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September 2009 Archives

September 3, 2009

First Impressions: Education

We rolled out our FI:Edu project yesterday at a meeting in Greenwood. The meeting was hosted by our partner, the Miss Center for Education Innovation. Attending were mayors and superintendents from Shelby, Alligator, Webb, Rosedale, Greenwood, Port Gibson, Sumner, Belzoni, and Benoit. Other partner groups included Parent for Public Schools, Excel by 5, and SPARK. This is going to be a great project to help towns and schools work together to improve appearances. Our school districts are the largest employers in many of our small towns and maybe the largest buildings. How our schools look, inside and out, iis important. Read more about the project and take a look at the video at http://www.mscat.msstate.edu/fi-ed/

September 14, 2009

Folks Turn Out in Marion

I enjoyed visiting with about 60 Marion residents last week for the First Impressions presentation. The folks in attendance were ready to take the reins and begin to make a difference in their town.

Bordered by Meridian on three sides, Marion has an opportunity to benefit greatly from its larger neighbor. The team was pleasantly surprised to find many newer subdivisions in town. Also, the confederate cemetery was a nice find as well. It was really interesting to learn that the Marion Dollar General store is at the top of the sales heap for all stores in that region. After a quick visit inside the store, it's no secret that goods are flying off the shelves.

Besides its limited tax base, a challenge for Marion is its lack of a downtown core. Downtowns are the "heartbeats" of any community. They provide a central location where folks can get out of their automobiles and walk, talk, visit, eat, shop...well you get the picture. In communities that are mostly designed for automobile use except for, perhaps, a few residential neighborhoods, it's more of a challenge to try to develop a sense of place and create an environment conducive to community gatherings.

Several folks last week told me they really wanted to see Marion grow and evolve in a positive way. Beginning with community appearance projects is a great first step to creating an inviting community to prospective families and businesses. Residents can get involved quickly, and the impacts can be quite astonishing after only a short time.

It's hard to think about planning for 25 years in the future, but it's important to do so. Creating communities that we want to live in tomorrow requires that we plan accordingly today. Just like many of small towns in Mississippi, Marion has an opportunity to carve out its niche too.

September 29, 2009

Making Meetings Meaningful for MS Municipal Clerks

I really enjoyed last week's opportunity to provide a workshop for the master certification program managed by MSU's Center for Governmental Training and Technology. About 35 municipal clerks participated in the workshop at Lake Tiak O'khata. I must say that municipalities should show appreciation to their clerks every day. They know the nuts and bolts of city business and keep our towns and cities running as smoothly as possible!

Do you ever get tired of "meeting for the sake of meeting?" Too many times, groups tend to think that having a meeting is the answer to everything; however, misunderstanding and lack of accomplishment are two major pitfalls that tend to turn folks away from joining committees and attending meetings altogether.

Correctly designed meetings with properly prepared agendas, logistics, and even ground rules and faciliators can help make meetings run a lot more efficiently. Using techniques such as the slip and poll methods along with negotiated consensus can really help achieve meeting objectives.

I aplaud the clerks for the active participation and discussion and look forward to future opportunities to interact with this fun group.

About September 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Dawg Tracks in September 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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