Community Update – April 14

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Rapid Improvement            

Creating a culture of continuous improvement takes time and participation. Last week, we began our second round of Rapid Improvement training. This time, we have 19 trainees from 9 City Departments taking part in the ‘fundamentals’ of Lean-Six Sigma. Sessions focus on each phase of Defining, Measuring, Analyzing, Improving and Controlling the new process of a potential project (DMAIC) as well as concepts of lean.  This training affords employees the training and concepts to be involved with improvement projects within the City.

As with thePrint first round of trainees, this training group will be working on a project during their training. That project will examine the extensive ‘long grass/weeds enforcement’ process by Ordinance Control. The goal is to reduce or eliminate some of the many areas for delay in the system, bringing the process from one that can take as long as two weeks to bring into compliance, to closer to the 5 days given for compliance as spelled out in our ordinance.  It is our hope the improved process can further be applied to other ordinance control violations (i.e. snow removal).

The progress we as an organization have made in learning and applying lean concepts has been significant and- in many ways- inspiring to see.  I applaud the Council for their forward thinking approach in approving funding to supplement costs of training not covered by grants.  I also thank all our city employees and Department Heads who approach the training with an open mind and continue to devote time out of their schedules to participate.

Volunteers, Mentoring, and Beautification

Last Monday, the United Way held their annual Volunteer Breakfast at the Hotel Mead and Convention Center.  The breakfast served a dual purpose – formally kicking off “National Volunteer Week,” and to recognize those individuals and groups in our community who cVolunteer Breakfastommit their time and energy to various service opportunities in our area.  As someone who recognizes that forward progress requires the hands of many, I feel it is important to always seek to inspire, recognize and encourage residents to commit to volunteering opportunities in our area. Contact the Volunteer Coordinator at United Way to see opportunities.

Last Wednesday, I joined community leaders from our area at Renaissance Learning to mentor at this year’s Junior Achievement’s Business Challenge.  Junior Achievement’s mission is to prepare youth to successfully navigate their economic future, through learning experiences centered around financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work-readiness skills.  The business challenge paired 2 high school students up with a mentor (community member), and tasked them with strategizing to operate the most successful business and perform duties of a company’s management team.  My team did a fantastic job and I’m proud and inspired at the knowledge and skill that my team had in running our global business!

The Mayor’s Council on Beautification had their first meeting last month.  The intent and focus of the group is action oriented- identifying potential projects, working to secure project funding, and seeing through on ranked and prioritized projects.  The Mayor’s Council on Beautification had a very productive first meeting with a great turnout of residents.  Initial projects identified were: planting trees, beautifying City entrances, boulevards and hanging flower baskets on Grand Avenue. The group’s next meeting will be next Wednesday, April 23, at 4:30PM in the 1st Floor Conference Room at City Hall.  I encourage anyone interested in participating to stop by, or contact me to be added to the list. I am proud to see another example of resident-led engagement- this time in beautifying our City.

Hosting 2nd Graders

Last photo 1Friday, 64 second graders from Mead Elementary School toured City Hall and the Wisconsin Rapids Police Department as part of their community/law unit.  For the “Community” portion of the visit, the City Clerk and I had the pleasure of hosting the students, exposing them to our local government’s legislative process, including holding ‘mock’ City Council meetings and an election.  For the election, the students voted on what their favorite ice cream wphoto 2as.  The result of the election was a overwhelming response for Chocolate receiving 60% of the vote!  Strawberry came in second, just beating out vanilla.  As always, the students were full of good questions.  To see students enthusiastic, engaged and asking questions of the democratic process at such a young age is inspiring!

Young Adult Happy Hour

This Tuesday, April 15,  the Young Professionals Network (YPN) will be joining Incourage Community Foundation in hosting a “Young Adult Happy Hour” at Jennings and Company, 210 1st Street North, from 5:30PM-7:00PM.  Along with networking, this event seeks to get insight into what young adults/professionals and families in our community value and feel attracts them to a community.  It will also serve as a chance to learn about updates on exciting new developments in our community.  As a fellow Young Professional, authentically addressing the attachment to our community is a high priority, and young adults/families have a unique perspective to share.  I look forward to learning of the feedback shared at the meeting.

Coffee with the Mayor

This Wednesday, April 16th, I invite you to join me at Gracie’s Family Restaurant, 1371 8th Street South, from 8:00AM-9:00AM.  All are welcome to join me for all or just part of the time, for breakfast or coffee, so spread the word to friends and neighbors.

Thank you for reading,

Mayor Zach

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