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.