November Visioneer, 2014

City of Topeka Invites Online Engagement with Mindmixer


The City of Topeka is giving residents a voice in shaping the city's future through an online public engagement platform called Mindmixer.  The City's Mindmixer, is a comprehensive community engagement website where residents can engage, communicate, and collaborate with community decision makers on the future of our community.  


Mindmixer gets the community involved in the planning process of City and community ventures.  Feedback from this interactive and accessible website is used by City leaders as they lay out plans on a variety of projects. gives contributors a chance to share new ideas, rate the ideas of others, expand on existing ideas, and give feedback on City programs and initiatives.  The site also measures and tracks participation, identifying the most interested citizens and most compelling topics.  

Executive Director updates, Six months with Heartland Visioning


Six months into the process and I couldn't be more excited about serving as Executive Director of Heartland Visioning.  My most sincere thanks to everyone on the Management team who guided me through the transition and provided the insight and support necessary for decision-making and initiating change. If you didn't know already, Emma Starkey is my foundation in the office.  Her knowledge of our organization from the file systems to bill tracking to scheduling to forming partnerships with the community is incredible and we wouldn't be where we are today without recognizing her contribution.


To all of you who have invested your time, talents and interest in serving on the Steering Committee, my sincere appreciation for all you are doing for our community. It is amazing to think that once a month at 7:30 AM we fill a room with volunteers whose interest is to improve our quality of life and enhance economic development in our City. Each and everyone of you are so special and important to this change process that I can't thank you enough for all you are doing.  As you have heard me say, "Visioning" takes time, it is complex and we need to be adaptive as we go through the process.  What we all ultimately understand is that our community will find success due to your efforts.


Professionally, I was honored when Dr. Farley asked me to serve as Chair of the Quality of Life Foundation for Heartland Visioning back in 2008. That appointment resulted in a collaborative partnership with Anita Wolgast and Barry Feaker and many others on the creation of our NOTO Arts District.  Today we continue our efforts on the downtown development, our riverfront, and the riverfront park.  Also, improving the human conditions in our neighborhoods, enhancing transportation options and looking closely at our community's entertainment needs.


Six months have quickly passed.  I remain proud to serve as your Executive Director and hope that you will all continue to join with me in committing ourselves to the Visioning process in the months and years ahead.  We are - Topeka Proud!

Rock Stars from famous bands play concert for United Way and hunger awareness


December People takes classic Christmas songs and plays them in the styles of such artists as The Who, The Police, ZZ Top, BOSTON, Led Zeppelin and more. The band includes Gary Pihl of BOSTON, Robert Berry who has played with the Greg Kihn Band and Ambrosia, Dave Medd of The Tubes, David Lauser of the Sammy Hagar Band and Jack Foster, an international artist popular in Europe. 


The Topeka High School Drum Line will play during the song "Little Drummer Boy." The Topeka West Singers, Washburn Rural's This Generation, the Shawnee Heights Choraliers, the Highland Park Scot Singers and the Seaman Show Choir will perform on stage with the band as will a seven-octave bell choir from Countryside United Methodist Church. 


The concert came about after Dan Woodard, president of Project Topeka, shared with Al Hammons, United Way information technology director, that donations to Project Topeka were down last year, at times approaching 50 percent lower. Project Topeka serves a number of local food banks and pantries. Hammons knew Gary Pihl from some previous work and recalled Pihl's passion for charity and especially hunger awareness. He contacted Pihl who quickly agreed to bring December People to TPAC.


For more information or to listen to an interview with band member Gary Pihl, visit the United Way website. The band's music may be heard here

Tickets for United Rocks! A Classic Rock Christmas are on sale now. Event will be November 22, 7:00 pm at Topeka Performing Arts Center, and will benefit Project Topeka and United Way of Greater Topeka. 


Community Resources Council Names Award Recipients


Daily, in Shawnee County, our local government, businesses, non-profits and individuals take tremendous steps to improve our quality of life, be a steward of the environment, and increase the ability to sustain a successful community for future generations.


These awards present an opportunity to recognize those in our community making Shawnee County a great place to call home.

Veterans Administration / Life Enrichment Center -Government Agency of Excellence 


Junior League of Topeka and their Diaper Depot -Nonprofit of Excellence 


Gary Doyle of Harvesters - Individual of Excellence


Walgreen's Drug Store, 29th & California, #03772 -Business of Excellence

To see the full list of nominees click here


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