Around Idaho: June 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

Bonner County

  • Intermax Networks is now serving Sandpoint’s new city-owned fiber optic cable service. Access to the city’s cable allows Intermax to nearly double its service in Sandpoint and supports the city’s goals of expanding the availability of fiber. Source: Idaho Business Review

Kootenai County

  • Construction on The Crossings – a new 37-acre business complex in Athol – began in June with the first work on a new Super 1 Foods grocery store. The complex is designed to serve the significant rural population of northern Kootenai County and may eventually include medical and financial service providers. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce has curtailed its financial support of the CDA Ironman competitions. After 14 years of full Ironman races, the city will instead begin hosting half-Ironman competitions beginning in 2018. Source: Spokesman Review
  • Silverwood Theme Park has fully ramped up for the summer season after opening its Boulder Beach water park. A representative from the park noted that sales of both season passes and individual tickets are up significantly from the previous year, when Canadian traffic dropped due to a weaker Canadian dollar. Season pass sales are up 23 percent over 2016, while individual ticket sales are up 20 percent. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The city of Coeur d’Alene will postpone its planned widening and reconstruction of Government Way. The city received only one bid for the project, which was 34 percent higher than the city’s initial estimate. A city spokesman indicated that the narrow timeframe associated with the project was contributing to high costs, as the project would have required significant overtime work. Source: Spokesman Review

Shoshone County

  • The Lucky Friday miners’ strike has entered its third month, and neither Union nor Hecla Mining representatives believe the labor dispute will end soon. A Hecla spokesman explained that the Lucky Friday mine’s operating margins are the lowest of any of the company’s facilities, and the company enjoyed positive cash flow despite the strike. 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 will receive $5.2 million in Emergency Relief Funds through the Idaho Office of Emergency Management for repair of roads and other infrastructure damaged by record snowfall and landslides earlier this year. In addition, the Clearwater Highway District will receive $1.4 million. Source: Window on the Clearwater
  • School District #171 is undertaking three maintenance projects this summer. It will replace the roofs at Timberline Schools and its bus barn at a cost of $279,000, repair the kitchen floor at Timberline and fix water seepage problems at Orofino Junior-Senior High School. Source: Clearwater Tribune
  • Clearwater County Commissioners have decided not to apply any dust abatement this year, because of the loss of federal forest funding. Congress did not reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) funding for this budget year, which provided money for schools and roads in counties where the Forest Service owns land. Clearwater County did not receive $500,000 in SRS funding in January, the first time since 2000. SRS funding provided one-third of the road department’s budget and was established to replace a cut in Forest Service funding that had been in place since 1908. The harsh winter conditions and subsequent flooding and landslides this spring have already consumed large amounts of this year’s road budget. Source: Window on the Clearwater

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • A federal court ruling in May allowed the Orogrande Community Protection Project to proceed. Designed to reduce fire risk in Orogrande, a small community 40 miles southwest of Elk City, the project calls for logging about 300 acres and constructing six miles of temporary road. Loggers would remove all but about 15 to 25 trees per acre. Large forest fires in 2007 and 2012 threatened Orogrande, and the project is expected to reduce the likelihood of catastrophic wildfire and create defensible space near the community. The environmental group Friends of the Clearwater, which challenges the project proposed by Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, had asked the court to grant a temporary injunction while the case proceeds. In February, Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter filed a friend of the court brief on the side of the Forest Service. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Kids Klub, an after-school program in Grangeville, soon will break ground on a long-anticipated building. In April, it received a $400,000 Idaho Community Development Block Grant. It also is using a Webb family donation, other donations and money from fundraisers. Wemhoff Architecture in Cottonwood created the plan on three city lots adjacent to Grangeville Elementary Middle School on South A Street. Since 2000, the club has used classrooms at the school. With the school enrollment now at capacity, those rooms now are needed for classrooms. Kids Klub program must leave the school building by June 2018. The club hopes to break ground this fall and move in next June. The new building will allow the club to expand its offerings Source: Idaho County Free Press

Latah County

  • The University of Idaho found spaces for its medical school facilities at Gritman Medical Center in downtown Moscow. The Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (WWAMI) medical education program is based at the University of Washington in Seattle. In addition to time in Seattle, students spend time at their home campus. Five years ago, the university hosted about 20 WWAMI students every year. Now, the university is allotted 40 seats per year, and the students stay on the Palouse for 18 months to two years, meaning UI is home to as many as 80 WWAMI students at a time. In addition, the Moscow school needs more space to increase its course offerings as it loses resources it shared with Washington State University – the school will depart from the WWAMI program after it opens its own medical school in Spokane this fall. UI will use half of the third floor of Gritman’s new building for classrooms, conference spaces and an anatomy lab through a 30-year, $250,000 annual lease. The university will begin offering a medical science undergraduate program this fall. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • A dozen construction crews are working at the University of Idaho this summer on maintenance and construction projects across campus. Construction started on a 7,500-square-foot Aquaculture Research Institute Building in May that should be completed in December. At the Environmental Health and Safety Building, a crew is removing external trim, stairs, a ramp, handrail and guardrail to apply a new coat of paint to the siding, then new trim will be applied and painted. In addition, concrete porches, stairs, sidewalks and a ramp will be constructed. Another crew is replacing heating and cooling pipes in Gibb Hall this summer. Projects at the E.J. Iddings Agriculture and Science Building will include bathroom upgrades, an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant entrance, modernized class rooms and improved corridors. These will continue through October. Contractors working on Buchanan Engineering Laboratory will replace water pipes, fume hoods and duct work, as well as add guardrails to the building’s exterior. Another crew is renovating the Idaho Commons Student Lounge. Some dormitories are being updated, and a major renovation is underway at the historic Administration Building. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The University of Idaho is renovating its 110-year-old Administration Building at the heart of the Moscow campus this summer. Idaho’s Permanent Building Fund is providing the $2.3 million needed for the project on the Gothic Revival building known for its clock tower, staircases and detail work. Construction crews will improve the safety of the building’s staircases, remove fire doors not part of the original design, restore archways separating each wing from the central stairwell, improve light fixtures and fire safety systems and repair the terrazzo, marble and wood floors. Outside the north entrance, a slanted concrete ramp will be replaced with a granite one and the mosaic there will be repaired. The building is listed as one of the top 100 most important structures in Idaho by the Society of Architectural Historians, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This summer’s work will only be the first part of maintenance and restoration projects the building will need over many years. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The city of Potlatch and the Clearwater Economic Development Association (CEDA) are considering conducting a feasibility study for building and operating a fiber optic broadband internet network to serve the Potlatch community. Mayor David Brown said faster, higher-quality internet connections could be the magic ingredient when it comes to enticing new businesses and residents to settle in Potlatch. At least one business that considered moving there didn’t because of the city’s poor connections, and two local businesses moved to Moscow for better connections. The $16,000 study would examine existing infrastructure, estimate construction and ongoing costs and create a network design. CEDA completed a similar study for Kendrick, which has decided to move forward with the plan. First Step Internet will act as the provider for Kendrick’s fiber optic network. That network would cost roughly $360,000 to build, and would be financially feasible if at least 40 percent of homes and businesses subscribed at prices of $50 to $75 per month. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Nez Perce and Asotin Counties

  • SkyWest, which operates Delta’s flights from Lewiston, is adding a flight to Salt Lake City for the summer. From July 5 through Sept. 6, a flight will depart Lewiston at 6:45 p.m. This will be in addition to the airport’s current Salt Lake City flight. Other flights from the Lewiston airport are operated by Horizon Air for Alaska Airlines, offering flights to and from Seattle and Boise. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The 2017 NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) Baseball World Series, which began May 28, had the smallest total attendance in the event’s 26-year run in Lewiston. This year, 31,036 spectators showed up for the 19 baseball games with 10 teams from small colleges throughout the U.S. The previous low was 31,451, reached in 2011. The all-time high was 45,475 in 2008. Lewis-Clark State officials, hosts of the series at Harris Field, say the unusually high temperatures – in the 90s – in the first few days of the series, and the broadcast of all the series games on a Spokane station may the reasons for reduced attendance. This was the series debut for Harris Field’s new grandstand, which features wider aisles and more comfortable seats, but also resulted in the loss of about 300 seats, which may have reduced attendance on a couple of days. Although fewer locals attended the series games, evidence from hotels and RV parks suggest that attendance from outside the area has been rising over the past eight years. According to Visit Lewis-Clark Valley, the World Series brings around 1,200 out-of-town visitors to the valley, including 826 who stay overnight. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The iconic Liberty Theater in downtown Lewiston is being revitalized in hopes it will become a prime downtown attraction. The theater opened in 1921 in a building constructed in 1902. It has sat empty since it closed in 2005. New York developer Mark Alexander, who purchased the Main Street property two years ago, plans to donate it to the Liberty Theater Preservation Alliance once it’s restored. The upgrade was paid for by a grant from Beautiful Downtown Lewiston and other donations. The preservation group envisions the theater’s future like the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre in Moscow, where a historic theater became a venue for films, plays, lectures, concerts and parties. The crowds it draws are likely to eat and shop at downtown businesses. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Openings

  • Lisa and Dave Remsburg opened Farm Table Café on Main Street in Craigmont, serving a wide variety of menu items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • New Bowl, an Asian restaurant, opened in May in the log-cabin building on Highway 8 at the entrance to Troy. Its menu features dishes from Korea, Japan, Thailand, China and India. The restaurant is likely to draw residents from Moscow, about 13 miles from Troy, a city of 900. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Skalicky’s Vintage Treasures opened in late May on Thain Road in Lewiston. One room of the antique store is devoted to music, especially vinyl records, while other rooms offer used and rare books, glassware and furniture. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Sativa Sisters, Clarkston’s third marijuana store, opened in May. Washington voters approved a referendum legalizing the sale of marijuana and paraphernalia in 2012. Near the shop’s main entrance, Amsterdam Coffee Club will open in a couple of weeks. 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

  • Residential property values in Ada County now are higher than just before the recession took its toll. Ada County’s median residential assessed value is $223,100, the highest since 2008, when the median was $211,000. Residential property assessed values rose 8.1 percent in 2016, about the same percent as they did in 2015. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • A new 150-room Hyatt Place opened May 31 at 11th and Bannock streets in downtown Boise. Steed Construction of Eagle was the general contractor on the $24 million hotel. Downtown Boise has added two hotels since the beginning of the year. These were the first new hotels there since 2007. In addition, a 15-room Residence Inn by Marriott will open in a couple of months, and a 150-room Hilton Garden Inn is expected to open next spring, providing  more capacity for conferences and conventions and bring larger groups to Boise. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Boise hosted the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, its largest multiday convention ever at the downtown convention center in June. The group canceled its original booking for Raleigh, North Carolina, in response to a North Carolina statute defining access to public facilities by transgender individuals. The timing was good for Boise Center, which completed a project in April that tripled the size of conventions it can host. More than 1,500 people attended the convention, and all 14 hotels in downtown Boise were completely booked. Other hotels throughout the city took care of overflow. Source: Spokesman Review
  • SYKES is hiring several customer service representatives for its Boise call center after picking up a new client working in online travel services. It currently employs about 1,200 people in Boise, providing customer service for companies in a variety of industries. The center’s employees screen calls, offer technical support and help with marketing and sales. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Direct Selling Association named Scentsy Inc. in Meridian as one of the top 20 direct-sales companies in the nation, based on net sales for 2016. Scentsy has more than 100,000 direct-selling consultants, who independently sell fragrance and home decor, often through home-based parties. The company sells its products in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Source: Meridian Press
  • The Treasure Valley’s largest hotel, the Riverside in Garden City, began a $5 million renovation of the lobby, restaurant, bar and all 304 guest rooms this spring. The hotel’s façade also will get a facelift. The Riverside is doing its own room renovations, and Mark Guho Construction of Boise is the general contractor for everything else. The hotel will remain open throughout construction, which is expected to end in October. On June 3, The Riverside opened the River’s Edge Terrace outdoor event center Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Developer Jake Wylie is adding one of the last pieces to the Grandview Marketplace at Eagle and Overland roads in Meridian. The general contractor, JRW Construction of Eagle, broke ground March 1 on a 6,800-square-foot commercial building on Overland Road near the marketplace’s west end, where a 92-room Tru by Hilton hotel also is being built. Tobacco Connection, one of the building tenants, will open in July. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Meridian was one of the fastest-growing cities in the country last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It was among the 15 fastest-growing cities with populations of 50,000 or more. The fastest growing increased 7.8 percent between 2015 and 2016. Meridian’s population grew 4.5 percent, from 91,501 to 95,623. Source: Idaho Department of Labor

Adams County

  • The Idaho Transportation Department is replacing a 60-year-old bridge on U.S. 95 across the Little Salmon River about 20 miles north of New Meadows. General contractor Braun-Jensen Inc. of Payette started the $2.5 million project in April. The new bridge is being built one side at a time with the single lane of traffic over the bridge controlled by a temporary traffic signal. Source: Idaho Business Review

Boise County

  • The Idaho City Historical Foundation received the 2016 Sister Alfreda Elsensohn Award for outstanding museum interpretation and historical preservation this spring. The presentation took place at the historic Pon Yam House on the corner of Commercial and Montgomery streets in Idaho City. The award comes with a prize of $10,000, which will allow the museum to expand. The Pon Yam house features the important role Chinese immigrants played in the area’s early years. Idaho City’s history is a major draw for visitors. Source: Idaho Business Review

Canyon County

  • The new Saint Alphonsus hospital in Nampa celebrated its grand opening in June. Located near the corner of Interstate 84 and Garrity Boulevard, it replaces the organization’s hospital on 12th Avenue. The new $80 million hospital provides 100 inpatient beds and was designed to fit modern technological needs. The five-story, 240,000-square-foot building includes a 24-hour emergency department, an intensive care unit and a six-room surgical operating suite. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Idaho Youth Ranch is ready to start construction this summer on a residential treatment center near Middleton, which will include a “village” and indoor horse arena. The $24 million master plan to create a new ranch for youth therapy includes housing, an education center, dining hall, welcome center, chapel and multipurpose room. The 225-by-150-foot arena could be open by January. It will be near an outdoor arena, a barn for 20 horses and pens for pigs and calves. Other buildings will be added over the next three or four years as funding becomes available. Since it was founded in 1957, the Idaho Youth Ranch has helped hundreds of troubled teens. It sold its first ranch outside Rupert in 2014 with plans for a new treatment facility for youth who need more intensive therapy over a longer period of time. The Rupert ranch was three hours from Boise, while the Middleton ranch is within half an hour of the three largest cities in Idaho and their four-year universities and colleges, which provide interns and hosts for class horticultural projects. The new ranch facilities will provide housing for up to 40 youth. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Primary Health Medical Group plans an urgent care clinic at the corner of Happy Valley Road and Garrity Boulevard near the new WinCo in Nampa. Remodeling of the former Discount Tire will begin in August. The clinic, which will open in early 2018, will include 11 exam rooms, an X-ray suite, trauma room, lab and procedure room. Source: Idaho Press Tribune

Elmore County

  • In The Ditch, a Mountain Home company that designs and manufactures products for the towing industry, plans to build a 50,000-square-foot facility so it can add 20 or more workers. Chuck Ceccarelli founded the company in Bruneau in the mid-1990s. He also owns three sales-and-service companies: Idaho Wrecker Sales, IWS Motor Coaches and Fish Fighter Products. Together their sales are expected to top $24 million this year and employ more than 70 full-time workers. Source: Idaho Business Review

Payette County

  • The Boys & Girls Club of the Western Treasure Valley is trying to raise $100,000 by September so it can open a satellite clubhouse in Payette. That would provide match for a $100,000 grant from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation. Source: Independent-Enterprise
  • Payette County Commissioners awarded an $181,690 contract to Desert View Construction, based in Caldwell, to excavate a new industrial waste containment pond at Clay Peak Landfill. The project involves building a pond of nearly five acres that will hold up to six million gallons. The new pond, which will replace two older ponds being taken out of service, will handle waste from Seneca and other food processors. Source: Independent-Enterprise
  • Payette is preparing for many visitors during the solar eclipse Aug. 21, when it will be in a narrow path of the United States 60 to 70 miles wide from Oregon to South Carolina that will experience total darkness. Even places that don’t normally offer accommodations, including some local farms, are offering spaces for visitors. Source: Independent-Enterprise

Valley County

  • Meetings held in McCall, Cascade and Boise in May allowed members of the public to provide input on plans by Midas Gold Corp. to mine gold in the Stibnite area of Valley County. The proposed mine in the Payette National Forest will require extensive environmental impact study and public input. Midas Gold, based in Vancouver, B.C., hopes to remove what its analysis suggest are four to five million ounces of gold and 100 million to 200 million pounds of antimony over 12 years. The company predicts up to 1,000 workers would help to build the mine over three years and then 600 workers would work at the mine. Source: McCall Star-News
  • Property values in Valley County rose 8.8 percent between last year’s assessments and this year’s. They remain below their high prior to the recession and the fallout from Tamarack’s financial problems. Assessed value this year totaled an estimated $3.67 billion, up from $3.47 billion from 2016. Valuation peaked in 2008 at $5.5 billion in 2008. New construction was valued at $91 million in 2017, compared to $58 million in 2016 and $34 million in 2015. McCall is leading the valuation growth, but Donnelly and Cascade also are experiencing an improved market. Source: McCall Star-News
  • The former Payette Lakes Inn was enrolled on the National Register of Historic Places in May. The building’s owner hopes to renovate the former inn into an events center with limited on-site lodging for events only. Built in 1915 by the Payette Lakes Club, the four-story foot clubhouse contained 50 bedrooms, a large lobby with two large fireplaces, a dining room and kitchen. In 1958, it was converted into a church camp. For more than 20 years, it has stood vacant and in disrepair. With its historic site designation, renovation projects may qualify for grants and tax credits. It’s located on Warren Wagon Road just north of McCall. Source: McCall Star-News
  • McCall-Donnelly School District will proceed with planned construction of a new Heartland High School even though the low bid exceeded estimates by more than $750,000. SDI Construction of Boise submitted the lowest of the six bids — nearly $2.13 million, compared to the estimated $1.35 million. The school board accepted the bid from CSDI for the 5,500-square-foot building to be built on Idaho Street in McCall. Costs will be cut from the project where possible by foregoing some aesthetic additions and using expertise by district employees on such things as landscaping and ventilation. Source: McCall Star-News
  • The city of McCall awarded a contract for $527,213 to Valley Paving and Asphalt in McCall to rebuild Commerce Street this summer. The construction project is the first to be funded with the 1 percent local-option sales tax approved by McCall voters in 2015 to rebuild city streets. In addition, 3 percent was added to the city’s previous 3 percent sales tax on motels, vacation rentals and other overnight lodging. The tax collected $1.58 million in 2016. The rebuild involves replacing 25-year-old pavement, adding 10-foot wide travel lanes with six-foot shoulders on either side for bicyclists and pedestrians, improving drainage and providing more room for delivery trucks. Next year, the city plans to use the local-option revenues to rebuild Idaho Street. The city plans to repave adjacent Brown Circle at the same time using other city street funds. Source: McCall Star-News

Washington County

  • Weiser could host up to 30,000 people Aug. 21 when thousands of people flock there to view the total solar eclipse. Weiser is considered prime viewing area. Total darkness will last more than two minutes there. The hotels and campgrounds in Weiser were all booked by April; and many in the surrounding areas from Baker City to Nampa also have no vacancies. Local and state officials also are preparing for huge amounts of traffic on the two-lane highway, especially after the eclipse. They believe visitors will move into the area over a period of days, but are likely to leave soon after the eclipse. Source: KTVB.com
  • A new $5.5 million facility under construction near Weiser will introduce an organic crop to local farmers. The facility will produce inulin, a prebiotic additive for foods used for texture maintenance, low-calorie sweetening, bulking, mouth feel, fat replacement and dietary fiber enhancement. The product is made from SunSpuds, a sunflower and Jerusalem artichoke hybrid developed by the University of Idaho and University of Maine. That crop fits well into the mix of organic crops grown in the area. The facility’s owner, Intrinsic Organics, expects to open this fall. Initially, it will hire about 20 workers and produce 1.2 million pounds of inulin a year. It could ramp up to five million pounds in a four or five years, when it will employ about 52 people. The number of acres devoted to SunSpuds are expected to reach 867 by 2021. The U.S. imports about 50 million pounds of inulin annually, mostly from Europe and China. Intrinsic Organics will be the first company to domestically produce organic inulin from crops grown in the United States. Washington County and Snake River Economic Development Alliance recruited Intrinsic Organics to Weiser. Source: Capital Press; Idaho Business Review

Under Construction

  • Construction began May 1 on a 108-room Comfort Inn & Suites near the Boise Airport. It’s expected to open in March. Wright Brothers – The Building Company of Eagle is the general contractor. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Construction began in June on a Domino’s Pizza in Emmett. It’s expected to open in September. Source: Messenger-Index

 Openings

  • A 2,500-square-foot Dairy Queen will open inside a 4,000-square-foot Stinker convenience store under construction in Meridian. The store will open in late July and the Dairy Queen about three weeks later. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Peter Bui opened Pho 779, a Vietnamese restaurant near the Kohl’s Department Store on Eagle Road in Meridian in May. The restaurant features his mother’s recipes for pho — a noodle soup. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Dairy Queen will be the first burger chain in Star. Construction on a 47-seat Dairy Queen began in June on State Street. It will open by September. About 8,500 people live in Star. Source: Idaho Business Review

Closing

  • 20th Century Lanes on Boise’s West State Street closed in June after 57 years. The building is under remodel and will reopen Nov. 1 as Treasure Valley Skate, a skating rink and fun center. Source: Idaho Statesman

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

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

Blaine County

  • After 30 years, the Nature Conservancy has donated Ernest and Mary Hemingway’s home in Ketchum to the Community Library. Some artifacts will be preserved and shared with the public through the library. The home will host writers, scholars and artists in residency in 2018, but will not be open to the public. The home is on the National Register of Historic Homes. Source: Times-News
  • D.L. Evans has started construction on a new branch in Hailey, nearly doubling the size of its current location where it’s been for 12 years. The new 6,200-square-foot building will provide a. community meeting room. Conrad Brothers of Ketchum is the general contractor while Erstad Architects of Boise is the architect. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Idaho Humanities Council awarded nearly $60,000 in grants to organizations and individuals across the state including:  $2,000 to Trailing of the Sheep Cultural Heritage Center in Hailey to support a presentation by filmmaker Stanzin Dorjai at the next Trailing of the Sheep this fall;  $3,500 to Ketchum Community Library to support the Ernest Hemingway Festival this fall; and $1,000 to Syringa Mountain School to assist with funding fourth grade field trips to visit historical towns, building and mines as the students participate in survival skills workshops. Source: Times-News
  • Washington Federal Bank has awarded ARCH Community Housing Trust a $3,000 grant to help develop single-family rental housing for residents earning 80 percent or less of the area median income. Community housing is scarce and restricts population and labor force growth, according to business and community leaders at last year’s Sun Valley Economic Summit. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Ketchum’s Local Option Tax brought in $2.14 million in fiscal year2016, up six percent from the previous fiscal year of $1.5 million. This has led to a plethora of increased requests from local nonprofit groups that depend on some community subsidy:
    • The Energy Advisory Committee – $196,000. Last year, the group received $100,000 from Ketchum.
    • Mountain Rides – $634,000 from Ketchum and $317,000 from Sun Valley, both an uptick of 7.5 percent from the previous year. Monies will increase wages for drivers in an effort to attract workforce and supplement increased health insurance costs.
    • Fly Sun Valley Alliance – $500,000 from Ketchum and $300,000 from Sun Valley, an increase over last year of $160,000 and $25,000 respectively.
    • The Ketchum Innovation Center – $66,000.
      Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Jerome County

  • Jerome School District superintendent and board are looking to acquire land to eventually build on to accommodate district growth. Enrollment continues to grow by about 100 students annually. Source: Times-News
  • The Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs organized an Immigration Town Hall meeting to discuss public policies. Organizations presenting on the topic included the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho, Catholic Charities of Idaho and the Mexican Consulate based in Boise. Source: Times-News
  • Idaho Transportation Department has started work on stretches of I-84 in and around Jerome.
    • I-84 eastbound lanes are down to a single lane for a six-mile section where crews will improve drainage and irrigation waterways, and rebuild the on and off-ramps at exits182 and 188. This will cost approximately $11 million with a completion date of mid-November.
    • Paving of I-84 westbound lanes between Northside Canal and Kasota Road interchange.
    • Paving the westbound ramps at Kasota Road interchange and replacing guardrails and lane lining.
    • In early July, crews will mill the top layer of road surface to remove damage and then place an asphalt overlay, followed by a seal coat on a seven-mile stretch to be finished in early August.
    • Resurfacing eastbound and westbound lanes of I-84 between Wendell and Jerome will start in late summer.
    • Reconstructing eastbound lanes from Valley Road to the Northside Canal once the contract is finalized.
      Source: Times-News

Lincoln County

  • City of Shoshone officials met with Idaho State University Bengal Solutions and other Shoshone community members about potentially relocating the Idaho Transportation Department’s (ITD) Region IV Administrative offices. The ITD regional group has grown to more than 60 workers, outgrowing its current facility in Shoshone. Because current workers reside throughout the eight-county region, some suggested locating a new office near Jerome as it is geographically central. But with nearly 30 workers due to retire, it is unknown where the replacement workers will reside. It is unlikely a decision will be made for some time.

Minidoka and Cassia Counties

  • Ida Beef is opening a large-scale meat processing plant in Burley this summer. This will save area dairy producers an estimated 70 percent in the cost of shipping culled dairy cows, which now have to be shipped to plants out of state. Source: Capital Press
  • The new John V. Evans Elementary School in Burley will open this fall to 600 students, including Mountain View students who will attend this fall as their school is remodeled. The district has to prioritize additional expenses like exterior landscaping, playground equipment and fencing based on residual funds after building construction is complete. Source: Times-News

Twin Falls County

  • Wells Fargo will close its downtown Twin Falls branch this fall. It announced it would shutter 200 locations nationally earlier this year but Twin Falls did not have a branch on the list at that time. Since then, the downtown has seen its streets torn up with a major facelift that affects traffic for businesses in the core of Twin Falls. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places, built in 1909, and is iconic with a big clock in the corner of the building. Wells Fargo does not anticipate laying off workers, but rather a consolidation of workers to the other two offices is likely. Source: Times-News
  • The College of Southern Idaho announced the Head Start Program serving Blaine County is closing this summer. This will affect 20 Wood River Valley preschoolers, mainly from low-income families. The $228,000 shortfall precipitated the decision ultimately approved by Head Start’s regional office in Seattle. The program has been serving the area for 26 years. Source: Times-News
  • The city of Twin Falls broke ground near the Evil Knievel Jump Site to complete unfinished sections of the Canyon Rim trail. The new section will connect to Pole Line Road and Eastland. The city facilitated land swaps to connect the trail. Source: Times-News
  • The Idaho Humanities Council awarded the College of Southern Idaho a $3,000 grant to initiate a two-day refugee symposium. Issues related to the refugee crisis globally and its impact on the U.S. historically and present-day will be addressed by legal scholars, historians, social scientists and refugees. The intended audience is students, teachers and community members. Source: Times-News
  • The Twin Falls Center for the Arts hosted the first silversmith symposium. The two-day event featured two speakers — one addressing the business end of being an artist while the other featured fabrication and silver forming. Source: Times-News

Openings

  • A new 4,200-square-foot building in the Twin Falls Canyon West strip mall will house national retailer Charming Charlie. The store specializes in women’s fashion and accessories. It will open in September. Source: Times-News
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts plans to build a second store in Twin Falls employing eight – 12 workers. It will open in the fall. Source: Times-News
  • The city of Twin Falls gave Hoggarth Auto Sales approval to build a new sales facility. 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

Bannock County

  • Bannock County’s top official announced that the much-anticipated Siphon Road-Interstate 15 interchange project will be delayed until next year if approved by the state. Public comment is currently being sought on the project by the Idaho Transportation Department. If approved, construction could start as early as 2018. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Idaho State University has announced that classes will be cancelled the first official day of classes, Monday Aug. 21, due to the hundreds of thousands of visitors that are expected to converge in southeastern Idaho to observe the total eclipse of the sun. Source: Idaho State Journal

Bingham County

  • The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality awarded an $11,248,570 low-interest wastewater construction loan to the city of Blackfoot in Bingham County. The loan will be paid by sewer system users over a 20-year period. Source: The Morning News
  • ​The city of Basalt will go forward with its sewer collection replacement project after receiving a $350,000 rural development block grant from the Idaho Department of Commerce. The city has also been awarded a $708,000 low-interest wastewater construction loan from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to fund the project. Basalt will request bids in November to begin work possibly in March 2018. Source: Shelley Pioneer, The Morning News
  • Representatives of Bingham Memorial Hospital presented a $491,747 check to Bingham County. This is the latest payment received by the county since the hospital converted from a county–operated facility to a 501C3 nonprofit corporation called BMH Inc. in 2007. Since 2007, BMH Inc. has paid Bingham County more than $3.6 million in payments to the benefit of the citizens, according to the contract between the two entities. Source: The Morning News
  • The Idaho Wing Civil Air Patrol will have a ribbon cutting for its new headquarters at the Blackfoot Municipal Airport on Friday, June 30, in conjunction with Celebrate Blackfoot. The new headquarters will include a living museum as well as an educational facility. Source: The Morning News

Openings

  • Blackfoot Adult Success Center in Blackfoot. The center is associated with the Idaho State University Blackfoot Outreach.
  • Interactive Splash Pad at Stuart Park in Chubbuck.
  • Idaho Wing Civil Air Patrol Headquarters 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

  • Due in part to late spring snowstorms, fewer people visited Yellowstone National Park in May when compared with a year ago. But it was still the second busiest May on record at the world’s first national park. Yellowstone hosted more than 419,600 visits during May, down 5.6 percent from May 2016’s 444,600 visits. From Jan. 1 to May 30 this year, the park has counted more than 550,000 visitors, down 7.3 percent from the same period in 2016, which was the National Park Service centennial year. Source: Post Register

Madison County

  • Brigham Young University-Idaho’s (BYU-Idaho) spring semester campus enrollment of 14,934 students was a 2.1 percent increase over last spring’s total of 14,623 students. Additionally, 4,384 students worked internships or took classes online. More students continue to take classes online than on campus, according to a BYU-Idaho news release. Online students, including those in the BYU-Pathway Worldwide program, numbered 19,026, a 10.9 increase over last spring’s enrollment of 17,152 students. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal
  • BYU-Idaho and Arizona State University (ASU) are establishing a partnership allowing students to transfer credit if they wish to complete a degree at ASU using the BYU-Pathway Worldwide program. The innovative partnership will allow students who begin their education through one of BYU-Idaho’s programs access to the wider array of classes, majors and degrees offered by ASU. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal
  • The first wastewater plant of its kind to be built in the United States will open in Rexburg at the end of June. The renovated plant will use a process that removes liquids leaving compostable material that can be used on gardens, fields and to heat buildings. Treatment plants using this process already operate throughout Europe. The $8 million wastewater plant renovation will start production in the ensuing weeks. The city plans to sell the compost to residents. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

Bonneville County

  • Idaho National Laboratory’s historic Experimental Breeder Reactor-I Atomic Museum opened early June. The EBR-I museum, located 50 miles west of Idaho Falls off U.S. Highway 20, is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. EBR-I was completed in 1951 and was the first nuclear reactor to produce a usable amount of electricity. It was operated until 1963. It is one of 10 National Historic Landmarks in Idaho. Last summer, EBR-I hosted more than 10,000 visitors from across the world, and more than a quarter of a million visitors from every state and dozens of foreign countries have come through its doors since EBR-I opened for summer tours in 1975. Source: Post Register
  • Linden, Utah-based Sunroc Building Materials opened its second Idaho store in late May in Idaho Falls. Sunroc sells building materials offering trusses and framing components along with insulation, timbers, siding, windows, doors, millwork, hardware, decking and railing materials. Sunroc occupied the former Stock Building Supply lumber yard on Bombardier Avenue. Sunroc Building Materials has another Idaho store in Rexburg among its 11 stores in Utah, Nevada, Wyoming and Idaho. Source: Post Register
  • Northwest Cosmetics Labs (NCL) acquired Dream Team Beaute of Sun Valley California, a cutting-edge color cosmetics innovator that has seen rapid growth since it was founded in 2013. The Dream Team Beaute acquisition will elevate NCL’s existing color capabilities while adding new offerings in pressed and loose powders. The integration of the two companies will take place over the summer. Dream Team’s California location will allow NCL to provide additional development services for existing West Coast customers as well as prospective customers. Source: Bizmojo
  • The Salt Lake City-based law firm of Parsons Behle & Latimer is opening a law office in Idaho Falls. The firm has more than 135 attorneys serving clients in natural resources, manufacturing, technology, real estate, banking, retail, utility and health care industries. Founded in 1882, the firm has offices in Boise, Idaho Falls, Las Vegas, Reno, Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C. Source: Bizmojo

Under Construction

  • A Hampton Inn hotel is being built at the south end of Rexburg by Headwaters Construction. It is slated to open on April 1, 2018. Yellowstone visitors make up about 60 percent of the hotel business in Rexburg. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

 Opening

  • Juston and Nikki Wadsworth of Ashton are opening a soup restaurant in Rexburg called Soup For You? Juston Wadsworth is a former electrician and previously worked as a chef at a soup restaurant in Pocatello. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal
  • After more than a year without an eatery, Teton welcomed  Badger Creek Café in early June. The cafe is owned and operated by Elyse Archer and John Flyg, who both trained and worked in New York under Michelin Star Chef April Bloomfield. John, who began his career in his hometown of Pocatello washing dishes, does the majority of the cooking at Badger Creek. He was most recently a sous chef at Local in Jackson. Elyse, who also worked at Local, manages the front of Badger Creek and is also a pastry chef. Source: Post Register

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

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