Minnesota Cities Magazine
More from Mar-Apr 2016 issue

Bits & Briefs

Banner that says: Future-Ready Communities: 2016 Annual ConferenceYep, It’s YOUR Conference!
This year’s League of Minnesota Cities Annual Conference may have a different look and feel, but the League’s special partnership with the Alliance for Innovation in 2016 just means that YOUR conference will be bigger and more informative than ever! The conference’s name, “Future-Ready Communities: 2016 League of Minnesota Cities and Alliance for Innovation Annual Conference,” gives you a hint of what’s in store: great educational experiences revolving around building partnerships, innovation, and resiliency skills in local government and beyond.

What is the Alliance for Innovation? The Alliance is a membership organization connecting local governments with research and promising practices from around North America that can drive innovation in service delivery. It operates with the assistance of Arizona State University and the International City/County Management Association.

What does that mean for you? Minnesota city staff and elected officials attending this year’s Annual Conference will have the opportunity to share challenges and solutions with each other as well as hundreds of Alliance members from across the country and Canada. It’s a recipe for good government solutions, so come ready to stir! It’s all happening June 14-17 in St. Paul. Learn more and register at www.lmc.org/ac16mncities.

Maximize Your City’s Volunteers
Picture of a woman pointing to a button that says The Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA) recently announced a City Volunteer Engagement resource hub on the MAVA website. This collection is chock-full of updated resources to help you get started with a program to mobilize volunteers, or to make the most of your existing volunteer programs. You’ll find things like volunteer handbook examples, intake forms, even recognition flyer templates. The resource hub is just one achievement of MAVA’s initiative on City Volunteer Engagement, funded by the Bush Foundation. Access the resources at www.mavanetwork.org/cities.

Picture of a woman with her hand over her mouth looking embarrassedMake Someone Blush: LMC Award Nominations Now Open
The League of Minnesota Cities awards program is dedicated to recognizing outstanding work that promotes quality of life in our communities. This year, in addition to the City of Excellence awards and the C.C. Ludwig Award for elected officials, attendees will be able to raise their glass for the recipient of the new James F. Miller Leadership Award for appointed officials. Formerly called simply the “Leadership Award,” 2016 will be the first year this honor carries the name of LMC’s recently retired executive director. And if your city’s accomplishments are lean and green, be sure to nominate your work for the Sustainable City Award, given in conjunction with the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program. Ready to make someone blush? The deadline to submit nominations is May 2. Learn more at www.lmc.org/awards.

Logo for Rochester Public Library Book BikeSix Cities Receive Local Government Innovation Awards
Six cities have been recognized as 2015 Local Government Innovation Award winners by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and the Bush Foundation. These awards, in their ninth year, recognize innovative local government projects that demonstrate potential for lasting impact in local service delivery. Congrats to the City of Rochester for being the overall winner in the city category for its Rochester Public Library BookBike program (think mobile library on two wheels). Other cities receiving recognition were Breezy Point, Brooklyn Park, Minneapolis, New Brighton, and St. Paul. In addition to these honorees, awards were also given to counties, school districts, and townships. Learn more at http://lgia.umn.edu.

Cartoon: Police officer next to the words Good PD News on Facebook? Like.
A city’s police department social media account can be a valuable outlet for distributing information about suspects, crime trends, and cautionary advice. But don’t forget to share the good news, too! The City of Crystal Police Department took a moment to share some great news—a DWI-free New Year’s Eve—on Facebook, and they were rewarded with shares, comments, and over 400 of those coveted “likes.” Best of all, the post gave residents one more thing to cheer about in their community. Check it out at http://on.fb.me/1StKlGH.

Illustration: Gauge to measure environmental effortsREADY, SET, GO GREEN
Go from bright idea to clean energy action with the help of the Metro CERTs Clean Energy Accelerator Program. The accelerator program pairs your city’s resources with a knowledgeable staff guide to get you from point A to point B on your quest for clean energy. Examples of assistance would include organizing community workshops to educate the public, helping your city navigate existing programs and resources, and helping choose the right vendor for the job. If your metro-area community is considering ways to embrace electric vehicle fleets, community solar, public education about energy-efficiency programs, or another project to boost clean energy, apply by March 24 for “deep assistance.” Rapid assistance applications are accepted on a rolling basis. If you’re interested in energy efficiency in your public buildings, there’s a special track for that, too. Learn more at www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/accelerator/application.

Fruit and veggies on a plateFeed People, Not Landfills
The U.S. will reduce food waste 50 percent by 2030—that’s the goal announced by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency late last year. Pie in the sky? Maybe, but when approximately 31 percent of the food supply is ending up in a landfill instead of on the plate of someone who needs it, it sounds more like a “bread and butter” issue. To put that percentage in perspective, cutting the amount of food waste in the U.S. by just 15 percent a year could feed more than 25 million Americans, and dramatically reduce methane emissions from landfills. The food waste reduction goal pairs nicely with a 2013 U.S. Food Waste Challenge dedicated to educating organizations, businesses, and consumers about food waste. Find food waste reduction resources for your city newsletter or neighborhood meetings at www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste.

Read the March-April 2016 issue of Minnesota Cities Magazine

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