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.