BIZ BUZZ: Nine things you need to know today


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Steve Smede | Idaho Falls Magazine

Do you want to know what’s happening on the east Idaho business scene? We’ve got you covered.

Here is a rundown of this week’s business news from across the valley.

If you have a Biz Buzz item you want to share, send it to Remember to use “Biz Buzz” in the subject line. Also, don’t forget to sign up for the free Biz Buzz email newsletter.



Idaho Health Care Plan information session set for Thursday, Dec. 7, in Pocatello

The following is a press release from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

POCATELLO – An informational, question-and-answer session is planned for Pocatello on Dec. 7, to discuss the Idaho Health Care Plan, aimed at delivering better health care for Idahoans.

The session will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Portneuf Medical Center, 777 Hospital Way.

The Idaho Health Care Plan creates a two-pronged, customized health care strategy to meet the needs of Idaho. The plan still requires federal and state legislative approval. Waiver authority applications have been submitted to the federal government asking for flexibility in Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act making necessary changes to solve some of Idaho’s most pressing health care issues.

Chairman of the Governor’s Health Care Advisory Panel, Richard Armstrong, Lori Wolff, deputy director for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Dean Cameron, director of the Department of Insurance, and Pat Kelly, director of Your Health Idaho, will present an overview of the plan and then answer questions.


Good Question: What is bitcoin?

Stock photo

BLACKFOOT – We posted a story from CNN last Tuesday saying bitcoin has powered past $10,000 for the first time.

News reports indicate it surpassed $9,000 just last weekend and soared above $8,000 a little more than two weeks ago.

“In the past two and a half weeks alone, bitcoin has skyrocketed more than 70 percent,” the CNN report states.

There has been a lot of conversation lately surrounding the value of bitcoin versus the risk of investing. Many people engaged in this conversation also admit they do not understand fully what bitcoin is and how it works.

“When people don’t understand (bitcoin), it’s not their fault. It is our fault, the people explaining it,” CEO Wences Casares stated in an interview with Glenn Beck this past summer. “We make it more complicated than it needs to be because it makes us sound more intelligent or something.”

Casares said most people feel comfortable in their understanding of the internet without really understanding how it works. Similarly, Casares says it is not necessary to understand every detail of bitcoin to be able to use it.

We spoke with Jackson Wood, a bitcoin investor in Blackfoot, to see what we could learn about it.


Downtown Idaho Falls provides old-fashioned Christmas experience

IDAHO FALLS – Children look longingly in shop windows at the gift they hope Santa Claus brings them. Families going from shop-to-shop admiring the store displays and merchandise. People riding a one horse open sleigh during the hustle and bustle of the season.

These scenes are part of the Christmas celebrations of the past, but now one group is inviting you to experience it anew in downtown Idaho Falls.

“The shopping experience downtown is pretty special,” Catherine Smith, Executive Director of Idaho Falls downtown development corporation said in a press release.

We spoke with Smith to find out what is happening in downtown this Christmas season, why so much effort is put in to making this a special experience for people, and why she says downtown is so important to the community.




Brigham Young University-Idaho Commencement speaker announced

The following is a press release from Brigham Young University-Idaho.

REXBURG – Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will address 2,322 graduates at Brigham Young University-Idaho’s 2017 Fall Semester Commencement on Friday, December 15. The event will be held at 5:45 p.m. in the BYU-Idaho Center.

The university will award 1,794 bachelor’s degrees and 553 associate degrees. Of the graduates, 1,405 are women and 917 are men. More than 50 percent have served as missionaries for the Church.

Business Management is BYU-Idaho’s largest major

BYU-Idaho spokesman Brett Crandall tells us the major with the highest number of graduates over the last academic year was Business Management, with 472 degrees awarded.

University Studies and Marriage and Family Studies were the second and third highest respectively.

The fall 2017 semester is the largest campus enrollment to date, with more than 19,000 students enrolled.

Crandall also says, beginning in January, the business department, will become 3 separate departments–Business, Finance and Marketing.

BYU-Idaho top school in Idaho for online programs

Last weeek, we reported Brigham Young University was among the nation’s most affordable universities in a nationwide survey. This week, BYU-Idaho has been ranked as the number one school in Idaho for online programs.

“All schools were scored on a 10-point scale against 14 different metrics using data from the National Center for Education Statistics,” according to the report from

BYU-Idaho beat out 9 other accredited colleges and universities in Idaho for this recognition. To learn what other schools made the list and the methodology that went into it, click here.


If you have joint pain, back pain or some other type of medical issue that just won’t go away after months or years of medication, the staff at Nature’s Nook says they might have something to help you. Learn all about Nature’s Nook in the video below:

If you want your business to be featured in the Small Business spotlight, send an email to Please use “SBS” in the subject line.


EIRMC announces new CEO

CVS is buying Aetna in massive deal that could transform healthcare

American Airlines: We now have enough pilots for December

13 ways the tax bill would affect people

East Idaho Eats: Fizz Biz puts heart into its sodas and expands into Idaho Falls