It’s been a busy term in office. On top of my involvement in various community groups and working with the rest of Wyoming City Council to manage day-to-day community issues, I’ve also initiated a number of programs and done what I can to make sure other people’s bright ideas became a reality.
Click any of the accomplishments below to get more details about some of the initiatives into which I invested my time and energy. I’ll keep adding throughout the campaign, so check back later too!
Last election, I ran with the tagline: “A fresh voice for Wyoming.” To that end, I’ve brought new ideas to the city:
>> Initiated a new Welcome Home Wyoming Baby home visit and gift bag for new parents.
Working with local partners, I gathered donated material to create an exciting new parent gift for Wyoming parents that includes a Calm Baby Gently board book (donated by the Mayerson Centre for Safe & Healthy Children), poison control stickers, and safe sleep materials. As an extra incentive for parents to request the goodie bag, and to encourage shopping local, I also coordinated coupons from CWC, Tela, Wendy Magee Photography and Parlour on the Pike (now JC and Co Salon). The new parent treats are delivered by Wyoming Fire & EMS, which can also help these parents understand their discharge orders, complete a home safety check, and get parents signed up for a car seat safety check.
>> Created Good Morning, Wyoming to encourage shopping local in Wyoming.
I invited Wyoming children’s book author Emma Berne and fine artist Marlena Hebenstreit to create the children’s book Good Morning, Wyoming. The book is a celebration of our city from a child’s viewpoint, but also was created as a special incentive to get residents shopping local during the holiday season and beyond. Local businesses were spotlighted on social media, with residents taking photos of their book at retailers around town and using the hashtag #ShopWyoming. I was able to gather donations from Wyoming Recreation Foundation, the Wyoming Art Show and What’s Up Wyoming to fund the project. Our businesses bought the books at cost and profited on each book, and the city’s profits go back to the Wyoming Recreation Foundation to be put toward community events.
>> This year, I wrote and we were awarded a grant by Hamilton County Recycling & Solid Waste District to help reduce organic waste in Wyoming.
I wrote a grant—with a matching dollar commitment from the City of Wyoming and Wyoming School District—that will result in a new compost bin at the Wyoming community garden, middle school, and high school, plus new waste stations at the high school. This means soon not only will all students K-12 have the same system to teach them how to sort and reduce waste (reinforced every day at lunch), but our community gardeners and three local restaurants have committed to being a part of our pilot community compost project.
Excited? A group of us will be out building them this summer, and if you want to help build, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer!
>> I worked with the Wyoming Environmental Stewardship Commission to establish the city’s new Green Business Award.
Last year, I surveyed the Wyoming Business Association to see what sort of interest there would be in the award and our environmentally-minded business community backed the idea. The Environmental Stewardship Commission made a simple idea a reality by developing metrics for judging environmental initiatives and pulling together a team to manage the process.
This year three Wyoming businesses and organizations—Ascension & Holy Trinity, Tela Bar + Kitchen, and Wyoming Community Coffee—were honored with the 2019 Wyoming Green Business Award. Residents can see their commitment (marked by special door clings) every time they visit these establishments. It’s not only an important recognition for our businesses, but also underscores our city’s environmental commitments.
On city council I’ve had the opportunity to help lift up the interests of our community.
>> I launched an annual Environmental Mini-Grant Program that is managed by the Environmental Stewardship Commission.
Working with the school district and the city manager, I was able to launch this mini-grant program, funded by the city’s annual recycling rebate. It’s a relatively low investment of $1,500 annually, split across three student-designed initiatives. But for our kids, that $500 mini-grant means an opportunity to select an environmental improvement they’d like to see at their schools, and to be trusted with the resources to make a difference.
>> Worked with Wyoming Police Department to develop a warm referral system to Women Helping Women for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
Women Helping Women is a regional leader in supportive services for survivors of gender-based violence and assault. In the city of Cincinnati, WHW is now dispatched in-person along with police as reports of domestic violence come in, and then their staff stay connected with survivors as they navigate leave from work, the medical and justic systems. While a city Wyoming's size does not qualify for that federally-funded program at this time, I was able to connect WPD and WHW to institute the next-best option. Instead of simply leaving a survivor with a brochure, on applicable calls and after safety has been established, our police will now call WHW's 24 hour line with the survivor to connect them immediately with someone who can help them in a supportive role, both immediately after the initial moment of chaos, but also in the weeks to come (just as they do in Cincinnati and other communities). This not only gives an extra layer of support from trained survivor-advocates to anyone living in Wyoming, but those resources are paid for by WHW and so the effort does not add cost to WPD.
>> I’m currently working with a group of Wyoming residents interested in creating a potential shared workspace.
It’s early days for brainstorming the space, but we’ve pulled together a number of entrepreneurs to define their needs and Wyoming-based insights strategist Ellen Kelly is helping to develop a proposal and business plan to take to Wyoming’s Economic Development Commission.
>> I helped make the smart idea of a “Single Stream Certified” recycling advisory program a reality.
Sometimes the best part of being on city council is simply being in the position to help a resident hear a “yes” for a good idea. Given confusion regionally around what can and cannot be recycled, resident Katie Lawrence suggested starting a Single Stream Certified recycling advisory program, with volunteers trained to help “audit” residents' green Rumpke recycling cans upon request. I was able to connect Lawrence with staff at Hamilton County Recycling & Solid Waste District, and her bright idea is about to become a pilot program for the county. If it goes well, what starts here in Wyoming may be recommended to super-recyclers across the county!
We’re a tight-knit community, and Wyoming’s strength comes from our common bonds. To serve these intangible connections within Wyoming, I’ve:
>> Launched #HireWyoming to help better connect Wyoming entrepreneurs to hiring opportunities.
In this group, we’re building a network of all the businesses tucked in home offices across the city and referring folks who we know are hiring to other Wyoming talent.
>> Building toward a Charter for Compassion to draw out and celebrate the kindness we find among one another in Wyoming.
I’ve been working with a group of faith leaders, city staff, and school administrators on a Charter for Compassion initiative due to launch in late summer. (It was an idea brought to the city by Wyoming resident Rabbi Dave Burstein—and like others at the city building—I was excited to help build support for the initiative.) This process will help us identify and celebrate the good we find in one another here.
>> Joined in the Wyoming Cultural Collaborative and helped plan our first annual World Food & Music Festival.
I supported my fellow city councilmember Jeff LeRoy in his efforts to establish the Wyoming Cultural Collaborative— a community group defined by its dedication to celebrating Wyoming’s diversity. And I also served on the planning committee for the city’s first annual World Food & Music Festival, aimed again at celebrating the rich heritage represented in Wyoming and the surrounding area.
>> Lent support to Lockland Rising.
It’s important to me not only to build relationships with the city leadership in our surrounding communities, but I believe part of Wyoming’s strength into the future depends upon encouraging those passionate about reinvesting in our neighboring cities too. I supported the efforts of folks like Margee Moore and Cody Gertz as they built up Lockland Rising and as they worked to save the Stearns Building in Lockland.