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Meridian Fire Department with Tips to have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day Celebration

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With warm weather and family events, the Fourth of July can be a fun time with great memories. But before your family celebrates, make sure everyone knows about fireworks safety.  Fireworks safety begins with common sense and some planning before the actual celebration.

If not handled properly, fireworks can cause injuries and burns to kids and adults. The National Council on Fireworks Safety reported a decrease in fireworks injuries last year.  That’s a great statistic, but even just one injury reported is too many.  Through education you can protect your family from the risks of injury during this fun celebratory time.

By far, the best way to protect your family is not to use any fireworks at home — period. There are many choices of public displays in the Treasure Valley, consider attending one and leave the lighting to the professionals.

If you choose to light fireworks at home here are several recommendations to help protect you and your family.

  • Kids should never play with fireworks. They are just too dangerous and kids are unpredictable. If you give kids sparklers, make sure they keep them outside and away from the face, clothing, and hair.  Be sure to stay close to a kid with a sparkler.  Ensure they do not walk about or run with a lit sparkler in their hand.  Sparklers can reach 1,800° Fahrenheit (982° Celsius) — hot enough to melt gold.
  • Buy only legal fireworks from a local vendor who has a permit to sell fireworks in your area.  Never try to make your own fireworks or alter those that you purchase.
  • Steer clear of others — fireworks have been known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction. Never throw or point fireworks at another person.  
  • Grass and structural fires are a common problem with fireworks. Always use fireworks outside on asphalt or concrete, away from homes keeping them away from brush, leaves and flammable substances. Have a bucket of water and a hose nearby in case of an emergency.  The National Fire Protection Association estimates that local fire departments respond to more than 50,000 fires caused by fireworks each year.  Don’t take the chance with property around your area. 
  • Don't hold lit fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body over them while lighting. Wear some sort of eye protection, and avoid carrying fireworks in your pocket.
  • Assign an adult to light one firework at a time and never relight a dud.
  • Once done, don't allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time. Soaking all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash will help reduce your risk of them reigniting.

If you or your child is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. Many injuries are more severe than most people initially think; especially when it concerns eye injuries or burns

Fireworks are meant to be enjoyed, but you'll enjoy them much more knowing your family is safe. Take extra precautions this Fourth of July and consider taking in one of the local shows.  However you and your family choose to celebrate this 4th of July, have a safe and happy Independence Day! Happy Birthday, America!

Employee Dedication

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Working as a public servant has its challenges – one’s daily schedule, work product, and even salary are under constant scrutiny.  Yet despite, or perhaps because of this scrutiny, government workers often outpace private sector workers in efficiency and innovation.  And because our employees are generally motivated not just by their paychecks, but also by a desire to serve the public, where our staff comes to the City from the private sector, taxpayers reap the benefits of both worlds.


In the IT department, for example, Programmer Mike Tanner gained extensive experience with integrating and automating processes in his work for a private corporation.  There, Mike’s objective was to improve efficiency in a way that would boost profits for stockholders.  Improving efficiency in a public workplace means not only that hundreds of people do their jobs more efficiently, but also that taxpayer dollars go farther.  Mike recently designed a computer program for the City that automated and integrated multiple data-entry systems at the Police Department, eliminating duplicate entries and providing officers and detectives with a single tool to look up and record case information.  Other governmental agencies are considering implementing Mike’s program as well, a move that will save taxpayer dollars in multiple jurisdictions.


Our Human Resources Analyst, Crystal Ritchie, was also hired from the private sector.  Before working for the City, Crystal gained extensive experience in training employees regarding productive workplaces, compliance with employment laws, and effective management tools.  In her work for the City, Crystal is motivated by many of the same objectives she had in the private sector, but now her well-honed skills are helping to guard the public trust.  Especially in lean economic times, the City benefits greatly from what Crystal learned in her private-sector experience about facilitating smooth workplace transitions, ensuring that employees feel safe on the job, and helping supervisors energize their team members.


As a final example, Assistant City Attorney Andrea Pogue’s resume includes work as an associate in a private law firm.  Her experience in private civil litigation adds a vital resource to the City Attorney’s Office, meaning that existing City staff can handle non-complex litigation rather than contracting with an expensive litigation specialist.  Andrea also serves as the point person for bankruptcy cases where the City is named as a creditor because of utility debts, a caseload that has sharply increased in the past few years.  Andrea’s ability to transition her legal skills from a private to a public environment has saved taxpayers thousands of dollars.


Where employees make the leap from the private sector to public service, the benefit to citizens can be profound.  This effect is magnified at the City of Meridian, because our employees come to work each day not only with the goal of earning a paycheck, but with the goals of protecting the public trust, providing excellent service to citizens, and contributing to a sense of community.  We work for you!

Celebrate Meridian – City Achievement

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Just as an individual can be regarded and looked up to as a role model for other individuals, so can a community be regarded and looked up to as a role model for other communities.  That’s the desirable position Meridian is increasingly finding itself in, giving us much to celebrate in Meridian.


Cities and towns across the state, region, and country are taking notice of Meridian’s many innovations and achievements and wondering how they can create similar successes of their own.


My office routinely receives phone calls, letters, or e-mails from leaders of other communities inquiring about the logistics and “how-to’s” of many of our City’s signature programs, initiatives, and events – communities that don’t necessarily want to imitate what we do, but that want to be inspired by what we have done.


You might wonder how faraway communities learn about Meridian’s innovations.  I can tell you that our city is often highlighted in a variety of print publications and on a variety of high-visibility web sites.  National media outlets as diverse as Money Magazine and the Nickelodeon Television Network have singled out and showcased Meridian for its high quality of life, beautiful parks, and business-friendly environment.


Word of mouth is also an excellent way to share Meridian’s success stories.  In fact, several Meridian City leaders have recently returned from the Association of Idaho Cities’ annual conference in Idaho Falls.  At this gathering they were able to share ideas, discuss challenges, and ask questions of leaders from other Idaho cities.  As part of this conference, the Association of Idaho Cities annually presents City Achievement Awards to recognize Idaho cities for programs and projects that improve quality of life, solve community problems, reduce costs of government, increase municipal services with minimal additional dollar outlay, and that could easily be adapted by other Idaho cities.

This year Meridian received City Achievement Awards for three programs; Building Services Division and their Electronic Plans Submittal Program; IT Division for the Incident Tracking System; and Parks Department for Settlers Village Square Phase 1.  Each of these programs has been a benefit to our community.  Whether it is saving the public money by reducing the amount of paper submissions needed for plan review, or saving our police officers time by eliminating data entry requirements, these tools improve our services and show the success from city staff efforts.

While it is always nice to see our City staff recognized for the innovative projects and programs they pioneer, there is a great sense of pride knowing that the work that is being done in Meridian will be a benefit to other Idaho cities.  By learning from the challenges we’ve faced, the information we’ve gathered, and the lessons we’ve learned we set the example and are leading the way with programs, policies, practices that make Meridian a great community and  inspire others.     


Have you had experience with one of these new services?  If so, I want to hear from you.  Please send me an email at mayortammy@meridiancity.org and let me know how it worked for you. Together, we can celebrate this recognition by the city staff who help make Meridian the premier place to live, work and raise a family.       

Keeping Our Promise to Meridian’s Youth

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Hi, I'm Shelly Houston. I work in the Mayor's Office as the City's Community Programs Coordinator. I'd like to tell you a little bit about one of the most satisfying programs I help coordinate -- it's called Meridian's Promise.

Whether they tell you or not, kids and teens look up to adults and rely on them for modeling healthy behaviors. Therefore it is vital that as a community we send a message that we value and support young people in Meridian and are willing to invest in their success.

That’s what Meridian’s Promise is all about! Meridian’s Promise is an organization of caring local businesses, civic groups, churches, schools, non-profits, and individuals who are mobilizing our community to build the character and competence of Meridian’s children and youth by fulfilling the Five Promises of America’s Promise to Youth.

Founded after the Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future in 1997, America’s Promise is a collaborative network that builds upon the collective power of communities like Meridian to help fulfill the Five Promises it is believed every child needs and deserves in order to succeed.

Research shows that if the Five Promises to Youth are consistently fulfilled, they can significantly advance the health and well-being of our next generation. These Five Promises are:

1. Caring Adults
with which they have ongoing supportive relationships
2. Safe Places
with structured activities during non-school hours
3. A Healthy Start
and future
4. Marketable Skills
through effective education
5. Opportunities to Serve
through community service

These Five Promises contain the seeds for national and local movements capable of advancing the health and well-being of our next generation. Throughout the year, Meridian's Promise puts on or supports a variety of local events, each intended to help fulfill one or more of the Five Promises to Youth. These programs have included included Free Family Fishing Day, the Rigs & Gigs Career Exploration Fair, Old Town Community Clean-Up, the Meridian Classic Kids Fun Run, Kids Day America Health & Safety Fair, and others.     

But, we all must take responsibility and that is why we have “Promise Partners” who are members of Meridian’s Promise.  Becoming a “Promise Partner” is as an indication that you are family-friendly and support the success of Meridian’s youth.  As a member you’ll be presented with a plaque and little red wagon (the symbol of Meridian’s Promise) to proudly display. Best of all, it costs only $50 to join Meridian’s Promise and. With our future in the hands of Meridian’s children, can you afford not to?

If you or a business or group you belong to would like to help support family-focused events in Meridian throughout the year and becoming a “Promise Partner”, I'd be happy to pay you a quick visit to tell you more about Meridian's Promise, answer any questions you might have, explain it to your colleagues, and/or to fill out the easy application form. Simply call me at 489-0531or send an e-mail to shouston@meridiancity.org.

You can also find all of the information you’d need to get started by stopping by the Meridian Mayor’s Office on the third floor of Meridian City Hall, or you can access it online at http://www.meridiancity.org/meridians_promise.aspx?id=199.

I hope you will consider this exciting invitation to take part in Meridian’s Promise.  Together we can make Meridian a community where youngsters are accepted, connected and respected!

3rd Graders at Paramount Elementary School are “Thirsty for Water” Knowledge

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On May 17, 2010, Steve Maneck, Industrial Pretreatment Manager for the City of Meridian, engaged seventy-five 3rd grade students at Paramount Elementary School in the importance of protecting our water, conserving water at home, and preventing pollutants from entering our stormwater runoff.


The students brainstormed ideas on how to protect our water resources in Meridian.  They learned where our drinking water comes from, and what happens to it once it is used.  The classroom presentations consisted of interactive story board posters, educational workbooks and a take-home assignment to quiz their parents and family.  A reusable handled bag was provided to each student, filled with recycled content goodies, stickers, and helpful educational materials.


Environmental education is critical for promoting sustainability and improving the capacity of people – of all ages -  to understand our environmental issues from multiple perspectives thereby increasing awareness, critical thinking skills, and recognizing that large positive results begin from small, individual behavior changes” states Mollie Mangerich, Environmental Division Programs Manager.  Of course, there is the pure fun factor of getting out into our schools and community.  When we can move our audience from saying “yuck!” to “wow!” – we know we’ve done a pretty good job” she concludes.



Workbooks illustrate, in a fun and visually-appealing way, the miles  of pipes, number of pumps, equipment and technologies necessary to  create clean water from waste water!


 Steve Maneck’s school presentations were part of the City of Meridian’s “Public Works Week” which included a variety of large equipment demonstrations, educational booths, fun activities, free food and live music at City Hall.

The 31st Annual Meridian Fireman’s Association Salmon BBQ

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The 31st Annual Meridian Fireman’s Association Salmon BBQ is just around the corner, on Friday August 6, 2010. This long-standing tradition enables the Meridian Fire Department to offer assistance through its Burn Out Fund to community members who have had a fire at their residence.  All of the money raised from this event stays within the community of Meridian, much of it going directly to the Burn Out Fund.

The Salmon BBQ raises funds by serving up the famous fish and from generous support of Businesses in our community.  Donations are needed to aid in raising additional money for the Burn Out Fund.  Members of our department do solicit donations from local businesses by letter or by in person requests.

Last month, a local Boise business fell prey to unscrupulous acts by someone pretending to solicit donations on behalf of Boise Fire Department for their Burn Out Fund.  The individual was forceful in his request for donations and was doing so for personal gain.  Phone solicitation is never done for Meridian Fire Department or for any other Fire Department within the State of Idaho.  All members of the Fire Department carry city identification and could possibly be in uniform when making the requests in person.  Donations are never solicited to benefit the Department.  All non-cash donations received are used to generate additional dollars for the Burn Out Fund.

The first few hours after a fire are very overwhelming for citizens.  In addition to funds being given to fire victims, the Fire Department has communications in place for assisting citizens to obtain hotel rooms and storage units, thanks to the generosity of local businesses. The Members of the Fire Department appreciate the community’s support in being able to offer this type of assistance. The Meridian Fireman’s Association is a 501(c)(3) organization and all contributions and donations are tax deductable, and receipts are available upon request.

Please mark your calendars and join us for the Salmon BBQ on August 6 at Meridian Speedway.  This event allows the Fire Department to interact with the public in a non-emergency setting and have a good time.  We in the fire service have great pride and passion and feel it is an honor to work in such a great City. We appreciate your support by helping us make Meridian the premier place to live, work and raise a family.

Celebrate—Hometown Heroes

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Last week at City Council I began what I hope will become a long standing tradition in our community-- recognizing our own hometown heroes.  In the past we have presented this award to our emergency responders or others in our community on an annual type basis.  Moving forward we will be celebrating our Hometown Heroes whenever possible.


Our Hometown Heroes are Meridian residents who demonstrate selfless acts of heroism, going above and beyond the call of duty in service to those in our community.  This service is performed without regard of personal gain or attention.  Kelly Lloyd is one such hero who came to the aid of an elderly gentleman who had fallen into 5 Mile Creek.  Kelly’s actions resulted in rescuing a hero in his own right, a veteran who was visiting the tree he had planted in memory of his deceased wife.  You can read more about this story in CityNews on page 7, but it was Kelly’s actions that exemplified the heroic qualities of our Hometown Heroes.  


I can say that I was humbled to present Kelly with this recognition; almost as much as she was to receive it.  Just as inspiring, is that Kelly’s actions and character are similar to other amazing people in Meridian.


As a community we should honor our heroes whenever possible.  It is important for city leaders and members of our community to take notice of those unique individuals who go out of their way to serve those in need.


While Kelly’s actions resulted in saving a life, I do believe the word “hero” captures much more in our community.  Our teachers, community volunteers, first responders, and so many more demonstrate selfless acts everyday.  I would ask for your help in identifying these individuals in Meridian who go above and beyond the call of duty in service to others in our community.


Do you have someone who you would like to nominate for this honor?  If so, I want to hear from you.  Please send me an email at mayortammy@meridiancity.org and tell me who your Hometown Hero is.  Together, we can celebrate these individuals who help make Meridian the premier place to live, work and raise a family.