Minnesota Cities Magazine

Bits & Briefs

Chalkboard drawing of a lightbulb shining with gears turning inside of itDatabase of ‘Aha!’ Moments and Tough Choices
How can you spread the word about your city’s collaborative effort to run better and more efficiently? What changes have you made to balance your bottom line? The City Action Examples on LMC’s website are a great place to submit your city’s activity and look up the efforts of others for inspiration. Search by name or type of action in either the City Collaboration Lookup Tool or the Budget-Balancing Lookup Tool. Not seeing your city’s hard work represented? Submit information in an easy-to-use online form. Check out the lookup tools at www.lmc.org/cityaction.

Wildfire Protection DVD
A wildfire burns in the distance. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) announced the release of a new DVD, Before the Smoke! Preparing Your Community for Wildfire (Strategies for Small & Volunteer Fire Departments). The video introduces the “fire adapted communities” initiative to prevent and reduce wildfire damage, as well as organizations and programs that can help address a community’s specific challenges in protecting homes and other property. Filmmakers included interviews with residents and firefighters from Minnesota’s own city of Cohasset, as well as communities in Arkansas and Colorado. The DVD is available at no charge through NFPA’s wildfire safety online catalog at http://bit.ly/16de1u9.

Clear blue water lineThe Bottom Line on Water Treatment
Did you know that the 24-7 operation of water and wastewater treatment facilities can account for up to 10 percent of a local government’s operating budget? That’s according to a new guide, Energy Efficiency in Water and Wastewater Facilities: A Guide to Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs, published by the EPA. Download the guide at http://1.usa.gov/12wKQqL.

Michelle Obama stands at a podium with the American flag in the background.Thanks and a Challenge from the First Lady
First Lady Michelle Obama issued a thank you this summer to local officials who have committed to improving the health of children, and encouraged officials to “double down” on their work. (See the video at http://1.usa.gov/1ar1lHO.) Through the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC) program, these local officials commit to becoming stakeholders in wellness by focusing on the policy and environmental factors that contribute to childhood obesity. Nearly one out of every three children in the country is now overweight or obese, according to the American Medical Association. Roughly 330 officials representing their communities across the country have signed up for the program, including the cities of Moorhead, St. Paul, and Minneapolis. Interested? The National League of Cities provides support to cities that sign up. Learn more at: www.healthycommunitieshealthyfuture.org.

How Are the Children?
A new report published by the National League of Cities’ (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute) has identified ways that small- to medium-sized cities can improve quality of life for youth Children's silly faces in a huddleand families in their communities. While municipal leadership in some smaller communities may feel limited in what support they can provide for this demographic, the report details real-world examples of cities that have made a difference despite limited resources. Examples include activity from Northfield, Minn. (population 20,000), Rapid City, S.D. (population 68,000) and Monticello, Iowa (population 3,800). The report categorizes activity into four key roles that municipal officials can step into using minimal resources. Access the report at http://bit.ly/17o8ne6.

And speaking of youth and families, the YEF Institute’s National Summit on Your City’s Families is scheduled for Nov. 12-14 at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel, in conjunction with the NLC Congress of Cities and Exposition. This event gathers municipal officials and other stakeholder groups involved in improving the lives of youth and families. Topics of discussion will include results-based partnerships focused on education, health, violence, and financial stability. Learn more at http://bit.ly/12hnAtY.

Solar Warms Up to Mobile Homes
Illustration of a teardrop camperThe Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL), based in Pine City, is working to make renewable energy available to low-income homeowners, and that includes mobile homes. recently, RREAL used a $4,000 clean energy resource Teams (CERTS) grant to study the feasibility of installing solar panel furnaces on mobile homes to offset the costs of heating a mobile home with traditional fuel. Their finding? Installing wall-mounted solar panels to mobile homes is both safe for the structure and relatively simple. RREAL, along with AmeriCorps partners, is now working to ease federal restrictions on these types of installations. Learn more about RREAL at www.rreal.org.

Cities, from A-Z
Black, white and yellow design block with entries from urban glossary From “3-D Printer” to “Water Quality,” the BMW Guggenheim Lab has compiled glossaries of 100 urban ideas and trends from cities around the world. Peruse glossaries from New York City, Berlin, and Mumbai to see how urban innovation in these cities differs from your own and what hot topics are resonating here in Minnesota as well. Looking for municipal-themed vacation plans? An exhibition accompanies the project at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City from Oct. 11 to Jan. 5. Learn more at www.100urbantrends.org.

LMC Training & Events

Learn more about these and other events

2013 LMC Regional Meetings

  • Oct. 8–McIntosh
  • Oct. 9–Wadena
  • Oct. 17–Glencoe
  • Oct. 23–Hibbing
  • Oct. 24–Sartell
  • Oct. 29–Zumbrota
  • Oct. 30–Marshall
  • Oct. 31–Morris
  • Nov. 20–St. Paul

Police Leadership in the New Normal I, with Randy Means
Oct. 7–Fergus Falls

Police Leadership in the New Normal II, with Randy Means
Oct. 8-9–White Bear Lake
Oct. 10-11–Shakopee

City Learning Point
Online training courses

  • Human Resources Basics for Managers Series
  • Land Use Series
  • Respectful Workplace Course

Learn more about these and other events

Read the September-October 2013 issue of Minnesota Cities magazine

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