Minnesota Cities Magazine

Bits & Briefs

DonateDonate Old Computer Equipment, Help Others
PCs for People, a nonprofit organization with locations around the state, accepts computer equipment donations from corporations, organizations, and individuals. PCs for People refurbishes the donated computer equipment to distribute to low-income households, and safely recycles electronics that have reached paperweight status. In 2013, the organization distributed 7,034 computers in the upper Midwest either for free or for a nominal charge. The League of Minnesota Cities recently began donating its outdated computer hardware to this organization as a socially conscious and cost-effective way of disposing of electronics. For more information, visit www.pcsforpeople.org.

Creative Outlet: Public Art Walls
The City of Kearney, Nebraska, (population 30,787) is considering a resident’s suggestion to establish a public art wall, according to the Mix Blog (www.mindmixer.com). By establishing a structured opportunity for residents to create public art, supporters hope to develop another avenue for creative expression like those already in action in Venice Beach, California, and Scottsdale, Arizona. The Venice Beach program allows access to the art walls through a free permit process and outlines a few basic rules such as when painting can occur. Learn more about this on the Mix Blog at http://bit.ly/1gB28HR.

Light bulbThe Right Guide for the Light Bulb Aisle
When residents choose energy-efficient light sources for their homes, it can make a big difference on your city’s energy bottom line. But anyone who’s wandered a light bulb aisle recently will know it can be tough to make informed choices—comparing the CFLs to the LEDs, and the watts to the lumens, and the cools to the warms is enough to make eating in the dark sound downright appealing. Here to help, the Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Team has released a new Right Light Guide to help sort out the pros, cons, and costs of choosing between LED, compact fluorescent, and incandescent light bulbs. Download the free guide at http://bit.ly/1np73iT.

ICMA Celebrates 100 Years
The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, the ICMA Municipal Year Book 2014 is chock full of content exploring the organization’s history and the evolution of local government’s professionalism, social policy endeavors, innovation, and more. The historical look-back accompanies the book’s usual data, research, and analysis on topics like the roles of local government managers, intermunicipal cooperation, and compensation for police and fire personnel. Learn more and order the book at http://bit.ly/SjPxzM.

City Learning Point logoONLINE COURSE: Create a Respectful Workplace
Supervisors, how would you deal with a report of harassment brought to you about one of your employees? The latest City Learning Point course can help you prepare for just such a situation. This online course, Preventing Harassment, Promoting Respect—a Supervisor’s Role, will help you understand your role in handling complaints and maintaining a positive work environment, identify the three types of employee complaints and approaches for each, and develop a model process to successfully handle a complaint. The League of Minnesota Cities created City Learning Point online courses to provide city-specific training that is affordable, convenient, and effective. Learn more and register for the course at www.lmc.org/clp.

Check Out The City Spot
Are you a regular reader of “Bits & Briefs”? Check out The City Spot for even more city tidbits, resources, and fresh ideas. This new blog from the League of Minnesota Cities is dedicated to keeping the topic of local government lively and informative. Do you have ideas for topics you want to see featured on The City Spot, or questions you want answered by the blog’s “Research Q of the Week” feature? Email your ideas to communications@lmc.org, and you could see your inspiration on the web! Read The City Spot at www.minnesotacities.blogspot.com.

Mayors Rule bookIf Mayors Ruled the World?
Here’s something to reaffirm your commitment to local government. Benjamin R. Barber, author of If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities, asserts that cities—and, particularly, their mayors—demonstrate leadership behaviors that are harder to find in action on a regional or national level. In turn, the non-partisan decision-making and distaste for red tape that mayors tend to demonstrate make the position more effective, trustworthy, and cooperative, he argues. While envisioning “a planet ruled by cities” may not be pragmatic (check out counterpoint arguments in a Freakonomics podcast at http://bit. ly/1hllZve), it doesn’t hurt to dream. But keep it quick; we’ve got work to do. For more information, visit www.ifmayorsruledtheworld.com.

FEMA at your fingertips
As one would expect, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) phone app includes handy resources such as an emergency kit supply list, maps to shelters, and information about recovery resources. Now the app also includes a crowd-sourcing function called the FEMA Disaster Reporter. According to GCN.com, the new functionality allows residents to upload their own photos and description of damage to help responders map and evaluate a federal emergency faster. While no one wants to face down a crisis, it’s comforting to know you could have FEMA at your fingertips. Learn more at www.fema.gov/smartphone-app.


Why Police Reports Are a Big Deal
Oct. 6–Maplewood
Oct. 7–Golden Valley
Oct. 8–New Brighton
Oct. 9–Lakeville
Learn how to craft well-written reports, which can be crucial to a criminal conviction and a powerful defense in a civil case.

2014 LMC Regional Meetings
Oct. 7–Biwabik
Oct. 8–Hinckley
Oct. 21–Granite Falls
Oct. 22–Madelia
Oct. 23–Mantorville
Oct. 28–Thief River Falls
Oct. 29–Vergas
Oct. 30–Waite Park
Nov. 13–Minneapolis

Get together with League staff and other city officials from your area to share ideas and learn new strategies for successfully managing your city.

Learn more about these and other events at www.lmc.org/events.

Read the July-August 2014 issue of Minnesota Cities Magazine

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