Regional Community Development News – January 25, 2010 [regions_work]


A compilation of news links about and for regional communities pursuing local and regional development.

Published on line since November 11, 2003.



Top Regional Community stories … 1. – 9.

U.S. Regional Communities - sub-State, State or multi-State – news articles10.01 - .18

Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet11.01 - .15

Blogging about Regional Communities … 12.01 - .11

Announcements and Regional Links13.01 - .03

Financial Crisis …14.01 - .02

Custom search: region, regions, regional communities … 15.

Bold Italic highlights search terms and/or phrases of interest.


Top Regional Community stories

1. Uniting against casinos - Towns join forces to address impact - Boston Globe - Boston, MA, USA

Known for their rigid independence and fierce sovereignty, Massachusetts communities are usually suspicious of regionalization. But the possibility of a resort-style casino in Milford, or Marlborough, has communities thinking there is power in numbers.

“If I were even to support some expanded gambling bill, I believe it’s critical there be some regional acceptance. It has to go beyond just the host community,’’ said state Senator Karen Spilka, a Democrat from Ashland, who, as Senate chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, held Beacon Hill hearings this fall on multiple bills that would expand gambling. “It will have regional impacts. There has to be regional acceptance and regional mitigation as well.’’

Residents and officials from several towns, including Natick, Wellesley, Ashland, Hopkinton, Holliston, Milford, and Framingham, gathered at the Ashland Public Library on Wednesday for “Regional Casino Contingency Planning: Collaborative Preparation for a Potential Gaming Destination in 495/MetroWest,’’ the meeting organized by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council [], the 495/MetroWest Partnership, and other groups.

Participants talked about strategy with two Monson residents who have been successful in harnessing their region’s powerbrokers to air concerns about a possible casino in their area, and also got an update from Spilka on the state’s view of expanded gaming.

“The House is working on a bill now,’’ she said. “That will maybe come out in February or March. There will be a hearing on the bill, I assume. The House will take it up and then it will come to the Senate. . . . I honestly don’t know at this point what will be in it.’’

The Legislature could legalize resort casinos, with a limit on the numbers for either the entire state or for particular regions, said Spilka. There are also bills for “racinos,’’ she said, which would allow slot machines at racetracks.

2. Regionalism series misses the mark - Central Penn Business Journal - Harrisburg, PA, USA

Once again, the Business Journal has missed a great opportunity in addressing the regionalism issue. Your coverage ("One for all," Jan. 1, 2010) continues to promote the myth that those who support "consolidationism" are "regional," and those who do not believe in "consolidationism" are "anti-regional."

Constantly pointing to Charlotte, N.C., as a case study is irrelevant and counterproductive. Charlotte developed its boundaries through annexation of unincorporated territory. That situation does not and cannot exist in Harrisburg.

Let's get specific: When the Business Journal and others begin to advocate that Lower Paxton and Susquehanna townships should be annexed into the city of Harrisburg so they can subsidize the city's mismanagement -- regardless of the wishes of township residents -- then midstaters will understand what this model amounts to; and they will likely reject it, as they probably should.

In addition, your profiling of regional successes ignored the organizations that have done it well in this metro area: most importantly, the Capital Region Council of Governments,

[ ] an inter-municipal alliance with members in four counties.

That decades-old organization has compiled a long and substantive, if incomplete, record of success. In part, it is successful because it eschews consolidation simple-mindedness, instead stressing shared services and purchasing, information sharing and policy partnerships, where they make the most sense.

Moreover, regionalism needs to embrace the entire south central Pennsylvania to succeed.

Just in recent days, our board of commissioners became the first of the region's eight counties to approve the proposed Regional Action Plan for Southcentral Pennsylvania, a work plan resulting from years of preparation by the South Central Caucus of Counties in partnership with the commonwealth.

The caucus is largely modeled on the same style of participative partnership as the COG. As a result, the RAP represents our best opportunity to date to pursue common goals for south central Pennsylvania in a truly cooperative regional fashion.

3. Tupelo visit energizes Miss-Lou regionalism group - Natchez Democrat - Natchez, MS, USA

Seventeen community leaders rode a bus six hours to and from Tupelo hoping to learn the secret to the city’s success in economic and community development.

The secret may have been revealed, not in the much-touted north Mississippi city, but across the aisles of the bus, bouncing down Interstate 55 between laughs and serious conversations about the issues facing the Miss-Lou.

“The best thing that came out of the trip was, honestly, the six hours on the bus,” said Heather Malone, director of Concordia Economic and Industrial Development. “Everybody got a chance to get to know one another better.”

Natchez Mayor Jake Middleton echoed Malone’s sentiments.

“More than anything, we’ve opened up a line of communication between ourselves and Concordia Parish,” he said.

The Tupelo site visit was the first such trip for the Miss-Lou Regional Steering Committee.

The committee of local elected and business leaders was formed last year with the goal of bringing together the communities of Natchez, Vidalia and Ferriday for economic and community development.

“We’ve taken a lot of baby steps, which are giant leaps for our community,” Malone said. “(We’ve been) getting everyone around the table month after month.”

The group has been meeting for approximately seven months, mostly building dialogue between community leaders.

“Each time we meet, like Heather said, at our first meetings, everyone was kind of a little bit to ourselves, now we’re all sort of laying it out on the table,” Middleton said.

Debbie Hudson, president and CEO of the Natchez-Adams Chamber of Commerce, said the trip energized the group

“We allowed each other to give our thoughts, good and bad, and ignited great ideas,” she said. “They were talking and keying off each other’s ideas. I think that excited them and we just need to keep that going.

4. Coastal Vision 3000 to shut down; some wonder what it did for the region - The Northwest Florida Daily News - Fort Walton Beach, FL

Coastal Vision 3000’s decision to close up shop this coming Friday has some local leaders questioning the group’s earlier promises of regional unity.

The tourism engine, which emerged in 2008 with plans to brand Northwest Florida as “THE Beach,” touted itself as committed to creating a single identity that could be marketed worldwide.

But last week Coastal Vision 3000 declared “Mission Accomplished,” … [ “Coastal Vision 3000 hits target” ]

Some Okaloosa County officials say the group’s efforts — and close ties to major economic driver St. Joe Co. — were slanted toward Bay County. …

Okaloosa County Administrator Jim Curry remembers that representation of regionalism. But he says Coastal Vision 3000 did not follow through on its pledge.

“We’re disappointed that it wasn’t more of a regional approach,” he said. “I’m not real sure what Okaloosa County got out of the experience.”


Coastal Vision, which charged dues of varying amounts to its members, built an extensive Web site,, that highlighted coastal communities and attractions from Pensacola to Apalachicola.

… groups such as Coastal Vision 3000 “come and go” and that no single organization is going to accomplish regionalism.


Inactive but intact

Coastal Vision 3000’s founders say the recession is the driving force behind shutting down, adding that the group has “a zero balance.”

The money collected from members’ dues was used to pay for staff and for at least $750,000 in regional and national advertising, said Dawn Moliterno, president of the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Bagby said more work is needed to cement a regional brand.

“I don’t know if it’s feasible, but I will tell you, ‘THE Beach’ never caught hold,” he said.

Local developer Peter Bos agreed, saying “people did not buy into it.”

But the regional approach still is critical to Northwest Florida, Bos said.


West Florida Regional Planning Council - Counties Bay, Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton Counties -

Apalachee Regional Planning Council - Gulf County -

5. VA Planning District Commissions to Celebrate 40 Years of Regional Planning

Rockbridge Weekly - Lexington, VA, USA

The Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions (VAPDC), a statewide association bringing the Planning District Commissions (PDC) of Virginia together, will kick off celebrating their 40th year of existence at their annual Winter Conference on February 17 in Richmond.

Throughout this year, VAPDC is promoting efforts to address regional issues through regional cooperation among local governments. The majority of the state’s 21 PDCs were established in 1969 and 1970 following the General Assembly’s passage of the Regional Cooperation Act in 1968. The Act established the framework for PDCs “to encourage and facilitate local government cooperation and state local cooperation in addressing on a regional basis problems of greater than local significance.”

The VAPDC is honoring the 40th anniversary of the PDC’s creation throughout Fiscal Year 2009-2010. Virginia’s 21 PDCs are made up of elected officials and citizens appointed by local governments. The PDCs ...

Programming during the upcoming 2010 VAPDC Winter Conference will follow the theme of Celebrating Forty Years of Regional Innovation. ... The PDCs of Virginia have joined together to create the Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions to share best practices, and further regionalism across the Commonwealth.

For more information about VAPDC visit the website at

6. A regional approach to poverty - Baltimore Sun (blog) - Baltimore, MD, USA

The good news is that Baltimore's poverty rate is on the decline, faster than nearly any other city in the nation. The bad news is that the number of poor people in the Baltimore region is virtually unchanged -- they are simply more spread out, so much so that, for the first time in modern history, more people who fall below the federal poverty guidelines live in the suburbs than in the central city.

That trend presents some benefits. If the poor are not as concentrated in one place and are integrated more fully into mixed-income communities, their opportunities for education and employment are likely to be better. But it also presents challenges. Suburban governments that are not as accustomed to providing services for large numbers of poor residents are swamped, and the spread of the poor makes it more difficult to make resources easily accessible for them. …

The situation calls for a more regional approach to attacking poverty. We already have regional groups to coordinate transportation and development. Why not one to address the needs of the poor?



Regionalism is a great idea, but hard to swallow for suburbanites who have always thought of themselves as insulated from the problems of Big Bad Baltimore. The best solution (though unlikely) would be for the city and Baltimore County to merge. Once accomplished, you would have one of the 5 or 6 largest cities in the country with a very diverse - racially and economically - population ...

... I am chair of Maryland Alliance for the Poor (MAP). I am so glad to hear the topic of poverty is being discussed, and yes it needs to be addressed. I would like hear more of your ideas on the topic of how to approach the issue regionally.

RC: Baltimore Metropolitan Council -

7. New RDA director embarks on PR tour - Gary Post Tribune - Gary, IN, USA

The Regional Development Authority [] has learned a valuable lesson: It needs to share the word of the good it does -- particularly in Porter County.

That's why RDA Executive Director Bill Hanna is making the rounds of communities in Porter County, starting with Valparaiso.

Leaders of the RDA understand they need to be more proactive in their approach, about what they do and what it means regionally and at a more local level.

The whole point of the legislation was to build regional infrastructure without having to deal with political fiefdoms and myopic, temporary politicians.

The RDA also has been successful in improving the infrastructure of the South Shore Line and Gary/Chicago International Airport and has helped build a beautiful new lakefront park in Portage.

Most leaders of communities in Porter County agree with the merits of the RDA. That's why Hanna is seeing support during his visits. Unfortunately, the County Council doesn't share the wisdom and is still trying to exit.

Even if the unincorporated parts of Porter County end up outside the taxing authority of the RDA, they'll still end up with the benefits of regionalism.

It's like a family. Decisions must be made to benefit the entire family, even if one of the sulky children has crawled into a corner to pout.,edit-rda.article

8. Ag Legislators Look into the Future - Daily Yonder Blog - Keep it Rural – USA

If you put the chairs of agriculture committees from 47 state legislatures in a room, what would they talk about?

Once a year, it happens. Legislative leaders gather at the Legislative Agricultural Chairs Summit and they discuss issues important to agriculture business and to rural communities. You can think of the weekend as a preview of what is likely to be the dominant issues in state legislatures over the coming year.

The latest meeting was in Orlando this past weekend. I was asked to be on a panel about migration. (The conference was managed by Carolyn Orr, who publishes the invaluable Agclips.) The legislators in our session were uniformly interested in what to do with rural towns that are losing people.


Rural/Urban Division There was some discussion of the widening gap between rural and urban communities. As politics grows more testy, and as rural areas grow more Republican, Maryland Sen. Mac Middleton warned that “if the partisan spirit continues, rural areas could be left out.”

Regionalism Dallas Tonsager, under secretary of rural development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said he expected the federal agency to announce a new program promoting regionalism. This has become a popular development concept. The theory is that counties working together will be more successful in their development efforts than if they plunge ahead without cooperating.

“We’ll becoming out soon with a proposal on regionalism,” Tonsager told the legislators. “I would urge you to look at what Iowa did when (USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack) did when he was governor (of Iowa).”

In Iowa, Vilsack went so far as to propose reducing the number of counties from 99 to about 15, following the lines of community college districts.


The State Ag and Rural Leaders group was formed in 2006 at the 4th Annual Legislative Ag Chairs Summit in Tempe, Arizona. -

9. Van den Brande asks Commissioner-designate Hahn to believe more in the real importance of multi-level governance and to consider regions and cities as real partners – EUROPA – Press Release

Speaking at yesterday's parliamentary hearing of Johannes Hahn, Commissioner-designate for Regional Policy, Committee of the Regions President Luc Van den Brande asked the candidate "to believe more in the real importance of multi-level governance as it will be the only way to succeed".

Instead of speaking about the regions and cities, Van den Brande, representing Europe's regional and local authorities, underlined the importance "to speak more with regions and cities directly and consider them as real partners" in developing future regional policy. He reassured that the Committee of the Regions will be a solid partner in such a dialogue and invited Johannes Hahn to address the Committee of the Regions' February Plenary session.

Voicing grassroots concerns about important budgetary decisions to be taken this year, President Van den Brande outlined the "credo" of Europe's regional and local authorities: "We are firmly speaking out against moving away from the most successful integrated EU policy that exists, against all forms of renationalisation of this policy. Cohesion Policy has proven to be an excellent decentralised strategy that is achieving two objectives: one is to implement EU objectives at regional and local level. The other is to empower cities and regions to better achieve their objectives."

Addressing the Commission's newly designated regional policy chief and the members of the European Parliament's committee on regional development, Van den Brande emphasised that regional policy is not just a vehicle for other strategic goals. Instead, it has to be a "global European development policy at the disposal of all European citizens." This is especially important as Europe's new rulebook, the Lisbon treaty, now requires the EU to respect the principle of "territorial cohesion" – meaning the harmonious development of all regions in the European Union: "All EU policies must recognize the impacts of their activities on the ground and must be aware of their effects on local communities. All EU policies need to take this new objective into account in their planning, implementation and evaluation stages."

Commissioner-designate Johannes Hahn strongly argued against the renationalisation of regional policy and stressed his willingness to work together with regions and local authorities: "We need the expertise of the regions to sustain a successful regional policy and to modernise it. At the same time, European regional policy has to follow an integrated approach and must be linked to all other EU policies. The success, reform and implementation of regional policy can only be achieved through coordination at the European level, and in cooperation with the regions."

10. U.S. Regional Communities - sub-State, State or multi-State - in news articles.

In this and section 11, links to websites of organizations are added to the news excerpt when this is the first time an organization has been found. A goal of this newsletter is to find every regional council in the U.S. in a news story as well as recognizing other regional organizations. In most cases, where a full name is present, a Google search will quickly get one to that organization. News reports do not always get the organization name correct. Contents

.01 Rep. Tallarita To Co-Chair Panel On State Grants To Municipalities And Mandate Relief

Government Announcements

Hartford Courant - Hartford, CT, USA

State Representative Kathy Tallarita (D-Enfield) will co-chair a legislative panel dealing with state grants to municipalities and mandate relief to cities and towns. The panel is part of a new commission implemented by House Democratic Leaders that will seek to identify opportunities for regional collaborations and create efficiencies to save money for municipalities. The Blue Ribbon Commission on Municipal Opportunities and Regional Efficiencies (MORE) has already begun its work and plans to make recommendations during the 2010 legislation session that convenes in February. ...,0,5942637,results.formprofile?Query=24156HC

House Democrats of Connecticut – Speaker’s Commission

Doing M-O-R-E - Municipal Opportunities and Regional

Newsroom -

.02 Regionalism: How Much Are We Willing To Sacrifice To Reduce Government?

Hartford Courant - Hartford, CT, USA

Democrats in the legislature have taken up the regionalism cause again, appointing a blue ribbon panel to search for ways to encourage towns to work together as the state faces a deficit in the billions of dollars. This is admirable, but I wonder if we are ready for less government when this means eliminating services we take for granted. What if municipalities tried to trim the costliest portion of government — the public schools that make up most of town budgets? ... Region 14 must go back to having separate elementary schools in each town. That's a long way from less government. ... The Region 14 school board says you can't run a school district if you have to go back to the voters every time you make a change. ...,0,2445768.column

.03 'Smart Growth' drives rail plan

Taunton Call - Taunton, MA, USA

The state’s poor fiscal health hasn’t stopped the wheels from chugging along on the proposed SouthCoast commuter rail. A new report released by state planners claims the train line and the growth it brings improves the environment, as well as the regional economy. The green benefits, outlined last week during a meeting of the regional Commuter Rail Task Force at Raynham Town Hall, principally stems from the adoption of the “smart growth” concept of concentrating business and residential centers around train stations. ... Southeastern Mass. is growing twice as fast the state average. Channeling some of the future development into mixed-use centers, the report says, cuts down on sprawl, traffic and water use. ... While studies of the SouthCoast Rail move ahead, Whalley is taking advantage of no-cost planning services offered by the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District in Taunton. "Whether the commuter rail comes or doesn’t come, we’d like to see the advantages to the town." ...

.04 State Job Creation Strategies Part II: Supporting Innovation, Industrial Clusters and Green Job Creation

... these steps emphasizes building partnerships between government, business, community and labor institutions to make continual learning and innovation an integral part of regional economies.

Job Creation Opportunities During a Recession

While policymakers might despair of encouraging new job creation during a recession, the seeds of future innovation and growth are often sown during recessions, as entrepreneurs analyze the failures of the previous boom and launch new ventures. In fact, well-over half of the Fortune 500 list of top companies and just under half of Inc. magazine's list of top small firms were founded during recessions or bear markets on the stock market, according to a 2009 Kauffman Foundation study. Unemployment often encourages people to found their own firms during recessions, so making sure they have the support to thrive is critical. New immigrants are an especially strong source of such job creation-- thirty-one percent of the engineering and technology companies founded from 1995 to 2005 had an immigrant as a key founder.

.05 Some logical steps for emerging from the Great Recession

Arizona Republic - Phoenix, AZ, USA

... while nationwide and in parts of Colorado and New Mexico the recession is mostly over, the Monitor documents that only metro Las Vegas has been hit harder than the Phoenix area by the Great Recession and its aftermath. ... First, the Valley needs the federal government to intervene quickly to prevent further job losses from the massive down-drift in consumer and corporate demand still depressing the metro Phoenix economy. Right now, Arizona is broke; therefore, only the federal government is in a position to provide triage in bad times. So, now is not the time for anti-federal diatribes but instead collaboration with Washington to get the triage right. ... Beyond short-term stabilization, metro Phoenix needs to begin to build a more balanced, productive, resilient economy. ... Renewal of a dysfunctional state and regional governance system is a prerequisite for change. Consistency, prudent fiscal management, and regional cohesion and nimbleness will all be essential to reconstruction. But beyond that, the region must pour it on when it comes to the investments it has begun to make to position itself as an innovation-focused, export-oriented player in the emerging high-value, low-carbon economy. ...

.06 Subsidence forces shift to surface water

Community Impact Newspaper - Northwest Houston, TX, USA

Houston residents can expect to see their water bills increase as the city and its outlying areas convert from groundwater to surface water this year. The necessary conversion stems from long-term subsidence, or sinking, in the region caused by the overpumping of the Gulf Coast Aquifer that stretches from Florida to Mexico and supplies 54 Texas counties with all or part of their water supply. The Harris-Galveston Subsidence District, formed in 1975 by the state Legislature, was created to counteract as much as 10 feet of recorded subsidence in the two counties. ... “As the population has grown, generally towards the north and west areas, the demand for groundwater has increased. Subsidence is simply following the population,” he said. “As we convert from groundwater to surface water, subsidence has dramatically slowed or stopped.” ... “Water is the invisible infrastructure,” he said. “For the most part it’s buried underground.” While agriculture and single-family wells are exempt from the regulatory plan, the rest of the HGSD area will pay the price for surface water—literally. “There will definitely be a price increase. Conversion is not cheap,” Michel said. “The price will double to as much as three or four times the rate for groundwater.” ...

.07 With trash contracts set to expire, SE Mass. towns are urged to consider ...

East Bridgewater Star - East Bridgewater, MA, USA

When it comes to trash disposal, state and county officials are urging towns to regionalize their contracts to save thousands of dollars, and officials from nine Southeastern Massachusetts towns are listening. “There are regional opportunities to save on costs,” Brooke Nash of the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Municipal Waste Reduction Program, said during a regional selectmen’s meeting ... Claire Sullivan, director of the South Shore Recycling Cooperative, suggested that towns look at their trash contracts and those of their neighbors and begin asking for contract extensions with SEMASS until every town’s contract expires in the same year, “then, you can work together to negotiate a good deal with SEMASS,” Sullivan said. ...

.08 Residents of smaller communities pay more for top lawmen, getting less

Scranton Times-Tribune - Scranton, PA, USA

The combined salaries of seven regional police chiefs is more than six times that of Scranton's police chief, even though they oversee fewer officers, and collectively protect a smaller population. ... The towns once mulled merging their departments into a regional police force to streamline functions, corral rising administrative costs and increase patrol capability, but abandoned the idea when they said it proved just as costly as the current system. ... Ron Stern, local government policy specialist with the Governor's Center for Local Government Services, said he thinks the reason the effort was not successful is because eight departments were too many to try to combine. Starting small, with two or three, makes it easier to get a consensus, he said. "It doesn't work when you have large groups." ...

.09 Talking change

Galena Gazette - Galena, IL

The Galena Rotary Roundtable, presented in cooperation with The Galena Gazette, ... Participants discussed economic development, education, health care and other changes that will shape the future. ... There are three major things the county needs to consider when it comes to economic development, explained economic development specialist Pat Leitzen Fye. ... the third thing to remember: "We are a small county. We cannot do a lot of this on our own. We need to think in terms of regionalism." Fye suggested the county think about this whole Mississippi Valley Region, which will help grow the county. ...

.10 More than just light entertainment

Daily Press - Newport News, VA, USA

... It was Cary McMurran's forward vision and his sense of regionalism that allowed the Virginia Symphony to grow into the orchestra it is today. He was most gracious during the merger and a true gentleman. He would not allow himself to stand in the way of his dream. As the 90th Season is celebrated it would be sad not to recognize his contributions to the growth of the symphony in Hampton Roads." ... 1970-1980 — Norfolk Symphony, Peninsula Symphony and Virginia Beach Pops orchestras merge to create regional professional orchestra. Chrysler Hall opens and becomes performance venue for symphony. ...,0,4041561.story

.11 Don Walker Leads Chamber

Greater Tulsa Reporter Newspapers – Tulsa, OK, USA

Don Walker, president and CEO of Arvest Bank, assumed the 2010 Chairmanship of the Board of Directors of the Tulsa Metro Chamber ... inauguration address, which unveiled the Chamber’s primary initiatives for 2010. Walker called for the expansion of regionalism and shared resources, the next phase of regional economic development, the funding of regional tourism marketing and the seeking and support of candidates for state office who are pro-business. ...

.12 A St. Paul chamber for St. Paul

Pioneer Press - St. Paul, MN, USA

Some have been suggesting, behind the scenes, that the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce should be subsumed into a larger collective, for purposes of regionalism and economic development. We brought the issue the fore last week in a guest column published on these pages. The writer argued for a merger of the St. Paul and Minneapolis chambers. We disagree, strongly. Here's why: - Diversity. The St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce stands up for and serves a wide range of businesses — small, mid-size, large. Its voice is distinctly East Metro, and distinctly pro-business. ... We're all for efficiency, for getting full value from our assets, for regional cooperation on big projects. We're even glad to see St. Paul and Minneapolis meet up when it makes sense. So, meet. But don't merge.

.13 Mass Transportation Authority will study potential for high speed bus route from Bay City to Detroit

The Flint Journal - - Flint, MI, USA

The Mass Transportation Authority wants know whether commuters from as far north as Bay City would support a high-speed bus service to Detroit, a potential first step toward establishing a light rail route through Flint in the future. ... Genesee County's Metropolitan Alliance approved accepting $494,128 in transit planning funds to be used primarily for what Foy described as a "major" study of the potential for a Bay City-to-Detroit bus rapid transit route. ... "The big buzzword is regionalization (and) there are a number of folks who do commute to southeast Michigan already. It would probably be something they would use." Passengers like bus rapid transit better than riding typical city buses because the systems are typically set up to move people faster than personal cars and trucks by making fewer stops, using road shoulders or specialized lanes of traffic, and giving riders a comfortable station for getting on board. ...

.14 Regional Community Forum talks about direction of CNY

WKTV - Utica, NY, USA

Community leaders came together with elected officials Thursday to talk about issues currently facing the Mohawk Valley. The goal of the Genesis Group's Fourth Annual Regional Community Forum is to point out common ideas and focuses in order to rebuild. It's not only a chance for officials to bring up topics but for the public to voice there opinions as well. Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. says that feedback is important,

.15 HOW I SEE IT: A challenge to live healthy in 2010

Culpeper Star Exponent - Culpeper, VA, USA

The dangers of obesity as well as the seriousness of the growing epidemic within our country and especially here in our community are increasingly evident. To help counteract this escalating issue, Culpeper Regional Health System, with our Powell Wellness Center, has developed “Drop It! The 2010 Healthy Living Challenge,” a free, 12-week weight loss and healthy living challenge designed to educate our entire regional community on leading a healthier lifestyle through better eating habits and exercise. This event is open to everyone in our region, and “the challenge” will begin with a Kick-Off Health Fair ...

.16 Venture capital flow to 21-county Ohio region became a trickle in 2009, report says

Plain Dealer - Cleveland, OH, USA

One of the region's most positive economic trends in recent years -- a healthy flow of venture capital -- took a sharp downturn in 2009, the region's annual venture report shows. Emerging companies in a 21-county region drew just $99 million from venture capitalists and angel investors last year, down from $260 million in 2008 and an average of $249 million the last four years, a report from the Venture Capital Advisory Task Force shows. The 62 percent drop in venture capital flow went well beyond the 38 percent reported nationally. The recessed economy and uncertainty over health care reform are factors in the regional drop, task force members said. The latter has a big impact here because two-thirds of venture investment typically goes to health care companies, a number of them spinning out of Northeast Ohio's growing health care institutions, officials said. ...

.17 UUA board considers far-reaching governance reform

The UUA Board of Trustees is contemplating a radical change to the governance of the Unitarian Universalist Association that would involve reducing the size of the board, creating a system of regions to supplement the current 19 districts, and reconfiguring General Assembly to a biennial meeting with subsidized delegates. ... The proposed changes to General Assembly are based on a report by the Fifth Principle Task Force ... The report advocates subsidizing delegates, which it says would help young and low-income delegates attend; educating delegates about issues in advance and making them accountable to both the General Assembly and their congregations; and encouraging regional cooperation among congregations. ...

.18 US Air Force Chief of Staff Warns Against Dependence on GPS

Air Force Times - USA

The Air Force’s top uniformed leader thinks the military is too dependent on global positioning and must develop an alternative to the navigation system to reduce its vulnerability to enemies. ... “We must … proceed to build more resilient systems, including next-generation protected space communications and air-breathing or terrestrial alternatives and complements for a variety of space-based capabilities,” he said. ...

11. Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet Contents

.01 'City region' tag is sticking

The Bolton News – Bolton, UK

THERE was more evidence last week that the “city region” concept is here to stay. As previously reported here, 10 councils, including Bolton, Bury and Wigan, have signed up to a Greater Manchester city region idea. But some people, proud of the civic histories are not very keen on this. However, a new Centre for Cities’ report says: “The turnaround of our largest cities will be critical to the national recovery. “More than one in three jobs (39 per cent) in England are based in just five cities — Greater London and the regions of Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Liverpool.” There it is, then. Bolton and the other towns and cities around here have an important part to play in any future economic boom. We can only hope that such an occurrence comes sooner rather than later.

.02 John Carter: Boards to breathe new life into local government

New Zealand Herald - Auckland, NZ

... On the matter of local boards, let's not judge them before they even exist. Local boards are an important part of the Auckland reforms under the Local Government (Auckland Law Reform) Bill. They are new entities that are unique to Auckland. From New Zealand's largest city, the Government wants strong regional governance, greater community engagement, local decisions on local activities, improved connections across the region and improved value for money - that is, a better return for rates and government funding. Putting the local back into local government in Auckland is what has been asked for stridently, via submissions and select committee hearings, since the Government embarked on these reforms. We have listened and believe local boards provide the solution. ...

.03 Council fundraiser - UK

... Whitby says Britain's cities should also be given greater funding powers, so they can raise finance of their own to drive forward regeneration. Last year, Greater Birmingham lost out to Greater Leeds and Greater Manchester in the race to become one of England's first statutory city-regions. This meant it missed out on extra housing, regeneration and economic development powers. Whitby says he was told by then communities secretary Hazel Blears that Greater Birmingham missed out not because its bid was poor, but because it was too ambitious. A key component of the city-region's case was the inclusion of an accelerated development zone. ... "The governance structure isn't the issue," he says. "The issue is the retention of revenue and funding from government. Britain needs to grow up and believe in its cities and release their energy, pride and ability."...

.04 Amalgamation not a new idea

Telegraph-Journal - St. John, New Brunswick, Canada

In 1993, the mayors and councils of seven municipalities banded together to write a report entitled Strengthening Municipal Government in New Brunswick's Urban Centres. ... "The conclusion was the tax rate would jump to over $2, not just in the city, but everywhere else in the area and for some of the smaller communities it would have doubled their tax rates." The municipalities submitted their own report to the provincial government with three forms of administration, including a formal regional administration, amalgamation and partial regionalization. In the report, the municipalities recommended partial regionalization, which eventually happened in the formation of the larger towns of Quispamsis and Rothesay. ... As for full amalgamation with Saint John, Artiss said it made a lot of sense, but not in the way Cormier presented it. ...

.05 'Move from regional grouping to global partnerships'

The Hindu - Chennai, India

A strong pitch for multilateralism was made by speakers from Africa, European Union and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the 16th edition of Partnership Summit 2010 ... The summit was organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). ... Saying that regionalism and globalisation are interdependent, ASEAN's Deputy Secretary General S. Pushpanathan said: “We have learnt from EU what not to do.” Assuring that ASEAN economic community would be established by 2015, he said the objective is to narrow developmental gaps between the member States. ...

.06 The French Identity Debate Turns into a Farce

... on the government website setup for the debate, offers this rather windy justification: …the excesses of nationalism, the development of new forms of ethnic identity and regionalism, the gradual creation of the European identity, and the accelerated globalization of trade appear to some to call into question the very idea of the nation. The often-asked question, what is a nation, that it makes individuals identify themselves body and soul with people they don’t even know, seems more relevant than ever. ... One could argue that simply holding a debate on national identity presupposes that there is a problem. It is far from clear that national identity should be an easy thing to define—that would assume a narrow and backward-looking notion of identity. Happily, our 21st century self-conception is harder to pigeonhole, because it is more elusive and diffuse. Every one of us, individually, is a harmony of cultural, social, regional, ethnic, religious, gender, political and personal traits. And a noisy, trumped-up debate about national identity can’t drown our collective symphony.

.07 Paul Anderson: Electoral reform has a sorry history of missed opportunities

Tribune - London, UK

... What ought to have happened is easy enough to spell out. Labour should have agreed in 1994 or 1995 to propose a new constitutional settlement for the United Kingdom in its first term, with proportional representation for Westminster integrated with a democratic second chamber based on regional and national devolution – so that, when implemented, we’d have had something like the federal republic of Germany as our political system. Of course, that’s just a bit too neat: there are plenty of things in the German basic law that wouldn’t have worked for Britain, not least because we’ve got three stroppy Bavarias to contend with, hazy boundaries to regional identities in England and a monarchy (at least in stage one) …

.08 West Midlands takes major role in Europe's new €750 million world-leading programme to tackle climate change

Regional Development Agency Advantage West Midlands led work to co-ordinate a successful bid to the new European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), which will see a unique consortium of six regions, including the West Midlands, five of Europe’s top universities including Imperial College and ETH Zurich and ten major companies including CISCO, Shell, Thales and Bayer deliver the Knowledge and Innovation Community on climate change, known as ‘Climate KIC’. The initiative is one of three KICs to be established and part-funded by the EIT. ... At the core of Climate-KIC will be four major new research and innovation programmes on the themes of climate science, low carbon cities, zero-carbon production systems and integrated water management. ...

.09 'PMRDA should follow Mumbai model'

Times of India - Mumbai, India

Pune guardian minister Ajit Pawar, on Saturday, said that the state government would soon announce the formation of the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA).

Speaking at the District Planning and Development Committee (DPDC) meeting Pawar said, "A request will be made to chief minister Ashok Chavan that the authority be along the lines of the Mumbai Metropolitan Development Authority (MMRDA). In this way, we will ensure comprehensive public representation in the PMRDA." He added that henceforth the DPDC, which plans development for the district, will have to take a comprehensive view of the entire region. Pawar said that now, with Pune becoming a metropolitan area, various local governing bodies like municipal corporation and councils will have to work in tandem. ...

.10 Mottaki: Iran, S. Arabia Enjoy Great Potential for Regional Development

Fars News Agency - Tehran, Iran

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki described Iran and Saudi Arabia as two major powers with ample and great potential for the development of the region and the Muslim world. "The two countries, in cooperation with other states, can take long strides and we see no dark point in the future of this cooperation," Mottaki said on the sidelines of the 19th international conference on the Persian Gulf ... Iran has designed a framework for the promotion of cooperation and intimate relations with the regional countries and the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) member states, including Saudi Arabia. "We utilize capacities and potentials to develop cooperation," ... two-day conference dubbed as "Persian Gulf: Challenges and Regional Mechanism" ...

.11 Tocoist church against regionalist attitudes

Angola Press Agency - Angola

The bishop of the Tocoist church, Afonso Nunes, said over the weekend in Luanda that he is against regionalism and tribalism as a means for promotion in his institution’s positions. “As an institution, the church will never be favourable to appointing religious officials to various positions and functions based on their origin or place they come from”, the bishop said. ... The meeting gathered 150 delegates from Angola’s 18 provinces.

.12 Six Bruneians Off To Japan For Capacity Building Programme

Bru Direct - Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

Six participants left for Japan yesterday to attend a human capacity building programme under the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (Jenesys) project. ... According to the statement, in the pursuit of Asean regionalism and economic integration, the importance of investing in youths has been acknowledged not only by the Mean [sic] member countries, but also by dialogue partners. ...

.13 The Fourth Part of the World: The Race to the Ends of the Earth, and the Epic Story of the Map That Gave America Its Name by Toby Lester

San Francisco Chronicle - CA, USA

In 1507, Martin Waldseemüller and a few of his humanist friends from the Gymnasium Vosagense in Strassburg (now Strasbourg) published a short geographical work called "Introduction to Cosmography." Accompanying the book was a world map drawn by Waldseemüller. The map had special mojo: For the first time, the New World was given a name - America; but more important, America was surrounded by water, making it a continent all its own. This was a strange and stunning departure, because we know of no European who had an inkling of the Pacific until Vasco Núñez de Balboa scaled the peak in Darien, and that was years in the future. So how did Waldseemüller's map come to be? This is the mystery, and Toby Lester brings a sure, learned hand to its detection. He builds a cumulative tale of rich, diverse influences that he juggles with gathering speed and showmanship until the whir of detail coalesces into an inspired, imaginative piece of mapmaking. …

CSPAN Video BookTV:

.14 Strategic Plans Lose Favor

The Wall Street Journal - USA

During the recession, as business forecasts based on seemingly plausible swings in sales smacked up against reality, executives discovered that strategic planning doesn't always work. Some business leaders came away convinced that the new priority was to be able to shift course on the fly ... "Strategy, as we knew it, is dead,'' he contends. "Corporate clients decided that increased flexibility and accelerated decision making are much more important than simply predicting the future." ... - 7 day link

.15 Big Think Interview with Richard Florida

A conversation with the bestselling author and leading expert on business and business sociology. (video)

12. Blogging about Regional Communities Contents

.01 The Core Vitality Imperative

The Urbanophile

“You can’t be a suburb of nowhere.” – Bill Hudnut - What does a healthy urban core mean to a region? Maybe the difference between success and failure. Here’s a look at urban core and regional job growth for selected cities*, ranked by percentage job growth in the core county from 2001 to 2009. (table) Notice a pattern? Clearly, for these cities at least, core county performance is an excellent proxy for overall regional performance. I’m not making a statistical claim here, but the data for these cities is suggestive. I think it also foots with our common sense view. How many thriving metro areas have a core city/county that is going down the tubes? I can’t name one. ...

.02 MVRN Seeking Community Assistance

Merrimack Valley Regional Network to End Homelessness Blog

As many of you may or may not know, the case managers throughout the region have been very busy re-housing chronic homeless men and women. The Merrimack Valley Regional Network to End Homelessness has recently housed 37 chronic homeless individuals in the City of Lowell. While we are able to provide assistance to get these men and women housed, there are some needs that have been identified in the process of moving into a new apartment that we are not funded to provide, nor do our clients have the means to acquire these items. The Merrimack Valley Regional Network is appealing to the community to perhaps fill some of these needs. Tax deduction documentation can be furnished to donors. Our clients would greatly appreciate any assistance that could be provided. ...

.03 Ann Arbor and Ypsi Chambers merge--New regionalism or a sign of trouble

Arbor Update (blog)

As reported by, Yesterday the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Chambers of Commerce had a breakfast to discuss their merger. What does the merger mean? Is it: 1. A sign of growing regionalism in the county? 2. A sign that the economy is hurting even Chambers and they have to band together to stay alive? 3. An indication that the whole Chamber of Commerce idea is getting less meaningful in today’s world, so Chambers have to band together to stay alive? ...

.04 What’s new at Clever Commute? Plenty!

The Clever Commute Blog

Clever Commute provides a way for commuters to use their smartphones to help each other by sharing real-time alerts & updates with fellow travelers. It started with a handful of commuters here in NJ…and has now become a part of the fabric of the daily commute in the top commuting markets. ... Now serving CHICAGO…in addition to serving all of the NY metro area and Boston ... An army of commuters: We are nearing the 10,000 member mark…and literally growing every day …

Select your region: NY Metro, Boston, Portland, OR; Beta: Chicago, LA, London, Washington, D.C., San Francisco Bay Area

.05 4. How We Get There

The implementation of the Avenue du Parc Light Rail Transit Line will build on the local neighbourhood character of the neighbourhoods it passes through and increase the corridors overall connectivity at both the local and regional scale. The line’s implementation will allow for more vibrant neighbourhoods, more pedestrian friendly urban spaces and can be a catalyst to a better sense of community among the local and regional residents.

.06 Participation and Collaboration – Let’s Make It Work

Candi On Content

Open government. Public participation and collaboration. Awesome! So let’s make it work.

Let’s learn from the mistakes a bunch of us made back in the 90’s when we put up online “discussion” rooms and held online “town halls.” If you want the pay-off - if you want good ideas and positive outcomes - you have to invest the resources and plan strategically. Think of it as running a meeting. Invite participants ... Share background information ... Publish an agenda ... Designate someone to preside ... Conclude the meeting ... Follow up ... One more tip. Advocates and lobbyists will be all over opportunities for public participation and collaboration. But will average citizens come to the table…citizens across the political spectrum, across generations, across the country? You need to prime the pump. Create some quick success. ...

.07 Civic Engagement in Public Governance26

xiong_social work

Policy tasks are likely to have local/sub-national as well as national dimensions. Traditionally, much policy is formulated at the central government level. However, in a decentralized system of government, the information generated through local/regional government-civil society dialogue may influence the policy agenda at the national level. Conversely, an issue may be identified at a national level, but may require substantial public input from the local, regional and community level (for example, the PRSP process for determining the national poverty reduction strategy). ...

Main page for "Evaluating Citizen Engagement in Policy Making" A paper presented at the Canadian Evaluation Society Conference - June 2, 2009, Ottawa

.08 How PDF and RSS Can Solve Information Retention Challenges

Civic Blogger

What I am about to suggest as a solution to some of the records retention challenges municipalities are facing with web 2.0 tools may, or may not, be mine. ... Municipalities are having to find ways of keeping track of the information being published online when they use social media. Unfortunately, since the information is not hosted by the municipality, they have less control than they typically need, or would like. ... the solution I am proposing? Using the existing tools of email, PDF document storage, and RSS feeds to create a semi-automated records retention system for your organization. This requires three things: ...

.09 Regional Repositories

Archives Outside

State Records has a network of six regional repositories across NSW; based in Armidale, Broken Hill, Newcastle (2), Wollongong and Wagga Wagga. ... About ... This website was developed to create a meeting place for people who have archival collections around New South Wales and researchers who wish to access them. While the main focus is on the State Records Regional Repository Network we welcome participation from all keepers of archives, from Archivists, Local Studies Librarians and Records Managers to members of Community Groups and Personal Collectors. ...

.10 Urban Exploration Tips, Tricks and Guides

Urban exploration (also known as ‘building infiltration‘) is a risky sport at best and an illegal one at worst. In short, it is the art of breaking into abandoned buildings and places. While WebUrbanist can’t endorse breaking the law there is fortunately no law against reporting on it and some forms of urban exploration are fortunately legal. Here are some introductory guides and additional resources for those interested in exploring this illicit urban sport. ... Unknown to many web surfers there are a vast number of regional urban exploration websites as well as specialty forums and other online urbex communities. ...

.11 Climate Change and Biodiversity Protection in Santa Barbara, California

McGinnis bioregional blog

The south-central coastal bioregion includes the northern Channel Islands, Santa Barbara Channel, the coastal watersheds from Morro Bay to the Ventura River, the mountain ranges of the Santa Ynez, San Raphael, and Sierra Madre. ..

13. Announcements and Regional Links. Contents

.01 Research Networks - Introduction and Guidelines - Regional Studies Association

Regional Studies Association Research Networks are formed by the Association's members to organise a series of events to examine an issue of collective interest (the issue discussed need not necessarily have a direct policy focus but the examination would normally lead to policy related conclusions) and the Association can offer grants of up to a maximum of £3000 to members wishing to establish a Research Network. Organisers must be current members of the RSA at the time of the application and throughout the duration of the Research Network. ...

2010 deadlines for applications: 23rd April, 24th August, 25th October

.02 Call for Papers -Local Food Systems in Old Industrial Regions: Challenges and Opportunities - IGU Commission on the Dynamics of Economic Spaces - Toledo, Ohio USA — August 3-7, 2010

In recent years there has been an explosion of interest in the topic of local food systems. This heightened interest can be found among policy makers, planners, public health professionals, environmentalists, community developers, academics, farmers and ordinary citizens. While there are common characteristics that most local food systems share the purpose of this conference is to explore the unique challenges and opportunities associated with local food systems located within old industrial regions.

The conference aims to bring together both academics and practitioners to share their knowledge, experience, and expertise with regard to developing and maintaining local food systems in old industrial regions. While this conference is sponsored by the International Geographical Union we are particularly interested in participation from individuals in a variety of academic disciplines (including, but not limited to, geography, planning, public policy, public health, environmental science, horticulture, women and gender studies, sociology, anthropology, and economics.)

Chair: Professor Michael Taylor, Department of Geography, University of Birmingham, UK

Vice Chair: Dr. Neil Reid, Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toledo, USA

.03 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) is a not-for-profit academic research consortium that has as its goal making high quality international research data on entrepreneurial activity readily available to as wide an audience as possible. GEM is the largest single study of entrepreneurial activity in the world. Initiated in 1999 with 10 countries, GEM 2009 conducted research in 54 countries. The GEM 2009 Global Report was launched in Santiago, Chile on Thursday 14th January 2010.

… This 11th report in the GEM series focuses on the impact of the recession on entrepreneurship and the extent to which entrepreneurship can help reverse a downward economic trend. Also included are: 1) a special report on global perspectives of social entrepreneurship; 2) an analysis of the impact of the recession on funding to support new businesses; and 3) updates on entrepreneurial attitudes and perceptions, entrepreneurial activity, and entrepreneurial aspirations. … The year 2009 will be remembered for an economic recession that shattered the economic landscape in most countries across the world. As national and regional governments search for ways of rebuilding their economies, our understanding of the relationship between entrepreneurship and development remains incomplete. …

14. Financial Crisis. Contents

.01 The Quants Book Review: How A Group Of Mathematicians And Computer Scientists Nearly Destroyed Wall Street

On Thursday, President Barack Obama proposed new rules to curb a number of Wall Street's risky--and highly profitable--trading activities. One target: The secretive trading operations within banks that use large doses of leverage, or borrowed money, to make huge bets on the market. Wall Street says the regulations are unnecessary, and since the financial crisis struck, most banks have cut back on these trading outfits. But when the downturn first hit in the summer of 2007, several of them were among the first to suffer, and collectively they lost billions over a matter of days. ...

.02 Nomi Prins: Behind The Bailouts

More than $13 trillion into America's financial bailout, Nomi Prins says regular Americans are worse off than before, and she's angry. "Most of what the Federal Reserve has done to support the banking industry is completely secret," she says. Prins was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns before becoming a journalist. She's been poring through spreadsheets and SEC filings to try and figure out where the bailout money came from and where it went. Nomi Prins is a senior fellow at Demos, a policy think tank dedicated to "fostering civic engagement and a more equitable economy." She's the author of several nonfiction books and a Wall Street thriller, "The Trail." Her new book is "It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bailouts, Bonuses, and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street." She spoke at Town Hall Seattle on December 3, 2009. …

15. Custom search: region, regions, regional communities Contents

To search on topics like those in Regional Community Development News use this custom search engine which utilizes over 2000 regional related sites.

My name is Tom Christoffel. I've worked in the field of intergovernmental and regional cooperation since 1973. As a consequence, "I see regions work.” It is my thesis that "regional communities” are emerging where multi-jurisdictional regional council organizations exist.

Making visible such cross-boundary planning, collaboration and cooperative action at multi-jurisdictional networked regional scales, public, private and NGO is my purpose. "Think globally, act locally" was innovative in its time. Today the local scale is often too small to address today's needs and opportunities. "Think local planet, act regionally,” is my candidate paradigm. No one said we're only allowed one paradigm.

We can see that “regional communities of communities” are organized locally and now act both to avoid tragedy in the commons and gain benefits. An effective multi-jurisdictional regional community has DNA. It is geographically Defined; has a common Name and its Alignment is inclusive of smaller communities and participatory in larger communities. So, by scanning this compilation, reading articles and checking organizations - you too will be able to see the regional communities that already exist.

News references are found using Google Search services. Media article excerpts and links are “fair use” to transform globally scattered reports to make regional approaches visible. Links go to the publisher and do not compete with it. Such publishers are likely to have related stories and thus be seen by new customers. “Regional” is an emerging news category.

There is no charge for this service and no profit is made from its use, though any user can become more aware of the topic itself. Regional Community Development News is published bi-monthly based on news reports as of the publication date.

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Tom (Thomas J.) Christoffel, AICP -