Fun

Meridian Lanes upgrades building, bowling experience

With increased competition around the central part of the Treasure Valley, bowling stalwart Meridian Lanes shut down for more than a week to upgrade.

The ten-day closure is allowing crews to put in a new scoring system - replacing the old program first installed in 1995.

The new SYNC system from vendor Brunswick uses touchpad screens to tie into social media, and adds features like Angry Birds Bowling and photo uploading 

“Everything was designed to make the customer experience that much better.” new Meridian Lanes owner Andy Propst said.  “If you’re hungry and want some nachos, you used to have to leave the bowling area to go to the snack bar. Now you just press a button and we’ll come to you.”

Crews also gave the building a fresh coat of paint, updated flooring and renovated snackbar.

The alley opens back up August 1st.

The 32-lane alley has been open for more than 59 years. It has faced stepped up competition in recent years from 42 lanes at Big Al’s at the Village at Meridian and 24 lanes at Pinz  

Header photo: Courtesy Meridian Lanes

Boise mall Build-a-Bear mobbed for big sale

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“Be careful, it’s a jungle out there,” the clerk at the JC Penney jewelry counter warned to passing customers.

The jungle was filled with bears - or at least kids wanting bears.

A line of more than a thousand kids, teen, parents and grandparents started at the Build-a-Bear Workshop in the Boise Towne Square and wrapped all the way down to Dillard’s, back around and toward Kohl’s.

The jungle-like crowd was there to purchase a bear for the age of the person getting the toy. Three-year-olds get the deal for $3, 10-year-olds for $10 and so on.  That doesn’t include accessories or upcharges - but the base toy is still a bargain.

In some places, according to USA TODAY, the sale was shut down - but that wasn’t the case in Boise.  For a time, parents were not allowed to join the line, according to one parent who didn't want her name used, but they later opened the queue back up.

Some parents had been told they may wait in line but not be served due to a shortage of some supplies.

Folks at the front of the line had been waiting since 8 a.m. - and were still waiting as of noon.  One grandma said it was worth the wait. 

"I’m a grandma, so,” Bonnie Little said.  But, she probably wouldn’t do it again. “It’s great, it’s been fun… but no. If I knew this would be anything like this, I wouldn’t do it.”

Mom Erica Benson learned about the sale last week - before it caught wide notice in the media.

“I decided to do it before the news announced it, and told the four-year-old,” she said. “I instantly regretted it as soon as soon I saw it all over the news.  I should have just brought her yesterday!”

But Benson said it was an adventure.

“We are here with friends - and we made new friends,” she said - motioning to Little and her family.

“If it were on Black Friday, I’d be more apt (to do it again) because it other stores would probably have deals.”

An employee at a nearby store said the line when he arrived was so long it actually extended outside.  He said his business hadn’t seen a bump in sales.

“People come in, go straight to the line and leave,” Giovanni Georgia with Forever Flawless said. “It’s crazy.”

FRY FIGHT! Dueling potato giants hope to load you up with free Fry Day fries Friday

If you're like the average spud, you love French fries, unless you're a tater hater of course.

This Friday, for Fry Day, you can get free fries... for days.

Not one but two events will slice up spuds, fry 'em up and give them out to the masses.

JR Simplot Co. will host its second annual Free Fry Day in the grassy area near its headquarters and JUMP. The event runs from 4-7pm and benefits the Idaho Foodbank

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But competitor Lamb Weston, based in Eagle, isn't taking the fry fight with a grain of salt! 

It will host I Love Fries just a few blocks away on the Basque Block from 3-6pm. It will also benefit the Idaho Foodbank, and a $5 donation is requested. The L-W event will also appeal to the crowd with a photo booth and live music.

Each tuber titan has prizes to give away. For Simplot it's a "#Frydaho" T-Shirt for a $15 donation. Lamb Weston will give someone free fries for a year.

So this Friday, grab your spuddy buddy and head out for some free fries. Anyway you slice it, donations for the Idaho Foodbank aren't small potatoes.

We will continue working to get to the root of this story. Now if you'll excuse me, after writing all these horrible puns, my brain is fried.

 

 

"Boise Boys" showcases City of Trees to national audience with pricey home revamps

"I realized I've been saying Boise wrong"

As the PT dug into my shoulder, the conversation naturally went to the whole "boy-see, boy-zee" thing.

"Oh yeah," I asked?

"I watched that new HGTV show Boise Boys this weekend and realized it's boy-seeee."

Even on the Stanford campus, the City of Trees is getting noticed.  The limited run Fixer Upper-style show on HGTV is helping put the spotlight on the booming Boise area in yet another way.

The show premiered April 25th - and though ratings performance isn't known (none of the first four episodes this spring have ranked in the top 25 of all cable shows for the individuals days), it's a fair bet the program is exposing Boise to an audience in middle America that might not be as familiar.

In the first few episodes of the season, Clint Robertson and Luke Caldwell of the firm Timber+Love are seen scouting out homes in and around Boise in need of an upgrade. The concept is simple: the pair buy a house, make improvements (usually drastic) and work to resell the homes for a profit.

The show showcases the City of Trees as a cosmopolitan, growing place - but sprinkles in doses of rural feel from the surrounding areas.

Some homes slow to sell

Two of the homes on the show with the highest price tags have sat on the market unsold, despite a tidy wrap-up at the end of each episode.

A home along the rim at Kathryn Albertson Park was purchased for $350,000 - with another $350,000 into renovation costs. 

"Have we ever poured so much house into a house before?" Caldwell said on the show.

“It’s the most expensive house we’ve ever done!” noted Robertson.

Toward the end of the episode, Robertson tells the camera they have a deal in hand.

But the home didn't sell until well after the episode was produced and the show was aired.

The home was removed from the market just Sunday after a price reduction from $989,700 down to $974,900. 

Another home in Boise's North End was said to have sold "above asking" during the show, but is still listed for sale - listed since March 10th at $897,700.

One more, for now

The show has one episode to air, set for Wednesday night. Show producers give Garden City a hipster vibe:

"Luke and Clint expand their business into the hipster town of Garden City -- an up-and-coming area of Boise replete with coffee houses, breweries and man buns."

The fate of the show for additional episodes has not yet been announced.

Header photo courtesy HGTV.

Large new indoor trampoline park set near mall

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A large new trampoline park is set to open in the former Sports Authority space in Milwaukee St. near the Boise Towne Square Mall in Boise. 

Altitude Trampoline Park has applied to revamp the 42,500 square foot former store behind Barnes and Noble - spending nearly a million dollars to do it, according to permits.

The park is expected to open this summer, and is one of more than 50 facilities open or planned.

Altitude says it offers activities like jumping, dodgeball, fitness classes and competitive jumping as well as birthday parties and group events.

The facility will have space for up to 621 people.

Altitude will compete with JumpTime Idaho, which has two locations - and a planned Fly High Trampoline Park around the corner on Fairview Ave.

New local subdivision pays tribute to Game of Thrones

The fictional world of Game of Thrones is filled with intrigue, fantastical characters, and fire-breathing dragons.  It's unlikely any of those things will show up in Kuna - but a new subdivision will carry a bit of the GoT mythology.

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The future Silver Trail subdivision in the area of Ten Mile Rd. and Columbia Rd. is planned to have a pair of streets that pay homage to the popular HBO show.

Residents will soon have the option of purchasing a home on Baratheon Ave. or Rickon St.

Baratheon is the family name of the first king depicted in the series, Robert - and his family lineage (or assumed family lineage at least) is littered with folks who meet with ill fates.

Rickon refers to the son of protagonist Eddard Stark on the show and the book series it is based on, A Song of Fire and Ice by George RR Martin.

The street names were the idea of Jennell Hall of B&A Engineers, Inc. 

The plat map shows Baratheon and Rickon in the forthcoming Silver Trail subdivision

The plat map shows Baratheon and Rickon in the forthcoming Silver Trail subdivision

"On that subdivision my supervisor just let me go wild, so I did," she said. "He now usually gives me a theme to follow... but I'll still sneak in a geeky one here or there."

Other streets in the subdivision are slated to sneak in references to the 2000s show Firefly - and more GoT-themed streets could be in the future as the subdivision is plotted out.

Silver Trail will feature homes constructed by CBH Homes.

The GoT-themed roads got their names after the Ada County Street Names Committee rejected earlier ideas, This Ave. and That St. (Abbott & Costello would have been proud). 

The full plat plan for the subdivision shows names like Sansa, Arya, Greyjoy and Tyrion in future phases.  Streets with names Stark, Tarth and Samwell were all denied for various reasons (mostly due to rhyming with other names in the county - Stark and Clark for instance).

If you happen to see any wild hogs in the area, you might want to steer clear. Or guys named Ramsay. 

Albertson family foundation to fund new Boise bike park

This field will soon be home to a bike skills park. Photo courtesy City of Boise.

This field will soon be home to a bike skills park. Photo courtesy City of Boise.

A new bike skills park is headed for the area near Fort Boise Park.

The City of Boise and the JA & Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation will team up on the new recreation site, to be located between Fort Boise Park & Military Reserve. A news release from the city says the park will feature "tracks, rollers and other skills elements for mountain bikes of all ages and abilities to learn and improve their skills."  The final design is still being worked out, but a plan like the McLaren Bike Park in San Francisco is envisioned.

McLaren Bike Park in San Francisco, CA

McLaren Bike Park in San Francisco, CA

“We are thrilled that the JA and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation is making a bike skills park a reality in Boise,” Boise Parks & Rec Director Doug Holloway said in a prepared statement. “Interest in mountain biking and recreational opportunities throughout our Ridge to Rivers Trail System continues to grow and our team will work to integrate this project into the surrounding neighborhood and reserve.”

The Boise City Council approved the agreement Tuesday, but a construction start date has not yet been set.

A public meeting is set for April 4 at 5:30pm at the senior center at Fort Boise to answer questions about the park.

Indoor golf planned for Boise Bench

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A new indoor golf facility is planned for the Overland Park Shopping Center in Boise.

Back 9 Indoor Golf has applied to convert a 7,000 square foot pace next to Cobby's (the old home of WoodCraft before that retailer moved down the street).

The $30,000 project would convert the space into a golf retail shop with individual practice stations. The stations will utilize golf simulators to allow folks to "play" indoors when the weather gets cold (or hot [or rainy]).

New trampoline park set for Boise

Courtesy Fly High Trampoline Park

Courtesy Fly High Trampoline Park

Fly High Trampoline Park is set to open a new location on Fairview Ave., in the former Rite Aid space in the Westgate Shopping Center. 

Fly High has two locations - in Ft. Colins, Colorado and Reno, Nevada. 

The indoor park features a variety of trampoline surfaces, foam pits and features like trampoline basketball and dodge ball. It is aimed at kids with birthday party features and services. 

Fly High enters a market currently served by Jump Time, which has locations in Meridian and Downtown Boise.  

Uber to launch 'Eats' app in Boise

Last week, grocery delivery service Instacart got revved up in Boise.

Now, Uber Eats is set to launch.

The food delivery offshoot of the ride-hailing app will go online Tuesday, August 22nd according to a news release from the company. Restaurants will set their own prices and Uber will add a $5.99 charge to the order.

Uber has had a bumpy year and is currently without a full-time CEO - but continues to expand as competition from Lyft and others increases.

Uber listed just three "notable" restaurants that will be available in Boise - Flatbread, Mai Thai and Parilla. A spokesperson cofirmed Fanci Freez, Gyro Shack, Barrelhouse and Bombay Grill would also be on the app.

To use the service, users will have to download the separate Uber Eats app for iOS or Android.

An Uber rep says the service will be available "downtown as well as Eagle, NorthEnd, Meridian, and parts of Southeast Boise."

 

Phone books got ya down? You can opt out

It's that time a year again - homes across SW Idaho are getting bombarded with phone books.

Yes, this is still a thing.

Despite The Google being available on every device you own - phone book companies pretend you still want a printed directory of phone numbers and ads.

You don't?

You can opt out. And it's easy.

Hit up YellowPagesOptOut.com - give up some info and deselect the phone books you don't want (probably all of them).

It'll save you a few yearly trips to the recycling bin.

Area near Boise to be most eclipsed over last 100 years

Courtesy Visit Idaho

Courtesy Visit Idaho

We wanted to shed some light on a new entry in the record books for Idaho

In case you're in the dark, there's an eclipse over Idaho and much of the U.S. next month.

Here's a fun fact: The eclipse will be the third time the area just north of Boise has been under the path of an eclipse in the past century - which makes it the most eclipsed area in the United States since 1917. 

The Washington Post gave some sunshine to the fact in a story earlier this month. 

WashingtonPost.com screenshot

WashingtonPost.com screenshot

Old timers near Grandjean are over the moon about the eclipse. This eclipse follows similar events witnessed there in 1918 and 1945, according to the Post. Many in the Gem State also remember a 1979 eclipse that swept over North Idaho - but the partial path included the whole state.

Idahoans are going to have to throw shade at Tallahassee soon -- sunshine staters will miss this eclipse - but will take the crown for most eclipses by 2052. That area saw the eclipses in 1918 and 1970 - and will go dark again in 2052 and 2045.

ALSO READ:
Today Show eclipses Idaho, skips our day out of the sun

BodyBuilding.com gives run down HS gym a "Boise State"-level makeover

Boise-based BodyBuilding.com has taken a unique approach to giving back.

The online seller of supplements and other workout-related products has started the non-profit Lift Life Foundation - remodeling high school gyms across the country.

The foundation's idea is to "give new life to old run down high school weight rooms and give underprivileged students access to an amazing space that can literally change their lives both physically and mentally for the better."

Employees of BodyBuilding.com double with roles for Lift Life - taking a passion for fitness and applying it to doing good for students in small communities across the U.S.

So far, LLF has completed three gym projects - and showcased the latest effort with a 30-minute documentary film. 

The team travelled from Boise to Anderson Preparatory Academy in Anderson, Indiana to polish up a pretty run down workout space.

The town of Anderson was once a big hub for General Motors. As the 90s progressed, cutbacks came - followed by a complete pullout of the automaker in the early 2000s.

“When that happened it was like an implosion. The bottom just fell out,“ school founder Robert L. Guillaume said.

Before image, via Lift Life Foundation

Before image, via Lift Life Foundation

Schools like Anderson are strapped for cash - and that has a big impact on the school's weight room.

That's where Lift Life steps in.

The school received a grant of materials, time and equipment from the foundation. What happened next is a sort-of Extreme Makeover: High School Gym Edition.

“The Anderson weight room when we walked in was in really rough shape," BodyBuilding.com's Dylan Cooper said in the video. 

Out went a rundown, hazard-laden workout room - and in came a gleaming space loaded with the latest equipment.

“A lot of the students were like ‘why would I come here and work out - you don’t have any of the good equipment?’,” Anderson’s Prep’s Major Jeffrey Dorman said.” And a lot of them would say ‘do you work out here Major Dorman’ - and I didn’t. I worked out a commercial place.”

Exposed electrical wiring, unpadded tile floors and a small scattering of workout equipment gave the athletic teams a distinct disadvantage on the fields and courts. 

The LLF team swept in and assessed the current weight room and figured out how to improve the facilities and make the environment more welcoming.

Construction teams brought nearly seven trailers of equipment into the project.

“All together we are bringing in more than 130,000 pounds of equipment today. All by hand,” Cooper said.

They revamped the flooring, removed rooms, cleaned, added mirrors and more. Beyond new equipment and a coat of paint - the team focuses on branding, logos and atmosphere.

That focus paid off.

After image, via Lift Life Foundation

After image, via Lift Life Foundation

When Major Dorman first saw the revamp, the shiny blue turf on the floor (and perhaps the Boise-based team) gave him one thought:

"Boise State's got nothin' on us man!"

"(This is) State of the art," Dorman said. "Better than what we could have expected. Ten times what we would have expected. It will make such difference."

“To have this facility is just beyond expectation. What has occurred here with this project again reflects a positivity to the community,” Guillaume said.

Seeing the reaction to the project gives the LLF team great satisfaction. 

“I hope it gives all the students a tool that they can take advantage of. It’s so rewarding. Every project is different. We change lives for these kids” Lift Life's Makayla Frickey said.

“What I’m going to take away from the Anderson project is we left it a better place than when we got there," Cooper said. "This is something that is a brand new space and a new beginning. They can get in there and it can be a rallying point.”

BBcom and its Lift Life Foundation have complete three remodel projects - including one in Idaho. A fourth is in the works in Montana. The foundation is taking nominations for future projects.

 

Today Show eclipses Idaho, skips our day out of the sun

The Today Show tweeted out a quick little graphic about the eclipse Friday morning. 

It showed the path across the United States for next month's much-hyped event.  

But for some reason... it doesn't highlight Idaho -- despite the path going right over the top.

(In fairness, the show picked out a few cities to highlight on the path and didn't happen to pick an Idaho one... but graying out the state still looks... odd).

The graphic also skips Illinois, Kentucky and North Carolina - but the widest left-out expanse is definitely Idaho.

The "gaffe" is the number two trending topic in Boise, according to Trendsmap (behind "Spicer").

 

The oversight left social media users in Idaho feeling a little... salty.

Even the newsies got into it:

A space pun about space things:

Double points for the Philo reference and the prison pun:

Hashtag client?

I've got a shirt for ya, Today Show:

For the record, the eclipse still will zip over Idaho a month today. And it will be awesome.

Macklemore pops tags at WinCo in new video

Seattle-born rapper Macklemore wanted to celebrate his grandma's 100th birthday.

So he surprised her with a day on the town in Modesto, CA.  In his new music video Glorious, the pair egged a house together, shopped for some shoes, hit up the local arcade... and popped some tags at WinCo Foods.

The rapper is seen driving the mart karts with granny and looking at magazines at the Modesto location of the Boise-based retailer.

The video is #6 on YouTube trending today - so WinCo's signature green & orange interior is getting in front of a lot of eyeballs.

Modesto resident Patrice Parks told the Modesto Bee about what she saw at her local WinCo during filming in June: 

 “You know it was one of those days where I didn’t want to leave the house, but I said I’ve got to go to the store,” Parks said. “But you don’t expect to go to WinCo and find a celebrity. It’s Modesto, you never see this kind of stuff happen. But it was really amazing.”

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Winco, Costco planned for Chinden & Linder

This isn't the first time Macklemore has woven a piece of Idaho into one of his songs: