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A note from the editor

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Sharon Fisher

Not surprisingly, it’s been a big year for hospitals and health care facilities, which is why our Focus this week on that subject is so timely.

Our intrepid reporter Catie Clark has been covering the problems that rural Idaho hospitals have been having. She did that again this week, talking about how the Caribou Memorial Hospital in Soda Springs has had to shut down its skilled nursing facility to help the hospital itself survive, as well as spinning itself off into a nonprofit.

Catie also wrote about a rebuild of the St. Luke’s Elmore long-term care facility, how Portneuf Medical Center is building a medical plaza inside the Northgate master-planned community in Pocatello and how Saint Alphonsus is using a Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer to help it provide COVID-19 vaccinations in remote areas.

If you’re interested in this topic, you might also want to check out our April issue of Square Feet, which appeared in last week’s paper and is also available online, which covers construction in the hospital industry.

Catie also did one of her deep dives into statistics around housing permits and starts, showing that developers are focusing on single-family rather than multifamily construction. In addition, she wrote how two Idaho building companies are being recognized for their environmentally conscious Energy Star construction.

In other construction news, our versatile freelancer Alx Stevens wrote about a new construction trades program at the Swan Falls High School in Kuna to help produce the skilled building workforce the industry so desperately needs. She also wrote about a company that’s essentially “Airbnb for boats” and their presence in Idaho. You, too, can go out on the pontoon.

Finally, the Legislature is still in town, though there is talk about it adjourning sine die next week. (Of course, there was talk about it adjourning sine die this week, too.)

Everything came to a screeching halt on Wednesday so the Ethics Committee could examine the issue of a 38-year-old legislator reportedly sexually assaulting a 19-year-old volunteer. The hearing did not address the legal issue, but whether the conduct was unbecoming of a legislator.

I’m not going to address the substance of the allegations or the results of the hearing, other than to reflect on how sad it is that people in the workplace — any workplace, not just the Legislature — still have to deal with unwanted sexual advances and the sort of response a person gets when they report this through the proper channels.

It’s also going to be interesting to see the ramifications of this incident. A few years ago, the last time this happened, some legislators refused to meet with women anymore, including members of the press, ostensibly to protect themselves from their concerns about “false accusations.”

Another common reaction is variations on, “gosh, you just can’t give anyone a compliment or be nice to someone anymore.” It’s pretty simple: Can you imagine yourself giving someone of your own sex and orientation the same compliment? If not, then it’s likely inappropriate.

Sharon Fisher is interim managing editor of the Idaho Business Review.

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