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hand holding remoteSurvey says TV viewers are multitasking with tablets

If you can’t really remember exactly what happened in the last episode of “Homeland,” your brain might not be to blame.

Turns out that even when we’re absorbed in an electronic activity like watching TV, we’re still engaged in electronic multitasking.

According to the Nielsen rating system, 33 percent of respondents in a study on simultaneous television and tablet activities at the end of last year reported that they shopped while viewing. Thirty-six percent visited a social networking site during the program, although luckily it seems most users have wised up and no longer spring spoilers on those who are planning to watch the show later.

In a piece of good news for retailers, 20 percent reported they looked up product information for ads seen on TV. And 29 percent looked up information related to the TV program they were watching.

IBR Staff

Electronic security is crucial for companies

Idaho companies must take steps to prevent employees’ and customers’ personally identifiable information from being compromised through the use of smartphones and tablets.

Pat Olsson mug (with column)That’s advice from Moffatt Thomas attorney Patricia M. Olsson, who presented at a seminar on employment law Dec. 11.

“It’s a new century, and we have a lot that’s changing,” Olsson said.

Idaho’s customer information confidentiality rules are set forth in Idaho Code Section 28-51-104 through 28-51-107. The easiest way to comply with the rules, Olsson said, is to encrypt any personally identifying information on electronic devices that are used at work. Those devices include computers, smartphones, tablets and USB flash drives.

“If your stuff is encrypted, you’re OK,” she said.

Depending on the device, encryption may be built in or may need to be turned on, Olsson said. In either case, she said employers should require workers to passcode-protect any devices they use to view clients’ personally identifying information.

“At a minimum, make (employees) lock their smartphones and tablets,” she said.

She also recommended setting up an auditing program, such as a system of spot checks to make sure employees are following device security guidelines.

Cady McGovern

Chobani expanding production at Twin Falls plant

Greek yogurt company Chobani says it is increasing production at its Twin Falls plant and adding production of a new “light” yogurt called Simply 100.

Chobani officials tell The Times-News the $450 million plant is running at optimal production capability for the first time since it opened a year ago. When the plant opened, it made about 100,000 cases of yogurt per week running three or four production lines. It is now running 12 production lines and producing up to a million cases of yogurt a week.

The plant’s first year was not without difficulties. In September, Chobani recalled 35 varieties of yogurt that may have been contaminated with mold. Some containers were bloated and some consumers said the yogurt made them sick.

The Associated Press

Experts expect more medical retail locations

Commercial real estate professionals who have retail space should expect more interest from medical tenants, industry experts said during a Building Owners and Managers International webinar Dec. 5.

Neil Carolan, senior vice president for development at Rendina Companies, said he expects urgent care centers to seek more space in strip malls in the future.

“The two really go hand-in-hand,” he said. For example, if a parent comes home to a feverish child, Carolan said, the parent can take the child to an urgent care clinic in the same shopping center in which he can buy groceries or cold medicine.

The trend is in evidence in the Treasure Valley, where ZoomCare is taking up residency at The Village at Meridian.

Steve Barry, executive vice president for development and leasing at Rendina, said the shopping center’s other tenants like the business a medical office brings.

The ample signage and parking at shopping centers make them appealing to clinics, said Peter Volas, senior director of real estate for the Cleveland Clinic.

“Wayfinding and ample parking are two patient satisfaction measures,” he said.

Volas said medical office developers generally look for a shell location and build the office essentially from scratch.

IBR Staff

Farm bureau raises brand fees to aid wolf control

Idaho Farm Bureau Federation members have passed a proposal to raise the state brand renewal fee by $25 to increase funding for wolf-control efforts by Idaho Wildlife Services.

The farm bureau acted Dec. 5 at its 74th annual meeting, the Capital Press reported. Brands in Idaho are renewed every five years.

Idaho Wildlife Services has lost about $750,000 in funding since 2010, mostly because of federal budget cuts. That has reduced the agency’s total budget to $2.1 million. The agency said the state this year has had 77 confirmed or probable wolf kills of cattle and 565 sheep kills. The number of confirmed or probable wolf depredations so far in 2013 is down 26 percent from 2011.

“It’s slowly working its way down again,” said Idaho Wildlife Services State Director Todd Grimm, attributing some of the decrease to sport hunting seasons for wolves. “Hunting season has absolutely made a difference.”

The minimum estimated wolf population in Idaho peaked in 2009 at 856 and has gradually decreased to 683, officials said.

The increase in the brand fee would raise about $100,000 a year. Sheep growers also have increased the wool assessment fee by 2 cents per pound to raise about $25,000.

 The Associated Press

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers sees increase in sales of special sizes

When Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Inc. released its third-quarter earnings earlier this month, CEO R. Neal Black mentioned a recent increase in sales of slim-fit suits, as well as big and tall varieties. These special sizes are one of the company’s five key growth initiatives.

“Anything slim has been their fastest growth area for a couple years,” said Mark Montagna, analyst for Avondale customers who covers Jos. A. Bank. “That’s where the trend is, so it’s good for them.”

The special sizes have helped the company attract new customers, said Black.

Brian G. Rafn, principal at Morgan Dempsey, which owns Jos. A. Bank stock, said attracting new clientele is a good idea, as long as it’s not at the expense of the established shoppers.

“The story has been a switch to try to get a younger guy in the store … your Abercrombie & Fitch guy, that’s your high-testosterone 20-year-old,” said Rafn.

“The problem is the younger guy is unemployed, playing video games in his parents’ basement.”

Sure, Rafn isn’t suggesting that all of these trim-suit wearers are young fellas, and not all young men are unemployed. But he said the established customer with the thicker wallet should not go underserved.

“If you’re going it at the cost of not having inventory for the classic guy … then you’re losing money,” he said. “He’s not a rain-check guy.”

The benefit of attracting the younger customer with fashion-forward slim suits is longer-term, he said — getting them in early, motivating them to shop at Bank not only as the “high-testosterone guy” but later on as the “classic guy.”

Dolan Media Newswires

Plexus putting $3 million into Nampa plant

Electronics manufacturer Plexus is making a $3 million addition to its Nampa microelectronics facility. The improvements will include tripling the size of its cleanroom facility and upgrading its specialized manufacturing equipment.

Plexus, based in Neenah, Wisc., acquired the Nampa facility 10 years ago, after the electronics company MCMS Inc went bankrupt. The company has manufacturing facilities in five states, as well as Mexico, Europe and Asia.

Plexus’ Microelectronics Business Director Andy Edgin said the company might also add more staff.

“In addition to our investment in facilities and equipment, we continue to enhance our team’s capabilities by adding talented engineering and technical resources that align with our product development engineers to offer a full suite of solutions,” Edgin said.

Stock CMS of Boise is the general contractor on the project, which is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2014.

IBR Staff

UI names new interim McClure Center director

There’s a new interim director of the University of Idaho’s marquee public-policy research center that’s been beset by leadership turnover.

The UI on  Dec. 9 named Priscilla Salant interim director of the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research.

Salant takes over from Marty Peterson, who is retiring for a second time after serving for 20 years as a special assistant to UI’s president.

Peterson stepped in during 2012 when the former McClure Center director, political science professor David Adler, bolted after two years for a similar post at Boise State University.

Before taking this assignment, Salant had led UI’s university’s outreach and engagement efforts since 2006 at the school’s Office of Community Partnerships.

The university didn’t provide details of its search for a permanent McClure Center leader.

The Associated Press

Idaho pharmacist sentenced after hoarding pills

A northern Idaho pharmacist must serve three years of probation and pay $75,594 restitution for stealing drugs from the pharmacy where he’d worked for decades.

Sixty-six-year-old Steven R. Milot of Kellogg also must perform 100 hours of community service, according to his sentence handed down Dec. 9 in U.S. District Court in Coeur d’Alene.

After a long career at Osburn Drug in Kellogg, Milot had gained the trust of the community. But in 2012, prosecutors say, video surveillance recorded Milot misappropriating controlled substances.

That prompted the Idaho State Police to execute a search warrant at Milot’s home, where they discovered a stash of drugs including thousands of tablets of Oxycodone and OxyContin.

They also learned how he had acquired his illicit stash: Milot ordered drugs via wire transmissions, to avoid detection.

The Associated Press

Courts: Idaho case computer system at end of life

The Idaho Supreme Court says the state’s computerized case filing system is becoming obsolete and a replacement is needed.

In a new report to lawmakers and Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, the high court proposes a 5-year, $21.6 million plan to replace the Idaho Statewide Trial Court Record System with a new case management program called Odyssey, created by Tyler Technologies.

The system in use now has been declared by its vendor to be at “end of life,” according to the report.

The case management system allows the public to view files on everything from felony cases to speeding tickets online. The new program would expand those capabilities to add an online payment system, electronic filing and video conferencing.

The Associated Press



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