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Roundtable Discussions

Darrell Bolz, Caldwell, reported:

Canyon County continue to be a hotbed for new construction and businesses.   The increasing population appears to be driving a lot of the new investment.  The County Commissioners revised an ordinance in January that provides for a greater property tax exemption with stricter guidelines for up to 5 years and has granted some of those.  This exemption applies to existing businesses that are expanding or to those considereing relocating in the county.  Earlier this year there was approximately $1.5 billion worth of projefts from out-of-state companies in various stages of interest of negotiation.  Most of those companies are some form of heavy industrial (either metal fabrication or food processing).  All are job creators and pay wages that have a medium wage higher than the county's medium salary.

 Randy Kemp, Idaho Commission for Libraries, reported:

Library activities pertinent to rural communities. Workforce Development: the ICfL piloted a summer intern program with nine libraries, several in rural areas of the state. Each intern was to be interested in the library as a potential occupation, nearing completion of high school or early in a post-secondary experience, and representative of the diversity of the community. These interns are winding down their experiences, with early results suggesting each learned about themselves, increased their capacity in the work place, and several are considering continuing work in a library at some point in time.

Under a grant from the Lumina Foundation to the State Board of Education, Boise State University Extended Studies is piloting a training program with the Mountain Home and Glenns Ferry libraries in order to build the capacity of those libraries to serve nontraditional students in their communities connect to post-secondary resources.

The Idaho Department of Labor has changed to service model of some of its workforce consultants such that they are remote working from multiple locations. One of those locations in general has been in libraries around the state. Some arrangements have already concluded; others are in the process of being negotiated where the consultant works out of the library building a few hours each week.

Cultural Heritage: the ICfL has new equipment to digitally capture historical artifacts using a mobile kit. The ICfL will be training librarians on how to use this and similar equipment with the goal of communities around the state capturing historic photos, letters, scrapbooks, and 3D objects.

The Idaho Humanities Council is strategically reaching out to rural communities to host discussions on topics of importance. In some cases, these could be hosted at libraries, or other community gathering spots in rural communities.

Barbara Petty, University of Idaho – Extension, reported:

University of Idaho has a new president!  Scott Green is returning to Idaho and to his birthplace of Moscow. He grew up helping his grandfather in Memorial Gym while his father was pursuing his law degree.  We are very excited about our future with President Green at the helm. 

The 4-H program received support from the Idaho legislature for a new STEM Area Extension Educator.  We have had over 20 applicants for this position from both in state and those from other states.  In addition, the 4-H program received funding for almost 20 FTE AmeriCorps positions that will include 8 full time, 16 part-time and 32 quarter time positions.  This will provide much needed support as we strive to grow our youth in Idaho.

The Idaho CAFÉ project is well underway with land purchased near Rupert for the research dairy and land also purchased at the crossroad of Interstate 84 and state highway 93 for the Discovery Complex.  The Discovery Complex will house an outreach and education center, classrooms, faculty offices, research labs, and a dormitory for visiting scholars and students.  The third component of Idaho CAFÉ will be a food processing facility on the CSI campus.

Summer is a wonderful time as the crops are growing and we have hosted numerous field days and the Twilight Tour in Aberdeen.  We are in the midst of county fairs and life is good!  It is a great day to be a part of University of Idaho Extension as we are leaders in building a thriving, prosperous, healthy Idaho.