Karla's Kolumn: Civil discourse and community pride
November 14, 2019
In watching what has transpired over the past few years in Washington politics and across our country and world we tend to believe there is no civil discourse anymore, that people don't respect someone else's opinion, where political leaders are sometimes literally attacked for supporting certain projects and legislation.
Thankfully we have our local government to instill hope in civil discourse again.
I have seen some heated government meetings over the many years of my journalism career, including here in Worland, but last Tuesday was not one of those times.
There were about nine people gathered in the council chambers to listen and to be heard on questions and concerns related to rate increase proposals for the outlying districts that are on city sewer and water.
Mayor Jim Gill outlined the rules for public comment before allowing the public to speak on the issue.
No one likes to have rates increased. The citizens who attended had legitimate concerns but for the most part expressed a willingness to pay their fair share as long as they could be assured they were being treated fairly.
There were some exchanges back and forth between members of the public and members of the council and department heads but everyone was calm, spoke respectfully and I came away with renewed hope that there can be a free exchange of ideas, that political leaders will listen when questions are asked and people can respect one another when they have differing opinions.
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I was also impressed last week with plans by Board of Adjustment and Planning Commission to look at a community mural project similar to what Casper has done four times. Find a place that needs spruced up, enlist the help of a professional artist to sketch a paint-by-number design that community volunteers can come and paint.
ServeWyoming has been partnering with Keep Casper Beautiful and the City of Casper with their projects and Wendy Luck told the group on their service project day of painting they also have other beautification projects that can keep non-painting hands busy, including the hands of small children.
The idea is for families to become involved in the projects and involved in the community. To take ownership in the mural. Wendy Luck told the group that she hears stories of people bringing friends and family who visit Casper to the murals that they helped on.
It reminded me of that feeling of community at the first Trim-A-Tree Lighting Ceremony and the feeling of community and ownership that RT wanted to instill with their event that has families and organizations decorating trees at Pioneer Square.
It was fun to watch the faces of those who decorated as the trees were lit up last year and to listen to that sense of pride as the families and groups talked about their designs and number of lights used.
These projects will only help grow Worland's community spirit. I wish the BAPC well as they begin looking for a location and planning their first mural project and for RT and their second annual Trim-A-Tree lighting event Nov. 29. I'll be there. Will you?