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Middleton to turn its civic center into a museum

Plans to remodel Middleton’s Civic Center are moving forward.

The building, located at 314 Cornell St., will be remodeled into a historical museum and connected through an annex to the Trolley Station, an existing building. That addition will include ADA-compliant restrooms, a kitchen, storage and small meeting room, said city spokeswoman Becky Crofts.

Canyon County donated $47,000 to develop the museum and the city will donate another $25,000 for its completion.

Middleton’s city council approved the design plans by Modus Architecture in November. A general contractor will be selected after the project goes out to bid. Construction is expected to start this spring and wrap up in the fall.

IBR Staff

Good fences make good neighbors

A survey by Trulia about neighbors finds that one in five of our neighbors are judgmental, passive aggressive or just plain nosy.

garden gnomesOne in five admitted they judged their neighbors based on the appearance of their house. Suburbanites appear to be more judgmental than urban homeowners.

Thirty-one percent said they would actively ignore a neighbor if they disagreed with them. Another 30 percent say they would complain about a neighbor to a landlord, the Homeowners’ association, or the police, instead.

According to Trulia, the neighbors are nosy. As soon as a neighbor’s house goes for sale, they’re the 27 percent who get on the Internet searching for the listing price. And you can bet that 11 percent will be at the open house. No numbers on how many look through your closet or medicine cabinet.

However, the respondents to the survey were friendly. Sixty-seven percent like their neighbors, but only 53 percent know the neighbor’s name.

It’s important to 33 percent of respondents that the neighbor speak the same language. Another 4 percent say neighbors better share the same political views or else they’ll report you to a landlord, the HOA or the police.

By Graziella Steele, Dolan Media Newswires

Insurance waiting periods limited to 90 days

The Obama administration has released the final rules for implementing a 90-day limit on waiting periods for health coverage, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

For plan years beginning after Jan. 1, group health plans can impose a waiting period of no longer than 90 days for otherwise eligible employees, according to the final rule. Other eligibility conditions are acceptable, such as requiring a certain professional license or requiring employees to complete a reasonable orientation period, but solely time-related eligibility conditions are limited to that 90-day period.

However, employers should be aware that because many insurers will only add people to a plan on the first day of a month, and because some months have 31 days, the 90-day waiting period could in some cases effectively be a shorter waiting period, according to Kelly Madison, a health benefits broker in Boise.

For example, the 90-day maximum waiting period for an employee hired March 1 would end May 29, but an insurer that would only enroll an employee on the first day of a month would have to enroll that employee May 1 rather than June 1.

IBR Staff

Idaho approves $1M to defend same-sex marriage ban

The Idaho Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee has approved spending $1 million to defend the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports in a story on Feb. 27 that the committee endorsed a request by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter to transfer the money from the general fund to the Constitutional Defense Fund in anticipation of a legal fight.

Four couples in November filed a lawsuit challenging Idaho’s same-sex marriage ban, arguing that the ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection and due process guarantees.

Idaho law recognizes only marriages between a man and a woman, and a 2006 voter-enacted constitutional amendment bans same-sex marriages.

Federal judges have voided all or part of voter-approved bans on same-sex marriage in Utah, Oklahoma and Kentucky. Appeals are pending.

The Associated Press

 Lewiston to get a new eye clinic

Lewiston’s ClearView Eye Clinic is building a new facility in the Port of Lewiston.

Greystone Holdings and ClearView Eye Clinic President Dr. David Leach recently purchased nearly 2 acres of property in the Port’s Business & Technology Park. Practice Administrator Brenda Halen said it plans to construct a new facility by the end of 2014 that would double its current space of which is about 2,500 square feet. More space for patient services is planned, including exam rooms, lobby expansion and space for eye diagnostic equipment. Project costs are still being determined.

Boulder & Associates is the architect and Kenaston Corporation is the general contractor. ClearView Eye Clinic has two offices in the northern part of the state, including Moscow and Lewiston’s current clinic on 23rd Ave. It will be hiring approximately 20 people to fill various positions on site when the facility opens.

Jennifer Gonzalez

Boise airport looks for new vendors

The Boise Airport has put out a request for proposals for local vendors to run its concessions.

The airport’s restaurants and stores have been in place since the airport terminal opened in 2003, said airport Director Rebecca Hupp. Their contracts are all expiring, and now airport officials are making an effort to find vendors that reflect the local area.

“We’ve made a concerted effort to reach out to local business owners and provided them information how they can participate in the RFP process,” Hupp said. Among other things, the airport held a vendor information session to show local business owners how to do business at the airport.

“We’re very interested in having the airport be a reflection of our community,” Hupp said.

The contracts for all of the restaurants in the airport’s food court, as well as others in the terminal, are up for renewal. The three news and gift shops are also subject to the RFP process, Hupp said.

Airport officials expect to receive proposals in April and to make recommendations to the Boise City Council in July. The existing contracts expire in the fall.

IBR Staff

Idaho goods production stronger than in most states

Though Idaho has followed the national employment shift from goods production to service sector employment over the past 30 years, Idaho’s economy relies more on goods production than most other states, according to an Idaho Department of Labor report.

The percent of personal income earnings from goods production – mining, forestry, fishing, manufacturing, construction and agricultural services – has been dropping in the U.S. since the 1950s. In 2011, 23.9 percent of Idaho’s personal income earnings were from goods production, compared to 21.1 percent nationally.

Goods production jobs took a hit during the Great Recession, primarily in manufacturing and construction. Production jobs accounted for 62 percent of jobs lost nationwide and 68 percent of jobs lost in Idaho. While Idaho had been the No. 10 state in goods production earnings – at 33.4 percent – in 2000, by 2012 its ranking had dropped to No. 22, with goods production earnings at nearly 24 percent.

Production jobs are important, the report states, because their wages average about $10,000 more per year than service jobs.

IBR Staff

 Idaho lagging in new business creation since 2009

Idaho had the third-largest drop in total business establishments from 2009 to 2012, seeing a drop of 5,322 business establishments during a time when 11 states, including Washington and Oregon, had a net increase of more than 5,000 businesses. Data released recently from Moscow-based Economic Modeling Statistics Intl. says Idaho saw a larger drop in the number of business establishments than every state except Michigan and New Jersey. Idaho had the highest business loss rate on a per capita basis.

From 2009 to 2012, the country added 132,385 new businesses, a 2 percent increase, but Idaho had a 2 percent decrease and was one of 21 states to see the number of businesses drop. The report tracked business establishments, which is different from the total number of businesses. An establishment is a single location, so a restaurant with more than one location in a state would have multiple establishments.

EMSI’s report said that Idaho and other states that lost businesses saw a strong decline in construction companies, with Idaho having a 22 percent net decrease in the number of construction companies.

IBR Staff

 

 

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