February 25, 2019 Contact: John Regetz, President & CEO
Pocatello-Chubbuck, ID 208-530-1400, email@example.com
The Pine Ridge Mall and Farmer Companies continued their support of Bannock Development Corporation and the community’s prosperity with a $3,000 investment today. The support will help fund job attraction, talent development and local employer support efforts in Bannock County and the region. At a ceremony today in the Pine Ridge Mall community leaders took stock of the benefits from both organizations.
Drake Taylor, presented a check to Bannock Development to support their efforts, including expansion of current employers and recruitment of new ones. “The Pine Ridge Mall is happy to support Bannock Development’s mission to bring good jobs to our community and grow existing companies. We want to see the community grow, along with the Pine Ridge Mall and Bannock Development’s efforts help that happen”, said Taylor.
Brandon Lance, Chairman of Bannock Development Corporation, expressed appreciation and support for the Pine Ridge Mall. “We at Bannock Development Corporation are grateful for the Pine Ridge Mall’s investment and we will use it to get more jobs in town and therefore more people in the Mall. Our missions are much the same,” said Lance.
Pine Ridge Mall and its parent corporation, Farmer Companies, have supported the community, including Bannock Development Corporation, since Farmer Companies purchased the Mall. New innovative tenants in the mall include Planet Fitness and GEM Prep School. The Xtreme Idaho Outdoor Expo will be at the mall on April 5&6.
Recent projects involving the Bannock Development Corporation include the FBI expansion, housing supply research and promotion, Cold Storage development, and economic dashboard development.
The Your Future in Technology (YourFIT) Program will once again display High-Tech, High-Wage and High-Demand career paths at local high schools this spring!
Nine Career & Technology Expos will promote nine technical career paths and training to middle & high school students, their parents and the public. These career paths qualify as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Careers.
The Technology Career Expos start on Feb. 28 at Aberdeen High School. All Expos begin at 5:30 p.m., with refreshments and a survey to assess current career knowledge. This is followed by tour of company career demonstration booths and COT training booths. An acquired knowledge survey is then administered follow by door prize drawings.×
The YourFIT Program was started 3 years ago when premier regional employers, such as the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), indicated that good technical positions were becoming difficult to fill. Surveys of high school students throughout Southeast Idaho indicated that 96 percent of them had little or no knowledge of, or interest in, the high wage and high demand technical careers available in the region.
The first two years of YourFIT improved knowledge and interest in technology careers and more needs to be done with new high school and middle students. The Idaho National Laboratory (INL), the Idaho STEM Center, Bayer, Williams Inc, Simplot and other regional companies fund the coalition’s project, YourFIT.
This support enables development and execution of Technology Career Expo events at high schools in the region, allowing students, teachers, and parents to see hands-on demonstrations of these careers in practice.
In 2018, the RightFIT Program was deployed using the Department of Labor’s Growing Together Program to educate high school career counselors and educators about technical careers and tour actual industries.
Kandi Rudd, regional manager of workforce development for the Idaho Department of Labor in Pocatello, says that not only are the jobs and education available locally, but most require only two years of study and compare favorably with careers requiring four or more years of university study.
“Our statistics show that the median wage for someone entering the workforce with only a high school diploma is $29,700, while the median wage for someone with a four-year college degree is $44,500,” she said. “However, the median salaries for the nine selected career paths range from $34,500 to $80,600 with only two years of college study.”
Rudd said that each of the eight career paths offer opportunities for career-long growth, with employers paying for the costs of increased training in most cases.
“Training opportunities for these high-tech, high-wage, high-demand jobs are currently available at ISU’s College of Technology” says R. Scott Rasmussen, Dean of the College of Technology.
The nine high-tech, high-wage, high-demand career paths include:
Welding Information Technology GIS/CIS/Cyber-security.
Instrumentation/Controls Maintenance engineers/mechanics.
Nuclear Operating technology Unmanned Aerial Systems (Drones).
Outdoor Electrical Machining (CNC).
Pictured: Co-owner Rory Erchul on Thursday sands a piece of wood that will be used in the new Union Taproom, which will open in early March in the Yellowstone Hotel building on West Bonneville Street in Pocatello. It’s one of five new businesses that will open in Old Town by this spring.
By John O’Connell firstname.lastname@example.org
POCATELLO — Five new businesses are poised to open by this spring in Old Town Pocatello, including a restaurant and taproom and a shop where customers will make their own all-natural personal and household products.
Union Taproom will be located inside the former Yellowstone Hotel at 230 W. Bonneville St. The project is planned by the group of owners who previously opened the high-end Yellowstone restaurant and The 313 Whiskey Bar in the same historic building.
Salt and Honey, which is scheduled to open Feb. 1 inside the Kress Building, 150 S. Main St., Suite A, will sell handmade sustainable, personal and household products made from natural ingredients.×
Photographer Sara Turpin will open the Photo Boutique in the former location of Bill Burke’s House of Photography, 159 S. Main St.
Stephanie Palagi, executive director of Old Town Pocatello, Inc., said announcements will be forthcoming about two additional businesses that plan to open in Old Town by March.
Jennifer Erchul, who is one of the owners planning Union Taproom, said the restaurant will include 26 taps, featuring craft beer from regional breweries. Erchul said the taproom will also offer “food that complements beer,” such as slider hamburgers, wings, pretzel twists with dipping sauces, personal flatbread pizzas and spiced nuts. She said the new business should be open by the first week of March.
“Everything will be made in-house,” Erchul said, adding live music and trivia will be hosted regularly at the restaurant. “The taproom is going to be our extremely casual, more playful side of things.”
Erchul said The Yellowstone restaurant also started opening for lunch recently, with a special lunch menu.
“The experience in Old Town is getting elevated, and to be a part of it is exciting,” Erchul said.
Keri Kimbrough hopes her business, Salt and Honey, will raise public awareness about how disposable products and synthetic ingredients and toxins are harming both the ecosystem and human health.
“There are major issues going on with our planet, and at some point we have to figure out how to live with less waste,” said Kimbrough, who is a certified wellness coach.
Her business will offer a line of reusable products, including reusable cloth trash bags with washable liners, reusable straws, reusable towels and reusable drier balls containing essential oils to replace drier sheets. Her aunt, Barbara Mills, who is also an investor in the business, will supply many of the handmade, reusable products.
Kimbrough will sell natural products such as handmade soaps, lotions and detergents. A unique aspect of her business is that she plans to invite groups of people to develop their own custom recipes and to make their own products in her shop, with her guidance.
Kimbrough worked in the insurance industry for 12 years, before she left Michigan about a year and a half ago to return to her childhood home, Pocatello. She and her brother, Sean Kimbrough, bought the local locksmith shop LDA Security together.
Kimbrough also plans to offer classes in proper composting.
“This is what I really wake up every day and care about,” she said.
Turpin has already opened her photography studio, though her renovations are continuing, and she recently received a permit to replace the door of her business with one bearing her logo. She has a background in graphic design and took photography classes while living in Las Vegas. At the Photo Boutique, she’ll specialize in photographing newborns, children, families and seniors.
Turpin plans to lease part of her space to a retail tenant and is still seeking a potential renter. For more information on her business, visit thephotoboutique.studio.
Palagi said Old Town typically experiences a rash of new business openings during both the spring and fall. Palagi said the forthcoming openings will build on the success of 2018, when a strong economy contributed to a dozen new businesses starting in Old Town. Those businesses are still open and have reported strong sales, she said.
“For the most part, we had a great holiday season,” Palagi said.
She believes the new arrivals will add to the eclectic mix of businesses in Old Town. She’s particularly pleased by the resurgence of the Yellowstone Hotel as as a staple of Old Town.
“It’s absolutely one of the best things to happen in Old Town in the past several years,” Palagi said.
Case No. INT-G-18-02
Final Order: No. 34154
Contact: Matt Evans
Office: (208) 334-0339
Cell: (208) 520-4763
BOISE (Sept. 26, 2018) – Rates for customers of Intermountain Gas Company will decrease by an average of 10.2 percent on Oct. 1 after state regulators approved the company’s annual Purchased Gas Cost Adjustment (PGA) proposal.
The PGA is the variable component of natural gas rates that can be adjusted each fall to reflect changes in the costs of purchasing gas from suppliers.
These costs include transportation, storage and other related expenses incurred acquiring and delivering natural gas to approximately 350,000 customers across southern Idaho.
The decision by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission calls for returning to customers approximately $24.5 million.
That equates to a 10.0-percent decrease to residential rates, or $4.12 per month based on average consumption and weather.
Commercial, or General Service, customers will see a reduction of 11.9 percent on average, or $21.89 per month, when the new PGA takes effect Oct. 1.
Intermountain Gas said several factors contributed to the decrease, including lower-than-expected transportation costs, a decrease in the Weighted Average Cost of Gas, benefits resulting from the company’s management of storage and firm capacity rights on several pipeline systems and benefits related to changes in federal and state corporate income tax laws.
While three customer classes (Residential, General Service and Large Volume) will see a reduction in rates as a result of the PGA change set to take effect Oct. 1, rates will increase for some Industrial customers.
Those in the T-3 class, Interruptible Distribution Transportation Service, will see a 6.84-percent increase, and customers in the T-4 class, or Firm Distribution Only Transportation Service, will see a 2.3-percent increase.
The decision does not impact the company’s earnings.
All documents related to this case, including the Commission’s decision, can be reviewed here. Or go to the Commission’s website, www.puc.idaho.gov, click on “Open Cases” under the “Natural Gas” header and scroll down to Case No. INT-G-18-02.
– Don’t forget to call before you dig.
By Danae Lenz, email@example.com courtesy of East Idaho Business Journal
Old Town Pocatello is getting a little snazzier thanks to a new restaurant in the historic Yellowstone Hotel.
The Yellowstone restaurant, 230 W. Bonneville St., is an upscale eatery with a farm-to-table focus, featuring menu items with ingredients from local sources, including produce, meats and more.
The Yellowstone Hotel itself is owned by Pocatello businessman Dick Carroll, but the restaurant on the first floor is owned by local entrepreneurs Rory Erchul, Jennifer Erchul, Denis Clijsters and Mike McCormick.
The restaurant, which had its grand opening Sept. 14, features a rotating menu that changes seasonally and includes vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
The current menu includes entrees such as “Tomahawk-style short ribs braised in rich demi-glace with wild mushroom truffle risotto and rosemary aromatic” ($32) and “Frenched chicken breast on top of pappardelle tossed in a creamy basil pesto sauce with sundried tomatoes” ($18) and appetizers such as “assorted cheeses with dried and fresh seasonal fruit, honeycomb and house-made crisp bread” ($15) and “sea mussels steamed in white wine and garlic butter, served with pomme frites” ($12). Everything, including the bread and butter, is made in house.
“This is an experience,” Jennifer Erchul said. “It’s not just a place where you’re going to chow down your food as fast as you can and get out of here. So we want people to linger, and we want them to have great conversation, and we want them to fully enjoy the entire time that they’re here.”
The Yellowstone’s liquor license is taking longer than expected, but despite that, Jennifer Erchul said the new restaurant’s opening night was “fantastic.”
“The great thing is people are already tasting the food and talking about how great the food is, so people are coming for the food,” Jennifer Erchul said. “Some people canceled their reservations because of the alcohol. Some people kept walking because of the alcohol, but people that planned to come in still came in. We had a busy night. It was pretty awesome.”
At most, it will take the restaurant 90 days to obtain its liquor license— and in the meantime you can try what Rory Erchul calls “temple-worthy mocktails.”
“Our LDS friends absolutely love it,” he said. “They feel like we thought of them as well. We thought about that population and what we could provide them. They’re all non-alcoholic drink options that are pretty phenomenal.”
In addition to the main restaurant, there is also a whiskey bar — called The 313 — that has more than 150 whiskeys. Prices will range from $2 to $10 for half-ounce pours and $8 to $40 for 2-ounce pours once The Yellowstone gets its liquor license.
The restaurant will also eventually add The Union, a taproom featuring regional beer and wine and upscale pub food. It’s a more casual option for people wanting to try out The Yellowstone and will be on the back side of the building facing Union Pacific Avenue. The Union still needs to be renovated and is awaiting new flooring and a long bar that will look out toward the railroad tracks. There will also be a large patio outside — complete with heaters, blankets and fire pits so it can be enjoyed in cold weather as well.
Jennifer Erchul said The Union will play host to some events, including comedy nights, live music and game nights.
“We really want to utilize this space for people to have fun,” she said. “This is going to be a grown-up bar. We’re not looking to get super rowdy. We’re not looking to be super loud. But we want to make sure that we do provide entertainment that’s a lot of fun and gives a reason to keep coming back.”
While everything else is worth bragging about as well, the highlight of The Yellowstone is the building itself.
According to SAH Archipedia, “The Yellowstone Hotel, built in support of the Oregon Short Line (Railroad), is a four-story, Renaissance Revival structure lavishly embellished with buff-colored terra-cotta. … This grand hotel and office building still evokes the elegant era of railroad travel.”
The Yellowstone restaurant’s main dining area features tall windows that look out onto South Main and West Bonneville streets. The area has been repainted a soothing gray, and a wall was added in front of the servers’ alley, making the area look tidier and giving servers some privacy.
Next door, the whiskey bar is the best feature of the building. Formerly the Yellowstone Hotel’s lobby, The 313 has all original features, including wallpaper, crown molding and woodwork, which is the main architectural feature of the room, and it is everywhere. The woodwork is a little beat up in some places, but Jennifer Erchul said they refrained from doing any major renovations to the space.
“All we did is come in and we cleaned and then we oiled the wood,” Jennifer Erchul said. “That’s all we did. We don’t want to change anything. … It’s a whiskey bar. It’s supposed to be wood-panelled and old.”
Additionally, a lot of the light fixtures in The Yellowstone are original, including one that has four heads on it: a progression of a woman from childhood to old age.
According to Jennifer Erchul, there is some discrepancy about whether the Yellowstone Hotel was built in 1913 or 1915. Regardless, it’s more than a century old, and in that century several businesses have been located there, including a drug store, various restaurants and bars through the years, as well as a hotel. Most recently, the building was home to The Bridge restaurant, which was sold to the owners of The Yellowstone in August.
“It’s kind of cool thinking about all the people who have walked through these doors in the last hundred years,” Jennifer Erchul said.
The owners hope The Yellowstone will be an asset to Old Town.
“What we want to do with this establishment is we want to help augment all the great things that are happening in Old Town,” Rory Erchul said. “We feel and believe that the more things that are happening down here and the more attractions, the more we’re all going to do better. We want to make Old Town Pocatello a greater destination than it already is. … It’s a great place. So we want to be down here as well.”
Jennifer Erchul added about the restaurant, “We want to be a place for the community. We’re working closely with local farmers and local ranchers, so we’re giving back in that regard. We also want to be a bit of an economic driver down here. We’ve got a large staff compared to (other Old Town businesses), and we want to make sure this is a place that everybody is welcome.”
The Yellowstone restaurant currently employs 25 people.
The Yellowstone opens at 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and continues serving food until 10 p.m. but doesn’t close its doors until midnight. The restaurant also plans to eventually serve lunch.
By Danae Lenz firstname.lastname@example.org
photo and article courtesy of East Idaho Business Journal
Mary Johnson knows that a lot of her employees don’t see their jobs at McDonald’s turning into careers — and she is more than OK with that.
“When people come to work for me, I want them to use this as their jump-off point for whatever they want to do with their life,” said Johnson, who is the co-owner of the three McDonald’s restaurants in Pocatello and Chubbuck. “I know full well that they’re not going to work for me forever. I’m OK with that. But I want them to leave my employ with skills that are going to help them their entire life. If they leave me to go to another fast food restaurant, then I’ve failed. If they leave me to be whatever it is they want to be in their life, or for school, or for an internship in their major, I love that.”
For Johnson, however, McDonald’s was her career plan — and her family plan.
She started working at McDonald’s when she was 15 years old in 1976. She met her husband and current business partner, Mike, at McDonald’s. They’ve run the Pocatello stores for nearly 15 years. Her son, Jameson Johnson, is in the process of taking the business over from his parents. He has worked at McDonald’s since 2000, throughout high school and college, and joined his parents when they took over the Pocatello businesses.
So, really, McDonald’s ended up being Mary Johnson’s retirement plan, as well.
“As they’re ready to step out of the business, I’ll step in and they’ll travel more and hang out with their grandkids, and I’ll take over the business,” Jameson Johnson said.
Jameson Johnson is currently part owner-operator of the Yellowstone Avenue and Chubbuck restaurants and is the primary owner of Pocatello’s South Fifth Avenue location.
Both Mary and Jameson Johnson believe McDonald’s is more than just a place to grab a quick bite to eat and think the company is doing a lot to benefit both the communities it is in and the people it employs.
“The heavy focus on our people, that’s been our driving force in our company,” Jameson Johnson said. “There’s no better investment than in your people.”
As part of the company’s investment in its people, McDonald’s this year revamped its Archways to Opportunity to help its employees succeed beyond their jobs at the company.
Employees can improve their English skills, earn a high school diploma for free and even get tuition assistance to help them pay for college. After 90 days of employment, regular employees who work just 15 hours a week qualify for $2,500 a year to help cover tuition costs, and managers are eligible for $3,000.
According to www.archwaystoopportunity.com, more than 27,000 McDonald’s employees have taken part in the program, including more than 380 who have gotten high school diplomas and more than 6,400 who have graduated from the English Under the Arches program and nearly 19,000 who have received tuition assistance, totaling more than $26 million.
“We have employees that are great examples of life getting in the way … and they are high school graduates now,” Mary Johnson said.
Jameson Johnson said they also give employees health insurance and half-priced meals on and off the clock, and McDonald’s has recently changed to a system where even part-time employees can get paid time off.
Additionally, starting wage is $8.50 an hour — Idaho’s minimum wage is $7.25 — and Jameson Johnson said they don’t wait for annual reviews to get great employees raises.
“I would argue that … you don’t get a friendlier set of employees that are better compensated,” he said.
Mary Johnson said it was a different era when she started working for the company. Instead of getting to know their employees, managers then were discouraged from getting personal. But Mary said she wants to know how her employees’ lives are going, and she wants them to keep coming back.
“People are the commodity that you can’t order. You can’t buy it,” she said. “People are the heart and soul of any business. So when we have great talent, we value them and appreciate them.”
When asked to describe her management style, Mary Johnson said she is hands-off.
“I like to let people spread their wings,” she said. “I don’t want to take the credit. My husband and I might be on the lease, but these are the people who do the work. This is their restaurant. …. I’m not going to be here 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and I can’t be at all three 24 hours a day, seven days a week. My general managers have a lot of authority and autonomy in their restaurants. I want their ideas. … I want my people to know they can take care of it, that they can handle it.”
Jameson Johnson said he believes McDonald’s is a force for good in the community.
“I feel like the brand is always trying to leave a positive imprint in our society,” Jameson Johnson said. “Maybe that’s corny, but I feel like McDonald’s is a brand that’s trying to do good, actively trying to do good, and I don’t know how you can’t support a company like that. I like that we’re able to take care of our folks, and McDonald’s lets us do that by partnering with the owner-operators and allocating resources for our employees.”
On a corporate level, McDonald’s is “aggressively trying to increase market share,” Jameson Johnson said. “McDonald’s has always been a leader in the industry, but we want to be able to build the gap between us and our competitors.”
He continued, “Digital innovation is setting us apart. I think the investment in our facilities to make them more modern is setting us apart. I like our social media presence. I think some of the Facebook posts, Instagram ads and tweets are engaging. They’re funny. I think we’re doing everything we need to do right now to capture market share and that’s how we’re going to continue to grow. I don’t see us slowing down at all.”
The company is also trying to make sure people on all budgets can eat at the restaurant, which has menu items for $1 and $3 in addition to the higher-priced items.
The McCafe brand — another way in which McDonald’s is trying to get new people in its doors — is also growing rapidly.
“The coffee options are phenomenal,” Jameson Johnson said. “We’ve got something for everyone. We’ve also got smoothies. We’ve expanded our coffee line to include Americanos, macchiatos, cappuccinos. We’re just trying to provide an option for people. And it’s an affordable option.”
As for the individual stores, the store on Yellowstone Avenue in Pocatello just recently had a facelift; the restaurant on South Fifth Avenue was completely demolished and is being rebuilt; and the Chubbuck store will be getting a remodel in January.
The Yellowstone Avenue McDonald’s also now has kiosks where customers can order food by picking out what they want on the screen, and with mobile ordering, you can order exactly what you want and someone will either bring your order out to your car or you can pick it up in the drive-thru.
When it comes down to it, though, despite the fancy upgrades that you see today, McDonald’s is “a people company that serves hamburgers,” Jameson Johnson said.
PART OF THE COMMUNITY
In addition to helping out its employees and giving customers the latest and greatest, Jameson Johnson said his family is accessible to people in the community.
“We live in Pocatello and Chubbuck and that allows us to connect to the community a lot closer than if we were running this business from Salt Lake or Boise,” he said. “What’s great about the community is they let us know if things are great; they let us know if things are not great about their experience. Mary’s phone number has got to be on a billboard somewhere because her phone is always blowing up with compliments, with questions, with complaints. We take them all.”
Jameson Johnson said they really strive for their restaurants to be a place where people can come and relax.
“This is a family destination,” Jameson Johnson said. “It’s a great place for mom and dad to bring their kids and let them burn off energy. … Parents can take a load off and buy some great, affordable and quality foods and feed their kids and have a relaxing evening.”
Everyone, he said, has a McDonald’s story from when they were kids, and he loves being able to give young kids those memories.
“Back when I was young, (I remember) the ball pits and the tubes and the metal toys that you can’t use anymore because of safety stuff,” Jameson Johnson said. “But everyone’s got a McDonald’s kids story, whether its birthday parties or begging your parents for a milkshake. Some of my best memories are from being a kid at McDonald’s. I love that we get to provide that for people.”
By Shelbie Harris email@example.com
Sep 23, 2018
Story and photo courtesy of the Idaho State Journal
To house its highly touted premier research facility, Idaho State University bought the former Ballard Medical Building on Pocatello’s east side in 2011 for $3.6 million.
At the time, it was heralded as a steal of a deal as ISU invested nearly $1.7 million to see the Research and Innovation in Science and Engineering, or RISE, Complex come to fruition.
Seven years later, ISU now calls the the building the Eames Advanced Technical Education and Innovations Complex, and the school has plans to pump approximately $21 million into the facility over the next six years to house most of its College of Technology programs.
The Idaho State Board of Education recently unanimously approved an ISU request to reallocate $10 million awarded from the state Permanent Building Fund and slated for a planned renovation of the Gale Life Sciences building to use instead on the massive endeavor.
Nonetheless, current ISU President Kevin Satterlee stands behind the purchase.
When asked how he would respond to critics who say relocating the College of Technology Programs to the Eames Complex is an attempt to salvage the aspirations of the failed RISE Complex, Satterlee said, “The real honest answer is that that criticism isn’t looking at the facts of the case.”
“When you look at where Eames is located, what it’s potential is as a high-bay, big-box construction it lends itself to College of Technology functions,” he added.
“It’s literally as if it was built for that, because in a way it probably was originally.”
Erected on Alvin Ricken Drive in 1996, the 220,000-square-foot Ballard Medical building employed hundreds of people who manufactured various medical supplies ranging from hospital beds to catheters. The Austin, Texas-based Kimberly-Clark Co. acquired Ballard Medical Products for approximately $788 million in 1999. The Pocatello facility expanded in 2000.
Then in 2005, Kimberly-Clark Health Care announced it would phase out operations at its plants in Pocatello and Draper, Utah, consolidating operations at a facility in Mexico.
The building sat vacant for several years until Grace Lutheran Church and School approached the Pocatello City Council in 2010, seeking a special zoning exception to expand in the facility.
The request was denied, and ISU purchased the building for approximately $100,000 more than what Grace Lutheran was offering less than a year later.
Over the next five years, the RISE Complex would attract tens of millions in research grants from various entities, including the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Defense. The complex also drew criticism for having one of the largest and most vacant parking lots on campus. Research at the facility focused on particle accelerator applications, the production of portable nuclear energy sources and nanocrystal wavelength shifting.
But the future of the RISE Complex came into question in August 2016, when ISU laid off 34 of the facility’s workers, leaving only 12 full-time employees in addition to the ISU students and graduate assistants who worked there. The facility’s executive director abruptly resigned a month later, accompanied with an announcement from ISU that the function of the complex was under reevaluation.
In June 2017, ISU renamed the RISE Complex to the Eames Complex and announced it would soon house most of the school’s College of Technology programs.
About one month after renaming the facility, ISU announced the findings of an internal forensic audit during a press conference, with top-level university officials saying the audit revealed “violations of Idaho state law and university policies and procedures regarding the use of public funds and conflicts of interest.” The Bannock County Prosecutor’s Office said it learned of the alleged violations of state law from the press conference, a process the head prosecutor called “unusual.”
But by the end of 2017, ISU submitted information to the Bannock County Prosecutor’s Office that alleged one of the RISE Complex business officers embezzled over $10,000 from the school.
More than a year since that press conference, ISU has unveiled its $21 million master plan for the College of Technology relocation and completed the transition of some of those units. With many of those technical career positions in high demand, President Satterlee says re-purposing the facility makes the most financial sense for the school right now.
“We have 220,000-square-feet of facility up there at the Eames Complex — that’s quite the asset,” Satterlee said. “And the entire College of Technology is full of high-demand programs right now. We have this asset and we need to put it to strategic use to better the university.”
The Eames Complex master plan involves three phases, with each phase costing the university approximately $13 million, $5 million and $3 million, respectively, according to ISU College of Technology Dean Scott Rasmussen.
To date, the Eames Complex houses the computerized machining technology and computer-aided design drafting technology programs, as well as the industry welcome center and marketing and administrative offices. Moving those initial programs cost approximately $600,000, Rasmussen said.
If the Idaho Legislature green-lights the State Board’s approval of ISU’s request in January, the $10 million reallocation will fund more than 75 percent of the first phase, which will move the welding, automotive technology and auto collision and repair programs into the Eames Complex.
Of those, the welding program is a unit Satterlee specifically said will greatly benefit from a new home.
“Welders are in extremely high demand,” Satterlee said. “Right now we have 24 bays where we instruct in the welding program. When we remodel the Eames Complex we will expand welding from 24 to 48 bays. And the state has already given us the money to hire the instructors to double our welding instruction, but we have nowhere for the students to work and learn. The demand is there, we just have to have the facilities.”
The success of ISU students graduating from the welding program can be extrapolated throughout almost all other College of Technology programs, Satterlee added.
“If you look at the placement rates of our students who graduate from those programs most of them are in the 100 percent placement range,” Satterlee said. “Those that are not 100 percent are in the high 90s. These are programs that are training people right now for good paying jobs out in the workforce with high-level salaries.”
Rasmussen said phase two will fund the diesel technology transition, and the third phase will involve constructing a separate building attached to Eames Complex that will house on-site power generation.
“Diesel and on-site power have become huge industries in recent years and have created a burgeoning demand for those jobs,” Rasmussen said. “You have to go through the diesel program to get to on-site power, so having them co-located allows us to share tools and expertise between units. Plus, the new facility would allow us to potentially double the capacity of our on-site power program.”
ISU would like to complete the first phase in time for the spring 2020 semester, Rasmussen said. By way of a capital investment campaign, ISU has currently raised approximately $3 million of its own money to assist in the College of Technology transition, Rasmussen added.
“On top of the capital investment campaign, business and industry have been a tremendous support in the donation of equipment at a greatly reduced cost to create a state-of-the-art program,” Rasmussen said.
While Satterlee said the Gale Life Science renovation remains one of ISU’s top priorities, revamping the Eames Complex now opens the door for other projects around the Pocatello campus, too.
“I’ve heard complaints from people about parking demand and issues on campus,” Satterlee said. “When we move all of the faculty, students and staff up to the Eames Complex we will relieve some of those infrastructure pressures, which will allow us to have a better master plan of dealing with those types of concerns.”
The move will also create synergistic opportunities with programs outside of the College of Technology.
“A number of our current programs are in substandard facilities,” Rasmussen said. “Not only will College of Technology programs be moving into a state-of the-art facility, the buildings that will be vacated when we do move up here will create some space to co-locate a number of our health occupation programs.”
Satterlee said when those programs move to the Eames Complex, ISU will be able to consolidate its College of Technology nursing program with its College of Health Sciences program, and teach them in a single location.
”That’s one of the biggest benefits,” Satterlee said.
Former ISU President Arthur Vailas asked the Legislature in January 2017 to approve $10 million from its Permanent Building Fund to complete a proposed $12 million Gale Life Sciences Building renovation project. ISU planned to put $2 million of its own money toward the endeavor.
State budget writers unanimously approved the request in March 2017.
While the The Gale Life Sciences Building has been subject to deferred maintenance in recent years — including a $1.1 million upgrade to enhance the building’s anatomy and physiology laboratory — Satterlee fully supports re-purposing the school’s once highly touted premier research facility. It’s time that asset gets put to good use, he says.
When asked if ISU’s decision to purchase the former Ballard Building in 2011 was a good investment, Satterlee said, “We have an asset of 220,000-square-feet of space that we have to put to strategic use.”
Satterlee added, “We couldn’t have the resources to build that square footage on our campus right now, but we have it, and my job as president of the university and steward of the future is to say, ‘How are we going to use that asset to our strategic advantage.’”
Why I love Southeastern Idaho!
Is this a promise, is this a feeling or is this a fact?
How do you define the Why? How do you define the Love?
Do you need words, do you need pictures, do you need music and video, or do you need it all?
Now’s your chance…
Bannock Development Corporation is sponsoring a “Why I love Southeastern Idaho” contest. Residents and visitors have the opportunity to express what they love about our magnificent and award-winning place we call home.
And you can win fabulous prizes, just for sharing what’s obvious to many of us!
Ok, here’s the bottom line on why we’re doing this “Why I Love Southeastern Idaho” contest:
We Are Witnessing a Renaissance
This Renaissance is attracting talent and industry, the fuel that is bringing this change. As Lance Buttars, owner of the highly successful Molinelli’s Jewelers so eloquently points out, “If a business owner sees another business owner describe how great life is here, they may want to be here too and decide to have a location in our community,”
We’re growing and we’re changing, yet we want to honor our legacy that so many have worked so hard to keep in place. Who better to describe our history and tell our new story than those who live, work and play here?
Enter into one of three categories: essay, photography or video. Details as follows:
- Essays must be 500 words or less
- Photo entries should obviously be taken in our area and could include landmarks, easily recognizable spots, stunning shots or secret hiding places you can easily explain or be felt.
o Submit one photograph and include a brief caption that will get the judges’ attention
- Video entries need to be kept to 2 minutes or we’ll make you watch our family vacation videos
- The top 10 entries for each category:
o Finalists will be posted to social media (Facebook and Instagram)
o Top three winners will be determined by the most likes, shares and comments.
- The deadline for submissions is October 15, 2018
Entry forms can be found on Why I love SouthEastern Idaho Contest. All entries must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. All entries become property of Bannock Development Corporation and may be used for promotional purposes.
Bannock Development Corporation will not sell or share contact information. Any personal information on the entry form will be used solely to identify and contact winners. Minors must include adult contact information.
The contest committee will select the top 10 entries for each category. These finalists will be posted to social media (Facebook and Instagram) and the top three winners will be determined by the most likes, shares and comments.
First Prize: Video– Men’s watch donated by Molinelli’s Jewelers
First Prize: Photo-Cole Chevrolet Basket donated by Cole Chevrolet
First Prize: Essay– Women’s watch donated by Molinelli’s Jewelers
Second Prize: Video– Citizens Community Bank Buddy’s Basket donated by Citizens Community Bank
Second Prize: Photo-Idaho Central Credit Union Basket plus $25 to McDonald’s- Donated by Idaho Central Credit Union and McDonald’s Pocatello
Second Prize: Essay– Set of Chute Trainers donated by Chute Trainer
Third Prize: Video– (2) Tickets to ISU Men’s Football $25 gift card to McDonalds
Third Prize: Photo (2) Tickets to ISU Women’s Basketball $25 gift card to McDonalds
Third Prize: Essay (2) Tickets to ISU Men’s Basketball $25 gift card to McDonalds
Too Good Not To Mention Prize: Yellowstone Restaurant Gift Certificate ($50)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Inergy Launches Empower Puerto Rico to Bring Renewable Power to Hurricane Victims.
Idaho-based renewable power company’s new campaign focuses on providing free power for the more than 11,000 Puerto Ricans still without electricity with hurricane season already underway.
July 9, 2018 (Pocatello, ID) – Inergy, the Idaho-based renewable power company, has made a bold promise with its new campaign #EmpowerPuertoRico. Through July 22th, Inergy will donate a solarpowered generator kit to a family in Puerto Rico for each kit purchased through the Empower Puerto Rico program. The kits will provide critical power for refrigeration, lights, medical equipment and cooling fans to families still without power more than nine months post-Hurricane Maria.
“Since September of last year, thousands of people in Puerto Rico have been living without power. Most people can’t imagine living without power for one day, but in Puerto Rico it has been 290 days,” said
Sean Luangrath, CEO, Inergy, and former refugee from the Communist takeover of Laos in the late 70s who understands what it’s like to live without reliable power. “Inergy recently visited Puerto Rico to
provide assistance with renewable power. When I saw the current state of affairs in Puerto Rico it was like an instant rewind to the refugee camps of Thailand. We knew we had to act; we created the Empower program as a way to help right now, and when future storms threaten the power grid.”
Rebuilding infrastructure in remote places like Puerto Rico is difficult, but Inergy’s lightweight, portable solar powered generator, the Kodiak, can provide power while infrastructure is still being rebuilt. The 20-lb. Kodiak stores energy captured from the sun using solar panels and is capable of powering a refrigerator both day and night for extended periods, or even medical equipment necessary to sustain life. “The Kodiak brings reliable power to any location the sun touches, and replaces power where it has been lost,” said Luangrath. “In places like Puerto Rico, where power infrastructure has been lost due to a natural disaster, this portable system can provide the means necessary for people to get back on their feet, and back to a normal life.”
Hurricane Maria struck the island of Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, and more than nine months later, estimates show that more than 11,000 people remain without power going into the 2018 hurricane season, leaving an already-vulnerable group in significant danger. “We rely on electricity for so many things, like refrigeration, cooling, heating, and life-saving and life-sustaining medical devices,” said Luangrath. “What we take for granted where power infrastructure is secure, is now a life or death matter for the people of Puerto Rico.”
To help a family in Puerto Rico, visit the Empower Puerto Rico program web site to learn more about the “buy one, donate one” program.
Inergy designs and manufactures the world’s smartest, portable ‘plug-and-play’ energy storage solutions—ideal for portable, on and off-grid power needs. Inergy’s power systems are typically less than half the weight and size but priced similarly as competitors, giving it a substantial market advantage. Inergy is focused on creating solar-powered solutions that can go anywhere, including places that lack power infrastructure or access to mainland resources. With investors and community support,
the cleantech startup plans to be the undisputed leader of what will become a billion-dollar industry.
Media Contact for Inergy:
Amy Oliver, PR Manager