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Friday, January 29, 2010

Presque Isle District Library

When was the last time you visited your local library?  The library is one of the greatest inventions of all times!  A quiet place with nice people and wonderful knowledge....You can go there and have access to vast amounts of information and recreation for free!

We have a great staff at the Presque Isle District Library (PIDL) -- very friendly and helpful.  They have recently published an e-newsletter which is filled with upcoming events, library programs, and much more.  They also have a helpful website


Read a book, go online, checkout a video, browse for a magazine, ask for help from the reference desk, participate in an educational library program, and more!  I'm certain that going to the library will make your day better.  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Safe Routes 2 School

Yesterday, I attended the annual meeting for the Michigan Safe Routes 2 School Program, also called SR2S.  The meeting was at the Michigan State Police Academy, which was a treat to visit.  At the Academy, they have many displays showing the history and success of our the State Police and the Academy.  Hats off to our State Police!

The SR2S annual meeting provided a series of presentations from various officials to help communities successful participate in the SR2S program.  The purpose of this program is to "assist communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bike to school." 

Rogers City has participated in this program since July 2007; unfortunately, our progress has been slow due to many factors beyond our control.  We have had good local support and participation from the Rogers City Area School District (RCASD), city staff, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), our community champions (Melissa Stieger, James Hopp, and Art Ross), parents, and our many wonderful school students.

We have gathered a great deal of information from parents and students, and our SR2S Team has done some good action planning.  We have held several "Walk to School Days."  We have held many meetings. Our SR2S Team is focasing on two primary ideas: encouragement to walk/bike and building physical route connections. The encouragement is needed because, frankly, it is easier to go via car or bus than it is to walk or ride a bicycle. The route connections are needed because there are major gaps in the routes, making the commonly used paths unsafe.  There are three key links that need to be built: from Hilltop Manor to the apartments on Wenonah, Huron Avenue near the school parking lot entrance, and State Street to Huron Avenue.

Our community has a long way to go to accomplish all these and other worthy SR2S goals.  We need your help to accomplish the goal of encouraging youth to lead a healthy, physically active life.  Please, contact me to get involved.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Update on Activities at City Hall

While the bears may be hibernating, Rogers City is not.  There is so much going on!  Beyond normal day-to-day operations, here is a short list of special projects and activities:
  • Economic Opportunity -- 7 pm, February 16, 2010 at the Senior Center 
  • Wolverine Landfill Public Hearing -- 6:30 pm, January 27, 2010 at the High School
  • Wayfinding
  • Street Lights
  • Facades
  • Safe Routes to School
  • US Department of Agriculture -- Rural Development Water and Sewer Improvements (huge!!!)
  • Public Works Road and Trail Maintenance
  • Planning road and sidewalk improvements for 2010
  • Planning the 2010 budget
  • Security Grant for the Marina
  • Huron Pines Collaborative Project for Lake Huron Restoration
  • Grant for Birmingham Symphony Concert
  • Main Street Associate/Community Development Authority (CDA) programs
  • Planning for Michigan Municipal League (MML) Regional meeting in Rogers City in June 2010
  • Zoning Ordinance Rewrite
  • Virtual Incubator Collaboration with Alpena
  • Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) efforts with Presque Isle County
  • NEMCOG Collaborative efforts
  • Northeast Michigan Prosperity Alliance 
  • MML Green Challenge
  • Channel 99 improvements
You may be wondering what is all this stuff and why we are doing it.... The "why" answer is simple.  We don't want to miss an opportunity to make Rogers City better.  If you are interested in or want to learn more about any of these projects, please contact me. 

Every citizen can be involved and do his or her part to help.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Economic Growth Opportunity--Final Report

Please plan to attend the final report presentation for our Economic Opportunity Project: 7:00 pm, Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at the Senior Center.  Carmine Avantini, from LSL Planning, and Sharon Woods, from Land Use USA, will present the highlights of their findings and recommendations to create jobs in Rogers City.  In case of a blizzard on February 16, March 2, 2010 has been set as the back-up date for the presentation.

If you know the history of Rogers City, you know what it once was.... The Community Development Authority, the City of Rogers City, and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) sponsored this project using funds dedicated to the purpose of revitalizing deteriorating downtowns. We can not wait to create a vibrant downtown, with open stores, new job opportunities, and greater services for all. We have the potential, but we need to head in the right direction.

This presentation is important for every person, young and old, in Rogers City.  It may be a new beginning for opportunities and investments in our community.  At this presentation, you will learn the results of hundreds of hours of research, data collection, and public surveys from your friends and neighbors.  Everyone who attends will have an opportunity to speak their mind on how to make Rogers City prosper.

This presentation is open to all people and you are strongly encouraged to attend.

Refreshments will be provided and door prizes will be awarded (no tax dollars used for these ammenities).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rick Wagner, New Chair of Parks and Recreation Commission

Congratulations, Rick Wagner!  Rick was unanimously approved as the new Chairperson for the Rogers City Parks and Recreation Commission.   The Commission just completed a new Community Recreation Plan, and Rick and the Commission members are looking forward to making significant improvements to the quality of life in Rogers City, including new trails for walking and snowmobiles, improve accessibility to Lake Huron and City Parks, and many other ammenities.  Thank you, Rick, and all the members of the Parks and Recreation Commission for your service "above self" and your dedication to our community.  Special thanks to Michelle Labar who has served as Chairperson for the past two years--great job Michelle!

Rogers City is known as the "City of Parks and Trails."  I think that we live up to this moniker.  Check out some of our great resource by browsing through this website, and come explore them in person.  There is always something interesting and beautiful to discover on our trails or in our parks!  For example, the new geocashing sites,  fossil park at Little League Park, or new Kiva at North Shore Park.  Right now, you can enjoy a winter wonderland of naturally sculpted ice and snow, almost everywhere you go!  There are groomed trails for snowmobiles and cross country skiing.  Come on, have a winter blast!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Michigan Main Street Center Website

For all the best information about how to make a great downtown, check out the new Michigan Main Street Center website.  You can learn about how a small town, like Rogers City can become a healthy and vibrant place.  Rogers City is working dilligently to become a Main Street Community--a growing community lead by volunteer citizens who seek to revitalize the heart of our town.  Learn more about the Main Street program at this website:


If you want to get involved in Rogers City's Main Street Associate program, please contact me.  There is room for everyone who wants to help this community.  You will find just the right sort of fun thing that you want to do.  We have traditional committee work in four areas (promotion, design, organization, and business development), but we also have hands-on activity such as doing downtown decorations, helping conduct community events, providing marketing assistance, providing IT assistance to local business, website development, using social media, helping people in need, helping people start new businesses, planting flowers, community art and music, and more--Rogers City's Main Street Associate Program has a need for almost every skill and talent.  We have a great group of people, including our Main Street gang. We want you to be part of rebuilding this community!

Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE)

Rebecca A. Humphries  has been named as the new Director of the combined former DNR and DEQ.  Becky is a friend to Rogers City, and I urge you to contact her to congratulate her on her appointment by Governor Granholm.  The Governor combined DNR and DEQ into a single department (DNRE) as a cost saving measure and to better serve the State of Michigan.  Here is a link to learn more


The new DNRE, under Becky, is responsible for the Wolverine Clean Energy Venture (WCEV) Permit to Install (PTI).

Recreational Volleyball

Based on favorable responses to a Thursday evening Recreational Volleyball League in Presque Isle Township, I have contacted the Rogers City Area School District Administrative offices about starting a Volleyball League in Rogers City.  Jamie Huber gave me a favorable response to the possibility.  People participating would have to sign a waiver holding the school district harmless for any accidents or liability.  There would be a need to put up and take down the nets, and clean up of the area after the games.

So, if you are interested, please contact me with your name, contact information, and dates and times you want to participate.  I'm thinking we could start on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, say 2:00 pm, but the schedule will be up to the majority of regular participants.  Perhaps we can start a Rogers City Recreational Volleyball League--what fun!!!

US-23 Heritage Route

Here is a link http://www.thealpenanews.com/page/content.detail/id/507701.html?nav=5004
to a great article about the US-23 Heritage Route.  Rogers City actively participates in the Heritage Route Management Council with Brian Wagner and Anne Belanger participating as Board Members representing Presque Isle County.  Mayor Pro Tem Debbie Greene is the Chairperson of our Presque Isle County Heritage Route Committee. 

The Heritage Route is a very important economic development tool as well as a great recreational resource for tourists and locals alike.  Please support the Heritage Route by using the trails, parks, and other facilities along the route, but also by your involvement in committees and other support group actions. 

If you have questions about tis organization, the trails, or any other related topic, please contract one of the people mentioned above, or City Hall.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gas Prices per Barrel

This chart shows a significant rise in the price of gas during the past year.  I'm concerned this rise may damage the economic recovery.  Afforadable energy prices are important for a successful economy.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lake Huron Biodiversity Workshop

The Lake Huron Biodiversity Conservation Strategy is an international effort to develop a binational action agenda for conserving and restoring, to the greatest extent possible, the native biodiversity of Lake Huron. Over the past year we held a series of three workshops for stakeholders to identify aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity features, threats to these features, and strategies to abate these threats, as well as identify priority areas for focusing these conservation efforts.

As the next step in the process, we will be holding 4 smaller, regional workshops throughout Michigan in February, 2010.

The goal of these mini-workshops is to:

• Learn about existing local and regional conservation efforts

• Validate the findings of the workshops and priority areas analysis

The nearest workshop to Rogers City is:

1-5 pm on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 in Alpena, MI

at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Let me know if you are interested in a car pool.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Joy of Exercise

Throughout the first decade of my life, I enjoyed participating in sports and exercise; however, for a few years, I have not made the time.  Last evening, with some coworkers, my wife and I played volleyball for about one and a half hours.  It was great fun!  Also, I'm sure it was good exercise.  More exercise than I've enjoyed in a while with all the health benefits that go along with moderate exercise.  We had about 16 people who divided into two teams.  We got into a friendly spirit of competition, played hard, did our best, and everyone was nice about it.  I'm going to make a real effort to get back into regular exercise--for the joy of it! 

Thanks to all who encouraged me to participate!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Michigan Sea Grant Website

Please check out the new website shown below, created by Brandon Schroeder.  Brandon has been doing quality work with the Michigan Sea Grant (MSG) and the Northeast Michigan Integrated Assesment (NEMIA) for some time.  The new website will help provide better resources and best practices for local businesses, tourism professionals, and economic development efforts. 

Thanks Brandon!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Economic Opportunity Project--The Strategy Report

I am pleased to announce Sharon Woods, Principle at Land Use USA, has completed a draft of the Market Strategy Report.  The basic document is 43 pages and the entire report is over 200 pages--a significant effort!  This document is available at City Hall and will soon be on this website for your review and comment.  The document is based on surveys from citizens, public records, comments from over 100 people who attended two public meetings, interviews, economic data, Census information, and comments made at public meetings.  In a short period of time Sharon Woods has learned much about our community.

Sharon, the Community Development Authority (CDA), and City Council are seeking your comments, opinions, suggestions, etc.  Please be aware that some of the information and ideas in the strategy report are subject to change, verification, and correction.  If you note any errors, please let us know.  We want the most accurate report possible.  However, some ideas and suggestions in the report are Sharon Woods's alone and not subject to "correction."  Her views reflect her professional opinion and may not be the official view of City government. 

Sharon, who has many years experience in this field, has cast a critical eye on our community with the intent of helping Rogers City to improve in a very competitive market.  Some of her comments are favorable, but others are not.  She has not picked favorites, or pulled punches.  Instead, she has provided us with a unique opportunity to use her report to improve our community.  Take no offense over any part of the report because no offense is intended.  Instead, let each of us very seriously consider that our economic future is, at least in part, dependent on how well and vigorously we work together as a community.  Rather than Washington D.C., or Lansing, the community's vitality and appearance, our local public policy, and the economic opportunities we create will define Rogers City's future. 

Please send all comments directly to me.  After the final report is completed and accepted by the CDA and City Council, a public meeting will be scheduled to summarize the report for everyone.  Then we begin the process of moving forward.  Yes, we will move forward!

Thank you for your time and community spirit.  May God bless Rogers City.

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