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Sustainable Ann Arbor Forum | Adapting to a Changing Climate

Mon, 03/25/2019 - 10:32am

The City of Ann Arbor is already experiencing impacts from climate change. More severe storms, increased precipitation, rising temperatures and extended heat waves all pose challenges to how we live, work, and play in our community. Join a conversation on how the Ann Arbor community is taking steps to address climate impacts and what more we could be doing at the city, neighborhood and individual level. Climate adaptation experts will share the soup to nuts on climate change for Ann Arbor and what we can do to thrive in a changing future. 

Beth Gibbons - Beth Gibbons is the Executive Director of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP). In this role, she is responsible for strengthening ASAP as an emerging nonprofit organization, managing relationships with its members, board and donors, and bringing adaptation best practices into the broader conversation. Previously, Beth was Director of the University of Michigan Climate Center and managed NOAA’s Great Lakes Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center. She also worked for the Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute as a research specialist, helping develop and implement the Great Lakes Adaptation Assessment for Cities. Previously, Beth worked for the International Forestry and Research Institute and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs supporting organization operations and communications. She served in the Peace Corps in Agodopke, Togo. Beth earned her undergraduate degree in Comparative Politics from the Catholic University of America and holds a Master of Urban Planning and a Masters Certificate in African Studies from the University of Michigan. Beth is based in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Jennifer Lawson, Water Quality Manager, City of Ann Arbor - Jennifer Lawson started her career as a Civil Engineer’s daughter and at the age of 7, started working at her Dad’s office, running bluelines, holding a survey rod and coloring mylars. Jen is currently the Water Quality Manager for the City of Ann Arbor. She has a Bachelor of Science in Resource Development from MSU and a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from U of M focusing on Landscape as Infrastructure (How the ecology of the landscape can provide a service). With 18 years of experience in both private consulting and municipal engineering, she has a unique balance and understanding of water infrastructure regulations and management needs.

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Speak Truth To Power

Thu, 03/14/2019 - 2:51pm

Join the Michigan Daily for the first in a series of panel discussions. In part one, "Speak Truth To Power: The Role of Journalism," panelists examine concerns of transparency and accountability in local institutions, with a particular focus on the role played by journalists and local news organizations.

A panel of esteemed, professional local journalists discuss these topics:

David Jesse, the higher education reporter for the Detroit Free Press, has covered the state’s two-year and four-year colleges and universities for a decade. His work has focused on higher education finances, access and accessibility and sexual assault on campus. In the past year , he has broken major stories on the cover-up at Michigan State University following the Larry Nassar scandal. He, along with a reporting partner, have spent more than two years penetrating the secrecy around the University of Michigan’s $12 billion endowment. He has won dozens of national and state awards for his work. Prior to joining the Free Press, he worked for papers around the state of Michigan, including the Ann Arbor News.

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Debate on Proposal A—the “Library Lot"

Fri, 10/26/2018 - 12:56pm

The League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area hosted a panel discussion on Proposal A, the "Library Lot." 

Representatives from groups that support or oppose Proposal A presented their views and answered audience questions. Speakers include:

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League of Women Voters: What's On Your Ballot?

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 12:42pm

A representative from the League of Women Voters presents non-partisan information about all of the statewide ballot proposals on the November 2018 ballot.

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Nerd Nite #55: Architectural Supervillains

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 7:08pm

When it comes to architecture, we may not know what we like, but we know what we don't like: big buildings, greedy developers, the politicians that make both possible...

Hear more about the things we love to hate about buildings and cities; and, just maybe, discover some new things to love.

About Jessica A.S. Letaw:

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Civic Life in Ann Arbor | City of Ann Arbor 2018 Sustainable Ann Arbor Forum

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 11:34am

This panel examines the health of our civic life in Ann Arbor. Mary Morgan, Founder of CivCity, moderates a panel about what it means to be an engaged citizen in a sustainable community, the importance of effecting change by focusing on the local level, and envisioning what civic life can mean in the age of social media.

  • Moderator Mary Morgan, Executive Director of CivCity
  • Neel Hajra, President and CEO of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation
  • Ashley Blake, Community Building Team Lead at Avalon Housing

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League of Women Voters Forum: Taxes: Is the State Legislature Playing Fair with Local Governments?

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 4:51pm

Total revenue sharing payments sent by the state of Michigan to local governments have decreased by 45% since 2001. How have our local governments met this challenge? What can be done to reverse this trend?

League of Women Voters of Michigan Board Secretary Harvey Somers will moderates a panel which includes representatives from county, city, and township levels of government, and discusses how the Michigan Legislature’s revenue sharing policies and budgets have affected local governments and how local governments are meeting these challenges.

The program is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area.

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City of Ann Arbor 2017 Sustainable Ann Arbor Forum: Green Your Home DIY

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 3:07pm

Join the conversation about sustainability in Ann Arbor as the City and the Ann Arbor District Library host their annual Sustainable Ann Arbor series. The series will include four events (held monthly through April) with each focusing on a different element of sustainability from Ann Arbor’s Sustainability Framework.

The first event in this series is Green Your Home DIY. Local experts share programs and hands-on tips that can help you green your home.

The forums offer an opportunity to learn more about sustainability in the community and tips for actions that residents can take to live more sustainably. A think tank of local stakeholders including representatives from community organizations, staff from both the City of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County will join the public to discuss local sustainability efforts and challenges in our community. Each program will include a series of short presentations followed by a question and answer session.

Topics and speakers for the Green Your Home DIY discussion include:

o Go Solar with your Neighbors: Ann Arbor solar bulk buy (David Levine, Founder and CEO of Geostellar)
o Weatherize Your Home: the county program and DIY tips (Aaron Kraft, Housing Programs Supervisor for Washtenaw County)
o Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away: building rain gardens and installing rain barrels (Roger Moon, Master Rain Gardener, Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office)
o Grow Your Own: gardening tips for newbie gardeners (Amanda Edmonds, Founder and Executive Director of Growing Hope)

Chip Smith, Councilmember for the City of Ann Arbor, moderates this session.

This event was cosponsored by the City of Ann Arbor. For information and videos from current and past Sustainable Ann Arbor Forums, please visit the City’s Sustainability website.

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Participatory Budgeting

Sat, 08/27/2016 - 4:26pm

The League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area, A2Ethics, and the CivCity Initiative hosted an informative session on participatory budgeting, one of the fastest growing democratic innovations occurring in the U.S. and Canada today. It is a new way for residents to have direct involvement in government by deciding how designated parts of a city budget will be spent.

There are 60 cities in the U.S. and Canada with participatory budgeting initiatives, however, the movement has both proponents and critics. This program introduces and discusses the concept through an objective forum.

Jeana Franconi and Michelle Monsegur, directors of the Participatory Budgeting Initiative in Cambridge, Massachusetts conduct this session. They describe the Cambridge Participatory Budgeting project; outline how it works; what it funds; their experiences; and what has worked and what has not. The Cambridge project includes youth and noncitizens in the process and also has a very strong evaluation component. For more information on Participatory Budgeting from A2 Ethics, visit their website.

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One Human Family Panel Discussion

Sat, 08/27/2016 - 4:12pm

Join us for a conversation with refugee families about their reality and with representatives from those working with refugee communities in Washtenaw County. Panelists include members of Jewish Family Services and Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights.

This event is co-sponsored by the Interfaith Round Table of Washtenaw County, the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, and the Ann Arbor District Library.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Emmaline Weinert, the co-founder of Washtenaw Refugee Welcome, a new organization whose mission is to identify and mobilize resources to support local agencies in resettling refugees in Washtenaw County. She is also on the board of directors of the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice.