“It’s no big deal.” “It’s just a rite of passage.” “I did it as a kid and I turned out okay.” These are the sentiments often heard from adults in our community about underage drinking. Let’s face it, on the surface underage drinking doesn’t seem incredibly scary, unlike the use of heroin, meth, or cocaine. But in reality, the issues associated with underage drinking can be far scarier.
-Did you know alcohol kills 6.5X more kids each year than all other illicit drugs? In the past year 28 Idaho children and young adults died in crashes involving drinking drivers.
-Did you know minors who use alcohol are 22X more likely to use marijuana and 50X more likely to use cocaine? (NIAAA)
-Did you know that a person who starts drinking at the legal age of 21 has only a
7% chance of becoming addicted, while a child who begins drinking at 13 has a 45% chance of becoming alcohol dependent? (Grant, BF and Dawson, DA. Journal of Substance Abuse 9:103-110, 1997)
-Did you know alcohol use by teens is a strong predictor of unprotected sexual activity and unwanted sexual advances?
-And did you know that the average age kids in Meridian begin experimenting with alcohol is only 13? (Substance Use, Safety, and School Climate Survey, 2008)
In an effort to reduce underage drinking and its consequences, the City of Meridian has passed two new laws to decrease the availability of alcohol to minors. First, in December 2009, Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd and City Council members passed a disorderly premise ordinance. It is now a misdemeanor punishable by fine or imprisonment for anyone to host a party where a minor has possession, is consuming, or is under the influence of alcohol and the host knew or should have known the person was a minor.
In addition, as of June 1 a new law will go into effect requiring all alcoholic beverage servers employed by restaurants or bars to have received approved training regarding alcohol service law, how to properly check identification, and how to identify and refuse service to intoxicated persons. This ordinance seems especially important in our community, as an undercover sting operation conducted by the Meridian Police Department in March 2010 revealed that 46% of local restaurants and bars checked sold alcohol to a minor!
While these new laws will make great strides in reducing the availability of alcohol to minors, it is vital that parents and community members stay informed about what is happening in our community. In response, the Meridian Mayor’s Anti-Drug Coalition is excited to announce the upcoming Underage Drinking Community Forum being held Monday, May 3, at the Majestic Theater in Meridian beginning at 6:15 p.m. We will hear from Meridian Mayor, Tammy de Weerd, John Humphries, a driver involved in an underage drinking fatality, as well as Mark Niemeyer, the first responder on the scene of the accident. These speakers will be followed by Eli Nary, Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council President, who will speak with parents about how to protect their children from the devastating effects of underage drinking. Immediately following the forum, please stay for a FREE viewing of the new release, Furry Vengeance. All community members, and children 11 years and older accompanied by an adult, are invited to attend. Seating is limited; however, if you will be attending please contact Brenda Murdock at email@example.com to reserve a ticket.
The great news for parents is that kids really do care what their parents think and most report that parental disapproval is the primary reason they choose not to drink. However, mixed messages from adults leave children vulnerable to underage drinking. We must ensure that our youth receive a clear and unwavering message that underage drinking is not only illegal and inherently dangerous, but unacceptable in our community.
The 2nd Annual Public Works Expo is Tuesday, May 18th from 4:00pm-8:00pm in the Plaza of Meridian City Hall. Here citizens can listen to live music, munch on free hotdogs and popcorn and meet and greet the friendly public works team. Families will be able to get up close to a variety of large earth-moving equipment, view informational displays, watch hydrant flushing demonstrations, witness a live pipe cleaning and also have the opportunity to meet some of Public Work’s top Consultants and Capital Project Managers. We’ve got lots planned for the kiddos too, including an interactive kid’s station full of great information, tattoos, face painting and even pictures with “Hydro”, our Public Works Mascot. All kids in attendance will have the opportunity to enter a coloring contest, where their artwork will be displayed in the Public Works Department office for judging by all and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place Winners will win a gift certificate to a local ice cream shop!
This Expo is celebrated in conjunction with National Public Works Week, May 17th-23rd, and is only part of a week full of community events showcasing the essential, life-safety services the Meridian Public Works Department provides to its citizens. This event also allows us to bring to life some of the unrecognized operations that help to make Meridian a healthy, safe and comfortable place to live.
For more information on this event, please visit the Meridian City website at www.meridiancity.org or call Becky Licari, in the Public Works Department at 208-898-5500 x.1361.
Today we have a real opportunity to celebrate in Meridian with one of the all-time Major League Baseball greats, Vern Law. Vern was a pitcher for the Pittsburg Pirates for 16 seasons through the 1960’s. Many of you probably recognize his name because you are a baseball purist and are aware of his nationally recognized skills and talents, but what you may not know is that Vern Law was Meridian’s first professional athlete.
Nicknamed “the Deacon,” Vern was known for his accomplishments both on and off the field. In addition to helping the Pirates win their third World Series, Vern was also the recipient of the prestigious Cy Young Award – the award given to the best pitcher in both the American and National leagues. Vern was also regarded as an individual who valued his reputation as a leader and his moral character, earning him the coveted Lou Gehrig award in 1969 given to the player that best exemplifies character and integrity both on and off the field.
Kiss it Good-Bye is a new book about Vern Law’s life and career written by author and lifelong baseball fan, John Moody. It contains unique stories about Law and the 1960 Pirates, including one that might give Law the unique distinction of being the only man in the history of major league baseball to be ejected from a game due to another player’s bad conduct.
During a game Vern claims that pitcher Nellie King was sitting next to him, and began yelling and cursing - things that Vern never would have done. When the umpire took notice he saw Vern pointing at the score board and thought Vern was making an inappropriate gesture. According to Law, the ump came over to the dugout and said, "That’s it Law, you’re out of here!” Law said, “I was embarrassed to be out there any way with all the bad language. He accused me of impersonating an umpire. And I wish I would have thought faster and accused him of the same thing.” These, and other great stories, are part of this book about this truly amazing Meridian High School graduate.
At 3:00 pm today, I would like to invite everyone in the community to come out and meet Vern Law – a “Major League Meridian Legend”. We will be celebrating Vern and his accomplishments on the steps of City Hall by proclaiming April, 22, 2010 as Vern Law Day. In addition Vern will be signing autographs, a pitching session will take place, and refreshments and prizes will be provided. This is a great opportunity to celebrate a Meridian citizen who has become a local hero and brings pride to many in our community. Please join us.
Do you know of a local hero or legend making an impact in Meridian? If so I want to hear about it. Email me at Mayortammy@Meridiancity.org and together we can recognize those individuals and celebrate Meridian as the premier community to live, work and raise a family.
Chances are you may have driven by an abandoned house or business over the past few years only to find it surrounded by fire trucks and firefighters using ladders, water hoses, and various implements of destruction. On one or more of these occasions you might even have noticed white hazy smoke emanating from the doors windows and eaves, or even flames licking out of a second story dormer. Yet you wonder, why no lights and sirens or sense of urgency. The next day you drive by only to see either the building fully intact, or yet another group of firefighters immersed in the same type of activity. How long does it take to put out a fire in a house you may wonder?
What you most likely witnessed was your local firefighters training to help your family and friends should they ever have to endure the damages of a fire, require rescue, or emergency medical care. As firefighters and paramedics, we train on a daily basis to ensure that our knowledge, skills, and abilities are honed to their finest in order to serve you in your time of need. We are fortunate to have outstanding training and educational facilities to serve this purpose. But unfortunately we are not called to operate in what can become very familiar or even sterile environments to our personnel. For this reason we take advantage of opportunities to “practice like we will be expected to perform” in a real world environment. This is accomplished by training and educating firefighters in structures that are slated for demolition or remodel. These buildings have served our community and families for years, taking the opportunity to learn from them before they are gone only adds to their overall value.
Every building we encounter on the job is different in construction, layout and use. As firefighters and paramedics we strive to learn as much as we can about how our clients build, work and live in these structures. This allows us the best ability to quickly evaluate a building that is being attacked by fire, and predict how that fire might progress or behave. Using this information we develop a strategy to stop the loss being caused, and allow our personnel to search and rescue victims that may be trapped by smoke and fire. Often we are called to provide emergency medical care to our friends and neighbors in these buildings. Removing them quickly and smoothly for safe transport to the hospital, if required, can prove challenging. Again, it is through practice in these real world settings that we develop techniques to treat our patients with the compassion and care they deserve.
It is in the course of extensive study on how these buildings are put together and react under fire conditions that your firefighters learn what to expect, and how best to alleviate the damage being caused. When given the opportunity we tear these structures down to their bones in order to learn how best to make quick entry and discover hidden fires. We may fill them with artificial smoke to see how it travels and affects our ability to locate the occupants we are searching for in the dark. Eventually we will often set carefully controlled fires in certain areas of the structure to see how the fire spreads and affects different building materials.
In the end many of these structures are allowed to burn completely under carefully monitored conditions. This is not simply to dispose of the remaining structure, but again to allow firefighters the opportunity to see how the actual structural members of a building react when exposed to fire. One of the greatest dangers firefighters face in controlling fires is structural collapse, and observing this occurrence in a controlled fashion allows us to learn the warning signs of impending collapse or structural failure. Many of the fire codes we now enforce, and require builders to adhere to, have been developed through this type of real world research. We have learned how buildings burn and eventually fail, and use this knowledge to build safer homes and businesses for our community to live and work in.
Should you own a structure slated for demolition that you feel may provide a valuable training environment for your local emergency responders feel free to contact fire administration headquarters at 208-888-1234. We will be happy to evaluate the opportunity and determine if it will provide benefit to our community, and provide that added value in a way the original builders may never have imagined.
I know, you’ve seen the commercials, you filled out the form, you read Mayor Tammy’s blog, and now another one!?! I promise this is our last.
Every time the Census form is delivered to my home, I gleefully fill it out and send it back in to be counted. My only frustration is waiting for the results because they have such a profound affect on the work we do as planners.
For example, two statistics that come out of the Census are: average household income and average household size. In 2000, the City had an average of 2.93 persons per household—which is 13% higher than the state and national averages. That number in and of itself is very interesting because it helps us understand what kind of housing needs to be made available to our residents and how many students we might expect in our schools. Once you couple that knowledge with our average household income—which is 27% higher than the national average—businesses that are geared toward middle income families start to get very interested in locating in Meridian. It then becomes our job to plan how to successful integrate those businesses into our neighborhoods and community.
If this one small example has intrigued you to learn more, I encourage you to look at
Census Day has come and gone and I am proud to say that Meridian was one of the top ten communities in the country in terms of Census response rates as of April 1! I want to applaud our citizens, 56% of which promptly completed and returned their Census by Census day. We led the state and showed the nation that we are doing our part to ensure the success of our communities in the future giving us much to celebrate in Meridian.
Many of you are aware through the Census commercials that this is a crucial tool used by government when determining the best allocation of resources –and I couldn’t agree more. Due to the growth Meridian has seen over the past decade, having an accurate count assists with location of schools, transportation funding, assure we have an adequate level of representation at the state and federal level in voting districts, as well as the allocation of funds to benefit organizations like the Meridian Food Bank, Meridian Senior Center and the Boy’s & Girls Club. While the pace has slowed, many families are still making the decision to move to Meridian, and this information will help make decisions on allocation of resources and services to maintain our levels of service for current residents and provide for our new citizens.
I found the new format to be easy and straight forward, and finished mine in less then ten minutes. Today nearly 70% of our community has responded, yet there are still many of you that haven’t been counted. I would urge you to take the time to fill out the Census; each individual counted can result in up to $14,000 dollars for our community over the next ten years.
If you lost or threw away your Census or have questions you can stop by the Idaho Youth Ranch Store on Main Street to pickup a copy. I recommend you call first at 895-8433 to ensure a Census worker is available. A second Census form will be mailed out in a few weeks if you do not fill out and return a form. In addition a Census worker may come to your home and knock on your door and attempt to fill out the information. Unfortunately this is a costly and time consuming effort – occurring up to six times – so it is best to turn in your form as soon as possible to save taxpayer money in this effort.
With the great people that live in our community I know we will continue to be a leader in the country when it comes to returning our Census forms through the mail. I want to thank all of you for doing your part so far. Meridian is a community that is standing up to be counted as part of the 2010 Census, so please join me as we celebrate Meridian as the premier community to live, work and raise a family.
Summer—June, July, and August—are the three months that kids of all ages start day dreaming about in April, as spring starts teasing us with warmer weather and longer days.
Here at the Meridian Parks and Recreation Department, we start focusing on and thinking about summer and all of the exciting activities it holds, as early as January and February!
We’ve spent months planning and prepping for the best season of the year. On Saturday April 10th, the Spring/Summer 2010 Activity Guide will be published in the Idaho Statesman, delivered to our mailing list, and available online. We will begin registration for spring and summer activities on Monday April 12th at 8:00 a.m.
We have some great programs, sports leagues, day camps, and classes lined up for this summer. Some of our new programs include zumba fitness classes, kettlebell classes, yoga classes, lots of art programs for adults, an adult flag football league and many more.
We also have lots of old favorites, including early childhood education classes, kids’ art camps, adventure camp, sports camp, tennis and golf for all ages, adult softball leagues, the Barn Sour 10k/6k/1 mile fun run, and everyone’s favorite, CableONE Movie Night in Meridian!
We have three easy ways to register for our programs:
- Give us a call at 888-3579; we would love to talk with you, answer any questions you may have, and get you and your family signed up for lots of summer fun.
- You can click here to access our registration program and sign up online.
- If you received a paper copy of the activity guide or printed one from our website, you can mail in the registration form found on page 19. Our mailing address is: 33 E. Broadway Ave. Meridian, ID 83642.
We look forward to sharing our summer with you and your family. Please feel free to contact us at 888-3579 with any comments, concerns, or questions.
The City of Meridian Public Works Utility Departments recently developed a new water quality presentation program intended to educate young students on the importance of having fresh, clean drinking water and how they and their family’s daily actions can influence our local watershed and water supply.
Working with the Meridian School District, student presentation material and curriculum was developed to reflect information presented in the teacher’s class room; such as The Water & Weather Cycles. Additional information on our local watershed areas including, stormwater, ground water, chemical pollutant disposal and water conservation was developed by City staff members to, “bridge the gap between class room theory and the City’s Public Works Utility Operations”. Several water quality experts from the city traveled to five Meridian middle schools to conduct classroom presentations since the first of the year, roughly 1,500 6th grade level students participated in these school presentations.
Each 40 minute presentation discusses water quality topics such as water source generation, how Drinking Water is pumped from the ground water (aquifer) and sent to their homes. How Stormwater pollutants generated at home can impact the groundwater (aquifer). How Wastewater is collected and treated by the City of Meridian and returned to our local watershed (5 Mile Creek/Boise River) to be used by others living downstream. And identifying chemical pollutant materials used at home, to prevent the dumping of chemicals down the drains at home, how chemicals impact the city’s wastewater treatment processes and the proper disposal methods of those chemicals. Water Conservation techniques and the City’s Reclaimed Water uses are also discussed, as well as the city’s new Pharmaceuticals Return Program, administrated by the Meridian Police Department for residents of the community.
The response from the teachers and schools has been tremendous! Teachers have commended the quality level of information presented to their students. Teachers have sent e-mails expressing their gratitude for the presentations. Students have even sent cards indicating their joy and excitement of learning about water. One student wrote, “Thank you for coming to our class room. I’ve learned a lot about water now”, and another said, “Thank you for coming to our class. We had a lot of fun. I loved the part when you showed us the different types of water (wastewater process samples)”. The response and feedback has been so great, all of the schools and classrooms we have presented to would like to participate in the program again next school year!
For additional information on this program, please contact:
Meridian Public Works Department