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Bike-Share Programs Rolling to a City Near You, League Hosts Bike Tour Next Month at Convention

clock August 20, 2013 14:05 by author Matt Bach


Bike-share programs like this one in Chicago are very popular in major metro areas, but are quickly being found in smaller communities like Battle Creek, Lansing and other Michigan cities. The League is hosting a bike-tour in Detroit next month.

It’s great to see so many Michigan communities starting various forms of bicycle-sharing programs. Plus, those who are starting them up are really excited about it. Under the subject line “Newest Cool Thing in Battle Creek,” Battle Creek Mayor Susan Baldwin recently sent an email to the Michigan Municipal League staff letting us know about the bike-share program that just started in her community this week.

"Thought the MML might be interested in the new cool thing we have in Battle Creek – a bike-share station!” Baldwin wrote.

And the League is excited as well. If you don't know, there are a variety of types of bike-share programs but in simplest terms it's a service in which bicycles are made available for shared use to individuals on a very short term basis.

Having walkable, bike-able and overall pedestrian friendly-communities is one of the key placemaking assets the League has identified for making vibrant communities in the 21st Century. Practicing what we preach, the League is having a “Bike the DeQuindre Cut” mobile workshop for those who attend our 2013 Convention in Detroit next month (Sept 17-20). Learn more about our Convention and the mobile workshops here.

John Lindenmayer, advocacy policy director for the League of Michigan Bicyclists, said Battle Creek joins a growing number of Michigan communities to start bicycle-sharing type programs. So far, in addition to Battle Creek, there are various forms of bike-sharing programs under way or getting started in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Ypsilanti and Escanaba/Gladstone, Lindenmayer said.

Matt Bach is director of Media Relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 734-669-6317 and mbach@mml.org.

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Food Truck-ology Session and Rally to Take Place at Michigan Municipal League Convention

clock August 15, 2013 07:27 by author Matt Bach


A food truck in Grand Rapids.

The latest post on the Economics of Place blog by Michigan Municipal League CEO Dan Gilmartin focuses on the importance of food trucks in driving local economies. Here's an exerpt of the blog which borrows from Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on CNN. Food trucks allow creative chefs without a lot of money to start creating and selling their stuff, introducing themselves to the world without having to gather up $1 million or credulous partners. And they’re affordable. They’re democratic. And they are faster, better and infinitely preferable to fast food like the king and the clown and the colonel.

The Michigan Municipal League will showcase Detroit-area food trucks during its 2013 Convention in Detroit next month (Sept. 17-20) with a food truck rally at William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor and a “food truck-ology” education session. Check out the League's Convention agenda to learn more about the rally and food truck-ology session.

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org and (734) 669-6317.

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League Capital Conference Photos, Presentations Now Available

clock April 16, 2013 08:29 by author Matt Bach


Greenville Councilmember Jeanne Cunliffe attends the 2013 League Capital Conference. View more photos here. Get all Capital Conference resources, including press releases and presentation powerpoints, here.

The 2013 Michigan Municipal League Capital Conference is over, but the education received, information learned and networking opportunities gained live on. Check out presentations from the Conference here and view all the images from the two-day conference here in this collection on the League's flickr page. Event highlights included general sessions and breakout sessions with Governor Rick Snyder; Polly Trottenberg, U.S. Under Secretary for the Department of Transportation Policy; Michigan Budget Director John Nixon; Michigan Sen. Roger Kahn; Michigan Sen. Gretchen Whitmer; Michigan Rep. Wayne Schmidt; and League staff members Samantha Harkins, Nikki Brown, John LaMacchia and Summer Minnick.

There were sessions on numerous topics including the Economic Vitality Incentive Program (EVIP); the personal property tax; term limits; the state budget; liquor control rules; the environment; town-gown partnerships; and many other issues. In addition, League President David Lossing told his personal story of donating his bone marrow to a stranger with luekemia and multiple League members signed up for the Michigan Blood Be The Match bone marrow donor program.

Also numerous awards were given including four outstanding service awards to Brian Donovan, East Grand Rapids city manager; Jaymes Vettraino, Rochester city manager; Patrick Sullivan, Northville city manager; and Kara Wood, Grand Rapids economic development director. The regional winners of the 2013 Community Excellent Awards were selected at regional roundtable meetings during the conference. The seven regional winners are Linden/Fenton/Holly from Region 1; St. Joseph in Region 2; Belding in Region 3; DeWitt in Region 4; Imlay City in Region 5; Rogers City in Region 6; and Ironwood in Region 7.

Did you get your photo taken at the 2013 MML Capital Conference? Find out in this collection on the League's flickr page. Get all Capital Conference resources, including press releases and presentation powerpoints, here.

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at (734) 669-6317 and mbach@mml.org.

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League Honors Leaders from Grand Rapids, Northville, East Grand Rapids and Rochester

clock April 12, 2013 13:13 by author Matt Bach


Outstanding Service Award Winners Brian Donovan, Jaymes Vettraino, Patrick Sullivan and Kara Wood. View more photos here and here.

LANSING, Michigan – The Michigan Municipal League honored four state officials during the League's annual Capital Conference held April 9-10 in Lansing.

Officials from Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Northville, and Rochester received the League's Outstanding Service Award on Wednesday (April 10, 2013). The honor recognizes those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in supporting the League's legislative efforts in Lansing on behalf of Michigan communities.

Here is a look at the recipients:

Brian Donovan, City Manager, East Grand Rapids; Pat Sullivan, City Manager, Northville; and Jaymes Vettraino, City Manager, Rochester: In their roles of city managers in their respective communities, Donovan, Sullivan and Vettraino have been instrumental in working on legislation to give communities additional pension flexibility. In the last session, they worked with the League on a package of legislation designed to maximize resources and allow communities to make more cost-effective pension decisions. Last fall the governor signed a bill that allows communities with an AA bond rating to bond for the cost of switching from defined benefit to defined contribution plans. The League continues to work on legislation allowing communities to switch from DB to DC more easily, as well as remove barriers to more cost-effective pensions. The three have come to Lansing to testify on multiple occasions, as well as worked regularly with the League reviewing legislative language and talking to legislators. They have been instrumental in working on this legislation, and the League is grateful for their invaluable counsel.

Kara Wood, Economic Development Director, Grand Rapids: In her role as Grand Rapids Economic Development Director, Kara Wood is a major voice in the League’s Land Use and Economic Development committee. Her knowledge and insight in many areas surrounding the economic development arena make her a strong advocate for the revitalization of not only Grand Rapids but Michigan as a whole. Wood has partaken in stakeholder workgroups at the state level, most recently a workgroup on a bill to make changes to the Brownfield program that was passed into law last year. Her expertise has been utilized to help many communities across Michigan by her participation in panel discussions on various economic development issues during concurrent sessions at both past and present League Capital Conferences. Wood’s assistance at the committee level and at an advocacy level is invaluable.

For additional photos of the Outstanding Service Awards go here. For more photos from the 2013 Michigan Municipal League Capital Conference go here.

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at (734) 669-6317.

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2013 Capital Conference Gets Under Way with Inspirational Story

clock April 9, 2013 16:46 by author Matt Bach

LANSING, Michigan - Michigan Municipal League President David Lossing kicked off the 2013 League Capital Conference today with a personal story about how he recently donated his bone marrow to a complete stranger as part of the Michigan Blood Be the Match Program.

Lossing told his inspirational tale to encourage other municipal leaders at the conference to sign up for the bone marrow registry. Officials from Michigan Blood are attending the Conference at the Lansing Center to register attendees. Those signing up are asked to make a $25 donation and Lossing has generously offered to cover the fee for the first 10 League members who register.

In addition to sharing his bone marrow donation story, Lossing also outlined the successes and challenges experienced by Michigan communities in the past year. He discussed the League’s legislative priorities for the current 97th Michigan legislature. Those priorities are fixing the personal property tax legislation passed in December, ending non-stop cuts to revenue sharing to communities and increasing transportation funding.

About 500 municipal leaders from all portions of the state are attending this year's Capital Conference. Some of the speakers at this year’s event are Governor Rick Snyder, John Porcari, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation; Senator Gretchen Whitmer, and Michigan Budget Director John Nixon.

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org and (734) 669-6317.

Linden Mayor and MML President David Lossing kicks off 2013 Capital Conference.

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