It has been one heck of a week! The legislature is in town, the Wyoming Association of Municipalities is holding its winter meetings in Cheyenne, and we have had a busy city to look after, but I’m having a blast!
Last week, we had a visit from the Cheyenne Classical Academy Headmaster. They are planning to open a charter school in Cheyenne this coming fall. It was interesting to learn about the future K – 12 program and the curriculum they will use to teach. I look forward to their success.
I have been dreaming about a large downtown hotel being built in Cheyenne for years. A meeting I had this week might allow that dream to come true. A hotel group from Nebraska has acquired property downtown and has preliminary plans to build a Hilton Garden Inn. Having 100 or more folks in our downtown area each night will really help support Cheyenne’s economy.
The Military Affairs Committee of the Greater Chamber of Commerce had General Porter from our Wyoming Air National Guard as the speaker for this month’s luncheon. General Porter spoke on the challenges our military is having recruiting folks to serve our state and country. He also spoke about the pending legislation that would help guard members with tuition reimbursements for their families to attend colleges around the state. If you are looking for a great career and an opportunity to serve your country, please visit General Porter.
Judy and I joined the Frontier Days General Committee at the National Western Stock Show in Denver over the weekend. I love rodeo, and it was so much fun to be able to watch it during winter. Peter Coors shared with me the billion-dollar plans the city of Denver must upgrade for the stock show’s grounds. The plans were breathtaking and got me thinking about how we can emulate them in Cheyenne. We appreciate the hospitality of the Cheyenne Frontier Days committee and all they do as ambassadors for our city and state.
Fortunately for me, The Chamber of Commerce changed its board meeting time this week, so I was able to attend. I love the energy that the board brings to their work. I also enjoy meeting other city leaders who report what’s happening within their organizations. General Porter, Colonel Barrington, Joe Schafer, Gunnar Malm, Tom Hersig, and Betsey Hale all shared and answered questions. The Chamber is doing an awesome job, and I appreciate all they do for Cheyenne.
The Sunrise Rotary Club is no misnomer. They invited me to speak to the group at 7 a.m. this past Tuesday. I try to tell myself to love mornings, but so far, no luck. However, I enjoyed sharing the status of last year’s council goals and what the city council has planned for this year. Do yourself a favor and try the Omelet House for breakfast. The Daddy of ‘em All omelet is amazing, and the Sunrise guys were fun to be with.
Lorraine Pena has worked for our city for 25 years now. I love bringing employees to the office, thanking them for their service, and hearing their stories about how they joined the city and what has made them last this long. During her time with us, she has worked for five mayors and is still serving the residents of our city. We have a great team here, and Lorraine is a perfect example.
Junior Leadership of Laramie County consists of a group of juniors from selected high schools who are nominated by school administrators to learn more about the community around them. This week, they met with various members of our government, and I was one of the lucky few to meet with them for half an hour. I think the best part of the dialogue is the ending, where the students and I get to just talk about life and things concerning our county. We ask and answer questions both ways. Sheriff Kozak went after my presentation, and I know he had just as much fun.
Bluepeak is a newer company offering internet, TV, and phone services to our city. Randy Beutler and Lucas Peterson are part of the government affairs team, and they stopped by to check in on our relationship with the company. We shared the growing pains we had at the beginning, but also shared our appreciation for the way the company responded and moved forward. I appreciate companies like Bluepeak; making an investment in our city and providing quality jobs for our residents.
Councilman Tom Segrave has the idea that the city should investigate solar power and how it could help provide support to our nonprofits and low-income parts of the city. The best place to start that conversation happened at lunch with Mark Stege and Dustin McKen of Black Hills Energy. Tom shared his vision and we found support to help investigate the validity of the solar concept; community solar that could help the less fortunate, in which case, I love the idea.
The Wyoming Association of Municipalities (WAM) is composed of mayors, city council members, city managers, and other city professionals. They are in Cheyenne this week for the winter meeting and to spend some time meeting with their legislators. I find these gatherings inspiring. Being around hundreds of folks working in municipal government reinvigorates me and gets me thinking about different ways we could approach opportunities and challenges. One upside to all this is the increase in services at our hotels and restaurants. I appreciate the support we get from WAM!
I spent some time at the capitol this week, testifying at the Transportation Committee on a school crosswalk bill. Janelle Jones has worked tirelessly to improve school safety since her son Mak was killed while using the crosswalk at McCormick Jr. High School. Representative Henderson wrote HB 68 to improve the enforcement of crosswalk laws. Unfortunately, the bill was defeated due to constitutional concerns by committee members, but it does not diminish the need for drivers to slow down and be alert around schools. I went to support Janelle and her mission, and you can join her by getting rid of distractions while driving and staying alert for the unpredictable actions of kids around our schools.
It was great to spend some time with Senator Tara Nethercott from Laramie County. There are currently over 400 bills filed at the capitol for consideration. I am amazed at the time it takes for legislators like Tara to read and understand all of this information. She is a great supporter of Cheyenne and our county. I have also spent time working with Representatives Styvar and Singh on HB 73. We disagreed on this annexation bill, but I appreciate how we can now spend time finding a middle ground and making amendments to make the bill better. Our effort to expand the bar and grill liquor licenses has passed in the Senate, and it includes a new entertainment category that I hope will encourage more businesses to open in our city.
Looks like the weather is going to get bitterly cold this weekend. It might be a good plan to keep the dogs inside and spend family time in front of the fireplace keeping warm. We still have some Wyoming Cowboys playing in the playoffs, so I’m hoping they all play well this weekend. Go Pokes!
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