Business Briefs

IBR Staff//February 28, 2012

Business Briefs

IBR Staff//February 28, 2012

MWI to market Port Washington-based Pall Corp.’s pet therapy kit

The Meridian-based MWI Veterinary Supply Co. has agreed to market a filter-based technology used in special kits to treat osteoarthritis in dogs.

MWI will market the canine platelet enhancement therapy kit through its Securos division. The kit is made by Pall Corp. of Port Washington, N.Y.

Osteoarthritis, a chronic condition characterized by pain and stiffness in the joints, affects one in five adult dogs. Veterinarians typically attempt to treat the condition through a variety of methods including weight control, exercise, administering of nutraceuticals and anti-inflammatory drugs.

The Pall system involves sedating the dog, drawing some blood and filtering it, recovering the platelet concentrate and delivering the cell therapy.

MWI is one of the largest veterinary supply distributors in the United States.

by John Callegari, Dolan Media Newswires 

Grubb & Ellis bankruptcy has no impact in Idaho

The national Grubb & Ellis Company bankruptcy filing is not expected to have any impact in Idaho. 

Global commercial real estate brokerage BGC Partners Inc. will acquire Grubb & Ellis Co.’s assets through theChapter 11 reorganizational bankruptcy.

Grubb & Ellis Catalyst of Boise is operating as usual, principal Tim Reid said. Grubb & Ellis Catalyst added a broker in late February, bringing its total to 15, and still has access to Grubb’s nationwide data, training and marketing resources, he said.

BGC plans to acquire Grubb’s assets for $30.03 million and provide Grubb with a $4.8 million debtor-in-possession loan to fund operations during the bankruptcy and acquisition processes.

“The idea is that the asset sale would be an infusion of capital to help Grubb & Ellis,” Reid said. “We anticipate as an affiliate, it’s a good thing.”

BGC recently acquired the Newmark Knight Frank commercial real estate brokerage.

IBR Staff

Man surrenders on embezzlement charge

An Idaho Falls man faces a felony charge after prosecutors allege he embezzled more than half a million dollars from an Idaho Falls business while he worked as its chief financial officer.

Police say 51-year-old Stanley William Mills turned himself in Feb. 28 and was arrested at the Bonneville County jail on a charge of felony grand theft.

The warrant for Mills’ arrest stemmed from an investigation into the alleged embezzlement of more than $550,000 from Environmental Management Inc. between 2002 and 2008.

Company officials contacted police last June.

The Associated Press

Walmart planning smaller Boise store

A Walmart Neighborhood Market is planned at the Cole Village shopping center in west Boise.

Boise Building Division Manager Jenifer Gilliland said Walmart received Boise Design Review approval to remodel a vacant space of 44,366 square feet at 3205 N. Cole Road near the intersection with Ustick Road. She said early Feb. 28 that Walmart as had not yet picked up a tenant-improvement permit to start the project.

The space housed an Ace Hardware store and a Quilted Bear craft store previously. Boise Planning Director Hal Simmons said the Design Review Committee in December approved Walmart’s plan, albeit with a condition limiting hours when truck delivery is allowed because residential structures are nearby. Walmart later appealed, and a lack of testimony prompted the board to remove the condition, he said.

Walmart Neighborhood Market stores are about a quarter the size of Walmart Supercenters. Neighborhood Market stores sell groceries, prescriptions and some household items.

A Walmart Neighborhood Market also is planned in west Nampa, in a stand-alone building to be built at the southwest corner of Middleton and Roosevelt roads.

IBR Staff

National parks add millions to Idaho economy

An annual report from the National Parks Service suggests that Idaho received $20 million in benefits  in 2010 from the park services and saw 587,000 park visitors.

However, the Feb. 28 study leaves out the impact of neighboring national natural attractions, Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.

The study found that, nationwide, parks generated $12 billion in direct spending by 281 million visitors. It included four Idaho sites for the $20 million total: Craters of the Moon National Monument, City of Rocks National Reserve, Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument and Nez Perce National Historic Park. But the nearby parks also help Idaho’s economy.

“There’s no question in my mind that both Yellowstone and Grand Teton have a significant positive impact on the economy of eastern Idaho,” said Al Nash, a spokesman for Yellowstone. “There are fairly limited facilities in the park to accommodate visitor needs, and those are met by communities outside the park.”

The park service study splits Yellowstone’s economic impact between Montana and Wyoming, while Wyoming assumes all the benefit of Grand Teton.

“The whole area up here is basically based on tourism,” said Jay Bailey, the president of the Island Park Chamber of Commerce. Bailey said his city, located close to West Yellowstone, Mont., gets visitors year-round, whether it’s to enter Yellowstone or for fishing, hunting or snowmobiling. “It has a great impact.”

IBR Staff

DRAM memory chip maker files for bankruptcy

Japanese DRAM memory chip maker Elpida, a company that has been rumored to have been in talks with Micron to be acquired, has filed for bankruptcy.

The bankruptcy comes after the semiconductor industry has been hit hard by a price collapse, caused by oversupply, in recent years.

Los Gatos, Ca.-based semiconductor analysis firm Objective Analysis said in an email that Micron could still acquire the industry giant, but it was likely to take awhile before Elpida was consolidated or its products were removed from the market.

“Elpida will stay in business as various options are decided,” the email states. “The purpose of the bankruptcy is to shield the company from actions its creditors could legally take to seize assets. The intent is to continue to operate. This means that there will be no change to the current oversupply until a decision has been made.”

Micron has said it will not comment on Elpida.

IBR Staff

Boise man makes motorcycle journey the subject of film

A Boise man is headed around the world on his motorcycle, taking about six months to ride and film his journey.

Andrew Mentzer said he is following in the footsteps of his father, who made the same trek 35 years ago.

Mentzer, who founded Idahostel, found creative ways to finance the trip, including selling ad space, promises to send random items from his various stops to donors, possible proceeds from a documentary and the potential to write for magazines regarding the trip.

“There is going to be the opportunity to pay for the trip through the trip,” he said.

Any notoriety Mentzer may receive will feature Boise products, including his bike set-up, which was put together by Happy Trails Products in Boise.

Mentzer leaves in April.

IBR Staff

Merchandise exports increase

Idaho 2011 merchandise exports increased by nearly 14 percent in 2011, to $5.9 million, the International Trade Administration announced.

Idaho’s gain was helped by increases of exports to France, Canada, Japan, Taiwan and Mexico, ITA said. Strong export merchandise from Idaho included computer and electronic goods, food and kindred products, primary metal manufactures, chemicals and agricultural products.

It wasn’t just big companies that drove gains in Idaho exports, as 98 percent of U.S. exporters are small and mid-sized firms, said Amy Benson, director of the U.S. Commercial Service in Boise.

IBR Staff

New sponsors step in to pay for suicide hotline

Four corporate and public groups have joined the effort to establish a suicide prevention hotline in Idaho.

Right now, Idaho is the only state without a suicide prevention hotline. The state lost its hotline in 2007, and calls now go to a non-profit in Portland that cannot refer to Idaho services. Idaho’s suicide rate is the fourth-highest in the country.

On Feb. 28, United Way of Treasure Valley announced that Saint Alphonsus Health System, Citi Cards, United Way of Southeastern Idaho and United Way of Kootenai County have joined forces with the sponsors who are already in place. They include the state Department of Health and Welfare, The Speedy Foundation, Region IV Suicide Prevention Action Network Chapter, and Wells Fargo.

According to United Way, suicide is the second leading cause of death for adolescents and young adults in Idaho.

IBR Staff

Head of Idaho endangered species office plans exit

The administrator of the Idaho Office of Species Conservation plans to exit the post, just as the state is trying to keep the sage grouse off the list of animals protected by the federal Endangered Species Act.

Nate Fisher is leaving the agency, with Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter confirming his final day on the job will be March 9.

Fisher didn’t immediately return phone calls seeking comment on his departure.

Two years ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided the sage grouse merited listing as a threatened species, but wasn’t as high a priority as protecting other species.

As a consequence, Fisher has been overseeing efforts to craft a state plan that’s adequate to assuage the federal agency’s concerns before it reconsiders the sage grouse’s status in 2015.

The Associated Press

Idaho House votes to lift cap on charter schools

The Idaho House has voted 49-19 to lift the state cap on charter schools while also allowing more than one to open within the boundaries of a traditional school district each year.

Republican Rep. Bob Nonini’s legislation now moves to the Idaho Senate.

The bill is advancing despite opposition from the statewide teachers union, the Idaho School Boards Association and the Idaho Association of School Administrators. Critics say Idaho’s scarce public education dollars are already stretched thin and now is not the time to expand the system with more charter schools.

Idaho now limits the number of new charters to six per year.

Supporters of eliminating the cap say Idaho’s charter school law is outdated and harming state efforts to secure both federal and private funding for the state.

The Associated Press