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For the Men and Women in Blue

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By Mayor Tammy

I had already started writing my musing for this week when the incident in Dallas occurred (and now the latest in Baton Rouge). I am horrified by what I see unfolding. That musing will be saved for another day… My heart aches for Dallas and Baton Rouge. My prayers go out to their law enforcement officers, their families, and their communities. My thoughts and prayers are also with the families and friends of those lost in shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota and their communities.

Such tragedy. Where is our moral compass at this time in our nation? There is so much hatred everywhere. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a lot of it channeled at law enforcement – even here locally.

Following the news out of Dallas, Meridian Police Chief Jeff Lavey sent a note to his team that said this: “I’m feeling sad, frustrated and angry about what happened in Dallas. I’m trying to wrap my mind about what the heck is happening in our country. Now is not the time to become paranoid or create gaps – it is not an “us versus them”. We must be diligent, aware and watch out for each other. We must continue to do our jobs. Officer safety is always paramount but we have a community to serve in partnership with each other for the common goal of ensuring Meridian remains a great place to live work and raise a family.”

I work alongside our police officers. I can attest to you that our department is one that cares for our community.

Councilman Joe Borton summarized their service perfectly after the Dallas incident when he said, “The Meridian Police Department does care about the safety of our citizens, and its officers, and has been proactively conscious of that mission every day.  It is one of the factors that makes our police department outstanding and our city safe.” 

Our police officers get ready for work each day not knowing what lies before them. Just last month, a Boise Police Officer was shot in the line of duty. Our officers’ days could be filled with danger as they seek to serve and keep our communities safe. It’s no accident that Meridian is one of the safest in the state – it is thanks to the service of our department as well as their relationships with our community.

Shortly after the Dallas events I received a couple of emails asking for accountability in our police department.  My initial response was what makes people think our officers aren’t accountable? The Meridian Police Department’s mission is “to provide the highest quality service in partnership with the community to preserve and protect life and property through education, prevention and enforcement”.  The department is focused on accountability and transparency – something enriched with the body worn camera program. The department also has an Office of Professional Responsibility. This includes a strict process of reviewing all public complaints, comments, inquiries and even praise our employees receive and involves our legal department. They have a professional policy manual that is reviewed to make sure it meets or exceeds national standards at a minimum of twice per year, which we hold our officers accountable to. Because of this, we are one of the few law enforcement agencies that is accredited through the Idaho Chiefs of Police Association. And many of you may remember the recent video we had go viral - when one of our officers responded to a dangerous dog situation and handled it without the use of force.  This is because of the training programs we use.  We take public safety, officer training, preparedness, and accountability very seriously.

Our department has 97 police officers and 26 civilian staff dedicated to making Meridian a great place to live, work and raise a family. I’m thankful for their service, as I am with law enforcement across this nation. Unfortunately there are rare and tragic incidents that cast a shadow on all law enforcement. We simply can't let that happen. Not in Idaho, not in Meridian. All lives matter! It’s time to rise up and unite as people - as a country - and stop spewing hate. 

#MeridianSummer Top 10

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By Mayor Tammy

I love summertime in Meridian! The other day I was able to shop for produce at the Youth Farmers Market, attend Dairy Days, cool off at the Kleiner Park splash pad with my grandkids and watch the sunset from my patio on a gorgeous summer evening.  As I watched the sun go down, I thought of all of the amazing things we have to do, right here in our own backyard! So if you are looking for some summer fun – here are 10 ideas to consider: 

10. Youth Farmers Market

This year marks the first annual Youth Farmers Market! This event is a long-awaited addition because it’s something the community has wanted for some time, but ours is unique because the majority of vendors are youth from across the valley. Bring the family downtown on Saturday mornings, support our local youth and shop the fresh produce, baked goods, crafts and more!  (Now – Sept. 24, Saturdays from 9am-12pm, Meridian City Hall Plaza)

9. CableONE Movie Night

Can you believe this is the 10th year of CableONE Movie Night? I can remember when it began and it has definitely grown to be a community favorite! Check out the schedule of movies at www.meridiancity.org/movienight and share your pictures on social media with the hashtag #MeridianMovieNight.  (Now – Aug. 26, Fridays at dusk, Settlers Park)  

8. Concerts on Broadway

This event grows in popularity each year. Who doesn’t want to listen to some great concerts under the summer night’s sky?! Join us for Concerts on Broadway here in the Meridian City Hall Plaza! The concerts are free and there will be food trucks at each event this year. (July 9, August 6, August 13, 6:30pm, Meridian City Hall Plaza)

7. Meridian Parks

There is plenty of fun to be had in our parks this summer. The splash pads at Kleiner and Settlers Parks are a great way to cool off and there’s fishing right here in town at both of those parks! Our parks play host to numerous events throughout the summer such as the Independence Day Festival at Storey Park, concerts, races, vendor shows and more. And don’t forget to check out Storey Bark Park – your dogs will love the amenities!   

6. Kleiner Park LIVE

Speaking of our parks - Kleiner Park Live is a Thursday night summer outdoor concert series at the Kleiner Park band shell. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy some great evenings at the park. There will be food and beer vendors on site. The next concert is July 7, featuring Hang Eleven. For more information check out the list of shows and dates at www.meridiancity.org/kleinerparklive.

5. Roaring Springs/Wahooz

It’s probably one of the more sought after destinations in our community come summer. Beat the heat at Roaring Springs or check out Wahooz for some family fun!

4. Indoor Activities such as Big Al’s

Across town, you can stay cool by staying indoors. Big Al’s, like Wahooz, offer specials throughout the summer including Kids Bowl Free! Last year Big Al’s provided over 115,000 FREE games of bowling at their three locations in the Northwest including Meridian. Other options for indoor fun in town include Jump Time, Dart Wars, and Danik Gymnastics.

3. The Village at Meridian

Aside from the great shopping and dining, The Village is hosting events throughout the summer including Yoga at Fountain Square, Kids Storytime, Ladies Night Out and Art Walks, and the Rock the Village Concert Series that kicks off July 8 and is held every Friday night through August 26. We’re seeing some other local businesses host summer concert series this year including the Courtyard Marriott and the Homestead Bar and Grill.

2. Meridian Library

If your kids are getting stir crazy this summer, the Meridian Library has plenty of fun and engaging options for them! From the new unBound location in Downtown Meridian that hosts programs each week, to the Summer Reading event that includes incentives – there’s something for everyone!

1. Experience Downtown Meridian

And finally, I encourage you to experience Downtown Meridian this summer. Learn about our community’s history by following our Historical Walking Tour or check out the changes in downtown. We’ve welcomed several new businesses and just revealed new updates along Idaho Avenue including decks, planters and more! 

Of course aside from my top ten there’s community favorites like golfing at Lakeview Golf Club, Food Trucks in the Park every Wednesday at Settlers, the Barn Sour Race (August 20),  and the Community Block Party in September.  Plus, our Parks and Recreation Department put together a Summer Activity Guide that is full of fun ideas and activities for people of all ages!

You can always check out more events online on our website – www.meridiancity.org. We look forward to seeing your pictures and videos on social media from your summer fun in our community with the hashtags #MeridianSummer and #MyMeridian. 

MyMeridian

Old and New Traditions Emerge This Week in Downtown Meridian

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By Mayor Tammy

This week – the old meets the new in Downtown Meridian. A long time tradition and a new community tradition will help us usher in the official start of summer – the long-standing Dairy Days and the new Meridian Youth Farmers Market!

I can’t believe it is already time for the Meridian Youth Farmers Market to kick off its inaugural season (Saturday, June 25). It feels like just yesterday we were meeting in the Mayor’s Office trying to figure out how we could make our community farmers market unique to the valley. With the idea to create a Youth Farmers Market, we launched something that had never been done before in the area – a market that is focused on our youth. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this market is a tremendous opportunity for our area youth. The focus on our kids will give them the chance to learn ‘life skills’ and profit from their hobbies and projects, but most importantly, their passions.

Every Saturday from 9am-12pm (June 25 – September 24), I invite you to visit the market in the Meridian City Hall Plaza and support our youth! You’ll find products such as fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, baked goods, refreshments and food trucks! 

We’re excited to kick off this new community event in the midst of the 87th annual Meridian Dairy Days (June 23-26).  The Meridian Dairy Board has put together an even larger Dairy Days event this year, with more options and activities for families.  New to the event this year – an Art Festival on Saturday June 25 at 11am in Storey Park. This is the first time the Meridian Arts Commission has teamed up with the Dairy Board to put this event together. It will feature 20 local artists, art classes for kids and performances by the Treasure Valley Youth Theatre.

Also at the Park; Brown’s Carnival which opens at 4pm on Thursday, June 23, and the Pancake Feed that same day at 4pm, benefiting the Meridian Food Bank and the Meridian Injured Police Officers Fund. Friday, Saturday and Sunday are packed with family activities including a bike rodeo, live entertainment and a fireworks show at the Meridian Speedway on Friday at 10:30pm.   

The large Dairy Days Parade where thousands are expected to head to Downtown Meridian is on Friday, June 24 at 6:45pm with a new route! It will begin on Main Street at the Meridian Speedway, run north to East Fairview, then south on 2 ½ Street.   

I’m looking forward to this weekend as we celebrate two traditions in Downtown Meridian, an old and new one - giving residents even more options for activities in our great community!

For more information on these events, visit week www.meridiancity.org and click on the City News and Meetings tab. 

youth fm - 2015

Protecting Our Kids

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By Mayor Tammy

As we wrap up the 2015-16 school year, it's appropriate to highlight a group of people who are near and dear to my heart. They are the ones who wake up each day and come to work with the sole purpose of protecting our kids. The Meridian Police Department School Resource Officer (SRO) program consists of 9 officers who are assigned to 13 elementary schools, 6 middle schools, 3 high schools and several alternative, charter and private schools in our community within the West Ada School District.

Our SRO’s do more than just enforce the law. They walk the halls of our schools connecting with our kids; they also attend events such as high school sports games – keeping our community safe. Our SROs are involved in youth education, mentoring kids in our community and working directly with them – as evidenced by an event that took place this past week at Mountain View High School. A few months ago, Meridian Police Officer David Gomez spoke with a local newspaper about the students he encounters who don’t have necessities, like shoes. After reading this article, local business Pulse Running and Fitness Shop donated 100 pairs of shoes to Mountain View students in need on May 31. Officer Gomez was thrilled saying “these shoes will go to kids at the school who desperately need new shoes and cannot afford them. I have given out three pairs of shoes today already.” 

 pulse shoe donation - june2016

Officer Gomez is popular amongst the students and faculty at Mountain View but he’s also well known in the community for his Internet Safety for Families Class that he offers for free throughout the year. It’s an extremely important class in this age of technology, designed to teach parents and students about the dangers of social media and how to stay protected.

Another popular SRO in our community just announced he’s retiring! School Resource Officer Mike Lock has been with the Meridian Police Department for 24 years and has served many of those years as the SRO at Meridian Middle School.  Officer Lock’s impact on our kids has been immeasurable. The community is invited to join us in celebrating Officer Lock’s retirement on Friday, June 10, 2016 at 3pm at Meridian City Hall.

I’ve called out two SRO’s by name, but it takes the whole team - and their caring supervisor - working diligently each day with our schools and youth. They are key to keeping our community one of the safest in the state and the number one place to live in America. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard from residents, even employees here at City Hall, about how an SRO has made a difference in the lives of a student. So as we close out this school year, I want to say thank you to the Meridian Police School Resource Officers who serve and protect our youth, each and every day.

lock retirement june2016


Memorial Day Meridian Vacay

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By Mayor Tammy

Memorial Day weekend is the first holiday of the summer season and a time when the roads, airports, campsites, etc. always seem to fill up in Idaho.  For those families who just want to spend some quality time together and avoid the stress of travel on a busy weekend, I’ve put together a TOP TEN list of FREE VACATION fun right here in Meridian! There’s plenty to do in our community that equates to lifelong memories with the ones you love.

10. Yoga at Fountain Square – Village at Meridian

Axiom is hosting FREE Yoga in Fountain Square at the Village at Meridian every Saturday throughout the summer. Just bring your mat, water bottle and some energy as you practice yoga!

9. Live at the Bistro – Courtyard Marriott

The Courtyard Marriott at 1789 S. Eagle Road is hosting a summer series of live music. On Friday from 6-8:30pm enjoy music from Tom Taylor, a singer-songwriter from the year who performs classic, modern, cover songs and originals.

8. Fishing

Check out our fishing ponds in Meridian! We have ponds in Kleiner, Heroes and in Settlers Parks. Don’t forget adults need a fishing license, but kids under 12 fish free.

Unplug Week Fishing 1

7. Historic Walking Tour

The Meridian Historic Walking Tour highlights some of the historic properties in Downtown Meridian.  The new tour is self-guided, and takes walkers through the streets of Downtown Meridian, transporting them to yesteryear.

6. Meridian Library – unBound

Stop by unBound- Meridian Library’s newest location on Main Street in downtown. On Saturday they are hosting a Family Make It event from 11am-3pm. The program is focused on science, technology, engineering, art and math - encouraging families to work together on projects.

5. Storey Bark Park

Have you been to our newest park, Storey Bark Park? It’s a great place to take your fur-babies and let them try out some of the agility equipment and run off some energy.

storey bark park - photo

4. Geocaching

Geocaching is a wonderful GPS-based treasure hunting and trinket swapping hobby the entire family can enjoy. In fact, Meridian has plenty of great geocache sites hiding right under your nose. Go online (www.geocaching.com) to learn how geocaching works and where Meridian’s geocaches are carefully hidden!

3. Disc Golf

Try out Disc Golf! We have a course set-up at Kleiner Park - it’s a scenic one that winds throughout the park and around the pond.

2. Splash Pads

What better way to cool off than at one of our splash pads in the park?! Kleiner and Settlers Parks both have splash pads that are always a hit with the kids. Just remember you’re never too old to splash around – so parents can join in on the fun too!

1. Memorial Day Ceremony at the Rock of Honor

The number one event I encourage you to attend this weekend is the Memorial Day Ceremony at the Rock of Honor Veterans Memorial in Kleiner Park. It’s important to remember the reason for the holiday – a time set aside to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy today. Please join us at Kleiner Park at 11am on Monday, May 30.

Kleiner Rock of Honor Memorial Monument

You can always check out more events online on our website – www.meridiancity.org- and click on the Community Calendar. And here’s a bonus item of fun in Meridian this holiday weekend:  the Girls Fast Pitch Summer Fun Kickoff Tournament. More than 40 teams and 500 players will be at Heritage Middle School, Tully and Bear Creek Parks for the tournament. It’s a great option if you want to get outside and enjoy the sunshine while supporting athletes ages 10-16 years old.

Have a safe and enjoyable Meridian Vacay! #MyMeridian 

Get Out The Vote: This Election Affects Your Community!

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 By Mayor Tammy

Early Voting for the Primary Election is currently underway here at Meridian City Hall ahead of Election Day on May 17. This is an important election and I encourage voters to get out and make your voices heard!

Your ballot will include candidates for United States Senator; United States Representative- District 1;   Idaho Supreme Court Justice; Appellate Court Judge; State Representatives and Senators; as well as Ada County Sheriff, Prosecutor and Commissioners for Districts 2 and 3. There are a lot of decisions to be made. I encourage you to educate yourself on these candidates.

A ballot item that is receiving a lot of attention is the West Ada School District Trustee Recall for Zones 1 and 3. The people who serve on our board of trustees for the school district oversee a $400 million budget and are critical to the vitality of our community and neighboring cities. When I moved to Meridian, I did so because of our great school system. I attribute much of our growth to the top notch education in our area. We can’t afford to lose that quality education reputation – for our kids and in retaining and attracting family-wage jobs. That’s why your voice is important. Did you know in the last election, trustees were elected with less than .01 percent of voters in the district? That means out of 20,000 potential votes per zone (40,000 total), one trustee received 185 votes, the other 389. It is a privilege and responsibility to vote and to have a voice, especially when we are talking about our kids and a majority of your tax dollars – so get out to the polls and decide the direction of our school district!

Another item to be aware of as you head to the polls, is where the Ada County Commissioner candidates stand regarding the courthouse issue facing  Meridian and Garden City residents, and eventually residents in all other cities in Ada County.  The issue stems from a 22-year-old court order that says our two cities must build a courtroom. This order should have become null and void when Ada County residents overwhelmingly voted to consolidate court facilities in 1996. Our courts are a countywide responsibility and that deserves a countywide solution, rather than singling out two groups of residents to pay twice (Meridian and Garden City). I urge you to find out where all of the candidates for Ada County Commissioner stand on this issue before the election. It is our hope that commissioners will sit down at the table with us and find a solution that works for all. You will find more information on this issue on our website at www.meridiancity.org/courthouse.

Primary elections matter and there are some important decisions impacting Meridian that will be made by the people we choose to represent us at all levels of government.  While early voting makes it even easier to get out and vote, you need to know the people and what they stand for before heading to the polls. You can vote here at Meridian City Hall until Friday, May 13 from 8am-5pm. On Election Day, head to your regular polling place which will be open from 8am-8pm. Ada County has set up a great page with more information on the Primary Election, polling locations and more at www.idahovotes.gov.

Get informed about the issues and the people involved. I look forward to seeing you out at the polls, where together we will define the future of our community and state.

Join Us for an Informative Town Hall

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By Mayor Tammy

I always look forward to connecting with the community. That’s why Town Hall meetings top the list of activities I enjoy as Mayor. These quarterly meetings give me a chance to update citizens and connect face-to-face.

Ambrose School is hosting our next Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, April 27. You are invited to join us as we discuss a variety of topics.

Our Police Department will be on hand to talk about crime prevention, including door-to-door solicitors. They will also have “Summer Safety” tips for your home and neighborhood as we head into the season.

We will also hear an update on North Meridian Developments from our Community Development Department.  In fact, when it comes to that area, I’ve received quite a few questions about the land at Linder and Chinden. As I write this, no applications have been filed with the City by any business, so I know just as much as you do. That being said, if there are any updates on this project, and any others, we will be sure to share those with you at the Town Hall.

Are you concerned with traffic on Chinden (aka State Highway 20/26)?! Our Highway 20/26 Task Force is off and running. The Town Hall meeting will be a great opportunity for us to discuss our goals and let you know how you can get involved!  I established the Task Force in an effort to bring needed transportation improvements to Highway 20/26 (Chinden Blvd). The goals for that corridor include; reducing congestion, improving safety and creating economic opportunity. The Task Force is focused on engaging community members, legislators and the Idaho Transportation Board to prioritize funding for additional travel lanes and widening intersections along this key east-west corridor. We believe that by investing in 20/26, ITD can relive the bottleneck in this area, make a connection to the Highway 16 extension that makes sense, and solve a problem that frustrates businesses and commuters alike. 

And finally, as you may or may not have seen, we are hoping to come to the table with Ada County Commissioners to find a fair solution to courthouse funding that does not involve the residents of our community paying twice for courts. I will discuss this issue in further detail and answer your questions at the Town Hall meeting.

Transparency is a big goal of ours, so we aim to make it as easy as possible for our community to engage. That’s why we will be live streaming the Town Hall meeting and a recording of the meeting will be posted to our website. You can find this information at www.meridiancity.org.

I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, from 6:30pm – 8pm at Ambrose School! As you can see, we have a lot to discuss!