By Mayor Tammy
We are just a couple of weeks into the school year and I’m already
amazed at the interest our youth have shown in getting involved in their
community. At our first meeting of the Meridian Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council
(MYAC), we had nearly 200 youth in attendance. This is an impressive group. We
saw their energy and passion displayed as many of them participated this past
Wednesday in the 5th annual Treasure Valley Youth Safety Summit.
The overall goal of the summit was to educate student leaders on
the dangers teens face. More than 200 students from the West Ada School
District's high schools, charter schools, and home schools joined
us for interactive safety messaging and workshops surrounding a ‘personal
empowerment’ theme. This year’s theme was developed by the youth as they aimed
to show how it is possible to stand up and make good choices in any setting in
which they find themselves.
Utilizing the many applicable resources Wahooz offers, attendees
experienced the dangers of distracted driving by texting while navigating the
go-kart track, participated in mini-golf while donning intoxicated vision
goggles to display the effects drugs and alcohol play in judgment, and played
in unfair-teamed laser tag to mimic bullying. Experts
from Buckle Up for Bobby, the Mayor’s Anti-Drug Coalition (MADC) and law
enforcement were at each location to share personal insights as to how their
lives have been changed by singular decisions they or their children made as
teens to create dialogue and give tips on how to. New this year, the youth
incorporated a workshop designed to give them basic tips on personal safety, as
well as a demonstration by our Deputy Police Chief Tracy Basterrechea, who is
an accomplished martial artist.
What is truly remarkable is the summit has gone from a humble
beginning of 60 attendees to a full-fledged event that is now being planned,
developed and executed by the teens themselves. We have partnered with their
school’s administration, guidance counselors, and the West Ada School District
to ensure continuity in messaging, have engaged our police to be active
participants in the interactive lessons, and found funding solutions to ensure
the summit will a mainstay for years to come.
Special thanks must go to Kathy Chambers’ State Farm Insurance
office for realizing the need for the summit and making a tremendous financial
I also offer my heartfelt gratitude to the
volunteers, parents, sponsors, educators, and presenters for your dedication to
The teens in our community continue to inspire me in everything
they do. They are creating legacies, changing lives and bettering our
community. I encourage you to learn more about what they are doing, support
their efforts, and you, too, will be amazed.
We did it! We
cracked the top 50 in two listings rating the best places to live in the U.S.
Magazine is no stranger to Idaho, and certainly, to Meridian. The magazine
named Meridian to its 2014 list of Top 50 Best Places to Live. This is the
fourth time the City of Meridian has received this recognition with a ranking
of 49 and is the only city in Idaho to make the list.
publication alternates ranking cities or towns each year, citing their
favorability and “livability” scores. For this year, the criteria included
cities with a population between 50,000 and 300,000. The magazine started with
a pool of 781 cities, and through research and analytics, shaved the list down
to the top 50. Other criteria included: median household income, job growth,
housing prices, test scores, crime rates and overall quality of life.
“One of the
things I love most about Meridian is the people. We are truly blessed with some
of the most giving, selfless private and corporate citizens a community could
ever hope for,” said Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd. “We have a community that
gives back and it’s great to see this recognized in such a prestigious
In the story,
Meridian was heralded for its “giving” community and strong corporate
citizenship model, citing the $25 million dollar gift to develop Kleiner Park,
as well as the anonymous gift in 2012 of a food bank. Other attributes
contributing to Meridian’s ranking included the varied options for dining,
shopping, proximity to a plethora of outdoor recreation venues and the strong
economic climate. Two local business entities called out in the article include
The Village at Meridian and Scentsy. The complete list available at 2014
Money Magazine Best Places To Live.
further delight, another online business publication rated Meridian as the 22nd
most desirable place in which to live. For the full article and listing, go to 24/7
Wall Street Most Desirable Places To Live.
And to top
off the round of accolades, we’re also in an enviable position of being named
the third safest city in Idaho. According to the online real estate blog
movoto.com that looks at towns across the state, they started with a list of
places in Idaho with populations of 5,000 or more. Crime data was then gathered
for each place from the 2012 FBI Uniform Crime Report assessing murders, violent
crimes, property crimes and total crimes. To read more about the assessment and
listing, go to Safest
We should be
proud of all of these accomplishments and the recognition that our fine city
deserves. What a blessing it is to live in Meridian!
had great news at last Tuesday’s City Council meeting. It was great news,
particularly for me, because we were able to see the official paperwork that will
keep the Mayor’s Anti-Drug Coalition (MADC) funded for another four
years. The Idaho Office of Drug Policy selected MADC as one of 11
organizations to receive a Strategic Prevention Grant to fund our community’s
substance abuse prevention strategies.
2004, MADC has been an important part of our community’s efforts to fight drug
use and abuse. With award-winning and innovative programs, this coalition
of community volunteers works hard to educate parents, kids, coaches and
educators about the dangers of alcohol and drugs, and give them much needed
tools to make good choices.
what makes MADC unique and strong, or sets this apart from other anti-drug
endeavors in our area?
my perspective, it points to the relationships such as the strong partnership
between our Police Department and our School District. Programs like these
take a lot of effort, hard work and strong leadership. I would be remiss in not
recognizing three people who are instrumental in making this program succeed. Special
thanks go to Dr. Linda Clark of the West Ada School District, and from the
Meridian Police Department, Chief Jeff Lavey and Lt. John Overton. It’s through
their collaboration and dedication that we can bring positive change to our
area in this arena.
grant will help continue the good work of several programs, such as our
Prescription Drug Drop-Off Program, which supports education, monitoring,
proper disposal and enforcement to reduce prescription drug abuse. It will also
provide funding for additional training for police department personnel to
market and promote better choices and a drug-free lifestyle.
invited on September 30 to attend the MADC 9th Annual Recovery Day
Breakfast. The celebration is to recognize all the collective efforts that our
community invests toward recovery from substance use disorders. Let's celebrate
those in recovery and those who help. From health care professionals, to
employers and insurers, to our faith based counseling, to community and family
members - all offer acceptance and encouragement and play a vital role in this
mission. Join us for a free continental breakfast from 8 – 9:30 am at the
Meridian Police Department at 1401 E. Watertower St. Information will soon be
posted on the City’s website on how to RSVP at www.meridiancity.org.
get involved in MADC or to learn more, visit www.meridianmadc.org.
We encourage everyone to get involved and help make a difference in a very real
and meaningful way.
you noticed anything new on some roads in Meridian lately? Like different
lane markings are new to Ada County roadways and will have bicyclists and cars
sharing the road in a new way, and hopefully, with more awareness.
lane markings, also called “sharrows,” are pavement markings within existing
travel lanes. The markings combine directional arrows with a bike symbol and
are painted in the travel lane, requiring vehicles to drive over them. These
markings serve two purposes: 1) they help drivers and cyclists be more aware of
the other and reinforce the shared road condition, and 2) they guide cyclists toward
County Highway District crews are putting down the new bike markings on certain
roads in Boise, Meridian and Eagle to promote awareness and increase safety for
bicyclists and motorists.
let’s remember to stay alert and to share the roads so that everyone can be
safe while traveling throughout our city.
can access a full list of shared lane markings, and how-to-use information, by
using this link www.achdidaho.org.
By Mayor Tammy
For many of us, last week marked the start of a new
school year, heralded with the familiar sights of yellow school buses, flashing
crosswalk signals and kids toting backpacks - my granddaughter sported her
beloved 'Frozen' backpack as she entered first grade. This also marks the time
when I meet with Meridian high school principals to take a pulse on the
trends that students in our community are facing. It’s important for all of us
to be aware of the pressures our teens face as a caring community and to ensure
a healthy Meridian.
Common topics in these meetings cover the dangers and
abuse of prescription drugs, personal safety, distracted driving and
relationship violence. One item of particular concern is the growing trend of
bullying and cyber-bullying. This issue is increasingly alarming considering
the sheer volume of kids turning to the internet and social media. It is
important that we stand together to do whatever needed to stop all forms of
The media has covered stories showcasing the
catastrophic results of bullying. Social networks like Facebook and Instagram
were never intended for this use; however, easy access facilitates bullying
behavior as participants hide behind the mask of a computer or mobile
device. It’s incumbent upon us to teach children that any type of bullying will
not be tolerated.
Most consider the worst byproduct of bullying as
suicide. It happens too often - one is too many; our children must learn proper
coping mechanisms to handle everyday stresses. For anyone who has experienced
the heartbreak of losing a friend or loved one to suicide, it’s critical to be
aware of available resources to help during this time of crisis. Next week is
Suicide Prevention Week, an awareness campaign highlighted by World Suicide
Prevention Day on September 10th. I urge you to be educated and know
the warning signs when you see them. In doing so, and knowing what to do, you
just may save a life.
Though I often extoll the many wonderful things about
the quality of life in Meridian (and Idaho), we are not immune to the tragedy
of suicide. Our state experienced a higher than normal rate of suicide -- 39%
higher than the national average in 2011. It is the second leading cause of
death for Idahoans age 15-34, and for males age 10-14. Between 2009 and 2013,
85 Idaho children (age 18 and under) committed suicide; 15 of them were under
14 years of age.
The Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council (MYAC) has been a
leading voice on this topic. Recently, MYAC members asked our state legislators
to provide continued funding to the Idaho suicide prevention hotline.
Additionally, they created a public service announcement that was shared with
police departments and schools across the state. You can view the video by clicking
this link MYAC
Suicide Prevention Hotline PSA. I applaud them for their efforts on this
Bullying and suicide are very real and ugly issues
that nobody – especially our youth – should ever have to endure. By working
together, we can make a difference to stop this alarming trend. These are our
future leaders and our legacy, and we owe it to them to feel valued, safe and
The City of Meridian has worked hard to win its recognition
as one of Idaho’s most desirable places in which to live and the park system
has been heralded among the best in the state. With approximately 20 community parks
located throughout Meridian boundaries, there are a number of amenities,
activities, sporting events and unique environments that are bound to appease
most every lifestyle choice.
We just wrapped up another successful summer of our very
popular CableOne Movie Night. As the season and weather changes, the new City
of Meridian’s Parks and
Recreation Guide is now available outlining the multitude of offerings for
participants of all ages. Whether you’re looking for preschool activities or
classes in dance, art, cheerleading, martial arts, yoga or Zumba, there’s
always something going on in our fine city. All this information - and much,
much more – is available at our City website at www.meridiancity.org.
And next on the horizon, on September 6th, our
fifth annual Community Block Party will be hosted again at Settler’s Park from
10 am to 4 pm. You’ll see lots of food, fun and activities for kids of all
ages. We’ll have demonstrations
and a sneak peak at some of our upcoming programs offered by our Parks and
Recreation team. We’ll even throw in some inflatables to ensure you have
a blast at this year’s Community Block Party.
One of the popular attractions at both Settlers and Kleiner
parks are our splash pads. Those will remain open for the enjoyment of all park
visitors until September 21st. And for all disc golf
enthusiasts, the courses are due to go up in Bear Creek Park in the mid-September
timeframe, once our fall softball season concludes. And we anticipate our disc
golf course at Settlers Park course will go up in early November. Be sure to
watch the City of Meridian website for updates to these, and many of our other
attractions, so that you’re in-the-know and don’t miss out!
These are just a small sampling of the multitude of things
to see and do in Meridian. To learn more, check out the community calendar on our city website at www.meridiancity.org.
column from the Idaho Transportation Department
Great progress is being made on I-84 and the
Meridian Interchange! The west half of the interchange bridge is beginning to
take shape. Construction crews are tying rebar and forming the deck for the
The work zone will be different each night for the
next month, so please slow down and pay attention. In general:
- Eastbound I-84 will be reduced to two
lanes under the interchange from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., and until 7 a.m. on
- The eastbound “loop” on-ramp from
southbound Meridian road will be closed intermittently. Drivers will still be
able to access the other eastbound on-ramp from northbound Meridian Road.
- Westbound I-84 will be reduced to one
lane under the interchange in mid-August.
Meanwhile, ITD is replacing the outside lanes of
I-84, improving drainage and resurfacing the inside lanes between Meridian and
Five Mile roads. I-84 has been reduced to three lanes in both directions in
this area. That gives crews enough room to haul materials, lay pavement and get
equipment in and out of the work zone.
Construction is expected to be completed by late
If you have questions, visit the project website (www.itd.idaho.gov/MeridianInterchange)
or contact ITD at email@example.com
or (208) 334-8005.