Mayor Patrick Collins photo

Mayor-elect Patrick Collins

 

I received my second COVID-19 vaccine shot last week. It comes with a sense of relief, as I have watched friends and coworkers go through the struggles with the virus. My sincere thanks to Kathy Emmons and Dr. Stan Hartman of Cheyenne-Laramie County Health and Jeanine West with Cheyenne-Laramie County Emergency Management and all the others who have led us through this past year. A special thank you to the doctors, nurses, and all the healthcare workers who have taken care of our residents. I am feeling like we are at the end of this epic journey, and as a community, ready to get back to some sort of normalcy. 

I had a chance to personally swear-in Mark Francisco as our new Chief of Police on Monday morning. We had a nice crowd of all the law enforcement agencies across our County. These relationships are so important to Cheyenne. They are a force multiplier in that they give us extra manpower in the event we need them. I am excited with this new venture, and the opportunity to reengage with our partners to make Cheyenne and Laramie County the safest place to live, work, and play. Please welcome Mark and his wife, Lisa, to our beautiful city.

We hired a Grant Writer and Administrator this week. As our local and state budgets have come under pressure, it is essential that we compete for grants to extend our budget and services. Somehow, we had let this position go in the past. With the American Rescue Plan and American Jobs Act recently announced, opportunities for grants will be plentiful. Renee Smith comes with years of experience and a passion for Wyoming. I look forward to her success and the benefits to Cheyenne it will bring.

I had an opportunity to have lunch with Nathan Anderson, the Senior Director of Public Affairs for Union Pacific Railroad this week. It was nice to finally have a person we can share our plans with that require cooperation from the railroad. We talked about the Belvoir Ranch and our dream of opening it up to the public by creating a trailhead that would allow users to get through the ranch and to the Big Hole along with plans for the East Park and the greenway to connect to the LEADS business park under the tracks. We also discussed the historic steam fleet and how we might one day have public access to these magnificent pieces of American history. I appreciate the railroad and how Cheyenne came to be due to their operations and look forward to working with them in the future.

I bought lunch Thursday for our street and alley crew to say thank you for their hard work during our recent snowstorm. We honored Owen Rogers, a loader driver who helped our fire department personnel get a baby delivered in their home to the hospital, and I was able to thank the crew of 22 people for all our residents for the incredible efforts they made. A few of them actually slept in the shop during the storm, because if they went home, they would not be able to make it back and into the snow removal fight. It is a great group of guys, many that have been with the department for over 30 years. 

Thursday afternoon I joined Randy Hickman from our street and alley department to patch potholes. We talked about what causes potholes, what we can do to prevent them, and then we went to work. We have a couple different processes.  For the concrete they have a special bag of mix that bonds with the concrete and makes for a stable patch. We did one and it was fascinating to watch the mix work. For asphalt, we have two treatments.  Our cold mix that comes from our patch truck, and a bag product called Unique Patch Material (UPM) Winter Blend Cold Mix that our testing showed works great in Cheyenne. We patched a dozen holes with the bag product. First cleaning out the hole, pouring in the mix, leveling it to just the right amount, and then tamping it.  I think I will sleep well tonight and feel muscles I have not used for a while. Our crew makes it look so easy. Members of our community can report a pothole in town by visiting, www.cheyennecity.org/reportaconcern and complete our pothole form. We appreciate you helping us keep our roads smooth.

I was honored to attend the Omaha Trophy presentation at F.E. Warren Air Force Base on Wednesday. The Omaha Trophy represents the best Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) squadron from all the missile bases across our nation. The 90th Missile Wing’s Lt. Colonel Michael Suden of the Operations Support Squadron was given the trophy by Lt. General Thomas A. Bussiere in a ceremony at the base theater. This is the Super Bowl for people in the missile business, and we are so proud of our Mighty Ninety and Team Warren!

Governor Gordon and I were out promoting our locally owned restaurants again this week. The Albany served us up a great lunch and provided a wonderful atmosphere.  Betsey Hale, CEO of LEADS, joined us and shared the wonderful things they are doing to expand our local primary employers, and to bring new companies and jobs to Cheyenne and Laramie County. Try the hot turkey sandwich, it is my all-time favorite, and save room for the Crème brûlée, it is awesome! Thanks, Kate, for the great service. This weekend with friends and family in town for the Easter celebration, stop by a local restaurant and show them some love, they are worthy of the effort.

I would like to answer a question sent in from my friend Steve Walls who sent us an email following my Mayor’s Minute column last week. Steve is retired Army and a great guy. Steve writes:

“The avenue streets are impossible to navigate especially during weather events. People parked on the curb on both sides of the streets making a single lane of travel, making it impossible for opposing traffic to navigate without finding a place to pull off to allow opposing traffic to continue. My solution would be to make all Avenues streets ‘alternating one-way’ eliminating two lane travel on a one lane street.”   

Steve, I love the idea. I will bring this idea to staff and look at the ramifications of your suggestion. I appreciate your innovative solution to this long-standing problem. I will share what staff comes up with in this column when they are finished.

Please continue sending questions you have my way by sending an email to media@cheyennecity.org. I’ll continue to answer them in my following Mayor’s Minute column.