It has been a month of great interaction with many individuals and events taking place within our community. And as I have said before, these type of events are what makes being mayor fun!
On Nov. 8th, I was a guest at the Sertoma Service Club Annual Service to Mankind Award Banquet. Annually, the Sertoma group recognizes someone who has truly served mankind and done so selflessly. This year’s winner: Donette Jablonski. It was an honor to be a part of family and friends who praised her and said “thank you” for her tireless efforts. Columbus is certainly a greater place with people such as Donette.
I had the opportunity to be a part of the Veterans' Day event that was held at CHS on Friday, Nov. 10th. This celebration, in honor of all our veterans, included the CHS Concert Band, the CHS New World Singers, the American Legion Chores, the American Legion Honor Guard, quest speaker Doug Whitaker (Col. Retired U.S. Army Guard), and MC-Ken Curry.
This event is a great tribute to all the men and women who have sacrificed and served our country. Too often we take for granted the awesome liberties that we have here at home and forget those that have served and helped preserve these liberties. CHS students that were in attendance were all given a homework assignment. Next time they encounter a veteran-thank them and ask them about their service. This is something each and every one of us should do.
On Friday evening, Nov. 10th, I was a guest at the 2023 Centro Hispano Annual Celebration held at Ag Park. An evening of thank you to our community for the great support of Centro Hispano. This gathering consisted of food, refreshments, entertainment, and acknowledgment to those who helped make this all possible.
As our community continues to grow, the importance of welcoming all of our citizens becomes even more important. Centro Hispano’s mission is simple: “Developing meaningful relationships with our community members. Fostering intentional change around diversity, inclusion, and equitable opportunities for all.”
Columbus is a much stronger community because of Centro Hispano.
On Wednesday, Nov. 15th, the City hosted the Columbus High School JAG group-Jobs for American Graduates. It is always exciting to have the youth of our community come and learn how city government operates and ask questions. When we finished the questions and answers, the group, many who had not been though our new Community Building, were given a tour of the facility.
On Friday, Nov. 17th, I welcomed Leadership Nebraska to our community. This is a group of young individuals from all over the state who during the year learn all about Nebraska and work to become better leaders in their communities. They had spent two days in Norfolk and were ending their week Columbus. What a great opportunity to highlight what we have to offer.
My last interaction concluded on a personal note. I was asked to help present the Students of the Month recipients for the Optimist Club. It always exciting to celebrate our youth because they are our future. With the help of the school’s guidance counselor each school picks a male and a female student to be honored. And the personal note-the Scotus male chosen was my grandson, Nick Fleming! Congratulations to Nick and all the others honored.
I recently had the opportunity to tour the new, soon-to-be-opened, Columbus Community Hospital (CCH) Fieldhouse. What an awesome facility! There are not enough adjectives that I could use to adequately describe this facility and explain everything it has to offer. A full size soccer field, football field, multiple basketball courts, volleyball courts, tennis and pickleball courts, elevated walking track, trampolines, golf simulators, miniature golf, baseball hitting stations and more.
I can easily say there is not another community the size of Columbus that has a facility such as this. Built and managed by Columbus Community Hospital and run in conjunction with the YMCA this facility will offer wellness and health opportunities for all of Columbus. And it will serve as a magnet that will draw visitors from all over. And these visitors will spend their money and support our local businesses.
I often highlight the wise decisions that we make in spending your tax dollars. I am proud that we are good stewards of our tax dollars. That is what makes this Fieldhouse an even greater asset to our community. This facility has come about with ABSOLUTELY NO City tax dollars. That is correct-NO City tax dollars. Talk about exciting. CCH funding this facility and making it a new “destination” for our community. Stay tune for much more information to come on the official opening schedule for late January 2024.
I wanted to take a moment and highlight the successful conclusion of negotiations for EMS services with Columbus Rural Fire Department (CRFD) and Duncan Rural Fire Department (DRFD). As I mentioned in earlier articles, the City of Columbus had been providing EMS services to both of these geographical areas forever. And at no charge.
As this was recognized, it was obvious by all parties involved, that this needed to change. It was only fair to the citizen of Columbus, whose tax dollars pays for these services, that the other parties that utilize the service pay their fair share. This was never argued by any of the parties involved.
Negotiations began months ago and the parties reached agreement this month. CRFD entered into a three-year agreement with annual options to extend and keep the current services they have had. DRFD entered into a six-month agreement with another option for six more months to keep their service as they had it while they work to establish their own EMS Response Team.
I want to thank CRFD and DRFD along with the City’s committee in working diligently to find equitable solutions that worked for all parties. These solutions acknowledged the need for professional services and the cost for providing those services. A win/win for all involved.
I must take a moment and say thank you to Councilwoman Beth Augustine Schulte, who has resigned her position effective at our Nov. 20th Council meeting. Beth and her husband are moving outside the city limits and she must step down. She has served as a Ward 1 Councilwoman for over 12 years and has done a fantastic job of representing her constituents and the city of Columbus. I thank Beth for her years of service and dedication.
(ABOUT THE PHOTO: Mayor Jim Bulkley presents outgoing City Councilwoman a framed copy of a proclamation honoring her years of service while the City Council., City Administrator Tara Vasicek and City staff watch and applaud during the Nov. 20, 2023, City Council meeting in the Columbus Community Building.)
Finally, as we enjoy this Thanksgiving weekend we need to take the time to reflect on those things special to us and give THANKS. As for me:
*I am thankful I live in the greatest county on earth.
*I am thankful I live in Columbus. A community that values individuals and works together to grow our city.
*I am thankful for all the people that step up and offer their time to make our community better.
* I am thankful to work with a city council and city staff that strive to do their best for the citizens of Columbus.
*I am thankful that we live in a country where we can worship and recognize the greatness of the Load.
*I am thankful for my health and the health of my family.
*I am thankful for the love and support of my wife and family.
And finally, I am thankful and blessed that I have been given this opportunity to lead our community as your Mayor. It is truly a humbling experience. May all of you enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Something Good Columbus!