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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


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:


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.

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