for the consolidation and to make improvements to the way sewage is treated and disposed. Source: McCall Star-News
  • Whitetail Club, a private real estate community and club near McCall, opened its clubhouse in May. The resort community overlooks 300 feet of lakefront on the shores of Payette Lake. Designed to meet the needs of Whitetail Club’s multigenerational owners and members, this upscale club includes spaces for meetings, dining, events, a teen center, a children’s room and an area where members can work on business. Nearby is a separate activity center, The Boathouse. Additional development will come on line at Whitetail Club over the next five years. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Voters in the Meadows Valley School District approved a new two-year levy for school operations by 96 to 26. The levy will raise $153,000 each year, down from the current levy of $170,000 approved in 2015, which ends this year. Without the levy the district would be forced to cut teaching positions and eliminate programs. Source: McCall Star-News

Openings

  • Ramen Sho opened in downtown Boise specializing in authentic Japanese noodles. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Growler’s Pizza Grill will open another Idaho restaurant in Boise. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Savage Baking Company opened in Nampa by the same owner as Messenger Pizza.
  • Paddles Up Poke opened its second Treasure Valley location in Meridian. Poke is Hawaiian-based cuisine. Paddles Up introduced poke burritos, which is described as a large, uncut sushi roll. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • My Place extended-stay hotel in Meridian, recently opened. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • D & B Supply will open a southeastern Boise store in a location occupied previously by Hastings. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Bi-Mart plans to open third Idaho store in Kuna. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Remington’s, a restaurant with seasonal, globally inspired menus, opened May 11 in the former Chief Restaurant and Hotel spot on Cascade’s Main Street. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Blaze Fast Fire’d pizza chain will open a second location in Nampa, according to a report from Cushman & Wakefield Pacific, which facilitated the restaurant’s lease. The chain has one Idaho location open now at The Village in Meridian. Source: Idaho Press Tribune

Closures

  • Yesteryear Shoppe in Nampa is closing as its downtown lease was not renewed and the property is for sale. The bookstore opened 44 years ago. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • Positive Changes Hypnosis Center closed in Boise.
  • Tri-State Beauty Supply and Salon is closing after 46 years. Source: Idaho Statesman

LMI@labor.idaho.gov
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 332-3570 ext. 3201

 

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

Blaine County

  • The Hailey Planning and Zoning approved construction of a 75-room Fairfield Inn and Suites hotel, part of the Marriott Corp., on Main Street. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The “1 Percent for Air” local option tax passed at voter precincts in Ketchum, Sun Valley and Hailey in May far above the 60 percent requirement, extending the tax for five more years. Last year, the tax generated $2.5 million from the three communities, which funded Fly Sun Valley Alliance and Visit Sun Valley. The investment in attracting new commercial air service, sustaining existing service, while marketing Sun Valley in the markets the airlines serve, is registering positive outcomes throughout the Wood River Valley. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Sun Valley Resort called it a wrap mid-April after 337 inches of snow fell on Baldy over the ski season and 400,000 skier days were recorded, down four percent from 2015-16,but up 12 percent from 2014-2015. The resort recorded its largest skier day in history with more than 9,100 skiers on Dec. 28, 2016. It held a bonus ski weekend April 21-23 with a crowd of about 4,400. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The city of Ketchum is installing new sidewalks in portions of downtown at a cost of $319,000. Lunceford Excavation of Ketchum won with the low bid to perform the work. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission approved construction of a mixed-use 8,200-square-foot building at the site of the former Lost River Sports, which will be razed. The new building will have four residential units, a rooftop terrace and two commercial spaces on the first floor with one space reserved for a restaurant. Like most downtown areas, the residential living component is becoming attractive for both short-term rentals and homeowners. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Trail Creek Road has been closed indefinitely due to multiple rockslides, avalanches and the unknown cost of rebuilding the road. Early assessments indicate extensive damage occurred, and there is no money in the budget currently to cover the cost. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Minidoka and Cassia Counties

  • The College of Southern Idaho is expanding the Workforce Training Center Apprenticeship Program to the Burley/Rupert area and the Wood River Valley. The first program is a plumbing apprenticeship starting in fall 2017 with a four-year window of completion. During the four years, participants must work approximately 8,000 hours and attend 144 hours of classroom training. The final goal is to pass a licensure exam to earn a journeyman plumber credential. Source: Times-News
  • Rupert voters passed a $3.96 million general obligation bond to pay for street improvements and repairs, improvements to the water, sewer and storm systems, and improvements to Rupert Square and the Rupert Senior Center. There were 239 voters in favor and 55 against the bond. Source: Times-News
  • McCain Foods USA chose Burley for its $200 million expansion. The company plans to automate new lines and hire 180 workers with the opportunity for training in a more automated environment. The foreign direct investment company, based in Canada, is the largest manufacturer of frozen potatoes in the world. It will receive a 30 percent reimbursement of taxes over 15 years from the Idaho Department of Commerce Tax Reimbursement Incentive program. The investment will require an additional 15,000 acres of potatoes grown per year across the Snake River plains from Idaho Falls to Ontario, known for its high quality potatoes. McCain Foods implemented a $40 million renovation to the plant in 2014. The company operates its own water and wastewater treatment plants. The jobs could potentially pay around $22 an hour, significantly higher than most production jobs in Burley. Source: Times-News

Twin Falls County

  • The College of Southern Idaho’s Bridge to Success program starts its second summer with 50 participants, who will each earn six to eight credit hours. The program helps first-time, degree-seeking students get started with their college education and receive advising and mentoring until graduation. The program received $132,000 from the Idaho Legislature to fund a coordinator, adjunct instructors and textbooks. The Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho STEM Action Center and the NASA Idaho Space Grant are also assisting in costs associated with funding the program. The participants in the first summer had an average GPA of nearly 3.0 and a retention rate of 76 percent. Source: Times-News
  • The College of Southern Idaho’s (CSI) Expanded Technical Dual Credit program will launch this fall to a limited number of students. The Idaho Department of Education’s Fast Forward program provides $4,125 per student seventh to 12th grade to pay for dual credit classes. Another program launching this fall is the General Education Academy that will allow 25 students from the Magic Valley high schools to earn 40 credits over the two years in STEM classes — science, technology, engineering and math. About half of all CSI students participate in dual credit programs. Source: Times-News
  • South Central Idaho Education Partnership received $8,000 from the STEM Action Center to assist with lost funding from CSI for the robotics program within local schools. Source: Times-News
  • Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani, was named to the 2017 TIME 100 list of the most influential people in the world. Chobani’s Twin Falls plant is the largest yogurt manufacturing plant in the world. Source: Times-News
  • Amalgamated Sugar reported it set a record for the level of sugar beets processed, stored and harvested this year. The company processed 7.2 million tons of sugar beets that will turn into 2.34 billion pounds of sugar. CEO and President John McCreedy credits the company employees and genetically engineered seed allowing growers to “nearly double on-farm productivity while reducing pesticide and herbicide usage, on-farm gas emissions and water usage,” he said in a statement. Technological advances have cut back factory emissions by 75 percent and reduced energy usage. Source: Times-News

Construction Starts

  • My Place, a 64-room hotel broke ground across from the St. Luke’s Magic Valley Regional Medical Center. It is an extended-stay property that will provide another option for those visiting patients at the hospital. The franchise operators are based in Aberdeen, South Dakota. It is scheduled for opening the middle of August in time for guests wanting to see the eclipse. Source: Idaho Business Review

Openings

  • The Mediterranean in Twin Falls, a restaurant serving Iraqi cuisine. Source: Times-News
  • Betty B’s Kitchen & Diane’s Delights is a food truck designed after a ‘50’s diner. Source: Times-News
  • Canyon’s Retirement Community will open for assisted living, memory care and independent living in Twin Falls. Source: Times-News
  • Heritage Health Services opened in Twin Falls offering home health and hospice care. Source: Times-News

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

Region

  • The YourFIT – or Your Future in Technology – career expo series concluded in May with a fair for students from Blackfoot, Snake River and Sho-Ban high schools at the Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Event Center. YourFIT is a series of career fairs in high schools across southeastern Idaho aimed at raising awareness of a variety of tech fields including welding, unmanned aerial systems, cybersecurity and nuclear operating technology. Source: Idaho State Journal (read an article about YourFIT on the Labor Department’s blog)
  • President Donald Trump signed a federal disaster declaration for 11 southern Idaho counties, triggering the release of federal funds to help communities repair public infrastructure damaged by severe winter storms and related flooding. Damage assessments in Franklin, Bingham, Cassia, Elmore, Gooding, Jefferson, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka, Twin Falls and Washington counties exceed $30 million. Source: Preston Citizen

Bannock County

  • A total of 2,313 graduates received 2,437 degrees and certificates during Idaho State University’s spring commencement ceremonies in May. Source: Idaho State University
  • A major $5.1 million renovation project is just beginning at the Pocatello Regional Airport. The time sensitive repairs consist of rehabilitating most taxiways at the airport. There are four phases in the renovation project; all phases that impact airport operations should be completed by the end of June. Source: KPVI
  • Pocatello city council approved the annexation of about 74 acres of land. The land is owned partly by the Pocatello Development Corporation, a few private individuals and the Latter-day Saints church. It’s located east of Butte and Clearwater streets near the Satterfield Drive area. There has been no official confirmation as to how the land will be used. Source: KPVI
  • A Pocatello-based nonprofit agency opened a new residential addiction treatment center to help people struggling with substance abuse issues. The Road to Recovery center, which officially opened on May 1, is located in Lava Hot Springs. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Five now-shuttered storefronts at the Pine Ridge Mall are getting a new long-term lease tenant at the end of 2017. Shoe Dept. Encore will occupy 12,000 square feet and will span the distance between JC Penny’s indoor entrance and The Buckle. Construction began this month. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The Idaho Transportation Department board did not approve the $25 million interchange that would connect Siphon Road and Olympus Drive to Interstate 15. A green light from the board may arrive in a few weeks, however, after a rigorous review of the project’s environmental assessment. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • A Chubbuck revitalization project has been given approval. The $4.4 million revitalization project includes sidewalks and much-needed road improvements to the Country Acres neighborhood. It is the last full neighborhood in Chubbuck without sidewalks that falls within the Urban Renewal Area. Source: KPVI
  • The Pocatello City Council has confirmed the appointment of Melanie Gygli as director for planning and development services. She has been serving as division manager of neighborhood and community services. Source: KIDK
  • Idaho State University (ISU) will be holding an eclipse workshop in July for middle and high school teachers in Idaho. This comes after ISU received a $110,000 grant from the Idaho State Department of Education Math and Science Partnership Program. About 50 teachers will be selected to participate. Source: KIDK

Bingham County

  • The Power County Hospital District will locate a clinic in Aberdeen sometime in July. The district’s three health care providers — two nurse practitioners and a doctor — will see patients at the new clinic. The hospital district currently operates one other clinic, in American Falls, as well as the Power County Hospital. Source: Power County Press/Great Rift Business Development
  • The governor and other statewide elected office-holders have approved a land transfer necessary to begin construction on an Idaho veteran’s cemetery in Blackfoot. Preliminary construction costs for the proposed cemetery are estimated at $8.3 million, with approximately $7.5 million of that covered by the federal government. The cemetery will serve approximately 23,000 eastern Idaho veterans and their families. Source: Morning News
  • A bond to renovate the Blackfoot swimming pool failed by about 2 percent. The bond was asking for a $5 million bond to renovate and expand the facility. Source: KIDK
  • Bingham Memorial Hospital has added the Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery System to its growing collection of robotic technology. With this latest addition, Bingham Memorial now has one of the most comprehensive robotics programs in the United States. Mako is the latest advancement in joint replacement surgery and is transforming the way knee and hip reconstruction is performed. Source: Morning News
  • The Shelley City Council was awarded a $400,000 community development block grant through the Idaho Department of Commerce. The funds will go towards replacing an aging water tank at the top of the butte east of town. The remaining expenses could come from city reserve funds. The total cost of replacement is estimated at $1.2 million. Source: The Shelley Pioneer

Caribou County

  • Voters approved Soda Springs School District’s request for a $6.5 million bond to upgrade Tigert Middle School. There were 537 votes cast in favor of the bond and 216 against it. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Construction is ongoing at the 53-room Cobblestone Inn and Suites in Soda Springs. The $5 million project is being funded by an Idaho Gem grant and match from the city. Source: 4-CASI
  • Todd Hunzeker Ford of Soda Springs has moved into a new building next door to its previous location. Source: 4-CASI

Franklin County

  • The Preston City Council awarded the bid for repaving portions of three city streets to low bidder Staker-Parsons Company. The bid was $886,786. Source: The Preston Citizen

Power County

  • The American Falls School District has selected Randy Jensen as its new superintendent. Jensen has been with the school district for 32 years as a teacher, coach and the current principal at William Thomas Middle School. Jensen will begin his new position in July. Source: KPVI
  • Voters approved Power County Hospital District’s request for a $14.95 million bond. The bond will allow the hospital district to construct more patient and resident rooms, support areas, administrative space and a physical therapy building. It will also allow for other interior and exterior improvements. Source: Idaho State Journal

Openings

  • The Road to Recovery Center in Lava Hot Springs
  • Bear Lake Trailer Sales in Pocatello

Closings

  • Starlite Lanes in Blackfoot
  • Sally’s in Blackfoot
  • General Nutrition Company (GNC) in Blackfoot

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 city of Chubbuck is joining Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho (REDI). The move is an about-face from the city’s stance in November 2014 when several elected officials contacted the Bannock Development Corporation board to advocate pulling out of merger discussions with REDI. Chubbuck is also continuing its membership with Bannock Development Corporation. Source: Post Register

Bonneville County

  • Bonneville County residents in May voted more than 71 percent in favor of converting Eastern Idaho Technical College into a community college. The new College of Eastern Idaho will retain the low tuition costs and technical programs of EITC while adding general education courses and two-year associate degrees transferable to four-year universities. Pending accreditation and federal financial aid details, the College of Eastern Idaho could offer general education courses by late August. The average Bonneville County resident is estimated to pay $13.37 per year in property taxes toward the community college. Source: Post Register
  • Snake River Landing is planning to open a new entertainment and special event facility this summer. “Project X” will include a 9,000-square-foot building on approximately 4.5 acres near the Snake River. The facility is now under construction. When completed, it will feature a large indoor area for parties and special events and an extensive outdoor event area. Large, roll-up style doors are planned to expand the indoor space into an extended indoor/outdoor venue. A 1,500-square-foot performance stage can be used for indoor or outdoor events as well. Source: Bizmojo
  • A contract was awarded for the first phase of a $7.7 million Idaho Falls Regional Airport infrastructure improvement project. St. Anthony-based Depatco Inc. will rehabilitate a runway and several taxiways pending Idaho Falls City Council approval. The phase one contract is worth approximately $3.7 million. Federal Aviation Administration grants will pay 94 percent of the cost, while the city-owned airport will pay the remaining 6 percent from a self-sustaining enterprise fund, airport director Craig Davis said. Another contract worth about $4 million is expected to be awarded to Depatco after the 2018 federal budget passes. Source: Post Register

Madison County

  • Recently the Mayor of Rexburg and leaders from Rexburg Parks and Recreation decided to dedicate the former roller hockey rink in the Rexburg Nature Park for use as four pickle ball courts. The courts will be resurfaced next year, and permanent standards and nets will be installed. Until then temporary lines and nets will be used. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

Fremont County

  • The city of Ashton’s swimming pool will get an upgrade thanks to a $20,000 donation by the Vasac Trust. The money will be used to replace the pool’s aging boiler and upgrade the mechanical room. Source: Post Register

Butte County

  • Lost Rivers Medical Center in Arco will begin building an extensive surgical services suite thanks to a partnership with Bingham Memorial Hospital. The surgical center will offer services to residents of rural areas in Butte and Custer counties who otherwise would have to travel long distances to be treated. The two hospitals partnered to provide a state-of-the-art surgical suite at the Arco hospital, which will offer surgeries from orthopedic to gastrointestinal care. The construction of the new facility is expected to be finished by the summer of 2018. Chief Executive Officer Brad Huerta said the construction project is projected to cost approximately $1.3 million. Lost River has been saving funds to pay most of the cost, with Bingham Memorial Hospital providing the surgeons once the suite is built. Source: Post Register

Lemhi County

  • The Lemhi County Fair Board received a $1,000 donation from Formation Capital and a $750 donation from Idaho Outfitters that will be used to help rebuild the livestock for the new livestock barn. Source: The Recorder Herald

Opening

  • Gravity Factory an indoor trampoline park, recently opened in Rexburg. The first floor of the 25,000-square-foot building is filed with trampolines and options for very young kids. The building includes party rooms and a second floor lounge. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

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