As 2009 and the holiday season come to an end it is a perfect time to celebrate those in our community who are making Meridian the caring community that it is. This year has brought with it many challenges, but made easier thanks to those individuals and organizations in our community who stand up to make a difference. Meridian continues to be the premiere community to live, work, and raise a family.
There are many organizations in our community that do so much for so many. For my final blog post of 2009, I want to share a few examples of efforts/successes of several organizations and individuals in our community. I have no doubt many have seen the positive impact they have had during this past year.
In 2009, the Meridian Kiwanis Club championed many events, such as Rake Up Meridian, orchestrated book donations for the Meridian Library, and provided dignity kits to area youth in need. In addition to all their hard work, the Meridian Kiwanis joined with the Leadership Meridian class and the Meridian Fire Department to facilitate the annual holiday Hope Tree. The Hope Tree provided over 3000 Christmas gifts to over 375 families in need.
Members of the Meridian Rotary club were also active in 2009 providing dictionaries to Meridian third graders and working to eradicate polio world-wide. The Meridian Lions held their 20th annual rodeo with the proceeds benefitting a variety of area groups and organizations in Meridian. The Lions also continued their commitment to serving and working alongside the American Heart Association, Hope’s Door, and The Meridian Food Bank.
This last year has seen an ever-growing need that has had a huge impact on the Meridian Food Bank. Over 28,604 people were served out of their new location on Meridian and Bower, over 1,300 of those had never been to a food bank before. The Meridian Food Bank provided over 233,000 pounds of food that was donated by caring individuals as well as area grocery chains. The Meridian Food Bank also distributed over 750 backpacks to students as part of Back Packs for Kids, a program that discreetly provides weekend meals for youth in need.
In addition to the work residents did as members of these and other organizations, Meridian citizens also stepped up this year with others in the Treasure Valley to address the essential needs of the food bank and time honored holiday traditions like the Toy’s for Tots. Specifically:
- 78,000 toys were donated locally for Toy’s for Tots, providing Christmas gifts to over 25,000 kids;
- The Meridian Food Bank provided 300 meals for Thanksgiving and 30,218 turkeys were distributed across the state through the Idaho Food Bank;
- 76 backpacks with essential supplies for disabled and homeless veterans, provided by the local American Postal Workers Union;
- $19,967 was contributed by valley residents at area Jacksons Food Stores to benefit the Idaho Partners Against Domestic Violence. Additionally, Jacksons will increase the donation by providing an extra $25,000.
The sacrifices made by all in 2009, large and small, are experienced daily by those in our community. While most will never know who these generous people are, I know each gift received and every minute volunteered is valued by those who receive them and is an integral part of our community fabric.
To close out this year I want to share a story about the compassion of our community thanks to one of our Meridian police officers who went and beyond the call of duty this holiday season.
I learned recently of a single mother and her ten year old son - who were traveling through Meridian on Christmas Eve to visit family for the holidays - whose car ran out of fuel. A Meridian officer arrived on the scene and helped move the car to a gas station. That could have been the end of his service to this family, but this officer then proceeded to use his personal funds to fill this woman’s car with gasoline and turned down all offers for repayment. What a tremendous show of compassion for a stranger. This is a shining example of our community and makes me proud to live in Meridian; service above and beyond!
With just these few examples, it is easy to see that 2009 brings us much to celebrate – some we know about and many others we may never know. I have no doubt that 2010 will bring new examples and opportunities that will continue to show the heart and compassion of our great community. I look forward to continuing this dialogue in the New Year; if you know of an individual or group making an impact in our community let me know. Email me at email@example.com, and together we can celebrate Meridian as the premier place to live, work, and raise a family.
Reception areas in Meridian City Hall have recently gotten a visual boost, with canvas artworks designed by each department. The next time you’re here, take a tour to see each department’s perspective.
On the first floor, The City Clerk’s office also has original watercolor from local artist Dwight Williams. Utility billing has a new and creative spin on the commodity they deal with daily, our water. Building Services has the tools of their trade in photographs on their wall.
On the second floor, the Fire Department’s pieces display scenes from its fire safety outreach and education efforts as well as photos of Meridian fire fighters working hard in our community. Right next door, the Parks and Recreation Department showcases the beautiful parks, pathways, playgrounds, and recreational amenities that make Meridian a fabulous place to spend an afternoon, evening, or weekend. In Public Works, you’ll find photos of some of the behind-the-scenes and underground infrastructure that keeps our water safe and flowing smoothly. And in Planning, you can see the city in a new way, with architectural and natural details from our City Hall Plaza that give it character and identity.
Finally, on the third floor, the Mayor’s Office displays photos that embody “Live : Work : Play” – a water feature in one of our upscale subdivisions, children enjoying the splash pad in Settlers Park, and the clock in Generations Plaza. Down the hall, the Legal and Human Resources Department looks backwards and forwards for the City. There is a 1930’s era photo of the Meridian Creamery, with milk trucks and all. The creamery was located on the site of the current City Hall and maintained operations until the 1970’s. Alongside the historical black and white photo is a modern aerial color enhanced photo of Meridian City Hall.
Next time you visit City Hall check out these various displays. The mood and atmosphere reflect the department’s feelings of the City and what they want you to know about them. Enjoy these visual depictions of how your City employees work hard to make Meridian a premier place to live, work, and raise a family!
Everyday we are surrounded by individuals who go above and beyond when confronted with life-or-death situations. Occasionally these stories of incredible bravery are told about ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. More often than not, these humble individuals who put their own well-being at risk helping people in need simply accept a thank you and go back to living their lives, happy to have been in the right place at the right time.
Meridian is a community full of people who instinctively do right by others and perform heroic acts without an expectation of accolades. These individuals give us much to celebrate in our community and are our “everyday heroes”.
You probably all have someone who has helped you in this community. Whether they found a lost pet, lent a hand when needed, or perhaps saved your property from loss or even your life – at the time the service was performed it was an act that was done freely and without expectations. I want to let you know about a couple of recent events that demonstrate the heroes we have in Meridian.
A few weeks ago as many Meridian families were lined up enjoying Meridian’s Winterland Parade, a dangerous drama played out nearby on a downtown Meridian side street. A food vendor preparing for the start of the Meridian Christmas Street Faire caught on fire as he serviced his generator. Covering his nose and mouth, he fell to the ground, inadvertently blocking the door of the concession trailer and trapping a second individual inside.
Four citizens who saw or heard the explosion rushed to the vendor’s aid, and were able to extinguish the flames with their coats, gloves, and bare hands. A Meridian Police Corporal noticed the commotion from his parade assignment and rushed to the scene with a fire extinguisher from his patrol car which he used to finish putting out the flames.
Thanks to the quick thinking and decisive action of Tim Day, Bob Athay, Doug Mason, Erica Dennis, and Corporal Fiscus, the vendor avoided catastrophic burns and the person trapped inside the trailer was safely evacuated. These local everyday heroes were honored at the December 15th City Council meeting and received a personal heartfelt thanks from the accident victim.
Also this December, two Meridian Water Department employees were out performing routine service calls in a Meridian neighborhood when they noticed flames in front of a house where they’d minutes earlier seen a man using a propane torch. Upon closer inspection, they realized that there was a heater out front attached to a 5-gallon propane tank and that the heater was on fire – all this just two feet from the home.
The employees, Joshua Gabel and Bill Perry raced to the scene and immediately shut off the propane tank and banged on the home’s door. Together, Bill, Joshua, and the homeowner worked to extinguish the fire and move the propane heater and fuel tank out into the yard and away from the home which had already experienced smoke damage. The homeowner was grateful for Joshua’s and Bill’s assistance which may have prevented a serious house fire.
All of these individuals, through their unselfish willingness to help a stranger in danger, represent the best in all of us and deserve to be celebrated. In some communities people are afraid or unwilling to help a stranger in need for a variety of reasons. Here in Meridian we don’t have that fear; in fact we have just the opposite – a desire to do right, be a good neighbor, and come to the assistance of others regardless of the situation.
If you have been helped by someone in our community or know of an everyday hero in Meridian, I’d like to hear their story. Email me at: MayorTammy@MeridianCity.org. Together we can Celebrate Meridian and all the people who make our community a premiere place to live, work, and raise a family.
As we near the end of 2009, the men and woman of the Meridian Police Department wish you a joyous Holiday Season. May they be filled with good times, good friends and most importantly family.
I would like to take this opportunity to share a few safety tips over the holiday season.
- If you plan to drink this holiday season, drink responsible and use a designated driver. We have increased DUI patrols over the next several weeks. Despite the warnings, we are arresting drunk drivers every day.
- Winter driving in Idaho can be challenging and unpredictable. When driving in inclement weather please ensure that you have proper traction tires, reduce speed and increase following distance. Also, remember that you may be able to travel faster with a 4-wheel drive vehicle, but it will take greater distance to stop the faster you go.
- If you are leaving town for Christmas or lucky enough to be going to the Fiesta bowl, remember to secure your house before you leave. Thieves are looking for any crime of opportunity so make your house look lived in. Leave a light on, program a timer to a radio or television, have a neighbor collect your mail.
Additional crime tips can be obtained from our Crime Prevention office or through any police officer, just call us at 888-6678.
It has been our pleasure to serve the citizens of our community and look forward to a New Year. In 2010, we will continue to foster a culture of excellence and focus on our strategic mission.
Our mission, to provide the highest quality of service, in partnership with our community, to preserve and protect lives and property through education, prevention and enforcement.
If you have suggestions, concerns or questions, or have a partnership idea, please contact us via our e-mail address at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 846-7370.
It's always best to buy a freshly cut Christmas tree if possible. If you buy a pre-cut tree be sure to tap the tree on the ground to make sure that it does not lose needles. Look for a green tree with sap on the trunk and limbs that bend but don't break easily. The tree's fragrance should be a strong pine scent. Ask the tree attendant to cut at least 1-2 inches off the trunk so it will absorb water easier.
Once you've brought your tree home, let it stand upright outside, in a bucket of water, until you are ready to bring it in for decorating. Once you bring the tree inside be sure it is placed in the water-filled tree stand immediately. Be sure to buy a stand that holds at least a gallon of water and keep the water level full at all times. Check the water level daily. Trees drink at least a quart of water a day and more the first few days after it's been cut.
Do not place your tree near any type of heater, radiator, fireplace, candles, or any source of heat. Never use candles on any type of Christmas tree. Do not leave candles burning unattended or in a drafty area near the tree. Try to move or remove furniture to keep your tree in a safe area. Try to avoid overcrowding and keep some ventilation around the tree. Flock trees are pretty but not a requirement. If you must flock your tree be sure to read the can to ensure fire resistance first.
Do not place your tree in a high traffic area to prevent it from being knocked over. Be sure your tree is not top-heavy and that the base is adequate. Additional securing of the tree with a wire might be helpful. If you buy an artificial tree, be sure it has been tested and labeled as fire resistant. Artificial trees with built-in lights should have the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label.
Only use UL approved lights with cool-burning light bulbs and do not link more than 3 strands of lights together. Indoor lights should be used indoors only. Do not use lights for a purpose other than indicated. Each year you should check all the lights and wiring for shorts or other malfunctions before placing them on the tree. If you're in doubt it's best to throw them out! Turn off all Christmas lights, including holiday decorations, when you leave your home or when you go to bed.
Keep delicate, breakable ornaments towards the top of your tree to keep your little ones from reaching them. Be sure to use a sturdy, level ladder to safely reach the top of your tree. Keep the safe, unbreakable decorations, with no small pieces, towards the bottom. If a glass ornament does break be sure to vacuum the area thoroughly. Do not string popcorn chains or candy canes on lower branches to prevent children from trying to eat them. Always monitor your child's consumption of candy canes and other holiday snacks.
Have a safe and Merry Christmas!
On the wall of the foyer outside my office hangs a collage of photos depicting some of the many activities that occur within our parks and recreation system. Emblazoned on the center image are three words that mean a great deal to our department and to me personally:
Within these simple words is a depth of meaning that helps to define our mission:
Quality: We strive for well-designed parks with a high amenity value and lasting materials. We strive for quality in our maintenance of existing parks. We are always looking to improve the depth and quality of the recreation programs we offer. We seek to improve on our wonderful special events for the entire community to enjoy. We are out to build a legacy of quality.
Community: Research shows that Meridian’s primary demographic is young families with children; therefore, our park amenities, recreation programs, and special events all need to be family-friendly. At the same time, we need to understand and respond to the needs of our growing elderly population. Special events (movie night, Christmas tree lighting, etc.) are great tools to engage the entire community and for building a sense of connection city-wide.
Fun: This is really what it’s all about at the end of the day. We provide opportunities for play, family outings, sports, friends, and active lifestyles. We assist in bringing balance to work and life. We help build quality of life. It is fun!
The year 2009 has been a wonderful period of time for us. To review a copy of our annual newsletter, click here and read about some of the many things we have been working on to improve the parks and recreation programs for the citizens of Meridian. There are many new things to discover and enjoy in our parks and in our recreation system. Our park system is expanding. Our recreation programs are broadening. Our special events are growing.
Come out and join Meridian Parks and Recreation for some Quality Community Fun!
Meridian Parks & Recreation Director
Anthropologist Margaret Mead, once said, “A small group of thoughtful people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” This quote captures the true spirit we have here in Meridian. In particular, is evidenced by a local group making a positive change in our community that is definitely worth celebrating.
The Mayor’s Anti-Drug Coalition (MADC) has made a tremendous impact in our community through building awareness and prevention programs dedicated to solving drug and alcohol problems in our community. With progressive leadership, educational resources, and a clear direction, the MADC is improving Meridian’s safety and quality of life by preventing or reducing substance abuse.
Substance abuse has been, and continues to be, a top priority for the City and me personally, as well other community leaders in Meridian. In 2004, I initiated MADC in response to reports of rising drug use in the Treasure Valley. The goal was to educate and empower Meridian residents of all ages to address the negative impacts of drug activity. MADC, with the motto of “fighting for our families” and more than 40 volunteer members strong, is uniting individuals and groups from all walks of life – parents, teens, educators, city leaders, the faith community, businesses, civic organizations, and neighborhood groups – to help them understand the importance of developing Meridian as a drug-free community. After all, drug use is not - as many people think - only a police issue, a parenting issue, or a school issue. It’s a community issue that requires comprehensive and cooperative ongoing efforts.
In September, the MADC was one of only six organizations nationwide to be honored with a 2009 Exemplary Award for Innovative Substance Abuse Prevention Programs, Practices, & Policies from the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors. The MADC also recently received awards for their Recognize program from the Association of Idaho Cities and the Northwest Alcohol Conference. The Recognize program engages Meridian PAL Football coaches to educate young players about making positive choices with respect to substance use among others. To date, hundreds of Meridian youngsters have completed the program’s anti-drug curriculum and pledged to be drug-free. Now that’s a reason to celebrate!
If you or your organization would like to learn more about the MADC and the programs they offer, visit them online http://www.meridiancity.org/madc/. Or, if you prefer, I would invite you to join us one of our monthly meetings held the third Thursday of each month, at 4:00 pm, at the Meridian Police Department. You can always contact MADC Coordinator Brenda Murdock of the Meridian Police Department at 846-7395 or email@example.com if you have additional questions.
I look forward to hearing what causes you support in Meridian and encourage you to share them with me at MayorTammy@meridiancity.org. Together we can Celebrate Meridian with examples of the many people, places, and events that make our community a premier city to live, work, and raise a family.
I tried to find a catchy quote to start this blog about our new sign ordinance, but I had to give up because all the catchy quotes were generally critical of signs. You know the sentiment…similar to that song… “Sign, Sign everywhere a sign; Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind; Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign.”
After spending a year thinking and talking in depth about signs, I more fully understand the importance of signs to the business community—particularly our business owners, developers, and realtors. I am proud to say that we have developed a sign ordinance that appears to meet the needs of business community and is consistent with the Mayor and City Council vision of creating an attractive community, free of clutter.
The purpose in re-writing the sign code was to create a progressive and concise code with will provide Meridian residents and business partners functionality while taking into account aesthetically pleasing structures. By now you are probably thinking, “That’s a concise, pithy statement, but just what does that really mean?”
With regard to aesthetics, it is a continuing goal of our City leaders to create a vibrant community that is a premier city to live, work, and raise a family. Part of vision involves having an attractive community that invites investment into our commercial and residential developments. Having an ordinance that leads to attractive signs and that do not clutter our roadways—blocking out the scenery—was important to the City leaders.
The functionality includes two parts. The first is having a sign code that folks can read and actually understand. Our former code was so tricky and convoluted that we had one staff member that was in charge of understanding and applying the code. This person was particularly motivated to assist and lead the project so that other staff members would no longer have an excuse to forward all the sign questions her way!
The second important function was to have standards that make sense and meet the advertising need of the community. We have to give a lot of credit to our review committee on this last item. Our committee of volunteers and city staff took their commitment to the process to heart and poured over every word and standard in the proposed document. Although we may have teased folks about all the sticky notes they had attached to their draft documents, those same sticky notes generated a lot of great conversations and great solutions. It was truly my pleasure to work with our committee:
► Our Volunteers
§ Brad Bryant – Bryant Ideas
§ Charlie Rountree – City Council President
§ Dan Clark – Valley Shepherd Church of the Nazarene
§ Debbie Anderson – Idaho Electric Signs
§ Michael Marcheschi – Brighton Corporation
§ Tamara Thompson – Landmark Development Group, LLC
§ Teri Sackman – Meridian Chamber of Commerce
► City of Meridian Staff
§ Emily Kane – Legal
§ John Overton – Police
§ John Hoffart – Police
§ Lacy Tock– Police
§ Kristy Vigil – Planning
I hope you have the opportunity to make use of our new sign ordinance. If you would like to review the ordinance on line, please click here. If you have questions, feel free to call our office at (208) 884-5533.
Long, long before Enron and other large infamous incidents of corporate fraud brought about a spate of increased accountability, auditing, and transparency regulations in the corporate world we had tough government auditing standards and mandates in place holding government accounting practices up to the light.
Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (the Yellow Book) are the standards that govern government audits. The Yellow Book as well as Generally Accepting Auditing Standards and the Single Audit Act apply to government audits with the Yellow Book and the Single Audit Act being the most comprehensive. The Yellow Book was originally issued in 1972 and reissued in 1988, 1994, 2003, and 2007. The Yellow Book standards address auditor’s professional qualifications, the quality of audit effort, and the characteristics of professional and meaningful audit reports.
Enron outfall American Institute of Certified Public Accounting audit standards Statement of Auditing Standards 104 through 111 the Risk Assessment Standards dramatically changed the nature of the audit for all entities, government included. These standards make a clear delineation between the auditor and the entity – trying to avoid the hand in glove relationship of Enron and Arthur Anderson. The result is that entities must take all responsibility for creation of audit report statements and footnotes, requiring more time and more professional knowledge. The statements also considerably decreased the tolerance for errors, meaning in essence the entity must “audit itself” before the auditor arrives.
The General Accounting Standards Board rocked the work of government financial reporting with the issuance of GASB 34. This is considered to be the biggest financial reporting change in the history of government financial reporting. The statements are prepared on a City –wide basis – a combination of the business funds and the general funds so that citizens can view the resources of the City as a whole. Second, financial reporting is reported under the accrual method of accounting just as a private business would use. Third, the statements report the net cost (revenue) of functions of governments. This approach provides an indication of the burden placed on taxpayers for providing the different services of government.
The usefulness of these statements to citizens and policy makers is debatable. Most users of government financial statements are interested in budget to actual and net change to the fund balance. These statements are also included in our audit report. As we prepare our FY2009 reports go to our website and check out our FY2008 reports and let us know what you think? We welcome questions, we exist to protect and report on your assets as City of Meridian citizens.
Stacy Kilchenmann CPA
City of Meridian CFO
Shopping for loved ones and those in need during the holiday season is truly one of the special times of the year. Whether it is finding that special gift for the right person or knowing that you are providing a toy to a child with a need, it fills our heart with joy and helps us celebrate the holiday season. If you are like me, I’m sure you have already begun your holiday preparations and shopping for the special ones on your list. If you haven’t made it out yet or are considering where to go, I wanted to encourage you to join me and the Meridian Chamber of Commerce supporting the 'buy local' by doing your shopping in Meridian this holiday season.
Over the past few years the shopping opportunities in Meridian have really expanded. You can find something for everyone without having to deal with the hassles of malls or paying for parking. Whether shopping at locations along Eagle Road, Downtown Meridian, along Fairview, or near the Meridian Road interchange, we have new stores and existing favorites that are unique and important to our community. They are providing that needed variety to meet your holiday needs.
To go along with the holidays, this year the Meridian Chamber of Commerce is providing a variety of coupons from local merchants as part of their 'buy local' campaign. They have put together bags of coupons that feature great deals from many of our area businesses. There are still some bags available at the Meridian Chamber of Commerce, Meridian City Hall, or many area merchants.
These coupon bags have offers from amazing shops like Sam’s Toy Box (750 N. Progress Avenue), offering a variety of unique toys and games, including the season’s “must have” items. Sam’s is offering $5.00 off any $10.00 or more purchase this holiday season.
Meridian shoppers will also find a coupon from Sierra Trading Post (530 E Sonata Lane). With a wide selection, outstanding prices, and a supporter of the Meridian community, holiday shoppers will find a coupon good for $10.00 of a $10.00 or more purchase from this discount sporting goods retailer.
While out shopping make sure to stop by one of our local restaurants and take advantage of some additional savings. With a chamber coupon Good Thyme Grill (750 S. Progress, Suite 170) and Cold Stone Creamery (1400 N. Eagle Road) are providing buy one get one free opportunities; a five dollar gift certificate to Smokey Mountain Pizza and Pasta is also in every chamber bag.
We also have some new businesses in our community that you may want to visit as you buy locally. Stadium Sporting Goods (E. Fairview Avenue) provides a wide assortment of equipment for athletes of any caliber and works with area school and club teams to provide the high quality merchandise at a competitive price.
Also new to Meridian is Preece Designer Chocolates. This specialty shop can be found in the heart of downtown (126 E. Idaho Street) serving up their amazing homemade treats. From traditional selections to the Chocopolitan, Preece has something for everyone’s palate that is sure to not disappoint.
All of these businesses are offering outstanding service, unique selections, and prices that can’t be beat. In addition, they are providing jobs and supporting our community, so I encourage you to support them and all of our Meridian businesses this holiday season as you shop for loved ones and those in need.
If you have a favorite Meridian business that others should know about, I want to hear about it! E-mail me at MayorTammy@MeridianCity.org. Together by buying local we can keep Meridian strong and celebrate all the people who make our community a premiere place to live, work, and raise a family!
The City of Meridian keeps all current openings on its website; www.meridiancity.org. When you go there, locate the tab at the tope of the page titled “Online Services” when you roll over it you will get a laundry list of services. The first tab is titled “Apply for a Job”, start there. This tab will take you to the Human Resources Employment Opportunities page. On the left side of the screen there is a tab titled Employment Opportunities” when you roll over it you will see a list of current positions that are available to submit an application for. There are a couple of ways you can apply for a position. The first is thru a link located at the bottom of the Human Resources – Employment Opportunities page or if you select a specific position from the list of current positions the job details will display. If you would like to be considered for the position click on the tab on the left side of the page titled “Apply for a Job”. The City does not accept paper applications, ALL applications must be submitted through the on-line process. The application section will allow you to submit a resume and cover letter if you wish. You may upload any documents to the section and submit them with your application. After submission you should receive an email acknowledging receipt. You may call our Human Resources office at (208) 898-5503 if you have any questions.
The City of Meridian is an equal opportunity employer and as a governmental agency also provides veteran’s preference in the application process. Every application is screened by Human Resources for compliance with the law and the City’s request for information. We will contact you in some form to let you know the status of your application.
As you can imagine with the current state of the economy we have dozens and sometimes hundreds of applicants for one opening. Sometimes the process for reviewing each applicant can be time consuming. A recent opening had more than 300 applicants for the positions and wading through the information took some time and effort from many people. Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t successful on your first try with us.
The City of Meridian is a great place to work and a wonderful way to make an impact on our community. We are always looking for bright, interested, enthusiastic people to add to our team. We advertise in a number of sources for open postings besides our website; “Career Builder, Monster.com, the Statesman to name a few. Our website is always the most current so if you are in the market for a job or just wanting to keep your career opportunities open save our link to your favorites and check us out.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are twice as likely to happen on Thanksgiving as any other day of the year. Here are some tips to keep your kitchen safe—during the busy holiday season.
1. Stay in the kitchen while food is cooking. Most fires in the kitchen occur because food is left unattended. Obviously, you can’t stay in the kitchen the whole time the turkey’s in the oven, but if you’ve got burners on the stove or the broiler going, you should be there.
2. Keep the range free of clutter. Don’t overload a range top with too many pots and pans. Turn the handles of pots and pans in, but away from hot burners. Be sure there are no combustibles close by, like hot pads, towels, and paper packaging.
3. Keep children and pets away from the cooking area. It’s best, if possible, to keep them out of the kitchen altogether while you’re cooking.
4. Use flame-resistant potholders when handling lids and pans. Not dish towels or shirt sleeves pulled down over your hands. When removing pot and pan lids; tilt them away from you to protect your face and hands from the steam.
5. Be careful with the clothes you wear when cooking. Long, open sleeves (think robes) could ignite and catch fire from a gas flame or a hot burner. Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. If you have long hair, be sure to tie it back.
6. Reconsider deep fat frying your turkey. Deep fat frying a turkey has become very popular; yet poses many risks. There are far too many things that can go wrong when using a deep fat frying device. Think large amounts of hot oil, no thermostat controls, and a less than sturdy base. If you just have to have that fried bird, be sure to cook it outside away from any combustibles such as exterior walls or patios and be extra careful to leave plenty of room for the turkey to be placed in the hot oil and not overflow the pot.
7. Have operational smoke detectors throughout your home. The beginning of the holiday season is a great time to test your smoke detectors and to change out the batteries. Smoke detectors save lives!
8. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and know how to use it. Make sure the fire extinguisher is rated for grease fires and electrical fires and read the directions carefully.
And in the event of a fire:
9. With small fires, prevent flame spread. For a small stove-top fire, turn off the burner, and smother the flames by carefully sliding a lid onto the pan. Leave the lid in place until the pot or pan is cooled. Never pour water or flour on a grease fire. Leave the pot or pan in place, moving it can spread flames throughout the house. If you have an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed.
10. Call for help. If you can’t immediately extinguish the fire yourself, leave your home, call 9-1-1 and wait in the front of your home until the fire department arrives.
Meridian Fire Department wishes you a happy and safe holiday season! Enjoy your family and friends and please do all you can to be fire safe and to be sure you are not inviting us dinner!
As I watched the City’s 36-foot spruce Christmas tree being lowered into place in Generation’s Plaza, I was reminded how much we truly have to celebrate in Meridian this holiday season. It’s been a year filled with equal parts challenge and change, growth and progress. What better way to cap off the year than by celebrating a season of joy and caring, knowing that 2010 will provide us with even more opportunities to build on the foundations of success we’ve already achieved.
In that very spirit, the holiday festivities in downtown Meridian promise to be the biggest and best we’ve ever had! Our celebration of the season kicks off this Saturday, December 5, with a terrific array of traditional and new community events, all centered in and around Meridian’s evolving downtown core.
Working together to create a memorable day and evening, the Meridian Parks and Recreation Department, Meridian Chamber of Commerce, McFadden Market Co-op, and the Meridian Symphony Orchestra have put together a variety of events sure to please all the members of your family. Their spirit of partnership and cooperation is certain to be celebrated as proof that, through volunteerism and working together, truly great things are possible.
The fun kicks off at 10:00 am with Meridian Chamber’s annual Winterland Parade. The parade will follow a route through downtown Meridian along Main Street from Franklin Road to Fairview Avenue. The grand marshals of this year’s parade will be the Quintieri Family, celebrating their 50th years of ownership of Meridian Lanes – a remarkable accomplishment! The City Councilmen and I will be driving four-wheelers from Redline Recreational Toys in the parade, so keep your toes close to the curb when you hear our engines revving!
Families are then encouraged to stay downtown and enjoy the festival-like atmosphere of a brand new event -- Meridian’s 1st Annual Christmas Street Faire, which will run from 11:30 am to 5:00 pm along Idaho Avenue between Main and E. 2nd Street. It will feature local artists and craftsmen, food vendors, free pictures with Santa, carolers, and live entertainment on center stage. There will also be a Kids Zone set up in Generations Plaza with free children’s activities including cookie decorating, arts and crafts projects, letters to Santa, and more.
Later that day, the Meridian Parks & Recreation Department will show the cartoon “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” beginning at 5:30 pm on the 25-foot inflatable movie screen we use for CableOne Movie Night in Meridian. The movie screen will be set up next to Generations Plaza.
Immediately following the movie, at 6:00 pm, the City of Meridian’s Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration will begin. I’ll be on hand to host the event, along with some special friends. The ceremony will include free hot chocolate and donuts, performances by local school choirs, and the arrival of a very special guest who will assist with the lighting of the Christmas tree in Generations Plaza.
During the celebration I will also award prizes to the top winners of our annual holiday essay contest. Dozens of fifth graders from throughout Meridian have submitted essays they’ve written on the theme: “What the Holiday Season Means to Me.” I wish I could share each and every essay with you. They are candid, creative, and filled with optimism and good wishes for the future. Several have made me laugh; a few have made me cry. The winning essay will be read by its young writer as part of the Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration.
Finally, for those of us wishing to keep the holiday spirit going well into the evening, the Meridian Symphony Orchestra Christmas Concert will begin at 7:30 pm at Meridian Middle School. You can buy tickets at the door or at a variety of outlets described on the Symphony’s web site at www.meridiansymphony.org. In addition to popular holiday music selections, attendees will enjoy a reception, a visit from Santa, and a special appearance by a guest conductor from the community – me!
I’m sure many of our downtown restaurants and shops will be also holding special events and offering specials on Saturday and throughout the holiday season, so be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for even more holiday fun and help support our downtown merchants.
As you move through often hectic and fast-paced Christmas season, please remember to let this be a time to enjoy the companionship of loved ones, to bask in the cheer and goodwill of the holidays, to put aside problems so we can greet the New Year with renewed hope and optimism, and to celebrate the many blessings we enjoy. If you have something in our community that we need to celebrate this season, I want to hear about it. Email me MayorTammy@MeridianCity.org. Together we can Celebrate Meridian and all the people who make our community a premiere place to live, work, and raise a family.