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News & Info from The CivCity Initiative

New Year's Resolution: Embrace Your Civic Self!

So you've decided that 2017 is the Year of Getting More Involved, right? We're here to help! Each week we'll highlight ways to get your civics on – volunteer opportunities large and small, as well as news to keep you more informed. Starting now!

Sign up for free training to be a member of the Washtenaw County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Click here for more details and an application formThe deadline to apply is Friday, Jan. 6.

Also, Washtenaw County – yes, that's Ann Arbor too! – has posted several vacancies for advisory boards and commissions, including the Community Action Board, the Huron River Watershed Council, and the Community Corrections Advisory Board. Click here for the full listing.

The deadline to apply is Wednesday, Jan. 25 with appointments made by the county board on Feb. 1.

The county also has three openings on its Community Mental Health Board. The deadline to apply for those positions is Wednesday, Feb. 8 with appointments made on Feb. 15. Click here for more details.


Reminder: No Tree Pickup

If you put out your Christmas tree expecting the city of Ann Arbor to haul it away, you'll be waiting...well, pretty much forever. But the city does offer four free drop-off locations through Jan. 31. (After that, you'll pay.) Click here for details.
Don't leave your tree on the curb – it won't magically disappear!

New Age Requirement Kicks In For Buying Tobacco

Another reminder: As of Jan. 1, 2017, you must be 21 or older to buy tobacco products in Ann Arbor. The city council voted last year to raise the age requirement from 18 to 21. Click here to learn more.

What We're Reading

The 2017 Washtenaw Reads selection is "2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America" by Kathy Edin and Luke Shaefer. The book combines research and personal profiles to examine the depth of poverty in America. And even though we live in a relatively affluent community, many residents here live in poverty too.

Shaefer is an associate professor of social work and public policy at the University of Michigan. He's also helping launch UM's Poverty Solutions initiative – read more about that here.
Washtenaw Reads display at the downtown library.

As part of Washtenaw Reads, the authors will discuss their work at a free public lecture on Tues., Feb. 7 at UM's Rackham Auditorium from 7-8:30 p.m. Here's a list of events tied to Washtenaw Reads. Check out a copy from the library today!

Support CivCity's Work!

We work hard to inform, educate and inspire participation in local civic life. But we can only do it with your support. Please consider making a one-time or monthly online donation. It's tax deductible and feels great! 
Or you can send a check to:
The CivCity Initiative
118 S. Main St.
Ann Arbor MI 48104

CivCity also accepts stock donations! Contact Mary Morgan at for details.

Final Thoughts

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” – Alice Walker

Alice Walker, author & activist.

Oh, Wait – One More Thing!

Swearing-in ceremonies are happening this week for new members of the Michigan House of Representatives. Ann Arbor is located in District 53, and Yousef Rabhi – a former Washtenaw County commissioner – is the new state rep. On Monday morning, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget Mary McCormack gave him the oath of office in downtown Ann Arbor in the county boardroom. Best wishes to Yousef and all elected officials as we begin the new year!
Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget Mary McCormack administers the oath of office to Yousef Rabhi, who was elected to the Michigan House of Respresentatives for District 53.

Please share this newsletter with your friends, family & colleagues – we'd appreciate it!
I don't generally make New Year's resolutions. I figure that if I need or want to make changes in my life, I should start today – whenever that might be.

But the new year does prompt reflection, and I've been reflecting on how we can make it easier for people to get involved in our community's civic life. 

We're using this newsletter to help, providing information and ideas for actions you can take. I hope you'll view it as a civic buffet – you can eat a little or a lot, depending on your appetite for engagement.

We've got some other things cooking too, which I'll be sharing in the coming weeks. And please send me your own recipes for getting involved – I'd love to hear from you.

Whatever your resolve, I hope your new year is off to a great start.

– Mary Morgan, CivCity Founder & Executive Director


Upcoming Public Meetings

NOTE: Meetings are sometimes canceled at the last minute, so be sure to check the links for updated information.

Tues. Jan. 3: 7 p.m. Ann Arbor City Council. City hall 2nd floor council chambers, 301 E. Huron. Click here to view the full agenda. Watch on CTN Channel 16 or online here.

Tues. Jan. 3: 7 p.m. Ann Arbor Downtown Area Citizens Advisory Council. City hall 2nd floor city council workroom, 301 E. Huron. No agenda posted yet online.

Wed. Jan. 4: Noon-2 p.m. Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board. 150 S. Fifth Ave., 3rd floor. Click here to view agenda

Wed. Jan. 4: 6:30 p.m. Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. 220 N. Main, Ann Arbor. Click here to view agenda. Watch online here.

Wed. Jan. 4: 7 p.m. Ann Arbor Public Art Commission. City hall 2nd floor council chambers, 301 E. Huron.  Click here to view the full agenda. Watch on CTN Channel 16 or online here.

Thurs. Jan. 5: 4:30 p.m. Ann Arbor Greenbelt Advisory Commission. City hall 2nd floor council chambers, 301 E. Huron. Agenda not yet posted online. Watch on CTN Channel 16 or online here.

Fri. Jan. 6: 4 p.m. Ann Arbor City Council Liquor License Review Committee. City hall 2nd floor council chambers, 301 E. Huron. Agenda not yet available online.

Know of a nonpartisan civic-related event you'd like to publicize? Email Mary Morgan at

Support CivCity

CivCity is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan nonprofit focused on increasing awareness of how local government works and motivating residents to get involved in civic life. Please support our work by sending donations to: 
The CivCity Initiative
118 S. Main St.
Ann Arbor MI 48104

You can also donate online by clicking this link – it's easy!

You'll get our heartfelt thanks written by hand (let's hear it for old school!) on a notecard featuring local public art or civic infrastructure. How cool is that?

This image is a detail from the mosaics at the Fourth & Washington parking structure.
CivCity Board of Directors
Devon Akmon
Paul Courant
Mary Morgan
Ingrid Sheldon

Special thanks for generous support from the James A. & Faith Knight Foundation, the Buhr Foundation, United Way of Washtenaw County, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, the Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation, the Mosaic Foundation of Rita and Peter Heydon, and the Ann Arbor Area Spirit of Woodstock Fund!

CivCity Online

Find more information – including CivCity's five-year strategic plan – on our website at
Be sure to join CivCity on Facebook, where we regularly post items of community interest. Ann Arbor Votes is also on Facebook!
On Twitter, you can follow us at @A2CivCity and get details about local public meetings and other civic-related info. Get election Tweets by following @AnnArborVotes!

You can also find us on Instagram @A2CivCity!


Copyright ©2015 The CivCity Initiative, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
118 S. Main St. Ann Arbor MI 48104

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