Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kuna Library District to consider rebonding

The Kuna library district will consider rebonding its 1998 construction bond in an effort to save taxpayers money. The rebonding, however, is not expected to be used to expand the current building. Kuna Library Executive Director Anne Hankins said that a rebonding — depending on what the interest rate comes in at — would reduce the district’s annual bond payment, which is currently about $99,000. The remaining time on the bond would still be the same, with a maturity date of 2018. The Kuna Library board of trustees will meet at 5 p.m., Monday, April 30, at the library, 457 N. Locust St. At that meeting, they are expected to make a decision on whether to rebond or not, according to Hankins. In 1998, voters approved, with 78 percent of the vote, a $1.225 million construction bond to build the 12,500-square-foot Kuna Library building. The library district has an annual budget of about $730,000, with $99,000 of that going to pay off the bond. Currently, about 70 percent of the payment goes to principal, while 30 percent goes to interest, Hankins said. Interest rates for the bond have varied year to year but hover right around 5 percent. The library has grown dramatically since 1998, with 75,00 titles, around 35,000 checkouts per month and 35 regular programs. However, despite rumors to the contrary, the library does not have any plans to go out for another bond to expand the library building while the current bond is still outstanding, according to Hankins. There is a desire to expand the building, and the building was constructed so that it could be added onto on three corners, Hankins said. But there is no desire among the board members, Hankins said, to add another bond for expansion until the current bond is paid off in 2018.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Order from Kuna Domino's tomorrow to help Kuna High seniors

Eat pizza and help the Kuna High senior class. Kuna Domino’s, 1027 E. Avalon St., and the Kuna High Class of 2012 have been teaming up for a series of “Dough Nights” to help raise money for the seniors’ year-end trip to Lagoon and the all-night graduation party.
Domino’s will donate 5 percent of all sales on Wednesday, April 25.
Tell your friends, neighbors, family to buy pizza from Kuna Domino’s on this day and help raise money for the seniors.
For more information or if you would like to donate to the cause, email

Monday, April 23, 2012

Kuna school district receives $150,000 grant

een awarded $148,306 in a grant that is intended to help build 21st Century classrooms, according to the state Department of Education.
The $150,000 received in this grant will help Kuna train a core group of instructional leaders to use the state’s instructional management system called SchoolNet, according to Kuna school district administrator of information technology Devan DeLashmutt. It will also provide one-time funding for a database/programming position that will help the school district automate the processes used to update data into the SchoolNet system so that teachers will have immediate access to student data housed within the system.
As reported in the Kuna Melba News in March, the Melba school district is receiving $75,000 as part of this grant. In all, 15 school districts and public charter schools in Idaho were awarded nearly $2 million.
With this grant funding, these 15 districts and public charter schools will serve as pilots for the state’s instructional management system, which gives classroom teachers instant access to current, accurate data, dynamic digital content, and tools to develop lesson plans, share best practices, and assess and analyze student progress throughout the school year. These technology grants are funded through a donation from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, which provided $21 million in 2011 to help create the 21st century classroom in every Idaho school.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

City of Kuna looking for volunteers for Design Review Committee

Citizens of Kuna – Are you community minded? Do you want a say in the character design and your community? Here is your opportunity to volunteer for the Kuna Design Review Committee.
The city of Kuna is looking for five volunteers, preferably with a background in architecture, engineering, landscaping and business; however, welcome all members of the community to apply. If you are interested and would like more information, please contact Wendy Howell or Maranda Obray in the Planning Department at 922-5274. Please submit your resume no later than June 1, 2012 by 5pm; mail to P.O. Box 13 Kuna, ID 83634 or drop off at City Hall 763 W. Avalon St.
You might recall that just before Steve Hasson left his post as planning director, he had recommended to City Council that they give the Planning & Zoning Commission design review authority and appoint the design review committee members to the Planning & Zoning Commission. I wonder if any of the current Planning & Zoning Commission members will apply for their old jobs.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Kuna students earn honors for Arbor Day photography

Congratulations to two Kuna students who earned honorable mentions in the second annual Look to the Forest Arbor Day Photo Contest sponsored by the Idaho Forest Products Commission.
This is the second year in a row of winning for Trisha Brinkley, a seventh-grader at Kuna Middle School.
Austin Drake, a sophomore at Kuna High, earned an honorable mention in Grades 9-12.
Nearly 150 photographs were submitted for consideration in the contest, which asked students to portray what they see when they “look to the forest.”
“We were stunned by the quality of the photographs and the thoughtfulness of the students’ statements about their photos,” said IFPC Director Betty Munis. “The photographs are simply wonderful. They reflect the many ways Idaho’s forests are sustainable and renewable.”
One grand prize winner, three division winners and 17 honorable mentions were selected by a panel of judges. Rebecca Blanscet, a senior at Parma High School, won first place in the 9-12 grade division and was also named the overall grand prize winner for her photo, Where Angels Play.
Winners will be honored at the annual state Arbor Day celebration at 10 a.m., April 27, at the state Capitol.
All photo entries can be viewed online The winning photos and other forest photos have also been turned into e-cards that can be sent from the Idaho Forest Products Commission website.
Honorable Mentions:
7th-8th Grades: Trisha Brinkley, Kuna Middle School. Teacher: Katie Law
9th-12th Grades: Austin Drake, Kuna High School. Teacher: Travis Edwards
For more information visit

Friday, April 20, 2012

Kuna Grange gets back in its building this week

April 2012 has been declared Grange Month, and the Kuna Grange is inviting community members to learn more about our purpose, our programs and activities and help us recognize the Kuna Police and Fire Departments, a Kuna schoolteacher, a Community Citizen and Granger of the Year for their contribution to our community this past year.
Our open house and award ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. on April 20, at Kuna Grange, 189 S. Linder Road. All members of the community are invited. Refreshments will be served.
“For 146 years, the Grange has worked to advance the interest of rural Americans by providing a legislative voice for their political concerns and by showing them how to strengthen their neighborhoods through community service,” Kuna Grange President Don Johnson said. “During Grange Month, we want our community to know that the Grange is a living organization that has a lot to offer it.”
The Grange not only provides fun-filled and educational programs and activities for its members, it also provides them with a forum to voice their political concerns and teaches them how to strengthen their community through legislative action. The Grange is a nonpartisan organization.
In addition, the Grange gives its members the opportunity to serve their neighborhoods through community service projects that make a difference in the lives of everyone.
“Our communities are constantly changing and each of us contributes to that change in some way,” Johnson said. “Each and every person should ask themselves, ‘What changes would I like to see in my community?’ Everyone should want to make a difference in their community, and at the Grange, you can discover how to make that difference.”
To find out more about our open house and award ceremony, please contact Don or Mary Johnson at 888-3070 or e-mail at
Then, on Saturday, the public is invited to come to Kuna Grange at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 21, for Game Night. This will be the first game night in the Kuna Grange hall, 189 S. Linder Road, since the building was damaged on Thanksgiving evening.
Games will be pinochle and chicken foot. Refreshments will be served. Bring your friends and come for an evening of fun.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Annual Kuna Clean-Up Project is happening this Saturday

The annual Kuna Clean-Up Project will take place Saturday, April 21, throughout the city of Kuna.
There will be free curbside trash removal provided by J&M Sanitation for businesses and residents (placed at curbside by 8 a.m. on April 21) within the boundaries of Hubbard Road, King Road, and Ten Mile Road and Meridian Road.
No tree limbs, brush or large wood items will be taken on Clean-Up Day this year. These items can be placed on the curb for weekly regular pick-up throughout the year. Please make sure they are bundled and no longer than 4 feet.
Televisions and computer monitors will be accepted.
Dead washers, dryers, and refrigerators (refrigerators with compressors will cost $10), as well as hazardous wastes may be dropped off in the parking lot behind Kuna City Park on Saturday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tires may also be dropped off behind the park for a charge.
In conjunction with Kuna’s Annual Clean-Up Project the drop-off site for hazardous and non-hazardous waste will provide an environmentally sound method for Kuna area residents to dispose of the such items as used oil filters, used motor oil, car and household batteries, cleaners (acid & lye), solvents, latex paint, oil base paint, anti-freeze, turpentine, pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, residential refrigerators and air conditioners with compressor (2 per household: $10 each unit – No Dealers or Commercial Units).

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Kuna school board approves shorter Wednesdays next year

Wednesdays will be one hour shorter next year for students in the Kuna school district.
Kuna school board members last week unanimously approved next year’s school calendar that includes reducing the school day by one hour nearly every Wednesday.
Students in kindergarten through sixth grade will be released at 1:30 p.m., while students in grades 7 through 12 will start school at 9 a.m.
The purpose of the shorter class times is to provide teachers with more professional development and collaboration time.
Assistant superintendent Wendy Johnson said that an experiment to shorten the school day by one hour each Friday at Kuna High School proved successful this school year and has become in demand among teachers in other schools.
In a recent survey of 277 school district employees, 86.6 percent said they were in favor of increased collaboration time among teachers, one of the highest areas of agreement, Johnson said.
In addition, the district is anticipating changes due to Common Core State Standards as well as new technology from the Students Come First education reforms, and this time would help teachers handle those changes.
“The intention of this time is to give school teams time to collaborate together to plan units, lessons, instructional strategies, common assessments and review student work,” according to a survey being put out by the district seeking feedback on the calendars.
You can see more details about next year's calendar in this week's issue of the Kuna Melba News.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Next workshop on the Kuna downtown corridor is this Thursday

The next Kuna Downtown Corridor Study public workshop will be at 5:30 p.m. this Thursday, April 19, at the Kuna High School Commons. A formal presentation will begin at 6 p.m.
About 60 people attended the first public workshop on Feb. 2. In addition, the Ada County Highway District hosted several advisory committee meetings and a workshop with the seniors at the Kuna Senior Center. This led to the development of 46 corridor concepts and 35 streetscape concepts for the study area. The project team narrowed down the concepts and identified a set of recommended concepts that should be carried forward for further investigation.
To assist with the project development, ACHD asked residents to participate in an online survey to identify support or lack thereof for the recommended corridor and streetscape concepts for further investigation. The project team is incorporating the results of this survey in their evaluation of these concepts and present the findings at the April 19 workshop.
If you have any questions or additional comments, contact Jeff Lowe, ACHD Project Manager, at or by phone 387-6235.
The evaluation details are presented in the “Evaluation of Initial Streetscape and Corridor Concepts” technical memorandum, which is available for review and reference at

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kuna Educator of the Year celebration is today

Les Schwab, Capital Educators Credit Union, the Kuna School District and Kuna Educational Association will be naming Kuna School District educators who deserve to be recognized for their contributions to the children of the Kuna community.
A winner from each school will be honored at the Educator of the Year Celebration event on April 16 at 3:30 in the KHS Commons.
Special thanks to the following sponsors for their generous contributions in order to make this celebration possible: Kuna Les Schwab, Reed Elementary PTA, Capital Educators, Hubbard-Teed PTO, Kuna Educational Association, Silver Trail PTA.
I have been told to expect a "funny skit" from Superintendent Jay Hummel and assistant superintendent Wendy Johnson. Bring your video cameras.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kuna event takes a trip back to the days of Christ

This sounds like a very cool event coming to Kuna this month.
First Century Ministries is a modern, nation-wide traveling ministry with full drama staging and a real craftsman shop. They present exciting and dramatic wood sculpting, a pottery wheel clay pot creation, or even a red-hot blacksmith demonstration.
But what makes it all so special is their entire stage and costumes are right out of the days of Christ and the teaching message is all about the endless and unconditional Love of Jesus. It is a highly enjoyable show for any age and for any denomination. Your attention is locked onto Wade’s highly skilled artistic hands while Jennifer narrates the story.
In their “Crown of Thorns” presentation, a cedar log is carved into a magnificent head of Christ right before your eyes. As the thorns are slowly pounded in, Wade sings in his rich baritone voice a heart-wrenching song of how they represent each of our sins. It will leave its mark on your heart never to be forgotten. Many times it has moved crowds to repentance.
Wade and Jennifer are bringing this raw biblical truth drama to Desert Streams Fellowship of Kuna. The presentation will be at 11 a.m. Sunday, April 22nd, at the Senior Citizen & Neighborhood Center, 299 Avenue B. (one block south of Main Street). The public is invited. A love offering will be taken.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Kuna's 'Titanic' house is awesome

Last year, Vickey Gearring and her husband, Dan, moved from Boise to Kuna, where they bought a house that was built in 1912 — the same year the Titanic sank. And Gearring has converted the entire second floor into a museum of sorts, featuring reproductions of the three passenger rooms of the Titanic.
We start in the third-class passenger quarters, a sparse room with metal lockers and stacked cots. The second-class room is more nicely decorated but still spare compared with Molly Brown’s first-class suite, with its plush bed, period tea set and sitting area. The room is filled with striking details. On one chair lays a book, “My Lady’s Garter,” written by Jacques Futrelle, a Titanic passenger who didn’t survive the sinking. Framed pictures of boarding passes, passenger lists and tickets adorn the walls. On the bed is a facebook-like list of all the first-class passengers. There by the window is an accurate reproduction of a Titanic life jacket, which was used in James Cameron’s 1997 movie, “Titanic.” Even the bathroom has reproductions of the soap used on the ship. And there on the pedestal sink is the necklace worn by Rose, the fictionalized character in the movie.
“This is nothing, I have a whole shop filled with stuff, too,” Gearring said.

Friday, April 13, 2012

$100,000 in prize money put up for Exergy Tour bike race

Competitors in the 2012 Exergy Tour international ladies pro cycling race, taking place in Idaho May 24 – 28, will be racing for $100,000 in prize money, what is believed to be the largest payout for a five-day race in the history of ladies pro cycling, and an amount that is comparable to payouts for the men.
“One of the primary reasons we founded the Exergy Tour is to help gain notoriety and exposure for the advancement of women’s professional cycling and to encourage media, corporate sponsors, governing bodies, spectators and fans to recognize the value of women’s competitive athletics,” said James Carkulis, CEO of Exergy Development Group, title sponsor of the race. “Offering a significant payout for this race elevates the excitement to a level equal in stature to men’s pro cycling.”

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kuna city workers find a diamond in the roughage

Two Kuna city workers found a “substantial” diamond engagement/wedding ring set while cleaning out a sewer pipe last week.
The set was found on April 3 during routine cleaning of a sewer line in the Gold Creek subdivision, which fittingly has such street names as Forty Niner Avenue, Fools Gold Street and Nugget Street.
There is no way to tell how long the ring was in the sewer line, according to deputy city clerk Chris Engels. The set is in good shape with no substantial damage, Engels said.
City officials don’t want to disclose too much information about the ring and are asking anyone who thinks it might be their ring to call the city, 922-5546, and describe the ring in order to claim it. There is no inscription, Engels said.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

As the weather warms, our thoughts turn to — budgets

Every year, as the trees begin to bud, the days grow longer and the water enters the canals, my thoughts turn to one thing: budgets.
We are now entering one of my favorite seasons, budget season. This is the time of year when municipalities and taxing districts get to work on setting their budgets for the next year, which generally starts in the fall.
In my estimation, believe it or not, the city of Kuna really does the best job of examining its budget, disclosing it to the public and shaping its spending for the coming year. As City Council members will tell you, nearly all of the credit lies at the doorstep of city treasurer John Marsh. When he was hired in 2008, he inherited one heck of a messy tangled budget that didn’t make a lot of sense and had budgeted expenditures outpacing budgeted revenues by about $325,000. Budget workshops consisted of a lot of questions and not a lot of answers.
Since then, though, the budget is presented very clearly with detailed descriptions of what certain expenditures are, the historic fluctuations of specific expenses and revenues, line item tallying of expenses and revenues, detailed explanations of why certain revenues and expenses fluctuate and proposed recommendations for the levels at which to set expenditures and revenues.
If I have one criticism it would be that the City Council members do not take adequate advantage of the budgeting process to discuss their priorities, their vision for the future of Kuna.
I have always held that the City Council wields the most power at budget time. Yes, council members pass ordinances and resolutions, set fees and hear complaints. But the most overarching impact that they have is when they set the annual budget. For the entire year, the budget determines the taxes you pay, the fees you pay, how efficiently or inefficiently the city operates and what services the city can — and cannot — offer.
Unfortunately, the budget process has been a matter of looking at what the city spent last year on a line item, assessing whether that line item will be more or less next year, then setting that line item higher or lower.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The real reason newspapers are dying

Please indulge me this week while I talk about one of my favorite topics: newspapers. A local business owner recently asked me that question that I get asked so often: “So, what do you think the future of newspapers is?”
I answered him pretty honestly. I told him my biggest concern is that people just aren’t reading news any more.
To that, he replied that he didn’t think that was the problem. He thought the problem was the Internet. People are getting all their news on the Internet instead of newspapers.
Boy, I hear that one a lot.
But let me clear up a few misconceptions.
First of all, “the Internet” isn’t some sort of company somewhere that hires reporters and editors to dig up “news” and just throws it on a website. Could you imagine? “Oh, hi, yes, this is Scott McIntosh, and I’m calling from The Internet to ask you a few questions about the political affiliation of the members of the rebellion in Syria.”
Second, “the news” doesn’t just magically appear. News stories on the Internet actually come from someone who spent time reporting that news, interviewing people, writing down their answers, translating those answers into a coherent news article that then was spell-checked and edited for accuracy and clarity by something called an editor.
Most of the time, the entity that’s supplying that news article you’re reading on the Internet comes from a newspaper. Go ahead and check it out. Pick out a story, any story and look where it came from. Keep in mind that stories from The Associated Press most often originated in a newspaper and were “picked up” by The Associated Press. Further, the majority of the funding for The Associated Press comes from newspapers so any original reporting done by the AP really should be credited to newspapers.
Keep in mind, as well, that many of these online “news” sites, such as Huffington Post really are just “scraping” the news off other sources and rewriting articles based on the reporting already done by newspapers. Keep an eye out for that, too. Look to see when an article states something, then adds, “according to an article in the Washington Post” or “the New York Times.”
OK, so what about my original argument that my biggest concern is that people just don’t read the news anymore, even — or especially — online. My local business owner friend said he gets all of his news from
So I decided to take a look at newspapers’ competition over at Yahoo. The great thing about the Internet is that it fairly represents the free market, particularly when it comes to news. The top news stories are the top news stories. They’re the stories that people are clicking on. They’re not decided by some boring, elitist guy in a newsroom deciding what he thinks is important. Nope, the Internet reflects what the people want! Power to the people!
OK, so here’s what the people want. I am NOT making this up. These are real, actual headlines on Yahoo on Thursday, March 29:
• Grisly details in teacher’s killing.
• Teen attacks on soccer field (Video!)
• J. Lo rocks a bold neon dress
• $1 million bill for baby’s birth
• 911 caller held in teen’s death
• Aiken admits plastic surgery
• Excited dog greets soldier
• Antiaging items for under $20
• ‘Titanic’ star hotter with age
• Brinkley’s ex fires back
• Barkley’s audacious outfit
• Boy falls asleep on skis
• ‘Idol’ sorry for loopy antics
• ‘Anchorman’ sequel
• Blind man ‘drives’ car
• Kid won’t take off lucky shirt
Did I mention that I am not making this up? Meanwhile, just for comparison’s sake, the Idaho Statesman the next day had stories about the GOP presidential primary, an anti-austerity strike in Spain, an update on the uprising in Syria, Apple supplier vowing to improve workers’ rights in China, the U.S. Supreme Court’s deliberations of the federal health care law, the rise in autism rates, studies showing the link between a pesticide and the decline of bee populations. That’s just the scratching of the surface.
Yes, all of those stories and more are available on the Internet for free.
The fact that those stories — reported by and funded by newspaper companies — are free is only part of the problem.
In my mind, the real problem is that even when they’re put out there for free, the American public, when given a choice, will still click on the story about Clay Aiken admitting to plastic surgery. That, to me, is the real downfall of newspapers.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A couple of interesting tidbits from last month's Kuna City Council meeting

• the number of non-residential connections accounts for 2.5 percent of total connections but accounts for 10 percent of demand, Law noted.
• the number of people per household in Kuna in 1997 was 2.86. The number of people per household in Kuna today is 3.18, Law said.
• it costs $15,000 in city fees to build a house, according to Nelson, who said that was on the high end. Nelson reported that contractors are telling him the cost in Kuna is too high. To that, Law replied, “I’ve never been in a place where developers said the fees are too low.”
• the city looked at the EDU table in La Pine, Ore., where former Kuna planning director Steve Hasson went to become city manager. It was Hasson, recall, who sent letters to Kuna Mayor Greg Nelson saying the Creekside owed $36,600 for 10 additional EDU’s in Kuna. La Pine’s EDU assessment right now for a restaurant? One.
• when discussing making sure that sewer rates were adequate to fund maintenance and operations as well as future growth, council member Doug Hoiland pointed out, “we wouldn’t be in this LID mess if we had prepared for growth.”

Monday, April 2, 2012

Kuna Library spring book sale is coming up this month

I almost always make a great find when I go to the preview night of the Kuna Library book sales.
Mark your calandars for the upcoming Kuna Library spring book sale.  If you have books you would like to donate or would like to help with the book sale, contact the library, 922-1025. There will be a short meeting for Friends of the Kuna Library members at 7 p.m., on April 11, during the book sale. 
Friends Of The Kuna Library Spring 2012 Book Sale features a great selection and low, low prices. Open to everyone. For the price of a gallon of fuel, you can buy an armload of books.
Hours will be:
• Thursday, April 12, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
• Friday, April 13, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Saturday, April 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Friends of the Kuna Library members are invited to a special Preview Night on Wednesday, April 11, from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Great history column in this week's Kuna Melba News

As usual, the history column in the Kuna Melba News offers an interesting look back at what was happening in Kuna and Melba 50 years ago. This week's installment, though, I thought was particularly interesting.
One might notice the name Joe Aman attached to an article about the Kuna High School newspaper winning an award. Joe is the current owner of Owyhee Publishing, which does our printing of the Kuna Melba News.
Another interesting story was about the Rosses, who turned 91 in 1962. I'm not positive, but I believe Ross Elementary School is named after this couple. If you can confirm or refute that, let me know.
Finally, there was an article about Oscar (Bud) Pearson heading off to Pakistan for a canal construction job.
Lots of good stuff in this week's Kuna Melba News.