A potentially dangerous new product has made its way to Meridian. You may have seen it being promoted in the windows of local shops throughout the Treasure Valley as an herbal blend or incense. “Spice” is a synthetic marijuana product increasingly being used by Meridian youth to get high. However, instead of the typical marijuana-like effects they are expecting, many youth are turning up in emergency rooms with rapid heart rates, elevated blood pressure, severe agitation, anxiety and vomiting.
Spice, also packaged and sold under the names of K2, Ultra, Summit, Blonde, Standard, Yucatan Gold, Genie, Pot-pourri, Bombay Blue, and Black Mamba, is growing in popularity because it is legal, purported to give a high similar to marijuana and believed to be natural and therefore safe. However, researchers say synthetic marijuana is really an unregulated mixture of dried herbs that could contain toxic chemicals. "K2 may be a mixture of herbal and spice plant products, but it is sprayed with a potent psychotropic drug and likely contaminated with an unknown toxic substance that is causing many adverse effects. These toxic chemicals are neither natural nor safe," said Anthony Scalzo, M.D., professor of toxicology at Saint Louis University who also directs the Missouri Regional Poison Control Center.
Although U.S. poison-control centers received only 13 calls related to Spice a year ago, 766 cases have been reported in the first half of 2010. Callers are reporting nausea, vomiting, increased agitation, elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, and loss of consciousness. Further testing is needed, but Dr. Scalzo says these symptoms suggest that K2 is affecting the cardiovascular system of users. It also is believed to affect the central nervous system, causing severe, potentially life-threatening hallucinations and, in some cases, seizures. Even more frightening are the recent deaths linked to the alleged use of Spice. One, a young man from Iowa, committed suicide after his friends reported they smoked the substance together. In addition, the deaths of a young man in Texas and a young mother in Indiana have been linked to the drug.
Spice has been available in the Treasure Valley for the last couple of years, but only recently have sales exploded. It sells for around $30 for three grams, which is comparable in cost to marijuana, and is available at local shops and over the Internet. Although not yet illegal in Idaho, synthetic cannaboids have been banned in 11 states, with pending legislation in six additional states. The substance has also been banned by the United States military and the countries of Chile, Germany, Finland, Russia, Sweden, France, Ireland, Romania, UK, Switzerland, South Korea, Latvia, Poland, and Japan.
For more information about Spice, please contact the Meridian Mayor’s Anti-Drug Coalition at (208)846-7313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first step in understanding how to conserve water in your home is to know where water is used.
Most people use 50 to 70 gallons of water indoors each day and as much as the same amount outdoors, depending on the season. Indoors, three-quarters of all the water is used in the bathroom and outdoors, lawn and garden watering and car washing account for most of the water used.
How to Conserve Water Daily
Because such a huge percentage of the water you use is used in the bathroom, that's where water conservation efforts should focus. You can install a few simple, inexpensive devices in the bathroom that can save a lot of water with no change in your lifestyle or your present habits. Most of our local home improvement stores stock these items. These are:
- Placing a water-filled bottle or container in bottom of toilet tank can reduce the amount of water flowing out of the toilet by up to 25 percent and they do not affect its flushing ability. Always be sure that at least 3 gallons of water remain in the tank so it will flush properly.
- Low flow, water-saving shower heads. This inexpensive and easy to install piece of plumbing reduces the amount of water flowing through your shower by up to 50 percent, but increases its velocity so the shower feels the same. This also saves hot water, which saves you in gas costs.
- Faucet aerators. These devices restrict the amount of water going through your faucet by up to 50 percent, but add bubbles so the flow of water appears the same. They could be installed on all of your faucets, not just the ones in your bathroom for very little out-of-pocket expense.
Other relatively simple things you can do in your home to further reduce water use are:
- Repair leaks in your faucets and toilets. A leaky faucet can waste 20 gallons or more per day. Leaky toilets, even though they are usually silent, can waste hundreds of gallons per day. To find out if your toilet has leaks, put a little food coloring in the tank. If, without flushing, color appears in the bowl, you have a leak that should be repaired. Repairing a faucet is usually as simple as changing an inexpensive washer. Leaky toilets can often be repaired by adjusting the float arm or plunger ball.
- Use your dishwasher and clothes washer only when you have a full load. If you are purchasing a new clothes washer, choose one with variable load or suds-saver options. Many dishwashers are also now available with water-saving options. If you already have these options, use them whenever possible.
- If you are building a new home or remodeling an old one, consider installing "low flush" toilets. These toilets use 1 to 2 gallons per flush instead of the 3 to 5 gallons used by conventional ones. They are readily available and, although they cost a little bit more, they can save you a lot of money in the long run through decreased water and energy use.
- Avoid unnecessarily flushing your toilet. Never use it as a wastepaper basket to dispose of cigarette butts or tissue paper.
- Turn off the faucet while you are shaving or brushing your teeth or hand washing dishes.
- Avoid running water in the shower while you are shampooing or soaping. Most people step away from the water to do this anyway. Many water-saving shower heads come with a button to shut off the flow without changing the mix of hot and cold water.
Outdoor uses of water are often high volume. Nevertheless, there are ways you can save water. Try these:
- Attach a pistol-type sprayer to the end of your garden hose. In addition to enabling you to adjust the rate of flow, this device keeps water from continuing to run out during those short periods when you put down the hose without turning it off (while you are washing your car, for example).
- Water your lawn only when necessary. It takes 660 gallons of water to supply 1,000 square feet of lawn with 1 inch of water. This is nearly the same amount of water as you use inside the house in an entire week! Water your lawn when it begins to show signs of wilting - when the grass does not spring back when you step on it - rather than on a regular schedule.
- Use mulch around trees and shrubs and in garden beds. This greatly reduces the amount of water lost through evaporation and so reduces the need for watering.
- Consider using a drip irrigation system in your garden. This system supplies water only to the root zones of plants. In addition to saving water, it reduces weeding because it doesn't water the areas between rows and hills of crops.
- Use only plant varieties that are well adapted to your locality and sell conditions. Poorly chosen varieties often need greater amounts of fertilizer and water just to stay alive. If the expense of replacing all of your shrubs and trees seems daunting and too expensive, make a goal to only change out a couple at a time. The money you will save in water costs will be worth your efforts.
- Avoid watering the lawn. Your lawn may turn brown in the middle of the summer, but this doesn't mean that it's dead; it’s just dormant and will return when cooler weather or rain returns. Most people are usually more concerned about their neighbors will think if their grass begins to brown a little rather then focus Rather, the grass is dormant and will regrow when rain and cooler weather returns.
- Use the water from your roof downspouts for watering your garden and flower beds. Placing buckets in these areas can provide you with a quite a few flower bed or garden waterings.
And just remember when it comes to conserving water and saving money, every little bit helps.
Professional certification reveals many things. Among these are years working in a specific field, college and professional education and training, membership in national and or professional organizations and passing national certification exams. The procurement field is no different than many others.
As a public procurement officer, one is expected to watch how their organization spends its tax dollars to maximize value and keep within the laws and regulations of your specific state and jurisdiction and abide by the ethics of your profession. The road to certification better prepares procurement officers for these very tasks. As a member of the National Institute for Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) and the Idaho Public Purchasing Association (IPPA) I have many fellow purchasing professionals from which I am able to network with. These relationships that I have built over the years have become an invaluable asset to the organizations I have worked for. Not only is the organization benefiting from my expertise but the expertise and experience of hundreds of other purchasing professionals. I have attended many purchasing related classes, seminars and webinars over the past 20 years have gained valuable knowledge, not only from my instructors but fellow students as well. This knowledge is directly incorporated into the practices of the organizations I work for.
I am proud to have recently passed the national exam for the Certified Professional Public Buyer designation. I feel the City of Meridian and its residents will be better served from the steps I have taken to achieve this certification.
At a recent event seven individuals were honored with employee and volunteer recognition awards presented by the Meridian City Council (David Zaremba, Keith Bird, and Brad Hoaglun and myself) at the City of Meridian’s Annual Employee & Volunteer Family Picnic held July 20th in Settlers Park.
The winners, nominated by their peers, were chosen based on how well they exemplify the core values of the City of Meridian in their work by demonstrating outstanding: Customer Service, Accountability, Respect, and Excellence.
Please join us in congratulating…
Director of the Year:
Steve Siddoway, Meridian Parks & Recreation Department
The Meridian Parks & Recreation Department, its staff, and the grounds they maintain for our citizens, are in the best shape ever in its history. This is due in large part to the Department’s director. With his enthusiasm and passion, has made our Parks & Recreation Department into a top-notch group, helping our staff and our facilities live up to their true potential. He leads by example, is respected within the City and by other community partners, and has shown the staff how to enjoy their jobs while serving the public, too. Through his vision, leadership, and enthusiasm, Steve Siddoway is truly deserving of our honor as Director of the Year.
Supervisor of the Year:
Meridian Deputy Police Chief Tracy Basterrechea
Our co-supervisor of the year exemplifies the core values of the City of Meridian, consistently demonstrating professional customer service with the community and media contacts he makes. He holds himself and all of the Police Department to a high professional standard of accountability. He is always respectful of community members and colleagues, regardless of rank. Recently he served as the acting chief for several months. During that time he handled a variety of critical issues and personnel matters. He consistently demonstrates strong leadership, yet remains very approachable. He was instrumental in creating the department’s “Emerging Leaders” program which is preparing our current employees for future roles in the department. He is considered a friend, a mentor, and an example of a true leader. Please join me in congratulating Deputy Police Chief Tracy Basterrechea as co-supervisor of the year.
Supervisor of the Year:
Karie Glenn, Utility Billing Department
Our co-supervisor of the year began overseeing our Utility Billing only one year ago. During her time in this position, the number of customer complaints received by the city has dropped dramatically enabling our employees to work extremely well together. She has been cross-training and empowering her employees to learn more of their system and understand every process necessary to run the department. Leading by example, she stays calm with customers and treats them with respect, and following the appropriate ordinances, policies, and procedures. Exemplifying the City of Meridian’s values of customer service, accountability, respect, and excellence, she truly is a great asset to the City. Put your hands together for our co-supervisor of the year, Karie Glenn.
Employee of the Year:
Colin Moss, Meridian Parks & Recreation Department
In his nomination for Employee of the Year, it is said that this employee possesses and demonstrated a high level of ALL the City’s core values. He has excellent customer service and communication skills. He is also very versatile, with knowledge on a wide range of subjects from sports to websites. He has very innovative ideas which he shares during staff meetings. Furthermore, everything he puts his hands to, he does with excellence. He cares about the community and it shows. He gives 100% into the quality community events he is in such of, such as Movie Night, the Barn Sour, and the Fourth of July. Most recently he put volunteer groups to work in our parks painting fences, spreading bark, planning flowers, and more. With his leadership, to date, we have logged over 1,000 volunteer hours for this fiscal year, which is a cost savings to the City of approximately $16,000. For these reasons and so many more, Colin Moss of the Meridian Parks & Recreation Department is certainly deserving of the title co-Employee of the Year.
Employee of the Year:
Sheree Finch, City Clerk’s Office
Technically she works for the City Clerk’s Office, but in reality, our next co-Employee of the Year works for ALL of the City and City Hall in particular. This individual’s sincere smile and calm voice greets thousands who call or come into City Hall. She is helpful and friendly and never, ever complains, going above and beyond in every job she does. She also takes great care of her co-workers, listening, supporting, suggesting, and leading by example without ever being preachy or boastful. She is THERE for every one in her department and exemplifies what it means to be a team player. It’s said that this individual is in charge of 100 things on a daily basis – from scheduling and keeping track of all meetings in City Hall to creating the PowerPoint advertising upcoming events in the lobby – and everything she touches is wonderful. Whether it be for computer support, customer support, or person support, Sheree Finch is the perfect example of CARE and deserves the honor to be the co-Employee of the Year.
Employee of the Year for Community Service:
Meridian Police Corporal Chris Siems
For the past two years, this individual has taken on the task of arranging a Christmas surprise for needy families in our community. This year he organized a large Christmas party for foster children in Meridian and was able to secure outside funding and sponsorship dollars for this project from local businesses. With these funds he feed, entertained, and purchase gifts for all of the children, arranging for the gifts to be delivered by Santa Claus who volunteered to help out at this event. The event was a huge undertaking which consumed much of his time during the holiday. This dedication of time and energy and heart earns Police Corporal Chris Siems the title of the City’s 2010 Employee of the Year for Community Service.
Volunteer of the Year:
Our Volunteer of the Year is someone from the community who devoted more than 250 hours of volunteer service to City departments, projects, and events this year alone. His efforts have earned him the title “Super Dave” and you will understand why after hearing about some of the countless ways he helps the City out:
- Neighborhood Watch Patrol
- Settlers Park Bike Patrol
- Old Town Community Clean-Up
- Wearing the McGruff and Sparky Costumes
- Picking Up Litter After CableOne Movie Nights
- Putting up the Police Department Christmas Tree
- Helping Coordinate National Night Out Events
- Performing Police Car Maintenance
- Scrubbing Out the Police Department’s Gooey Recycling Bins
These are just a few of the volunteer tasks Super Dave has put his mind and hands to for the City of Meridian. In fact, he was nominated for Volunteer of the Year by multiple Departments. He’s described as the most enthusiastic and generous volunteer ever. And while he’s going to cut down a bit on his volunteer hours to re-focus on his technology career, I have a strong feeling we haven’t seen the last of Dave Thames, the City of Meridian Super 2010 Volunteer of the Year!
These individuals do so much for our community and we are fortunate to have them working to make Meridian the premier place to live, work and raise a family.
As the weather gets nicer, the door to door sales tend to increase and we here at the City Clerks Office are receiving many phone calls from Meridian Residents inquiring if these businesses are licensed with the City. Here are some questions and answers that may be helpful.
Q: Is a salesperson going door to door required to have a solicitor’s license with the City of Meridian?
A: YES! Every person going door to door offering a service or items for sale (even to be delivered at a later date), excluding church’s, school group fundraisers, girl scouts and political entities, are required to have what we call a “Mobile Sales Unit” License. They not only should have it on them but you have a RIGHT to ask to see it. Many times the salesperson will say that “their manager has it” or “they don’t need one”. Let us be clear on this… we process a federal background check on each individual and if they do not pass they do NOT get a license!
Q: What should I do if a salesperson does not have a Mobile Sales Unit License?
A: Be polite, get their business card and after they have left, call Meridian Police right away. Unfortunately, if you wait until the next day, the door to door sales people have moved on to another area of the city, which makes it very difficult to find them.
Q: How do I know if a door to door salesperson is representing a business in good standing with its customers?
A: Since The City of Meridian doesn’t actually license business’s in general, it would be best to contact The Secretary of State at 208-334-2300. In all cases we recommend “buyer be-aware”.
Q: Who can I call if I have more questions about Mobile Sales Unit Licenses or any other licensing that City of Meridian offers?
A: You are always welcome to call the Meridian City Clerks Office at 208-888-4433.
Do Meridian Police respond to fender benders in private parking lots?
Are people allowed to sell rugs, sunglasses, flowers, and the like, beside the road?
What are the regulations for open burning during the fall and winter?
Do dogs in Meridian need to be licensed?
Should I be concerned if my household water appears discolored?
Do I need any special permission or permits to build a new fence?
Questions are never in short supply at Meridian City Hall or at our other municipal offices. In fact, during a typical year, more than 25,000 telephone calls come in through the City of Meridian’s main phone line (208-888-4433) to the City Clerk’s Office, many from residents or local business people with questions to ask.
Thankfully, we’ve got knowledgeable staff members willing and able to answer questions big and small. If you have questions relating to City government or other community issues but aren’t quite sure who to call or visit, our City Clerk’s Office, located on the main floor of Meridian City Hall, is a great place to start.
Based on the nature of the information you’re seeking, they can quickly direct you to the department or individual best-suited to respond to your inquiry.
Or, if you’re like me and consider yourself something of an “information hound,” you may want to spend some time thoroughly exploring the City of Meridian website.
We work hard to keep our website organized in a logical and user-friendly manner. We update it often with timely and useful information. Additionally, one of the goals we’re working on is to make sure you can reach the information you seek within three “clicks” or less.
There are other ways to pose questions to the City, as well.
Everyone from the Mayor on down can accept questions via telephone and e-mail. You can also ask questions through the City’s Facebook or Twitter accounts, or by submitting them to CityNews, the City of Meridian’s quarterly online newsletter which features a regular column called “Glad You Asked.”
The ongoing exchange of questions and answers between residents and the City of Meridian helps provide a vital link between you and your city government. As far as we’re concerned, the only poor question is one that doesn’t get asked. So please don’t hesitate to ask questions of us. If we don’t have the answer, we’ll do our best to help you find someone who does!