The top 10 Idaho business stories of the week:
1. Preparations are underway to bring the future of wireless internet to the Treasure Valley. Over the past two years, Verizon representatives have worked with officials in Ada County and Boise on new ordinances that will allow the company to deliver 5G cell service using transmitters mounted on telephone poles and streetlights.
2. Kickstarter backers are taking aim at Garden City’s Ninja Division for failing to deliver a promised table-top game, “Super Dungeon Explore: Legends,” three years after raising $1.3 million for it — 16 times its campaign goal. “We have every intention to complete the project and fulfill the promised rewards,” the company said in letters to the Idaho and Washington attorneys general.
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3. A proposed subdivision of modest houses aims to remind Boiseans of the late Thomas Kinkade, famous for painting bucolic gardens and fairy-tale stone cottages. Boise Developer Wendy Klahr’s six-house project of under-$250,000 homes would cover a mere half-acre. Yet it is drawing praise from city officials.
4. The Idaho Supreme Court declared Medicaid expansion legal. The court ruled against the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s bid to block the voter-passed measure, which will make Idaho’s working poor — those in the “Medicaid gap” — eligible for public health insurance in 2020.
5. Nationwide restructuring by Trinity Health will result in 181 job cuts in patient billing at Saint Alphonsus Health System in October. The ’ job functions are being moved to a service center in Michigan.
6. Three Republican state legislators are proposing to legalize hemp production in Idaho. “We can buy hemp in our stores, but we cannot grow it in our own state,” says one lawmaker, who argues that this is unfair to farmers.
7. Boise State University has run out of time to open its planned baseball stadium as it had hoped in time for the 2020 season. The university is considering construction bids from two companies, Hellas Construction and the Gardner Co.
8. By the time the 2019-20 ski season begins, Tamarack Resort will feel like a whole new ski area. According to Jon Reveal, president of the investment partnership that purchased Tamarack last November, the abandoned plaza will see new life by next winter, and skiers and snowboarders can plan on access to even more terrain thanks to a new and improved Wildwood lift.
9. A federal judge in Boise has ordered mediation for the developer of The Fowler and the construction company that built the seven-story Downtown apartment building. The Roost, a company formed by Los Angeles and Boise developer LocalConstruct to build The Fowler at 5th and Myrtle streets, sued Andersen Construction Co. last May over construction delays and added costs. Andersen countersued.
10. The new Cottonwood Creek Behavioral Hospital in Meridian admitted more than 50 patients in the three weeks after it opened Jan. 14. The hospital, owned by Tennessee-based Haven Behavioral Healthcare, has been eagerly welcomed by mental health advocates and families of people who need treatment.
And here are three more stories for good measure ...
▪ Nearly three months after an explosion that killed one worker and injured three others, U.S. Ecology’s hazardous waste site near Grand View will resume some operations, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality says.
▪ Timber Giant, a new pale ale from Mother Earth Brew Co. in Nampa, is one of two official beers of this year’s Treefort Music Fest, coming March 20-24 om Boise. Timber Giant has a suggested retail price of $10.99 for a six-pack. New Belgium Brewing Co. of Fort Collins, Colorado, will create the other Treefort beer.
▪ Boise’s Chandler’s Steakhouse, 981 W. Grove St., has been ranked the sixth most romantic restaurant in the nation by TripAdvisor. Food-and-drink website The Daily Meal also chose Chandler’s in an article highlighting “The Best Special Occasion Restaurant in Every State.”