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Steel company planning Idaho Falls plant

Cives Steel Co. is planning to open a fabrication plant in Idaho Falls that could employ up to 175 people. The plant would be the first such plant west of the Mississippi River for the privately held company based in Georgia. Cives Steel currently has six fabrication facilities.

“We’re very happy to welcome them to the community,” said Linda Martin, CEO of Grow Idaho Falls, who said the company has been looking at opening a plant in Idaho for some time and had considered several other states. She said the company would initially hire 75 people and scale up to 175, likely offering livable wages and health benefits.

Officials with Cives Steel would not comment on the plant, saying the topic is too premature to discuss.

Cives Steel fabricates steel for large-scale construction projects. On its website, the company lists more than 100 projects for which it has provided tons of steel, including airports in Boston, Indianapolis and Washington, D.C., as well as arenas and convention centers in Miami, Atlanta and Tampa Bay.

IBR staff

Outlet mall adding toys, woolens and watches

Boise Outlets is adding several new retailers in August, with Pendleton Woolen Mills and Toys R Us Express opening stores on Aug. 24. Seiko Watches previously opened a store on Aug. 1.

Pendleton, based in Portland, Ore., has a 5,700-square-foot store. The clothing company has more than 90 retail and outlet stores, including a location in Coeur d’Alene. The company was started in 1863 and opened its still-running mill in Pendleton, Ore., in 1909

The Toys R Us Express store will be 4,050 square feet. The national toy chain launched its Express line of stores, short-term “pop up” stores that can be converted to permanent stores, in 2009. Jennifer Jacobs, the general manager of Boise Outlets, said the company has an option to extend its lease beyond this year’s holiday season.

The Seiko store is 1,200 feet. Boise Outlets now has 21 stores at its location in eastern Boise.

Brad Iverson-Long

IDL outlines plan to auction Priest, Payette sites

Land managers unveiled a plan to hold auctions for prized Idaho-owned lakeside cottage sites after the state Supreme Court in June ruled it was unconstitutional to allow existing leaseholders to simply renew their contracts.

The Department of Lands August 21 outlined its proposal for bidding on 522 cottage sites on Priest and Payette lakes, whose leases expire Dec. 31, 2013.

New lease terms would be made public by March 1, with an April 30 bidding deadline.

Challengers would deposit the first year’s lease.

But another proposal – to require challengers to post the appraised value of improvements upfront- may be abandoned since it could discourage less-affluent challengers.

Idaho justices struck down a 1990 law protecting existing leaseholders after Attorney General Lawrence Wasden argued it dented endowment revenue that supports public schools.

The Associated Press

Boise tanker base sets new mark for retardant dump

Federal officials say the air tanker base in Boise has so far dumped more than 1 million gallons of fire retardant on wildfires burning across Idaho this year.

That surpasses totals recorded for the past 11 years dating to 2001 and the first eclipse of the 1-million gallon mark since 2007.

This fire season, pilots have dumped 1.2 million gallons of the red retardant on wildfires, topping the previous record of 1.19 million gallons in 2006.

Officials at the U.S. Forest Service Air Tanker Base say the annual average during the last 11 years is 611,000 gallons.

Nearly a third of the 2011 dump has targeted fires on the Boise National Forest. More than 245,000 gallons were dropped on the initial attack on the Trinity Ridge Fire burning near Featherville.

The Associated Press

St. Paul-based Oak Grove closes $88.4M senior housing loan

St. Paul-based Oak Grove Capital recently originated an $88.4 million Fannie Mae DUS credit facility to finance the acquisition of eight senior housing communities located in California, Oregon, Utah, Arizona and Idaho.

The properties were bought by subsidiaries of Newcastle Investment Corp., a New York-based real estate investment trust, from BPM Senior Living of Portland, Ore. The eight communities will be managed by an affiliate of Newcastle.

The purchase price totaled $143 million plus related expenses, funded by the $88.4 million Fannie Mae credit facility and a $55 million equity investment from the borrowers. The credit facility, which consists of a fixed-rate loan and a variable-rate loan, matures in seven years.

Bill Kauffman, Oak Grove’s managing director of seniors housing, oversaw the transaction.

Dolan Media Newswires

Idaho’s unemployment rate drops to 7.5 percent

State officials report Idaho’s unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in three years in July, falling to 7.5 percent.

The Department of Labor released the new numbers Aug. 17, saying Idaho was one of only two states to post a declining jobless rate last month. The agency says Idaho’s unemployment numbers are continuing a dramatic fall in the wake of the recession, when the rate hit a high of 8.9 percent.

Rhode Island was the other state to post an unemployment rate decrease last month.

In Idaho, officials say lower unemployment and a sharp decline in the statewide labor force helped bring down the jobless rate, which was at 7.7 percent in June. The labor force includes both workers who have jobs and those who are looking for employment.

Total employment peaked in June at 721,900 but dropped by more than 1,000 jobs to 720,500 in July. In Idaho, 58,600 people were unemployed in July.

The Associated Press

Board approves Idaho football going independent

The Idaho State Board of Education has approved letting the University of Idaho begin scheduling and playing college football as an independent.

The board’s 5-1 vote Aug. 17 also gives school administrators permission to explore membership in the Big Sky Conference for all other Vandal sports teams.

Since 2005, the Vandals have competed in the Western Athletic Conference. But the WAC is in tatters and hurtling toward extinction thanks to a series of defections over the last two years of its best football teams, including Boise State, Nevada and Fresno State.

The WAC’s woes forced Vandal officials to pursue alternatives.

UI President Duane Nellis told the board that letting the Vandals join the ranks of independent college football teams is in the best interest of the school, its students and its sports teams.

The Associated Press

Paid leave is available to most, study says

Most American wage and salary earners have access to paid leave from work in a given week, the according to the United States Department of Labor, which tracked the information for the first time in 2011.

The annual average for 2011 showed that 59 percent of the nearly 140 million wage and salary workers in the United States have access to paid leave at their jobs, and more than three-fourths have access to unpaid leave, although the USDL reported that many employees are unaware of their leave options.

Other findings included that management, business and financial operations employees had the highest access to paid leave in 2011, with 77 percent having the option. Construction workers had the lowest access at 36 percent, although unpaid leave in construction was available for 71 percent of workers.

About 21 percent of the 140 million workers tracked took some form of leave in an average week during 2011, according to the USDL statistics. The average leave time taken in a given week was 15.6 hours.

The USDL also reported that 56 percent of all wage and salaried workers had the ability to change their schedules or make other corrections at work, rather than take leave.

IBR Staff

Mentoring program will tap business community 

Boise State University is partnering with the Boise Metro Chamber of Partners to provide 40 mentors to first-year Master of Business Administration students starting at the university in late August.

The mentors, who are members of the Chamber’s Boise Young Professionals program, are expected to act as a liaison between the MBA students and the Boise business world, according to a Chamber news release.

This is the first year the program, called “b|linked,” is being used.

The news release states that the program’s purpose is to “is to introduce students preparing to enter the workforce to BYP and the community by pairing them with other young professionals that have already paved the way.”

Sean Olson

About IBR Staff

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