SECRET TO A HEALTHY COMMUNITY

The man on the far right, with the megaphone, is the mayor of my fine city. Every year he holds a 30-day challenge to have members of the community be active for 30 minutes a day. This year the challenge was kicked off with a one mile walk that the mayor led. In politics there is too often examples of “Do as I say, not as I do.” It is refreshing to see a leader who leads by example.

Not only was this an example of a leader walking the walk, but of one who truly cares about the city he leads. Wanting the people who live in the city to be both healthy and happy is an extra step that most officials would not take. The position of mayor is filled with lots of obligations and responsibilities. Arranging both a walk and a 30-day fitness challenge creates a lot of extra work. Including, but not limited to, setting up police presence to make sure the course is safe. Working with sponsors and allocating prizes to be given away, t-shirts printed and what is sure to be countless other details I am forgetting.

Sure, setting up such an event can help you during reelection, but so could just being a great mayor. Why take all of the extra steps? That answer was made clear as we walked along. The mayor did not discuss politics, or as some national politicians are wanting to do, discuss how great of a mayor he was. No, today as we walked along he discussed his son’s love for sports, his family’s like for vacations in northern Wisconsin and an eventful trip they had made to Disney world. Most importantly, the mayor listened. Another sign of a great leader. He listened patiently as people voiced their concerns about aspects of the city, but also when they shared stories of their families as well.

After the walk had concluded, there was a small gathering where water, yogurt and prizes were handed out. Sadly, I did not win any of the State Fair tickets that were up for grabs. I did win, however, by being part of this great community.

I had the great pleasure of talking to wonderful neighbors like Jon and Robin who are also working diligently to foster a sense of community. Even though she wasn’t able to attend, there were plenty of discussions about my amazing neighbor Linda and what a caring neighbor she is. To make the day even better I was able to finally meet several neighbors I had only previously interacted with online including Denise and her fabulous husband. I look forward to chatting more with all of them as we work together to foster a greater sense of togetherness in West Allis Wisconsin.

If your community offers programs such as this I encourage you to join. If they do not, work with leaders to begin some. They not only do a great deal to reduce crime and increase a sense of community, but bring people together for positive and healthy reasons. Leaders, take mayor Dan Devine’s example. Caring about your constituents runs deeper than success at the polls and does not go unnoticed.

SPREAD THE LOVE

The photo on top is how my car used to look. After a wonderful Valentine’s day present from Margie it now looks like the second photo. It is my passion to reach out, connect with and help as many people as I can. To that end, if you happen to live in my neighborhood and see my car feel free to say “Hello” and introduce yourself.

The point of today’s post is this, let the world know who you are. Let the world know what you love. I see political bumper stickers bashing this person or party. I see signs protesting certain agendas and individuals. That is all well and good, but instead of being anti this or that, what if we focused more on who we are and what we wanted?

Celebrate the love. Instead of anti-war, let us be pro peace. Let us fill the world with signs promoting all that we want to create  and not that which we would like to see destroyed. One of the axioms in my new book is “promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.” In addition to sending out a more positive vibe to the world around you, it will also make you feel better. It is also my sincere wish that we allow others to love and be what makes them happy, even if it is different from what we love or who we are.

Also, if you see a truck passing by with a small business advertised on the side, let us increase our sense of community by patronizing that business. Small businesses do wonders by not only supporting your neighbors who own them, but the neighbors they hire, and the local businesses they support. Working together we will not only help each other prosper, but foster a great sense of community.

There we have it my friends. Support and promote who you are and what you love while allowing others, even those you may differ with, do the same. Help support local businesses and by doing so create and foster a greater sense of community. Most important, don’t forget if you see this truck stop and introduce yourself, feel free to let me know any subjects you would like to see addressed on this website. Don’t live in the neighborhood? Feel free to do so in the comments below!

DROP YOUR BUCKETS 

“Neighborhoods are going down hill.” “things aren’t what they used to be.” How many of us have heard, or even said things like this? Do you believe these statements to be true? Accepting these statements as true can leave us with a feeling of helplessness and despair. After all crime is on the rise in a lot of both rural and urban areas. In my own fabulous city of West Allis Wisconsin homicides went from a mere one in 2015 to 6 last year. Burglaries were up almost 100 in the same time frame. That is what the news will tell you. Still, in the same time robberies fell by 37%, assaults fell by over 14%, and theft of vehicles by 11%. So the news is both good and not so good. There is also news of them adding a new off-road ambulance and several businesses with more on the way.

Is this about seeing the glass half-full when it comes to your home town? In a way. It is also reminding us to look a little deeper when we are given certain facts, they may not be the whole story. (see the crime statistics above)

This is but a small fraction of what we can do to restore our faith and outlook in our hometowns. I highly suggest contacting your local government and finding out what their plans are. In West Allis for example, the mayor coupled with other local politicians and business leaders have launched a strategic 5 year plan to improve the quality of life in the city. Knowing what is being worked on behind the scenes can often give you a feeling of hope for the future.

What happens if you are not satisfied with what you discover the local government is doing to improve your fine city? What can you do? That is the very question you should be asking, but let us type it in a slightly different way. What can you do? Sure we can all find things maybe we think local law enforcement could be doing better, but how many of us would be a part of a neighborhood watch program? People are quick to complain how rundown their neighborhood may look, but are they keeping their own property up to serve as an example and to inspire their neighbors? If you really want to make an impact, perhaps you should consider becoming a part of the solution. By that I mean becoming a part of your local government. Something I plan to do in the near future. Not only will it allow you to have a bigger impact on positive change, but also allow you to see the challenges the city faces from angles you may not have considered or knew of.

While speaking to a local alder person I learned one of the best things you can do to improve your neighborhood. Sit on your front porch. Really? I can hear you ask. Yes, by making a presence you will be able to not only better observe things that might need attention, but also get to know more of your neighbors and create more of a sense of community. One of the major complaints people voice is that neighborhoods are not as close as they used to be. It is up to all of us to change that. Attend local block parties or inquire at your local chamber of commerce. Most of all support and frequent local businesses. I do most of my writing at coffee shops located in my fine city because I want them to succeed and to continue to employ the fine people they do. I also DJ 2 out of 3 nights at places located in my hometown.

John F. Kennedy once said the famous line “Don’t ask what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” This is true at the local level as well. It is only by working together we will reclaim and improve our communities. Feel free to share this post as well as share your ideas in the comments below.

DAILY STAY CATION 

Tonight my lady and I visited a traveling beer garden in a local park. What does this have to do with an amazing life? A lot. At this event there were people from all over the community. There was a local band and a local place serving snacks. It was a great way to connect with people in your community which is great for making friends and reducing crime. They were even drinking which made my humor more amusing. 

We hear all the time how neighborhoods are not like they used to be. How people don’t come together anymore. How people don’t feel a sense of community. The only way to change this is to start ourselves. This weekend look for events in your community. Meet your neighbors. Introduce yourself. Do your part to take back your neighborhood. 

Feel free to post events you enjoy attending and any other ideasyou may have for bringing a community together