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Roundtable Discussions

Darrell Bolz, Caldwell, reported:
The Indian Creek Plaza, in downtown Caldwell, is now under construction.  They have hired a staff to begin scheduling activities.  Reel Theatre has begun construction of an 11-screen theatre in downtown Caldwell.  The Saratoga Hospitality Group has decided against the construction of an 80-room boutique hotel with a 200+ person conference space in downtown Caldwell.  Syngenta is going to do a $35 million investment to their current facilities.  This will include greenhouses and manufacturing equipment.  They are planning on adding an additional 7 research associates in 2018 and 8 to 10 research associates in 2019.  Hayden Homes is looking to build 160 homes in Caldwell.  The proposal is still under consideration as there are some questions about what density the proposal should be.  TVCC has added fixed wing aircraft training to the Ontario Campus and is looking to add it to the Caldwell Campus in the future.  There are only a few such training programs in the U.S. that train both for helicopter and fixed wing.  The helicopter program in Caldwell has been quite successful and is used by a lot of veterans.  The old Paul's Market in Caldwell is being converted into a Bi-Mart.  St. Lukes has opened a new hospital and St. Alphonsus has open 2 new hospitals in the Nampa area.

Shirley Biladeau, Idaho Commission for Libraries, reported:
Working on annual programs which build the capacity of libraries to better serve their communities.  These programs include early childhood education, adult literacy programs, Make It Idaho, financial literacy, college and career education, workforce, and economic development.  Working with Idaho Department of Labor on the implementation of the reorganization for the delivery of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.  Coordinating community conversations as requested by libraries to connect them with state wide and local resources.  Creating a ready reference tool for library staff providing connections and resources for basic needs, education, employment, and economic development in communities throughout Idaho.  Also working with Department of Health and Welfare to promote their online portal of Live Better Idaho which is available to agencies and organizations to list their resources.

Jim Werntz, Environmental Protection Agency, reported: 
Chris Hladick, is the new EPA Region 10 Administrator.  Region 10 includes the states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.  Mr. Hladick was appointed by President Trump, and started in his new appointment on December 4, 2017.  Mr. Hladick previously served in the Governor’s cabinet in Alaska, as Commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.  He also has extensive experience as a City Manager, in Unalaska, Dillingham, and Galena.  Chris is looking forward to visiting Idaho and working with local, state, and tribal governments to address important public health and environmental issues.

Underground Injection Control (UIC) Wells:  Idaho has requested that EPA implement the UIC Class II well program in Idaho, which is the regulatory program to ensure that process wastewater from oil and gas operations is properly disposed of using deep-well injection.  On November 27, EPA published the notice in the Federal Register announcing the voluntary transfer.  The public can comment until January 11, 2018, on Regulations.Gov, or by attending a public hearing on January 8th, 2:00 pm, at the Banner Bank Building, 2nd Floor Conference Room.

Stephanie Cook, Idaho National Laboratory, shared the following links for her roundtable update:
Department of Energy gives 'excellent' rating to Idaho lab | U.S. News and World Report

Delegation says BEA extension at INL is well-deserved | Public


Art Beal, Idaho RC&D Association, reported:
The High-Country RC&D is busy working grants for several community projects in the Teton Basin.  They continue with the cloud seeding program and biomass usage and development projects.  They manage the Coordinated Weed Management projects with the weed departments and the Idaho Department of Agriculture.  They have one of the early Wildland Urban Interface projects to help cut the risk of wildfire.  They continue with an educational program on invasive species, especially the aquatics plants and animals.  The Clearwater RC&D has an active grant program to help with infrastructure.  The West Central Highlands RC&D is still in the process of retiring.  The Southwest Idaho RC&D continues to develop the Snake River Water Trail and the recreation opportunities that go with it.  They support two forestry Coalitions.  The Boise Forest Coalition has spent the last year discussion and recommending to the U S Forest service things to consider on the Pioneer fire recovery.  The US Forestry was challenged with an injunction.  The court denied the injunction, said the parties were asked to be at the coalition table and did not participate.  As of this morning, there are still logs going to market.  We don’t know if the decision will be appealed.  There is a discussion going on between the US Forest service and the Ada County Highway District about the forest land cleanup that needs to happen in the Bogus Basin recreation area.  The most economical way for it to come down to Boise to major roads.  The salvage doesn’t pay very well so the alternate is too costly.  Then Idaho Soil Conservation District Association just celebrated its 75th conference in November here in Boise.  They presented a timeline story of districts in Idaho developed by me starting with the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Milliner Irrigation project in Eastern in Idaho.          

Bryant Jones, BSU School of Public Service, reported:
The School of Public Service is actively assisting local governments, state agencies, non-profits, and businesses in Idaho and the Pacific Northwest conduct applied research.  The following link contains a list of clients the School of Public Service has worked with thus far (https://sps.boisestate.edu/ipi/projects-and-clients/).  Folks interested in learning more about what SPS offers should reach out to Bryant Jones (bryantajones@boisestate.edu).  Clients include Bonners Ferry, Arco, McCall, INL, public utilities, Bingham County, Idaho Department of Labor, Idaho Department of Agriculture, Post Falls, Jerome, etc.

Polly Hoyt, USDA – Farm Service Agency, reported:
BOISE, Idaho -- Nov. 15, 2017- The Trump Administration recently appointed Evan Frasure as the new State Executive Director (SED) for the USDA Idaho Farm Service Agency (FSA). Frasure joined the Idaho FSA team on Monday, Nov. 13.

Frasure most recently served as a commissioner for Bannock County, Idaho. While serving in the Idaho legislature, he served as the Senate Transportation chairman where he received the non-partisan recognition as one of the top 100 most influential Idahoans for multiple years in a row. Frasure’s extensive background in business includes managing agents in southeast Idaho for both residential and commercial real estate, owning of several small businesses, and serving as executive director for a large international marketing company.

Lori Porreca, Federal Highway Administration – Idaho Division, reported:
They are looking for recommendations for members to the Statewide Freight Advisory Committee.  ITD is looking to fill positions to represent the private sector from northern and eastern Idaho but other suggestions are welcome too.

Erik Kingston, Idaho Housing and Finance Association, reported:

  • 2017 Avenues for Hopewww.avenuesforhope.org  12/12 to 12/31 Avenues for Hope has raised $2.2 million for Idaho nonprofits since 2011.
  • 2018 Conference on Housing and Economic Development set for March 5, 6. For information on the agenda, venue and sessions see www.2018housingconf.com
  • Housingidaho.com update celebrating its 10 yr. anniversary with new design, new blog and search features at www.housingidaho.com
  • Housing Roundtables are in their 15th year; we are surveying participants this year to update and improve the scheduling and format.
  • IHFA’s rental assistance program administers 3,700 Section 8 vouchers covering 34 of Idaho's 44 counties, along with additional targeted resources for persons with AIDS/HIV, mental health conditions, veterans, and persons with disabilities.
  • We receive about $3.7 million in federal homelessness assistance grants.  These funds are distributed to about 30 nonprofits across the state to provide emergency shelter, homelessness prevention, rapid re-housing, and permanent supportive housing.
  • In 2016 we started incentivizing homelessness units in Section 42/Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties and should begin to see those come online in 2018.
  • Projecting over $11 million across the state dedicated to homelessness assistance.  This includes federal, state, local, and private dollars.
  • Recent Point-In-Time counts identify at least 4,000 homeless persons across the state in any given 12-month period.  Adding Dept. of Ed's homeless numbers (which include those "doubled-up" or "couch-surfing"), total "homeless" numbers are closer to 11,000.

Jerry Miller, Idaho Department of Commerce, reported:
Block grants were due the third Friday in November.  The Department received 16 applications for public facilities (infrastructure) constituting over $7million in request.  It is likely that the Department will have $6 million to distribute roughly enough to fund 13 of the 16 projects.  A law suit over the State of Idaho’s Tax Reimbursement Incentive was reinstated by the Idaho Supreme Court.  In its ruling the court did not pass judgement on the merits of the case but said that it should receive a full hearing in district court.  The Idaho Main Street program will be adding Coeur d’Alene to the mix of accredited National Main Street Communities.  Idaho’s other accredited Main Street Communities include Nampa, Lewiston and Driggs.

Donna Pence, Gooding, reported:
Gooding has a skate park with lights for the past year that was a result from the community review that was held in 2009.  Glanbia Foods, Inc. is building offices in Twin Falls which helps the growth of Gooding.  The North County Medical Center building has built a new wing and that has helped the local economy as folks don’t need to travel to Twin Falls for medical services.  The City of Gooding is putting in a new water system.  More shops are opening on Main Street.  The next big project for the city will be a new wastewater system which could run around $9 million.   

Carleen Herring, Region IV Development, reported:
Currently, there are five remaining economic development districts in Idaho.  The organization responsible for serving the 10 southwestern counties has dissolved; however, the other districts are working with the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the Idaho Department of Commerce to rebuild an economic development district to address the region’s community development needs.  In the interim, Clearwater Economic Development Association and Region IV Development Association are sending staff to work with Region III communities on infrastructure projects and community development planning.

Brian Dale, US Housing and Urban Development, reported:
In our Boise office John Meyers retired November 30th and Jerry Royster will be retiring January 31st.  The acting Field Office Director is Michael Look, Deputy Regional Administrator from their Seattle office.  The head office has not shown any indication of hiring to backfill these positions.  Brian will be the sole HUD employee in the Boise office after January 31st.  The homeless providers are looking at the point and time count again.  They are rethinking their ideas and thoughts of the process.  Fair Housing month is April and it will be the 50th anniversary.  On April 26th at Boise City Hall, Christina Miller will conduct training on fair housing.   

Richard Berndt, Economic Development Administration, reported:
Richard is based out of Seattle but is in Idaho today to speak with the economic development districts within Idaho.  He is always available for questions about economic development and can be reached at his office 206-220-7682 or email RBerndt@eda.gov.    

Representative Troy, Idaho State Legislature, reported:
Representative Troy enjoyed participating at the Plummer Community Review of which she has written three grants since then.  She attended the Rural Symposium in Salt Lake and has brought back new ideas around broadband in rural areas.  Outside of Stanley the University of Idaho has a research extension center focused on cattle production and rangeland issues.  They are going to partner with the Rock Creek Ranch outside of Hailey and monitor how cattle and wildlife interact.  Representative Troy volunteered to carry any legislation for rural issues at this year’s session.  Last session she carried a bill regarding J1 Visas recruiting doctors who would work in rural clinics.  Some of the rural legislation she is working on this year include:  combining cemetery districts for funding, suicide prevention; deleting sales tax from the sale of gun safes, and suicide prevention; pharmacies.

Margie Schmaehl, Idaho Development, reported:
Out of state folks are coming to the area.  Harty has renewed his realtor license and is helping them relocate.  It has been hard to get building contractors for repair and such since the fire.  The city put in new water lines but the telephone company put in phone lines that caused damage to the water lines.  Flooding occurred within the city because of this.  Kamiah has a large number of folks who volunteer and help in the community.  They are searching for a reliable marketing company for the Hearthstone Lodge.  Their restaurant had the theme of a tea house to reflect the early days of the settlers.  Now they are going to modify that theme into the tribal heritage that surrounds the area.  They would like to see the Nez Perce tribe build some type of cultural tourist attraction in Kamiah to draw tourists.  She and Harty have six businesses in Kamiah. 

Harty Schmaehl, Idaho Development, reported:
The Schmaehls’ are potentially adding 20 rooms to the lodge.  The financing is in the works right now.  As a realtor he sees folks coming to the area wanting to buy large parcels of land from five to a hundred acres plus.  A company named Air Bridge from Utah is attempting to bring better broadband to the area.   This would be done by satellite.   

Daryl Moser, USDA - Rural Development, reported:
Daryl shared the following link for his roundtable update which shows their annual report and accomplishments.  https://www.rd.usda.gov/id