Regional Community Development News – December 5, 2011

This newsletter provides a scan of regional community, cooperation and collaboration activity as reported in news media and blogs. Article text is saved to on within the 1000 count limit. Geocode system and topic tags are assigned and included. These are a work in progress. "re:" is used  a pre-tag meaning: region/regions/regional. They link to the collection of related items. 
Multi-jurisdictional intentional regional communities are, in all cases, “Greater Communities” where “community motive” is at work at a more than local scale.
Top stories are tweeted daily.!/tomchristoffel

Unified transit will lift region  |
Metro Atlanta … we can’t offer our residents and visitors — a seamless, unified transit network that offers efficient travel without a car. … Regional Transit Committee of the Atlanta Regional Commission … conceptual legislation that would create a regional governing body to bring continuity and efficiency to our current transit systems.

…Transit Committee has given three priorities to the governor’s Transit Governance Task Force that can help a transportation governance entity be most effective and meaningful to the Atlanta region:

● The newly created transit authority must be regional rather than statewide. This will allow it to deal more efficiently and effectively with regional issues.
● The new entity’s board of directors should be made up of a majority of local elected officials from the region.
● The voting power of a board member should be proportional to the population that each official represents and the financial contribution that member governments make to the entity.
o    re:metro


Budget cuts spell doom for state’s regional library system | state, spell, cuts ...
… state’s regional library systems were created with a great deal of fanfare through an act of the Texas Legislature.
The South Texas Library System and the other regional systems were set up in 1972 to support public libraries in every corner of the state. This past session … lawmakers signed the death warrant for those regional systems. The STLS and other regional libraries saw their funding eliminated as part of $15 billion in cuts in state funding in response to a massive budget shortfall.

The STLS, with its network of 55 public libraries, will close its doors Dec. 31. The system’s total state budget for fiscal year 2011 was $378,096. Included in that was $80,000 in Technical Assistance Negotiated Grant (TANG) money used to provide technical support for South Texas libraries. The nine other regional systems will stay open until August 2012. … most of the pain will be felt by local libraries large and small that have depended on the regional systems over four decades. …
o    re:libraries


Dutch coastal community that has been home to offshore wind farm shares lessons ...
The idea of putting industrial-scale wind turbines off the shores of a tourist-dependent beach community was not an issue in Egmond aan Zee, The Netherlands.

The Egmond aan Zee offshore wind farm has had 36 Danish-made industrial wind turbines operating since 2007.
The tourism program manager for the northern Netherlands shoreline region told a group of West Michigan officials Monday that the Egmond aan Zee offshore wind project has not affected visitors to the North Sea nor hurt local tourism businesses.

The 36-turbine offshore wind farm, which is six to nine miles offshore, is usually not visible from the small beach village of 5,000 inhabitants, according to Adriana Stam, who handles tourism issues for the Development Company North Holland — a regional economic development agency.

… Grand Valley State University West Michigan Wind Assessment research project. The Holland-to-Holland conversation was conducted through an Internet conference ... GVSU Meijer Campus in Holland, Mich.


Cuomo pops in on LI pitch -
Nov. 28 marked the beginning of presentations for the 10 Regional Economic Development Councils that are all competing for state funding for their projects. The four regions who most impress those in charge of the selection process will receive $40 million each to implement their proposals.
A five-person Strategic Plan Review Committee is heading the selection process.
"I just wanted to come by and thank you for all the hard work," said Cuomo. "Bringing everyone to the same table and getting past the lines and the boundaries and the differences that all too often keep parties from coming to consensus has been done very well all across this state, so I want to applaud you and thank you for the great work," he said before thanking the judges and making it clear that he will not have any say in which regions obtain the top four spots that will get the highest funding.
Rabinowitz and Law were given just over an hour to pitch their wide-ranging strategy for the growth of Long Island, ...
o    re:governor
o    re:consensus


CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo To Headline Regional Development Awards Ceremony Thursday...
Gov. Andrew Cuomo will announce the winners Thursday of $200 million in grants for the state’s regional economic councils in a ceremony at the Egg, headlined by CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo.
Cuomo has turned events on the regional development councils into big productions. An “Open For Business” conference in September to tout the work of the 10 regional development councils was headlined by former President Bill Clinton and moderated by another CNBC personality, Ron Insana.
The 10 regional councils are vying for a piece of $200 million in state funding and tax incentives being offered by the state for innovative job-creation projects. The top four regions will get $40 million each; the other six will split the remaining $40 million.

Community Foundation celebrates 70th year assisting people in San Bernardino, Ri...
Collaboration is the key to charitable success throughout the expansive region of San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
With more than 10,000 nonprofits alone struggling to capture or maintain donor dollars, competition is tough, but in order to do the most good for the most people, joining forces ultimately will lead to the most success, according to Daniel Foster, president and chief executive officer of The Community Foundation.
The Riverside-based group is a nonprofit public charity created by and for residents of both counties. Although the Foundation recently celebrated its 70th year of operations, its recent growth in staff and contributions is positioning it for a bright 2012 and beyond. And the ultimate beneficiary is the community and the people it serves.


Indiana communities roll out welcome mat, smartphone apps to attract Super Bowl ...
Central Indiana communities are launching smartphone applications, decorating cards to welcome visitors and taking other steps to promote local attractions in hopes of capitalizing on thousands of Super Bowl fans descending on the region for the Feb. 5 game.
Tourism officials in Kokomo are working on an app that includes pictures of local attractions and information on restaurants and lodging. Indianapolis and Columbus already have similar apps, and the Kokomo Tribune reports Hamilton County is developing one.

The areas are all included in a list of 17 Super Celebration Sites chosen by the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee.
The sites reach as far south as Columbus and as far north as Lafayette. ...
o    re:sports
o    re:tourism


Information technology jobs on the rise in region - News - Citizens Voice
Fifteen months ago, OPTiMO Information Technology had no employees in this area.
Today, the Bloomsburg-based company has 48 employees at the Wilkes-Barre Innovation Center and area client locations, and seven at a newly opened office in Clarks Summit.
"We are making a big push to expand regionally," said Mike Miguelez, president and chief executive of OPTiMO, which provides specialized technology services, including data security, database design, digital forensics, software development and systems integration.
"It says a lot about what this region offers from an IT perspective," OPTiMO marketing manager John Kilker said.
OPTiMO's growth illustrates a burst in regional information technology hiring. ...
"With that sector, there may be some recognition that the higher education infrastructure here is delivering employable graduates," said Teri Ooms, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development, a regional think tank. ...


Generating researchers to speed up regional development
The dreams about having educated lie upon one another; there is nothing to doubt against its necessity being part of every ones development economically, politically, intellectually, socially or technically.
The current situation in the country is to generate competent graduates that are well-equipped with research and practical techniques to speed up regional development.

A forum organized recently in Dar es Salaam by the University of Dar es Salaam in corroboration with the Norwegian government focusing on extending programs in universities to underscore African-Norwegian partnerships in academic capacity building at a crossroads; achieving experiences and the way ahead.

The forum addressed the effects of academic capacity building in institutions and society and the way forward for international partnerships that is moving from individual capacity building to institutional development.


Regional planning needed |
I dearly love Tampa Mayor-but yet another two-year, million-dollar "blueprint" study for downtown development is just a distraction from the real, regional planning that needs to take place. Instead of trying to create the best-little-block-in-Tampa, why not work to create the best quality metropolitan statistical area Florida? Instead of every mayor and county commissioner fighting to win for themselves that white knight job-creating company to relocate here, why not together challenge Miami's prominence in the state?

Eighth-ranked MSA Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach has a combined population of 5.5 million people, compared to 19th-ranked Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater with over 2.7 million people. Yet the Miami MSA has many more times the financial clout of the Tampa MSA. However, if we further expand the view of ourselves as the West Central Florida MSA, we then have the population to rival the Miami MSA. We just lack the vision and political will to become a greater region....


Guest Commentary: Disappointed by Denver's decision on stock show - The Denver P...
As the mayor of Aurora, I am writing on behalf of the city council to express our deep concern about Denver's recent withdrawal from the state Regional Tourism Act application for Gaylord and the National Western Stock Show.
We are disappointed with this direction, as we have always seen the application as an opportunity to build on our record of regional collaboration and success.

We understand the stock show is a respected Denver institution with deep community roots. Since the beginning of the Regional Tourism Act application process, we anticipated that the stock show would remain in Denver and continue to support it remaining in Denver. The original site plan for the project had the stock show located on Denver land adjacent to Gaylord, allowing both entities to benefit from the synergy they will create. It has never been the intent of the Aurora City Council to relocate the stock show out of Denver.

… Both Aurora and Denver spend considerable effort to bring jobs to the region, …


ACT, NSW sign regional agreement
Any border disputes between NSW and ACT government services are set to ease through new regional collaboration, Premier Barry O'Farrell says.
Mr O'Farrell and ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Sydney on Friday to improve the delivery of services in south-eastern NSW and the capital.
Due to a population boom in the region, particularly around Queanbeyan in NSW, Mr O'Farrell said the proper co-ordination of education, health and infrastructure was needed.
"Problems don't stop at borders, and resources available on one side of the border should be available to the other side," Mr O'Farrell said.
According to Ms Gallagher, 25 per cent of activity in ACT hospitals now come from south-east NSW, with that figure increasing to 50 per cent for cancer services.
"It doesn't make any sense to put a cancer service in Queanbeyan when we've got a cancer centre in Canberra,"
"We just need to make sure the one in Canberra is there to service the region.
o    re:borders


Mayors Concerned as Redistricting Carves Up Urban Areas -
... scores of American cities, counties and metropolitan areas are being divided again — splitting apart families, neighbors and, most important, voters with similar interests and needs — as states engage in the once-a-decade process of drawing the lines of new Congressional districts.
And mayors and local officials in many places are none too happy about it. 
Cities have long been underrepresented in Congress, political scientists have found. As far back as 1963, when 31 percent of Americans lived in central cities, only 25.3 percent of the nation’s Congressional districts were situated mostly in central cities, according to a 1998 study by Harold Wolman and Lisa Marckini. By 1993, they found, the portion of Americans living in central cities had dropped to 28.2 percent, and only 21.4 percent of Congressional districts were primarily urban. 


Groups push for traffic reduction Community council plan under review - Montre...
Description: Description:
As world leaders meet in Durban, South Africa, struggling to agree on an international strategy to avoid catastrophic climate change, elected officials in the Montreal region face a crucial test of just how seriously they take global warming.
The Montreal Metropolitan Community council is poised to adopt a regional-land use and development plan that will be in place for the next 20 years. This week, local environment groups have been making last-ditch public appeals to elected officials to take this opportunity to make a difference on climate change.
The groups insist the climate-change battle must be fought on the local level. City and regional governments have the power to stop urban sprawl, a practice that exacerbates global warming by eating up forests and farmland (which absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere), and by increasing commuting distances (thus, increasing carbon pollution from vehicles).
o    re:landuse
o    re:global
o    re:sprawl


Gauteng reviews city-region concept | News Update
TERRITORIAL review of the Gauteng City-Region reveals that while low-income neighbourhoods stand to benefit from Joburg’s Rea Vaya, poor transportation networks are still a major impediment to the efficient functioning of the labour market and contribute to high unemployment rates.
The review advises the Gauteng provincial government to enhance public transport developments in order to boost mobility within the region, which consists of Pretoria in the north, Ekurhuleni in the eastern quadrant and Johannesburg, the region’s economic hub.
The 270-page Territorial Review of the Gauteng City-Region was conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) over a period of two years …
Michael Donovan, an OECD representative, said the report was an in-depth research exercise that benchmarks the Gauteng city-region against international peers and examines its developmental strengths and weaknesses. The review was conducted by a joint team ...


Think-tank report on regional economy doesn’t go down well in Cape Breton - Loca...
… Atlantic Institute for Markets Studies … report … Nova Scotians Without Borders: Why economic and industrial development strategies should refocus on people rather than regions.
“When I look at (the report), I think we are required to put it into context,” said Eileen Lannon Oldford, CEO of the Cape Breton County Economic Development Authority, one of several regional development agencies in Nova Scotia that work with economic, public, community and private sector partners on various projects and initiatives.
“There were no terms of reference for the report — was it commercial, was it part of a study? The focus was very narrow. There wasn’t a clear understanding of the RDA (regional development authority) mandate and no in-depth analysis of RDA projects across Nova Scotia.
“I really think the report doesn’t give an accurate depiction of the good work done (by RDAs) with communities, the business sector and the government sector. …


FIRST IN PRINT: County Commission hears from executive director of SEK Regional ...
Daniel L. Crook, executive director of the Southeast Kansas Regional Planning Commission, introduced himself the Crawford County Commissioners.
A Wichita native, Crook was involved in the banking industry for many years and accepted his new position about seven months ago. He told commissioners that he intended to use his banking background in residential and commercial loans to aid in the business aspects of the SEK Regional Planning Commission services, especially in regard to helping secure bank loans for businesses.

“Do all the banks know about you?” commissioner Linda Grilz asked.
Crook admitted that some banks do not know about his services.
“One person I talked to thought the SEK Regional Planning Commission started when I did six months ago,” he said. “Actually, it’s been around since 1972. What I’m doing now is going out and trying to sell myself. We have a huge website and I’m going to be doing a newsletter, maybe to come out quarterly and eventually more than that.” - Regional development agencies under fire | Natalie Stech...
New Brunswick should be focused on developing workforce skills rather than bringing companies and investments to the province, says the director of research at the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.
And if that means workers wind up leaving the region for better jobs, so be it.
Regional development authorities should be eliminated since regional development strategies in Canada have failed to improve the economies of their target regions, said Don McIver, the author of a new report called Nova Scotians without Borders.
The main point of the report, that the focus should be on people rather than geography, applies to New Brunswick as well, McIver said in an interview Wednesday. Everything has to be judged on its own merit, but the objectives of an individual project that's under consideration should be larger than just 'will it create jobs in Neighbourhood X,'" McIver said.
"I would much prefer from an economic point of view, if governments would focus on making sure that people


Officials consider commission partnership - Pekin, IL - Pekin Daily Times
Mason County officials met with representatives of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission in November in a tentative first step toward a careful courtship.
However, all parties involved say to hold off on the name change to “Quad-County Regional Planning Commission” for now. There is no marriage in sight, just an overture toward a relationship.
Mason County Clerk ... Manito Economic Development Coordinator ... met with representatives of the TCRPC ... to see if the small rural county could be a fit for the group.
The TCRPC is a cooperative organization consisting of commissioners from its three member counties, which are Tazewell, Peoria and Woodford. The counties pool resources and work to improve services and quality of life on a regional scale, rather than on a smaller, individual county scale.
“The purpose is to be a regional forum by which leaders can share common problems that sort of go beyond their geographical or political boundaries,” ...


AMR Bankruptcy Deals ‘Blow’ to Region Airline Put on the Map - Businessweek
The bankruptcy of American Airlines parent AMR Corp. deals a blow to the Dallas-Fort Worth region of Texas, a community whose identity and fortunes have been tied to the company and aviation for more than 80 years.
American Airlines is the second-biggest employer in the region, with more than 20,000 of its 80,000 workers based there, and has had a presence in Dallas-Fort Worth since 1929. About one in six jobs in the region is related to transportation, trade or airlines, including American and Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co., according to the North Texas Commission.
“American has been so much a part of who we are,” Allan Saxe, a professor of political science at the University of Texas at Arlington, said in an interview. The bankruptcy is “more of a psychological blow, I think, than anything else.”
AMR, once the world’s largest airline, filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors today, listing $24.7 billion in assets and $29.6 billion in debt.


Arab scientists call for funding for regional collaborations - SciDev.Net
Arab scientists have called for an increase in funding for research partnerships between the Arab states, whether by governments, civil society institutions or the private sector.
The level of scientific collaboration in the Arab region has been minimal, leading to a duplication of efforts and limited research impact, they said at a workshop in Qatar last week (20–22 November).
The workshop, part of the Qatar Foundation's Second Annual Research Forum, concluded that funding is the greatest obstacle to research partnerships in the Arab world. The lack of funding itself stems from a lack of political will or collaborative culture in the region.
Overcoming this obstacle requires political and public commitment to making better use of scientific research for sustainable development, said the participants.
Funding is necessary to build the capacity and infrastructure so that research centres in the region can enter into sustainable, long-term partnerships, ...
o    re:science


Winners and losers of GSA-Metro proposal - Capital Business Blog - The Washingto...
All it is at this point is a memo, and a memo that has not been approved by the Metro board of directors, but it’s worth breaking down
The basics are that an entity with some of the best undeveloped real estate in the Washington region (Metro) is looking to negotiate exclusively with the landlord of the region’s largest employer and occupier of office space (the federal government).

The agreement would work something like this: the next time the GSA has a major consolidation (…)it could select one of those four Metro sites and, rather than holding a competition among landowners, could lease that site and then hold a competition among builders to erect a building there. GSA gets transit-accessible facilities; Metro gets millions in lease income, enlivened station areas and economic development impact for its member jurisdictions.
What could this mean for everyone else?
If the Metro-GSA deal becomes reality and succeeds, it could mark a major triumph for regionalism.


Nashua Regional Planning gets $3.4 million to help coordinate efforts - NashuaTe...
The Nashua Regional Planning Commission will be awarded $3.4 million by the federal government for the New Hampshire Sustainable Communities Initiative, designed to help the state to create coordinated, sustainable regional plans, establish a consistent planning and policy framework, and coordinate local plans into a statewide strategy.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) received more than $500 million in requests frpm around the country for $97 million in grants.
The Regional Planning Grant program encourages regional planning efforts that mix housing, land-use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure. The program will place a priority on partnerships, including the collaboration of arts and culture, philanthropy, and innovative ideas to the regional planning process.


Regional council to present its plan - Business - The Buffalo News
Western New York's new regional strategic plan comes under the microscope on Wednesday.
Officials from the Western New York Regional Development Council will make a presentation on the recently released strategic plan before a five-member review committee that will evaluate the plans from 10 different regions in New York as part of a statewide competition for up to $40 million in economic development funding.
The Western New York plan puts a top priority on creating jobs and finding ways to get the biggest bang for the buck out of investments made in Western New York. It also calls for increased collaboration among area schools, businesses and government agencies and places a major emphasis on improved worker training, which council officials believe will help create a workforce with the skills needed for jobs that are available today and expected to be created in the future.
o    re:strategic


Regional Planning – Key to Rural Economic Strength - USDA Blog
… White House Rural Council meeting at the Transylvania County Library with leadership from the Land-of-Sky Regional Council, …

One theme … the need for communities to be solution oriented by setting priorities and realistic goals for the direction they want their region to head. … county is working within the region to figure out how they can build a sustainable community for the future, one that recognizes the great economic value of the water, farmland and forests in Western North Carolina.

Participants asked about how communities can continue economic growth with declining Federal, state and local resources. We spoke about the need for regional planners to get the right people around the table in order to create a clear vision in the community so that they can make the best use of Federal funding to form partnerships and leverage private sector development. Because ultimately, the economy in Brevard, like the small towns we grew up in, is linked to the rest of the region. …


Regional transit bills linked to creation of a third bus system | Crain's Detroi...
Carmine Palombo, director of transportation planning for the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, thinks the three bus services will exist separately only for a limited time. SEMCOG is the regional planning agency whose long-term plans must include transportation projects before they can receive federal funding.
It also remains to be seen if Detroit's $528 million Woodward light rail line, which could be operating by 2015, is operated by an RTA or on its own, Palombo said.
"You wouldn't hope that there's another separate operating entity," he said.
A single, regionwide bus service is unlikely to happen because of Detroit's legacy costs, Megan Owens, executive director of Detroit-based Transportation Riders United,
which advocates for public transportation locally.
"No one is going to be willing to merge with DDOT and all its pension obligations and complex labor rules and hiring practices," she said. "I don't see that there's any way a true merger can occur."


When One Collaboration Tool Can't Do It All - The BrainYard - InformationWeek
American Water's single-pane-of-glass strategy brings multiple collaboration systems together on the desktop, avoids $3 million systems migration expense.
In an effort to improve collaboration, American Water Company took a hard look at its hodgepodge of systems from different vendors--and decided not to consolidate them.
"We decided we would rather put our effort into a multi-vendor, single-pane-of-glass environment than go to one vendor that says it does it all," said Steve Brescia, manager of enterprise architecture at the New Jersey-based company, which operates regional water utility companies across the United States.


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