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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Theresa Heinzel Retiring After 30 Years

Today is Theresa Heinzel Day in Rogers City.  Here is a picture of Theresa at her retirement party.  About 100 people attended.  She has been a great pillar of strength for Rogers City and she will be missed.  Thank you for all you have done, and may God bless you Theresa.

Going on Christmas Vacation

This blog will be off the air for about six days, while I go on Christmas vacation.  Here is wishing everyone a blessed Christmas.

Energy Challenges?

The Educational Service District, the Salvation Army, and Michigan Energy Options are teaming up to offer an event to help you with energy costs and challenges:

  • Get ready for winter
  • Help with utility bills
  • Help with paperwork
The event is set for Tuesday, January 18, 2011 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm

Location:  The Educational Service District
                 2118 US Highway 23 S
                 Alpena, MI 49707

Please RSVP to Andrea at 989-358-2769

Smart Growth in Rural Communities

Below are listed three goals for Smarth Growth Planning for communities like Rogers City:

1. Support the rural landscape by creating an economic climate that enhances the viability of working lands and conserves natural lands;

2. Help existing businesses to thrive by taking care of assets such as downtowns, Main Streets, existing infrastructure, and places that the community values; and

3. Create great new places by building vibrant, enduring neighborhoods and businesses that people, especially young people, don't want to leave.

These three goals are listed on the EPA's website for rural communities.  It struck me that several of these goals had been identified in our existing community planning.  Many citizens of Rogers City have spoken to me about the importance of keeping young people in the community by providing jobs and economic opportunity for them.

Of course, goals are fine, but the key question is what are the actions we can take to achieve those goals?  Your thoughts are welcome.

More about Smart Growth can be found at http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/sg_rural.htm

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 Census Data Starting to be Released

The U.S. Census Department released the first round of data from the 2010 Census.  According to the release the population in Michigan declined by .6%.  Michigan was the only state with a decline in population.  Nevada was up over 35%.

The local area data is not available yet.

More Census information is available at

http://2010.census.gov/2010census/data/

Monday, December 20, 2010

Health of Lake Huron

Below is an interesting article about Lake Huron.  I'm curious if anyone has a comment about it.

LANSING, Mich. — The health of Lake Huron’s biological diversity is in “fair” condition, but the long-term outlook could be a different story, according to “The Sweetwater Sea: Strategies for Conserving Lake Huron Biodiversity,” a new report and strategic plan compiled by conservation experts in the United States and Canada.

The report assesses the current health of the lake’s biological diversity and examines what current trends could mean for the future of the lake. According to the report, habitat degradation and loss to incompatible development present major stressors that may impact the lake’s long-term health for people and nature.

“Lake Huron is really on the brink of recovery or further degradation, depending on how you look at it and what actions may transpire in the next 10 to 20 years,” said Dr. Patrick Doran, The Nature Conservancy’s director of science for Michigan and the Great Lakes. “This report stresses that now is the time to take action before it’s too late.”

According to the report, the most critical threats to Lake Huron’s biodiversity are: invasive species, incompatible development, climate change, dams and other barriers to water flow, and pollution from industrial and other sources. The experts ranked the scope and severity of the threats and matched strategies for abating those threats to priority areas.

The top five areas of high concern, based on their concentration of biodiversity coupled with threats, are: northeast Michigan, Saginaw Bay, eastern Georgian Bay, southern Georgian Bay and the southeast shores of Lake Huron.

Doran said the report outlines specific actions to protect and manage the open water, islands, shoreline, coastal wetlands and other natural components to improve these habitats and the services they provide to people and wildlife. It also lays the groundwork for forming an integrated multi-agency approach to improve the health of the lake and its surrounding habitat.

“While many places around Lake Huron could benefit immediately from conservation action, some need it more urgently than others to protect the entire basin,” Doran said. “This report lays the foundation for what we need to do now, and what we need to do later.”

More than 250 scientists and natural resource managers from at least 100 public and private agencies from around Lake Huron spent the last two years working on a plan to improve the health of the lake and its surrounding area. The plan also includes new ways to measure the effectiveness of conservation programs to determine the most cost-effective methods.

“Lake Huron is an ecologically rich and globally significant ecosystem,” said Amy Derosier, wildlife action plan coordinator for the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources and Environment. “Not only is it home to a variety of plant and animal species, Lake Huron provides enormous social, recreational, and economic benefits to the residents of Michigan and Canada, and visitors that seek out these very qualities.”

“This plan was a truly collaborative science-based effort,” Derosier said. “The people working on this plan took great pains to understand both the ecology of Lake Huron as well as the overarching causes of its past decline; we worked with hundreds of experts and stakeholders to understand what it will take to get the Lake back on track. Now we must continue to work together to protect and restore this unique ecosystem to ensure the viability of the species that rely on it, which in turn will continue to provide benefits to people.”

Participating organizations to the Lake Huron Biodiversity Conservation Strategy team included: Environment Canada, Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources and Environment, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Michigan Conservation Districts, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation Ontario, Michigan Dept. of Agriculture, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Anishinabek Nation, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Parks Canada, Michigan Sea Grant, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Chippewa/Ottawa Resource Authority, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Metis Nation.

“This report has already led to the next step of looking at migratory fish patterns in Lake Huron,” Doran said. “With this information, we can improve or adapt what we and other organizations are doing to help sustain and increase fish populations in Lake Huron.”

John Paskus, senior conservation scientist, Michigan Natural Features Inventory agrees: “One of the biggest accomplishments of this large scale, bi-national effort was bringing together all of the disparate biological information housed within dozens of agencies and conservation organizations from two different countries and making it accessible.

“Ultimately, the true success of this bi-national endeavor will be measured by our ability to implement priority strategies identified in the report, our commitment to evaluating results, and our willingness to adapt to changing conditions within the Lake Huron Basin,” Paskus said.

The Lake Huron planning process followed a similar model that resulted in a strategic plan for Lake Ontario in 2009. That report then led to the prioritized action of public agencies and private organizations working to strengthen the health of Lake Ontario. The Nature Conservancy and partners will next develop biodiversity plans for Lake Erie and Lake Michigan through The Nature Conservancy’s Great Lakes Project.

A full copy of the report and an abridged, reader-friendly version are both available at: http://conserveonline.org/workspaces/lakehuron.bcs/documents. Organizations are encouraged to use the report to:

• Identify and refine local and regional priorities for conservation actions

• Justify applications to fund protection or restoration of native biodiversity

• Incorporate actions from the Strategy into local and regional plans

• Contact a member of the coordinating organizations to access GIS data to support mapping and planning in your local area

• Identify research interests, emerging management issues and monitoring priorities


Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) is a program of Michigan State University Extension and serves as the natural heritage program for the state of Michigan. MNFI is part of an international network of 74 other natural heritage programs and conservation data centers in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean dedicated to the collection of information on biological diversity within the Western Hemisphere. Since 1980, MNFI has been developing and maintaining the most comprehensive biological and conservation database on Michigan’s rare plants and animals, exemplary natural communities, and other significant natural features.

Michigan Sea Grant helps foster economic growth and protect Michigan’s coastal Great Lakes resources through education, research and outreach. A collaborative effort between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Sea Grant network of more than 30 university-based programs.

The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working to protect the most ecologically important lands and waters around the world for nature and people. To date, the Conservancy and its 1 million members have been responsible for the protection of more than 120 million acres worldwide, including 360,000 acres in Michigan. The Nature Conservancy is working to make the Great Lakes the best managed freshwater ecosystem in the world. For more information, visit http://nature.org/michigan.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Free Classical Horns Concert at Rogers City Theater

Come listen to the sounds of magic 3:00 pm on Sunday, December 19, 2010 at the Rogers City Theater.  The concert is free.

Presque Isle County Historical Museum Decked Out for Christmas



Enjoy these wonderful pictures sent by Mark Thompson.  Our museum is the best!

Announcement from the Chamber of Commerce

Hey, everyone! We have a new business open downtown and they are having their ribbon cutting ceremony this Saturday at 12 noon. The name of the business is NU2U Consignments. They are right next door to Domaci Gallery.  Please make time to be there and welcome them to the neighborhood! The Advance will be there to take the picture and it would be great to have a nice turnout. So please take a few moments from your holiday bustle and show your support to the new kid on the block!

Hope to see you there at noon on Saturday!

Raymond Spain, Executive Director
Rogers City Area Chamber of Commerce
292 S Bradley Highway
Rogers City, MI 49779

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Merry Christmas

May the spirit of Christmas dwell with you and your family this year and always.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Big Snow

Now that the snow has temporarily stopped, we have large piles of it!  Snow, snow, snow, snow!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Welcome to Winter

With the high winds, ice, and snow, we can all say: "Winter is here.  Hooray!"

Community Tradition of Holiday Sounds

I want to report to all that Rogers City has a great local tradition of music making.  Of course, most locals know this, but some of you might not be aware of the high level of talent.  Also, we want to encourage visitors to come and enjoy themselves!

On December 8, 2010, the Rogers City Theater hosted a great program, including: The Huron Shores Barbershop Chorus; Salena and Bradley Heidemann; The Mariners Quartet, a community "Sing-A-Long" with Pianist Deanna Karsten; Donna Klein, Larwen Corie, & Larry Syrett; St. John's Lutheran Church Chior; and Howard Madsen & Larry Syrett.  It was a great program with about 130 people singing along.

There are many other great artistic performances in Rogers City at the holidays and throughout the year.  It is a great musical tradition that we enjoy here in Rogers City.  So, keep an eye out for advertisements or notices in the local newspaper, on this website, and other sources of up coming musical performances.  You will not be disappointed.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Biosolids Tank Going Up

Meridian Construction is moving ahead tomorrow with the concrete pour for the bio-solids tank at the City's Wastewater Treatment Plant.  This is a very difficult task due to the weather and the work to be done.  The concrete forms have been enclosed in a temporary structure and are being heated to keep the area about 50 degrees.  This is necessary since the concrete will not reach the required strength, unless the temperature is warm enough.  Lee's Ready Mix is providing the concrete.

The concrete was not poured previously because the contractor did not have all the needed items due to shipping and supply problems.  The City is not paying additional costs for these problems.

Green Communities Conference

On December 10, 2010, I'll be attending the Green Communities Conference in Lansing.  Here is the agenda:

9:00 am Opening Remarks Jeff Spencer, DELEG

9:05am-10:20am Sustainability Financing, Performance Contracting, and Revolving Energy Funds
10:20am-10:30am Break and Networking

10:30am-11:15am Approaches to Institutionalizing Sustainability, Prepping for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), Adopting Green Building Policies

11:15am-11:45am Institutionalizing Sustainability and Implementing a Sustainability Plan

11:45am-12:00pm Break and Networking

12:00pm-1:00pm Lunch Speaker: Amy Butler, Bureau of Energy Systems and Doug Jester, DELEG

1:00pm-1:45pm Developing Green Jobs and Workforce

1:45pm-2:15pm Building Support for Sustainability and Creating an Environmental Commission

2:15pm-2:30pm Break and Networking

2:30pm-4:00pm Tools for Intergovernmental Collaboration

I'll report back on the conference and information gained in a future post.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Theresa Heinzel Retiring After 30 Years

At the end of this year, Theresa Heinzel will complete 30 years of excellent service to the people of Rogers City.  Theresa began work with the City on Janaury 5, 1981, working as the Utility Billing Deputy Clerk.  Council appointed her City Clerk/Treasurer on January 21, 1991.  With 30 years working for the City and 20 years as Clerk/Treasurer, Theresa Heinzel has seen a lot of community life and many changes in Rogers City.  She has faithfully written and signed minutes for over 550 special and regular meetings of the City Council.  There are five thick and heavy bound books filled with her outstanding work.

At her first meeting as Clerk in 1981, the City Council passed a resolution supporting U.S. Armed Forces participating in the conflict in the Middle East.  Since then, Theresa has been an integral part of every action of City Council, including dozens of major infrastructure projects, hundreds of contracts, and thousands of financial decisions.  She has carefully and accurately recorded and published dozens of new or revised City Ordinances.  Her meticulous and thoughtful work can be seen in the way she has been helping Terri Koss learn her new job.  Very few citizens have made such an extensive and positive contribution to this community.   

Theresa Heinzel's last work day will be Wednesday, December 22, 2010.  A reception in her honor is being held from 2-4 pm at City Hall.  There will be refreshments and presentations.  The public is invited to attend to recognize Theresa Heinzel and to congratulate her on her many achievements.

Terri Koss Appointed as City Clerk/Treasurer

City Council has selected Terri Koss to replace Theresa Heinzel as City Clerk/Treasurer.  Theresa is retiring after 30 years of service with the City.  Terri is the Clerk for Belknap Township and has worked in the County Prosecuting Attorney's office as a legal secretary for 17 years. 

The City Clerk/Treasurer position is very critical to our City.  Many cities have two individuals responsible for these two distinct jobs; however, as an efficiency measurer, the City combined these two positions, creating a significant workload for combined Clerk/Treasurer position.

Each position is important in its own right.  The City Clerk/Treasurer position, along with the City Attorney, and City Manager are the three full-time City employees hired directly by the City Council.  All three work directly for the City Council not for the City Manager.  This is part of the "check and balances" of the Council-Manager form of government.  It provides accountability and visibility for financial and policy actions.  The Manager is advising the Council on policy and spending, but the Clerk is independently documenting key points. 

The Clerk is responsible to City Council for taking and publishing minutes of Council meetings, keeping all official City records (some in perpetuity), being responsible for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, conducting special and general elections, and a host of other duties. 

The Treasurer is responsible for the City tax roles; coordination between the Assessor and the other taxing jurisdiction which collect taxes in the City, such as the Rogers City Area Fire Department Authority (RCAFDA) and the school district; preparing Tax Increment Financing (TIF) reports; scheduling and documenting the Board of Review (BOR); and related duties.

Please join me in welcoming Terri Koss to the important position of City Clerk/Treasurer for the City of Rogers City.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Dana Labar Appointed to City Council--City Council Service

At a special City Council meeting last evening, Dana Labar was appointed to fill the vacancy on the Council created by a recent resignation.  Please join me in congratulating Dana and thanking him for volunteering for this important position.   Also, thanks to all who expressed interest in this position.  Service on the City Council and other appointed positions such as Planning Commission, the Community Development Authority, and the Parks and Recreation Commission is an on-going need, so please continue to step up to the challenge.  Let Mayor Hall know if you are interested in serving.

City Council members are the front line of democracy at the local level.  They put in a great deal of time to read and understand Council packages and other important documents.  On average, Council has about 30 meetings per year.  They attend dozens of hours of training and conferences.  They talk to citizens, probably every day, including at the grocery store and at Church on Sunday.  Council members are expected to lobby state and federal officials to obtain help for our community.   They have to make difficult decisions which often will not please all parties.  Sometimes, they receive undeserved criticism and hostility from citizens who are frustrated by things beyond Council's control.   As long as they serve, they never escape their important role.  Council compensation is a token, considering all the work and burden they bear. 

In effect, the City Council are the Board of Directors for a multi-million dollar corporation and in the public eye at the same time.  Due to modern standards of visibility and accountability, they don't receive any special favors as may once have been the case in some communities.  In my experience, they are generally kind, thoughtful, and self-giving people.

Next time you see one of them, you should thank your City Council members for their service.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

City Council Appointment

City Council held a special meeting last evening to consider the six candidates for the open seat on Council.  The six candidates are: Ted Urban, Jr; Wendy Martin; Dick Bennett; Dana LaBar; Don Kromer; and Brian Chabot.  The Council decided to try to schedule interviews with as many of these people as possible.  The Clerk is setting up the interviews.

Therefore, you still have time to make you comments about the candidates know to City Council.

City Council will continue the special meeting tonight as 6:30 pm.  The appointment may be completed today.  I'll publish more news after it happens.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Shop Local First

If you have not thought about why you should shop local first, please check out this link:

http://www.thinklocalfirst.net/resources/sevenreasons

The Michigan Main Street Center @ MSHDA, the Michigan Downtown Association, Michigan Municipal League, the Small Business Association of Michigan, and a host of others who have created the "ShopMIDowntown Holiday Challenge" to promote local shopping.

If you go to this link: http://www.michiganmainstreetcenter.com/ShopMIDowntown you can find a copy of the Grand Rapid Local First report that states $68 of every $100 spent at a locally owned business stays in the community versus $43 buying the exact same item at a national chain.  Also, consider internet sales where $0 of every $100 stays local.  Finally, on internet sales you have to pay the "use tax."

Especially at the holiday season, help give our local merchants a chance to  prosper.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Miss Rogers City at "Light Up the City"

Thanks to Miss Rogers City Rachel Lewendowski and her Court for helping with "Light Up the City."
It was a great event!  More pictures will be posted of the "Parade of Lights" and the Optimist Club Tree Lighting.  Thank you Optimists Club Members and all who helped.  

Appointment to Fill Vacancy of a City Council Position

The names of the six people who have submitted a letter seeking appointment to the City Council vacancy are: Ted Urban, Jr; Wendy Martin; Dick Bennett; Dana LaBar; Don Kromer; and Brian Chabot.  Per the City Charter, City Council must appoint a replacement to fill the vacany not later than December 2, 2010 (within 30 days from the vacancy).

The Council is planning a special meeting either Wednesday, Dec 1 or Thursday, Dec 2, to make the appointment.

If you have comments concerning any of the applicants and wish to have your comments know to City Council, please contact Theresa Heinzel as soon as possible.

Monday, November 29, 2010

ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

If you need help paying your heating bill, then read below for a possible source of assistance.
Help is available through July 31, 2011 or "Until Funds Are Expended."

Serving the Following Counties: Alcona, Alpena, Cheboygan, Crawford, Iosco, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, and Presque Isle.

Program Guidelines:

 Electricity or Natural Gas: Service must be in applicant’s name and be in threat of shut-off or already disconnected.

 Propane or Fuel Oil: Fuel in tank must be at 25% or below or the provider must be threatening to lock the tank or remove the fuel for non-payment of a balance owed.

 Firewood: Wood must be primary heat source and supply must be extremely low.

 Applicants must meet eligibility guidelines.

 Current DHS Decision Notice may be required in certain circumstances.

Potential applicants can call Beth to be prescreened at 471-3277 or toll-free 866-270-0687. If eligible for an application one will be mailed or faxed at the applicant’s request.

NEMCSA does not discriminate based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, marital status, familial status, or disability.

Michigan Municipal League's CEO Dan Gilmartin on Financial Challenges

Below you will find a nice summary of comments from Dan Gilmartin, the CEO for the Michigan Municipal League (MML). Dan's got a great perspective on the current financial troubles facing communities all across Michigan and how it relates to state government.  This is must reading for any Michigan resident concerned about the future of our state and for citizens seeking government reform.  The comments below are quoted from MML:

November 23, 2010 15:00 by Matt Bach

Michigan Municipal League CEO Dan Gilmartin was the focus of a recent article on the financial challenges facing Michigan cities. The article in the Michigan Report by Gongwer News Services was posted online Nov. 22, 2010 and is only available to Gongwer subscribers. If you’re a Gongwer subscriber go here to view the story. But if you’re not a Gongwer subscriber let me summarize what it says.

The news angle for the piece was about the City of Hamtramck looking to seek bankruptcy protection and Gilmartin explained that many Michigan communities are struggling financially and looking at a variety of options. He said other cities and villages throughout the state have cut emergency services, ended services and closed parks as a way to keep their budgets balanced. "There's a number of communities around state that are in difficult straits," Gilmartin explained.

Gilmartin then explained how revenue sharing to Michigan communities has been continually cut by the state further adding to the financial difficulties. "The state has basically been balancing its budget for the last decade on the backs of locals," Gilmartin said. "That exacerbated the problem from the economy."
The term “revenue sharing” is a misnomer because the funds were intended to replace taxing authority that was taken from local governments. "It's not really a sharing situation; it's a partnership," Gilmartin told Gongwer. "That was a partnership that worked for decades, but when the state ran into its own problems, it hijacked the funds that came to locals."

Also adding to the financial challenges are current state laws in place that make it difficult for communities to consolidate services and save money. "If the state would allow for local units to do more in terms of consolidating services without holdups, we would be better off," he said.

Gilmartin also talked about the new leadership coming to Lansing and how the League and Michigan communities are “cautiously optimistic that we’ve got a group that’s going to listen to us in January.” He hopes the changes will get broad support because the fiscal problems are hitting communities of all shapes and sizes. “It’s not just core cities; it’s extending to the suburbs,” Gilmartin said. “They are not able to provide the levels of services that quite frankly will make us competitive.”

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

Mark's "two cents:"

First cent: Rogers City is not near to bankruptcy, but we have made cuts to services.  We have lost one police officer position and two public works positions through retirees not replaced.  We have reduced operational budgets.  We are subsidizing our Marina from the general fund.  The City Council has taken proactive steps to help our community become more efficient.  Together with other local partners, Rogers City has reformed fire and ambulence services, establishing  government "Authorities."  We have also invested in the most needed infrastructure. We are operating on a very thin margin.  If there were to be new major revenue reductions (revenue sharing cuts or loss of property tax revenue), then we will have no choice but to cut the city's work force further.  From what Gilmartin says, Rogers City is better off than many other cities.

Second cent: State government has an opportunity to restructure and reform.  This must be done for the long term health of local and state government.  We had a saying in the military: "it is above my pay grade."  At this time, none of us have the luxury of passing the buck.  Each person should demand the new state legislature and governor accomplish needed reforms within a year.  Certainty is the "mother's milk" of economic growth and development.  Swiftly done reforms will estalish certainty for the market place.  We need a simple, rational, and fair method to raise revenue and allocate expenses for state and local government.  Eliminate the current state revenue sharing formula, the Headlee Amendment, and Proposal A.  These forula were based on the asumption of ever increasing sales and property value.  We know those assumptions are no longer valid.  Give each community a fixed value for every dollar of sales tax raised in that jurisdiction.  For purpose of illustration only: if sales tax is six cents per dollar, then the state gets two cents, schools get two cents, a city would get one cent, the county a half a cent, and village or township a half cent.  Real property tax would be set by local control and subject to the local voters.  Locals know what they would be able to raise and what they need to spend.        

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Transfer Station Holiday Schedule Change

Due to the holiday schedule, the Rogers City Transfer Station will be open from 3-6 pm on Thursday December 23 and 30, 2010.  The Transfer Station will not be open on Saturday, December 25, 2010 (Christmas Day) or Saturday, January 1, 2011 (New Year's day).

ShopMIDowntown Holiday Challenge--Prizes!

Rogers city is part of a coalition of statewide groups issuing the “ShopMIDowntown Holiday Challenge” to all Michigan residents. The “ShopMIDowntown Holiday Challenge” asks individuals and organizations to do at least 75% of their shopping this holiday season in downtowns and
Michigan Main Street© Districts.  Rogers City is an Associate-level Member of the Michigan Main Street Program.  The great news is that you can win a great prize for your local shopping efforts!

Go online and share your favorite downtown Rogers City holiday shopping experience this year to become eligible for a random drawing that offers five weekend getaway packages at Michigan hotels.

For more information, please go to

http://www.mml.org/pdf/newsroom/ShopMIDowntown2010PressRelease.pdf

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fall Colors

Adele Woskobojnik graciously provided these image of fall colors in our area.  Alas, they are done for this year, but I couldn't resist sharing them with you.  Here are some more:




Thanks Adele.

Monday, November 15, 2010

2011 Presque Isle County Plat Book

Here is the Cover for the 2011 Presque Isle County Plat Book.  The plat book will be coming in January 2011 and will be available at the MSUE office in the county courthouse on the third floor.  The cost will be $28.00 + $3.00 shipping/handling. 


The Plat Book is a great reference for anyone interested in Presque Isle County.

Presque Isle County Doing Great Things!

Just in case you had not noticed, Presque Isle County is a great place with lots of great things happening.  To find out more about the quality of life and the business opportunities here, please go to the Presque Isle County Development Commission Website:

http://www.picdc.org/index.php?page=index&p=1



Pictured here is the historic Presque Isle County Courthouse.  In the foreground is the veteran's war memorial.  Rogers City is proud to be at the seat of County government. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Light up the City

Please consider participation in our traditional "Light Up the City" Event.  This great event, sponsored by the Optimist Club and the Chamber of Commerce, will be even better this year.  Starting at 5:30 pm, the Chamber and City will sponsor a "Parade of Lights" from The Waters Edge Restuarant to Westminster Park, where the "Light Up the City" takes place.  You are welcome to join the "Parade of Lights"--please contact the Rogers City Area Chamber of Commerce for more information and to participate in the parade.

Roger Wenzel to Referee State Finals

Please join me in congratulating Roger Wenzel, Director of Public Works, on his selection to be the Head Linesman for the High School Football Finals at Ford Field.  The semifinals and Championship game are on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Roger will be referee for at least one of these games.  He will not know which one until Monday which game he will officiate.  Roger has been a high school referee for over 20 years and a high school football referee for 18 years.   

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

It has been said: "Freedom is not free.  It must be watered by the blood tyrants and of those willing to sacrifice themselves for liberty." 

Today is Veteran's Day.  I am a veteran and proud of my service, but today is a day to remember and to honor those who paid the ultimate price for America.  My service was a gift and a blessing to me.  The service of those who died was a sacrifice, a blessing to all of us.  May Americans always remember and honor those brave men and women who gave the "last, full measure of devotion" for our freedom.

May God Bless America.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

ShopMIDowntown

 What is the "ShopMIDowntown Holiday Challenge"?

It is a campaign challenging Michigan's residents to buy all of their holiday shopping dollars in Michigan’s downtowns and Michigan Main StreetSM districts. We have created a Facebook page for the campaign where we are asking people to post pictures and video of their favorite downtown stores. Please review the ShopMIDowntown contest rules. People who post pictures or video will be automatically entered into a random drawing to win an overnight stay at one of the following establishments:

The Ramsdell Inn in downtown Manistee The Doherty Hotel in downtown Clare

The National House Inn in downtown Marshall

The Water Street Inn in downtown Boyne City

The Courtland Carriage House Bed & Breakfast in downtown Hart.

Manistee, Clare, Marshall, Boyne City and Hart are recognized Michigan Main Street© districts.

To find out more go to: http://www.michiganmainstreetcenter.com/ShopMIDowntown.aspx

Rogers City is a Michigan Main Street Associate community.  I hope Rogers City residents will step up to the ShopMIDowntown Challenge and do all of their holiday shopping in downtown Rogers City.  Our great stores feature all sorts of gift ideas for your family.
 
Please post your shopping pictures to both the Michigan Main Street and the Rogers City's facebook fan pages.
 
Shop Michigan.  Shop Rogers City.  Have a Happy Holiday Season--with a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Notice of Position--Deputy Clerk/Treasurer

The following position is available at City Hall:  Deputy Clerk/Treasurer

Duties: Performs a variety of clerical and bookkeeping functions in support of government operations at the direction of the City Clerk/Treasurer. Provides administrative support, answers telephones, assists customers at the counter, responds to emails, and receives/processes payments. Responsible to enter confidential data into Police computer files. Serve as secretary to various boards and commissions: preparing meeting packets, attending meetings, and taking minutes.


Required Qualifications: High School graduate; previous experience in clerical or administrative support; one year of college or secretarial/accounting/bookkeeping training. The position requires competency in computers (Microsoft Windows, Word, Excel, and Internet Explorer), typing, and other clerical skills. Excellent written and oral communications skills are necessary in this position. The position requires the ability to listen and successfully respond to customer concerns, to remain calm and confident, and to follow instructions. The position requires the ability to prepare accurate records and reports as directed.

Preferred Qualifications: Associates Degree and/or mastery level computer skills.

Working Hours, Salary, and Benefits: Union position. Starting pay is $11.74/hour with normal hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Overtime time hours as directed. Standard benefits.

Where to Apply: Application forms may be obtained from City Hall, 193 East Michigan Avenue, Rogers City, MI 49779. Successful applicant must pass a post offer, pre-hire physical exam, credit check, and background check. The City of Rogers City is an equal opportunity employer.

Deadline: Completed application form, a one-page resume, and a list of references must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., November 29, 2010 at City Hall. Mark application package Attention: City Clerk/Treasurer. Interview required.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mayor Hall Testifies at Michigan Senate Hearings on Bond Financing

Here is another great image from Mayor Hall's visit to Lansing.
The gentleman speaking to the Mayor is Norm Saari, Chief of Staff for Senator Jason Allen.

Mayor Hall Testifies at Michigan Senate Hearings on Bond Financing

Below is a press release from the Michigan Municipal League on Mayor Hall's testimony:

LANSING, Michigan (11/5/2010) – Rogers City Mayor Beach Hall testified before the state Senate Finance Committee Thursday about the need for a package of bills that changes municipal bond refinancing rules.


Hall testified along with Summer Minnick, director of state affairs for the Michigan Municipal League and Howell City Manager Shea Charles. The three explained that the bills (HBs 5550-5554) are needed to help communities in these challenging fiscal times. The bills would allow local communities to refinance their existing bonds, essentially enabling them to obtain lower payments in order to survive financially. With the drastic reduction in property values, which bonds are based on, and the $4 billion in statewide cuts to revenue sharing, many communities have not been able to generate the funds needed to pay the bonds and have had to drain their general funds to help cover the cost of the bond payments – resulting in cutting critical services.

Hall said he made the 250-mile trek from his northern Michigan community to Lansing specifically to testify because he views this issue vitally important to his community and other Michigan communities.

“This can rescue a local community, it really can,” Hall said.

Minnick said the League has been encouraging change to municipal refinancing laws for a couple of years to give communities more flexibility in refinancing existing non-voted debt.

“Our communities are facing some tremendous financial hurdles right now and these bills should help considerably,” Minnick said.

Charles of Howell added, “These bills would greatly benefit all Michigan communities.”

The bills have already passed the state House and having a hearing before the Senate finance committee was a great step forward in the process, Minnick said. There was a substitute adopted by the Senate committee that made minor changes to the approval process and Minnick said she is optimistic that the bills will be approved at the next Senate finance committee next week. Once that occurs, the full Senate will need to take a vote and the House will have to concur before it goes to the Governor for her signature.

End of Press Release.
 
Please contact your state Senator and ask him or her to support this important legislation. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fire Department Wedding--Ashley Skowronek

Here is a great picture of Rogers City Fire Fighter Ashley Skowronek pictured with her wedding party in front of one of the Rogers City Area Fire Department Authority (RCAFDA) fire trucks.  We could call this "Wedding 1." 

This picture shows the wonderful people who live, work, play, and marry in our community.  Oh, by the way, this is one "fire" that nobody wanted to put out....

Chamber of Commerce Dinner--Big Success

Last evening over 100 of Rogers City's business and community leaders gathered at the Rogers City Area Senior and Community Center to celebrate our business community.  Chamber of Commerce President Bill Depsey, introduced Ray Spain, the new Executive Director for the Chamber of Commerce.  Ray brings many strengths to this challenging position. I've already seen Ray show positive leadership and energy.  Welcome Ray!

The dinner was served by a host of friendly staff and the food from the Senior Center kitchen was hot and tasty.  The party proceeded with award of various raffle prizes.  Many people won a token gift, or in my case a funny gag gift--a bottle of "Slownoff" (sounds like like Smirnov) Vodka.  The sound of my name is the Russian word for elephant.  So, the logo on the bottle of Slownoff Vodka was a pink elephant with the message "fill up your trunk."  Ray gave me this gift because we were brain storming economic development ideas, and I had suggested that Vodka could be made using locally grown food, like potatoes or corn.

Anyway, the evening was great fun with Mike Ridley performing the after dinner entertainment.  No group was spared Mike's lampooning wit.  Mike is a very talented artist--you should see him perform.

Well done! 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Veteran's Day--November 11, 2010--is Coming

Shown here is Rogers City's Avenue of Flags.  Consider showing the flag at your home or office for Veteran's Day, Thursday, November 11, 2010.  May God bless all veteran's and their families. 

May God Bless America.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Kiwanis Halloween Parade and Party--Big Fun!

The weekend was quiet and all through the streets not a creature was stiring...well, not exactly.  Thanks to the members of the Rogers City Kiwanis Club and the Key Club for putting on a great Halloween Parade and Party.  Also, a big thanks to the Miss Rogers City Queen's Court for leading the Halloween Parade.  Finally, thanks to the Rogers City Fire Department for the use of the Fire Hall for the party.  When the pictures come in, I'll show you how "spooktacular" it really was! 

Cedar Street and Community Development


Cedar Street is now open to traffic.  If you are travelling in the area, please be very cautious and watch out for continued construction activity.  

There have been delays to the Cedar Street work due to underground conditions discovered during excavation.  These conditions included an underground spring which flooded the sewer trench and a layer of extremely dense "hard pan" which took some extra work to excavate.  With determination and resourcesfulness, Mr. MacArthur and his crew worked through the challenges. 

Most of the new water and sewer lines are now in place in this area.  Storm drainage work and surface grading is still in progress. Unfortunately due to the delays, paving will have to wait until next spring.  This may cause some challenges to local residents and users, but it will result in better compaction of the subgrade as many vehicles drive over it during the next few months.  Sorry for any inconvience to travellers in this area. 

The Cedar Street area was selected for work due to the poor condition of existing infrastructure and because it may provide opportunities for community development at reasonable costs.  The area has a mixture of occupied and vacant lots, some commercial lots with high visibility from US-23 and some nicely wooded and quite lots suitable for single family homes away from the highway.   

Because of Federal rules associated with the grant financing used, no special assessments may be charged for these improvements.  Therefore, once the project is completed, these lots will have  high quality utilities and new roads available at no extra cost to the property owners.  Any developers interested should check with local realtors about the availability of this property.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Senator Carl Levin Visited Today

Senator Carl Levin paid a visit to City Hall today.  Mayor Beach Hall and Council Member Gary Nowak toured Rogers City with the Senator, showing his some of the USDA-RD construction projects funded in part with federal dollars.  Mayor Hall thanked the Senator for helping Rogers City obtain Federal grants and loans, such the "Build America Bonds," United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA-RD) loans, and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) used for various improvement projects in Rogers City.

They also shared with the Senator their concerns about the economy, needs of the City, and legislation pending to expand the Marine Sanctuary--which Rogers City strongly supports.

Other opportunities and concerns were also presented or discussed, including regional cooperation, energy, and taxes.

This visit was a non-partisan event to keep communications open between Rogers City and a key elected official in Washington D.C..  On behalf of the entire City of Rogers City, thank you Senator Levin for helping this community.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Roostertail Restaurant Open

The Roostertail Restaurant at 390 South First Street has reopned after being closed for almost eight years.  The food is great!  they offer salads, soup, sandwiches, wraps, and a variety of dinners.  Dinners options include New York Strip Steak, pearch, cod fillet, turkey, pork, shrimp, a variety of pasta, and broasted chicken. 

The interior is tastefully furnished, including booths, tables, and a private room.  Karen leads the friendly and efficient wait staff.

Hours may vary by season.  You can call (989) 474-9123 or email them at roostertailrc@live.com

This neighborhood restaurant is easy to find at the intersection of First Street and Orchard Street, two blocks east of BR-23.  From BR-23, find Orchard Street (about half way between Westminster Park and the St. Ignatius Catholic Church) and turn toward Lake Huron. 

A charming place for a quality meal.

Help

The following contact information is available for those who need help and for those who are able to offer help:

Catholic Human Services Inc.
Presque Isle County Wraparound Coordinator
201 S. Bradley Hwy., Suite 1
Rogers City, MI 49779
ph- (989)734-8466
fx- (989)734-7407
smyers@catholichumanservices.org

Presque Isle Food Pantry (Pantry includes baby needs too)
Serving the Rogers City area, the Villages of Posen and Hawks, and surrounding Townships
(Onaway has a separate Food Pantry)
Pick up and Drop off Located at Westminster Presbyterian Church
Hours: 10 am to noon on First and Third Wednesdays
125 West Ontario Street
Rogers City, MI 49779
Contact: Beth Getzinger, Coordinator
Rogers City, MI 49779
989-734-2592 (residence) or call the Church office at 989-734-3929

Carrie Badgero, MSW

Community Resource Coordinator
Alpena/PI County DHS
Alp: (989-354-7248
PI: (989) 734-5123
cell: (989) 306-0817

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Sludge Tank

This picture shows the rebar going up for the walls of a new sludge storage tank at the Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF).  The approximately $3.5 million dollar WWTF construction contract was awarded to the low bidder--Meridian Contracting Services, LLC  of Alpena. 

The project is possible because of a low interest rate loan from the United States Department of Agriculture -- Rural Development (USDA-RD).  USDA-RD was able to offer the City a rate of 2.35 percent for 40 years.  Using provisions of the "Build America Bonds," the interest rate was reduced to 1.54 percent.

Also, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) provided a grant of $750,000 toward the WWTF project.

"Walking to School is Good for All"

Below is an article from The Detroit Free Press, 10/27/2010, Page D01


"Walking to School is Good for All"

Dear Leanna: My 12-year old niece proudly e-mailed me her photos of Walk to School Day. I never heard of it. We live a mile from our own school and a bus picks up our boys, ages 9 and 10.

We think they’re old enough to walk, but riding is ingrained in this community’s culture. Where can I get info on this event?

Answer: October is International Walk to School Month, with nearly 4,000 schools in the United States participating. The goals:

1. To promote physical activity by teaching kids the benefits of walking and the skills to walk safely

2. To identify safe routes to school

3. To raise awareness of how walkable a community is and where it can be improved

4. To save energy, reduce crime and take back neighborhoods

5. To reduce traffic congestion, pollution and speed near schools

6. To encourage kids and parents to share healthy activity

The event is taking hold thanks to a confluence of factors — childhood obesity has increased; tight school schedules and budgets have cut down on recess and physical education, and there’s a growing feeling that walking to school is a nifty way to get the digital generation to put down the Xbox and breathe some fresh air.

Psychologist John Grohol says promoting independence is another reason to encourage kids to walk to school:  “Even though families live in perfectly safe neighborhoods, parents feel the need to chauffeur their children,” he notes. “Children learn by doing. If we take informal learning opportunities away from our children, we hurt their ability to learn the way they were intrinsically built to learn — through natural experiences, interactive experiences with their peers and unscripted, unstructured playtime.”

Some parents worry that walking to school may compromise safety. But Grohol believes those fears must be put in perspective. “Kids 15 years or younger are five to seven times more likely to die in your car than they are to be abducted by a stranger.

And both are highly unlikely occurrences to begin with.”

Lenore Skenazy, author of “Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry” (Jossey-Bass, $14.95), thinks today’s children should benefit from the same independence the boomer generation had — to ride bikes to school, walk to the store, take buses and subways by themselves.
Skenazy says: “We believe in safe kids. We believe in helmets, car seats and safety belts. We do NOT believe that every time school-age children go outside, they need a security detail.”

LEANNA LANDSMANN A+ ADVICE

This article by Leanna Landsmann expresses many of the reasons people in Rogers City encourage their children to walk or bike to school and participate in "Walk to School Day"--besides just plain fun!
Thanks to the Detroit Free Press for the use of this article.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rogers City Community Theater: Sound of Music Opens, October 29

The Rogers City Community Theater will perform the famous Rogers & Hammerstein Musical
The Sound of Music 
on Friday, October 29 and November 5, and on Saturday, October 30 and November 6, with curtain at 7:30 pm (doors open at 7:00 pm).  Matinee performances are Sunday, October 31 and November 7, with curtain at 7:30 pm (doors open at 7:00 pm).

It will be another great show, great talent, great sets, great direction, great music--great, great, great!

USDA Sewer Project in Full Swing

Here is a picture of renovation work in progress on the main building of Rogers City's Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF).  This project is made possible by the United States Department of Agriculture--Rural Development (USDA-RD),  a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), and our customers in Rogers City.  Merridan Construction of Alpena is doing the renovation work.  

Thanks to USDA-RD, MEDC, and to you, our sanitary sewer customers in Rogers City.  Thanks also to Ray Hansen, Rob Kortman, and Josh Fleming at the WWTF:  "They deal with things scary to make Rogers City sanitary."

The purpose of the WWTF renovation project is to provide safe, environmentally responsible, and efficient sanitary sewer service to our customers for decades into the future.  If you want to learn more about the renovation of the WWTF, please contact me.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chamber of Commerce Dinner

The Rogers City Area Chamber of Commerce is holding its annual dinner at 5:30 pm, Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at the Senior Center. 

There will be door prizes, raffles, and Mike Ridley will provide the evening's entertainment.

Cocktails at 5:30 pm (BYOB) and dinner at 6:30 pm.  Tickets are $25 per person.

Support our Chamber of Commerce--they do a lot for this community!!! 

Come on out for an evening of fun, fellowship, and great entertainment.

Annual Soil Conservation District Meeting

Ralph Stedman, Director of the Presque Isle Soil Conservation District has announced the Annual Meeting of the Presque Isle Soil Conservation District.  Jennifer Kleitch--a Wildlife Biologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (MDNRE)--will speak on “Wolves in Michigan.”

The Presque Isle Conservation District Annual Meeting is at 6:00 pm on Thursday,  November 4, 2010 at the Rogers City Senior Center.  Dinner is served prior to the meeting from 5:00-6:00 pm for $4.50 per person.  The meeting starts at 6:00 pm and the presentations will begin at 6:20 pm.



The presentation is free and open to the public.  Call Ralph Stedman at 734-4000 for more information.

Rogers City in the Detroit Free Press

Congratulations to Ray Spain, from the Rogers City Area Chamber of Commerce for getting press coverage of one of our area's ghostly attraction: The Old Presque Isle Lighthouse.  The article is in the Sunday Edition of the Detroit Free Press on page 22a is about ghostly spots in Michigan. 

The Old Presque Isle Lighthouse is about 20 miles from Rogers City about half way between Alpena and Rogers City.  The Old and New Presque Isle Lighthouses have a colorful history which is well documented in the Lighthouse museum there.  If you have never visited the site it is well worth the trip. 

While you are in the area you should check out some of our many area attractions, such as the Harbor and Quarry View Sites, the Presque Isle Historical Museum (which has won many awards), downtown Rogers City (which will be visited by ghosts and other fantastical beings during our Halloween Parade, starting at 5:30 pm on October 31, 2010), and the 40 Mile Point Lighthouse (which many say has its own ghosts).   Fall is a great time to visit....

Friday, October 22, 2010

Scill's Grill Open in Rogers City

Scott and Jill combined their first names to create a great new place to eat: "Scill's Grill."

They have a wonderful menu for lunch and dinner with an abundance of "family comfort food" along with traditional menu items, including steak, fish, and BBQ Baby Back Ribs and Chicken. 

Their winter hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11 am to 7 pm; Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 8 pm, and Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm.  They offer dine in and take out.   You can call in your order to 989-734-2007.

I have enjoyed many good meals at Scill's Grill--you will too.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Water and Sewer Projects Overcome Challenges

Due to nice weather, the water and sewer projects are going forward at a fair pace.  However, two of the contractors have experienced some challenges.  On Cedar Street, MacArthur Construction discovered underground conditions to be very difficult with a layer of hard pan and flowing springs in the excavation area.  At the WWTF, the main building was more deteriorated than originally noted, and Merridian has had to accomplish additional repairs on the foundation, walls and windows.  The water tower project is on schedule.  Overall, MacArthur, Merridian, and CBI are doing a very credible job on these projects so far.  Thanks!

With any major project, unexpected items do arise.  City staff has regular progress meeting with the contractors.  The next meeting is on October 20, 2010.   If you have any questions or comments on these projects, please contact me.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Natural Beauty at Seagull Point Park

Thanks to Ed Lamb for this glorious picture from Seagull Point Park.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Southeast Michigan Sustainable Communities Proposal Wins Grant Funding

The following comments were published by Arnold Weinfeld from the Michigan Municipal League:

"The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced the first ever recipients for the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants.  In Michigan, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) was awarded $2.85 million. Nearly $100 million in grants was awarded nationwide to 45 regional areas.

The funds will be used to develop and implement multi-jurisdictional planning efforts that incorporate housing, land use, economic development, transportation and infrastructure. As noted by HUD Secretary Donovan, the Sustainable Communities Grant program is intended to build economic competitiveness by connecting housing with good jobs, quality schools and transportation. This initial round of funding was split evenly between regions with populations less than 500,000 and rural places (fewer than 200,000 people). HUD is reserving $2 million to help all of these areas build the needed capacity to execute their plans.

The grants are part of the Obama Administration’s Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which brings HUD, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency together to ensure that the agencies’ policies, programs, and funding consider affordable housing, transportation, and environmental protection together. The program is indicative of a new federal funding philosophy and one that matches the League's efforts with our "Center for 21st Century Communities"."

These sustainable communities grants are offered via the Obama Administration; however, building sustainable communities is not become a partisan political issue.  I hope everyone can agree that making our communities "more sustainable" is a good thing. 
 
But, what is "more sustainable?"  I guess the "devil is in the details."  Reasonable people may disagree about what is sustainable and what is not.  For example, I happen to think that the Wolverine Clean Energy Venture is a safe and sustainable project.  I know people who do not agree with me.  It has become an emotional issue for some people.
 
If Michigan is to move forward economically and sustainably, then we will have to find common ground in our understanding of what is and what is not "sustainable."  We need more dialogue and less "heated rhetoric."  For the good of the nation, Michigan, Presque Isle County, and Rogers City, I hope we can find ways to discuss these matters, build consensus, and establish common ground.

Sam and Kris

I will take a moment and a bit of cyberspace to share a picture from my son's marriage to Kris Lunghi.  The ceremony was held at the Elliston Vinyard in California--it was a wonderful event.  Congratulations Sam and Kris!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Blog Off Air

I'm not going to be posting any blog entries for a week, while I take a vacation to attend my son's wedding in California.  I'll be back in a week with new material for you.  Thanks.

Monday, October 4, 2010

International Walk to School Day--SR2S

Wednesday, October 6, 2011is International Walk-to-School Day.  Please come join us for a  "Walking School Bus."  The idea of a walking school bus is to have fun, save fuel, and be safe.  The entire SR2S program is to encourage a healthy and active life style for yound people. 

At least one adult representative of the Rogers City's SR2S program will be at each of the three pick up points.  The "bus" leaves the pick up point at 7:30 am from the locations listed below:

State and Larke

Huron and Third

Fourth and Erie

After the "bus" gets to school, there will be a presentation about the SR2S program and refreshments for the children.

Learn more about SR2S at http://saferoutesmichigan.org/

Huron Pines--A Great Organization

If you want to do something good, then check out http://www.huronpines.org/

Huron Pines is a great organization that helps protect our corner of the planet.  For example, Huron Pines is helping Rogers City and many other Northeast Michigan communities to eliminate the invasive species Phragmites.  They also help with other ecological challenges like restoring streams, rivers, and coastal waters.

Visit their website.  Then, consider volunteering or make a donation.  You will be glad you did.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Boat Haul Out

The Rogers City Marina is hauling out our boats for the winter.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Get Ready for Halloween Fun!


Don't miss the fun on Halloween!  The Kiwanis Halloween Parade begins at 5:30 pm at Westminster Park, and the Kiwanis Halloween Party at the Fire Hall runs from 5:30 to 7:00 pm, Sunday, October 31, 2010!  A big thank you to the great people of the Kiwanis Club for  sponsoring this fun event again this year.   Also, thank you to the Fire Department for making the Fire Hall available for the party.

Enjoy a safe and spooky Halloween this year.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Before and After--The "White" Garage Story

I am pleased to report the great work of the DPW crew on the “white” garage rennovation project. This building’s foundation was in good shape, but its appearance was terrible—anything but “white” (see the pictures below).

As the pictures show, the transformation is complete. It looks great, and it will serve the City for decades to come with minimal maintenance. Bye-the-way, this building stores both DPW and Water Department supplies and equipment and is used almost every day.

The total cost for this project, including labor and materials, was $7,227. This cost is far less than a proposed pole-barn style replacement garage ($24,000).  While it was a challenge, DPW completed this project under budget.

                                                                             Before



                                                                             After

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Michigan Municipal League (MML) Annual Convention

This is a preliminary report about the MML convention, September 21-24, 2010 in Dearborn, Michigan.  Deb Greene, Beach Hall, Gary Nowak, and I attend the session which lasted from Tuesday evening to Friday morning. It was one of the best conventions I have ever attended, offering a wide variety of information about many important subjects.

I want to report a few positive items which came directly from this event:

  • Rogers City may participate in a two MML sponsored projects: an economic development opportunity and an expansion of social media as a means to reach out to the community. 
  • Carol Shafto, Mayor of Alpena, is now MML President.  Conratulations Mayor Shafto!
  • Grand Haven won the “Race for the Cup” with a very low cost project to improve City Goals. I intend to present City Council with an opportunity to adopt the Grand Haven approach as a means to focus Rogers City's efforts in the most productive direction possible.
There is much more to report, but I’ll leave it for a “regular” work day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Safe Routes To School (SR2S)

Rogers City's September 15, 2010 Walk-to-School Day was well-attended with about 90 participants. 

Caden Fenstermaker is the winner of the "Walk-to-School" $50 Savings Bond prize.  Caden is the son of Jesse and Jennifer Fenstermaker.  Good work Caden!

This is perfect walking/biking weather!  Remember, all people who walk or bike to school are winners!

Michigan Municipal League (MML) Annual Convention

Dear Gentle Readers,

I will be attending the MML annual convention, September 21-24, 2010.  The annual MML convention is a great way for municipal managers and elected officials to learn more about effective government and trends/changes coming our way.  For more information about the League, please go to the website: http://www.mml.org/

While I am at the convention, I will not be making blog entries; however, I will report back to you after I reurn about the things I learned at the MML convention.  The theme for this year's convention is "Not Your Typical Convention."  So I expect the unexpected.  One think I have learned is that local government is a very dynamic situation!  MML's goal remains constant: "Better Communities.  Better Michigan."

Fall Fest a Big Success!

Rogers City is a busy place for a "sleepy little town!"  Our Fall Fest at Westminster Park was packed with artists and crafters, vendors and people.  For example, the Presque Isle County Museum booth (which I worked) sold over $700 worth of books and DVDs.  Thanks to Mark Thompson and Jim Hopp for donating the proceeds from the sale of their books to the Historical Museum.  You gentlemen bring history to life for Rogers City!   The Emmy Award winning "November Requiem"

Thanks also to Deb Stiller and the many talented artists and crafters who draw people from out of state to see their fine work! 

A new addition to the Fall Fest was a great showing of farm produce and natural foods.  Thanks to Brad Mertz, Kerry Viegelahn, the Snows, and others.

Finally,  thanks to Lisa from the Chamber of Commerce for coordinating this great event--you rock!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Safe Routes To School (SR2S)

Below is an updated version of the Rogers City's SR2S "Action Plan."  This is a "living" document and your comments and suggestion are welcome.
EDUCATION

1. Bicycle safety: Preparation, classroom instruction, review results--Matt Bission

2. Implement "Make Trax" Curriculum: Distribute to Teachers, use, assess--K. Makowski
3. Incorporate SR2S in Physical Education Curriculum at Middle School and Focus on

Fitness Activities: Plan, Use, Assess--Student Council and School Nurse

ENCOURAGEMENT

1.Community Leaders Set Example and Bike or walk to work and/or to school with school children/walking School bus--Each leader
2.Walking School Bus: Set up Routes, Designate "Bus" Drivers, Conduct walk--Chief Quaine, Art Ross, Jim Hopp

3. International Walk to School Day Celebration Event: Plan Event, Conduct Event, Award Savings Bond 1-- entire SR2S Committee

ENFORCEMENT

1. Patrol Routes—during walk to/from school times am and pm Assign & Supervise Officers on Patrol Chief Quaine Continuous

2.  Spot check bicycles for safety reflectors conduct random spot checks of bikes at school and other locations--All Officers 

3. Special Patrols—for special school events such as sports, assemblies, concerts, etc. Conduct Before and After School Patrol--Chief Quaine

ENGINEERING

1.Yearly Sidewalk Repair Program: Conduct annual inventory sidewalks and publish request for repairs, obtain funding from City Council, contract for repairs--Toby Kuznicki

2. Build Sidewalk for segments on Erie and Wenonah Street (top priority from audit and analysis): Design sidewalk, seek funding, implement as funding becomes--C2AE and Mark Slown

3. Continue Route Planning and Assessment 1: Annual Review & Update, request and obtain engineering design, implement as funds available--SR2S Committee

End of Plan

For more information about SR2S go to http://www.saferoutesmichigan.org/

If you are interested in helping with the Rogers City SR2S program, please contact me.  Thank you.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Special Screening of Emmy Award Winning Film, “November Requiem”

The Rogers City Community Development Authority (CDA) is hosting a celebration of the double Emmy® Awards presented to the documentary film, “November Requiem” earlier this year. The community is invited to a special showing of the film at the Rogers City Theater on Saturday, October 9th at 7:30 pm. Following the film, audience members are invited to a “Taste of Rogers City” reception at the Rogers City Senior and Community Center which is included in the ticket price of $5.00 per person.
“November Requiem” tells the story of the ill-fated Carl D. Bradley, a limestone freighter lost on November 18, 1958 to a fierce Lake Michigan storm. Of the 33 men who perished aboard her, 23 came from a single northern Michigan community, Rogers City. The film tells the story of the maritime tragedy from the viewpoint of the town’s families and the entire community struck down by tragedy on that night.

The double-Emmy® win represents one of the highest honors handed out for broadcast television; one Emmy® is for Best Historical Documentary and the other for Best Original Score. The film had previously won TV honors, including a 2009 Cine Golden Eagle (for Best Documentary), and a 2009 Telly® Award (Best Editing), among others. It recently won the Best Documentary award at the Grand Rapids Film Festival.

The story behind the film and the film's awards have now become part of our community's very special history.  Please come out to celebrate these film honors and our communities great strength in the face of great tragedy.

For more information, please contact the City of Rogers City at 989-734-2191.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Living History Encampment

Here is a Press Release about a great event coming to our area.


From: Jean Gross, Chairwoman; W-989-734-5274; H-989-734-0463; Cell 989-351-0418

mjeangross@yahoo.com
P.H. Hoeft State Park Hosts Living History Encampment

Park Address: 5001 US 23 North, Rogers City, MI 49779

Date of Event: Friday and Saturday, September 17 and 18, 2010
The Day use area of P. H. Hoeft State Park, North of Rogers City, will become a hum of activity that will take you back in time. Friday September 17 and Saturday September 18, Historical Reenactors will time travel you back to the 1700’s through the 1860’s. Dressed in period clothing and using primitive skills such as tomahawk throwing, fire starting, spinning, and cooking over an open fire they will bring North East Michigan legendary history vividly to life. Friday September 17, 9 AM till 3 PM is set aside for school groups, 3 PM till 5 PM open to the public; Saturday September 18, 9 AM till 5 PM open to the public. School groups, to reserve your time, please call P. H. Hoeft State Park at 989-734-2543. All events are outside so please dress for the weather, if you want to participate in the Tomahawk Throw and Bagataway Game, please wears enclosed shoes/sneakers. A “Traders Row” will be available to shop for historically accurate items, many hand crafted by the traders. The Living History Encampment is free; however all motor vehicles entering the park must display a Motor Vehicle Permit.

The Historical Reenactors coming to P. H. Hoeft State Park are from all parts of Northern Michigan. We are a not specific club or organization, although many of us do belong to a period specific club (French *& Indian, Mountain Man, Civil War etc.) but we all share a love of making history come alive and exposing the public to the “new world”; by conducting demonstrations and interactive activities. The reenactors pride themselves on the accuracy and authenticity of interpreting and sharing this knowledge and using items that are accurate to the 1700 and 1800’s. The students and visitors will get a real feel for what it took to do things that modern conveniences have made so easy; microwaving a meal, grocery shopping or sewing and knitting clothing. Historical reenactors really immerse themselves in their hobby, if you can call it a hobby. For some it becomes a lifestyle.

Always a crowd pleaser is “Hawk Man”; visitors will have a chance to personally relive a Mountain Man Rendezvous by throwing the tomahawk. If you cut the playing card you get to keep it and show off.  Be sure to read the rules before you get in line.  Kids must be old enough to handle sharp knives and have an adult present.  Did you break a handle at the tomahawk throw?

The Old French Voyageur Monsieur Michael can make a new handle in no time at all. While he is at his shaving horse ask him about his adventures as a voyageur paddling and portaging on these Great Lakes and why does he wear a long sash and leg ties?

A basic survival technique was Fire Starting with Flint and Steel.  At the Buck skinner’s camp, ask for a small hank of rope; make a bird nest, and then time how long it takes to catch the bird nest on fire.  Be sure to ask about char cloth.

Follow the enticing smell of bread, pies, gingerbread and cornbread baking in the Adobe Bake Oven. Madame Baker stomped the clay, straw, sand with a bit of water, then Monsieur Baker took this adobe mixture to mold and shape the oven.  The walls are 8 inches thick and it takes 3 hours and many bundles of wood for the oven to reach 600’F. But then we can bake for several hours.

Visit the ladies who are busy carding and spinning wool, sewing, knitting, and beading.  We will have children’s toys on hand, including, the old button on a string whizzers, checkers, and farkle.

Test your physical stamina by playing the American Indian warrior training game of Bagataway (Lacrosse).  Monsieur Coach Don will go over the one rule of playing the game.

Find your birthday using an American Indian calendar, thirteen moons on a turtle’s back. There are thirteen large segments which represent the thirteen moons which make up the lunar year. By counting the smaller segments around the lower edge of the shell, you will find there are 28 segments, when represents the 28 days between new moons.
Visit with our fine gentlemen and gentlewomen with the South Carolina 1st Volunteer Confederate Infantry, attached to the North-South Skirmish Association.  They will have a magnificent display of firearms and accoutrements from the Civil War Period.

COMMON QUESTIONS

“Is that a real fire?” Yes we use it for cooking and heat

“Is that real food?” Yes and we are going to eat it ALL

“Is that a real gun?” Yes and they are always considered loaded

“Do you really sleep here?” Yes these are our homes

“Where did you buy all of this stuff?” We make most of these items ourselves, but there are numerous catalogs and small cottage industries where we can buy period correct items. We also trade with other reenactors, called a Round Robin.

“Are you hot in all of those clothes” No, they are made of natural fibers that absorb sweat, and protect us from fire heat, weather, insects, brush and thorns. But moccasins do get slippery when wet.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

UMBS Course Offers Great Urban Design Ideas

Above are hand sketches of more design ideas from the UMBS Sustainable Urban Design with Nature Course that I attended earlier this year.  Thank you to the creator of these images for sharing your amazing talent with Rogers City as a free gift. 

You see a picture of the Sharrow (share right-of-way) symbol and dedicated bike lane.  Also, you can see how street trees can be watered naturally from street storm water drainage.  These concepts will help build a more enduring community.  Special thanks to Doug Farr for his "green" inspiration.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

MDOT Information--State Rail Plan

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has begun developing the Michigan State Rail Plan. The plan will set forth the state’s policy for both passenger and freight rail and it will identify long-range strategies that will serve as the basis for future federal and state rail investments in Michigan.

MDOT is holding a series of public meetings across the state to give interested persons and organizations an opportunity to provide early input into the plan. The open- house-style meetings will give you an opportunity to review issues and opportunities, ask MDOT staff questions, and provide input.
The following meetings will be open to the public from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Stop by anytime!

The nearest location for a meeting is at Traverse City on September 22, 2010:

Michigan Works! Service Center

1209 S. Garfield Avenue

enter on south side of building

Other locations and dates are planned.  For more information or special accommodations contact Bob Parsons, MDOT Public Participation Coordinator, email: parsonsb@michigan.gov
or phone: 517-373-9534

MDOT has set up www.michigan.gov/mirailplan to give all interested residents
the opportunity to stay informed about the plan. Information presented at the public meetings will be posted on the Web page. You may also submit your comments directly on the Web page:
www.michigan.gov/mirailplan
 
Mark Slown's comment:  A State of Michigan rail system is vital to future economic development.  The rail line needs to bring tourists and freight to Rogers City and other coastal locations.  Please let MDOT know how important this project is for our economic future.  Thank you.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

MDOT Information

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2010


CONTACT: Bob Felt, MDOT Office of Communications, 989-731-5090, feltb@michigan.gov

COUNTIES: Presque Isle

HIGHWAYS: US-23
CLOSEST CITIES: Rogers City

ESTIMATED STARTING DATE: September 2010

ESTIMATED COMPLETION DATE: November 2010

PROJECT: The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will upgrade the existing signal
at US-23 Business Route (3rd Street) at the north junction of US-23 in Presque Isle County.

TRAFFIC: Traffic will be maintained with intermittent lane and shoulder closures.

For up-to-date information on this project, go to the list of statewide lane closures at: www.michigan.gov/drive.

Sacred Rock

Rogers City has many interesting historical features.  Along the shores of Lake Huron native American Indians dwelt long before the Europeans came to explore.  Legend has it that this rock was sacred to the local tribes.  It certainly has a unique and picturesque beauty all its own.  You can learn more about Sacred Rock, local Indian tribes, and other facinating details of local history at the Presque Isle County Historical museum in Rogers City, or visit the museum's website at http://www.thebradleyhouse.org/

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Job Opportunity For City Clerk/Treasurer

Position Available: Immediately

Supervises: Supervises the Bookkeeper and two Deputy Clerks

Duties: As Clerk, this person manages the accounting and fiscal system of the City, serves as Clerk of the Council, conducts elections, maintains voter registrations, is the custodian of records, and performs related duties as required by law, City Charter, or resolution of Council. As Treasurer, this person is responsible for tax preparation, tax bills, collection of taxes, the Community Development Authority (CDA) tax increment finance (TIF), tax settlement with Presque Isle County, the Trust and Agency Account, cash receipts, and collection of delinquent personal property taxes.

Job Skills and Qualifications:  The following credentials are essential: a four-year college degree or equivalent professional work experience, a minimum of three years of experience working with governmental accounting, and three years supervisory experience. Strong computer and written communications skills are essential. The position requires intangible skills such as resourcefulness when dealing with other employees and the public, the ability to work effectively under stress and in emergencies, and the ability to effectively lead City staff in the absence of the City Manager.

Salary and Benefits: $45-53,000 depending on qualifications with a benefits package.

Appointment: The Council will appoint this position at a public meeting. Due to the retirement of the incumbent Clerk/Treasurer, there is an opportunity for the appointee to work with the incumbent Clerk/Treasurer and obtain on-the-job training through Dec 2010. The position of City Clerk/Treasurer is “at will”--the City Council may terminate employment at any time with or without cause.

Where to Apply: Mail or hand deliver resume and employment application to City Hall, 193 E. Michigan Ave., Rogers City, MI 49779. Mark envelope: “City Clerk/Treasurer Position.”
Deadline: All applications received prior to 5:00 pm, Thursday, September 16, 2010 will be considered. Applications received after this time may be accepted at the discretion of the City Council.

Interviews: Interviews with selected candidates may be scheduled at a date and time to be determined. You will be contacted if an interview is required.

Equal Opportunity:  The City of Rogers City is an equal opportunity employer.  A copy of the equal opportunity employment policy is available upon request.  All applicants are welcome.

Mark Slown's Personal Note:  This position is a fantastic opportunity for a candidate with the necessary skill and talent.  It is a great job, doing important work in a collaborative environment.  It is at a great location, along the shore of pristine Lake Huron.  It is a friendly community with wonderful citizens.  The schools are excellent and getting better.  Excellent medical and emergency care is available.  Recreational opportunities abound.  I look forward to working together with the new Clerk/Treasurer to help Rogers City become the best possible small city in Northern Michigan.

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