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Press Release

For Immediate Release
September 27, 2010

Contact: Matt Bach
Office 734-669-6317, Cell 734-929-8123

Michigan Municipal League Announces Awards of Merit

Detroit Councilmember, MSHDA Interim Director and Muskegon Commissioner Honored For Community Service

merit award

DEARBORN, Mich. (Sept. 27, 2010) – The Michigan Municipal League (MML) announced today its 2010 Special Awards of Merit for outstanding contributions to Michigan communities, awarded to Detroit Councilmember Kenneth V. Cockrel, Jr., Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) Interim Executive Director Gary Heidel and Muskegon Commissioner Clara Shepherd, during the League’s 112th Annual Convention Sept. 21-24 in Dearborn.

Detroit Councilmember Kenneth V. Cockrel, Jr. has served on the Detroit City Council since 1998. A former journalist, Wayne County Commissioner, community activist, and native Detroiter, Cockrel has a strong commitment to the people of the city of Detroit. As an elected official, Cockrel has written and passed key legislation to improve the quality of life in Wayne County and in the city of Detroit. He is the chair of the city council’s Committee on Budget, Finance, and Audit, serves on the Planning and Economic Development Committee, and is the founder and chair of the city council’s Green Task Force.

MSHDA Interim Executive Director Gary Heidel was former director of Program Policy & Market Research for MSHDA. During the last 25 years, Gary has played a significant role in passing and implementing various important policies at the state and federal levels of government, including the MSHDA Neighborhood Preservation Program, the federal HOME program, federal Empowerment Zone program, Individual Development Accounts, Michigan Mortgage Credit Certificate Program, Cool Cities, Michigan Magnet Fund, Centers of Regional Excellence, and the Michigan Housing and Community Development Fund. Past honors include the advocacy award from the Michigan Coalition Against Homeless, special recognition award from the Michigan Political Leadership Program at Michigan State University, the Bernice Bensen Service Award from Habitat for Humanity Michigan, and the CED Advocate of the Year Award from the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan.

Muskegon Commissioner Clara Shepherd has served as commissioner for the city of Muskegon for 15 years. During her time as a public official, Shepherd has made many positive changes to the community she represents, including incorporating more minorities on the city’s boards and committees. She is one of the founders and current chair of the Michigan Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, and serves on the Economic Steering Committee of the National League of Cities. Among her many achievements she has served as a League Trustee (2003-06), and as League Vice President (2005-06).

In the photo (left to right): Detroit Councilmember Kenneth V. Cockrel, Jr.; Muskegon Commissioner Clara Shepherd; MSHDA Interim Executive Director Gary Heidel.

More information:

- For more award photos, go here.

Michigan Municipal League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services.








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