Published: April 27,2012
Tags: Production Tax Credit
Changes could be in store for Twin Falls Solo Cup factory
Changes could be in store for the Solo Cup factory in Twin Falls, and not because of the popular Toby Keith song and video about the iconic red beer cup.
The Solo Cup Company, based in Illinois, is due to be sold for $1 billion to the privately held Dart Co. Dart has said not to expect any changes for six to 12 months while they look over Solo Cup’s holdings.
Solo Cup employs about 100 people at its Twin Falls factory, which produces 2 million plastic utensils and straws every day.
Costco buys about 85 percent of the items made at the 15-year-old Twin Falls plant, according to the state Department of Labor.
Angie Gorman, director of communications for Solo Cup in Lake Forest, Ill., says it’s too early to say if the sale will affect the Twin Falls plant. The sale to Dart isn’t final yet.
Meanwhile, Gorman said she doesn’t think the popular Toby Keith song has had much of an effect on the company either.
“It’s harder than you think to get the data on that, but we’ve seen a lot of increased interest in the brand,” Gorman said. “We haven’t seen it lead to a ton of new sales. Just radio stations holding promotions, bars holding red solo cup nights, things like that.”
AAA breakdown service expands to bicycles
The motorist guardian angel group AAA Idaho is expanding its service to include bicycle breakdowns for all its members.
The service allows people to get themselves, and their bikes, a ride to a nearby service shop if something goes wrong during a ride, said Dave Carlson, AAA Oregon/Idaho public and government affairs director.
Bike service was introduced to AAA premium members – about two-thirds of Idaho’s membership belongs in this category — in the Idaho region about three years ago, he said. When service vehicles weren’t squeezed for time and members didn’t try any “hanky panky” with bike complaints, AAA decided to expand the service to everyone, he said.
Basic members can get a ride back to the city where the service car was sent, be dropped off along the route back or be taken anywhere within a three-mile radius of the breakdown, according to the news release.
The service area for Idaho includes every county south of the Panhandle. Panhandle counties are part of AAA Washington and do not have bicycle service.
Fight to extend renewable energy tax credit in U.S. persists
The federal Production Tax Credit, a key credit for renewable energy production, is due to expire Dec. 31.
The credit gives renewable energy generators 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Wind energy advocates have been especially vocal about extending the federal tax credit, arguing that wind energy companies and manufacturers are already suffering because of the uncertainty over the extension.
According to the American Wind Energy Association, 37,000 U.S. wind industry workers could be laid off over the course of this year if Congress does not take action.
Electricity produced from biomass, geothermal or solar energy, landfill gas, trash, hydropower, and marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy facilities are also eligible for the credits.
Legislation sponsored by Oregon and Washington lawmakers last year would extend the PTC through 2016. That bill now has 93 cosponsors, and a Senate bill to extend it was introduced by seven senators in March.
Dolan Media Newswires
Home Federal reports profit in first quarter
Nampa-based Home Federal Bank on April 27 reported first quarter earnings of $702,000 or 5 cents per diluted share, compared to a $1.2 million loss in the year-earlier period.
The return to profitability in the recent quarter reflected a reduction in operating expenses, gains on sales of securities and facilities and improvement in asset quality, the bank said in a statement.
Net interest income rose, and the provision for loan losses was down, Home Federal said. Service charges and fees dropped.
The bank recorded pre-tax gains on the sale of investment securities in the last two quarter, compared to no gain in the first quarter of 2011. Total non-performing assets decreased, as did total assets and non-interest expenses. The net interest margin improved.
Coeur Mines restarting Alaska gold mine
Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp. will resume full production on the Kensington gold mine in Alaska ahead of schedule. In November, the company temporarily reduced mining and milling to finish several other projects.
Coeur said most of the projects are complete, or scheduled to be done by the end of July. Other work included upgrading electrical infrastructure, building a warehouse and a dormitory, and expanding kitchen and dining facilities. Definition drilling and underground development continue.
More than two-thirds of projected production is expected in the second half of the year, according to the company.
Production is under way at the Kensington mine, spokeswoman Stefany Bales said. Project cost estimates have not been disclosed. Coeur is scheduled to announce its first quarter financial results May 7.
Albertsons LLC launches social media unit
Boise-based Albertsons LLC recently created a social and digital marketing team, led by technology industry and social marketing veteran Karl Meinhardt.
Albertsons LLC operates more than 200 Albertsons food and drug stores in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas but not stores in Idaho. Boise-based Albertsons Inc. owned the stores until a mid-2006 sale through which Minnesota-based Supervalu Inc. acquired most Albertsons stores, including all in Idaho.
The Albertsons LLC social and digital marketing team’s goal is to expand the company’s conversations with customers, the company said. Meinhardt is vice president of social and digital marketing, Jana Jeffrey is digital community manager, Elizabeth Perryman is digital content manager and Dan Mackey is director of web services.
Meinhardt worked with the former Albertsons Inc. to launch that company’s electronic commerce solution in 1998. He went on to launch several startup companies in the foodservice and social gaming markets. He is a partner in Leadership Advisors Group, Boise.
Jeffrey has more than 18 years of experience as a marketing and technology professional with large companies and emerging startups. Perryman brings experience in public and media relations, having worked with companies around the Northwest.
Jerome milk processor paying EPA fine over reporting error
Idaho Milk Products in Jerome is paying a $52,100 penalty to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stemming from a failure to report the release of chemicals to a local wastewater treatment plant.
Idaho Milk Products opened its processing facility in 2009. It handles three million pounds of milk from nearby dairies every day, producing milk cream as well as milk protein and other products that are added to food.
According to an EPA news release, in 2009 the company failed to report the treatment and disposal of several hundred thousand pounds of nitric acid and nitrate compounds, as required under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
The company said in a news release the violation was a failure to file documents and that it didn’t illegally or inappropriately release any chemicals into the environment. The company also added an environmental coordinator and retained the services of Brown and Caldwell, a national environmental engineering firm with offices in Boise.
“We are committed to conduct ourselves with competency and compliance to government and industry standards,” Kent Giddings, the general manager of Idaho Milk Products, said in the release.
House approves Simpson’s wilderness water plan
The U.S. House has approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Simpson that would allow landowners to make repairs to historic water diversions located in two Idaho wilderness areas.
The House unanimously approved the measure this week, sending it on to the Senate for consideration.
The bill gives the U.S. Forest Service the power to issue permits to private property owners seeking to make fixes to irrigation or small hydropower operations located inside the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area and the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.
Simpson says the bill applies only on 25 projects that existed before those lands were declared wilderness by Congress.
Simpson says the bill is critical to ensure that these water systems can be maintained and preserved for the beneficial use of the landowners.
The Associated Press
Ski goggle pioneer Bob Smith dies
Robert Earl “Bob” Smith, an orthodontist whose passion for skiing powder snow helped turn him into a goggle and sunglasses pioneer, died last week of complications related to heart surgery.
Smith’s family confirmed his April 18 death in California to the Idaho Mountain Express. He was 78.
After frustrating goggle-fogging experiences while skiing, Smith in the 1960s used dental tools and foam to create a double-lensed ski goggle whose inner lens was protected from the cold.
Drew Smith, his son, says the goggle resulted from his need to see while skiing deep powder.
Smith built the Smith Sport Optics headquarters in Ketchum in the early-1970s.
But before he struck a deal for the manufacturing of Smith goggles in the late-1960s, Smith would often trade his goggles for lift tickets.
The Associated Press
Engineers eye cracks in N. Idaho Sand Creek Byway
The Idaho Transportation Department has developed a plan to take care of cracks and other problems in the Sand Creek Byway in northern Idaho.
The Bonner County Daily Bee reports that according to documents it obtained, settlement caused cracks in an approach slab to the byway’s mainline bridge over Sand Creek.
The document also says that settlement created a vertical offset between the south end of the approach slab and a reinforcing structure.
The plan calls for removing and reconstruction of the approach slab and taking precautions to allow for future settlement. A cost estimate wasn’t available.
The byway routes U.S. 95 from downtown Sandpoint across Sand Creek and a three-lane highway.
The Associated Press
Nampa Police Department settles lawsuit
A federal lawsuit against the Nampa Police Department by three officers has been dismissed following a $189,000 settlement.
The Idaho Press-Tribune reports that U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale dismissed the lawsuit April 25, a day after the settlement was reached.
Officers Leonard Claunts, Joseph Huff and Curtis Shankel filed the lawsuit in September 2011 contending then-Chief Bill Augsburger and other administrators retaliated against them after they raised concerns about public safety and waste of taxpayer funds.
Jim Davis is an attorney representing the police department. He says the purpose of the settlement is to allow the department to move forward.
The Associated Press