Monthly Archives: March 2008

Your organization’s free Web site.

You say that your organization or community does not have a Web site because it’s too expensive and that nobody knows how to manage the software? Those excuses don’t work anymore.
Check out some of Google applications, many – if not most – of which are free and easy to use. Check out the Google Sites Overview page at I like the classroom example.

Annual Physical – What to measure?

Yesterday I went in and had some of my blood removed so that it can be analyzed in preparation for my annual physical next week.  Not a delightful experience, but a necessary one that result in a healthier me.  When things such as cholesterol, triglycerides and who knows what else are monitored it can help me adjust my lifestyle accordingly.

It occurred to me that every community should have an annual exam.  Many communities do so in the form of a Mayor’s State of City Address or an annual report, but I think if we could get a baseline of information that should be measured by every city it would be useful.  I’m working on my next Mississippi Business Journal column on that very subject.

So here’s a question for you – What should be measured and reported in a city or county every year at annual exam time?  Assessed valuation?  Sales tax collections?  Population change?

And then there is this…

 … from CQ Press, formerly Morgan Quitno Press.

Click to access StateRank2008_Rankings.pdf

Most Livable States ranking –

Top 10

1. New Hampshire 1.
2. Minnesota 2.
3. Wyoming 6.
4. Utah 11.
5. New Jersey 5.
6. Iowa 3.
7. Vermont 4.
8. Massachusetts 7.
9. South Dakota 13.
10. Connecticut

Bottom Ten

41. Georgia 38.
42. Alabama 39.
42. North Carolina 40.
44. Tennessee 45.
45. West Virginia 44.
46. South Carolina 46.
47. Kentucky 47.
48. Arkansas 48.
49. Louisiana 50.
50. Mississippi

Richard Florida’s theories are all the rage worldwide. Trouble is, they’re plain wrong.

That’s what Steven Malanga, writing in City Journal, says. Read the article and then you decide:

Richard Florida’s New Book

Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class, has a new book out. It’s titled Who’s Your City. Here’s a link to an interview with Florida:

You might also want to check out his Web site:

Smart Growth for Small Towns: The Bypass vs. Main Street

In this Smart Growth Speaker Series speech at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. I discuss the overlapping goals of the Main Street program and smart growth principles, and, in particular, the efforts to grow and maintain viable small-town downtowns in the age of the bypass.

You can listen to it using Realplayer by clicking here or going to this link:

Mike Rowe’s Seven Dirty Habits of Highly Effluent People

  1. Never follow your passion, but by all means bring it with you.
  2. Beware of teamwork.
  3. Vomit proudly and whenever necessary.
  4. Be careful, but don’t be fooled–safety is never first.
  5. Think about what you are doing–never how.
  6. Ignore advice such as “Work smart, not hard.” It’s dangerous–and moronic.
  7. Consider quitting.

Just finished watching Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs:Discovery Channel fame) being interviewed by Donny Deutsch on CNBC.  Good stuff.  More about Mike’s Dirty Habits at:

City of Jackson, MS Web site

Jackson new Web site has a pleasing design, but spelling errors, out-of-date info and broken links detract from its otherwise pleasing appearance. For example:

The first “highlight” on the home page is “2007 Street Resurfacing Program Listing.” Clicking on that link takes one to “Click Here for 2006 STREET RESURFACING PROGRAM LISTING.” But don’t go there; it’s a page of ads.

Then there’s the “Planning & Develpment(sic)” Zoning page –

The biggest disappointment is the “Online Services” section –

How to save a downtown theater.

I had the opportunity to attend an event at the Elkin Theatre in downtown Aberdeeen, MS last Thursday.  The old movie theater was shut down in 1985 and would have deteriorated had it not been for some of the town’s concerned citizens.   Fearing for the building’s future, 65 local families decided to purchase the building and maintain it as a theatre.  They borrowed the money, each committing to an annual membership fee to pay for it, and then formed the Aberdeen Elkin Theatre, In., a nonprofit organization.  They started showing movies on Friday and Saturday evenings, with all work being done by volunteers.

Today, the theatre is  an arts center and home to local plays, dance recitals, schools concerts, art shows, musical presentations, talent contests and more.  And yes, current movies are still shown.  Also, the number of member families has grown to 130.

Good show, Aberdeen!

Economic Development E-Newsletters

In response to your asking, here are a few of the economic development related e-newsletters that I regularly receive (all are free):

The Agurban® E-zine by Jack Shultz, author of Boomtown USA

“Economnic Development Marketing Letter,” BlaneCanada – I receive a weekly roundup of stories from business journals around the country. Very useful for keeping up with trends.

Mississippi Busines Journal – daily e-newsletter –

Panetizen E-mail Newswire Brief – semi-weekly roundup of news from the planning world.

For more info on such publications just enter “economic development newsletter” in your search engine to set links to a wide variety of local economic development agencies’ e-newsletters.