By Mayor Tammy
It seems like just yesterday that our community came out to celebrate the ground breaking of the 10 Mile Interchange. Now here we are nearly two years later, ahead of schedule and under budget, celebrating the opening of this great project for our community.
I’m pleased to announce that the interchange officially open for use today providing much needed access between Nampa and Meridian. With this access it is anticipated that it will also reduce some of the traffic congestion that occurs on both Eagle and Meridian Roads. This project would not have happened without the hard work and dedication of many in our community. My thanks to the Governor, Legislators and community members who helped make this project a reality. I’d also like to thank our patient citizens who dealt with road closures and construction inconveniences that were necessary for this project to occur. Our short term inconveniences will lead to long term benefits both in transportation as well as job creation.
While newly opened, this project has been over 30 years in the making. In order to make the interchange a success, the City did a lot of coordinating with the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and Connecting Idaho Partners (CIP) on this project. Some of the elements the City advocated for, and worked with ITD and CIP to ensure were part of the project, include:
- Landscaping – Federal grant money was used to fund the cost for the materials, but City and ITD staff coordinated the design and construction of landscaping around the on and off ramps and center median islands.
- Reclaimed water – Essentially recycled water used to irrigate the landscaped areas around the interchange just mentioned. This resource will also help in business attraction.
- Stamped concrete – The City worked with ITD to select concrete retaining walls in this new entry to our community.
These elements help to make the interchange not just a good project for cars, but also aesthetically pleasing for all users in the interchange area without excess cost. This is just another example of how the Ten Mile Interchange will stand apart from other interchange areas in the State. The overall result of this project will benefit the area, residents, our economy, and the community as a whole. It also incorporates the elements of the Ten Mile Interchange Specific Area Plan to provide a mix of land uses and transportation elements that has not been built anywhere else in southwest Idaho.
I’m proud and excited to see this project come to completion and look forward to utilizing the interchange in the coming days and weeks. With the 10 Mile Interchange complete we now need to focus our attention to rebuilding the Meridian Road Interchange. I look forward to engaging with state and local leaders to assure this project is a top priority. Do you want to know how you can help make the Meridian Road Interchange a priority? If so, I want to hear from you. Email me at MayorTammy@meridiancity.org and together we can celebrate Meridian as the premier place to live, work and raise a family.
By Elroy Huff, Parks Superintendent/City Arborist
This is a fun time to note a few things happening in the Parks Department. I think spring is finally here at last. It is an interesting process to see plants come out of winter dormancy. It is an opportunity to look at trees and see the new growth they are putting on in the form of buds and leaves blooming on deciduous trees and buds and needles on evergreens. By looking at the growing ends of the limbs closely, you can see the tree growth from previous years, which can tell you which trees are doing well and those that may need some help with fertilization, insect/disease problems, or root problems. A lot of the time there are problems underground that are unseen but are usually manifested some way in the top growth or other noticeable problems on the tree above ground, including girdling roots near the tree trunk and trees planted too deep. Underground problems are hard to correct. After a time, the tree may need to be replaced.
Also in the spring is usually a flurry of tree planting, especially in April, which is Arbor Day month. Here are a few projects I am involved in during this time:
- I was asked again by Carisa Springer’s Girl Scouts to help them plant a new Sycamore tree at Settlers Park. They are a hard-working young group of girls.
- The second project was with a group of young men who planted six trees at Settlers Park. The pines were 13 feet tall and weighed about 700 pounds. This was also an opportunity to plant two new Liberty Elm trees. There are not many Elms planted in new parks these days mostly because of Dutch Elm disease that killed a lot of Elms in America over the last 20 years. You usually see the survivors in older, established parks like Boise, Caldwell, and Nampa. The new ones we planted were bred to have some resistance to the disease.
- The third project was Arbor Day in Meridian on April 28 at Chaparral Elementary. There we planted a Royal Red Maple tree. Due to rain, the celebration was moved inside. Students received 200 little bagged trees from the Idaho Forestry Council.
- On April 29, I attended the State Arbor Day Celebration with the Mayor, Councilman Zaremba, and Director Siddoway. There the City received recognition as a Tree City for the ninth year in a row and a Tree City Growth Award for our tree planting activities through last year.
I am now working on four Eagle Scout projects to plant 100 trees at Lakeview Golf Course, which were generously donated by Jayker Tree Nursery. These are nice, large trees, and will be a great addition to the golf course. I hope to be completed in June.
Spring is a great time for planting and caring for trees. We will continue working hard to maintain a healthy urban forest for the City of Meridian.
By Shelly Houston, Mayor’s Office
Did you know that when students participate in activities outside of school, they almost always build new friendships, develop greater self-esteem, and learn important life skills? Extracurricular activities can also empower students to make their own decisions and help them gain vital experience which may help lead them on the path to their future.
In fact, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics, students involved in extracurricular activities are also more likely to become leaders, more willing to complete tasks, more willing to voice opinions, and more likely to graduate from high school and have annual incomes of more than $50,000. Extracurricular activities are also a good way to explore social, political, and career interests.
That’s good news, because Meridian kids and families will very soon have an opportunity to learn more about a variety of youth activities, camps, and programs offered locally during after-school hours and during evenings, weekends, and during school holidays and extended breaks.
Meridian’s Promise will hold a free Youth Activity Fair in conjunction with Free Family Fishing Day, on Saturday, May 21, from 8:30 – 11:30 am, at Settlers Park Pond (corner of Meridian & Ustick Roads).
Local businesses and organizations that provide services or activities which safely engage, educate, or otherwise enrich youngsters or teens will be set up near the pond. These information tables will have interactive exhibits, demonstrations, and games for everyone to enjoy. Whether your child is into athletics, the arts, or academics, there are activities and programs available in our community that would be a great fit for your family. This is your opportunity to learn more about those organizations.
Whether or not you attend this Youth Activity Fair, it is important for parents to spend time with their children and carefully consider how time outside of school is to be spent. Extracurricular activities should complement a student's life, not complicate it. When students are involved in too many activities or in an activity that takes up too much time, they can become stressed and their grades and family relationships can begin to suffer.
Before you leap into a new activity or program, take time to ask questions and really understand the time commitment required.
And be patient. Sometimes it takes a bit of experimentation to find the perfect balance of “busy-ness” and “down time” for both grown-ups and kids.
I hope to see your and your kids at Meridian’s Free Family Fishing Day and that you’ll take time to visit the family-friendly folks participating in our Youth Activity Fair… two more great events that are a reason to Celebrate Meridian!
By Jaycee Holman, Meridian City Clerk “What? It’s time for elections again? I didn’t know that elections happen in May… I thought all elections were held in November.” These are common questions the Clerk’s Office has been asked in the recent weeks. On Tuesday May, 17, 2011 voters will have an opportunity to vote on some important issues. We thought it would be helpful to provide citizens with a quick update on the “need to know” information about the May 17, 2011 election.
Polling locations will be open on Tuesday May 17th from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Remember to bring Government issued identification with you such as a driver’s license when you go to vote. If you plan to skip the lines on the 17th you still have the option to vote absentee. You may vote in-person absentee through 5:00 p.m. on Friday May 13th at Ada County Elections located at 400 N Benjamin Lane, Suite 100, Boise, ID 83704 (close to the Department of Motor Vehicles offices) or by mail through Tuesday May 17th to that same location.
The first item to note is that this is a School District Election but since the passage of Consolidated Elections, Ada County will be running the election. This may be confusing because you may not vote in the same location that you have for previous school district elections. The benefit of this is that whichever location you vote at for this election you will also vote there for the November election. You can find you polling place online at www.idahovotes.gov or by contacting Ada County Elections at 208-287-6860.
For Meridian residents two items will be on the ballots. The first question on the ballot reads: “Shall the Board of Trustees of Joint School District No. 2, Ada and Canyon Counties, Idaho, be authorized and empowered to levy a supplemental levy, as permitted by law in Section 33-802(3), Idaho Code, in the amount of eighteen million five hundred thousand dollars ($18,500,000.00), each year for two years for a total of thirty seven million dollars ($37,000,000.00) for the purpose of paying all lawful expenses of maintaining and operating the schools of the District for the fiscal years beginning July 1, 2011 and ending June 30, 2013. To see a sample ballot, go to http://www.adaweb.net/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=z%2fw1DgJdsRw%3d&tabid=162
The second item on the ballots will apply only to some voters. There are two candidates running for Meridian School Trustee Zone 4. How will you know whether or not you are eligible to vote for the Trustee in District 4? Your polling location will have only the ballots that apply to you. You can also check with Ada County Elections to see which zone you are in.
The internet is a great source of information on these elections. The Secretary of State, Ada County, and the Meridian School District have all done a really excellent job at providing information that voters can access at their convenience through the web. Ada County Elections has a very helpful and knowledgeable staff who are always happy to assist callers. You can reach them by calling 208-287-6860 or online at www.adaweb.net. The Meridian School District is equally qualified and happy to assist callers and address concerns about these elections. They can be reached by phone at 208-855-4500 or online through www.meridianschools.org then by clicking the “read more” link under the VOTE picture. Of course our staff here in the Clerk’s Office is always happy to help you find your polling location and answer your questions. If in the instance we do not know the answer we will be happy to connect you to the agency that will. Remember that as American citizens it is our right to vote and it is a right that should be exercised! We look forward to seeing you all on the 17th!
By Mayor Tammy
At one time living here in Meridian it was easy to feel separated from the rest of the world and the events which “others” were experiencing. While that may have once been true, we are now the 3rd largest City in Idaho and our emergency responders know they must be prepared to respond to events. This awareness and training to being prepared helps to keep our community safe and gives us just one more thing to celebrate in Meridian.
Our Emergency Management team, representing seven departments, has been working in collaboration with the Idaho National Guard 101st Civil Support Team (CST) to put our emergency planning to the test. The 101st CST is designed and staffed to respond to emergencies anywhere in the state of Idaho within hours. The Team is composed of Air Force and Army personnel who are equipped with a robust suite of chemical, biological, and radiological detection equipment. The role of the 101st CST is not for them to “take charge” of an incident, but rather they always work with a local Incident Commander to accomplish their goals and provide the needed information to protect lives and property. This is a great resource to our community and our state to address emergency situations should the need arise.
As part of our training, Meridian City Hall served as the location for a large scale drill in March involving Meridian area emergency responders and the 101st CST. Additional participants in the drill included City of Meridian officials and City Hall staff, Central Health District, St. Luke's Health System, Ada County Paramedics, Ada County Emergency Management, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the USARNORTH/CSRG-W Bravo Division. Each participant had objectives which were designed to test the plans, procedures, and systems in place under the control, simulation, and evaluation of the exercise.
Working with the 101st, an exercise was designed to test current building policies and our City and State Emergency Responders. This large scale drill had our Police and Fire emergency responders in real life scenarios; the results will improve our response plans to the benefit of our community.
Here is a description of the event in the words of the 101st CST:
“The exercise began with a suspicious package releasing a simulated toxin. City Hall was evacuated and the Meridian Fire Department responded to assist the victim and to assess the scene. Upon further investigation the Fire Department established Incident Command and called to request more assets to assist them at the scene. As a result of these events the 101st CST was deployed to work for the Incident Commander.
Once on scene the CST learned that a package had sprayed liquid on a worker at the City Hall. The liquid was simulating a dangerous toxin that would make a person very ill and require hospitalization. Under the direction of the Incident Commander the CST made entry into the building and used a variety of equipment to determine the nature of the hazard and advised medical authorities how best to treat the person that was sprayed.”
I am proud to say this exercise was a success and a testament to the high level of readiness of our first responders and all the first responders that support our community.
This was the final of three training exercises that were held this spring between the Meridian Police, Fire Department, and the 101st CST. What this means for our community is the confirmation that if a need arises, your first responders – the Meridian Police and Fire Departments – are more than capable of meeting your needs.
If you would like to share your experience with our first responders, send me an email at email@example.com and together we can celebrate Meridian.
(By Historian Lila Hill and HPC Commissioner Frank Thomason)
May is National Historic Preservation month. On Thursday, May 12th, the Meridian Historic Preservation Commission will sponsor the Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours from 5:30-7:00 p.m. on the first floor of City Hall, in- and outside the History Center. All through the month of May, the local weekly, Valley Times, will print features about several of the Meridian buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.
The center has new, expanded hours of 10:00 a.m.-noon on Monday and Tuesday, and from 1:00-3:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday. It is staffed by volunteers from the Meridian Historical Society and works closely with the Historic Preservation Commission.
The commission is responsible for nominations to the national register of buildings that are 50 years old and still as they were built originally with some community history connected with the building or the family or business that occupied them.
The commission operates under the federal guidelines, which require that members must meet one of several history-related criteria to be nominated to the commission and confirmed by the City Council.
The Meridian commission plans to sponsor a bus tour of the historic center or heart of Meridian during Dairy Days as the local observance of historic preservation, combining the celebration of Meridian’s Dairy heritage with the original area of Meridian when it was a village.