Aquatic invasive species (AIS) attack Minnesota’s waterways and all that these beloved resources have to offer. To fight the spread, the University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center are developing a network of trained “AIS Detectors” who will help with education and reporting efforts in their own communities. Find out more about training to become an AIS Detector at www.maisrc.umn.edu/ais-detector.
It’s time to order your 2018 Directory of Minnesota City Officials! 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. Plus, this handy desk reference includes listings of League staff, counties, legislative and congressional members, and more! Get your copy now for only $69. For more information and an order form, visit www.lmc.org/directory.
The City of Duluth is testing a pilot project to encourage more residents to restore and maintain the architectural character of historic housing stock. Historic and architecturally significant properties can sometimes be seen as a burden by homeowners who may not have the financial resources or expertise needed to bring obscured cornices, tired towers, and loose floorboards back to life. By waiving a portion of city building permit fees and seeking state funding for matching grants, the city will see if it can shift attitudes and convince property owners to transform creaky old-timers into the healthy housing stock of the future.
Minnesotans who are patrons of the City of Dodge Center Public Library took a virtual adventure this spring along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail—a trail spanning 2,200 miles that connects the Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. Library Assistant Wendy Kenworthy launched the project after studying data about the region’s biggest health concerns, which are related to obesity. To encourage the community to get moving and have some fun, patrons were encouraged to submit their own step counts being walked right here at home (remember those New Year’s resolutions?). Library staff took the submissions and cumulatively tracked the library’s progress along the trail. The library also hosted events featuring books and movies about the trail. Kenworthy said they have had more than double the number of hikers as anticipated, and even reached the end of the trail and decided to “turn around” only two months into what was to be a year-long project. Now a summer challenge is in the works. Check out Dodge Center’s progress at https://dodgecenter.lib.mn.us/virtual-hike.
Local businesses now have a chance to establish a page on the City of Winthrop’s website as part of a business directory. An overhaul of the city’s website, www. winthropminnesota.com, now features not only the city, but also the economic development authority and the chamber of commerce in a cohesive branding effort. To help business owners add a logo, pictures, a location map, and basic information, the city held events at the RS Fiber Innovation Center. The directory gives businesses a chance to have a web presence if they don’t already, said City Administrator Jenny Hazelton, and businesses that do have a site can still be represented on the city directory and link to their own site. “When people look up Winthrop, they want to know what we have here,” said Hazelton. “This is updating our web presence to the world.” Check out the business directory at https://bd.winthropminnesota.com.
Women in Municipal Government (WIMG), a constituency group of the National League of Cities (NLC), is hosting its Summer Conference May 30-June 2 in Atlanta, Georgia. The theme of this year’s gathering is “Women Empowering Change.” Attendees will have the opportunity to develop governance and leadership skills, and participate in discussions about local government trends as well as current events such as the “Me Too” movement. Mary McComber, mayor of Oak Park Heights, Minnesota, is immediate past president of WIMG. For more information, visit www.nlc.org/event/2018-wimg-summer-conference.
To learn more about NLC constituency groups, visit www.nlc.org/membership/constituency-groups.
The City of Detroit, Michigan, recently appointed a chief storyteller. The task of the chief storyteller, Aaron Foley, and his team of writers is to tell the stories of residents in a way that captures the character and nuance of the city’s many neighborhoods that is sometimes missing from local and national narratives. Stories are posted on a website and distributed on the city’s social media and cable channels. See stories at www.theneighborhoods.org/stories. Learn more about the position, and why the city created it, on The Guardian website at http://bit.ly/2gCG84j.
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