Friday, December 21, 2012

Making the Most Out of New

Making the Most out of New

It is much more convenient to park in the same place every time you go to VG's.  Or at least park in the same row!  It's so easy to do the same old thing:  have the same glazed salmon dinner at Lucky's every time, get gas at the same station,  go down the same road every time, etc. etc.

You know what I mean!

So now we have the Christmas and New Years celebrations - all about a new birth of our faith and a new chance to lose weight and do better in a new year.  Now is the season for new...for beginning again. 

And yet some times, the new year brings the same old thing! Same arguments, same opinions and conversations, same food, same old habits.  Nothing new.

In 2013, let me challenge you to get a little crazy, break out of tradition, and make the most out of new.  In other words, make the "new" work for you.  Make parking in a new place a joy because you do have a choice.  Make a diet an exciting opportunity to be "looking good."  Make giving to the community a chance to give back and pay back your neighbors, brothers and sisters.

Make being nice to your brothers and sisters much easier because family is all you got, baby!

Each of us has a special opportunity to start anew  on Christmas, on New Years, and on every day we wake up to smile, to do something nice, to be positive, and to make sure that we are living the life that makes our mother proud.  I'll try and I hope you will too!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Clio Area - An Economically Successful Community 

A. Defining The Clio Area
1. An economic opportunity
2. Government, schools, quality of life
B. Areas of Economic Focus
C. Doing Business in the Area
D. Human Resources and Education  
SECTION 4.   APPENDICES   Committee Reports
Regional Planning Board:   
City of Clio:
Vienna Township:
 Clio Area Chamber of Commerce:
For more information, contact the Regional Planning Board, Clio, Michigan
Nate Jonker, CEO   810.686.4480
192 W. Vienna Road   Clio, MI 48420     Fall, 2012

SECTION 1:      The Vision:   An Economically Successful Community
Background:  The Clio Area Regional Planning Board, consisting of local elected officials, was created in 2001 through Michigan State Law to develop and implement projects across local, state, and national boundary lines.  To that end, the Regional Planning Board is committed to bring local and regional business and government resources together in order to help the community make the transition from a dependent bedroom community to a self-sufficient and economically successful community with a high quality of life.
 The Vision:
By 2020, the Clio Area will be economically independent through partnerships that attract and create business.  Building out from the excellent location at the crossroad of I-75 and M-57, businesses will take advantage of excellent infrastructure in roads, sewer, curb and gutter and even rail service for large industry near Dodge Road and I-75.  New infrastructure on M-54 and Vienna Road will serve as a hot spot for increased sports and recreation attractions. Linden Road will be widened and new local businesses will take advantage of the draw of the national stores.
Businesses will benefit from local, state, national, and even international partnerships created though a Clio Area Business Support office that will organize and promote new products in local industrial parks, high levels of productivity through well-trained employees, and an expanded customer base through technology and communication devices.
Local banks and a local investment fund will help to finance new clusters of start-up companies creating new products in technology, energy, and medicine.   Health facilities will appeal to local and state-wide residents, especially for older citizens and for victims of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Using area-wide Wi-Fi, local businesses will be able to communicate easily with a local customer base and eventually nearly 3 million people within 60 miles of Clio.  Government services and requirements will be on-line and streamlined across boundary lines.  Taxes, incentives, and other governmental services will be supportive of both business and the community.
By 2020, the K-12 school system will function as a PK-16 district, assuring businesses of a large cadre of college graduates who enjoyed a world class education since the age of 3 years old.  To make the transition from current educational levels to 60% college graduates, an adult education training facility will assist employees prepare for new work in the new economy.
The community will continue to enhance the quality of life in the area, building on the current entertainment and art infrastructure and on the excellent sports complex and recreation facilities at schools and local churches.

SECTION 2:                  The Process:   The Charge, Committees and the Authors
The Charge: In May, 2012, The Regional Planning Board challenged the residents of the Clio Area to envision, create, and execute a strategic plan that by the year 2020 will contribute to a strong economic base and a resulting high quality of life.   Residents convened several committees to study trends, identifying current strengths, and creating new infrastructure, policies and procedures that will allow us to compete in the global environment of 2020.
The various committees met throughout May, June, and July of 2012.  A common reporting format was adopted at a “chairperson meeting” at the end of June.  The draft plan was submitted for review and comment to various reviewers in August and September. The final plan is to be submitted to the general public during the fall of 2012 with a printed plan adopted by the end of the year.
The Committees:  Eight committees were established to answer questions commonly asked by business leaders and economic development experts.  The committees defined the local market, identified potential areas for economic activity and the zoning and land available.  The committees identified human resources available and set goals for the educational systems to meet the new demands of business.  The committees researched finance opportunities for start ups and expansions, and finally the committees listed current assets in government and quality of life including assets of family, faith, and the arts and culture.
The  Authors:
Jan Barlow, Neil Bedell, Jim Block, Bernie Borden, Lindsay Carpenter, Martin Cousineau, Shelly Cranick, Vernon Curtis,  Wallace Dawson, David DeMarr, Dennis Dinsmore, Gary Domerese,  Brad Eaton, Larry Eaton, Pam Faris, Sandra Fierros,  Roger Gedcke, Eric Gunnels, Charles Hilliker, Patrick Hubbard, Kent Kern, Don Lee,  Rhonda Little, Michael Lockwood, Ned Lockwood, Karen Mason, Rick Mason, Kyle McCree, Annette Miller, Carolyn Miller, Mike Muehleisen, Tim Neelands,  Robert Palmer, Del Shores, Jennifer Singleton, Bob & Sue Smith, Karen Strader,  Karen Stratman,  James Tenbusch, Jackie Tinnin, Mary Todd, Doug Vance, John Waldo, Jan Warner, Barb Waybrant, Eric Wiederhold, D.J. Williams,  Alan Yenglin

SECTION 3:    A.   Defining the Clio Area: An Economic Development Opportunity
The community of Clio consists of the City of Clio, Thetford Township and Vienna Township with 22,329 citizens located mostly within the 48420 zip code and within the boundaries of the Clio Area School District and the Mott Community College Northern Tier campus.  It is estimated that the total worth of the 48420 community is around three billion dollars. Current FDIC protected deposits of all types in Clio Area banks equals $145,000,000.  The median household income in Vienna Township at Exit #131 off I-75 is $52,957 compared to the Michigan median income of $48,432. The median age is 37.2 years and over 80% have a high school diploma, some college or skill trade or a college degree.
Exit #131, the Clio/Vienna Road exit is at the economic center of the Clio Area and the northern tier of Genesee County, Michigan.  This modern, well-lit, and nicely landscaped exit is located just north of Flint and I-69, and is a gateway to the beautiful northern Michigan.  Serving over 12,000 vehicles per day on Vienna Road, the exit is a halfway point between Auburn Hills of Oakland County and the recreational area of West Branch, Michigan - between 50-60 miles each way. 
The Clio exit is within 60 miles of nearly 3 million people, an above average household income, and within 30 miles of 10 colleges providing an international level of technical and managerial talent to over 56,000 students.

Saginaw County 20 miles 199,088 $ 42,954
Birch Run City 6.5 miles 10,108 $ 43,134
Frankenmuth City 13.1 miles 6,916 $ 59,171
Saginaw City 22.5 miles 51,508 $ 27,051
Bay City 35 miles 34,932 $ 35,561
Midland County 48.1 miles 84,063 $ 51.103
Genesee County 10 miles 422,100 $ 43,483
Flint City 16 miles   102,434 $ 27,199
Grand Blanc 23.6 miles 47,052 $ 53,484
Oakland County 40 miles 1,210,000 $ 66,390
Auburn Hills 51 miles 21,412 $ 49,558
Washtenaw County 60 miles 347,982 $ 59,065
Ann Arbor 65.2 miles 113,934 $ 52,625
Chesaning 18.2 miles 7,352 $ 49,145
Owosso 34.2 miles 15,194 $ 35,850
Lansing 57.9 miles 114,297 $ 37,666
Lapeer County 32 miles 88,319 $ 56,116
Lapeer City 36.8 miles 8,841 $ 33,316

CLIO:  A full-service city, Clio provides public safety (police, fire, and EMS), public works (water, sewer, road repairs, and snow and ice control), park and recreation facilities (pavilions, park land, and 5+ miles of bike paths. Unique to a community of its size, is Clio's art center, amphitheater, and industrial park--each developed through a community partnership anchored by city government participation.
THETFORD TOWNSHIP:  Just East of the City of Clio is 34.8 square miles of Thetford Township, a rural area with 7,049 residents dedicated to farm land, green spaces, and the solitude of the country.  Thetford also hosts Ligon Educational Center, a premier outdoor education center serving the entire County.  A major Genesee County Park, Buell Lake is also located in Thetford Township.  Thetford is proud to be a part of the Clio Area Fire Authority and houses a small Senior Center across from the Township Hall on the corner of Vienna Road and Center Road.  At the corner of Vienna and Belsay is the former post office called Henpeck.
VIENNA TOWNSHIP:  Located in mid-Michigan, off I-75 about half way between Flint and Saginaw, Vienna Township (population 13,255)  offers the finest in country lifestyle living. From safe, quiet housing to shopping to schools to entertainment, Vienna Township has it all.  The junction of I-75 and the state highway, M-57, is a major economic development opportunity for the entire area.  A Business Development Authority plans and implements programs for the business area. Videos are available on-line at
SCHOOLS:    The Clio Area School District comprises 54 Square miles in northern Genesee County.  The district has one high school, a middle school, three elementary schools and an Adult and Community Education program.  The Clio Area School has achieved K-12 accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.  There is an enrollment of 3,667 students in K-12, including 366 alternative education Students.  They have 198 instructional staff, 151 support staff, and 15 administrators.  The schools consistently perform in the top two or three districts in the County; and have aspirations to become the very best performing district in Genesee County.
The Clio Area School District is proud of the community involvement in the schools.  The schools offer various opportunities for parents, organizations, and community members to use the school facilities after hours and to participate in community forums and discussions about the schools and the quality of life in the community. 
The schools have been used for town-hall meetings to plan for the community’s future.  Many non-profit organizations such as the Clio Rotary use the school facilities.  The Healthy Community Initiative organizes a major community Fitness Expo at Clio High School every year. It is common to see every gym busy after school and in the evenings.  A community health group walks the halls of the middle school every night, and many citizens use the pool for therapy, weight control, and physical fitness.
The Clio School District offers a unique opportunity for all the governments and local non-profits organizations to meet on a monthly basis.  Known as “Common Ground,” this collection of local residents and volunteers share schedules, events, and ideas on the last Thursday of every month in the School Administration Building on Mill Street.
The School District is featured in the community wide website, which serves a unique media site to learn “everything” you wanted to know about the Clio Area.
The Mott Community College – Northern Tier campus on Vienna Road is a result of community input during the Town Hall Meetings of 2000-2001.  It has been a priority of the Regional Planning Board since then, and has developed from one classroom in the Art Center to a 25,000 sq. ft. center that now has over 1000 students and growing at about 5% a year. 
QUALITY OF LIFE: Most residents think that the Clio Area has a positive quality of life.  In a survey of over 200 randomly selected residents in the year 2000, quality of life was overwhelming viewed as a major attribute of the community.  The non-profit community is proud of its monthly meeting of “common ground” – an opportunity for all governments and non-profits to share schedule and events for the future.  The calendar and other community events are posted on the community website,  . 
Philanthropy is evident in the community through the Clio Area Community Foundation which host several funds for the community.  The community also supports the Clio Educational fund for local scholarships and rewards for teachers.  The local Veterans Society has raised enough money to support a Veterans Park in downtown Clio.  The local Historical Society raises enough money to keep open the Depot Historical Museum on the railroad track that once saw Teddy Roosevelt stop to campaign for President.
For the size of the community, the Arts have a significant presence through the Clio Amphitheater, the Clio Art Society with its own Art Gallery, and the Clio Cast and Crew a local theater troop with its own theater on Vienna Road.  There is an annual Arts Festival in the summer; and a Clio Summer Fest in the downtown.
Access to recreation is available in the area with every school building utilized during non-school hours for basketball games, and a Youth Sports Complex that attracts 6000 adults and children over the summer.
There are nearly 30 churches in the area, and spiritually life is important and recognized as part of the quality of life in the area.  The schools are proud of their “Character Counts” campaign to build children of character in the community.  Church and community leaders have established a Human Services Fund to meet emergency needs of families who are struggling with food, rent, or utilities payments.
All of these pieces of the Quality of Life pie are captured through the Healthy Community Initiative, now in its fifth year of leading change in personal health, the economy, intra-governmental planning, the arts, neighborhoods, and other areas of the community.  Most recently, the Healthy Community Initiative helped to provide a local access point for health care for all residents regardless of level of insurance.  The Clio Area Health Clinic was created by Hamilton Health Network, a federally qualified health clinic, in October of 2011 and continues to treat all patients on Vienna Road in Clio.

SECTION 3:          B.  Areas of Economic Focus
The residents have identified a variety of areas for expansion of light commercial and heavy commercial development; with major focus on: 1) I-75 and the immediate area, 2)  M-57 (Vienna Road), 3) M-54 (Saginaw Road), and 4) Linden Road in Vienna Township.
 The Clio area has been focused around its infrastructure for its entire history. In the 1820’s, the community of Pine Run was founded on Dixie Highway, which later became known as M-54. Located on the intersection of M-54 and M-57, Pine Run was strategically located at the transportation crossroads of the day. In 1862, the Pierre Marquette Railroad ran tracks through the small community of Varna which was located about one mile west of Pine Run. This community thrived as a station on this important north and south railway between the cities of Flint and Saginaw. In 1873, Varna changed their name to Clio. The Clio area continued to thrive throughout the years until the mid-1950’s when Interstate 75 was built two miles to the west of Clio. This interstate included an exit on M-57, and allowed Clio to take advantage of its strategic location along major transportation routes. 
The goal for the future is to create strategic, purposeful and segmented business ‘neighborhoods’ in key locations in the Clio area. It is agreed that focusing resources and planning development in these areas will enhance the economic development efforts of the community.
1. The community will seek state recognition of M-57 as a State Recreational Heritage Route to take advantage of state and federal partnerships for existing and new business on M-57.
2. The community will continue to add sidewalks, lighting, curbs and gutters to M-57, M-54 and to Linden Road.
3. The community will seek to place the widening of Linden Road on the list of County and State economic development projects.
4. The community will promote a large industrial site near I-75 and Dodge Road close to all necessary infrastructures.
5. The community will assist in the creation of light industrial parks such as a) Medical parks, b) Technology parks, and c) Energy research and manufacturing parks.
6. The community will work with Kettering University and other Universities to create a Smart Zone for clusters of technology businesses.
7. The community will seek state and federal partners to assist new business or business parks in downtown Clio.
8. The community will seek partners in Flint, Saginaw, and throughout Michigan with appropriate economic development agencies.
9. The community will promote its current assets (Amphitheater, Bike Path and Sports Complex for example) as economic opportunities for existing and new businesses.
10. The community will establish high standards for all new commercial projects.

Section 3.     C.   Doing Business in the Area
A recent survey of local business owners has identified a variety of recommendations to make the area attractive for doing business.  The government should make rules and regulations consistent and coordinated across boundary lines and easy to implement.  Unification and consolidation are suggested where ever possible.  Government agencies should reach out to business with a friendly face and be flexible to a variety of businesses.  Better marketing and promotion of the area is suggested.
These and other recommendations will be met in the following ten goals: 
1. Cooperation: The local Business Development Districts will work together to promote and attract new business.
2. High Priority: The community will establish business development as a major priority of the Clio Area Regional Planning Board working across district boundary lines to meet the needs of business.
3. One-stop-shop: The community will designate an area wide economic development person and office to promote the community and assist commercial success.
4.  Business Services: The community will offer services to expanding and new businesses though new state and national partners.  Education and training for employees will be offered.
5. Technology: The community will partner with business to provide area wide Wi-Fi for use by local residents and businesses.
6. Rules and Permits: The community will continue to work with area governmental units to assure business of friendly and easy access to governmental requirements utilizing on-line access wherever possible.
7. Governments: The community will continue to examine opportunities for governmental cooperation and cost-sharing mechanisms to keep the cost of doing business competitive..
8. Infrastructure: The community will continue to expand infrastructure (roads, sewer, water, etc) to area businesses as necessary.  Industrial parks, medical parks, technology parks will be explored.
9. Finances: The community will organize local banks to work closely with existing and new businesses.
10. Start-ups: The community will establish a local investment fund for start-ups and expanding businesses.

Section 3. D.   Human Resources and Education
The Clio Area residents are being well prepared to meet the human resource needs of businesses now and through 2020.    From pre-school through graduate programs, the area is developing the human resources necessary to meet the demands of the new economy.
By 2020, the community will have implemented:
1. An “Information-Age Delivery System” in the Clio Area School System that includes high levels of technology providing every student a mobile computing device in a wi-fi environment.  Students will receive customized content designed to meet individual needs while insisting on excellent skills in acquiring, analyzing, and accessing knowledge.
2. A Pk-14 instructional program.  Research is clear that students need pre-kindergarten services beginning at age three; and that most jobs require more than a high school education.  The Clio Rotary Club will teach area adults to teach early literacy skills among local children; and a new partnership between the Clio Area School District and Mott Community College will deliver free counseling and college tuition for junior and senior high school students enrolled in the Clio-MCC Career and Scholars Program.  One year skill and certificate programs will allow students to become qualified for high skilled jobs immediately following graduation.
3. A new commitment to Reading and Math by organizing resources and programs to assure proficiency by 3rd grade; thereby escalating the Clio Area School District to the top performing district in the county.
4. A commitment to adult education and retraining.  Over 60% of the community has some college and are ready for college degree completion programs.  By increasing the percentage of adults with at least a two year degree or skill, the community can reach the goal of a college degree for 60% of the residents of the area. A Clio Area Adult Training Initiative funding with private and public dollars will work with business leaders to assure opportunities for job shadowing, apprenticeships, and permanent employment.
5. A new relationship with area colleges and universities.  The ten local colleges within 30 miles of the Clio community will provide residents a new opportunity to graduate in technology, engineering, energy, and various medical fields.
6. Kettering University will assist business expand technical resources by tapping over 1000 students in engineering, over 200 in computer science, and nearly three hundred students in graduate programs in manufacturing, engineering, and business management.
7. The University of Michigan – Flint can assist develop medical parks with over 400 students now enrolled in graduate degrees in medical fields and over 800 students in under-graduate programs. Three hundred students are ready to serve in computer science and information systems and nearly 100 in graduate programs in technology.
8. Mott Community College has a satellite campus on Vienna Road in Clio with over 1000 students.  With a total of 17,000 students, MCC hosts a regional Technology Center only 15 miles from the Clio/I-75 exit working with business to prepare students in automotive technology, computer related technologies, medical preparation, medical management, and other areas.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Get the Word Out to Women
By Nate Jonker, Director of the Clio Area Healthy Community Initiative
Help save tax dollars!  Curtail future medical costs!  Tell 1.5 million Michigan women about new preventive care services available with no co-pay through insurance companies.  Approximately 47 million American women are in health plans that must cover the following preventive services at no charge with no co-pay:
•Well-woman visits.
•Gestational diabetes screening that helps protect pregnant women from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases.
•Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling.
•FDA-approved contraceptive methods, and contraceptive education and counseling.
•Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling.
•HPV DNA testing, for women 30 or older.
•Sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually-active women.
•HIV screening and counseling for sexually-active women.
These services are based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, which relied on independent physicians, nurses, scientists, and other experts as well as evidence-based research to develop its recommendations. Women, not insurance companies, can now make health decisions that will keep them healthy, catch potentially serious conditions at an earlier state, and protect them and their families from crushing medical bills.
To learn more about the health care services you may be eligible for at no extra charge under the Affordable Care Act, go to

Friday, May 4, 2012


1.     Transformation.   This section is about a project in a small community near St. Austell, Cornwall, England called the Eden Project.  In only 10 years, a clay china mine, a quarry 200 feet deep the size of 35 football fields with no soil was transformed into a beautiful garden with plants and nature systems unique around the world.  This waste area, doomed and extinct now hosts over 2 million visitors a year and features the largest indoor rainforest in captivity.  The Eden project has created 520 permanent jobs, changed the economic status of the immediate area, and used sustainable construction to create 2 huge domes and an educational center all supplied with renewable energy.

Further, what began as a dream to transform a clay pit into a nature center with 83,000 tons of soil supporting thousands of plants, has now been transformed again into an international catalyst for change and call for creativity and hope for the future.  Today, the Eden Center is a place for inspiration exploring ways to live within the 21st century.  Today, it is a the demonstration of what is possible…of what creativity and enterprise can produce no matter what the obstacles. 

The leaders at the Eden Center want to explore, collaboratively, what kind of human beings we want to be…what kind of society do we want for all people…what kind of talent and skills can we harness to build a future we cannot see.


1.     In a recent book, Abundance by Peter Diamandis, a case is made that the future brings billions of people to the creative table.  Much of the following data is from the book Abundance.  ( .)

By 2020, three billion more people will have access to cell phones and the internet.  Three billion more minds to contribute to the world’s knowledge.

Technology will allow new ideas to emerge from every corner of the globe.  From every garage in the world, a new generation of people like Steve Jobs will have access to the world’s knowledge through technology. In the continent of Africa, for example, only 2% of the residents had cell phones in the year 2000, but 28% had them by 2009, and by next year over 70% of the people of Africa will have a cell phone.  And if they have access to the new world wide “cloud,” they will have access to all the information the world has very produced – right in their own village in the most remote of places.

Creative robotic technology in health care will cause a future of good health. A new medical device, the LOC (lab on a chip) is being developed so that a simple hand held device can deliver all the most critical lab tests with a single drop of blood and send that data electronically to the best minds of the medical world.  Because of the instant analysis, remediation can be accomplished in a short period of time.  Meanwhile, the world’s best minds will analyze real-time data from every continent, every country, and every village monitoring the trends and needs for creating a healthy world free of disease.

Creative people are nearing a solution on the issue of water.  Universities around the world are creating simple and inexpensive ways to change salt water into safe drinking water.  Instead of living with a scarcity, the future can bring us an abundance of water by using the great oceans which cover 70% of the earth’s surface.  The world can look forward to the day where 1.8 billion children don’t have to die from disease resulting from poor sanitation and the lack of fresh water.

 Although history is heavily influenced by the fight over resources such as coal, oil, and other energy resources, the world’s future fight is over the sun which currently supplies 5000 times the energy needs for the world.  Creative plans are being made around the world to better harness our most limitless supply of energy thereby making energy affordable to every world resident.
Some see the future as a challenge to divide the pie into smaller pieces.  According to Peter Diamandis in Abundance, creative, innovative teams of people are working collaboratively around the world through technology to create whole new pies in order to meet the needs of every human being on our planet.

It's about the Money!

You are invited to a Clio Area Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, May 17th at Carter Middle School in the Media Cener beginning at 6:30 PM in order to hear about a new VISION for the year 2020 and to begin to plan implementation of policies and programs.

The Clio Area Regional Planning Board will introduce a vision they adopted at the end of March in order to start the conversation in the community about the year 2020.  Notice that this has a very heavy emphasis on the economy:


When we think about the past in the Clio Area, we remember that GM provided us the work - making us a bedroom community for the Flint Area plants.  We are no longer a bedroom community for GM, so now we have to reinvent ourselves as a economic entity. 

Not that we turn our back on Flint or Saginaw...just the opposite.  We will have to build new partnerships in Flint - and in Saginaw - and in Birch Run - and in Chesaning - and in the Lakeville District - and maybe even across the state and nation!

Who knows what 2020 will bring.  With the pace of change moving so quickly, when a two year contract on a cell phone is way too long, the future is hard to predict.

VISION 2020 - MAY 17 AT 6:30 AT CARTER M.S.

What is the future?  How can we plan for it?  As we embark on a new process for planning the future, please let me remind us of the success that I remember about our community and the planning process:

·       In the 1970’s, a few of the people from the young Jaycees figured that someday, we would be in the 1980’s and we better get ready for it.  Project 80’s resulted in a plan for a bike path, a revitalization of the Clio park, and even a small bandshell.  We see now a million dollar amphitheater, art center and preschool building; a seven mile bike path, and a park that is used all summer by local residents and community organizations.

·       In the 80’s we planned the “We Care” campaign which impacted the schools, created the community council and the July 4th festival, the community calendar and the Christmas parade among other things.

·       In the 90’s, the We are Family campaign resulted in the Character Counts program in the schools and a new attempt to help families and children.

·       In 2000, over 150 people came together at the media center of Carter Middle School to create eight committees.  These committees created the downtown clock tower and the brick welcome signs as you enter Clio.  The intergovernmental relations committee created the Regional Planning Board, and the entire community sent a message to Mott Community College that we would support a Northern Tier campus.

·       In 2008, over a hundred people came together to create a vision for a healthy community, again creating eight committees to implement safety measures, health fairs, sports and family events, and other quality of life measures – most of which have been accomplished by now.

We have been successful planners during each decade since the 1970’s, and now in 2011, we will create eight committees again to envision a future that may be beyond our current comprehension that includes a self-sustaining global economy with and world-class educational system.  I know we can do it.  We have done it in the past, and we can do it again.  I’m optimistic.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Can Americans Ever Have Enough?

This time, writing from Guilford, England just outside of London, I'd like to offer a personal view on what is the real challenge facing us in an international economy.  Usually, we read about the economic challenges we face because of the cost of labor, the government, or the work ethic.  It is true that we have challenges like what to do in the Middle East; how to keep up with India who is producing 35,000 engineers with Ph.D's every year; and how to deal with the new middle class in China now using more fosil fuel than ever before!

In addition to those obious challenges, I propose a greater challenge:  Can Americans ever have enough?  Is there no limit to personal and corporate greed? Do corporate profits have to be 500 Billion.  Or is 300 Bilion a year enough to live on?  

Is there ever an acceptable limit on personal freedom? Does every American need an unlimited view of freedom where the individual is more important than the whole of the country?  Or can Americans do what is right for the "common good" of the country even if it costs each individual a little more money and a little freedom.

From across the pond, it is amusing to see constant fights in the US over proposals for a national view of health care, a national view on energy, a national plan for prevention of disease, a national plan on education and the use of labor, a national plan on the economy...etc. etc.  Most other counties, including the most successful democratic economies in the world, have national plans on just about everything that is ultimately good for ALL the people.

From across the pond, its funny to see constand fights over small or minor increases in taxes when everyone in the world pays more tax than we do - especially at the high income level.

From across the pond, its sickening to see the excess of so many Americans with seemingly unlimited amount of money.  When did it start that a family needs a million dollars to buy groceries, gas, and an occasional night out?  When did it start that we need retirement incomes over 100K a year.?
So when is enough enough?
The biggest challenge to America in dealing with the world is our own greed.  Our greatest challenge is  to be able to act for the common good instead of individual gain.

Rotary Chicken Dinner this Sunday!

The Rotary Club is hosting a fundraiser this Sunday 2-5 at Joe's Garage on West Vienna.  Great chicken dinner for $8 per person. The money allows the Rotary in Clio to recognize students of the month, provide scholarships and learning opportunities to Clio students as well as support literacy and Healthy Community initiatives in the community. Great event for the entire family. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Born Around 1980? Read below to learn about the 2020 leaders.

Born in the mid-1980's and later, Generation Y are in their 20s and are just entering the workforce. They will be in their late 30’s in 2020.  With numbers estimated as high as 70 million, Generation Y (also known as the Millennials) is the fastest growing segment of today’s workforce. Below are a few common traits that define Generation Y. Tech-Savvy: Generation Y grew up with technology and rely on it to perform their jobs better. Armed with BlackBerrys, laptops, cellphones and other gadgets, Generation Y is plugged-in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This generation prefers to communicate through e-mail and text messaging rather than face-to-face contact and prefers webinars and online technology to traditional lecture-based presentations.
Family-Centric: The fast-track has lost much of its appeal for Generation Y who is willing to trade high pay for fewer billable hours, flexible schedules and a better work/life balance. While older generations may view this attitude as narcissistic or lacking commitment, discipline and drive, Generation Y legal professionals have a different vision of workplace expectations and prioritize family over work.
Achievement-Oriented: Nurtured and pampered by parents who did not want to make the mistakes of the previous generation, Generation Y is confident, ambitious and achievement-oriented. They have high expectations of their employers, seek out new challenges and are not afraid to question authority. Generation Y wants meaningful work and a solid learning curve.
Team-Oriented: As children, Generation Y participated in team sports, play groups and other group activities. They value teamwork and seek the input and affirmation of others. Part of a no-person-left-behind generation, Generation Y is loyal, committed and wants to be included and involved.
Attention-Craving: Generation Y craves attention in the forms of feedback and guidance. They appreciate being kept in the loop and seek frequent praise and reassurance. Generation Y may benefit greatly from mentors who can help guide and develop their young careers.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Our vision of what we aspire to be...

Regarding the school district spending community tax dollars over the next 20-30 years on the pool…

As a community, what is our vision of who we aspire to be?  What kind of community do we want to build for our children and grandchildren?  What is the level of “quality of life” that we expect for our children and for our adults in the Clio area? 

There are a lot of answers, but in education, it is common for educators and elected school board members to agree that we would like to see “well-rounded” graduates from our schools.  So that our kids are “well rounded,” it is common for school boards to spend money on band, art, music, sports and other activities even though it may impact only 5 or 10% of the total number of graduates.  

In addition to “well rounded,”  it is common for educators and board members to expect ALL KIDS to be smart, healthy, and people of good character; so we spend money on academics using Title I and Special Ed to make sure all kids get help in academics.  2) We want all kids to be healthy, so we have PE for every child. 3) We want all kids to be of good character, so we have character counts.  

Let’s look at how successful the schools are in meeting  goals set out for ALL KIDS:  Academics:  our test scores are above average and we spend a lot of time, effort and extra money on it.  Character: we have a Character Counts curriculum and we spend time on anti-social behaviors, and we think our kids are good kids. 

But health and PE?   1) We have no PE curriculum.  2) We have less and less time for PE and health classes.  3) We don’t even examine our numbers – our progress - over time.  Although our PE teachers are required to report annually, the schools don’t do trend lines and analysis on PE numbers.

The Healthy Community Initiative has looked at the five year trend between 2002 and 2007, using school district numbers,  and what is the percentage of students who can pass three of four PE tests?  All kids?  100% 90%? 80?  Your teachers reported in 2007:  2nd grade = 50%;  3rd grade=58%;  4th grade=63%;  5th grade=30%;  6th grade=32%; 7th grade=26%; 8th grade32%; and 9th grade 27% could pass three of four PE tests. And these numbers in  2007 are worse than in 2002 – so we see a downward trend in every grade between 2nd and 9th grade.

But, let’s say that the young people are keeping healthy at home with good food and healthy home environment.  In the 48420 zip code, that is not happening at home. In 2007, the 48420 zip code had a higher percentage of people overweight (42.9%) than the county average (35.4%).  We had greater percentage with high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes and cancer than the rest of the county in 2007.

In 2009, our zip had two percentage points lower than the county average of people with access to fruit and vegetables.  We averaged 2.42 days lost to mental health epidsodes than the county average of 2 days.  When our males sit down for a beer, the mean number is 4.31 drinks v. the county average of 2.94 drinks per occasion.  Our zip code has more unprotected sex than in other parts of the county. And while the County enjoys 91.1 % with some kind of health care, our zip enjoys only 84.4% and in during the ages of 18-24, only 44% of residents in 48420 have any kind of health insurance. 

2011?  In the last four months, we are gathering evidence at the new Clio/Hamilton Health Clinic that 2011-12 percentages may be worse than in 2009.

In conclusion, everyone agrees that good health is important for every child and for every adult – maybe even more important than scoring a touchdown or getting into college or making a million bucks.  And yet, the residents of our community don’t enjoy good health; our children don’t enjoy good health; and the trend is getting worse.  In view of those hard numbers and those apparent trends, how much should a community spend on PE equipment?  How much on nutrition and health classes?  How much should we spend over the next 20-30 years on one of the most healthy activities for all kids –swimming.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

How Much Screen Time is Enough?

Fit Can Be Fun! And better than screen time!

A team of community and school volunteers, led by Clio’s Tim Neelands, helped organize a Fitness Day at Clio High School yesterday, Saturday, for all 4th, 5th, and 6th graders as part of the Healthy Community Initiative and the Healthy Kids Learn Best project at Carter Middle School.  Designed to help kids to pass the PE physical fitness tests, the day provided a variety of healthy and fun activities. It was a beach party with beach balls, swimming, and various stations of physical tests for the students.  The day was “intentional fun,” which means that all the fun activities had a specific purpose or intent – and that is to help kids develop and grow healthy!  Good job, Tim and all the volunteers!

We know that some young people are using up most of their waking hours watching – TV, video, or computer screens.  I’m told that some students are in front of a screen for 10 -12 hours a day on a weekend!  Others are in front of a screen for five or six hours a day. 

How many hours do we adults spend in front of a computer or a TV?  My time on the computer is getting out of control!  I pride myself on not playing video games, so I just sit and do emails, look at news clips from D.C., and get caught up watching the “play of the day” on the sports blog. And when I’m done working on the computer, I take a break and watch TV! 

Maybe I should start an “Anti-Screen Campaign” at my house.  Limit my screen time to no more than 2 hours of computer and 2 hours of TV.   Hmmmm.  Is that reasonable?  What is a reasonable amount of screen time for you?  For your child?  Let’s talk.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Why Are Some Seniors So Grumpy?

In my view, us older folks need to be grateful and smile and say hello to everyone all the time.  Seniors should take the time to lead; to put their grocery cart in the rack; to take responsibility for others and to be grateful for the wonderful opportunities we have been given by this great country of ours.

Now, I know that some older citizens are struggling.  Some have no retirement and social security of under $1000 a month to pay all the bills. Some have medical bills, co-payments, drug prescriptions that take most of their money; and life is a challenge.  And they have reason to be discouraged.

But not all seniors are in that situation.  Most retirees are doing just fine, thank you; and they don’t need to be grumpy!  Some seniors went to war for America and were welcomed home with the GI bill.  Some seniors began building overtime in the factories during the 50’s and 60’s and had sense to save a little over the last 40 years in 401Ks that have doubled and re-doubled.  Some have benefited from company or public retirement plans and medical benefits.  Why can’t they be happy?

When I began college in 1963, the federal government provided me a NDEA loan (National Defense Education Loan) at about 2% interest because it was in the national defense for young people to go to college.  And I’m grateful for it.

During my life, technology has changed the world for the better.  I can communicate live with my daughter in Chile, and my grandson in England.  I can search for all the best restaurants on my phone, and make conference calls from nearly anywhere.  I can check my bank account, pay my bills, and turn on the night light when I’m not home.  I’m grateful for that.

I’m grateful that females have been finally allowed to take their equal place in the world.  It relieves me a lot of work!  And since my good wife worked as a professional for 38 years, I appreciate the way she is still honored by children in our community; and now I appreciate her retirement check at the end of every month!

I appreciate social security and Medicare.  If you want to see a government program that runs like a clock, its social security.  After a short form you fill out before your birthday, the check comes in every month. I now get an annual physical exam paid for by Medicare, and yesterday, my wife got $155 worth of medicine for $20.  So, I’m grateful.

Seniors unite:  Let’s show those young people how much we can smile and be positive role models for all those kids and grandkids!