Mar. 28, 2016

How Instagram Spawned a Successful Boise Startup

Prince McClinton, a 26-year-old wearing a backward baseball cap and long-sleeve T-shirt, could talk all day about the startup he co-founded three months ago, Art of Visuals. McClinton and Co-founder Travis Leslie’s utilized Downtown Boise’s startup collaboration space, Trailhead, in order to create the startups magazine, mobile app, development team, online engagement, as well as plans for a new website.

 Art of Visuals solicits and curates artistic photographs from around the world and posts them on Instagram. The account already has 286,000 followers. The Huffington Post reported that McClinton and Leslie drew 200 people to a sold-out launch party Jan. 7 in San Francisco, where they showed off their first print magazine. It’s all exciting to McClinton, enough to make him move from San Francisco to Boise, where Leslie, handpicks the pictures. “I’m back, and we’re building an awesome business,” he said.

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Mar. 28, 2016

11 Reasons Why I Moved to Idaho

What’s in Idaho besides potatoes? Having promised my parents that I would visit their new home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, I thought the month in between would be a good time to get to know the state a little better. In partnership with Visit Idaho, I road tripped through the entire state, and what I saw and experienced amazed me to the core. I knew after that month long adventure that I did need change in my life, and that change was leaving California, the state I loved and lived in for most of my life, and trading it in for the quiet and laid back life that Idaho is.

There are a million reasons why I made this change, but here are the top 11 reasons why I moved to Idaho.

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Mar. 28, 2016

Treefort Music Fest: Boise Street Party

As with every other day of this year’s Treefort Music Fest, dozens of bands showcased at nightclubs and other indoor venues scattered throughout downtown Boise, Idaho, on Sat. March 26, the fourth day of the five-day festival. But many festival-goers spent the day outdoors, having fun on a section of the city’s West Grove Street that had been closed to traffic so that Treefort attendees could party in the street.

Other than entry to the Main Stage which required the purchase of a wristband, this whole part of the festival was free for anyone to attend, and it included this year’s edition of what has become a Treefort tradition, Seth Olinsky’s “Band Dialogue.” Olinsky, of Akron/Family and Cy Dune fame, composed “Band Dialogue” to be performed by 20 Treefort bands, and at 4:30 PM the musicians, lining both sides of the street, launched into the piece under Olinsky’s direction. Dashing around from area to area, Olinsky waved his hands constantly giving direction to the myriad musicians who ended up pulling off the piece nicely. A non-vocal piece, “Band Dialogue” was a long, droning piece that had occasional exclamation points put on it by bursts of percussion or flourishes of guitar, keyboards and even saxophone.

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Mar. 28, 2016

Bogus Basin & Boise School District Gave Students Winter Sports Opportunity

Students from throughout the Boise School District hit the slopes for two days in February for an all-expenses-paid day at Bogus Basin with equipment rental, ski and snowboard lessons, lunch, and transportation.

The trip, part of a partnership between Bogus Basin and Boise School District, was earned by hundreds of students enrolled in AVID, a program that targets students in the academic middle who have the desire to go to college and the willingness to work hard. The incentive was awarded to junior high and senior high school-age students who achieved certain GPA and attendance benchmarks.

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Mar. 25, 2016

Treefort Music Fest

Mar. 24, 2016

Hot Cities for Cool Downtown Meetings

Petula Clark was right. The lights are much brighter downtown, where you can also forget all your troubles and forget all your cares. The 1965 Grammy Award-winning song, “Downtown,” still resonates loudly today, for good reason.

Downtowns are cool again. America’s city centers may have lost some luster throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, but they have come back with a vengeance.

“Boise is delightfully convenient for busy travelers. From our airport, where you can sample local food and drink, it’s just a 10-minute cab, Uber or shuttle ride to downtown. Once there, visitors might not need to use a car for the remainder of their trip. The Boise Centre, our meeting facility, is in the heart of downtown, just a few minutes’ walk from several Boise hotels, and is expanding with an additional 36,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space by September 2016. And if visitors are planning ahead, they can anticipate more lodging options in the coming years. Boise is experiencing a hotel boom, with at least four new projects underway in the city’s core. From the doorsteps of the convention center, Boise offers dozens of new and revered restaurant options, brew pubs and cafes, as well as a growing wine scene. Need a break? Hop on a Boise Bike Share bicycle and cover even more ground in our compact, welcoming city.” - Carrie Westergard, executive director, Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau

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Mar. 21, 2016

RedBuilt’s CEO, From Harvard to Boise

Kurt Liebich is the president and CEO of RedBuilt, a Boise company that engineers and builds engineered wood products for commercial and industrial customers in the western United States. Among its products are open-web roof trusses, I-joists, and laminated veneer lumber.

Liebich joined the company in 1994, straight from the Harvard University MBA program. In those days, the company was called Trus Joist, which then held 60-70 percent of the national market share in the engineered wood products category. The publicly traded Trus Joist was sold to the Federal Way, Wash. forest products giant Weyerhaeuser in 2000.

Liebich, former CEO Tom Denig, and the investment company Atlas Holdings of Greenwich, Conn., purchased the commercial division of Trus Joist in 2009 and renamed it Redbuilt in honor of 1960 co-founder Harold Thomas, whose nickname was Red. Denig is now chairman of the board.

Redbuilt owns mills in Stayton and Hillsboro, Ore., in Chino, Calif., and in Delaware, Ohio. The company has about 280 employees now, at its slowest time of year, with an expected increase to around 350 in the summer. About 50 people work in the Boise headquarters.

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Mar. 22, 2016

Boise In Forbes Top 20 America’s Fastest-Growing Cities

Forbes ranked America’s 100 most populous metropolitan statistical areas (cities and their surrounding suburbs, as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget) based on six metrics weighted equally. Using data from Moody’s Analytics, they factored in estimated population growth for 2015 and 2016, year-over-year job growth for 2015, and 2015 gross metro product growth (in other words, the metro area’s economic growth rate). They also looked at federal unemployment data. Finally, they considered median annual pay for college-educated workers in each area, using data from Payscale.com. The result is a list of the 20 metro areas in America with the fastest-growing populations and economies.

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Mar. 23, 2016

Ski & Tee, Boise Style

March presents a difficult choice for outdoor recreationists in the Treasure Valley. Extract a few last memories from winter? Or dive into spring? One more day on skis? Or knock the rust off your golf game? Or maybe, you can have it both ways.

Since I was a teenager living in Bend, Ore., I’ve been familiar with the idea of combining skiing and golf in one day — but I’d never tried it until Sunday. That’s too bad, because I enjoyed the day, I never felt overwhelmed by it and the Treasure Valley likely is among the best, easiest places in the country to pull off the winter-summer double. We have easy access to Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area — the drive up Bogus Basin Road took less than 30 minutes with no snow or ice on the surface. Bogus is open at night — you could, conceivably, play golf in the afternoon and still get in plenty of ski runs in the evening. Our golf courses often are open most of the winter. And our days get long after Daylight Saving Time begins, which allowed me to flip my original plan. Instead of Tee & (Night) Ski, this became Ski & Tee.

Some top resort destinations like to market their golf-and-ski combinations. A quick Google search found references to the idea in Utah, Alberta, British Columbia, Pennsylvania, California, New Mexico and Colorado, for starters. But usually, that possibility is limited to a small overlap in the seasons — and might require enduring a frigid day on the course.

In the Treasure Valley, you can pick just about any pleasant winter day to give this a try.

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Mar. 24, 2016

36 Idaho Schools Receive STEM Grants

The Idaho STEM Action Center announced Wednesday it has awarded grants up to $1,000 each to 36 educational organizations throughout Idaho to support family friendly science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) events in their communities.

The STEM Center received 44 applications and awarded 36 grants. Total funds awarded exceed $34,000, officials said. This is the second round of grants the STEM Center has distributed. It awarded 23 pre-kindergarten-through-high school grants totaling more than $48,000 in January to schools, libraries and such non-profit organizations as the Boys and Girls Clubs.

The Idaho STEM Action Center was approved during the 2015 legislative session to help produce a competitive workforce by implementing K-through-career science, technology, engineering and math education programs aligned with industry needs. During the 2016 session, the Idaho Legislature set the STEM Action Center’s ongoing annual budget at $2.4 million, appropriated $2 million into a STEM Education Fund to help start up local STEM programs, and approved the addition of a computer science program manager to oversee the Computer Science Initiative.

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Mar. 29, 2016

Boise Entrepreneurs Turn Hobby Into New Career

What began as a way for one couple to share videos of their kids with family members has grown into a Boise-based production company gaining notice from toy companies with videos that receive millions of views each month.

Happy Riot Entertainment is a production company owned by Justin Evans, 33, and Cassiopia Evans, 28.  The business began after the couple looked for a way to communicate with Cassiopia Evan’s mom. They began a YouTube channel where they uploaded video blog posts of the family driving around in the car.

“I had recently taken a photography class, but after a little bit photography wasn’t cutting it,” Cassiopia Evans said. “Video seemed like the next logical step creatively.”

Six months later they learned it was possible to monetize YouTube videos by allowing ads to run in front of them. The couple eventually began producing content for about a dozen YouTube channels focusing on a variety of topics such as toy reviews, animated nursery rhymes and trivia lists.

The company’s most popular channel, Epic Toy Channel, features the couple playing with new toys with their kids and rating the toys. It receives 20 million views a month.

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Apr. 6, 2016

Albertson Family Foundation awards $3.5M to whitewater park

by J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation announced today a $3.5 million grant to finish the second phase of the Boise River Park, a gift that will further revitalize the whitewater recreation park area in downtown Boise’s West End.

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Apr. 4, 2016

Students At Sage International School Design Prototype For Boise Parks

Julia Davis Park has some new recycling bins developed with the help of students and staff at the Sage International School. The unique thing about these bins is they can be attached to an existing park trash can holder and don't require any additional concrete on the ground. Sage students and staff built a prototype container and approached the parks department about the project last year. "Our first creation he had made it out of duct tape and cardboard and it was a small little model," said 10th grader Madison Saccoman.  "We had scaled that up into plywood and duct tape and chicken wire, and that is what we showed to Parks and Rec, and they loved it." ECCO Safety Group donated time and resources toward engineering the final product. Nine working models of the recycle bin are being installed today at Julia Davis Park. The city will see how they compare with other models, then decide whether to add more.

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Apr. 1, 2016

The Best City In America Is Actually Right Here In Idaho

The old adage of “location, location, location” is just one reason why Idaho as a whole has been recently making headlines as a blossoming national icon. The Gem State’s idyllic intersection of desert, mountains, and river oases creates an environment that offers something for everybody, while also quietly resting in close proximity to the urban centers of Seattle, Portland, and Salt Lake City.

But Idaho’s capital is making a name for itself for much more than its beauty and convenience.

With the goal of becoming the most livable city in the country, Boise is a bustling metropolis that has changed dramatically in the past decade or so, rising from a “bait and bullet” town, as it was called by the New York Times, to a thriving center for art, green initiatives, and community development. But it is in its uniquely isolated setting that Boise has truly found its niche as a hip, urban hub that is being praised by nearly every nationally published top ten list.

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Apr. 5, 2016

New Boise Business Is Selling, Buying And Trading In Imagination

Boise Bricks and Minifigs opened March 19 on Fairview Avenue near Hampton Road, offering a place for children to build and play with Legos and miniature figures. The business is owned by franchisees Brook and Reed Brimhall, but it is operated by their entire family. The store has been “slammed” in its first few weeks, Brimhall said. People drove around for 15 minutes to find parking and lined up outside the door for the grand opening, she said. The store buys and sells new and used Lego products. It also offers an activity room that customers can rent or reserve for birthday parties, special-needs groups, home-school groups and daycare classes. 

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Apr. 6, 2016

Local Vendor Spotlight, Whole Foods Boise

Whole Foods Market Boise, Local Vendors

In partnership with the City of Boise and Boise 150, this video features six Boise Valley local vendors that sell their products at Whole Foods.

Apr. 4, 2016

Boise Eatery Sells Heaven One Strip At A Time

If the thought of eating bacon makes you go nuts like that “bacon bacon bacon!” dog in the Beggin’ Strips TV commercial, then rest assured your tail will be wagging upon a visit to Bacon in downtown Boise, Idaho.

Bacon always has at least six types of bacon on hand, their signature Berryhill strip being one of them. Treated with a chile and sugar dry rub, Berryhill is always on the menu and is the “default” bacon when you order a menu item like eggs & bacon (you can change up your bacon if you want.) The other flavors rotate; a recent visit found the restaurant offering a Spicy Hot strip, the Kurobuta Herb bacon which is rubbed with thyme, sage, rosemary and lavender, the self-explanatory Maple Rosemary bacon and a dessert-like Candied Bacon that’s syrupy sweet and smoky at the same time. First-time Bacon-goers may want to order the Bacon Styx Sampler, a taste of all available bacons, which is cutely served-up in a flight of shot glasses.

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Apr. 4, 2016

Boise In Top 10 For Best Air Quality In the Country

There are plenty of things that go into deciding whether to live in the big city or decamp to a small town: culture, crime, careers, cuisine, commutes … and those are just the C’s! But surprisingly, one of the biggest determining factors is all about air—as in, “Is it safe?” It’s certainly a major issue in many urban centers across the U.S. With so many people and vehicles crammed together, it’s no wonder that pollution levels often rise higher than the highest skyscrapers.

But do you really have to trade away your health to enjoy the excitement of city living? We decided to find out. Our data analysts donned their realtor.com®-approved respirators and set out to discover big metropolitan areas where you can breathe freely—and, along the way, to determine the ones where, well, you can’t. 

Boise came in at number 10, right behind Lakefield, Florida and Colorado Springs, Colorado. With over 85% of good air quality days and the median home price being one of the lowest on the list. Boise, truly is a place where you can live a healthy life, without breaking the bank. 

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Apr. 4, 2016

Boise Ranked One Of Top Ten Best Downtown’s

Downtown Evanston might be cute and all, but it's no Boise, Idaho.

That's the verdict of editors at Livability.com, who gave the north suburb faint praise by naming it the 10th best small- or medium-sized downtown in the nation, four spots behind Boise. The website looked at 2,000 cities across the U.S. and ranked them for low vacancy rates, new development, cultural attractions, nightlife, diversity, affordability and walkability. Its editors admitted they used a fudge factor to help rank the top 10 based on their own preferences and to spread the love around.

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Apr. 5, 2016

A View From The Top of The Capitol

Photo by imgur.com/user/therealhershey

A view of Boise from the top of the capitol building.

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