Back to the May-Jun 2019 issue

Bits & Briefs


Shakopee Raises Parkinson’s Awareness Through Parks and Rec

The Shakopee Parks and Recreation Department held a series of exercise classes designed for residents living with Parkinson’s disease or other movement disorders as part of Parkinson’s Awareness Month in April. The classes were first developed in the fall of 2018. “We saw a need for supporting this population with exercise,” says Fitness Coordinator Kelsey Theis. “Research shows that regular physical exercise helps people with Parkinson’s disease to reduce stiffness, regain mobility, improve gait, improve balance, improve posture, strengthen muscles, and manage other symptoms.” City staff plan to continue offering the class series at additional times throughout the year. Shakopee Ice Arena was also host to the NHL Alumni Parkinson’s Foundation Minnesota exhibition game in April, which included food trucks, games, and a silent auction. Money from the event benefited the Parkinson’s Foundation Minnesota. Shakopee Director of Parks and Recreation Jay Tobin says the city would like to make it an annual event.


A Capital Idea for Civic Success

All the money in the world won’t create a healthy, democratic community without the additional input of “civic capital,” says research done by the National Civic League (NCL). The NCL defines civic capital—which is an umbrella term for things like engagement, collaboration, and leadership—as the “primary explanation for long-term community success.” So where does your community rate on civic capital? The Civic Index, a self-assessment tool from the NCL, can help you find out. The tool uses a series of questions to provide a framework for discussing and measuring a community’s civic capital. From there, a community will have a better benchmark of its strengths and where it might have gaps. Find the Civic Index and more information on civic capital at


Minnesota Cities From A to Z, and Then Some

The 2019 Directory of Minnesota City Officials is fresh off the presses and ready to become your handy reference for Minnesota cities! Get the only resource that includes the information you need on all 853 Minnesota cities, including names of elected officials, key staff members, and department heads; city hall address, phone number, email, and website; council meeting times; election year; and population. In addition, the back of the book includes info like how to contact League staff as well as legislative and congressional offices. Get your copy now for only $69. Get more information and an order form.


PATROL Program Gets Polished Up

The Peace officer Accredited TRaining OnLine (PATROL) program is sporting a fresh new look this spring to accompany its always-current continuing education. The new logo is designed to be instantly recognizable—like a shiny new squad car—while reflecting the work of peace officers at the city, county, and state level. In addition, the website has been updated to help you find and register for trainings, many of which are accredited by the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training and approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. PATROL is developed by the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust in partnership with the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust, Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, and Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association. Learn more about PATROL.


Treasured Places in Print

Retired National League of Cities Director Don Borut and former Abilene, Texas, Mayor Gary McCaleb combined their knowledge and love of communities across the nation to write Treasured Places: Celebrating the Richness of America’s Cities and Towns, now available in paperback. The book is a compilation of short narratives about the value of cities and the special ingredients that help create a sense of place. It takes readers on a journey that covers 44 states and every region of America, while offering insights on why communities matter. More than 60 communities are featured in the book, including Duluth and Rochester.


Lanes of Commerce and Community

Small town grocery stores can face a world of challenges, while still being the center of your community’s world. Many of them struggle with competition from larger chain stores, a shrinking customer base, and changing customer demands for a greater variety of fresh produce. The University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) offer a toolkit—including checklists and sample policies, training, and information on grants—to help your community work together to sustain these important businesses. Get connected with the RSDP’s rural grocery store initiative at


NLC City Summit Slated for San Antonio in November

City Summit is the National League of Cities’ (NLC) annual conference for all local officials—elected and staff—to learn about the issues affecting local governments and expand their professional network. The conference provides education for leadership development, meaningful discussions on common local-level problems, and new best practices to address the trends affecting cities. This year, the conference will be held Nov. 20-23 in San Antonio. In addition to conference workshops, general sessions, and NLC University seminars, attendees will get a chance to see successful projects during mobile workshops around the host city. Register by June 30 to get the early-bird rate! Learn more and register at https://

S4SCON: Social for Safety Conference

The Government Social Media Organization (GSMO) has announced a new event designed specifically for staffers who manage public safety agency social media accounts or are part of a virtual operations support teams. The inaugural event is set for Oct. 1-3 in Reno, Nevada. Learn more at