Back to the Sep-Oct 2019 issue

Bits & Briefs

Wow, That’s Refreshing!

If this issue of Minnesota Cities magazine is looking particularly fresh to you, it’s probably because the League of Minnesota Cities’ brand refresh is making its debut. This updated visual identity includes a new clock tower logo, as well as some different colors and fonts. But, of course, nothing is changing about our commitment to helping city officials reach that next level of local government excellence.

If you were at the Annual Conference in Duluth last June, you got a sneak peek at the League’s updated brand. In fact, you might have even had a few premiere-style snapshots taken with the logo, like St. Peter City Administrator Todd Prafke and New Ulm City Administrator Chris Dalton did. If you couldn’t make it to Duluth, stop by the League building any time to do a coffee mug swap! Bring us a mug with your city logo, and we’ll trade you for one sporting the new LMC logo.

National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month, dedicated to promoting family and community disaster and emergency planning. This year’s theme is “Prepared, Not Scared. Be Ready for Disasters.” The Federal Emergency Management Agency has graphics and information for you to share with your residents at

Your county’s emergency management director and the Minnesota Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management can help your city with trainings, education, and planning. It’s also a great time to check in with the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust on any questions you have about disaster preparation or your coverage. Another resource that can help boost your readiness is Chapter 12 of the League’s Handbook for Minnesota Cities, available at

A Hand With the Hands-Free Law

The Inver Grove Heights Police Department embraced the state hands-free law that went into effect Aug. 1 by giving drivers phone clips and educational flyers during traffic stops. The new law makes it illegal to hold a cell phone while driving. The phone clips allow drivers to attach their cell phones to the car’s air conditioning vent. The department also produced a short video to educate the public about the law and invite residents to ask questions. The city worked with Townsquare Television to produce the video. Watch Inver Grove Heights Police Chief Melissa Chiodo and her team remind drivers about the new hands-free driving law at

Giving Change, Making Change

The City of Phoenix, Arizona, recently unveiled four “giving meters,” parking meters painted by local artists that harness the community’s generosity while deterring panhandling. All change and card donations made to the giving meters go to the city’s outreach program providing services to end homelessness.

What’s Under My Street?

The complexity and cost of roadwork today means educating residents about city services and infrastructure investment is more important than ever. Engineering firm Bolton & Menk recently released an interactive application called “What’s Under My Street?” to help show the public what lies beneath their roadway and how interconnected everyday life is with things like stormwater, sanitary sewer, and utilities in the public right of way. The resource is available for cities to link to and share at Bolton & Menk is a member of the League’s Business Leadership Council.

Greening Your Fleet

If you’re ready to have an honest talk about your city’s vehicle use and efficiency—backed up by data—a new resource is available to help. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s new Mobile Source Specialist Mehjabeen Rahman can help you create a personalized plan for your fleet and provide you with resources that will help with the collection and tracking of data. Bonus: As a former GreenCorps member with the City of Edina, Rahman has a good understanding of cities. To get started, contact Rahman at

A Fond Farewell To Kevin Frazell

League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) Member Services Director Kevin Frazell closed out his 42-year local government career at the end of August. Frazell (pictured, center, at a retirement party with co-workers and friends) worked in city administration in Coon Rapids, Mendota Heights, and Cottage Grove before coming to the League in 1997. He has worked with countless city officials as member services director and with affiliate organizations like the Minnesota City and County Managers Association and the Minnesota Mayors Association. In retirement, he says he’s looking forward to a more relaxed lifestyle.

Looking back over his 22 years at the League, Frazell says these are his top three fun memories:

  • Holding the 2012 Annual Conference in Duluth, despite torrential rain and flooding that turned manholes into geysers and set a bear and a seal (temporarily) free from the Lake Superior Zoo.
  • Enjoying the laughter of city officials as they watched the zany Mosquito Heights & Buzz Olson videos at LMC Regional Meetings.
  • Being introduced to the best pies around the state by now-retired Field Representative Tom Thelen.