Bingham Memorial helps save Blackfoot water towers

Idaho Falls KeyBank employees joined colleague Lynda Fennern in presenting a $5,000 donation to the Bonneville Education Foundation, Fennern, a 25-year KeyBank veteran, has served as a board member and treasurer of the Bonneville Education Foundation since 2006. The KeyBank employees pictured, and their lengths of tenure, are Kristine Cottle, 23 years; Tonya Oram, 30 years; Sonya Hawley, 30 years; Veronica Owen, 13 years; Teresa Reynolds, 17 years; Jonette Pond, 15 years; and Fennern. courtesy KeyBank


The historic Blackfoot water towers will get a face-lift after Bingham Memorial Hospital reached a deal with the Blackfoot City Council to buy them.

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the sale for $1, the Blackfoot Morning News reported.

The Idaho State Journal reported in August that city leaders were considering tearing down the towers due to safety concerns before community members rallied to save them.

“The Blackfoot water towers are iconic landmarks that mean a great deal to people of Blackfoot,” Bingham Memorial CEO Jake Erickson said in a hospital news release. “The public outcries about the potential to have the water towers demolished this past summer got my attention. I knew immediately there was something we could do to turn this into a positive situation for the community.”

Hospital administrators commissioned a structural analysis by the firm Harper Leavitt Engineering. The engineering firm determined the water towers are structurally sound and not at risk of structural failure, the release said. Additionally, the firm said because Blackfoot is in a high-desert environment with low humidity and a noncorrosive atmosphere, the towers will remain safe for many years to come.

Hospital administrators don’t plan to make any aesthetic changes to the towers this winter. However, they are planning to seek public input through a community-wide collaboration.

“Because of its proximity to our hospital campus, we plan to paint the north tower green and refresh the wording to say, ‘Welcome to the City of Blackfoot,’ on one side and ‘Welcome to Bingham Memorial Hospital’ on the side that faces the hospital campus,” Erickson said in the release. “For the large, south tower, we want the community to help us decide how it should look.”

In 2018, the hospital will launch a website where the public can submit their ideas which will be narrowed to two to three choices. Those choices will then be shown to the public for a final decision.

“This is a great opportunity for our community to come together and create something really amazing,” Erickson said in the release. “Blackfoot is the headquarters for Bingham Healthcare and this community has supported our growth throughout the years. We believe Blackfoot is a great place to live, work, and play … And we believe that with the community’s help we can create a world-famous landmark for travelers to enjoy from all over the world.”

Fall River Electric pays $1M to customers

Fall River Electric Cooperative has mailed checks to more than 6,000 of its owner-members totaling $1,023,143 under its patronage capital program.

Fall River Electric operates as a nonprofit cooperative, which owned by the customers it serves. When revenues collected by the co-op exceed operating costs, those extra revenues become patronage capital, which is then disbursed to its owner-members on an approximate 20-year cycle, a co-op news release said. A 20-year retirement rotation helps the cooperative achieve its “ideal equity level which allows the co-op to obtain lower interest loans used for large capital projects,” the release said.

For information on Fall River Electric’s patronage capital program, visit fall age-capital.

KeyBank donates $5K to foundation

KeyBank has made a $5,000 contribution to the Bonneville Education Foundation in honor of commercial banker Lynda Fennern’s 25-year anniversary working with KeyBank in Idaho Falls.

The donation was awarded in response to a grant application KeyBank received from the Bonneville Education Fund, a bank news release said.

Fennern, who is vice president and commercial banking relationship manager for KeyBank in Idaho Falls, has served as a board member and treasurer of the Bonneville Education Foundation since 2006. She celebrated her 25-year anniversary with KeyBank this year, and was joined at the grant presentation by six colleagues who all have a tenure of more than 10 years with KeyBank in Idaho Falls.

“I am honored that Key awarded this grant to an organization that is near and dear to my heart in recognition of my 25-year anniversary, and I wanted my other long-tenured colleagues with me for the presentation,” Fennern said in the release. “Tonya Oram and Sonya Hawley have both been with KeyBank for 30 years, and between the seven of us we have more than 150 years of service to KeyBank clients in and around Idaho Falls.”

Fennern has 34 years of banking experience and joined KeyBank in 1994 through a bank acquisition of Valley Bank. She started as a business and ag banker with KeyBank and was promoted to a commercial relationship manager and vice president four years later.

The KeyBank donation will be allocated to mini-grants for teachers across the Bonneville Joint School District for the purchase of classroom supplies, books and other tools to assist with their teaching efforts.

Agreement between RMP and I.F. approved

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission approved a customer exchange agreement between Rocky Mountain Power and the city of Idaho Falls.

The agreement establishes processes for determining which entity will provide electric service to new consumers in certain areas and for handling transfers of service among Rocky Mountain Power customers in areas annexed by the city.

A previous agreement governing service transfers expired in 2015 at the city’s request, a commission news release said. The two sides had worked since then to forge a new agreement.

Idaho Falls’ municipal boundaries are surrounded by the service territory of Rocky Mountain Power, which has approximately 77,000 customers in eastern Idaho, including some inside Idaho Falls city limits.

The city’s electric department, known as Idaho Falls Power, provides electric service to approximately 28,000 customers primarily within the city’s municipal boundaries, though service is provided to some customers outside city limits.

The five-year agreement establishes the service territory of each utility and calls for the two parties to work together to identify facilities that are duplicative and to avoid duplicity when constructing new facilities.

10-week workshop series set by groups

The Idaho Innovation Center and SBDC Idaho will present a 10-week workshop series titled “Growing Your Business.”

The series covers entrepreneurship, research, planning, marketing, accounting, business management tools and more. Classes start Jan. 23.

Small Business Development Center clients receive a 50 percent deduction on the class fee. Registration is $245 for SBDC clients and $495 for nonmembers.

Register by calling 208-523-1026.

Submit news

Submit business news and story suggestions by emailing news@postreg ister .com.

The Shoptalk column reports on business trends, acquisitions, contracts, openings and relocations.

People in Business features news of promotions, certifications, awards and management-level hires.

The Post Register accepts headshot photographs of people in business so long as those photos are of publishable quality. Emailed photos should be attached as jpegs and should be large format of at least several hundred kilobytes (k) in size.