JEROME — A 2015 Times-News project, the four-part “El Nuevo Jerome” series, explored the effects of Jerome’s rapidly growing Latino population and the city’s changing efforts to spread information to Latino residents.
Two years later, City Hall is still reinventing its outreach.
Monthly appearances on Spanish and English radio shows — including La Perrona — continue to be successful, City Administrator Mike Williams said in June. City officials talk about a topic relevant to what’s happening in the city.
“That’s something we find has been very helpful,” Williams said. In addition to community members calling into the radio show, the city typically receives two or three calls after it’s over.
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The printed version of a monthly city newsletter, available in Spanish and English, goes to local businesses and places such as Jerome Public Library and Jerome Senior Center.
But Williams said he hopes to “change things up a little” because he’s not sure whether the printed newsletter is the most effective way to communicate with residents. He’d like to see the city’s already active Facebook page have content available in Spanish, too.
Williams also wants residents to know they’re welcome to stop by City Hall with their questions. “We hope it’s not a scary experience to come in and talk with city staff.”
It’s not a requirement for Jerome city employees to be bilingual, but when they are, “that’s fantastic and sets them apart,” Williams said. The city recently hired another police officer who speaks Spanish fluently.
City Hall isn’t alone in its effort to connect.
The Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs has visited Jerome several times in the past couple of years to get information about Jerome’s Hispanic population and outreach efforts, share information and gauge which areas need improvement. Those visits included a public meeting in June about immigration; Williams, the mayor and the police chief attended, and it included a presentation by the Mexican Consulate.
In a May 2016 visit to Jerome, the Idaho commission met with Guadalupe Eudabe, a woman featured in the “El Nuevo Jerome” project. Eudabe’s 2-year-old son, Damian, was killed in September 2014 when he was hit by a pickup outside the family’s home.
Almost a year after the boy’s death, Wendell resident Bernave Avila-Romero was charged with one felony count of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury or death. Prosecutors later dropped the case.