Friday, July 21, 2017

Spotted: Welcoming New Board Members and Old Traditions


LMC staff gave a big welcome to new members of the board of directors on July 20, when these fresh faces gathered with the returning board for their first official meeting. And then we made them pose for awkward photos. Thanks, all! You make these obligatory moments look good! Please help us welcome from left to right: Curt Boganey, city manager of Brooklyn Center; Justin Miller, city administrator of Lakeville; Sara Carlson, mayor of Alexandria and CGMC representative; Lynn Kissock, mayor of Maple Lake; and Gary Hansen, city councilmember in Eagan and Metro Cities representative.


Also on the agenda was a presentation near and dear to our hearts. Tradition holds that the outgoing president of the League board presents to the League a piece of framed art representing their city. These mementos are hung throughout the building, reminding us daily of the special places that we serve, and the great people that have gotten us to where we are today. Thanks to outgoing president Rhonda Pownell (right), mayor of Northfield, for this meaningful gift, and thanks to incoming president Jo Emerson (left), mayor of White Bear Lake, for accepting it!

Photo credit goes to League staffers Danielle Cabot and Laura Zenz

Friday, June 16, 2017

Spotted: Around the 2017 LMC Annual Conference—Friday, June 16

Discussing issues important to cities with municipal colleagues, exploring the signs of a vibrant city, and hearing how to manage information made for a full and informative final day of the conference! Check out some highlights below:


Throughout the conference, city officials shared pressing topics that they wanted to discuss with colleagues. Friday morning, they sat down to explore topics including: social media use, small city revitalization, federal advocacy, and workforce housing. (Photo credit LMC staffer Katie Davidson)


How do communicating spending, hot legal topics, supporting new Americans, and employee engagement contribute to vibrant cities? City officials found out during the last round of educational sessions Friday morning. (Photo credit Todd Myra Photography)



Our brains are hungry for information, but with more data coming at us now than ever before, how do we keep from getting overwhelmed? Closing keynote speaker Dr. Amit Sood took us through ways to keep our brains from being overloaded as he explained his Stress Management and Resiliency Training (SMART) program. (Photo credit LMC staffer Jenna Kramer)



Thank you to everyone who helped make the 2017 Annual Conference great. We hope to see you next year in St. Cloud! (Photo credit LMC staffer Jenna Kramer)


What were your highlights from the 2017 Annual Conference in Rochester? Share your stories in the comments below!

Be sure to check out photos and a summary of events from Wednesday and Thursday!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Spotted: Around the 2017 LMC Annual Conference—Thursday, June 15

That’s a wrap on day two of the 2017 Annual Conference! City officials created connections, heard from inspiring speakers, explored the exhibit hall, and more during today’s jam-packed program. Some highlights:


Did you know? 42% of Minnesotans live in GreenStep Cities communities! Will Seuffert of the Environmental Quality Board spoke about environmental opportunities and ways Minnesota can move forward.



Craig Waldron, co-director of the Center for Public Administration and Leadership at Hamline University, gave a preview of his session “Growing Social Capital” during today’s new event “Short Takes on Big Trends and Issues.” During this Ted Talk-like presentation, Craig spoke about the importance of creating connections in our communities and building social capital to create healthy, vibrant cities.




"I applaud you for seizing this opportunity to serve your people.” Clarence Anthony, executive director of the National League of Cities, traveled to Rochester to speak with Minnesota city officials. Clarence talked about the unique role city officials play in leading their community, and how he went from being elected to city council at the age of 24 to advocating for cities at the national level as the executive director of the National League of Cities.



Do you recognize that familiar face? Former Executive Director of the League, Jim Miller (second from L) helped present an award named in his honor, the James F. Miller Leadership Award, to Daniel Buchholtz, city administrator with Spring Lake Park (second from right).



Good luck on your retirement, Pete! League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust Administrator Pete Tritz celebrated his upcoming retirement after 43 years of working at the League—complete with a custom cake based off his mandola.



What happened during the 2017 Legislative Session? The League’s Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) team hosted a happy hour in the exhibit hall where they chatted with city officials about the recent session and fielded questions on topics important to cities.










It’s been a great day in Rochester! City officials from all over the state created connections and explored the signs of a vibrant city during the 2017 Annual Conference.


In case you missed them, check out highlights from Wednesday, June 14 at the conference!

What are your highlights from this year in Rochester? Share them in the comments below!

(Photo credit: Todd Myra Photography)


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Spotted: Around the 2017 LMC Annual Conference—Wednesday, June 14

All signs point to a successful first day at the League of Minnesota Cities Annual Conference! City officials from around the state arrived in Rochester for pre-conference workshops, a tour of development in Rochester, opening keynote speakers from The Second City Works, and more. Some highlights:


Before the Annual Conference kicked off, the 2016-17 LMC Board of Directors met to take care of some League business and pose for a group photo. (Photo credit Todd Myra Photography)




What are key tools city officials can use to communicate with their communities? League communications staffer Danielle Cabot reviewed the pros and cons of different ways to reach out to their constituents with newly elected officials during Wednesday’s advance training pre-conference. (Photo credit LMC staffer Jenna Kramer)




Big Lake City Administrator Clay Wilfahrt fielded questions during the "21st Century Policing Challenges" pre-conference workshop. His advice when working with people who have different methods of approaching a project? “Find points of common ground you can move forward on, because that’s where you build trust.”(Photo credit LMC staffer Jenna Kramer)




Just what does the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust do? Underwriting Manager Liam Biever reviewed the basics of LMCIT with city clerks from around the state during the 2017 Clerks' Orientation Conference, which is happening in conjunction with the Annual Conference this year. (Photo credit LMC staffer Jenna Kramer)



“Yes, and…” Keynote speakers Kelly Leonard and Robyn Scott, from The Second City Works, demonstrated how improvisation skills can improve relationships and create stronger ideas by using simple phrases such as ‘yes, and.’ (Photo credit League staffer Jenna Kramer)




"The more we make someone else look good, the better leaders we are.” City officials joined Kelly Leonard and Robyn Scott to show how listening to our colleagues and working together to build ideas create better leaders. (Photo credit LMC staffer Jenna Kramer)




Celebrating 14 years of being mayor! Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede waited in line for Wednesday’s Rochester’s Honkers game where he was honored for being the city’s 44th mayor. Ardell also threw out the first pitch at the game, and Governor Mark Dayton also named June 14 Ardell Brede Day. (Photo credit LMC staffer Jamie Oxley)


Are you enjoying this year's conference in Rochester? Share your own highlights in the comments below!


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Spotted: Drumroll Please! Annual Conference On Its Way



The prize drum for this year's Annual Conference raffle is safe on the truck! League staff, OK mostly Greg VanWormer and Mike Demorrow from tech services, loaded up all the ingredients for a great 2017 Annual Conference in Rochester. All signs point to this being an informative, innovative, and yes, fun, gathering of local government leaders from across the state. We'll see you in Rochester!

Photo credit goes to League staffer Danielle Cabot

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Spotted: Poolside Fun in Andover


OK, so they’re not really at the pool just for fun—they have a job to do!

But these guys, Erick Sutherland on the left and Steve Landau on the right, have a lot to celebrate. Sutherland is the recreational facilities manager for the city of Andover, and Landau is the director of health living with the YMCA. Together, their organizations are partners in the Andover YMCA Community Center, an attractive recreation destination that residents were clamoring for. You could call the partnership a smashing—nope—a splashing success!

Andover’s combo community center and Y is an example of a “P3,” a public-private partnership. P3s and the role they can play in cities are spotlighted in the May-June issue of Minnesota Cities magazine: The Public-Private Partnership Advantage. Dive in!  

Photo credit goes to Angela Jimenez


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Data is Beautiful! An Annual Conference Session Preview

A tech dispatch from Mel Reeder, chief information officer at the League:

"Data is beautiful," as the saying goes. What does this mean? Government entities have a lot of public data. Until recently, this data just piled up in files, maps, and computer storage systems. But with today’s technology tools, city data can now be mined for all sorts of valuable and beautiful outcomes. The opportunities are endless.

Two points come to mind when I think about beautiful data: is it usable and who should get it?

Of course, it’s usable, right? Not necessarily. It doesn’t help to dump all that data on your city website either in gobbledygook form or worse, a gobbledygook pdf. Data is no good if it cannot be handled, broken down, and put together in different ways by others. Data needs to be indexed and sorted in a way that the public and city staff can interpret and then “mash-up” for their own analysis.

This leads to my second point. Who should have access to this data? Answer: everyone! By posting public data it provides everyone a chance to use it, be creative and even create beautiful data. Yes, beautiful! Online communities are popping up all over the world. These coders and data analysts want to use and display your data in new and exciting ways. By providing the data, you promote creativity. (See some beautiful examples below!)

How does this relate to you? The League of Minnesota Cities Annual Conference is just around the corner, and we have lined up a treat for you. Speakers from the MN Geospatial Information Office and MN Office of Broadband will be presenting Using Data in City Planning & Decision Making. Attend this educational session on Thursday, June 15 from 10:15-11:15 a.m. to get ideas about deploying Border-to-Border broadband in your city, using data from other cities, and most importantly, sharing data with your community so it can be used by others to create a smart and connected city. 

 And the eye-candy examples, as promised:

This beautiful data can be found on www.informationisbeautiful.net here:


This beautiful data can be found on www.census.gov here: