Saturday, December 31, 2011

Could Kuna do a Christmas lights show without city tax dollars?

Kuna's resident libertarian Ted Dunlap has a letter to the editor in this week's Kuna Melba News about my proposal for a Kuna city-sponsored Christmas light show. I suggested using $50,000 out of the city's budget to fund the purchase of lights that would be strung up along the Indian Creek Greenbelt so that residents could stroll the length and listen to Christmas music, look at the lights, eat roasted chestnuts, etc.
True to his principles, Ted decries the use of taxpayer dollars for such a venture. He suggests the private sector work on it without using tax dollars, citing the example of Don Stockton in Eagle bringing a stretch of greenbelt to Eagle, all through donated land and money. Ted posits whether there is a Don Stockton in Kuna. I wonder that, too. If so, this would be a good project to get started on.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Mountain Land Physical Therapy moves out of downtown Kuna

The staff at Mountain Land Physical Therapy of Kuna has moved to a new clinic at 672 E. Wythe Creek Court, Suite 103, next door to Avalon Dental and American Family Insurance.
Mountain Land was located in the white cinder block building on Main Street, between Idaho Tech Repair and the Route 69 car wash.
This is good news for the Lava Falls commercial complex on Avalon Street but bad news for downtown. Yet another vacant commercial space downtown. However, this does open an opportunity for another business. Perhaps this would be an ideal location for the gourmet popcorn factory that Mayor-elect Greg Nelson has been talking about?
Mountain Land Physical Therapy of Kuna has been in the Kuna community for 12 years. Kim Peterson PT, MSPT, OCS, COMT and Tristan Thorne, PT, DPT are specialized therapists who offer a variety of programs that help people eliminate pain and achieve their highest functional potential.
Senior Vice President, Brian White, PT, states, “This move gives us an opportunity to provide physical therapy to the community in a larger, more up-to-date facility. We are especially excited to have the opportunity to offer additional services in massage therapy and senior exercise classes.”
Going from 1,600 to 3,000 square feet also gives the Kuna clinic the opportunity to add more cardiovascular and weight training equipment for physical therapy patients.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Here's an idea to celebrate New Year's Eve in Kuna

What are you doing New Year’s Eve? How about spending New Year’s Eve, this Saturday, Dec. 31, at the Kuna Senior Center?
The community is invited to ring in 2012 at the Kuna Senior Center. The center will be open for Bingo, a potluck, cards and pool. Bingo starts at 5 p.m., so come on down to the Kuna Senior Center, 299 Avenue B, to celebrate.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Kuna's plan to publish ordinance summaries is a bad idea

The devil is in the details.
The city of Kuna is making a move toward “summarization” of some legal notices. Public agencies, such as cities and other taxing entities, are required by state law to publish certain things in newspapers, such as public hearings, annual budgets and ordinances. These public agencies pay newspapers to place these “legal notices.” In the case of the city of Kuna, the Kuna school district, the Kuna library district, the Kuna Rural Fire District and the Kuna Cemetery District, that legal newspaper is the Kuna Melba News. The state of Idaho sets the cost of these legal notices and they apply to every newspaper.
I’m not going to hide anything here. The Kuna Melba News generates revenue from the publication of these notices. It’s not a lot, but it’s significant enough. Without that revenue, we would still exist as a newspaper, but it would certainly have some impact on our operations.
I know some cynics want to say that newspapers fight for legal notices in order to protect their bottom line, but it really is much, much more than that.
Deputy city clerk Chris Engels told Kuna City Council members last week that legal notices are “expensive.” She wasn’t able to quantify it, but the city of Kuna in the current fiscal year budgeted $10,500 to spend on legal notices. Given the city’s $12.4 million overall budget, I wouldn’t exactly say that $10,500 is terribly significant in the grand scheme of things.
One state law does allow cities to summarize some ordinances that are required to be published in the newspaper. Engels told council members last week that the city of Boise summarizes some notices.
But it is worth noting that this discussion is occurring at the very same time that a new mayor and two new City Council members were elected overwhelmingly, in part, on a platform of more openness with the public.
Each one — Mayor-elect Greg Nelson and City Council members-elect Joe Stear and Briana Buban-Vonder Harr — decried the problem that the public is not informed enough about what the city was doing. Some of the blame was placed on secrecy, obfuscation and obstacles on the part of the city.
So now the city wants to make it even worse by summarizing ordinances that directly affect residents?
For example, just this month four local farmers read the details of the proposed weapons discharge ordinance, spoke against it and got City Council to delay its passage. Without publishing the full ordinance, those details would be lost.
Further, the city of Kuna is in the midst of a $30 million lawsuit over the local improvement district, and part of the argument has to do with whether the city properly placed legal notices in the newspaper. These are the same folks who now want to summarize ordinances, leaving open the possibility of someone challenging the city legally over whether a summary was done correctly or adequately. Publishing the full ordinance removes that type of ambiguity.
But let me also address the idea of legal notices in general. I have written in this space before about the importance of delivering to Kuna residents every week the legal notices from every public agency in Kuna. Without legal notices in the Kuna Melba News, readers would have to check in each week with the city of Kuna’s website, the school district’s website, the library’s website, they’d have to drive down to the fire station to see if they have any legal notices, then they’d have to drive over to the cemetery to see if they have any legal notices. Every week. Just to check on the possibility of a legal notice. Can you imagine the 25,000 residents who live within the Kuna school district driving around to get the legal notices? Or the 15,000 residents in the city of Kuna requesting the texts of the ordinances?
The 2011 National Newspaper Association reader survey showed that 80 percent of those surveyed think governments should be required to publish public notices in newspapers, with 23 percent reading public notices very often in their newspapers. That same study shows that 68 percent of the public has never visited their local government’s website.
So moving forward, I am putting City Council members on notice that before they approve an ordinance summary for publication, they need to think about the potential ramifications legally of not publishing the full notice and they need to take into account whether they are serving their constituents by not providing complete information.
If council members do approve a summary, they need make sure that the summary is adequate to convey the ordinance’s effect and intent. It’s not enough to provide just one line that says the city is passing a weapons discharge ordinance. It has to tell readers what the ordinance would do.
The example that Engels presented to City Council last week is not done correctly. An ordinance summary must still inform the reader of what the ordinance is about. Engels’ example of a summary of the weapons discharge ordinance falls woefully short.
Finally, if the City Council does decide to publish a summary, I would recommend that they require a follow-up study. If the city staff publishes a summary in the newspaper and posts the full summary on its website, City Council members should find out how many people looked up the ordinance on the website. If it’s not that many, the city should abandon the ill-advised practice of summarization.
It’s all about communicating with the public. During the election, the voters sent a clear message that they want more communication from the city, not less.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Visit the Kuna police station under good circumstances next Tuesday

The Kuna substation of the Ada County Sheriff’s Office will host “First Tuesday” for the Kuna Chamber of Commerce starting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 3, at 1450 Boise St. Promote your business, make new contacts and network and exchange ideas. The event is open to the public, so bring a friend or business associate. For information, contact the Chamber at 922-9254 or email

Monday, December 26, 2011

Brianna Hansen joins Thornton Oliver Keller

Congratulations to 2007 Kuna High grad Brianna Hansen, who has joined Thornton Oliver Keller’s retail brokerage team, following a highly successful collegiate experience at the College of Idaho, where she graduated cum laude with a B.A. in business administration (with a marketing concentration) and played for the C of I Women’s basketball team. Hansen was selected to participate in Thornton Oliver Keller’s brokerage training program, specializing in retail brokerage.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Are you looking for a Christmas service in Kuna or Melba this weekend?

If you're looking for a place of worship to celebrate Christmas this weekend, we have just the list for you:

Anchor Baptist Church
7910 S. Meridian Road, corner of Columbia Road.
• Dec. 25: Special invitation to the most important birthday celebration of the year! Anchor Baptist family is celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ at 11 a.m. with a special Christmas music presentation and the Lord’s Supper.

Calvary Chapel
757 Stagecoach Way
• Dec. 24: Two Christmas Eve services, 5 and 7 p.m.
• Dec. 25: No service Christmas Day.

Community Baptist Church of Melba
4th and Randolph St, Melba
• Dec. 24: 6 p.m Christmas Eve, special music
• Dec. 25: No Christmas service

Desert Streams Fellowship
Meeting at Kuna City Hall, 763 W. Avalon St.
• Dec. 25: Brief, family-oriented, “homey” service, 11 a.m.

Kuna Baptist Church
1250 N. Linder Road
• Dec. 25: Christmas service, 10:45 a.m. (no service at 9:30 or in the evening).

Kuna Bible Missionary Church
489 W. Shortline St.
• Dec. 25: 10 a.m.

Kuna Church of the Nazarene
1281 W. Avalon St.
• Dec. 24: Christmas Eve service, time unknown.
• Dec. 25: free breakfast 9:15 to 10:15 a.m., service from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Living Hope Kuna United Methodist Church
260 W. 4th Street
• Dec. 24: Candlelight service at 7 and 11 p.m.
• Dec. 25: 10 a.m.

New Beginnings Christian Church
Meeting at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, 820 Linder Road
• Dec. 25: 11 a.m. to noon.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
5th and Randolph, Melba
• Dec. 24: English Mass at 6 p.m.; Spanish Mass at 8:30 p.m.

South Valley Baptist Church
1615 Linder Road
• Dec. 25: Christmas Service 11 a.m. only

Ten Mile Community Church
4440 E. Columbia Rd., Meridian
• Dec. 24: 5 and 6:30 p.m.
• Dec. 25: Service at 10:30 a.m.

Greenhurst Bible Church
5423 E. Greenhurst Rd., Nampa
• Dec. 24: Candlelight service, 5:30 to 6:15 p.m.
• Dec. 25: Christmas service, 10 to 11 a.m. (no Sunday school)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Congratulations to the Down Home Country Christmas Youth Essay Contest winners

While you're lazing about this holiday weekend, if you're looking for some good reading, we have three pages of essays from students who won first place in this year's Kuna Chamber of Commerce Down Home Country Christmas Youth Essay Contest. Great stuff in there. You might even make an evening of it and read them out loud to your children.
Below are all of the winners in all of the grades. The first-place essays are all in this week's special Christmas issue of the Kuna Melba News.
Photo is courtesy of the Kuna Chamber of Commerce. Thanks Melanie Willer for taking the photos.

Kuna Chamber of Commerce Down Home Country Christmas essay winners

1st: Chase Bybee, Hubbard

First Grade
1st: Maya Rosenberg, Silver Trail
2nd: Carly Pearson, Silver Trail
3rd: Jackson Graves, Indian Creek

Second Grade
1st: Addi Frisch, Reed
2nd: Carter Bybee, Falcon Ridge
3rd: Olivia Coburn, Silver Trail

Third Grade
1st: Carly Raap, Falcon Ridge
2nd: Carson Steiner, Silver Trail
3rd: Hunter Higbee, Reed

Fourth Grade
1st: Morgan Erickson, Teed
2nd: Samantha Sumpter, Falcon Ridge
3rd: Kacie Andrus, Silver Trail

Fifth Grade
1st: Gage Wilson, Teed
2nd: Benton Higbee, Reed
3rd: Diana Pigulko, Crimson Point

Sixth Grade
1st: Jamie Sugai, Silver Trail
2nd: Ariana Reisenauer, Reed
3rd: Austin Evans, Silver Trail

Seventh Grade
1st: Peyton Goodman, Falcon Ridge
2nd: Julie Grigg, Falcon Ridge
3rd: Andrew Ashton, Falcon Ridge

Eighth Grade
1st: Jace Holdaway, Falcon Ridge
2nd: Nate Hansen, Falcon Ridge
3rd: Janna Gilster, Falcon Ridge

9-12th Grade
1st: Kaytee Shelp, Initial Point
2nd: Konner Major, Initial Point
3rd: Michael Riley, Initial Point

Grand Prize winner
Renae Ann Feist, Kuna High School

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Kuna Melba News

In what has become a Christmas tradition, the Kuna Melba News has once again published a front page of local houses decorated for Christmas.
So grab your copy of this week's issue, put some Johnny Mathis Christmas music in the CD player and head out for your tour of Christmas lights.
Merry Christmas to your family from our family,
Scott, Nicola, Luke and Robert McIntosh

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Idea for a Kuna city-sponsored light show

As we wrap up this Christmas season, I thought I would throw out an idea for the city of Kuna for next Christmas season.
I’d like to see the city of Kuna create a Christmas light and music show along the Indian Creek Greenbelt. As evidenced by the front page of this week’s issue as well as a drive through just about any subdivision in Kuna, local residents are fond of decorating their houses for Christmas.
Let’s turn this into an annual city-sponsored event. My idea is to set up Christmas light displays all along the Greenbelt starting at Swan Falls Road and extending as far as possible, maybe even all the way to Indian Creek Elementary. We could pipe in Christmas music, and residents can simply stroll along the Greenbelt at their leisure taking in the sights and listening to the music. Kids would love it.
Given the way society is going, we could set this up on the day after Halloween and run it for the months of November and December. You could have it set up from 6 to 9 p.m. each night.
Not only could this be simply a nice perk to offer local residents, I think this could be an economic development tool. Such a display could attract not only the 15,000 residents who live in Kuna but the 25,000 residents who live within the Kuna school district boundaries as well as residents from Melba, Nampa, Meridian and elsewhere.
We could allow vendors to set up and sell hot chocolate, popcorn, roasted chestnuts, etc. Local businesses and restaurants could offer coupons to people who walk the Greenbelt to come into their shop or restaurant for a discount off selected items.
The hard work would come during budget time. The City Council would have to set aside a certain amount, let’s say $50,000 or $60,000, to get this thing going. Last budget cycle, city treasurer John Marsh identified about $150,000 in carryover funds, so some of that could be used. Further, Mayor-elect Greg Nelson has said he’s planning on looking for areas of the budget to shave down, so there might be further “found” money for such a venture. It’s just a matter of priorities.
Finally, I’d like to see the city work closely with the Kuna Chamber of Commerce on this project. City Council member-elect Briana Buban-Vonder Haar said she wants to foster a greater spirit of cooperation between the city and the chamber, and this would be a perfect project for the two to work together. For example, the chamber could work with local businesses to sponsor a light display of their own. Each business would be given — for free — a space of their own along the Greenbelt to create their own light display. The business would simply have to provide their own lights. It could be as elaborate as they like, and they could put their business name on a sign with the display to promote their business. I could envision Les Schwab doing Santa in a race car, or the Kuna Melba News having Santa throwing newspapers. One business could have a Charlie Brown theme, another business a Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer theme. There are all sorts of possibilities.
The city and chamber could ask local residents to donate old lights they’re not using anymore or donate lights (purchased at Kuna Lumber and Kuna True Value) to the cause.
I don’t think it would take a lot. The city might have to solve some problems such as electricity and piped-in music and passing a resolution to exempt the event from the city’s new after-dark ban. But it’s definitely doable.
As we say goodbye to Christmas 2011, let’s set our sights on 2012 with new vigor and new ideas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kuna closes park after dark

It’s now illegal to be in the city park after dark without permission.
Kuna City Council members on Dec. 6 unanimously approved changes to a city ordinance that sets the hours of city parks. Hours of park operation are now dawn to dusk, instead of midnight.
“No person shall use, enter upon or occupy the premises of any Kuna City park between dusk and dawn,” the new ordinance states. Currently, the ordinance prohibits people in the park between midnight and 6 a.m., leaving open a big gap, particularly in the winter, of people using the park after dark.
Kuna’s police chief, Lt. Kody Aldrich, has said that activity in the city park after the sun goes down presents a public danger, in particular without the proper lighting in city parks.
The ordinance defines dusk as 30 minutes after sunset and dawn as 30 minutes before sunrise.
A violation of the ordinance is punishable by a $50 fine for the first offense and $100 for each additional offense.
Residents are still be able to apply for an “after-hours” permit to use city parks after dusk.
In conjunction with the park ordinance, City Council members also approved a new set of fees that benefits smaller groups of people.
Council members agreed to keep the rental fees of the bandshell or gazebo at the Col. Bernard Fisher Veterans Memorial Park at $100 for groups of 100 or more. But council members unanimously agreed to add a tiered system for smaller groups: $10 for up to 15 people and $25 for up to 35 people.
Similarly, refundable cleaning and damage deposits are tiered at $10 for up to 15 people, $25 for up to 35 people and $100 for over 100 people.
Council members also lowered fees to rent the senior center at $50 for the first hour and $10 for each additional hour. A cleaning and damage deposit is $150.
Another major part of the parks ordinance concerns dogs in the parks.
With a couple of exceptions, dogs are required to be on a leash no longer than 8 feet.
Dogs are prohibited within 25 feet of a playground.
Dogs are allowed off leash, as long as the dogs are under control, in Sego Prairie Park, Sadie Creek Park and on the south side of the Indian Creek Greenbelt walking path to the high water mark of the creek.
The ordinance also mandates that dog owners clean up their dog’s waste.
A few other highlights of the proposed ordinance:
• glass containers are prohibited.
• fishing will be prohibited in any area posted as a “No Fishing Zone,” as adopted by city resolution.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sidewalk will be torn up along East Avalon Street in Kuna

The city of Kuna will pay an estimated $8,000 to rip up and replace the sidewalk on East Avalon Street from Kay Street to the Kuna Lube ’N Go to make way for a new pressurized irrigation line.
The line will extend to the east side of the property being developed for the purpose of a new AutoZone store. Kuna City Council members earlier this year approved a $60,000 capital improvement project to extend the pressurized irrigation line as part of the budgeting process.
The line was a point of contention, as City Council member Rich Cardoza argued that the developers should be responsible for putting in the irrigation line to their property. But Mayor Scott Dowdy argued that the irrigation line should have been put in long before, when other businesses along Avalon Street were being developed. The developers of the AutoZone property would be unfairly burdened, he argued, by a mistake the city had made earlier.
City engineer Gordon Law said he explored several options to avoid ripping up the sidewalk but couldn’t come up with a viable solution. The most efficient and least expensive option was tearing up and replacing the sidewalk.
Law said he has contacted the merchants along that stretch.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Liberty Quartet to perform at Kuna Baptist Church Sunday

Kuna Baptist Church, 1250 N. Linder Road, will be hosting Liberty Quartet on Sunday, Dec. 18, at 10:45 a.m. Everyone is invited to attend.
Liberty, a traditional Southern Gospel Quartet, is a full-time concert ministry based in Boise. Liberty currently averages 50,000 to 70,000 miles a year ministering in approximately 150 to 200 performances for church services, large conventions including the Great Western Southern Gospel Fan Festival, the National Quartet Convention, Pacific Gospel Music Convention, nursing homes, prisons, rodeos, fairs, and other ministries. Liberty goes wherever the Lord directs.
Liberty has had the opportunity to share the platform with groups such as Legacy Five, Greater Vision, Gaither Vocal Band, the Booth Brothers, and many others. Liberty averages two recording projects each year.
Whether or not you are a fan of Southern Gospel music, you will certainly enjoy the enthusiasm these men exhibit while serving and singing unto the Lord. Their ministry bridges all generations, bringing enjoyment to traditional venues as well as contemporary.
No admission fees are required but a love offering will be taken in support of their ministry.
For further information, contact Kuna Baptist Church at 922-1124 or: Liberty Ministries, Inc., 55 SW 5th Avenue, Suite 100, Meridian, ID 83642; 938-9364;

Friday, December 16, 2011

Kuna City Council rejects records fees

Kuna City Council members unanimously rejected a proposal to charge the public for requests for voluminous copies of public records.
City staff had proposed a fee schedule for copies of public records exceeding 100 pages or staff time more than two hours.
The resolution stemmed from a state law passed during the 2011 legislative session. The new law states that no fee shall be charged for the first two hours of labor in responding to a request for public records, or for copying the first 100 pages of paper records that are requested.
However, part of the reason the law was created was to make sure that public agencies were reimbursed for the costs of huge requests requiring large amounts of labor.
So the new law has two main impacts: it makes copies free for the first 100 pages and first two hours of labor but it also allows agencies to charge for copies that exceed 100 pages or for requests that require more than two hours of labor.
But if an agency charges, the fee cannot exceed the actual cost (paper, toner, etc.) incurred by the agency. For labor fees, “if charged” (an agency doesn’t have to charge anything), the fee must be at the per-hour pay rate of the lowest-paid employee necessary and qualified to process the request.
The city’s proposed fee schedule for public records requests included fees of 15 cents per page over 100 pages, $5 per disc for duplicate recordings, $24 per hour for staff time exceeding two hours $48 per hour for attorney time exceeding two hours, up to $100 per hour for requests (litigation related documents) requiring redaction by city attorney.
The Kuna Melba News wrote a letter seeking justification for several of the fees. During a City Council public hearing on Dec. 6, three residents testified expressing concern about the fees, arguing that public information should be free and that fees should not prove to be a barrier or have a chilling effect on public records requests.
City Council members questioned how city staff came up with the proposed fees and expressed skepticism about charging for hard costs such as overhead and staff time.
Deputy City Clerk Chris Engels said the city this year has received only two requests exceeding 100 pages and one request exceeding two hours.
City Council members agreed to repeal all existing fees, to not institute any new fees and to revisit the issue if it appears there are cases of abuse in the future.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kuna's weapons ordinance still not ready

Kuna City Council members put off a decision on a weapons discharge ordinance after testimony from local farmers who said the ordinance would prohibit their regular use of weapons on their properties.
Council members on Dec. 6 were scheduled to vote on the long-discussed ordinance prohibiting shooting off guns in city limits.
The ordinance would make it illegal to discharge “any firearm capable of firing a projectile and using an explosive charge as a propellant, except at a regularly established shooting gallery or range licensed and authorized by Kuna City Code.”
The ordinance exempts law enforcement officers acting in the line of duty and also exempts citizens lawfully defending person or property.
In addition to the prohibition of firing a gun, the ordinance also prohibits bows, air guns, blow guns and paint ball guns in the public right-of-way and public parks.
Shooting a bow and arrow in your back yard is OK; shooting a rifle in your back yard is not.
Kuna’s police chief, Lt. Kody Aldrich, said that his department has had issues in the past with residents shooting guns in or on their property, potentially endangering others.
The main sticking point of the ordinance has to do with the large areas of undeveloped land that the city has annexed recently into city limits. The city is now about 18 square miles, including swaths of land to the southeast of Kuna proper. The concern is that this type of open land may be used for hunting or shooting but would be prohibited under the new ordinance.
Not wanting to prohibit that, council members directed city attorney Richard Roats to add language to the ordinance that would still allow hunting and shooting in open areas that are not yet developed.
But four farmers, who own large parcels of land recently annexed into city limits, testified during a City Council public hearing on Dec. 6 that they routinely use shotguns and rifles to shoot vermin and coyotes and put down cattle. They said that, as the ordinance is written, such activities that are necessary for their operations and protection of their land would be illegal.
Council member Rich Cardoza thanked the farmers for testifying. “It makes it easier for us to make a decision when we have feedback,” he said.
City Council members directed city staff to add language to the ordinance that takes into account the concerns raised at the meeting and to bring the ordinance back when it’s ready.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Kuna Planning & Zoning Commission members named

Kuna City Council members have appointed four members to the depleted Kuna Planning & Zoning Commission.
The five-member commission has lost four members, leaving just Stephanie Wierschem on the commission. Stan Sanders (who pleaded guilty to a felony count of destruction of evidence) resigned earlier this year. Corinna Stiles, who is moving to the Washington, D.C., area for a new job, has resigned. Carl Trautman and Curt James also announced their resignations from the commission.
After announcing open commission seats in the Kuna Melba News, two residents responded: Michael Cole and Jim Russell.
“Unfortunately, there were only two respondents willing to commit the voluntary time necessary to make this board function properly,” according to a memo from Mayor Scott Dowdy to City Council members. “It was suggested by staff to dissolve the Design Review Committee and their responsibilities. As you are aware, there hasn’t been a need for their review due to the lack of new commercial development in the area; therefore it makes more sense for the Commission to regain responsibility of directing an applicant with the development process.”
Consequently, Design Review Committee members Kellie Goicoechea, Lee Young and Dana Hennis submitted letters applying for the Planning & Zoning Commission.
Dowdy nominated Cole, Goicoechea, Young and Hennis.
After a Dec. 1 deadline to apply, the city received two more applications from Catherine Gealy and Paul Deason.
Outgoing City Council president Lisa Bachman objected to appointing new Planning & Zoning Commission members before two new City Council members and new mayor take office on Jan. 3. She said she felt the right thing to do would be to allow the new city officials make their appointments.
But council member Doug Hoiland, who was not up for re-election and has two years left in his term, pointed out that three of the four nominees serving on Design Review are known quantities to the city, have already made a commitment to volunteering for the city and have served the city well.
Council member Rich Cardoza, who also has two years left on his term, said he preferred Gealy over Cole, citing Gealy’s experience on the Ada County Planning and Zoning Commission for two years and her MBA from Boston University. Cardoza suggested using Cole as an alternate if one of the other candidates decides not to take the opportunity. Dowdy said he had no objections to Gealy.
Hoiland, Cardoza and outgoing council member Jeff Lang voted to appoint Young, Hennis, Goicoechea and Gealy. Bachman voted no.
Planning & Zoning Commission members are volunteers and serve for three-year terms.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Need to do a little Christmas shopping without the kiddies this weekend? Here's your solution

Get Ready for the Holidays!
Bring your children (potty-trained) to Initial Point High School for fun activities while you Christmas shop!
This fundraiser for the Kuna Alcohol/Drug Free Youth coalition takes place in two shifts, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10. Cost is $10 per child for up to 4 hours. All tax-deductible donations go to support Kuna Alcohol/Drug Free Youth.
There will be activities, arts & crafts, video games, a basketball clinic and more.
Let us wrap your Christmas presents! Donations accepted.
For more information, contact Jessica, 371-1283, Visit

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Follow-up on Kuna school district spending

Anyone happen to catch the news story on “Rock Center” the other week about the two Nampa families struggling to make ends meet? The segment followed the couples as they went to the grocery store at midnight to buy food for the month, right at the minute that their government assistance hit their bank accounts. At one point, one of the mothers broke down crying as she considered the prospect that she wouldn’t be able to afford to have her son play soccer if he asked to. Another time, she had to tell her son she couldn’t buy a $10 book because they couldn’t afford it.
These people are in dire financial straits, and they’re acting like they’re in dire financial straits.
They are not uncommon in our current economy in our community. The Kuna school district estimates that our poverty rate in Kuna is at about 45 percent — nearly half of our population.
The Kuna school district, as well, continues to tell us that they are in dire financial straits.
But are they acting like it?
We have all heard the numbers about per-student funding and being in the bottom 1 percent in the country in funding.
But does spending $265 on a lunch for the soccer team or more than $7,000 for a utility vehicle or nearly $30,000 on 51 cell phones sound like the actions of someone in dire financial straits?
I understand from the piece on “Rock Center” that viewers commented on their website that these people in dire financial straits still have flat-screen TVs and cell phones and aren’t really acting like they’re in dire financial straits.
It sounds like that holds true for the school district, as well.
Now, I fully understand that saving $265 on that one lunch and saving $7,000 by not buying that utility vehicle and saving $30,000 by not having any cell phones is not going to get us anywhere near the amount of money we would need to buy new textbooks, hire more teachers and adequately maintain all of the school district’s facilities.
I agree that we are in dire financial straits when it comes to education funding. Believe me, I’m on the school district’s side.
But why are we spending so frivolously?
It troubles me that district officials see the soccer lunch in the wrong light: “Hey, we’re not having to spend $1,500 on hotel rooms, lunches, dinners, transportation, etc., to some place like Twin Falls, so we might as well spend a little on lunch. By spending $265, it’s actually like actually saving $1,200.”
No, the school district really should be looking at this as an opportunity to spend $0.
I can only imagine the advice column from Dave Ramsey on this one.
Dear Dave: We’re in a lot of debt without any prospect of increasing our revenue. My boss recently shot down my request for a $1.5 million raise. Since we’re not going on a family vacation to DisneyLand this year, is it OK to just go ahead and spend a couple of hundred dollars on a lunch?
Dave: What are you crazy? You should be looking to spend zero dollars and socking away every single penny to pay off your debt and pay your bills.
Similarly, the school district would rather spend $7,000 to buy a new utility vehicle than spend perhaps $800 or $1,000 each year to fix the old utility vehicle, saving the district $5,000 or $6,000.
Same thing with the cell phones. Well, we spend $30,000, but the feds take care of 37 percent, so we’d lose that 37 percent if we didn’t have all those cell phones.
In my book, that’s a kind of logic that I can’t repeat in the paper. It’s like one of those silly advertisements on TV: “The more you spend, the more you save!”
The school district wrongly presumes that since the federal government pays for $11,000 of the bill, it’s OK to spend $19,000 on cell phones. Instead, the district should be thinking to itself, “We could save $19,000 and put that money toward something that directly educates students.”
What all this makes me wonder, though, is what other “little things” are being purchased by the district. How much does it add up to? Is it $40,000? Is it more like $100,000? Do you think we’d be able to find $500,000?
I guess my point in all of this is that before the school district goes on camera and starts crying about not having enough money to buy food for your family or a $10 book for your son, make sure there are no expensive flat-screen TVs and new cell phones in the shot.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Wanted: Kuna houses decorated for the holidays

The Kuna Melba News once again this year will be featuring photos of some of Kuna’s finest decorated houses in its Christmas issue, Dec. 21.
If you would like your house featured or if you know of a house in Kuna that is particularly well-decorated, let us know. Send us the address of the house to: Kuna Melba News, PO Box 373, Kuna ID 83634, by email:, or just give us a call at 922-3008.
You can even post a comment here to this blog, and I'll get the address.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Here's your chance to grill the Kuna police chief

Did you see the column in last week's Kuna Melba News about a new column from Kuna police chief Lt. Kody Aldrich?
He's going to provide an update on a periodic basis on what's going on in Kuna on the police beat. It's in response to questions that he receives out in the community from people who see police activity somewhere or who hear about something happening in the community.
We welcome the column from Lt. Aldrich, as it's yet another way to inform our readers about what's happening in the community and to accurately reflect our community.
From his column last week:
"These articles will include 'Question and Answer' and 'Did you know?' sections. So that I am providing you with the information most helpful to you, I welcome you to send questions my way at or feel free to stop in to the Kuna Police substation and talk. I will do my best to reply to your e-mails and will select questions that may be interesting to others to write on. The “Did you know?” section will include useful facts about policing in Kuna."

Here's a sample:
Did you know?
As of October 31, 2011, the Kuna City Police have…
-…received 2,613 calls for service. Calls for service are citizens requesting police help. These include 911 and non-emergency calls.
-…conducted 6,526 pro-active policing events. Pro-active policing includes traffic stops, field interviews, citizen “flag downs”, citizen contacts and property/security checks.

We hope you enjoy this new feature and that you'll avail yourself of an opportunity to ask Kuna's police chief about what's going on in Kuna.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Kuna Living Hope Christmas Cantata is this evening

Many of us look forward to a musical presentation of the Christmas story each year to get us into the expectations of Advent. The Living Hope-Kuna UMC Choir will present “Celebrate His Name! Proclaim His Birth!” a Cantata, which remembers the many names of Christ as foretold in the Old Testament to proclaim the familiar story of Christmas!
Our performance will be Sunday, Dec. 4, at 6 p.m. The music presentation will be about 30 minutes, and there will be a pie social afterward. All are invited to attend and to enjoy this time of preparation for Christmas.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Lots of Christmas choices in Kuna today

Looking for something Christmas-y to do today? Here are some choices:

• Come join us for the first annual Silver Trail Elementary Breakfast with Santa! Breakfast will be served from 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, at Silver Trail Elementary, 2950 W. Mason Creek Road, off Ten Mile, just south of Columbia. Breakfast will be $3 per person or $15 for the whole family, no limit (immediate family members only, please), and a visit with Santa is free when you bring in a food item to donate to the Kuna Food Bank. Come have breakfast with the family and tell Santa your wish. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
• Come have a pancake-and-sausage breakfast, take your own photos with Santa, and browse the gym-full of craft bazaar tables from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, at Crimson Point Elementary School, 1940 Shayla Ave. Breakfast is $2, and Crimson Point PTA will help you feel right at home in a comfortable enjoyable atmosphere.
• This Saturday, Dec. 3, Santa Claus will be in Kuna for a very special visit. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Santa will be at the Kuna High School Library, 637 E. Deer Flat Road. Everyone in the community is welcome to come sit on Santa’s knee. Santa will be hosted by the Kuna Gold Marching Band. Pictures will be offered at a reasonable price as a fundraiser for the band. Best of all, the pictures will not be copyrighted, so you can have any reprints done at a retailer. Avoid the rush and long lines at the mall and come see Santa at the Kuna High Library.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Meridian Symphony Orchestra put on a great Christmas concert in Kuna tonight

Thank you to the Meridian Symphony Orchestra for a terrific Christmas concert in Kuna tonight. We thoroughly enjoyed the entire performance. We guiltily acknowledge that we loved the "trite trash," but the Nutcracker pieces all sounded incredible. What a great group of talented musicians. Thank you for coming to Kuna. We'll hope you come back again next year.

Kuna school district comes up with a tentative technology plan

The Kuna school district has come up with a technology plan that aims to fulfill the state’s requirement under the Students Come First education reform legislation.
A district technology committee has come up with a standardized “technology package” for every classroom in the school district that includes a mounted projector, a control panel on the wall and audio and video cards.
The projector is the main device that allows teachers to use all other devices and technology, according to Ashleigh Jensen, a fourth-grade teacher and committee member who presented the plan to school board members in November.
Idaho school districts are required to submit their technology plans to the state by Jan. 6. The state is expected to spend $80 million statewide on technology upgrades in 2012 through 2015, according to Bret Atkins, the district’s technical support manager, who also presented to the school board in November.
The Kuna school district can expect to receive an estimated $445,000 of that total, Atkins said.
That should be enough to cover the expense of equipping every classroom with the classroom technology package.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Kuna school board may discuss what to do with bond money

The Kuna school district is estimating that there will be an approximate $2.2 million balance left over from a $25.5 million bond passed by voters in 2007.
With the bond money, the district has built Initial Point High School, Silver Trail Elementary School, added on to the high school, including an 800-seat auditorium, and has made major repairs and upgrades to facilities and technology.
Because of the slowing economy, the district benefited from competitive bids and cheaper prices for materials. As a result, the district has about $2.2 million left in the bond fund.
What to do with that money remains a question.
Already, at the Nov. 8 regular meeting, school board members were presented with a list of $674,000 in requests, including purchasing 600 new computers for Hubbard and Teed Elementary schools and eight new copiers districtwide.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Questions about Kuna school district spending

As the Kuna school district went out to the public in the past several weeks to discuss the district’s financial future, I started receiving calls and comments from readers asking about what they called questionable spending in the district.
I relayed the questions on to the school district, and the following is what was reported to me.
Lunch for the girls soccer team
The Kuna girls varsity soccer team was treated to lunch during the state soccer tournament, which was held in Middleton. The cost of the lunch was $265.
The lunch was paid for out of the Kuna High School vending machine account, which helps to pay for a variety of items including when teams go to a state level competition.
The expense was justified under the premise that given the locality of the state event, there were no costs for travel, lodging and meals associated with traveling to a more distant venue, which is often the case.
The amount budgeted for the account is $2,690.13. The current balance in the account is $2,551.23.
Sweatshirts given to the players were paid for by the United Dairymen of Idaho, not the school district.
Utility vehicle
Kuna High School purchased a new utility vehicle in October for $7,262.42.
It was purchased to replace a golf cart that was previously being used for security transportation that had reached its extended useful life and broke down. The cost to repair was beyond the value of the cart, according to Bryan Fletcher, the district’s business manager.
The new mule has more flexibility to be used for security purposes as well as other needs such as event set up, and possibly snow plowing, etc., according to Fletcher.
The seller is accepting payment over two years. The cost is being paid out of funds raised via the parking lot fee that Kuna High School charges for students who opt to drive to school.
Fletcher said that this was a budgeted item at Kuna High School with 50 percent paid for the item this year and the balance paid next year.
The 2011-12 estimated income for the parking lot fee account is $12,500. The starting balance was $0.00. Its current balance is $6,085.
Cell phones
There are 51 school district-funded cell phones. The amount of money spent on cell phones in 2010-11 was $29,310.09.
There are nine school district accounts that are charged for cell phone charges. Most of the accounts are used to pay for cell phones are also used to pay other expenses, according to Fletcher. For example, the account that pays for phone land lines also pays for cell phones, he said. Of the dedicated accounts for cell phones, they have a combined budget of $23,459. The balance is covered in these other accounts.
Cell phone charges are charged against: general fund; Title 6B Fund; State Migrant Fund; Professional Technical Fund; and the Child Nutrition Fund.
The list of school district employees who have a district-funded cell phone includes six technology employees, nine maintenance employees, seven principals, the two deans at the high school, the high school and middle school building administrators, the middle school activities director, the district superintendent and assistant superintendent, business manager, federal programs coordinator, assessment/data coordinator, projects manager, two nurses, a substitute nurse, two psychologists, five custodians, one transportation employee, one security employee, the high school work-based learning coordinator, three food service employees, special education employee and the regional migrant coordinator.
The five custodian phones and one maintenance phone are limited to press to talk communication and not accessible to external open lines.
The Kuna school district receives funding through a Federal program called ERate, which reimburses 37.07 percent of the district’s cell phones charges.
In addition, Fletcher said, the district uses cell phones in many places/locations in lieu of walkie-talkies.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Head to Murphy this weekend for Chrismas Bazaar and Christmas Tree Sale

The Owyhee County Historical Society Christmas Bazaar and Silver City Christmas Tree Sale will be held Saturday, Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the OCHS Museum complex in Murphy. A chili cook-off by the Murphy Reynolds Wilson Fire Department will take place on Saturday. Christmas trees are priced at $10 and $15 depending on size. Local vendors will be selling their crafts. Please join us for fun, food and music both days.....The museum and book store will be open for your pleasure as well.
Vendors can still apply. Cost is $25 per table. For additional information please call 495-2319. Murphy is located 30 miles south of Nampa off Highway 78.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Meridian Symphony Orchestra's Christmas concert comes to Kuna this week

Start a family tradition with the Meridian Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra's next performance will be a Christmas Celebration with your favorite music of the holiday season. This concert will be performed at the Kuna Performing Arts Center on Friday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available at the orchestra’s ticket outlets in Boise, Meridian, Nampa and Eagle. Tickets are also available at the door. Visit for more information.
The Meridian Symphony Orchestra will also be performing the concert at the Meridian Middle School Auditorium on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Kuna school district committee will tackle the matter of the future of schools

The Kuna school district is looking for “outside-the-box thinkers” for a committee on the school district’s future amid diminished resources.
The school district wrapped up a series of meetings with the public, which the district estimates about 100 parents attended. The district has received about 90 responses from its online survey.
The next step is to seat a committee that will look at the survey data and begin exploring various options being suggested.
The survey consists of three questions:
• “What are some things you value most about Kuna’s schools?”
• “What are your concerns about the education of your child or a child you know who attends the Kuna School District?”
• “If you left the Kuna School District and returned in 10 years to find that the Kuna School District is a leading edge educational system, what new things would you see?”
Superintendent Jay Hummel said he would like to have a committee in place sometime this month. In addition to patrons, he said the committee should have school board members, business leaders, administrators and possibly city officials, as well.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Community newspapers rate high in local news preference, according to NNA survey

Here is a story from our community newspaper trade organization, the National Newspaper Association. This kind of goes along with the editorial I wrote a couple of weeks ago about a world without newspapers.

Readers in areas served by community newspapers continue to prefer the community newspaper as their sources of local news and advertising. The 2011 results of an annual survey conducted by the National Newspaper Association and the research arm of the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism show that 74 percent of people in communities served by a newspaper with circulations under 15,000 read a local newspaper each week.
The survey, in its sixth year, shows consistent trends.
Readers prefer the printed copy to the online version, with 48 percent saying they never read the local news online.
They prefer to receive advertising through the newspaper (51 percent) instead of on the Internet (11 percent). And only about a quarter of respondents said they had found local news through a mobile device in the past 30 days. Slightly more (38 percent) said they had received local shopping information by mobile device.
They also have a strong preference for government accountability through newspaper public notice, with 80 percent saying the government should be required to publish notices in the newspaper.
NNA President Reed Anfinson, publisher of the Swift County (Minn.) Monitor-News in Benson, Minn., said the study demonstrates that citizens believe in newspapers.
“The survey shows a majority of respondents believe that the newspaper does a better job of providing background and depth on stories essential to citizens,” Anfinson said. “Further, the newspaper is more useful to them personally than any other news source. It not only highlights the strong bond between local communities and their newspapers, but demonstrates that people do value good journalism.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What will the future school look like?

One of the questions the Kuna school district is posing to patrons got me intrigued: “If you left the Kuna School District and returned in 10 years to find that the Kuna School District is a leading edge educational system, what new things would you see?”
Of course, given the context, we’re talking about a school of the future with less money to educate our children.
So, here we go, my stab at the school of the future in Idaho. Not only did I try to take into account the notion of less money, but I also wanted to incorporate some of what I’d like to see in the future, namely, longer days and longer school years and smaller class sizes.
First, the school day would be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. One half of students would be in a traditional classroom setting for the three hours in the morning, and the other half would be in a traditional classroom setting for three hours in the afternoon. Here’s how a typical student’s schedule might look:
9 a.m. to noon: traditional classroom time with his or her primary grade-specific teacher.
12 to 12:30 p.m.: Lunch.
12:30 to 1 p.m.: Recess.
1 to 1:30 p.m.: Gym or online learning in the school’s online learning lab.
1:30 to 2 p.m.: Online learning in the school’s online learning lab.
3 to 2:30 p.m.: Music or online learning.
2:30 to 3 p.m.: Art or homework time.
3 to 3:30 p.m.: Library or homework time.
3:30 to 4 p.m.: “Homework” time.
For the other half of the students, the schedule would be reversed, with the traditional classroom time in the afternoon and gym, online, music, library and art in the morning. Similarly, recess would be from 12 to 12:30, and lunch would be 12:30 to 1 p.m.
OK, so what does this accomplish? First of all, you’re going to have fewer teachers.
Here’s how it works. Currently, a typical school might have a teacher structure that looks like this:
Kindergarten: 90 students, 3 teachers.
1st grade: 90 students, 3 teachers (30 students per class).
2nd grade: 90 students, 3 teachers.
3rd grade: 90 students, 3 teachers.
4th grade: 90 students, 3 teachers.
5th grade: 90 students, 3 teachers.
Total: 540 students, 18 teachers.
Assuming each teacher makes an average of $42,000 per year, the cost of the classroom teaching staff salaries would be $756,000.
(As an aside, I would put sixth-graders in the middle school, but they would be quarantined by themselves with their own teacher and own lunch period and venturing out of their “wing” only for gym and music when the halls are empty. So elementary school goes back to K-5.)
Under the new structure, each teacher would have 22 or 23 students in the morning session and 22 or 23 students in the afternoon. It would look like this:
Kindergarten: 90 students, 2 teachers (22 or 23 students per class).
1st grade: 90 students, 2 teachers.
2nd grade: 90 students, 2 teachers.
3rd grade: 90 students, 2 teachers.
4th grade: 90 students, 2 teachers.
5th grade: 90 students, 2 teachers.
Total: 540 students, 12 teachers.
Cost of the teaching staff would now be reduced to $504,000, a savings of $250,000 just in salary, not counting benefits.

You can read the rest of this column in this week's issue of the Kuna Melba News.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kuna Boys & Girls Club public hearing before the city gets pushed back to December

A public hearing for a proposed Kuna Boys & Girls Club, originally scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 23, has been postponed.
The proposal will now go before the Kuna Planning & Zoning Commission for a public hearing on Wednesday, Dec. 14, during a meeting that starts at 6:30 p.m. at Kuna City Hall, 763 W. Avalon St.
The Boys & Girls Club is seeking city approval for a lot line adjustment, a zone change, a development agreement and a comprehensive plan map amendment.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Are you interested in serving on the Kuna Planning & Zoning Commission?

The city of Kuna is seeking applications from those who are interested in serving on the city of Kuna’s Planning and Zoning Commission for a three-year time period.
It is anticipated there will be three open positions on the five-member board at the beginning of the year. This position is volunteer, and the board meets generally once or twice a month, depending on building and development activity.
Those interested in this position should have some familiarity with local government, and knowledge of land use planning would be a plus. Those interested in this position must have resided in the city of Kuna or Ada County for at least two years prior to their appointment and must remain a resident of the city or the county during their service on the commission.
If you are interested in this public service role, please submit a letter of interest to Maranda Obray, Kuna City Hall, 763 W. Avalon St., Kuna, ID 83634.
If you have any questions about this position, call the Kuna planning department at 922-5274.
How about you City Council candidates who didn't win a seat? I hear Dan Johnson has already expressed interest.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Kuna City Council gives seniors a break on rent

Kuna City Council members unanimously agreed to waive rent for the Kuna Senior Citizens Association for the months of November and December for use of the Kuna Senior Center.
The seniors have been displaced from the senior center for the past several weeks because of problems with a new floor at the center, part of a $72,000 federal grant secured by the city.
Efforts to put in a polished concrete floor have stalled from the very beginning, when asbestos was discovered in the center’s original floor tiles. Then the floor began to haze due to too much moisture in the floor, which became trapped by the floor sealant. Subsequent attempts to fix the floor have been unsuccessful.
The Kuna Senior Citizens Association has been meeting temporarily at the Kuna United Methodist Church. Rent at the senior center is $300 per month. The Methodist Church is not charging the Senior Citizens Association for use of the church.
Kuna City Council members agreed to waive the November and December rent at the Nov. 1 City Council meeting. The city owns the senior center building.
More to come in next week's issue of the Kuna Melba News on this matter.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Don't let the squirrels steal Christmas in Melba

The good folks in Melba tell me that some squirrels got hungry and found the city's Christmas tree lights a delightful dinner.
The lighting of the Melba city Christmas tree is the fitting finale of the community celebration Christmas in Melba. The hungry squirrels feasted on the strings of lights, causing extensive damage. That means all the lights must be replaced.
The Christmas in Melba project is completely volunteer and is not funded by any organization. We are currently looking for generous citizens who would like to donate funds to purchase new lights. If you are able to contribute to this great community event, please contact Beth Cole at 941-7541. We are anxious to get things ready for the Dec. 7 celebration, so call today!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Followup to last week's Kuna city elections

First and foremost, I would like to extend a sincere and hearty thank you to Scott Dowdy and Jeff Lang for their service to the city of Kuna for the past eight years and to Lisa Bachman for her service over the past four years. Having been to nearly every City Council meeting, budget workshop, protest hearing, special meeting, etc. for the past five years, I can personally testify to the amount of time, hard work and personal sacrifice it takes to do the jobs of mayor and City Council member. It’s more than just showing up for a couple of hours for a meeting a couple of times a month.
The other thing that gets lost, I think, for those who don’t attend the meetings, is the sincerity with which many public officials do their jobs. Agree or disagree with them, I firmly believe that Scott, Jeff and Lisa have acted in what they consider the public good. (It is disheartening, given the amount of time elected officials devote to public service, that there were about 4,000 registered voters in Kuna who could not take 15 minutes out of their day on Nov. 8 to vote.)
To Briana Buban-Vonder Haar and Joe Stear, I offer congratulations. I think you both ran excellent campaigns and did your homework. You clearly knew the issues and investigated them for yourselves. If you apply the same type of work ethic to the City Council, we will be well-served.
To Greg Nelson, I also offer congratulations. You clearly articulated your views and took a strong stand on many issues. Your message clearly resonated with a majority of residents. Your call for citizen involvement and council interaction is refreshing and welcome. Your desire to scrutinize the budget and contracts in an open, public manner is commendable. I think voters responded favorably to your vocal desire to seek solutions to what the community sees as problems, whether it’s the cost of doing business in Kuna or the LID or the senior center floor. At least openly articulating the complex issues behind the problems will be a welcome change.
But let me also offer a word of caution.
I think it is interesting that the electorate gave you a clear mandate — more than a majority in a three-way race — but the voters also overwhelmingly elected Stear and Buban-Vonder Haar, who perhaps could be considered the more moderate candidates.
After all, Buban-Vonder Haar and Stear vocally defended the current police services contract, for example. They also expressed caution and urged cooperation and greater communication on a broad range of issues, not unilateral action.
It seems to me that the residents sent the message that they want a change but they want to temper it with moderation and careful consideration.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Vote Tuesday in Kuna city elections

You have no excuses. Vote Tuesday in the Kuna city elections. If you live in the city of Kuna, you'll be asked to vote for mayor and two city council members.
All of the information is now available online in the Kuna Melba News online voter guide at There you'll find more than enough information to make a truly educated decision.
As a bonus, you'll also be pretty much caught up on just about every city issue that's come up over the past couple of years — planning and zoning regulations, the police budget, the LID and more.
So just spend a little time reading over the stories at, then get out and vote on Tuesday. Polls open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Kuna City Council doesn't pull the trigger on weapons discharge ordinance

Kuna City Council members likely will vote in December on a new city ordinance that prohibits the discharge of weapons in city limits.
Council members got another look at the proposed ordinance Tuesday night but realized they hadn’t noticed the ordinance for a public hearing. City attorney Richard Roats said he would publish a legal notice for a public hearing, likely for one of the meetings in December. An added paragraph of the ordinance allows for hunting in certain areas of large unoccupied land within city limits.
Candidates in attendance at Tuesday night’s meeting were Kuna City Council incumbent Jeff Lang, running for re-election, Joe Stear, Dan Johnson and Chris Howard.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Here's what I'd like to see the newspaper industry try

I’d like to see the newspaper industry come together for one week — that’s about all it would take — and have a news blackout.
For one whole week, newspapers all across the country, dailies and weeklies, corporate-owned, independents, alt-weeklies, big metros would do no independent reporting of the news.
The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Idaho Statesman, The Kuna Melba News — all of us, no reporting.
Let’s just see what happens. Websites would go dark. The Associated Press content would go down by 80 percent. Local TV newscasts would have nothing to report on except for press releases from police departments.
You know who the big winners would be? Rick Lantz, Scott Dorval and Vin Crosby. That’s because the weather would get 20 minutes of air time each night instead of 10. The other 10 minutes would be devoted to Boise State football.
City governments everywhere, knowing that no one is watching them, would vote to give themselves raises or try to get $5 million for a new city hall and swimming pool. State legislators would take housing and per diem allowances and sleep at their mom and dad’s house. In the midst of a recession and high unemployment, state agencies would give out $90,000 in bonuses to state employees. A nonprofit water users association would lend their director $130,000 to buy and redecorate his house.
And then, at the end of the week, it would be the American public, tottering at the bridge railing, yelling, “Please! I want to live again. I want to live again. Please, God, let me live again.”
For those who are curious: Newspapers were the No. 1 choice for those who wanted to know about community events, crime, taxes, local government, arts and culture, social services and development. Newspapers tied with other alternatives in four other subject areas: housing, schools, jobs and local political news. The two news topics where TV came in first? Weather and breaking news.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Imagine a world without newspapers

I recently read an infuriating article from the Los Angeles Times about a Pew Research Center survey that shows a disconnect by news consumers about where their news comes from.
Here’s the gist: When consumers were asked what their No. 1 choice for news was in 16 subjects, they rated newspapers as the top source in 11 of those subjects.
However, when they were asked what would happen if there were no newspaper, 69 percent — more than two-thirds — said there would be little or no impact on their ability to keep up with local news.
This jibes with my experience as a weekly newspaper editor over the past five years. People say all the time, “Oh, well, people are getting all their news online now,” as if all that online news just kind of magically appears.
Secondly, I severely limit how much news I put on our website because I want to encourage people to subscribe to the printed product. So, for example, when the Kuna school district was seeking voter approval of a $1.5 million supplemental levy this year, I wasn’t putting the full stories online — and I know for a fact that no one else was doing any reporting on the subject, not the other newspapers and certainly not the television stations.
So from that I can deduce that residents were not “getting their news online” about the supplemental levy.
And yet, here we are, the newspaper industry with this massive perception problem, which I consider to be a product of horrible marketing.
A supermajority of people think that if newspapers went away, they would have no problem getting local news.
I’m having an “It’s a Wonderful Life” moment here. Imagine, if you will, Jimmy Stewart, not the owner of a savings and loan but as the owner of his local newspaper. He’s tottering at the railing of the bridge, ready to jump in and kill himself. Recognizing that would hurt his family, he instead tells his guardian angel, “I wish I’d never been born.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kuna City Council expected to have a lot on its plate tonight

Kuna City Council members are taking up the issue of rental fees at city parks and the senior center.
The city is putting all rental fees into one resolution in order to centrally locate the fees in one place that can be referred to in other ordinances and resolutions. One of the reasons for doing that is efficiency. If the city decides to change the fees at some point, it can be done in one single resolution, rather than making changes in several places all over city code.
In the process of doing that, though, council members discussed the possibility of reducing fees.
The resolution was presented to council members on Oct. 18 and is expected to come before them again next week at their meeting on Nov. 1.
Council member Rich Cardoza said he would prefer to see one flat fee at the city park, rather than a graduated system based on the number of people.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Kuna City Council members agree to buy dump truck, mini excavator

Kuna City Council members approved the purchase of a dump truck and a mini excavator.
At their meeting Tuesday, Oct. 18, council members unanimously approved the purchase of a 2003 Ford F650 dump truck for $25,500 from Interstate Truck. The 2012 city budget included purchase of the truck, the cost of which to be shared among the water, sewer and pressurized irrigation funds. The purchase is intended to upgrade from the city’s 1983 4-yard truck to facilitate more in-house repair work and more efficient use of staff time, according to a memo from city engineer Gordon Law. The total amount to be spent is $29,500 to include a $2,550 cover and to allow for title transfer and plates.
Council members also unanimously agreed to purchase a Bobcat MT55 mini excavator for $27,623.51, to be shared between the water and pressurized irrigation funds. The purchase is intended to facilitate working in tight places in easements and getting into back yards, according to Law.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kuna election brings many issues to the surface

Did you check out last week's issue of the Kuna Melba News? Have you gotten through all of it yet? Yes, we had a couple of big stories — Boys & Girls Club, Kuna FFA, the little girl with a brain tumor. But did you see all those letters to the editor? We had 12 letters to the editor last week, which must be a record since my time at the paper. It was really good to see. This is what it should be like every week. I know the election is stirring all this up, but please, please, please, everyone, don't stop after the election. Keep on airing your views and opinions. Let people know what you think is wrong and what you think is right. This election has certainly raised a number of issues that have been bubbling under the surface for some time. Let's not let these things fester for so long. After all, it will be another two years before the next City Council election and another four years before the next mayoral election. If you don't like something, write a letter to the editor and let the public know what's going on.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Houston has a planning department and commission

A couple of Kuna city candidates are now repeating the incorrect notion that the city of Houston, Texas, does not have a planning department or a planning director.
The city of Houston does not have a zoning ordinance, which Houston voters have rejected five times over the past several decades. However, Houston does indeed have a Planning and Development department, which was formed in 1940 as the Department of City Planning, as well as a director of planning and a planning commission, which all regulate building activity in Houston.
The Houston Planning Commission is a 26-member board appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by City Council and includes citizens, elected officials and the Director of Planning and Development. The Commission reviews and approves subdivision and development plats. The Commission also studies and makes recommendations to City Council on development issues in Houston.
While Houston does not have a zoning ordinance, Houston does have a number of “development ordinances,” started in 1982, including a tree and shrub ordinance, off-street parking ordinance, historic preservation and a hotel/motel ordinance, among others.
I mention all of this to make sure we have informed voters. I think this year’s city election is an excellent one, with some excellent candidates and a very healthy debate on some very important issues. Many of the candidates are raising legitimate issues. But let’s make sure that we’re debating the facts and not misinformation.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Boys & Girls Club wouldn't cost any taxpayer money

One of the candidates for Kuna City Council suggested that the city shouldn’t be spending taxpayer dollars on a Kuna Boys & Girls Club, that parents should pay to take care of their own children.
In truth, a Kuna Boys & Girls Club would not cost a dime of taxpayer money. Construction of the Kuna club would come from donated funds from local residents and businesses. Land for the club has been donated by longtime Kuna resident Ralph Mellin. Operation of the club would be paid for by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Ada County through contributions from such organizations as United Way and fundraisers, such as the annual Wild West gala, and funds raised through the individual $10 membership fee to the club.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kuna's police budget is not 90 percent of the total budget

A few of the Kuna city candidates have repeated the misperception that the police budget takes up 90 percent of the city’s budget.
As reported in the Kuna Melba News, the $1.315 million police services budget takes up 90 percent of the city’s property tax revenue, not the entire budget.
The city’s total $12.7 million budget is composed of several funds: the general fund, the sewer fund, the water fund and the pressurized irrigation fund.
The general fund is what pays for police services, the parks, planning and zoning and general city operations, such as many city employee salaries. Revenues for the general fund come from property tax revenue, sales tax revenue from the state and county, permit and license fees, the streetlight fee and building permit fees. The general fund this year is $2.7 million.
The sewer, water and pressurized irrigation funds are what are known as “enterprise” funds. Revenue for these funds comes from connection fees and monthly utility fees that users pay each month when they receive their utility bills. These funds make up the balance of the total $12.7 million budget.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Doing some fact checking in the Kuna city elections

As the candidates for Kuna city offices make certain claims and assumptions in the debates and campaign literature, I thought I would provide the Kuna Melba News version of Fact Check.
The Arlene
One candidate suggested that the city was responsible for telling The Arlene owners that they couldn’t use the front room of its building.
In truth, it was the Kuna Rural Fire District that made the decision, affirmed by a specially appointed appeals committee, to require that The Arlene install fire sprinklers based on current international fire code that sets requirements based on square footage and use. Because the owners said they couldn’t afford the $40,000 price tag to put in fire sprinklers, the fire district signed off on a compromise to allow The Arlene owners to cut down the square footage of occupiable space by building walls and cutting off the space in the front of the building.
The Arlene owners contended that a previous city administration granted a waiver of the fire sprinkler requirement, but the decision ultimately rests with the fire district, not the city.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Seminar in Kuna will help students and their families learn about financial aid

I'm hoping this event is well-attended tomorrow night and is helpful to students who want to go on to higher education.
“Finding The Right Solution,” a night for sophomores, juniors and seniors, along with their parents to discover many options for their future, will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at the Kuna High School Commons.
There will be a new format for the 2011 event.
6:30-6:40: Information in the Commons
6:45-7:15: Presentations:
Seniors: Dealing with the FAFSA
Juniors: All you would want to know about the ACT test
Sophomores: Keeping Your Doors Open
7:20-7:50: All Grades: How the Career Information System can help you with all career planning, college planning and scholarships.
7:50-8:30: Meet with the representatives from: BSU, U of I, C of I, NNU, CWI, Scott Lewis, D’Shaw Industry, Broadview University, Brown Mackie, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, National Guard, Boise State ROTC.
A financial aid representative will talk about the FAFSA and how to get money through the federal government. A college representative will also discuss private scholarships, which can be applied to technical school, two-year and four-year colleges. Representatives will be here from two-year, four-year colleges, military and technical schools.
This is a must for all juniors and seniors. For any questions, call Kathy Purin at 955-0214.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Kuna Grange candidate forum turnout was fantastic

About 80 people showed up for a standing-room-only forum at the Kuna Grange Monday night to hear Kuna’s mayoral candidates hold forth on a wide array of topics.
The forum focused on such topics as the city’s planning & zoning department, the local improvement district, the communication gap between the city and residents and the Boys & Girls Club.
Below are highlights of what was said.
Greg Nelson
Planning department: When asked about the perceived independent control held by the city’s planning director, Nelson reiterated his position that he would not keep on the current planning director. He said businesses all over Kuna are unhappy with the way the city has treated local businesses. He cited Pie Face’s effort to build a deck, a local church’s effort to put in a community garden, among other problems.

Scott Dowdy
City priorities: When asked why the city seems to act quickly on some things of interest to the city (107-acre park, city hall bond, urban renewal) but has spent five years working on something of interest to the residents, such as the Boys & Girls Club, Dowdy said some issues are easily resolved, while others are not. He said it was his understanding that there were a number of difficult issues surrounding the Boys & Girls Club, primarily with ACHD and road access. As far as prioritizing, he said it’s hard to know what’s a priority for the community without feedback.

Richard Cardoza
Local improvement district: Cardoza was asked what the impact on the city would be if the city loses the $30 million LID lawsuit. He didn’t answer that but said that he estimates that the annual cost to operate the new wastewater treatment plant is about $400,000 to $450,000. He said he suggested closing the plant to save money and would like to see an analysis of that option. He also said the city is not being fair to LID landowners and he’d like to talk to Meridian about using the plant to offset costs.

Much more of what was said is in this week's issue of the Kuna Melba News.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Congratulations to the Kuna football team for hanging in there

Congratulations to the Kuna varsity football team, which won its first game of the season Friday night, Oct. 14, against Mountain Home in a thrilling 34-28 up-and-down game before a home crowd.
A couple hundred students stormed the field after the victory, showing that our students still have school spirit even in tough times.
The last time the Kavemen won a conference game was Oct. 2, 2009, in an overtime win over Emmett. Kuna defeated Caldwell in a non-conference game to start last season.
The boys play their final game of the season this Friday at Nampa at 7 p.m. I'm hoping they can build on their first win and make it two.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kuna City Council candidates have their say in this week's issu

The Kuna Melba News invited each Kuna City Council candidate to submit a 500-word essay about himself or herself and why they want to be a City Council member. Candidates were then asked for their top three priorities and why residents should vote for them.
All candidates were given the same number of words to answer the questions. All candidates were sent a letter by mail with the questions and were given the same deadline of Oct. 6 to respond.
Warren Christensen and Dave Szplett sent their responses after the deadline, but in an effort to provide voters as much information as possible, their answers are provided here.
Ernie Terrell did not provide a response to the Kuna Melba News letter or follow-up emails until Monday night, after this package was put together.
Candidates' answers appear in this week's issue of the Kuna Melba News.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Which Kuna City Council candidates attended this week's council meeting?

Three candidates for Kuna City Council were in the audience at Tuesday's City Council meeting. Of course, current City Council member Jeff Lang was present. Attending as well were Briana Buban-Vonder Haar, Joe Stear and Dan Johnson.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Reader complaint received today

A subscriber came into my office today to ask me a question about the elections.
She saw this week's issue and bought a copy, saying she couldn't wait three days to read it.
"It takes you three days to get your paper?" I asked.
"Yep, my father-in-law gets to it first, then my mother-in-law, then my husband. It's three days before I can even see it."

Who likes liver and onions? Anyone?

One of the candidates at the mayoral forum Monday night suggested “we should try to get Scott to write more about city issues” as a way to close the information gap between the city and residents.
Of course, he was referring to me, with the implication that residents don’t know what the city is up to because I’m not writing enough about city issues. I’m curious as to what city issues he’d like me to write more about. I’ve written about the LID, the city hall bond issue, the problems business owners have had with city government regulations, the police budget, the church request for a community garden, the senior center floor, etc. The list kind of goes on and on.
I think I know what the code is here, though. When some folks say they want me to “write about,” what they’re really saying is that they want me to “rail against.” They don’t just want me to “write about” a business’s trouble with the city. By gum, they want me to rant and rave and call the city names and call for the resignation of the mayor and the public flaying of the planning director and probably throw in a call for an Attorney General’s inquest. No, it’s not quite enough, I guess, for some folks that I simply present the facts.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vincent Kituku to speak at the Kuna Chamber of Commerce lunch tomorrow

Dr. Vincent Kituku will be the featured speaker at the October meeting of the Kuna Chamber of Commerce, 11:45 to 1 on Thursday, Oct. 20, at Kuna City Hall, 763 W. Avalon St.
Dr. Kituku is a sought-after motivational speaker who has given presentations to Fortune 500 companies, workforce development agencies, chambers of commerce and Realtors. He has been the motivational speaker for the Boise State University Football Team since 1998.
The topic of Dr. Kituku’s presentation is “Growing Your Business and Community in Uncertain Times.” He says there is no need to talk about the current economic cloud, because it has become the new normal.
This presentation focuses on five must-know strategies to grow your business and community in uncertain times.
Lunch will be catered by El Gallo Giro and is $10 for members, $15 for nonmembers. Please RSVP by Monday, Oct. 17, to Mary Anne at 922-9254 or email

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kuna household hazardous waste collection is tomorrow

llection will take place from noon to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19, in the parking lot behind the Kuna city park.
This collection, sponsored by J&M Sanitation, the city of Kuna and Ada County, is for Kuna and Ada County residents only.
Materials that will be accepted include automotive products, antifreeze, brake and transmission fluid, latex or oil-based paints, wood stains, paint thinner, pest controls, garden chemicals, automotive batteries, household batteries, household cleaners, pool and spa chemicals, TV’s and computer monitors.
Not accepted: explosives, ammunition, radioactive materials, asbestos, biological waste, tires, appliances or garbage.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kuna Alcohol/Drug Free Youth town hall meeting will be Oct. 20 on underage drinking and prescription drug abuse

The Kuna Alcohol/Drug Free Youth coalition will be hosting a Town Hall meeting at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 20, at Kuna Middle School, 1360 W. Boise St.
The meeting will cover underage drinking prevention and the dangers of prescription drugs.
Families and youth are welcome. The event will include free dinner and soft drinks.
It can be medication left over from your last surgery. Maybe they’re the pills you keep on the dresser or tucked inside your purse. Teens are finding prescription drugs wherever people they know keep them — and abusing them to get high. In fact, 70 percent of people age 12 and older who abuse prescription painkillers say they get them from a relative or friend — leading to several troubling trends:
• Every day, more than 2,000 kids age 12 to 17 try a painkiller nonmedically for the first time.
• Teens abuse prescription drugs more than any illicit street drug except marijuana.
• Drug treatment admissions for prescription painkillers increased more than 300 percent from 1996 to 2006.
What’s also disturbing is they don’t realize these drugs can be just as dangerous as street drugs. So kids who would never try street drugs might feel safe abusing prescription drugs. Misperceptions about prescription drug abuse have serious consequences. Now that you know prescription drug abuse is a problem, here are ways parents can keep it from affecting their kids’ lives:
• Safeguard all drugs at home. Monitor quantities and control access.
• Set clear rules for teens about all drug use, including not sharing medicine and always following the medical provider’s advice and dosages.
• Be a good role model by following the same rules with your own medicines.
• Properly dispose of old or unneeded medicines.
• Ask friends and family to safeguard their prescription drugs as well.
Following these steps is a start. Let your teen know where you stand.
When you talk about the risks of drugs and alcohol, include prescription drugs in the conversation. To learn more, visit THEANTIDRUG.COM or call 1-800-788-2800.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kuna city candidate forums are this week

The Kuna Grange and the Kuna Chamber of Commerce are teaming up to host forums for the candidates for this year’s Kuna city elections:
• Mayoral candidate forum, 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 17, at the Kuna Grange Hall, 189 S. Linder Road.
• City Council forum, 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Kuna High School Commons, 637 E. Deer Flat Road.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Indian Creek Winery hosts its annual Harvest Fest on Sunday

Indian Creek Winery will host its annual Harvest Fest from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 16. The winery is located at 1000 N. McDermott Rd. in Kuna, 922-4791, The event includes grape stomping, arts and crafts, live music and harvest tours. The event is free and family friendly.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Big Red Barn Bazaar ready for another season

Area crafters are gathering to help the Kuna Community Food Bank this holiday season. It’s the Big Red Barn Bazaar, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Oct. 14 to Dec. 4. Fall and Christmas d├ęcor – gifts and more! $1 suggested admission donation at the door to benefit the Kuna Community Food Bank. The Big Red Barn Bazaar is located at 5780 W. Kuna Road (between Happy Valley and Robinson roads). For details, go to or call 559-3413.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Irrigation season over in Kuna

Irrigation season in the city of Kuna has officially ended. The city of Kuna was scheduled to shut off irrigation water to municipal customers on Wednesday, Oct. 12.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Kuna mayoral candidates get their say

This week in the Kuna Melba News, you may notice that we’re publishing three stories on the three candidates for Kuna mayor. Just a few quick notes on the interviews and stories. Each interview took two hours and 11 minutes. This was completely coincidental, and I was surprised that the length of the interviews came out exactly the same for each candidate. Each article is about 2,100 words, or about three-and-a-half times the length of a typical Editor’s Notebook. Some of what was said in the interviews didn’t make it into the stories, primarily because of space.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fundraiser in Kuna for family who lost home to fire

A fundraiser dinner and concert will be held on Saturday, Oct. 22, to benefit the Hays/Lowe family of Kuna, who lost their home to a fire in September. All dollars received that night will go directly to the family that includes a single mother of a 10- and a 17-year-old.
The event will be 6 p.m. to midnight on Oct. 22 at the Kuna Community Hall, 360 W. Main St.
Running for Cover from Oreana will be providing the music from 9 p.m. to midnight.
A chili and potato feed costs $5 per person or $20 per family, which gets you dinner and into the dance.
A silent auction will also be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Auction items include a football by Coach Akey, woodwork items, photographs from David Stoecklein of Ketchum, two tickets to Thunder Mountain Railroad, 2 one-day passes to Silverwood Amusement Park and four tickets to Linder Farms’ corn maze. Taking other donations until Oct. 20.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Which Kuna City Council candidates were at last week's City Council meeting?

In the audience at Tuesday night’s Kuna City Council meeting were City Council candidates Briana Buban-Vonder Haar and Joe Stear.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Why does the new Kuna school have Meridian address?

A reader asked me the other day why Kuna’s newest school, Silver Trail Elementary has a Meridian address.
It all has to do with ZIP code. For the most part, the Kuna ZIP code ends at Hubbard Road, so anything north of Hubbard has a Meridian ZIP code, thus a Meridian mailing address. The postal service attempted to change the ZIP codes a couple of years ago, but the outcry was so huge from people living in that area, that the Postal Service left the ZIP code alone. Residents north of Hubbard complained that changing their ZIP code to 83634 — thus giving them a Kuna address — would harm their property values. We’re going to see a lot more of this in the future, as the city has annexed a lot of land north of Hubbard Road. We’re going to have more and more people living within the city limits of the city of Kuna with a Meridian mailing address. In fact, the city’s own wastewater treatment plant has a Meridian mailing address.
It’s not terribly uncommon. In fact, some ZIP codes even straddle state lines. There is a Wyoming ZIP code that goes over into Idaho, for example.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Seniors are out of the Kuna Senior Center again

The polished concrete floors in the Kuna Senior Center are being redone because of issues with the first go-around.
Deputy city clerk Chris Engels updated council members Tuesday night on the issues they’ve had with the floors.
Engels said that the seniors were justifiably unhappy with the finished floor because of “hazing” in the floor caused by trapped moisture rising from the concrete. During asbestos abatement, soap and water was used on the concrete underneath, trapping moisture in the concrete and inhibiting the adhesion of a wax sealant.
Engels said that a test area with an opening of the floor’s pores showed that the hazing was being corrected.
The center will be closed from Oct. 10 through Oct. 20 to allow chemical smells to dissipate and to allow the floor to cure properly. Chairs were brought back into the center too soon before the floor properly cured the first time around, causing scuff and scratch marks.
Whether the seniors will be happy with the final product remains to be seen. It was not clear Tuesday night from senior center service coordinator Sheri Hunsaker whether the seniors will be happy with any kind of polished concrete floor, even if done properly.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Kuna continues to discuss city park use ordinance

It looks like lighting at the Indian Creek BMX track has hit a bump in the road.
Kuna city engineer Gordon Law told City Council members Tuesday night that lighting the track properly would cost about $19,500. Further, because the proper lights would need to be 1,000 watts for safety purposes, they would likely cause a negative impact on neighboring businesses and houses.
The issue is being discussed as part of a proposal to change the city ordinance regarding use of the city park.
The current ordinance restricts use of the park after midnight, but the city’s police chief, Lt. Kody Aldrich, has requested that use be limited to dawn to dusk and that police officers have ticketing authority to people who are refuse to leave the park after dark. A first offense would be a fine of $50, and $100 for each additional offense. Groups or individuals can purchase a city permit of $50 for up to 100 people or $100 for more than 100 people to be in the city park after dark.
But City Council president Lisa Bachman has expressed concern that if a sanctioned event at the BMX track were to go a little late into the after-dusk hours, the police would start showing up handing out tickets.
Bachman had asked Law to research the cost of putting up lights at the BMX track, which is on the south end of Avenue E, just south of the big American flag in Sandstone Plaza.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Kuna Cub Scouts Pack 106 is selling popcorn this month

Cub Scouts from Pack 106 in Kuna are conducting their annual fundraiser selling Trail’s End popcorn. Watch for the Scouts at Paul’s Market in Kuna on Oct. 8 & 9 and Oct. 15 & 16. If you don’t want to buy popcorn, donations are welcome. You may also have Scouts in your neighborhood selling items door to door.
Items range from microwave popcorn and caramel popcorn for $10 on up. Makes a great Christmas gift for individuals or businesses. All of the money raised supports scouting and the local Pack, which allows us to send the boys to camp and make purchases of derby items, awards and badges.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Kuna Chamber of Commerce First Tuesday event is at Fiesta Guadalajara

Kuna Chamber of Commerce “First Tuesday” will start at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 4 at Fiesta Guadalajara, 780 E. Avalon, Kuna. Enjoy delicious refreshments while promoting your business, meeting new contacts and networking with other businesspeople. The public is invited to attend! For information, visit, email or call 922-9254.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Watoto Children's Choir is coming to Anchor Baptist Church in Kuna

The Watoto Children’s Choir will be at Anchor Baptist Church, 7910 S. Meridian Road, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13.
“Beautiful Africa: A New Generation” will include vibrant, original African music, dance routines and life-transforming stories.
“Through the choir’s Concert of Hope, we share a message of transformation by telling the story of Africa’s rescued orphans and women,” said Gary Skinner, Watoto founder. “We hope to reach out to audiences with the message of Christ’s healing power.”
The production debuted in the U.S. this month and will travel through Canada, the UK, Australia and South Africa starting in January. The six-month U.S. tour visits Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona and New Mexico, concluding in Denver.
With its genuine appeal, accompanied by music and dance — an energetic fusion of contemporary gospel and traditional African rhythm — the globally acclaimed Watoto Children’s Choir has traveled internationally since 1994 as ambassadors for the millions of children in Africa, orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS, war and poverty.
Each of the children in the choir has suffered the loss of one or both parents. They live in Watoto Children’s Villages where they receive the care and nurture they need to grow up as productive citizens of their country.
Since its inception, 49 choirs have traveled globally, providing the children with a bigger worldview, an unusual opportunity they would otherwise never get. The choirs have been to Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and the U.S., among others. Their audiences have included royalty, presidents, ministers and the common people alike, capturing many hearts wherever they go. Visit for regular updates on choirs on the road. Go to for the full itinerary.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Kuna United Methodist Church will have a blessing of the animals service on Sunday

St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals and ecology who is honored in early October. As we enjoy the beauty of changing seasons, Living Hope~Kuna United Methodist Church is taking the opportunity to join in a long-standing Christian tradition of giving thanks for creation. The community is invited to join us for a casual time of worship as we pause to give God thanks for animals—for all that they teach and provide, for pets and their gifts of companionship and love, for the wonders of all God’s creatures.
To honor the attention spans of our four-legged, feathered, and scaly friends, we will have a very brief outdoor service of music and prayer, followed by individual blessings for each critter in attendance. Children are absolutely welcome at this informal, joyful service! Please bring the animal(s) you would like to have blessed. (If you have a pet who doesn’t play well with others, a poisonous animal, or a dangerous breed, please bring a photo instead. Private blessings can be scheduled at a later date.) Children’s teddy bears and the like are also invited so we can celebrate the comfort they bring.
Join us at Living Hope~Kuna United Methodist Church (260 West 4th Street, on the corner of 4th & Franklin) at 5 p.m. Sunday, October 2. Questions? Call 922-4745.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Kuna corn maze is now open for the season

Linder Farms Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze is once again the official corn maze of the Boise State Broncos. This year’s maze honors the start of a new adventure as Boise State joins with the Mountain West. With every purchase of the corn maze admission, a portion is donated back to the Boise State general scholarship fund. For more information, visit

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kuna Homecoming Parade is Friday

This week is Homecoming Week at Kuna High School, with a host of events:
• Parade: 4 p.m., Friday, Sept. 30, starting at Kuna Middle School and will go through downtown Kuna and end at Kuna High School.
• Tailgate: start after the parade. Everyone is invited to come and get pumped up for the homecoming game. Bring friends, fun, and food!
• Homecoming Court: will be announced around 6:30 p.m.
• Homecoming Game: 7 p.m. Come support our Kuna Kavemen as they play the Emmett Huskies.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Some ground rules for upcoming Kuna city elections

Since we are in the throes of a contested city election, I thought I’d go over some of the ground rules we have here at the Kuna Melba News.
The first one is our deadline for editorial items. These include letters to the editor, guest editorials, meeting announcements, etc. The deadline is noon on Mondays. That has been the deadline for the past five years, and we publish our deadlines every week on this page, to the left. The reason for this deadline is in order for us to get the paper out on time each week.
Every Monday starting at noon, I “lay out” the newspaper. That means I put all my stories on the pages, put all the headlines on, all the photos, all the letters, columns, etc. By the time I leave the office Monday night, every square inch of the paper is pretty much filled, with the exception of stories that I might be covering on Tuesday, such as City Council or school board. In those cases, I leave an empty space in the pages, which I plan on filling later Tuesday. But receiving anything unexpected after deadline means that I have to go back and take something out or completely rearrange sometimes several pages. So, that’s why we have a noon Monday deadline, and I try hard not to make exceptions.
The next rule we keep is not making an endorsement. As I’ve explained before, I try to remain as objective as possible because I am not just the editorial page editor, but I’m also the reporter covering city issues. Our readers need to know that when I report a story, it is completely objective and not biased based on whom I like or don’t like.
That doesn’t mean you, the reader, have to be objective, though. You can have an opinion on whom you like or don’t like. And you can voice that opinion in the Kuna Melba News. So, please, feel free to write a letter to the editor in favor of one candidate or the other. And please also tell us why.