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CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Metropolitan Planning Organization is charged with planning for the future transportation needs of Cheyenne and the unincorporated area in Laramie County around the city. The policy committee is made up of county commissioner Linda Heath, WYDOT District Engineer Ralph Tarango, and myself in my role as the mayor. I enjoy the discussions about where future roadways need to be updated and where new roads may need to be constructed to support growth. At our last meeting, a couple of very large road construction projects were discussed and a public meeting to share the plans with the public was announced. Reconstruction of U.S. 30, Whitney Road, and Dell Range Boulevard is important to improving transportation for the folks in the eastern part of our community and I want to invite you to Cheyenne Hills Church on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 5:30 p.m. to see the project and schedule. It is a great time to give the designers feedback on the plans.
Our District Attorney, Sylvia Hackle, was the speaker at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon. I attended so I could personally thank her for the support her office has given our law enforcement community. For police officers, catching the bad guys is their job and passion. Once they are done, it is up to the DA and their team to be the next step in the process. Ms. Hackle has been a great member of that team and I want to publicly thank her for her service to our community.
Our quarterly meeting with the Fire Union happened this week. We have been partnering to improve public safety for the past three years. I expected this relationship to be one of the down sides of my job as mayor. What I have found is the union is tough but really wants the best for the city while negotiating hard for their members. It has reinforced my belief that more gets done when both sides work hard to find ways to work together. I am excited to open our three new fire stations in the near future and to see the four new fire trucks responding to calls for service at the same time.
I took a couple of days off from work to go on a boys’ trip to New York City. Steve and Matt are hardcore New York Ranger hockey fans, while I am a Colorado Avalanche fan. We have been giving each other a hard time and we decided we needed to go to Madison Square Garden and see a game. Unfortunately, my team lost, but my first trip to NYC was amazing. I was amazed at the energy, noise, and crowds. A highlight for me was a tour of the September 11th Memorial. It was a fitting memorial to the almost 3,000 people who lost their lives that day. I want to take Judy back to NYC to see a Broadway show. Hoping the Avs can even the score in March when we play the Rangers in Denver!
Rocky Mountain Institute came to Cheyenne to visit our landfill and see if the closed section is appropriate for a Community Solar Project. RMI is a nonprofit organization that helps communities like ours make projects like this happen. Good news — they found the landfill site better than they expected and perfectly suited for a solar project like we are hoping to bring to our community. This is going to be a long process, but a major step was taken this week.
We formed a city employee focus group to help advise our team on the implementation of a wellness program. I am so glad we did. They have helped us craft a program that, while less than I first envisioned, is the right scope and size for our employee team. At each meeting they bring suggestions that make the wellness program better and more likely to be successful. My goal is to give our employees the basic information about their health they need to make good decisions about their health care journey. I can’t thank our focus group enough for their time and input.
Friendship Force is a group whose mission is to promote global understanding across the barriers that separate people. This is the second year a delegation from Uzbekistan has come to Wyoming to see how we do government and look for opportunities for our state and their country to find ways to cooperate in tourism and business. This year we had members of their national and regional governments. It is tough to converse through an interpreter, but I really enjoy meeting folks from different cultures. I am hoping to talk Judy into a trip to visit in the future. They paint such a beautiful picture of this ancient place.
Wednesday, Judy and I stopped by Central High School to watch the wrestling match between East and Central high schools. Girls’ wrestling is new but we came away very impressed by the skill and athleticism they showed in their matches. It is awesome that the ladies now have another outlet for their high school sports experience. A highlight for Judy and I was watching Liam Fox wrestling at 150 pounds. We have known him for years and wanted to support him and both school teams. The crowd was huge and very vocal in their support. Good luck to all our local athletes at the upcoming regional and state meets.
I had coffee with Colonel Galbert, the commander of our local Air Force base. I wanted to follow up on the race issues that plagued some of our base kids a few years ago in our local schools. While it seems like things are improving, I hope we will spend time with our children to talk about the importance of treating all their fellow students with respect. The base is the No. 1 employer in our city with 4,200 jobs. Their folks come from all over the country and I appreciate the great job our community does to make them feel welcome. Good news — the base fire department won the award for the top small fire department in all of the Air Force. Congratulations!
I had a veteran stop by my office to show me a video of a person in a wheelchair trying to navigate the curb at the Cheyenne National Cemetery. The video showed the task was almost impossible. I have shared with the VA that the site does not meet ADA and their response was the site is compliant. I am disappointed that we are still fighting to make our National Cemetery accessible to the disabled veterans in our community.
Last meeting was with the Wyoming Housing Network to discuss out-of-the-box thinking to build more affordable housing. I am still trying to understand the math needed for housing to get the 1,800 families waiting for affordable housing off the list. I appreciate Melissa for trying to help me understand their challenges.
Not sure you know this, but there is a big football game this weekend. Can’t wait and hope your favorite team wins. I hope the commercials are not the best part of the broadcast.