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Catch up on Idaho business news: October 2016

Boise stop-motion animator brings Legos to life

Jared Jacobs, who goes by @goldyeller on Instagram, has been hired by the Big Ten Network to produce 10 mini-movies, one per week during the football season. The videos are stop-motion animations made from a series of 130 to 250 still photos. This
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Jared Jacobs, who goes by @goldyeller on Instagram, has been hired by the Big Ten Network to produce 10 mini-movies, one per week during the football season. The videos are stop-motion animations made from a series of 130 to 250 still photos. This

Nampa nursing home under state scrutiny

Holly Lane Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center is accused by regulators, family members of former residents and others of having endangered people who lived at the nursing home.

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare inspectors in July found residents in “immediate jeopardy.” Residents had to wait for help from employees, sat in soiled garments for hours and were dehydrated and underfed. One resident died after an emergency room doctor found him severely dehydrated, with other health problems. Inspectors said Holly Lane had too few qualified nurses and nursing aides.

Orianna Health Services, the owner of Holly Lane, says it has gone through changes in management and administration and that the nursing home is adequately staffed. The company disputes some of the state’s findings.

Homeowners buy parts of Tamarack Resort

A group of homeowners at Tamarack Resort bought parts of the financially troubled resort, ensuring a future for skiing and summer recreation.

The homeowners paid back taxes owed by previous owner NewTrac on several ski lifts, the unfinished Mid-Mountain Lodge and other properties critical to the resort. The homeowner’s association will control operations.

The purchase did not include the golf course and the Village Plaza, which, like several properties at Tamarack, went unfinished when the original developer went bankrupt during the recession. The homeowners plan to work with developers and investors to steer those properties toward new owners and completion.

Lamb Weston picks Eagle for HQ

Frozen fry giant Lamb Weston says its office in Eagle will become its corporate headquarters once Lamb Weston is spun off from ConAgra into a new, publicly traded company.

With $2.9 billion in annual sales, Lamb Weston will likely be the sixth largest company in Idaho. While it has not announced its plans for the Eagle office, experts say that adding another corporate headquarters to the Treasure Valley could benefit the community, including the arts and nonprofits.

Fatal trench collapse was fault of contractor

Hard Rock Construction is at fault for failing to provide required cave-in protection and a ladder for workers who were digging a trench May 3, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Hard Rock owner Dave Callister says his company provided a box to brace the trench, but foreman Bert Smith Jr. removed it shortly before the collapse. A trench box that investigators found at the dig site measured about 4 feet by 5 feet — “woefully inadequate” for the 9- to 11-foot-deep trench, the local OSHA director says.

Smith, 36, and Ernesto Saucedo, 26, died when the trench collapsed on them.

With road work done, Broadway is hot again

Now that two disruptive construction projects — rebuilding the Interstate 84 Broadway interchange and replacing the Broadway Bridge — are completed, businesses are seeking storefronts on Broadway Avenue.

New developments range from small coffee shops to new two-story commercial buildings. Albertsons plans to replace and expand its store on Broadway and open a new, redesigned store in 2018.

Black Rock Coffee Bar, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, Pizza Hut, Cafe Zupas, Popeyes and Noodles & Co. all are opening or have opened on Broadway, which a local real estate agent says is prime space for businesses that cater to a university crowd.

Gardner Co. breaks ground on hotel

The developer’s latest project, called Pioneer Crossing, will include a 150-room Hilton Garden Inn, a place for a future restaurant, a 132,000-square-foot office building and a 644-space parking garage.

The five-acre site is bordered by 11th, 13th, Myrtle and Front streets. The parking garage and restaurant are slated for completion in fall in 2017. The rest of the project is scheduled to be finished by summer in 2018.

The Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, Boise Valley Economic Partnership and the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau will move to the office building when it’s ready.

State to sell Boise properties

The Idaho Land Board voted to auction off nine state-owned commercial properties.

Among them are Affordable Storage, a 7-acre property with a thriving self-storage business at 450 S. Maple Grove Road in Boise; and commercial and office buildings in Idaho Falls. The remaining five are all individual properties within a block or two of the Capitol in Downtown Boise.

One state administrator says some of the Downtown buildings are ideal locations for state offices and should not be sold. The properties are worth about $20 million.

Albertsons adds 300 jobs, gets tax break

Now headquartered in Boise, the Albertsons Cos. has expanded by adding hundreds of employees in Idaho.

The grocery chain will receive a tax reimbursement incentive worth 30 percent of its income, payroll and sales taxes over the next 15 years, in exchange for adding and maintaining those jobs, which pay an average $71,053.

Most of the 300 jobs have been added or relocated to the Boise offices since last year. The incentive was approved in March 2015.

The Idaho Department of Commerce says the new jobs will bring $38 million in additional revenue to the state.

Pleas from uninsured don’t sway lawmakers

After hearing two hours of impassioned public testimony at its fourth hearing since July, a legislative panel expects to have no bill to show for the months it has spent reviewing health care options for 78,000 of Idaho’s working poor.

The Republican lawmakers leading the panel — Sen. Marv Hagedorn of Meridian and Rep. Tom Loertscher of Iona — say they don’t expect the panel to reach a consensus. They may submit ideas for the Idaho Legislature to consider in the 2017 session but do not anticipate having a bill to present.

Insurers offer more choice, higher prices

The average Idahoan who shops for health insurance on Your Health Idaho’s marketplace will find more options this fall, with at least four companies offering plans in every Idaho county. But premiums will cost about 24 percent more on average than they did in 2016.

None of the health exchange’s five companies will end up charging what they planned when they filed their anticipated 2017 rates with the Department of Insurance. Blue Cross of Idaho and SelectHealth decided to reduce their rate increases after the department reviewed their filings. BridgeSpan Health, Mountain Health CO-OP and PacificSource decided they needed steeper increases after the department’s review.

Realtors, Idaho Power top donor list

The Idaho Association of Realtors and Idaho Power are the largest donors in this fall’s Idaho congressional races, with each giving more than $50,000 to candidates, campaign finance disclosure show.

Commercial banks and bank holding companies donated nearly $127,000, followed by pharmaceutical manufacturers ($116,000), attorneys and law firms ($112,600), securities and investment firms ($109,000), and life insurance companies ($101,500)

Sen. Mike Crapo, who led all candidates in contributions received, got roughly one-third of his $1.6 million in donations from finance, insurance and real estate interests. That fits with his stature as a member of the Senate Banking and Finance committees.

Lyft launches in Boise

Lyft, a ridesharing smartphone app similar to Uber, launched its driver service in the Treasure Valley. The service is available in the Treasure Valley as well as in Boise, Adams, Valley, Washington, Payette, Gem and Elmore counties, depending on driver availability,

Some Uber drivers say Lyft pays better, in part because its app allows for riders to tip as part of the automated transaction.

Lyft did not disclose how many drivers had signed up.

Business Editor David Staats contributed. This roundup appears in the Oct. 19,-Nov. 15, 2016, edition of the Idaho Statesman’s Business Insider magazine. Click here for the Statesman’s e-edition, which includes Business Insider (subscription required).