Elected officials working
together to positively
manage community
growth.

Meeting Minutes
May 22, 2013

Attendees

  • Kelly Aberasturi
  • John Bechtel
  • Tammy de Weerd
  • John Evans
  • Keith Green
  • Greg Nelson

Staff and Guests

  • Billie Bernasconi – Executive Director, TVYMCA – Healthy Living Branch
  • Sharon Harrigfeld – Director, Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections
  • Anjie Knickrehm – Program Director, TVYMCA
  • Bill Larsen – TVP

Commissioner Kelly Aberasturi welcomed everyone to Marsing for the May meeting of the Treasure Valley Partnership.

Open Discussion

Kelly stated he has been in the paper a lot recently about the crazy issues involved with the federal government and what they are doing to the rural counties. It is no different than what they have done to the timber counties. There was a period of time where we fought a revolutionary war over issues similar to what we are battling today. We have a federal government which owns and is controlling land that should belong to the people, whether it is private individuals or the State.

We make all these collaborative efforts with the Federal government and try to make everything work. We have in place Gateway West where we have worked with everyone involved and everyone agrees to it and it gets signed off on by the State. It goes back to Washington D.C. and one person back there says no. That is the Federal government at its best.

John B. said that is kind of like what happened with Idaho Power on the Boardman to Hemmingway route. We got everyone to agree on a route, sent it back to D.C. and they have changed it already.

Kelly said that Owyhee County is going to make a stand. If they do not go back to what we collaborated on and agreed to in the Gateway West route, Owyhee County is going to put a line in the sand and say no.

Keith indicated that it was his opinion is that it won’t matter. The heck of it is, every group that was there, all the environmentalists, the Forest Service, the BLM land management people were all involved with the decisions on the routes. You go back to some person in D.C. that says we can’t do this. It is ridiculous because this is what the people involved chose.

Kelly said they proposed a route along the NCA which is the existing power corridor. Through collaboration with environmental groups, the State, BLM and other interests, every one approved that. Going through the NCA actually enhances the Raptor viability. The taller towers being used for these lines make it easier for the raptors to visualize prey. Somebody back east decided that the Birds of Prey area has park status so we can’t utilize this corridor for the route.

Greg added that they have moved the Gateway West line from going through the existing power corridor into the Kuna City limits. This decision was made because of the Birds of Prey area. This will just about kill the City of Kuna. He added that the City of Melba is going through a similar thing. Greg said he thought they had reached a compromise but time will tell.

Kelly said all of this energy is coming out of Wyoming and is intended to power the west coast, mainly Oregon. Eventually, it will go into place because of the need for power will override all other concerns. Whether it goes through a different route other than the NCA, time will tell. Until then, Owyhee County is not going to change its stance. Kelly added that Owyhee County is 18% privately owned 76 % federally owned and 6% state. They have very limited amount of property that they are able to tax on. They (the federal government) are going to tell us they are going to take away grazing, which in turn takes away their income. So in turn, either they take away services as a county or they raise the tax rates. Their county is mostly agriculture. The second largest employer is the government. It is going to come to a point in Owyhee County that they have more government employees than they have agriculture employees.

They have to do supplemental levies every year to keep the schools operating. Homedale’s just failed. The government has cut back on funding both federal and state. Owyhee County is number three in the state for poverty levels.

Kelly stated that we produced more pollution from fires that they do with all the cars in the State, combined. In Idaho County alone we burnt 320,000,000 dollars’ worth of board feet of timber. We are going to pollute more waters and streams because of the fires. The environmental policies are creating more pollution of our water than we ever did when we were actively logging.

Kelly said that every City, County and State government official should be upset about the fact that we would not have problems with money, for our schools, if we were using the resources in the State. We would be a very prosperous State and probably one of the most prosperous States in the country if we were able to utilize our resources. We would be a donor State instead of a user State if we were able to actually able to utilize the vast resources we have available, from timber, to mining, to cattle.

Tammy said that it just reminds us that we all have similar situations. We put together task forces to bring back solutions and someone doesn’t agree and the solution goes unsolved.

John B. said he writes weekly rambling for the Western Chronicle. In the last one he talked about telling the Federal Government to butt out. Our congressional delegation back there needs to start speaking up instead of sitting back and twiddling their thumbs.

Juvenile Justice Programs – Sharon Harrigfeld

In keeping with the discussion so far, in Juvenile Corrections, they are all about raising kids in communities instead of institutions. She stated she wanted to provide a Juvenile Justice 101 presentation.

The juvenile justice system was created in 1899. The whole intent behind it was to separate juveniles from adults. With kids, they have hope they can change their lives and make them productive useful adults. Their training school in St. Anthony was created in 1903. Their first juvenile court was created in 1905, so the school was created before the court. It was a training school and was also an orphanage.

The first juvenile corrections rehabilitation act was created in 1955. From 1955 to 1995, every year on the decade they had a study on juvenile corrections. What these study’s kept saying was that juvenile justice in the State of Idaho was fragmented and unevenly distributed. The Juvenile Corrections Act of 1995 was based on creating partnerships with local communities and the State on how to raise kids.

This Act was based on a balanced approach which means that we want to hold kids accountable for their actions. It is more than holding kids accountable to government. It is holding kids accountable to the victim. It is not the government that has been harmed by what a kid did; it is the victim and the community. So when a kid does something in Wilder or Kuna it is the community that is harmed by that. They really are trying to push back to making restitution more restorative and helping the community figure out what they do to hold a kid accountable for the crimes they have committed.

The Act is also about ensuring that the community is protected. The three prongs to the balanced approach are; 1) community protection, 2) holding the juvenile accountable, and 3) competency development. When a kid comes out of their system, they want them more competent to be able to not commit crimes.

Tammy said when they catch kids that vandalize parks, they sometimes write a letter of apology. She has told her Parks Director that she would like to see if the courts would direct the kids to apologize to the City Council. They are destroying a community asset at the expense of the tax payers that have to repair the damage. They stream all City Council meetings and if you could show that this is part of their restitution, it might cause the child to pause and not commit the offense.

Sharon said that Tammy should talk to County Probation and Juvenile Court Services and the judges for Ada County and say that you would like to see this as part of their restitution. She added that because of confidentiality law, you would have to show the kid without showing his face and it would not be an unreasonable request.

Keith said that if you’re going to go that route, he would suggest talking to Doris Jewitt with the Owyhee County Sherriff’s Department. They give the kids and optional contract that they won’t be prosecuted if they satisfy the terms of the contract and you could make this public apology as part of that contract.

Sharon said what they try to do is prevent kids from getting into the system and that is what Mayor Green is talking about. They try to work with Counties and schools to keep kids out of the system.

96% of Juvenile Justice happens at the local level in the State of Idaho. They want communities to decide on what happens with kids and they want kids to be held accountable to the communities. All Counties do this differently as their systems are based on what the needs of the communities are, so they are all different in how they hold kids accountable.

What they try to do at Juvenile Justice is divert kids at every decision unit. When law enforcement picks them up for a crime, if there is a way they can divert the kids and keep them out of trouble that is what they do. What they know from the research is that, for those first time offenders, 80% of them never commit another crime. Getting them involved with accountability with the community, they don’t ever have to do much with them beyond that. If get kids involved with more juvenile justice programs, they can do more harm. Because the more programs you put them in, they develop a new set of peers and a new system that they identify with. Their intention is to keep as many of the first time offenders out of the system as they can.

Sharon said they really try to regionalize the services they provide. They have near 177,000 kids ages 10-17 in Idaho. Last year they had almost 13,000 kids arrested. In 2005 they had 17,000 kids arrested. This shows that what we are doing in the communities is working because we are arresting fewer kids.

At any particular time 96% of the kids that are arrested are on detention or involved with a local level system. 4% of those kids are committed to the department. Today we have 323 kids in their custody. 240 of these kids are in one of the three institutions around the State. The others are in contract provider placements.

Keith asked for an example of what cannot be provided for in the State institutions. Sharon said they only have 240 beds. The kids that are out of state include for example a deaf sex offender that they do not have a way to provide treatment. They also have kids that are involved with a program in Salt Lake that are for developmentally disabled sex offenders. If they are low functioning, the in-state programs are more difficult for this population. So they will send them to programs that focus for example on low functioning kids.

Keith asked what it costs the State for those kids that have to be sent out of State. Sharon said it costs anywhere from $200 – $350 per day depending on the placement. They did a study in 1998 that precipitated the need to keep things at the community level. If they had not done that, they would have approximately 800 more kids in State custody.

Greg said they had one of the best juvenile programs in the State. It seemed that if you don’t have a champion, then the program went away due to other priorities. Sharon said that the Kuna program was about the community being involved with what was happening with kids. But when it went away, the larger sheriff’s office tried to deal as best as they could.

Sharon said that when a kid is in their custody, they go to school 52 weeks a year. They are up at about 6:00 am and go to bed about 10-10:30. There is about 7 hours of programming and then they go to school. Last year, their kids donated about 70,000 hours of community service, whether it is for food banks, shoveling snow or clearing trails. They keep them busy and truly believe that giving back to the community is what these kids need to be doing.

Keith asked if a kid is supposed to be donating service time for 5 hours for example and only work for two, can he just give them credit for 2 hours. Sharon said that is a County decision and it would be best to talk to Doris about this issue.

Sharon said that 53% of the kids in their custody have been touched by child protection. 85% of the kids have some level of trauma they have been dealing with. So they are really working on developing trauma informed care in all of their facilities.

Tammy asked if they see a child that they believe treatment will not change, what options do you have? Sharon said they work with the communities to do everything they can. She added that some of the kids end up staying with them. They are releasing a kid this week that has been with them since she was 12. She is now 18. When kids are resistant to treatment and they have done everything they can, they give them back to the courts. One of the kids they are bringing back from Texas is a fetal alcohol syndrome baby. She has been with them since she was 12. She is a challenge.

Sharon said, kids that have been involved with gangs have a recidivism rate of 50%. What they try to do is keep kids out of gangs. They have found that when they can get the community involved (YMCA and other programs) it does lower the chances of kids getting involved in gangs in the first place and these diversions do help.

Tammy asked Sharon if there is anything the members of the Partnership can do. Is she looking for anything from us? Sharon said, support of the kids in your communities. Part of the thing that happens with kids is they don’t feel connected with the community. When they turn 12-14, they feel like they are on an island all their own. If you do research on personality disorders, on any given day a kid in adolescence go through all personality disorders. So it can be a simple matter of people in the community saying hi to the adolescents and making that connection.

Bill asked if there are some models in Idaho that are really effective. Sharon said that Canyon County’s model is great and she encourages the partnership members understand that model. It basically gets the community agencies working with one another in the interests of each kid.

Activate Treasure Valley

Billie said she is the Director of the Healthy Living Branch of the YMCA. This branch has programs throughout the valley in their facilities as well as out in the community.

The beginnings of the Activate Treasure Valley program came as a result of the Pioneering Healthier Communities initiative launched by a U.S. Senate appropriations subcommittee in 2004. The Treasure Valley was one of 13 communities invited to D.C. to talk about this Pioneering Healthier Communities process. The purpose is to engage community leaders to develop policy and environmental strategies to promote physical activity and healthy eating.

The desired outcomes in general include programs and policies that promote healthier food and increased physical activities throughout the community. While they are working on a variety of programs, the end game is policy and system changes. What they have found is you cannot really start there; you have to start with awareness issues and getting people involved.

Angie said they have about 19 active coalition members that meet monthly. They have working subgroups that are working on various things throughout the community. The first subgroup is working on workplace wellness policies such as healthy vending policies and healthy meeting food and tobacco free workplace strategies. The second policy group is focused on recognition and awards. They showcase events throughout the valley that are focused on health and wellbeing. Their third subgroup is focused on their community campaign. This campaign focuses on awareness aspects of health and wellness. They have a Facebook page and various social media activities.

They have an activity they would like to present to the Partnership members to get you thinking how they can work with the members to improve wellness in the Treasure Valley.

Billie brought out their big picture deck and asked members to pick two cards. One card would describe what a healthy community looks like to you and the second would describe how the Activate Treasure Valley efforts help to support your vision.

John E. started. He had a card with a young lady on a bicycle. It described people getting out and getting some exercise. The two he did not pick depicted people sitting in the movies eating popcorn and one where kids are playing video games. He said his biggest program provider in Garden City is the library. Through the library they have a lot of programs. One is a senior program where they get some exercise. There may be a way Activate Treasure Valley could work with the library to boost this idea.

Tammy said she picked John’s card. Even if you are in a rural community, are you going to send your kids out on the roads with bicycles? We don’t have safe routs to schools in all places and we don’t have connecting sidewalks in a lot of places. If we want to support a culture of physical activity, we need safe bike paths. Tammy’s second card depicted a family having dinner together. She said we are really are missing out. People are real busy making a living and it is keeping families from having dinner together.

John B. feels that one of the things needed for well-rounded youth is faith based activities. Churches need to become more involved. He is not LDS, but feels the LDS church has the best youth program of any Christian organization around. He would like to see more churches be more involved. The other thing is voting. Voting has come down to very few people participating. When it comes to bad things, snack foods and fast foods have really contributed to our obesity problems. The other thing that is a detriment to all of our youth is the music that is popular now. It is hard to find any current songs without curse words in the lyrics.

Tammy said we are going into the 100 most dangerous days for our kids. That is summer. We have challenged our faith based community to come up with venues for our kids. If you have a gymnasium, open it up one day a week. We have a woman’s relief society that gives cooking lessons and we have asked them to open up cooking lessons once a week for the youth. We would like our faith community to open their facilities to youth during the summer.

Sharon stated that having specifics is important. When we talk to the faith community about juvenile justice, their response has been, we have always been here, all you have to do is ask. Having more specifics when speaking with the faith community, allows them to say yes.

Keith said it starts with kids growing up and being active. You have to have a strong senior center and they have to have things to do. What is missing from our society is work for kids. Kids on the farm by necessity are working. But the kids in town have no outlet for work till they are 16. We have to figure out how we can get kids doing something where they can earn a little money or even just earn a thank you from someone.

Tammy mentioned that they have a summer internship program for their youth at city hall. They use the salary savings they accumulate from openings and use it for their internship program. Note: Tammy sent their program information to Bill who in turn routed it out to members.

Greg indicated they really do not have much to offer kids. They need a YMCA, a swimming pool, Boys and Girls club and other activities for youth in their community. He picked the banking card, because everything costs money. He indicated they are working on it but do not have the answers yet. Both parents work and are out of the house and this is a problem. They do have some youth activities but not near enough. You can offer all kinds of things to kids, but they still want to hang out.

Angie said the purpose behind the cards is to get people thinking about what a healthy community looks like. She said that if the members have things they are proud of and would like to share with other communities, they encouraged the members to contact them and they can help get the word out.

Tammy said they work with five different communities. Mountain Home, Meridian, Boise, Eagle and Nampa got together and held a Youth Summit where they had 220 kids in attendance. It was phenomenal. They focused on three issues. They had a parent panel on distracted driving and it was a great message. They also had a session on substance abuse. At the end the attendees got together and discussed what they wanted to bring back to their schools.

Director’s Report

Bill indicated that the Budget for next year is virtually identical to last years. Because of the increase in the State contribution to the SAUSA Program, dues for this next year will drop. He will be mailing out the dues calculations before the next meeting.

Tammy moved and John B. seconded to approve the minutes and financial report. Motion passed.