In economic development, I think one of the most important aspects is the expansion of existing businesses. We cut the ribbon on a retailer that moved to a larger location to provide more opportunities for their customers and employees. Natural Grocers was started in 1955 in Golden, Colorado. From humble beginnings, they went door-to-door selling supplements, whole grain bread, and other natural whole foods. I enjoyed meeting over 100 folks in line for the grand reopening, and the chocolate sample I received. I wish Natural Grocers much success at their new location.
Some businesses require a city license to protect the health of the general public. A couple of them are massage therapists and tattoo artists. Unfortunately, we have a few of these businesses that are not getting the required licenses, and they are also causing injury to the public. We have a couple of tattoo folks working illegally out of their homes. I have seen pictures of tattoo infections causing much discomfort for the client. I would advise you to check with the city clerk’s office to make sure the business you are going to visit is licensed. Our Health Department and City Clerk are working to prevent potential health risks.
It was another busy Saturday for your mayor, as I was honored to take part in the opening ceremony for Laramie County’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s. I learned that Alzheimer’s and dementia are different animals. We should all get a baseline around 65 years of age. I also learned that many kinds of dementia can be caused by treatable medical conditions. If you have symptoms, don’t wait to see your doctor. I learned that 13,000 Wyoming residents are part of the 6 million fighting Alzheimer’s in the US alone, and over 200 Wyoming folks die every year from the disease. I was proud of the many people who were there to support a loved one but sad at the number of patients who were there to walk the perimeter.
I spent lunchtime as a judge for a chili contest that raised money and awareness for muscular dystrophy. Representative Brown, Cody, and I tasted from the green, red, exotic, and hottest chili categories. Judy does not like chili, so it was a great day for me. Our local fire departments sponsor this event each year, and I can assure you, they can cook chili as well as they fight fires. It was an amazing event, and this year the heartburn was manageable. One surprise though came from a veggie chili made with sweet potatoes. I hate sweet potatoes, but I absolutely loved this chili.
Superintendent Crespo and I finally got to tape our PSA to encourage students to walk safely to school, and for drivers to pay attention while driving. I get a letter or phone call almost every day from residents concerned about the speed of drivers. I know we are all very busy and run behind schedule from time to time, but I implore you to slow down and stay away from distractions. Dr. Crespo and I were planning lunch after our thespian duties, but the threat to South High School caused us to postpone. Thankfully that situation ended with our kids and staff safe.
During our regular director’s meeting, we discussed the Colorado River Compact and how it might affect our future water use. It sounds like in the next two or three years the drought will cause Wyoming users to be called on for the Colorado River drainage water. This will drastically reduce the amount of water we have available. I am happy to report our BOPU is working very hard to find additional water resources to help our community weather this upcoming storm. We can help by finding ways to reduce our personal water usage. I also learned the upgrades to US30, and Whitney Roads are being delayed by at least a year. WYDOT is managing these projects and has reported the new timelines.
Good news on our gymnastics program, we are moving toward constructing a new building. I met with our city engineer and community recreation and events director to discuss exactly where we are in the process. Pending final approval by the City Council, we will build a 150 x 200-foot building immediately west of our Ice and Events Center. This facility will comfortably hold our current need, plus allow our program to grow from 400 participants to 1,400. We are blessed that LCSD1 is hosting our gymnastics program until we can build the new facility. They are great partners.
Pastor Tom Perea stopped by my office to talk about the area surrounding his church. The city recently bought the properties behind his church, and along the creek. The land is in the floodway and FEMA does not want any activity in the area. Tom and his congregation would like to help beautify the area and increase parking for the church. I am hopeful we can work together to improve that area. Next summer, we will use the area to store the equipment and supplies that will replace the bridge over the creek on 5th Street. This will be a big improvement for the area.
I received a call from the Air Force Global Strike commander. It was one of the hardest conversations I have had since becoming mayor. He informed me that a fourth family has unfortunately moved from Cheyenne to another base because their children have been routinely racially harassed at school. It breaks my heart that children in our community are being treated this way. As a father, I can’t imagine the pain these families are enduring. I would ask the parents in our community to have a discussion with their child(ren) about the use of the “N” word and making the children of our military members feel welcome in our schools. Cultural change comes with leadership from the top. I love Cheyenne and I believe we have the leadership, so please stand up and do your part.
Jay Sullivan is the third leader our Youth Alternatives program has been blessed with. He just reached his 30th year working for the city. I was pleased to spend some time with him and thank him for his service to our city and youth.
I have been working on educating myself on the affordable housing issue. It usually takes government involvement. Talking with the Wyoming Community Development Authority, Wyoming has very limited resources. I met with a gentleman from South Dakota who has some very innovative ideas on other ways we can achieve our results. It is exciting to learn we may be able to build affordable places for everyone to live. The Corporations Committee meets in the middle of next month, and I’m looking forward to working with them to get things moving.
If you have a question for me, please send an email to email@example.com. I’ll continue to answer your questions or concerns in the following Mayor’s Minute column.