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Celebrate Meridian-Renaissance High School

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As a parent, I am acutely aware of the trepidation, mixed with excitement, of the beginning of a new school year.  It is an exciting and busy time! The Meridian School District (Jt. School District No. 2) provides our students with many diverse options in education, preparing them for whatever their career choice may be. A celebration of that trend continues this week with the grand opening and ribbon cutting of Renaissance High School.


This one of a kind school provides unique educational opportunities for students seeking both professional training as well as educational preparation for success in higher education.  Attending students will participate in one of three unique academic programs such as Law and Leadership, International Studies, or Research and Medical Sciences.  While participating in their selected program, students will also have the opportunity to earn college credits, an International Baccalaureate certificate or International Baccalaureate diploma.


RHS will open with over 400 freshman and sophomore students before expanding to accommodate junior and senior classes in the next two academic years. This unique educational offering is compounded by the opportunity that exists for students to integrate into classes at Idaho State University's Meridian campus.  This will allow students to learn from many of the leading authorities on health and sciences in the Treasure Valley. 


Renaissance High School, combined with programs offered by the Renaissance Professional Technical Center which offers choices such as Digital Home Technical Integration, Residential Construction, Masonry, Culinary Arts, and Drafting, creates a learning campus where students can achieve success in a variety of fields and diverse academic programs. 


I am excited to see what our students accomplish this year both at Renaissance and all of the Meridian schools.  If you have a student you want to highlight or a teacher that deserves recognition for their commitment, please share their story with me at MayorTammy@meridiancity.org.  We want to Celebrate Meridian with you each Monday with examples of the many people and events that make our community a premier city to live, work, and raise a family.

Public Works Blog- Down the Drain

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Down the Drain?


Have you ever thought to yourself after flushing old prescriptions down the toilet, or after rinsing out a used household cleansing bottle in the kitchen sink, that there is probably a safer way of getting rid of these items?  Or what about where the run-off soapy and grimy water goes when you wash your car in the driveway?  Have you ever used hot water from your kitchen sink to rinse off residual food and grease from the dinner plates and cooking pots before you load up the dishwasher?  Well now think about this, all of these chemicals, pollutants, solid materials, grease agents and drain cloggers all run through our sewer system and eventually to the Wastewater Treatment Plant, usually not before doing damage to our sewer system along the way.  And some of these pollutants are so destructive and intrusive that even the advanced technologies we utilize at the Treatment Plant can’t remove all traces of them.  The reason this is so important to every citizen that lives in Meridian is that the water eventually is discharged back the Boise River, one of Idaho’s most precious resources.


Please take the time to learn about the following services and ways that we all can use to help keep our community environmentally safe for all.


FREE Household Hazardous Water Collection at SSC
Household Hazardous Waste consists of items such as pesticides, cleaning supplies, paint and solvents, used motor oils, antifreeze and old gasoline.  Products labeled Danger, Warning, or Caution all contain hazardous chemicals and should NEVER to be put into the City sewer lines!  Meridian residents can drop off any household hazardous waste items free of charge every Monday between 12 noon and 7:00 p.m. at the Sanitary Services Company parking lot, located at 2130 W. Franklin Road.  However, please DO NOT leave any items if SSC personnel isn’t there to assist you.  For more info call 888-3901.



Other examples of items that can be dropped off:

Household Cleaners  Fluorescent Light Tubes/Bulbs
Batteries-household & auto  Pool/Spa Chemicals
Television Sets Computer Monitors
Mercury Fever Thermometers 
Lawn & Garden Chemicals Aerosols
Insecticides  Pesticides
Old Paint 

Wood Stains

Paint Thinners Solvents
Old Gasoline  Antifreeze

Fats, Oils & Grease Disposal
Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) are major culprits in clogging up kitchen drains and causing sewer line back-ups.  Do not rinse off food scraps and grease from plates, pots and pans using hot water and flush down your kitchen drain.  When FOG buildup reaches a point that sewer pipes become clogged, raw sewage can back-up to city streets, parking lots, nearby homes and commercial businesses.  Commercial grease is not allowed to be disposed at the local landfill site.  This grease must be transported to a special landfill location.  Residential cooking grease is allowed to be disposed at the local landfill if properly contained in a spill proof container.  Here are the proper ways to dispose of these items:
• Scrape all food scraps and grease solids into the garbage.
• Collect excess frying grease in a separate container for proper disposal.

For additional information, please contact Steve Maneck, Pretreatment Program Manager at (208) 888-2191 or smaneck@meridiancity.org


Storm Water System Care
The storm water system and sewer collection systems are NOT connected.  Water from your home drains and toilets is collected by the sewer collection system, treated at the Wastewater Treatment Plant and then discharged by the City into the 5 Mile Creek/Boise River.  Storm or run-off water is simply channeled through the storm water system and discharged to our local watershed with NO treatment for pollutants or dangerous contaminants.  Only you can prevent pollutants from entering our water supply.  Here are some ways you can do your part:
• Recycle used motor oils & antifreeze; prevent vehicle leaks from driveways & street storm water drains.
• When washing your vehicle at home, Uuse non-phosphorus soaps or direct the soap suds onto your lawn instead of down your driveway & into the gutters.  Or better yet, take your vehicle to a commercial car wash, which is connected to the City sewer system.
• Put litter, grass clippings and pet waste into the trash; never rinse them into the storm drains.
• Use only as much fertilizer and pesticide as you need, any excess will run off into the storm drains.


Human Resources: Employee Wellness

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The City of Meridian is an employer that genuinely cares about the overall wellness of its employees and their families.  This philosophy not only makes the City a great place to work, it also serves the public interest by minimizing preventable healthcare costs.


The Human Resources Department is the starting point for tools that City employees can use to improve and maintain their physical and mental wellness, including:


• EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM.  Under the EAP, City employees or their family members who are facing stress or crisis can make up to five paid visits to a mental health care provider every year.  In addition to the therapeutic benefits to individual employees and their families, EAP also improves workplace productivity and morale.  For each $1 invested in an EAP can save an employer up to $16 by significantly reducing sick leave, lost time, and time spent on supervisor reprimands.


• HEALTH SCREENINGS.  HR’s Wellness Committee is a group of City employees from all departments who work to improve the health and wellbeing of all City employees.   The Wellness Committee sponsors an Employee Wellness program featuring cholesterol screenings, flu shots, and body composition analyses. This year, on-site mammograms, prostate cancer screenings, and personal health surveys by St. Luke’s will also be available to employees.


• FITNESS CHALLENGE.  This spring, the Wellness Committee organized a 4-month Fitness Challenge, and as a result, every one of the 51 City employees participating lost weight and inches, for a total of 469 pounds and 310 inches!  The emphasis was on helping employees develop healthy, sustainable exercise and eating habits.


• ON-SITE FITNESS RESOURCES.  Other wellness opportunities for City employees include on-site Pilates classes, weight room and cardio workout facilities, and chair massage.  Studies have shown that exercise and massage improve participants’ focus and energy, reduce incidents of illness and thereby reduce absenteeism, and increase on-the-job productivity.


The City of Meridian Human Resources Department promotes a culture of wellness at the workplace and beyond.  At a time when 70% of health care costs in America are spent to treat preventable lifestyle diseases, employees who are proactive about their health and wellness can save their employers money otherwise spent on treating such health problems reactively. 

Celebrate Meridian -Brandon Wright

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As we see time and time again, Meridian’s success is being built by hundreds of volunteers dedicated small business owners who work every day to provide a sustainable future for our community and jobs for our citizens.


One example is Brandon Wright, no stranger to the world of entrepreneurship.  As the owner of Ultra Clean Pro and three other businesses, Brandon has learned what factors makes a successful business and what missteps can position someone to fail.  Ultra Clean Pro was recently recognized for its excellent customer service, receiving the Big 50 Customer Service award by Remodeling Magazine.  Ultra Clean Pro is only one of eight companies to receive the award from Idaho since 1984.


If you have happened to have your AM dial tuned to 630 KIDO on a Saturday morning you would have heard Brandon on the newest radio program in the Treasure Valley.  “The Matt and Brandon Show” is hosted by Brandon and Matt Rissell, CEO of TSheets.  The show’s content and format is to serve as a resource for small businesses and those with the entrepreneurial spirit.


Brandon also makes a positive difference for our business community as host for the monthly Ultra Clean Smoke Out.  This must-attend event is for any businessperson to network and learn about other area businesses.  With this opportunity to expand your business and have a free BBQ lunch, it is an event everyone should attend each third Wednesday of the month from 11:30 to 2:00 pm at Ultra Clean Pro.  Brandon has worked with our Meridian Economic Excellence Team bringing the incredibly successful Meridian Business Day in May.


According to Brandon, “With the success of the events and seeing the progress of being a Meridian business that is not only surviving but thriving in this economy, we have hired four people in the last month and are still looking for one more that is passionate about service to our team.  We are not a perfect company with perfect people but we are motivated to succeed and live by a set of core values that we follow each and every day.  If we ever violate those then we make our wrong doing right with integrity.  By surrounding ourselves with great people and working together we can all succeed.”


In a changing economy it is reassuring to see citizens like Brandon working to assist business owners and entrepreneurs in a variety of different ways.  After all – small businesses are the backbone of our economy and our community and provide daily reasons for us to celebrate Meridian.  I encourage you to listen to the Matt and Brandon Show every Saturday on KIDO 630 at 11:00 AM or at www.mattandbrandonshow.com


If you know about other individuals or groups leading the charge for Meridian or know of someone making a difference in our community, please share their story with me at MayorTammy@meridiancity.org.  We want to Celebrate Meridian with you each Monday with examples of the many people and events that make our community a premier city to live, work, and raise a family.


An overview of Meridian Fire Department’s EMS operation

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The Meridian Fire Department provides a multitude of services to the community- one of those services is to provide medical care to persons in need.


The Meridian Fire Department has a long history of providing EMS (emergency medical services) to the community, dating back as far as 1977 with the development of Rescue One. At the time, personnel on Rescue One provided basic life support to the patient until an ambulance staffed with paramedics arrived on location.


In 2005, the fire department hired their first paramedics and today we are staffed with 20 paramedics who provide advanced life support and 34 EMT’s who provide basic life support. Except on rare occasion, each of our five stations will have a paramedic on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The combination of having advanced life support and basic life support personnel on a medical emergency works extremely well as each individual plays a vital role to ensure the quality of care the patient is receiving is at the highest level.


To keep all of our responders functioning at an optimal level, we strive to produce an education and training program that goes beyond what is expected. Last year, all of our members combined received more than 2900 hours of EMS training. In addition to that training our responders have been involved with joint agency training, equipment evaluation trials, teaching CPR and other EMS related classes, as well as establishing carbon monoxide oximetry guidelines that the State of Idaho is in the process of adopting. The Meridian Fire Department is truly becoming known as a premier EMS response agency.


One of the questions we get asked frequently is “why do I get a fire truck and an ambulance when I call 911”- The Meridian Fire Department is a non-transporting agency, meaning we cannot transport patients to the hospital. We rely on the cooperation and collaboration of our allied transport agency, Ada County Paramedics. When they arrive on location, the crews of both agencies integrate to ensure the patient receives the best care possible and is transported to an emergency room for definitive care.

Another question we get asked is “will I get a bill for your service?”- Although we do not bill the patient for an EMS response, our operation is supported through property tax dollars. We understand this, and are always striving to make sure our response is efficient, effective, and at a level of quality and professionalism that you, the tax-payer expect.


Lastly, “how does somebody become an EMT or paramedic?”- Doing a simple Google search for “EMT Classes in Idaho” or “paramedic programs in Idaho” will get you started down the right path (the fire department does not endorse one program over another).

If you have any questions about EMS and/or the Meridian Fire Department, please contact Deputy Chief Mark Niemeyer @ 489-0451 or Chief Ron Anderson @ 489-0453.


Fall Activity Guide Update

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We’re in the home stretch for the summer of 2009, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to end!  In fact, the Meridian Parks and Recreation Fall Activity Guide is being released August 15th, so a whole new season of fun activities and interesting classes is just getting started.  You can pick up your copy by just opening your Idaho Statesman West Edition on August 15th, contacting Meridian Parks and Recreation to get on our mailing list, or stopping by our office located at City Hall.


One fun activity for the young at heart that will be taking the spotlight starting August 31st is Meridian’s Adult Dodgeball League.  The first season in 2008 was very successful, and many more teams have jumped on board for the 2009 season of this unique league.  The deadline for the 2009 season has been extended to Friday, August 14th 2009.  If you have questions about players, teams, or rules visit our webpage by clicking here.


If you’re participating on a co-ed softball team, whether it be in the Meridian fall league or not, an interesting tournament to check out is the One-Pitch Fall Classic on August 29-30.  One-pitch games are a fun deviation from a normal softball game, and the fast-paced style is something I think you’d really enjoy.  Visit our Softball Tournaments page to download the registration form and the tournament by-laws.


Two other adult sports on the horizon are the winter volleyball and basketball leagues.  The deadlines to register are September 25th and October 9th respectively; however, now is the time to start talking with your family, friends, and co-workers and organizing your team.  Co-Ed and Women’s volleyball divisions will be offered, and for our basketball league, men’s and women’s divisions will be available.


For more information on any of these activities or to get your name on an interest list, contact Meridian Parks and Recreation by calling 888-3579 or e-mailing recreation@meridiancity.org


Running a Home-based Businesses in Meridian

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There is a lot of interest in home-based businesses lately. Times are certainly tough, and every bit of household income helps. I thought I would take a moment to explain the opportunities and potential limitations related to starting a home-based business in the City of Meridian.


Home occupations may be done out of any home in the City. However, to ensure that your home occupation does not disturb your neighbors or degrade the quality of your neighborhood, you are required to meet certain standards. Please note that you may have agreed to not have business in your home as part of the restrictions tied to your homeowners association. This is not a restriction imposed by the City of Meridian.


Our publically adopted codes allow home occupations, but they must be conducted entirely within the home, and your home must still look like a residence. This means you may not build an industrial or commercial looking building (including large storage sheds) just for the home occupation. This standard is intended to prohibit folks from setting up automotive shops within residential neighborhoods. Also, large unattractive buildings are often seen as lowering the value of adjoining homes and therefore the cause of complaint from your neighbors and homeowners association.


Home occupations must be conducted by people living in the home. You can have one employee that does not live in the home, but you cannot use your home as a headquarters where employees come to the site and are dispatched to other locations (such as contractors). Carrier deliveries (like UPS or FedEx) are limited to two outgoing pick-ups per day. This allows businesses such as Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, and Tupperware, while prohibiting an intense manufacturing use. The intent is to make sure that your business does not disturb your neighbors by having a lot of traffic entering, parking and then leaving the neighborhood.


Many times people have home occupations where they provide a service, such as a music instructor or a hair and nail stylist. These activities are allowed, and limited retail sales related to the home occupation, e.g., guitar strings and sheet music or shampoo and conditioner, are permitted. Similarly, if your home occupation is a wood carving business, you may sell those items fabricated on the premises. For the most part other retail sales are not allowed so that the area does not become a retail center with increased traffic that disturbs the residents and changes the character of the neighborhood.


One of the most common home-based businesses is a small daycare out of the home. Daycares tend to draw more comments and concerns than other home based businesses. Because there is a fair amount of activity in the morning and afternoon, some neighbors complain about the traffic and noise. Other neighbors see the importance of having small daycare business within the neighborhood and are in strong favor of having the daycare close by. In setting standards for these daycares, we try to balance the needs of both groups while addressing the needs of the children and complying with the state requirements related to daycares.


For those home-based businesses that have customers and clients (including daycares) we limit the hours that such businesses operate. Our review process includes notifying the adjoining property owners. This allows those neighbors to express their concerns related to the request, such as past violations or particular characteristics of the neighborhood that would make it an inappropriate location for a home-based business.


If you are interested in starting a home-based business, the Planning Department staff is available to meet with you to explain the city’s process. Please contact the Planning Department at 884-5533 or check out the standards on-line at www.sterlingcodifiers.com look for Title 11 Chapter 4.