I am continually amazed and energized by the amazing youth in our community. They are active, engaged, and pushing us all to make Meridian the best place to live in today – but also twenty years from now when, I hope, they are pursuing their careers and raising their families here in Meridian. As part of the process of leaving a legacy in their own right; they are engaged in bringing events to the community, enacting public policy, serving on City Commissions and Boards, and giving back through charitable acts.
Just this last weekend, members of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council (MYAC) invited area legislators from District 14, 20 and 21 to meet and discuss their views on a state-wide ban on texting while driving. I would like to thank Senator Chuck Winder Representative Joe Palmer and Representative John VanderWoude for taking time to support our youth. By listening and communicating with young leaders of today, they are giving them a voice and valuable experience. MYAC members were the motivating force behind Kassy’s law which was enacted over a year ago in Meridian. Kassy’s Law is named after Kassandra Lou “Kassy” Kerfoot, a 2009 graduate of Meridian High School, who died on December 29, 2009, at age 18, due to injuries sustained in an accident that occurred because she was texting while driving and lost control of her vehicle.
Now they are continuing their efforts to keep not just teens, but every driver focused on the road in front of them and not reading, typing, and sending texts and messages while driving. They will be presenting this issue to the State's Senate leadership at a Town Hall meeting, Wednesday, January 25, at 6:30 pm at City Hall. I applaud them for advocating and leading the discussion on this important issue. I hope that ultimately the state legislature will agree with 87% of Idaho voters from the recent AAA survey conducted by Riley Research Associates in Portland who support prohibiting texting while driving.
Next month you will be able to witness the speaking talents of our youth at the 2nd Annual Ignite Youth. This is an "idea" event and competition which is similar to Ignite Boise. Each participating teen will give a five minute presentation using twenty PowerPoint slides. It is a great opportunity for teens to share their passions, thoughts, and unique ideas with their peers, friends, and citizens. Through their efforts, it is very possible that those in attendance will be challenged to look at life a little differently or be inspired themselves to try something new!
Presentations for this event which takes place on February 10th at 7 p.m. at Mountain View High School are currently being accepted at www.meridiancity.org. I encourage youth and the entire community to come out to enjoy this competition. It is not only just between the presenters, but also the area high-schools. The winning presenter will receive a prize, and the school that they attend will receive a trophy.
I have shared just a couple of the many things these civic and community minded youth are doing, for both today and the future for our community that we hope they will call their home when they settle down. I encourage you to come out and hear what they have to say and take a moment to show appreciation for their efforts in putting Meridian first.
By Allison Kaptein, Recreation Coordinator – Meridian Parks & Recreation
On February 10, 2012, the Teen Activities Council, a sub-committee of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, will be hosting the second annual Ignite Youth event at Mountain View High School. Ignite Youth is an event where high school aged students get the opportunity to share their passions, concerns, and ideas with an audience of their peers, as well as other community members of all ages. Ignite is an event that was started by a Seattle-based marketing company as a venue for people to share their ideas with others. Each speaker spoke for five minutes and used exactly twenty PowerPoint slides to convey their message. The event was a huge success, and now Ignite events are held all over the world, including a recurring event in Boise. While youth have participated in various Ignite events worldwide, Ignite Youth in Meridian is the only youth-only event in the world.
Ignite Youth is also a competition, not only among the individuals giving a talk, but also between the local high schools. The winner will receive a prize, and the school they attend will receive a trophy for their school’s trophy case. The competition will be judged by local celebrity and dignitary judges, including Mayor Tammy de Weerd.
The first annual Ignite Youth was held in February of 2011 and was a huge success. Nine youth presented their ideas on everything from philosophy to the importance of Harry Potter. The winning talk was presented by a duo of juniors from Meridian High School. Steven Schimbke and Evan Cawley presented “The Classification of Monsters,” a hilarious look at the genealogy of monsters. Over 200 people from the community attended the event, and all present could be seen reflecting with, laughing at, and wildly applauding the youth on-stage.
Five minutes. Twenty slides. Come to Ignite Youth on February 10th to participate in this landmark event and to find out about the passions and ideas of our youth.
For more information, contact Allison Kaptein at 489-0550 or Luke Cavener at 489-0535.
By Mayor Tammy
I am grateful to live in a caring community that is full of wonderful organizations and individuals. Most people are aware of organizations like the Meridian Kiwanis, Lions, and Optimists. These three civic organizations - widely recognized - are each doing their part to support different segments of our community and provide an opportunity to get involved and make a difference. But have you heard of programs such as the VIBES Business Book Club, Blue Star Mothers, Teaching Hands, or the Meridian Police Activities League (PAL)
Let me share some information about those programs and organizations that might not be so well known. Recently Meridian PAL was recognized nationwide in the Toyota Halftime Handoff and will be receiving $10,000, thanks to members of our community who voted for them in an online competition. They will use these funds to buy equipment for a spring football league. While this won t cover all the costs, they plan to do what it takes to bring this program to our youth. They are a great youth organization; walking the talk and demonstrating that athletics and leadership are on and off the field.
Another organization making a difference in our community is the Blue Star Mothers. This national organization, comprised of mothers who support our active duty military and veterans, is spreading charitable support of military mothers and raising awareness of military service throughout our local communities and nation. Our local chapter meets at the Veteran s Memorial Building, at 22 W. Broadway in Meridian. Their meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month at 6:30 pm. If the military is your passion, this group may be for you! Check out www.treasurevalleybluestarmothers.org.
As well, Teaching Hands is a non-profit organization that, for the past four years, has been handcrafting hats and scarves for those in need, to help them keep warm during the cold season. This year, they wanted to tackle the issue of hunger for military and veterans families and others in need. They developed a partnership with the American Legion Post 113 in Meridian to work together on this mission. More can be learned about Teaching Hands at www.teaching-hands.blogspot.com. Meridian is truly blessed to have such great service organizations that are community and neighbor minded.
We have a group of business leaders who meet monthly to promote business relationships through discussions and sharing experiences on the book of the month or what they happen to have read. The group, known as the VIBES Business Book Club, gets together monthly on the second Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. at The Grotto in downtown Meridian. This month we discussed Bob Burg's book, "It's Not About You ; it s about supporting and inspiring the people around you! You can find the group on Facebook to learn more or begin participating.
On a more serious note, take a moment and join the amazing interns from Capital Christian in praying for a beautiful young lady who was an intern at Capital Christian Center last year and was just diagnosed with Leukemia. It is never easy to deal with this type of information, so I hope you will join me, and many others, in praying for strength and healing. Or, lift up that special person in your life who needs your prayers.
We are a community that cares on many different levels. Find your passion and get involved -- together we can stay focused on Putting Meridian First!
By Keith Watts, CPPB, Purchasing Manager for the City of Meridian
The Idaho Public Purchasing Association is planning on hosting a reverse vendor trade show at Meridian City Hall March 15, 2012. What is a reverse vendor trade show? A Reverse Vendor Trade Show is a trade show where the tables and booths are manned by buyers not sellers. These buyers will be the actual purchasing staff from many state and local agencies, including but not limited to the City of Meridian, Ada County, City of Boise, Idaho State Police, State of Idaho Department of Administration, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality etc. The vendors, consultants and contractors (Sellers), in one stop, will be able to make contact with dozens of government agencies interested in their products and services. This will be a huge time savings for the sellers. The sellers can provide valuable information about their companies such as product lines and service capability while gaining valuable insight on how the different agencies conduct their procurements. Please continue to visit the City s Purchasing web page as more information will be coming later this year. IPPA will have a registration form on it s website (http://www.nigp-idaho.org/) in the near future as well. IPPA is a local non-profit chapter of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP).
The 2012 City Council meetings kicked-off last week with a light agenda and Oath of Office ceremony for Councilmen Rountree and Zaremba, as well as, myself for our new terms in office. This next week, our January council workshop, will be full of interesting information for the community. We will hear details regarding the re-launch of the Meridian Recycling Fund, receive the annual ‘year in review’ and strategic plan update from the Legal/Human Resources/Information Technology Department, and have a discussion on transportation projects, priorities, and studies.
Thanks to a rebounding recycling commodities market, the Solid Waste Advisory Commission (SWAC) has recommended reinstating the Community Recycling Fund. This fund is money that is returned to the City from Sanitary Services Company (SSC), the City’s trash provider, for the sale of recycled materials. This is not something that SSC is required to do; but it is their way of giving back to the community. The program was discontinued after recyclables became less valuable the last few years and SSC did not see a profit from selling these materials. This week we will hear from SWAC about their plans for the FY12 program including funding, program criteria, outreach, application period, and selection timeline. It is great to have these funds available to our community once again.
During our monthly workshops, we also focus on and highlight one of our city departments. This gives them an opportunity to spotlight achievements and performance over the last year and provides an update on what is planned for the year ahead. Under the leadership of Bill Nary, our Legal/Human Resources/Information Technology Departments provide an array of internal support services to various city departments, as well as interfaces with the community on employment opportunities and legal issues.
Also planned this week is a discussion from the city’s consolidated Community Development Department. We are in the first phase of combining the Planning Department with the Building Services Division to make it more convenient as a one stop shop for the community’s short and long-term planning and development needs. While we are currently recruiting for the Director that will lead this Department, we are moving forward with the initial steps in consolidating services. This effort is being led by Rich Dees with the physical integration of the two groups to be located on the first floor and open for business on January 17th.
The primary topics by the Community Development Department will be an update on the most recent draft of the Ada County Highway District’s Five Year Work Plan, planned improvements to the Eagle Road and Fairview intersection, intersection improvements along Chinden (the U.S. 20/26 corridor), and other transportation-related issues. As a growing community, we consistently have transportation on our mind regarding projects being planned and/or constructed. This is a great opportunity to learn more about these proposed improvements.
We hope you will consider joining us at any of our weekly City Council meetings. Regularly scheduled City Council meetings are held the first, third, and fourth Tuesdays beginning at 7 p.m. City Council workshops are held the second Tuesday of each month beginning at 3 p.m. If you can’t join us in person, you can watch the meetings by webcast online. You will also find archived taped City Council meetings, as well as transcribed minutes on the city website. Look for the agendas, published each Friday afternoon prior to the meeting on Tuesday, online at www.meridiancity.org.
The City of Meridian is in the process of consolidating the Planning Department and our Development Services Division (Land Development and Building Services).
My Name is Barbara Shiffer and I am the Administrative Assistant for the Planning Department Staff. I am looking forward to the merger, since we provide service to many of the same customers, I think it will only improve our customer service and help us serve our community and improve the communication between all departments involved.
The Department will have three major functions—all related to addressing the needs of our development and building community—lands development, building, and planning.
Many cities have moved toward this organization structure and Meridian has evolved to the point, that as a full service city this is a logical step.
Creating an umbrella organization has the advantage of bringing the agencies responsible for guiding community development together under one Director. This should facilitate aligning the efforts of the three groups and improving communication among the groups as well. In particular, one of the biggest benefits will be having all permitting functions under one department. This will create an integrated and systematic permitting program.
This reorganization will promote a coherent, integrated permitting system that can respond to the Mayor's priorities—including Economic Development.
Overall, the city is excited to be able to better service the needs of our development and Building Community.
The Planning Department will move to the first floor of City Hall with Building Services on or about by February 1, 2012.
By Mayor Tammy,
As we ring in a new year, we eagerly anticipate the year ahead and the promising events in store for our residents and business community. I am excited to serve this great community as Mayor for another term working alongside the amazing people who call Meridian home.
The City of Meridian is the third largest city in Idaho. As a full service city we provide police, fire, water, and wastewater services to our citizens, have award winning parks, and offer a host of other functions to ensure we grow smartly, safely, and according to the rules and laws imposed upon us. With so much more now affecting us, there are always a number of issues that the state and federal government considers each year which directly impact city services and your daily lives.
We appreciate our relationships with our Congressmen and the open lines of communication we have with their staff. We meet and communicate regularly with several of our District 14, 20, and 21 Senators and Representatives about issues that impact our city. Issues like the need for legislation such as the GARVEE Bridge bill that would rebuild Meridian Road Interchange; concern of a medical marijuana bill from which neighboring states have seen negative and costly results ; and the need and importance of a dedicated funding source for the Idaho Alcohol Beverage Control to ensure it has the resources to provide alcohol enforcement. These are just some of the issues which impact us locally and why it is important as a community to have our voice heard.
During this upcoming Legislative session, we will work with our elected officials to ensure we have the tools we need to build and preserve the best community possible. Keep in mind the legislative process involves many and I may call upon you to lend your voice to issues that are important to Meridian and our future.
At City Hall, we look forward to renewing our oath to serve for two returning City Councilmen David Zaremba and Charlie Rountree and myself this week during the City Council meeting. I look forward to continuing to serve with both of these individuals, along with City Councilmen Keith Bird and Brad Hoaglun. Prior to the 7:00 pm City Council meeting on January 3, we will have a public reception at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall; all are welcome to attend.
Following the swearing in, the City Council will vote on who will serve as Council President and Vice President. As President of the City Council, whoever is selected, is called upon to serve as Mayor in my absence, works with me to set the agenda for meetings, and generally speaks on behalf of the City Council when they make decisions.
As we kick off 2012, I know your elected officials are newly invigorated to ensure Meridian is a vibrant community whose vision is to be the premier city to live, work and raise a family. We know much has been accomplished, with much more to do.