Union Mayor Larry Solomon recently participated in a project for Gray Middle School in Union.

The Mayor was contacted by Kaitlyn Southwick, a sixth-grader at Gray, regarding a project for her English Language Arts/Project Based Learning Class. Each student was tasked with creating a project where they would create content of some type that would benefit the community. These projects are called 20% Projects.

Kaitlyn decided to create a cookbook that would include recipe submissions from Union residents for foods that provide them comfort. She contacted the Mayor for a submission, which Solomon was only too happy to provide. Their correspondence appears below:

Mayor Larry,

My name is Kaitlyn Southwick. I am a 6th grade student at Gray Middle School. My English Language Arts class and Project-Based-Learning class have teamed up to create a PBL project titled 20% Project. The idea is that we spend 20% of our time creating our own project that will not only teach us content, but benefit the community in some way.

For my project, I have chosen to create a cookbook on comfort foods, those recipes will come from the community. I chose this because I love to cook. With that said, I will need some help which is why I am reaching out to you.

I am asking for you to give me one recipe that brings comfort to your home. If you could send a list of ingredients, how to make it, and a picture of the meal, that would be great.
If you are willing to help me with this project, you can contact me with the email below.

I am very excited for my project. Please let me know if you have any questions or need anything else. Thank you for taking time to read my email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kaitlyn Southwick
[email protected]

Hello Kaitlyn…

I am honored that you would think of me to be part of your project. I would normally respond via my mayoral email, but I am in Florida on vacation. No worries about taking time away from vacation…it is raining, so I have time to respond.

You are requesting that I provide you a recipe that brings comfort to my home and family. Well, my brother-in-law (Kevin) is a four star chef and every time we are home to visit family in Northeast Ohio, we always request Kevin to prepare Chicken Francese to bring us all together as a family…be it we are there for a holiday or simply visiting everyone back home. When at home in Union and we want to think of family back home, we cook up some Chicken Francese to bring us closer to family.

Now being Mayor, I always think of my Commissioners (who are great guys…BTW), Union’s Staff Members/Contractors (who are also great!), and all the residents of the City of Union (who live in the best city in NKY!) as “family”. So when you asked to share a recipe that brings comfort to our home and makes us think of family, it was only natural that I provide you the recipe for Chicken Francese to share with my City of Union family!!

Being in Florida, I cannot provide Kevin’s exact recipe, because it is at home. However, I can provide you a link to one that is essentially the same as his recipe. Here you go…


I am also requesting Melissa (our Communications Coordinator) put all this on our website to let all Union residents know of your project. Who knows maybe everyone in Union will be enjoying Chicken Francese soon!

Hope this helps. And, thanks for asking me to participate.

Mayor Larry

If you would like to help Kaitlyn with her school project and send her your favorite recipe, you can reach her at [email protected]

For more information on the City of Union, please contact Communications Coordinator Melissa Hinkle at [email protected]