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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Need to Expand and Improve Farmer's Markets

The food product needs of the Rogers City community are being met with locally owned and regionally-based grocery stores and a seasonal local farmer's market that operates one day per week near the Marina.  While these sources are meeting the needs of the community, there is always room for improvement and competition is the American ways. 

Our residents and visitors would definately benefit from more competition in price, selection, and quality of available food products.  Many studies have shown that locally produced fruits and vegetables help improve health and can be obtained at lower cost and better quality via Farmer's Markets.  Also, a strong and vibrant Farmer's Market has been shown to contribute to economic growth and development in any community.

The City of Rogers City is interested in improving the opportunities for local residents to obtain products via farmer's markets.  The State of Michigan is also leading this effort, as the article below from MLive.com reveals.  Stand by for future developments about Rogers City's farm markets.  Please contact me if you have comments or suggestions about this subject.

Rick Haglund: Michigan leads country in growth of farmers markets

Rick HaglundBy Rick Haglund 
on November 11, 2012 at 6:56 AM, updated November 11, 2012 at 12:26 PM
pumpkins.jpgFarmers markets are thriving in Michigan, according to a new study.
Will you be buying a heritage turkey from a local producer this Thanksgiving instead of a frozen supermarket bird?
Or maybe you’re planning on purchasing some other holiday fixings from a farmers market? If so, you’re far from alone.
Farmers markets have grown from seasonal, Saturday morning events to a potent economic force that is changing the food-shopping habits of millions of consumers.
And Michigan is at the forefront of this trend, according to a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
The study found that Michigan led the country in the percentage growth of farmers markets in the past two years. There were 322 markets in the state last year, nearly double the 163 markets operating in 2009.
Michigan ranks fourth among the states in the number of farmers markets, according to the Chicago Fed study.
Many of these markets are seasonal. But some, including the Lansing City Market, the Flint Farmers Market and Detroit’s Eastern Market, have expansive buildings and operate year-round.
Nationally, the number of farmers markets has grown by nearly 500 percent over the past 20 years to 7,684 markets. That number has grown by 10 percent just in the past year.
Farmers markets are not a new phenomenon. America’s first recorded farmers market was established in Hartford, Conn. in 1643.
FARMERS MARKET_06.jpgA decorative arrangement of fruits on display at The Flint Farmers' Market.

But it wasn’t until last August that Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack proclaimed the nation’s first Farmers Market Week as recognition of the markets’ growing importance as a food distribution channel.
Their explosive growth in recent years is due to a number of factors, including a bigger appetite by American consumers for fresher, locally grown food.
Farmers markets generated $4.8 billion in U.S. sales in 2008, according to the latest available data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s an amount about equal to 10 percent of U.S. retail grocery sales.
These markets also are seen as a way of generating new revenues for communities and strengthening economic ties between urban consumers and rural producers, the Chicago Fed study said.
And farmers markets also are an integral part of agricultural-based tourism, according the study.
Berrien County in Southwest Michigan generated more than $2 million in agritourism revenue in 2007, the highest in the seven-state Chicago Fed region. It also had the second-highest direct farm sales per capita in the region.
Go to farmers markets in places such as Holland or Traverse City and you’ll see everyone from locals wearing T-shirts and flip-flops to tourists dressed in polo shirts and stiletto heels.
They’re great places to buy fresh Michigan asparagus and sweet corn--and to people-watch.
Email Rick Haglund at haglund.rick@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Innovation Center

Here is a report on new innovation tools available in Michigan.  Rogers City could take advantage of these tools to enhance our productity.  Innovation is the key to future economic prosperity.

New innovation center will accelerate manufacturing across Michigan

Michigan will soon be home to the first national innovation center that will accelerate manufacturing in Michigan and across the country by providing easy access to digital modeling and simulation tools for businesses. 

The innovation center, a collaboration between the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, GE and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, will provide small- and mid-size manufacturers high performance modeling, simulation, and analysis (MS&A), data mining tools, and the digitization of processes to optimize speed, reliability, and efficiency.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Job Opportunity

The Department of Human Services has a contract services job opportunity.  For more information, please contact:

Christen Satchwell, CRC/CA
Cheboygan Department of Human Services
827 S Huron Street
Cheboygan, MI 49721 or

Email correspondence to SatchwellC@michigan.gov
Supported Visitation Program Service Description:

1 year contract: $9,000.00 

Anticipated effective dates will be from January 1st 2013 through December 31st 2013.

County: Presque Isle

Method of Payment: Unit Rate/Actual Cost

Note: Unit Rate would be for 1 hour of face-to-face supported visitation/ Actual Cost would be concerning transportation cost.

Geographic Area:

The contractor shall provide the contracted services in Presque Isle County.


The contractor shall assure that appropriately credentialed or trained staff shall perform functions under this agreement.

The Supportive Visitation  Worker shall possess a minimum of a high school diploma and two years of experience working with families around issues such as parenting, child care, household management, nutrition and budgeting.

Service #1 of 1: Supportive Visitation Program

1. Activities the Contractor shall perform:

The Contractor shall:

a. Discuss the referrals with the referring DHS worker within five (5) working days of the date of referral to confirm the referral, discuss case dynamics, identify family needs and develop visitation goals.

b. Review each intake on an individual basis after discussing with referring DHS worker. Each intake will require a separate and initial meeting with both the custodial parent/Guardian/Foster parent and the visiting party.

c. Arrange and schedule visits as consistent as possible in order to establish regularity for the children and all parties involved. Submit schedule to DHS worker for approval.

d. Provide supportive parenting instruction while parents are having visitation with their children, allowing the child to interact with their parents in a safe environment while promoting a healthy relationship.

e. Promote development of family relationships by allowing the family to take the lead and make choices and encourage a routine and structure that may be adapted to home life with the child/ren.

f. Encourage parenting skills that will continue to be used once the child/ren are home and assist the parents to understand how to provide a nurturing environment in the their children’s life.

g. Assist the entire family in breaking down barriers which hinder positive and nurturing relationships between parent and child.

h. Provide instruction to parents on how to develop a healthier relationship and better lines of communication with their children.

i. Provide instruction, information and helpful suggestions to the parents on parenting skills, limit setting ect. depending on their case dynamics, family needs an visitation goals.

j. Transport and transition children and/or parents to and from each visitation as requested by DHS worker. Transportation, if provided, can be used to prepare children/parents for visitation by talking about previous visit, encouraging communication and positive interactions.

k. Meet face-to face with each referred family (parents and children in attendance) weekly in the family home for (1) hour, unless specified by DHS worker. When visits in the family home are not possible, visitation shall occur in a family-friendly setting such as the foster home, DHS Office, the home of extended family members or community locations (such as a park, library or restaurant) that are mutually agreeable to the DHS referring worker and family.

l. Provide testimony in court at the request of DHS referring worker.

m. Provide a written monthly report by the tenth (10th) day of the following month to the DHS referring worker on each family and include the following information:

  • Dates, times and locations of visits
  • Family members in attendance
  • Observations of parent/child(ren) interaction
  • Activities the parent and child(ren) participated in during visitation
  • Observations of bonding/parenting skills which occurred during visit
  • Educations material or instruction provided to parents and/or child(ren)
  • Positive feedback given after the visitation
  • Information provided to parents after the visit
Volume of Service

a. No maximum number of units shall be established in this agreement except that total payments shall not exceed the contract amount.

b. Unit Definition: One unit equals one hour of face-to-face contact with the parent/family providing Supported Visitation.

c. Actual Cost: Maximum total for mileage cannot exceed 25% of total contracted amount

Monday, November 5, 2012

Home Building Trends

According to the article below, state-wide residential building is slowly improving after one of the worst periods for building in decades.  New construction has yet to return in strength to Presque Isle County, but there may be some good news on the horizon.  Home building is an important component of a health economy.  If Rogers City is too become a dynamic economy again, then we will need to see new housing projects.  Here is the article:

Michigan home builders project 10,400 new homes in 2012; average sale price up

Melissa Anders | manders@mlive.comBy Melissa Anders | manders@mlive.com 
on November 02, 2012 at 2:38 PM, updated November 02, 2012 at 2:58 PM
homebuild.jpgThe Home Builders Association of Michigan projects about 10,400 new homes this year compared to 8,000 in 2011.

LANSING, MI — Home building is picking up in Michigan, but the industry still remains a fraction of its former self.
Nearly 7,800 home building permits have been issued through September, up about 32 percent from 5,900 at the same point last year, according to the Home Builders Association of Michigan.
The trade group projects about 10,400 new homes this year compared to 8,000 in 2011.
That's much larger than the improvements seen in 2010 and 2011.
Still, the 31,250 homes built from 2008-2011 don't come close the 44,782 homes built in just 2004.
Michigan historically has averaged more than 30,000 homes per year.
“So while were optimistic and things are moving in the right direction, one would argue … Michigan is about a third of normal,” said Bob Filka, CEO of the home builders association.
Bill Benedetto, owner of Eagle Ventures Inc. in Jackson, said he hasn’t built a new home in four years. He’s turned to remodeling projects to stay afloat.
He said he’d like to take on new home building projects but there haven’t been any available.
“It’s better than it has been, but it’s not as good as it was,” he said of the home building industry.
A statewide survey of home builders showed cautious optimism.
Pent-up demand is finally starting to move things forward, much like the auto industry is experiencing, Filka said.
“There are fewer and fewer high quality homes to purchase,” he said, add that in some neighborhoods homes are starting to sell for more than list price.
Overall home sales and prices are on the rise, according statistics from 41 local realtors’ associations throughout the state compiled by the Michigan Association of Realtors.
The associations tracked 93,666 homes sold through September, up 9 percent from 85,598 at the same point last year.
The average sale price year-to-date is $109,767, up 5 percent from $104,683 one year ago.
Filka said he’s not sure when the market will return to “normal.”
“I believe we would be bouncing back even quicker right now but there are still some problems, leftovers from the bubble,” he said.
Some buyers are still struggling to access credit and get the appraisals they need to get financing, he said. Construction loans for speculation, or inventory, homes is not readily available.
Another pressure on the industry comes from a shortage of workers, particularly in places like Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor where demand is picking up.
The overall construction industry shed 67,000 jobs between 2004 and 2011, and employment has dropped even more this year, according to state labor statistics.
Many of those people left the industry and aren’t coming back, and fewer high schools offer the types of vocational programs that prepare students for hands-on trades, Filka said.
Construction companies may need to raise wages to attract workers, which in turn raises prices on new homes.
Email Melissa Anders at manders@mlive.com. Follow her on Twitter:@MelissaDAnders.